15 thoughts on “Runzilla

  1. Communication:
    All of the Smithfest events I have been to, I feel that the communication has been great. Runzilla 2017 was no different. Between facebook and email I believe that they were able to effectively communicate price increases, information, and race day necessities.

    Venue & Festival:
    Again, the Tsongas Center was a great location, in my opinion. Registration was at the top of the stairs, followed by bag check for those who needed it. There seemed to be a bit of confusion about the location of the shirts, but they were soon moved to be across from registration and in better view. It made everything feel as though there was a better flow and accessible. It was very nice to have the box suite for a team location. Something that I know I greatly appreciated.

    Course & Obstacles:
    I participated in the Unlimited OCR option. It was a nice short course. just shy of 2 miles. One thing I want to note is that when I first arrived I was nervous to see the staggered 8 runner start again. Last year it created a huge bottleneck. However, this year it was much smoother, runners were on course quicker, and it did not feel like it was a bottleneck whatsoever. I thoroughly enjoyed this course. There is a good mixture of obstacles and it is friendly to all levels.

    Swag and Awards:
    The Medals and shirts are nice. I enjoyed the Godzilla nod to the shirt design.

    Some other notes:
    The volunteer staff were AMAZING, throughout the entire course. However, there was one point I had a calf cramp at the thru wall on my 3rd lap. When it happened all the volunteers from the manned obstacles in that zone and my battle buddy for that lap were quickly at my aid, helping me off the obstacle and making sure I was good to go before moving on.
    The addition of the Bai was wonderful, especially as the hydration station before/after the log carry.

  2. The venue was excellent. I had a lot of fun. There was something for everyone. I only did the OCR so thats all i can really comment on besides the layout and what i happened to see from the other events, which was great. The OCR portion, The Zilla, was great. The obstacles weren’t your typical obstacles which made it nice amd interesting. Besides the walls and the carries it was very unique. The initial start was very fun. The coarse was marked very well and the volunteers at each station were very motivating so kudos to them. I believe Fred has a keeper here. The swag was nice and the incentive to do all three races was awesome, i just wish i did them. Great time all around. The only con i have is that i wish they turned the heat on a little, it was very cold near the ice. Hahahaha just kidding no cons from me.

  3. As seems to be the case Smithfest finds always finds a way to make a creative and fun obstacle course. The tire fishing was a nice little challenges especially with the water filled tires and the kegs once again made me humble. I know we are focusing on the OCR part of the event but my only complaint of the day was when one of the volunteers was not at their post for the 5k and 4 or 5 of the lead runners went the wrong way because of it. It really was a great time. One extra tip of the cap to New England Timing as well. Their original results had one of my laps missing and they responded to my email quickly and fixed the problem.

  4. Communication: There was a lot of it multiple emails, Facebook posts, private messages and day of instruction for volunteers. Maybe a bit more detail for volunteers regarding routes, lengths, start and finish lines, but very well organized for an inaugural event with three (3!) events running the same day.

    Venue & Festival: The Tsongas Center was a great place to start and finish all of the events even though it was a tad chilly (and slippery) on the covered ice. While there was food for sale, they ran out often, causing a wait. Some of the announcements could be heard and some could not. I had a tough time trying to listen to the walkie talkie at moments, but did enjoy grooving to the music to keep warm at the finish line. Really enjoyed seeing all the booths that were set up with the vendors all around, buying some items from NES and getting a few stickers from the Spartan reps (needed a replacement beast sticker since mine is changing colors and peeling off the window of my Jeep).

    Course & Obstacles: I only ran the Zilla OCR after volunteering and enjoyed the variety of obstacles. I have never seen keg kingdom before, but love monkey bars and tackled this one no problem 🙂 As someone else commented, I did not have good drainage on my shoes so while avoiding the kiddie pool the best I could, that darn slip n slide got the best of my right foot and was sloshy/waterlogged for the remainder of the course (had a change of shoes, but no socks…wah). I would liked to have seen more than one unknotted rope at the climb and the wreck bags cause me a slight issue when approaching the top of the stairs when the boxes started (just a bit too wide to fit and causes you to lean and shift weight…not unmanageable, just surprising at first). Running on the warning track for the log carry was an added bonus and added a little “something special” to the course IMHO.

    Swag & Awards: Loved the headbands and that you got more than one in the bag (my kids pretty much took them all from me, except I kept the “It’s Not Sweat, It’s Liquid Awesome” for myself 🙂 The little jerky bites were devoured by my kids as well, so I have to take their words for it that they taste yummy. We haven’t sampled the drink powders yet, but am sure they are also worth the wait. The t-shirt was quality and the medal did seem a bit “faded” on the “Runzilla” word, but if you look at the design on the ribbon, that is the way the logo is. I liked it and it hangs proudly off the corner of my mirror until I figure out which hanger I want for them.

    Overall: I would totally volunteer for this event again and maybe figure out how to run all three events to get all the swag! Great job.

  5. Communication was fine, everything got out in a reasonable amount of time. Fred and his team were all over social media up until the last minute letting people know what was going on, teasing with videos, and ready to answer questions whenever we aked.

    Venue and Festival: I loved the use of the venue, it never felt like we were just running stairs for distance, everything was well thought out. Unfortunately, I could never understand what the announcer was saying. I absolutely LOVED having a team table to sell items, several people were commenting that they were hesitant to buy things online because they couldn’t see sizing or wanted to know how things felt and that’s key to people who haven’t fully committed to sending Paul all of our money via paypal YET. NES has their own booth and box to gather and cheer one another on which we all really appreciated.

    Course and Obstacles: As I said, the arena was well used. I loved that the log carry took you through the baseball field, on a couple of laps there were people dressed up and shooting muskets, I’m not sure where else you’ll see that. I did have an issue with the keg carry being the first obstacle only because it seemed like people were going to end up waiting an extremely long time just to start. (especially since we started late) I would have loved to see it later because it was a great obstacle, I just felt badly for everyone who waiting 20-30-40 minutes just to start. We saw all the usual Smithfest obstacles including keg kingdom and the car crawl, all fun. The course was around two miles but had enough obstacles that you always had something coming up.

    Swag and Awards: I loved that they had multiple different medals for the different courses. I wish there would have been something to distinguish multiple laps, such as the pin we got for Blizzard blast but I can see how that would seem excessive since we initially thought this course would only be a mile and people were planning 10+ laps. The Swag was great and bountiful, everyone loved the headbands and various treats.

    Overall: Smithfest put on a great event. I loved that Fred was always out on the course, talking to people, taking feedback and learning through this process. Each race is different but it seemed like he was really looking to the racers for quality feedback and I can appreciate that. I was frustrated when we started so late and I wasn’t previously aware that we would wait for every single 5k finisher before we could start the OCE, I only chose not to run the 5k because I wanted to be able to use the time for extra racelocal laps. If this event is on next year, I would choose to run it again.

  6. Communication was on point, right up until the day of the event. The only thing I would have liked to see communicated differently was the way the start times were going to run. We were originally told that the OCR portion of the event was going to start at 9:40am, but it didn’t start until half an hour later. It appeared that maybe they were waiting for all of the 5k runners to finish, but whether it was announced during the event and we didn’t hear it, or it was a last minute delay…it could have saved a lot of rushing around leading up to what we thought was the start time.

    The venue was great! Smithfest Events made excellent use of the space inside the arena, as well as the grounds surrounding it.

    I really enjoyed the course, and the majority of the obstacles (the obstacles I didn’t enjoy are my issue, not an issue with the obstacles themselves, lol). I was a little skeptical when we were told road shoes would be preferable, due to the running portions of the course, as I wasn’t sure how they would hold up during the obstacles, but the only problem I encountered was with the “water” obstacles…my road shoes, or maybe it was my socks, don’t have great drainage, so I was worried about the condition of my feet after a couple of laps.

    Swag/Awards received my lowest rating. The swag was great! Loved everything in the bag! My only “complaint” is that aside from the sticker that multi-lappers received, there was no distinction in the medals that runners of the OCR received, whether they ran one lap or multiple laps. Maybe next year there could be pins, stickers, patches…something to show that some people ran more laps than others.

    Overall…a great first-time event! I look forward to running it again next year!!!

  7. Communication:
    The emails leading up to the race were informative and I knew exactly where I needed to be day of race with no confusion. I also had a minor problem leading up to the day of the event (created by myself) and Smithfest was wonderful communicating with me to make sure that everything was all set and I was able to move forward with the race I wanted.

    Venue & Festival:
    I think that they utilized the Tsongas Center in a great way. When you first went upstairs, registration was right there, as well as the t-shirt and swag bags. One thing that might make a flow a little better is that bag check and team boxes were in the opposite direction of where the shirts and swag was located, so there was a little bit of backtracking, which when it was busier might have lead to some confusion. The usage of the boxes as team locations was awesome. It was comfortable and a great place for us to gather and meet up with others while in the venue. I enjoyed the vendors, and particularly being able to try on something at the Spahten table that I had been eyeing online but hesitant to get because of fit. That was awesome!

    Course & Obstacles:
    I enjoyed the mixture of obstacles. I made a point to try everything at least once throughout my three laps. Even the ones I knew would be too much of a challenge for me. It was an atmosphere where I felt comfortable doing so. One suggestion that I have is not to have the bottleneck at the beginning. While the keg shuttle run and wreckback carry was great, only being able to have six people go off at a time lead to a very long weight in line to even get on the course the first time (Or second for those who did get out in the first couple of waves) Though by the time I did my second and third lap, there were no issues. It was just at the very beginning with timing.

    Swag & Awards:
    Quite the bag of goodies! There was drink mixes, beef/turkey sticks, headbands, plus the shirt all for the swag. I thought that was pretty awesome. The metal is very nice as well. While I only ran the OCR, I liked how there were three different metals for each race and they were differentiated too. Also, I liked the Hint Water at the end of the race, I got to try a couple different flavors and I think I’ve found a new beverage choice!

    Over all, I had a blast yesterday. While some of the timing was off and the small bottleneck at the beginning, all of the positive completely outweighs that. Once I was out there, I had an awesome time. I look forward to attending more Smithfest run events in the future!

  8. Fun event with some room for improvement to make it an awesome one.
    The parking garage was right there, which was super convenient and only cost the usual $10.
    Registration was easy, bag check free. I didn’t see the NES area until later.

    After putting on my bib, I made my way down the stairs to the event/vendor area. I asked a volunteer where the start line for the OCR was, and he showed me to the finish line. Clearly he had no idea where I should go. I later asked some other volunteers when the start line would close, they also couldn’t tell. Instead they said: “Uhh, no idea. They didn’t really tell us much.” So while the communication via emails to runners was flawless, I suggest having a better communication system in place with your volunteers, maybe a major briefing beforehand, so they can actually help out, and not just putting Xs on bibs.

    I liked the venue/festival area. There were a couple different vendors, which I didn’t have the chance to visit (except the NES stand -yay!). Music was blasting inside, and the atmosphere was great.
    My family who came later, searched for food, but couldn’t find anything. Maybe better signs for that next time? I know some others had the same issues.

    Course and obstacles: The course was on the easier side. Not designed to break you, or reevaluate your entire life choices a thousand times – just plainly fun. The hardest part for me was coming out of the inside of the Tsongas Center, which was extremely cold, into 85F weather outside. It hit me every time.
    The log carry wasn’t heavy but long. And let through the with music filled stadium which was pretty cool. On my last lap I got cheered on by the spectators and baseball players there.

    One major, major thing I would love to see resolved or at least given some thought:
    I had to wait over 40min for my first lap. While I appreciated that there was no clogging on the course because only six runners were sent off at a time, it was frustrating for multilappers to wait in line for so long.
    I did five laps, which was plenty, but could’ve/should’ve done six or seven.
    Possible solution ideas to give multilappers the chance to get their money’s worth:
    -Maybe sent off multilappers first (there was no need to wait until the 5K people were finished)?
    -Do a multilapper wave every 4-5 times?

    The finish line timing system was already gone when I finished my last lap. And I know that there were a couple of people behind me still. I just hope they count the last one for race local.

    Swag and awards: The swag bag was awesome. A lot of fun stuff in there (love, love, love the headbands).
    The grey t-shirts are simple but of great quality, and definitely something I will wear. The sweatshirts looked awesome. Wish I had done trinity.
    The medal was okay. It looked like the color faded or got rubbed off on most of them. I don’t care about medals though, so I still give 9 points here.

    To sum it up: it really felt like a great, positive NES event. We overtook the place for sure. I met tons of new (and old) people and had great company on the majority of the course.
    Next time I would definitely register for trinity, which I didn’t do this time because of a rotator cuff injury.

    Thanks for putting together such a fun event. I love how race local makes me try out these smaller races. After having done a couple of them, I clearly can say that I like them much better than Spartans on a no-mountain venue.
    Oh, and yes, on my last lap I finally made the keg kingdom my …, well, you know.. Woohoo!

    1. I arrived after 2p.m. knowing the final lap was sceduled to go out by 2:30 & hoping I’d still be allowed on course. Registration was a breeze & I was directed down to the start area which was in clean up phase. Empty except for a handful of people, mostly Spahtens. It was radioed out the a first timer about to head out on the ocr course & to keep an eye out for me since the volunteers were already out running. It was a little confusing, but no surprise NES teammates came through. One directed me through the start area with the keg carries & sandbag carries. On the course many multilappers were out on there 5th-8th laps. Not one hesitated to explain which direction to head or how to do an obstacle (almost missed a tire pull & would have blown past the number dash after the football toss if not for them). It is important to note that this is because I was a very late arrival, not because of lack of volunteers. I was fully aware of this when I hit the course & expected some confusion on my part. The log carry through the baseball field was fun while the team was already warming up. We got a great clap in and many fist bumps by spectators on the sidelines. Bottom line, no matter how late you are running because of family obligations, there’s going to be enough time for you. Get out there and enjoy your day! Thanks Fred & NES & volunteers for allowing it to happen. Bling achieved.

  9. My only gripe is about the venue/ festival. The music was to loud and when the announcements were made you could barely hear them. Also I would have the football throw further away from other obstacles , as I was hit my as ball.

    Overall, I love Smithfest and I would do it again.

  10. Great event, Great idea, great location, missed just a little in execution, but this was the inaugural event. Things started a little late, but not horribly so. I thought the start with 6 people starting at once was genius, especially given the first 2 obstacles would spread the field out. I was gassed at the end of the Wreck Bag carry. Shortly after this was when the next wave started to catch me and I was slow. There were several places on the course where it wasn’t clear on where to go, luckily for me, each time for me a volunteer was close by, however I did hear more than a few people grumbling about getting turned around or going the wrong way. I’d bet that next year this will not be a problem. I’d suggest more than 2 wheelbarrows for the wheelbarrow obstacle. I’d have loved to see some sort of drag type obstacle, but I also can’t say that I saw any place on the course where it would have been practical to do so. A fun suggestion, set up an electric eye at the entrance to Lelacheur Park and have it set off a quick recording of a crowd roaring when a person enters. Hopefully I’ll be back to do this event again next year. One last thing, where did you find the OCR start line MC? You might want to invite him back.

  11. As always, Smithfest put on a great race. I signed up for and ran the OCR. It got started a bit late and there was some confusion as to starting the race.

    I got three or four emails about the event, with the most recent one coming in just days before but has the best information. It mentioned the parking and the fact that there was another event happening in the city so there might be traffic.

    Venue and Festival:
    I have never been to Tsongas before so I was unsure what to expect. Upon entering, I found registration at the top of the stairs and quickly got my bib. I picked up my shirt and goodie bag, threw them in my bag and got it checked in. NES had a suite- I didn’t see it until later but I thought that was really cool. Bathrooms were plenty. I saw a bar that was open and heard over the loud speaker that there was food available to purchase, although I did not search that out and didn’t see where that was happening. Parking was easy. The is a parking garage right across the street that was $10.

    It was nice to see some vendor tables as well. NES had one, best idea ever Paul! Spartan Race, Lowell Running and Team RWB were the ones that I visited. There was also a chiropractor and a money management vendor there.

    Course and Obstacles:
    I enjoy the Smithfest events for the unique obstacles and Runzilla did not disappoint. The course started inside the arena before heading outside. There were the usual’s: the rope climb (sadly no bell), walls to climb and go under, and a log carry. The unique ones were: wheelbarrow run, ice bath in baby pool before slip and slide, tire pull up. There were also the regular Smithfest obstacles: keg kingdom, run through cars, the fun little number run and monkey bars. The course was about 2 miles and the obstacles were well placed through out the course. The volunteers were helpful and encouraging. There was one water stop which I thought was fine considering the length of the race. I thought it was well placed before the log carry.

    Swag and Awards:
    I really liked the Zilla medal. I thought it was great that each race had a different color ribbon and medal. I have to say that the goodie bag was my far more than I expected. It has little jerky packages, powdered vitamin to add to water- but my bag had 5 headbands in it as well! So awesome!

    Overall I thought that it was a great experience. The only thing that I could add was that I wish I could have done more laps! I wish I had signed up for multi laps, there wasn’t a way to pay for extra laps for people like me who wanted to keep going.

  12. I volunteered all day and then ran the OCR. Volunteer communication was a bit late but easy via posts on FB and quick response to messages. Staff were super appreciative of us and supportive! OCR was classic SmithFest obstacles which are always a good time, though as a whole are on the slightly easier side of things – minus keg kingdom – always so difficult to me, It is my goal to be able to complete it one of these days / months / years!! Would love for them to do this event again for sure!!

  13. Cool event . Registration opened a little late in my opinion and the 5k wasn’t on time. WODzilla was my favorite because it was the most challenging for me. It would have been interesting to see the events go in reverse (starting with WOD first as was the most physically demanding). The burpee station was also missing in WODzilla.

  14. Pros:
    – The Trinity was quite the challenge when combining all 3
    – The location was great – best team area ever
    – Great medals
    – Awesome swag
    – Love the concept of 3 types in one event. The OCR on its own might have been on the easier side, but lots of creativity with terrain, but the WOD was very tough fitness wise with all the reps – nothing overly challenging, but a great workout.
    – Well marked

    – Would have been more efficient to email waivers. That made the registration a little clustered.
    – Maybe it was there and I missed it, but would have loved a concession stand to be open for snacks. Saw a bar, but did not see food options.

    Overall: Great event – would definitely do again and recommend.

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