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Recent Race Reviews
7 thoughts on “Terrain Racing”
By far the most awful race I have ever ran and will not run ever again I figured I would give it a try because it was close to home. The communication was awful I signed up for the 10k and was suppose to get s different medals and they didn’t have it I quit half way through because I was frozen and my body was cramping up so bad. When I asked about the different medals no one had a answer. The pit crew had no idea where the race ended or which way to go. I told them they need to get there stuff together and promised me it would be better next yr I told them I would never race there race again because it will prob be awful when asked for my money back they said nothing they could do. So I told them I just let all my friends and family how awful and rude everyone was and not to waist their hard earn money on a shit show.
EXCELLENT communication. I had a problem joining the team when I registered, somewhat rather last minute. I sent them an email and they took care of it then emailed me to confirm I’d gotten all my confirmation emails that everything was all set. It was all so greatly appreciated.
Venue & Festival:
Time constraints had it so I had somewhat of an ‘outsiders view’ of the festival area. They had a merch tent, some food, and the Biggest Team tent. It looked typical and had the OCR and Family atmosphere. While I got there late, and was one of the last to leave, the team area was appreciated.
Course & Obstacles:
I enjoyed all the favorites I’ve come to see at most name brand races. But I enjoyed seeing a tire flip and the use of sledge hammers to ‘push’ a tire up and back a designated area. Those were different and fun. I also liked how the utilized the walls onto the racetrack.
Swag & Awards:
The medal is awesome. I really like the quote on the finisher shirts, though for a mud run I wish white was not their color of choice for their finisher shirts. It’s a regular cotton shirt. One perk of being on the Biggest team was getting a free photo print. That was greatly appreciated! Lots of fun posing there and to get to take a couple prints home was nice.
Over all, for a race that I had heard such mixed things about, I am glad I got to check it out! I really enjoyed a fun lap with a teammate.
I had heard mixed things about Terrain Race and wanted to give them a try this year with the race costing so little and so close to my home. The communication for me was great, as team captain I received emails as people joined the team, changed wave times etc. Tess B. from Terrain was supper. She answered my questions and made changes to registrations right up to race day. We where the biggest team this year and they sent me an email telling me this. The tent was right next to the start line with folding chairs, water and a couple of games.
The venue was Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson CT. When I arrived ( got there early ) I paid my $10 parking fee and drove down to park. Parking is on site and was close to the registration table. They had registration forms available if you needed one. We had to wait about ten minutes to start checking as we got there before 7 am. But check in was fast and easy for me. I was running the 8 am 5K competitive heat ( they have a 10K option as well, just two laps of 5K course with a few extra obstacles ) so I got a timing chip and wrist band. ( more on that later )All other waves are not timed. There was a multi lap option for $15 bucks ( I think ). The time that you had to start your last lap and when the course closed was clearly marked at the start line. The start line is a sore spot for me. Having to stand waste deep in water in 45 degree weather was terrible. When they started the wave I jumped out of the “swimming pool” and my legs cramped right away. I get this if your out west in warmer weather but here in New England ( or northeast for that matter ) maybe make an adjustment on race day. The obstacles are your normal walls, mud pits, tire flip, wreck bag carry. ( maybe make it longer with heavier bags ) and they had two rigs. This where the wrist band for competitive races came into play. You could attempt any obstacle as often as you wanted to. But if you failed it and wanted to move on you had to surrender your wrist band and be disqualified. This disqualification took you out of the running for the money and possible OCRWC placement. The first rig was hanging balls to a pipe. They clearly explained at the start line and at the obstacle not to grab the strap above the balls or you would be disqualified. It was nice to have the volunteers know the rules for the obstacle and not have to guess. The second rig was a combo of ropes and rings. You could use any combination to get across as long as you did not touch the ground. The only different obstacle was a tire hit. I guess that what you would call it, because you took a sledge hammer and hit a tire back and forth. Near the end the 10K course split off from the 5K. The extra obstacles for the 10k people that I saw where a taller wall, tired drag and rope climb. The rope climb look low. After that came their monkey bars. Set at an angle up and over a water pit. The hard part of these was the 4×4 in the middle you had to reach under and up to start your decent down the other side. The end was in site, over a wall, sand bag carry and then up a balance beam to a cargo net you had to crawl, climb over and down a poll to cross the finish line. They had on site changing tents, two food vendor trucks, a merchandise tent ( with $50 close out sale on some lady ice bugs very limited sizes ) and a photo both. I think the vendor that made out the best was the Dunkin Donuts truck parked right next the registration table.
When I first got involved in OCR I was looking at doing as many races as I could. For yrs Terrain was solely a Southwest product, just couldn’t fit the travel into my schedule, so I was excited last yr when they moved east. This yr I finally had the opportunity. As NES was going to have a small representation , I ran the 10K with Russ Blatt and his brother Rob, and had a truly enjoyable time on the course with no stress per se for performance, I can do that another day, though I ran a 3rd lap on my own, to push myself a little on the running Now about the event soup to nuts as I saw it. The race was held at Aviator Sports Complex which is actually an old military base , as well as national park, so there would be no barbed wire or fire, not sure if Terrain uses that at other venues. If you have been there you know parking is easy and free., easy walk to registration. The first person I saw that i recognized when i got there was Bubbles, he won the Competitive wave, the second was Adrian Bijanada, and thought this ought to be interesting. Signed death waiver, and showed vol confirmation email on my phone and I was golden. My ID was not checked, and while I signed up for unlimited laps, I asked after the face, and found out you needed to get a green wrist band, similar to SR’s competitive/ elite waves, i don’t remember if it said it in the confirmation email, but they didn’t check or verify if i had..Bag check was easy and free, too, but with a tear off piece from the bib attached, but you had to go in and claim your own bag after, in this case it is good it doesn’t get the numbers of participants as the larger race series, it would be pure mayhem finding after. Now to the race. they start the competitive races in a giant tub of water and upon the go signal they have to get out and, go…lol,.. For us open racers, they had us jump in and come out before the start. The course was flat, id say without climbing over the walls, the elevation change was probably less than 20 ft. The obstacles ,in sequence as i remember them, sand crawl under rope, run under hanging cargo net, low walls, 12 foot wall with rope and hand holds, ascent a little more difficult than the descent, not user friendly if you plan on assisting someone, trapezoidal cargo net on steel structure with step at least 2 ft apart., 12 foot rope climb, heavy tire drag, steep A frame cargo net, sandbag carry with 2 teeter totters to go over and one corrugated sewer pipe to go through( sandbags were unevenly filled to be kind, i grabbed 2 on each lap, just because) corrugated tube down into waters( think snakes at TM)- 4 tubes first lap, 3 on second, and none on my third , not sure why. uphill 3 inch balance beam to cargo net to fireman pole descent, (now i find out why Adrian is there or so i think) Rig with a bunch of F5 grips, 4 easier lanes, 3 tough, took the tough all 3 laps,- balls, nunchuck, ring, and then the rings that the feet go into, then loop back out and sledge hammer tire 20 yds down and back, heavy tire flip 2 out 2 back, 25 lb wreck bag carry maybe 50 yds down , 50 yds back. then loop back to festival area and there was a 5K and 10K split, the 10 K had an 8 ft wall to go over the 5K( which is where you went on the second lap of the 5K) 4 ft . after the 8 ft wall they were was a series of ropes and rings, think tarzan at shale hill, sorta, but the ropes alternated between thick and the thinner was similar to the tyrolean rope for SR. and then back out on the course,.. so after the 4 ft on lap 2 , in the festival area, monkey bars over a tub of water, probably 10 bars uphill to center support, which iwas a 4×4 and you had to reach under blindly to find the bar on the other side, some were a little wet, some slightly rotated, and then to the finish. The medal was a heavy duty monkey, they had photobooth . There were 2 water stations, Tomtom said the course came in around 2.9 mi, Vendors were primarily local, but also saw Nesquik, some natural juices, deep eddy vodka. there was a merch tent, . The good, fun new event, variation on theme of obstacles,, new medal though i wouldn’t classify myself as a bling whore. They have low priced waves advertised all the time, but those as you may guess are the afternoon waves…The not so good. vols were a mixed bag ,some were fun engaged , and some were indifferent/ oblivious, i think some obstacles were understaffed, ie sledgehammer to tire, they had 8 lanes of people with sledge hammers and i saw 1 vol on my 3rd lap, and i saw racers accompany friends down the lane not paying attention to the adjacent lane and the people in the adjacent lane not looking, potential recipe for disaster. the course marking took a beating as the day went on. I think if the series gets far more participants, it will need a more organized vol staff … Will I do it again, absolutely ,…
Being that the following Sat I had the Killington race I wanted to do this Terrain Race figuring it would be a nice warmer upper. The weather was great race weather… cloudy and not too warm. Decent amount of people that showed up (I raced Sat afternoon) I was actually surprised how many people were there. Never been to Thompson speedway before but figured since I live in CT might as well give it a go. Pros…..The costs were low, parking good, course lay out was decent, cool medal, decent swag. Cons….. staff was slightly unorganized, the water tank before race started was weird, not enough mud obstacles, nothing healthy to eat after.. not a lot of vendors. Overall though for the cost and locality it was worth it!
Terrain Race New England 2016
I first heard about Terrain Race on social media months ago. A friend of mine did it earlier this year down south and said it was good. I saw that they were coming to New England (Thompson Speedway in CT) on an open weekend for me. Also it helped that there entry fee was cheap. I’m the kind of guy that likes to sign up way early, like months in advance for a good discount. When I signed up in April it was $35. I entered the competitive wave which was an extra $15, plus the typical $10 insurance and $5 processing fee. So the grand total was about $65, which is cheap for any OCR. And the open wave would have been cheaper. A week before the race I got nervous as rumors spread on Facebook that they had cancelled all of their races, including New England. This was clarified later that 3 events were cancelled and New England was still on.
I had created a team (NE Spahtens). Every time a new person joined the team I would get an email. I could also log on to the registration website and keep track of our total members which ended up being 26 I think. We were the biggest team but I didn’t ever get any email or other notification from Terrain Race. In fact when I saw the Biggest Team tent there was no one there. So I asked one of the directors who was the biggest team, and he said the Spahtens. I said “that’s me”. He said OK you can use the tent and get a free water bottle. I wish they had let us know in advance so I could have properly notified the team earlier, instead of on race day. This was just about my only issue with the race.
I signed up for the 8:00 competitive 10K wave with other “elite” racers. With this they give you a special timing chip, which I don’t think everyone gets unless you pay extra. With the competitive wave you also get an arm band, because obstacle completion is mandatory. If you fail they take your band. You’re allowed multiple tries but there is no penalty option. No burpees, no pushups, no nothing. If you are elite, complete the obstacle or fail. This is my preference for OCR and I wish all companies did this. I haven’t done Spartan in 2 years and this is one reason why. But back to Terrain Race. Open wave runners didn’t need to complete and could perform a penalty or get help from someone else.
I arrived about 45 minutes before my wave. Parking was $10 and was a breeze. The venue is a raceway so there is tons of on site parking. I was about 100 yards from the entrance, which was great because I could leave all my gear at my car and didn’t need to use the bag check. I don’t think anyone was more than a 1/4 mile away. There was a bag check available, and I think it was free. Registration was very simple and quick. I got my free shirt and bib and a wave time. I also got a timing chip and arm band for the elite wave. I changed up and was ready with plenty of time to spare.
The start was very unique I feel. After the pit boss checks your wave time you go into the start corral. There were 2 pools with water about 3 feet deep. All the starters jump in the pool and wait. The announcer give a short speech and says GO! This means you jump out of the pool and then cross the start mat when your time starts. Totally soaked from the waist down. As I mentioned the venue is a car race track, so there was mainly just pavement, grass, and some dirt. There was almost no mud, except a few manmade pits for the race. Also there only a few hill, with nothing too big.
Initially there was running across grass areas with a shallow pool, some walls, a cargo net, tunnels, and spider web type obstacle. The first real test was the Monkey Balls. Think a rig but just climbing/ninja balls about the size of a tennis ball. I think there were 10 in a row. You could either grab the ball or just above the ball, but not the strap it was hanging from. It took me 2 tries on my first lap, but I go through it on 1 try on the second lap. After the monkey balls there was a tunnel, tire flip, spaced out with running. The running included going under the bleachers of the race track which was cool. After more running it was another wall, water pit, then wreck bag carry. The wreck bag was light (25 lbs) but was neat because it had a few balance beams also. Then more running, a tire drag, rope climb (14’ maybe), tall A-frame cargo net, all spaced out with running on grass or pavement. This lead to a Tarzan type swing, with either 2 or 3 ropes, which was not too bad. I practice this a lot on my own setup. Then a wall with rope climb. Several more water holes and then the other difficult obstacle called Gorilla Grip over water. Think of inclined and declined monkey bars, but with rock climbing grips. There was wood beam directly above your head with grips alternating on either side. The elites could only use the grips and can’t use the wood and can’t use your feet. I got through this fairly easy, again I have something like this in my backyard. I watched several open wave racers after, and they were given some leniency about grabbing the wood. This was a tough obstacle for many, but I think all of the elites made it through. Soon after there was the finish line with a wall just prior to it. If you were in the 10k (like me) stay to the right and do the whole course again. Stay to the left for the 5k. The finishing medal was very cool. A spinning monkey head.
I had total obstacles at about 20 per lap. There was a few that were more difficult, like the Monkey Balls, Gorilla Grip, and maybe Tarzan swing. There was basic walls (4-7’ tall), water holes, tunnels, and cargo nets. Surprisingly no monkey bars! There were 2 water stations.
There was a small venue area with a few food trucks including a mobile Dunkin Donuts. They had a free picture area with props. There was a Terrain Race merchandise tent with lots of clothes and gear, including Icebugs. The beer tent was outside of the race area, as it was part of the Thomson Track, and because of some rule no free beer.
Overall I’d rate this as a good race that I would do again (depending on the price). I would definitely recommend this race for first timers or beginners. I got in early at a cheap price, but I don’t think I’d pay much more than $75. I like the competitive nature of the obstacles, so I prefer more difficult and/or unique obstacles. I know that this is difficult for a race series, because anything too difficult could be a turn off for first timers.
Leading up to the Terrain Race there were many rumors on whether or not this race would be even happening. In the end, I am glad it did because I thought the race directorspit on a very good race. Now with that said, there were some hiccups.
First, the communication for many was probably not very good. There was a delay in finding out whether this race was happening and the prerace email came late. However, for me this was not much of a concern because I was in constant contact with them through messenger and they responded back to me in a very timely manner. Although the communication was good for me, they do need to do a better job letting the masses know what is going on.
Now I showed up to the venue at 6:20am. At this time there was no signage stating that the race was up ahead. When I left later in the day there was a few signs directing people. First, you got your bib and shirt. Shirt is a basic cotton shirt, but it looks and feels nice. Registration was easy since I was the first one there. I did have to wait for them to get everything setup, but this was only a few minutes.
When signing up you have the option between the 5k or 10k course (competitive or open heats). If you signed up for competitive you were required to complete all obstacles or lose your band (I love this). In the open heat, ifyou were unable to complete an obstacle they asked you to do jumping jacks or sit-ups. I was in the 8:15 open wave, however I decided to get the wrist band for unlimited laps ($15 extra).
The course itself was relatively flat with a few “hills.” I think they did a reasonably good job with how they separated the obstacles. There was 22 obstacles (that I remember in the 5k course) and since it was a loop the 10k runners had to do 44. the starting area is where you encountered your first obstacle. Instead of a standard wall or just walk into start area, you had to jump in a pool of water and then climb out when it was race time. This was different and unique and I feel works well with open waves but I could see elite racer getting annoyed because you would be slowed down a little is you were not upfront. Then you encountered the following: waterpit, wall, tunnel crawl, wall, cargo net that you climb and then roll in middle then climb down, spider web, cannonball alley*, tunnel crawl, tire flip, wall, mud pits, wreckbag carry over teter toter*, over a median, tire pull, rope climb, cargo net A-frame, Tarzan swing*, rope climb over wall, mud pits, incline rock grip monkey bars*, and a final wall before the finish.
The couple obstacles that really stood out was cannonball alley,wreck bag to refer, Tarzan swing and incline rock grips monkey bars. Both cannonball alley and rock grip monkey bars tested your upper body and took many of the bands away from the competitive field. The wreck bag carry over a small teter to Teresa good – not too challenging but a little different than just a basic carry (oh yea the wreck bags were only 25 pounds). Finally the Tarzan swing was not overly difficult or long but it was a nice addition.
After five laps 15.5 miles and over 100 obstacles I called it a day. I could have stayed out longer but I didn’t bring any nutrition or hydration (had 2 water station on the course – good for just the 5 or10k but I needed food by the end). I received the medal. I will say this the terrain racing medal is pretty cool. It is decent size, a little heavy, and has a monkey head that spins. I think the medal is one of the best so far (we will see if the spinning monkey breaks or not).
In the festival area they had 2 food stations (think carnival or fair food) and had a Dunkin’ Donuts truck. I quickly realized that the free beverage ticket was not for beer and could only be used for water or Soda. For me this was not a major problem since I like water after a race. They had 16ozcans of beer for 7 bucks.
Overall, for $50 bucks (cheaper for other runners) this was a good race. I think Terrain could improve with communication. Also, if they come back and I hope they do,they need to pick a different date – CMC and boldr dash were also taking place – and I’m sure this took some numbers away from them. I would tweak a few things in regards to obstacles but it had a few type of obstacles forexperienced to novice OCR racers.