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Adventure 5K (http://www.nh.com/5k#home) bills itself as a 3.1 mile run held up at the Liquid Planet Water Park in Candia NH. It was created by NH.Com in partnership with Crossfit TUFF (http://crossfittuff.com). I ran this one last year in October and it was a ton of fun, so was looking forward to running this one again. Even with all the events going on this weekend, we got a great team of NE Spahtens together to run this race.
Before I get to the review, I want to give a special shout out to NE Spahten Nate DeMontigny for his efforts of being the team race coordinator and to Christina Hendricks from Adventure5K who was very communicative and willing to work with us. Thanks!!
Now on to the review.
We arrived about an hour before the 11am team heat. Parking was pretty easy. We lucked out and was able to park in the lot, but if you couldn’t park in the lot, you were able to park along the entrance road and along Raymond Road. Because they sent out the waivers this year, check in was very easy. There were three lines – A to M, N to Z and spectators. You went to your line with ID and signed waiver, and you got your race packet. Spectators were charged a nominal fee to get in and had access to the parts of the water park that Liquid Planet opened up. The heat was no joke – 97 degrees. I am definitely glad Liquid Planet decided to open the kid’s pool and the beach for the kids (and parents) to help keep cool.
The race was very similar to last years course, but in reverse. I like that they changed the starting line to a bit further over, so that the racers weren’t spilling into the actual park area like they did last October. As we lined up, people were obviously excited and ready. At the appointed time, the air horn sounded and we were off. The organizers cleverly offered up an obstacle map, so I will be talking about them in order (and I don’t have to rely on my race memory):
1) Oil Spill – to be perfectly honest this was the least memorable obstacle. I have no recollection of there being an obstacle here. This one might need to be amped up next time to make it a bit more memorable.
We then ran around the parking lot perimeter for a bit then came up to
2) Hay What! – Three pyramids of hay bales to scamper over. They were in pretty good shape when we went through and didn’t appear to be unstable. Always a fun obstacle.
3) Blackout – Two long tunnels with a fishing net crawl at the end. This one moved very smoothly and there was no bottleneck at all.
4) The Tarzan – The dreaded monkey bars. This was a good obstacle, three wide, so little bottlenecking, and not so high that people would hurt themselves if they dropped off. Sadly I had to take a pass on this one this year due to injury.
After the monkey bars, you went up a hill and in front of the zip line platform. A nice trail run through their haunted village awaited you to get to the next obstacle, which is a standing favorite.
5a) The Monster Plunge – They have a 10 foot wall with this giant green monster face painted on it. It very much resembles the Hulk, actually. It has three ropes on it to pick your difficulty level. The easiest has foot pegs and a knotted rope, the second has just a knotted rope and the third has just a rope, with no knots. The volunteers encouraged teamwork to help people get up the harder ropes so to clear some of the slow down. This is the first obstacle you had a bit of a wait for if you chose the easiest climbing option. To get down they had two 45 degree ladders and a platform to jump from onto hay bales if you wished. I confess I used the easiest option, when I know full well I could’ve done either of the other two. Conserve energy was the mantra of the day.
5b) After you came down off the wall, you ran up to the Plunge – A dumpster full of cool water. There was a board over the top so you had to duck down (or even dive/swim) to get under. Then you pushed up on the edge to climb out. In the heat of the day, this was easily a favorite obstacle and really gave a boost at the right time. Then you went into the serious part of the trails and some nice steep hills.
The hills should be counted as their own obstacle as they were decent calf burners. These are really a lot of fun, they were soft from the rain and there was some really nice mud pits and streams to run through.
6) Upsy Daisy – The slatted wall climb. They were having some issues with it when we went by. It was wobbling and though it was in no danger of tipping they were trying to move it to secure it. A couple of nice guys behind us helped the volunteers move it so that it was stable again. It was maybe 6 to 8 feet. I personally love slat walls so this was one I liked.
7) Slinky – Over under time. Six sets of climb over, crawl under hurdles. The hurdles were about 4 foot high and the spacing was about 5 feet or so. Good obstacle, if maybe a bit long for some folks.
This is where things went a bit astray. At the water station there were two possible directions to go, straight and right. There were reports of volunteers sending people immediately to the right, cutting out 3 obstacles and a good section of the course. It would’ve been better to station a volunteer on the path before the station to make it clear that people needed to go straight first, then have another stationed to direct people on the backside of that loop to carry on. This was the only part of the course that I wasn’t really a fan of simply due to the confusion.
8) Gravity Defier – A vertical cargo net. It was about ten feet high or so, but very slippery at the top. They taped the pipe up with tape to protect the support tube but given that many of us were still wet from the Plunge and sweaty from the heat, it was was a bit tricky to navigate. The volunteers were great here – held the net steady for folks and were talking people over.
9) Black Widow I – This was a net crawl. Pretty standard, secured net that if you were short could simply duck under or you had to get down and crawl under if you were taller. I personally have no issues with these and can usually shoot right through.
10) Black Widow II – This was a bunch of parachute cord tangled around trees that you went through. It was fairly easy as there was one big gap that you could kinda shoot through and then climb though one other hole and you were through. Would like to see them make this one longer or more challenging.
Back past the water station again and a bit more trail then you came out to
11) The Land Slide – This was a semi steep sand dune that went into a water obstacle. The descent wasn’t bad at all, but it was a bit surprising that the water obstacle wasn’t that deep. It was barely above my ankles. I kept anticipating a drop off, but it never came. I can see in sneakers this can be tricky but in the X-Talons, it was a non issue obstacle. I would have liked to see the water pit a bit deeper.
12) The Beast – Another cargo net, this time 45 degrees with a 45 degree slatted wall decline. It was approximately 12 feet high, well constructed and pretty easy to navigate. I was happy to see they really tightened the top so the risk of fingers/hands getting pinched or crushed in the ropes were minute.
13) Burn Rubber – The tire pit. Mostly the tires were laid flat and close together so you could quickly step through them. The tires were various sizes but nothing that you couldn’t navigate quickly.
14) The Plank – Balance beams made of skids. You went up the plank then side stepped to get onto the declining plank. This wasn’t one of my favorites, as I liked when they used plain boards to make the obstacle a bit tougher. Maybe next time offer both as options.
15) Splish Splash – Into the lake we went. I’m not going to lie, this was the BEST obstacle given the heat. Everyone was having a great time in the water. They also moved the ropes out a bit from last year so you could go deeper into the water. Given the heat, this was much appreciated. And indeed, people were really splash splashing away in here.
16) The Burrows – This was a sandy beach crawl under some nets then under tangled parachute cord. This was a fun one. There was no bottleneck surprisingly and the three trenches seemed reasonably rock free. The cord part confused some folks as the thought was to stand and wade through rather than crawl under, but again the volunteers did well instructing people to belly crawl under the cords.
17) Ain’t no mountain – Final obstacle – the eight foot wall with Crossfit TUFFs logo. This is a bit of a tricky wall as there are no footholds for the novices. But no one seemed to have much difficulty with this one as people were very willing to help folks over. From here you went right to the finishers chute.
At the finish line, there was a bit of confusion about the beer tickets. They wanted to ensure that only racers received the beer tickets, which I understand, but they didn’t make it clear that you had to receive the tickets from them. I received my shirt and baggie of stuff, but no beer ticket. I received water which was great but some people were getting water tickets as well. I didn’t receive a water ticket either. So while a great idea in theory it didn’t seem to work quite as well in practice, as several others were not offered tickets either.
Big shout out to the volunteers for this race. They were really great! All of them were helpful and really were great cheering people on.
I really love the fact Adventure5K partnered with RaceWire. You get a text and email with your time very quickly. That is a really neat perk for those of us who really want to know how we did.
After the race I looked around at the various vendors. They had some great vendors, mostly catering to the locals. They had the Moore*Mart (http://www.mooremart.org/) booth- the charity this race supports – there, as well as Goodale’s Bike Shop, Mi-Box, Runner’s Alley, and many others. They certainly attracted more vendors than last year. The music was provided by the Paulies (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Paulies/112646845464668) , whose drummer is our very own Paul Battaglia. They were really good and played a neat mix of older tracks as well as more recent music. The zip line was open so older kids had something fun to do. The one thing that was not as good as last year was the concession. Last year it was busy but seemed to flow better. This year there was one guy on the grill, one guy who was doing both bar and cashier (I heard it was the park owner) and one guy in the concession stand for part of the time. The main bottleneck seemed to be the drinks. The guy was having to switch between making cocktails, serving beer and then taking cash for the food and drinks. I don’t know if staff didn’t show up of if they didn’t plan accordingly, but this was the one main black mark of the day.
Overall this is a really great local race. I really like the fact it is very family friendly. I can definitely say this is one worth doing, or putting on your race calendar for next year if you are looking for a fun day out.