NESpahtens.tv Episode 11: Heart Challenge
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Recent Race Reviews
8 thoughts on “Heart Challenge”
From the moment of signing up, I felt like communication was great. There were some issues early on with registration and it was communicated when it was fixed. Not only that but week of race emails were consistent even up to the night before when there was a minor issue that caused for some changes in the registration table location. While emails had been sent out, the info was also relayed in the event pages on facebook for those who might not have seen the email.
Venue & Festival:
The venue was neat, around the Reebok headquarters in Canton, MA. There wasn’t much of a festival. It was all within the parking garage. We set up by the bleachers and used Sean’s truck as a bag drop as there was no bag check. We settled into the area, being hot out it was nice to have the shade right there. Parking was free as far as I could tell as I wasn’t asked for payment anywhere.
Course & Obstacles: The course was flat and went around the property. Smithfest Events made do with the property to squeeze out as close to a 5k as possible. I logged 2.75 on both my laps. There were not a lot of obstacles, but the course was very well marked. It was VERY beginner friendly. Giving a small taste of what you might find at other OCR events.
Multilapping was easy, fill out paper, get new bib, pay, off you go. I think there could be an easier way around this. They told me to fill out my paper work for my extra lap when I checked in before my first lap and that I would be set to go out for my second all i would need to do was get my bib. But when I went to get it, they made me fill out more paperwork, even when I said they’d already had me do it? I’m not sure what was going on here.
Over all it was a short, flat, easy course. While it might have felt a bit lacking in places, i still enjoyed it.
Swag & Awards:
No t-shirt, no biggie. It’s a charity event. They give out wooden ‘medals’ that are shaped like Massachusetts and wood burned. These are still by far one of my favorite medals. They’re unique and dated! (Bonus for DATING your swag!) For multilappers they gave out stickers that said multilap finisher 2017. That’s a nice way to commemorate it.
In places it felt like the event was thrown together, not feeling like an event with a couple years under their belt. There were not a lot of people in attendance which is a shame because it’s for a good cause. However, I still enjoyed the race. It felt low-key and a nice break up in some of the crazier parts of the season. A bonus was that it was #racelocal.
This was my first year doing the Heart Challenge. Communication leading up to the race was great. Very clear and concise. The race was held at Reebok Headquarters in Canton which is a beautiful place. Parking was free and in a parking garage right near the start line. Registration was set up in the parking garage which was nice and shaded. Registration didn’t open until 8 which left only a half hour to get everyone through registration. I think it worked okay but it would have been nice to have it open even 10-15 minutes earlier.
This was a small race, maybe 100 or so people. There wasn’t much of a fesival area but there was table giving out protein bars, muscle milk, water, bananas and oranges. There was an announcer sending off waves and music playing the whole time.
Multi-lap was available for 10 dollars per lap. Between laps you had to go to the registration table, get a new bib and you were off. It worked well and really didn’t cause any delays in getting back on he course.
The course itself was fun and flat. I expected it to be an easy course as most charity races are aimed at all ability levels and it delivered. Most of the running was on grass, a little in the woods and a little on the roads/sidewalks. There was an assortment of walls, a small rope climb and tarzan swing rig. There was a very long heart of tires that you had to step through which was way more difficult than it looked and a hopping from yoga mat to yoga mat which was pretty fun. They utilized the parking garage stairs and parking garage area for a log carry.
Distance wise my GPS measured 2.8 miles which was a little short of the advertised 5 k. There was one water stop that gave out bottled water which was great since it was extremely warm.
Overall I really had a lot of fun at this race. I definitely recommend it to anyone new to the sport or to anyone who wants to go out and have fun with friends and raise money for a good cause.
This was a really fun local race. It’s a charity race so there was nothing too challenging, but they made up for that with some unique obstacles that made good use of the terrain. The wood medal was awesome and so different than any other race. I didn’t mind that there was no race shirt – most don’t fit me well and just go into a box. At first I didn’t like that they had water bottles instead of cups at the water station, but I took a bottle with me and was happy to have it. It was a hot day and it was easy enough to put it down next to the remaining obstacles.
Some (very) minor annoyances:
– I would have liked a more GPS-friendly address for the parking garage, and a sign out on the main road confirming that I was in the right spot.
– The port-a-potties were oddly far from the festival area
Communication: The coordinators for this event were great at keeping us informed. From the moment I signed up I was receiving emails that kept me in the loop. When there was a change in time for our heat, I not only received the information in an email but received a call as well. Any questions I had were quickly and efficiently answered.
Venue & Festival: Parking was not only free, but it was close to registration and the starting line. That was awesome, especially being in a place I was so unfamiliar with. Having a place where I could check my bag was great too, so I did not have to worry about it in the time that I was out on the course.
Course & Obstacles: I thought this course was great. I liked how they used the property to their advantages with the stone walls, the trees, and the parking garage. I felt challenged on this course, but I did not feel as though it was impossible as a beginner.
Swag & Awards: A wooden medal for your first lap and Multi-lap stickers for any laps completed after. I thought this was unique and nifty.
Over all I had an awesome day, there was music, the announcer was entertaining, and over all it was a fun day. I thought it was well worth the drive!
This race was everything it advertised to be. It wasn’t the most challenging race but it was really fun. The fact that it was part of racelocal and allowed for multiple laps was another positive. There was no finisher shirt but most of us have way too many already. The finisher medal however was a wooden carving of MA and it’s simplicity is what made it amazing. All in all anyone looking for a good introductory race that is harder than Warrior Dash should look into this race.
From the moment I signed up for the Heart Challenge, I was personally thanked in both emails and calls. I thought it was a great touch to send an email out about moving the NEW wave up to avoid being out in the heat, knowing that there would be many multi-laps happening. Every phone call I received I was asked if I had any questions. Everyone I spoke to was extremely friendly.
Venue & Festival:
I don’t think I have ever parked in a parking garage for a race before- that was different! It was very close by to the race, no buses needed and it was free. Check in and picking up my bib was easy, it was done fast and the staff at the table were laughing and smiling. I had a question about multi-lap and it was answered right away. When I went back to get my bib for lap 2, it was done quick and efficient. Bag check was the tent next door to bib pick up, and was free.
There were tables with fruit and water. Hint water was there and giving away some samples of their new product. There was also Yasso, a frozen yogurt company. I had seen them before but was very happy to get a taste, especially given the heat of the day. What a refreshing way to cool down. I brought my own food to eat between laps, and was happy as there wasn’t any food (besides bananas and oranges) available, not even for purchase. I do like that you could get an orange, I find that after a hot race it is so much nicer to eat than a banana.
Course & Obstacles:
This race is for the American Heart Association so I expected it to be fairly easy given it was a charity race. I liked that they worked with what they had and made up some interesting obstacles. The heart shaped tire was fun- with a photographer at the end to capture the moment. I thought that the crawl, then the run in order of numbers then high knees area was a good use of space. I loved the frog pad jump obstacle. Never seen it before and it was fun. The obstacles on the parking garage were also unique- you got to pull a tire up rather than drag it! I needed a boost over the walls (I’m short) but other than that the obstacles were easy to do on my own.
Swag & Awards:
I was not expecting to get a medal at this race and was blown away by the one we got. How cool is it that it was wood? Very different and definitely easy to spot on the rack of metal ones.
Overall it was an enjoyable race. I agree with others that it is a good beginners race, a chance to get meet other members of the group and log some miles for #racelocal. It was hot but the course was flat and did go through some woods that gave you a chance to cool down. I liked getting a full bottle of water on the course. I poured half of it over my head and drank the rest. On a day that was so hot, I think the smaller cups would have been harder to deal with and more of a mess. All of the volunteers were friendly, and the one by the crawl/numbers/high knees was running back and forth with the runners, all set to help if you forgot where the next number was. There was a warm up before the first wave went out and I had never done anything like that before- it was good to get a stretch going before you head out. It was my first time at this race, I’m not sure how long it has been around, but if it is back next year I would sign up! It was about an hour drive for me, about how long it takes for me to get to any race. It’s a nice race for beginners to get thier feet wet, but to also get to hang out and chat and b social.
The team heat (and final heat starting time) were moved up due to the heat, and this was clearly communicated through all channels. Good decision and well executed.
It was also nice to not have to print out and bring a waiver.
VENUE & FESTIVAL
Free parking, free bag check, good music, and the team tent providing shade right between registration and the start line. Awesome.
My only suggestion would be to add some balloons or signs or something on the road leading to the venue. I didn’t see any.
COURSE & OBSTACLES
Even restricting comparisons to the ‘family-friendly 5K’ class of OCR, this was one of the least physically challenging courses I’ve seen. The chief obstacle of the day may have been the heat. Barely over 3 miles in length, and as flat as flat can be. Given the course’s objective as a charity fundraiser, this is A OK.
The organizers did do a good job of maximizing the venue, using the garage for a shuttle run and hoist, the rock wall, etc. There were plenty of volunteers, and with all the tape, there was no way to get lost.
SWAG & AWARDS
A unique wooden medal (plus stickers for multi-lap) was given to finishers, rather than t-shirts. For me, this was the better choice.
Thank you for the frozen yogurt.
A well-executed event, great for socializing, first-timers, and getting multiple laps in.
This was my first time doing this race, and I’m really impressed.
The pre-event communication was hands down the best I ever received. I received emails, phone calls from actual people thanking me for registering and providing information, emails, and they proactively posted in the team pages too. So impressed.
The venue and festival area was super clean and well organized. The amount of free goodies post race is probably the best I’ve seen – Yasso protein frozen bars (So great with the hot day!), muscle milk, hint water, oranges, bananas, and waters are what I remember – there may have been more.
The location was easy to find with lots of volunteers helping guide us to parking. Well marked route to the event area. Registration was a breeze – sailed right through!
Our team tent area was right around the corner and super close to the start line. That worked out great with the heat and since the festival area is full sun that helped.
There were a lot of new to me obstacles that while not challenging, were very fun and were a great use of the natural surroundings – I really liked that. They definitely leaned to the easier side compared to other races, but I do like that they amped up the creativity here. It was a nice change of pace and given the organization putting it on, just what I would expect – I think this would be a great race for beginners and was fun for experienced racers also.
The finisher medal was wood instead of metal like I am used to, but upon further inspection it’s actually pretty neat. Stands out amongst the others on my rack.
Multi-lap situation was a breeze and worked super easy. It was a great venue for getting in some race local miles – I think plenty of people got in 3+ laps. Multi-lappers got a sticker upon their second lap (not sure if you got anything additional after two – I only made it to two between heat and a nagging leg pain).
The only negatives I can come up with and even these might be a stretch…Maybe move the port-a-potties a little closer to the start line – still not far away by any means, but when multi-lapping the closer the better. They were closer than some races, but farther than others – so not bad by any means, but could be a tad closer I think. The only other thing I could say especially given the time of year and heat would be related to water stops – they had one about halfway through with full bottles of water. On lap 1 they weren’t very cold and I really wanted it for cooling off. I’d say if we could do maybe two water stops at mile 1 and mile 2 verses half way that would be nice given the likely heat of late June and to have ice water in cups verses bottles – I may be in the minority here though – I get hot when running and love really cold water at water stops. Neither of those impacted my score as they are pretty trivial.