A small and intimate venue, with about 400 attendees. Volunteers and fun obstacles all around, and gorgeous scenery everywhere you looked.
I’ve never been to a BoldrDash before. Between timing, apathy about long distances/early wake-ups to get to 5k races, and I’d just never made it.
But, after Lynn came out for her episode of NESpahtens.TV, and some calendar checking, I realized that the Winter Dash fit all the right boxes, and I could ride down … and I had no reason not to go.
So I did.
A 6am wake up. Coffee and breakfast at Dunks. Drive out to Steve’s, and we’re pulling into Canonicus Camp Ground in Exeter, RI with time to spare. The venue was easy to find, parking was $10, and we had a short walk to the warm building that registration was setup in.
The logistics of registration was simple. Handed over a waver, got a custom biggest team T, shuffled sideways to a lady who took $10 and noted our names down for another lap (or two, or three, depending how ambitious you were). The New England Spahtens, for the first time, had taken biggest team and we grouped up around a table to catch up. I love these guys.
9am was the first wave of the day, and it wasn’t too crowded – I was on course from 9am until close to noon, and didn’t see any backlogs that lasted for more than a few seconds, despite some spots that had the potential to be bottle necks, if the course was busier.
I’d heard a lot about BoldrDash obstacles – but, I’d also heard from Lynn that with this being a brand new venue, and a small event, she would be keeping things simple – and that was a really smart move. From a small “boulder” carry, to a 9ft long buddy carry Wreck Bag, cargo net *traverse* – a bunch of crawling, tire flinging, rope pulling stuff. Nicely integrating some natural obstacles too, with bench step-overs in an outdoor seating area, crawling under a giant bell and a volleyball net. There was never anything TOO challenging, which kept the vibe very beginner friendly, but at 3.7 miles, and lots of nice trails with great views – it didn’t get boring either. I went around twice, and I never do multi-laps.
My one nit-pick – and I had to look for this one, because it wasn’t TOO bad – was course markings – especially once we were in the wooded areas, sometimes course markings were nothing more than a strip of tape tied to a tree, and while looking down at my footing, I found myself slightly off course a few times. Easy problem to solve, and no one had too many complains.
The race was untimed, with multi-lappers asked to check in and out with a desk right at the finish line so they knew who was on or off course at any given moment. A coffee truck, but no food vendors, and a well stocked BoldrDash swag tent. Custom Biggest Team shirts were standard cotton Gildan shirts, and the medal was a relatively basic sticker-on-a-blank (Lynn falling foul of the Feb/March shut down in China where most medals are produced, something I also ran into last year with #racelocal medals – eh, it happens).
The vibe around the venue was fun – with plenty of things to do – no shortage of warm places to hang out or people to talk to. Kudos to volunteers who hung out in the cold, and they were everywhere too! I suspect the venue is pretty close to capacity for parking, available space and available warm spots though.
As I said at the top, this is why people come to OCRs. It’s not always about the toughest challenge, most obstacles or longest distance. It’s not always about having huge crowds of people. Sometimes, you can do just as much with a lot less, and Lynn and her team did just that with the Winter Dash. No race is for everyone, and competitive athletes may have found themselves wishing for the tougher, bigger BoldrDash setup – but for an event that was billed as low key and friendly, this was well thought out, and well executed. Nice job, BoldrDash crew!
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