One of the founding goals of the New England Spahtens was to promote, grow and support local races as much as we do the big national series – if not more so. This runs risks of course – a small event isn’t going to have the big production values of a Spartan Race, and the course and obstacles won’t always be as challenging, as grueling or as epic. Regardless, we’d always give them a chance, work with the race director, provide our input and suggestions where welcome – and always provide our feedback.
So, when Type One LLCs inaugural event – Renegade Run – hit the radars, I reached out to the race director Tyson, and asked him if he’d be open to a large group of Spahtens showing up, running his race, and showing our OCR love.
Not only was he all about it – he got us a great deal on race entry, and was super flexible when the 10:30 heat sold out, getting several NE Spahtens in anyway. This was what made me really excited to work with Type One – they were super responsive, engaged in a pre-race interview, helped us out with registration costs, and seemed to be genuinely interested in what we were doing. Oh, and we raised money for an excellent cause too.
Type One was founded with the sole purpose and objective to increase public awareness and to find a cure through research for Type One Diabetes.
Race day came around, and it looked like we would have a good showing of Spahtens in the 10:30 wave. I was bringing my wife and father along with me, and Google Maps claimed it would be close to a two hour drive, so we hit the road early. Google lied, and it took us more like an hour and 20, and Wompatuck State Park was super easy to find. Being so early, we had no trouble finding a parking spot either, and we could literally spit on the start line from our parking spot. Oh, and parking was free, which is increasingly rare at bigger events.
Type One LLC had scheduled this event over thanksgiving weekend. In New England. That means it was going to be cold at the very least, and of course, it was cold. Like, really cold. Happily, registration was indoors – broken into alphabetical lines by last name, they flowed really quickly – we were in and out in minutes, clutching a baggy with our race bib, pins, voucher sheet and a really nice tech blend T with the event logo on the front and some sponsors on the back. In my usual tradition, I’m wearing it on the following Monday back at the office, and it’s a nice shirt – it’ll go into my “regular wear” rotation (which is more than I can say for some much much bigger events shirts …)
10:30 rolled around, and we headed out from our warm corner in the building to the start line in the parking lot. It was clear, quickly, that the New England Spahtens had almost locked out the 10:30 wave – we had Spahtens on the start line ready to run for time, and Spahtens at the back jumping up and down trying to stay warm. Type One had a team of cheerleaders doing their thing for us (and looking very cold doing it!), music, an MC – a shout out to our own Shannon Lynne who was running on her birthday – a quick countdown, and we were out.
I made the mistake of trying to keep up with the front runners! I’m still recovering from a bad sprain I picked up at Fenway, and was running in my trail shoes (Inov-8 x-talon 190s) – and the first half of the course was all nicely paved path – one comment from another Spahten was that I sounded like a horse, clomping along in my cleats! We already knew that the obstacles weren’t there to break us, just to slow us down – so when we hit the collection of normandy walls, we hopped over the middle and were through. Next up, a nice series of wooden horses to duck under, and crash barriers to climb over – this was where I aggravated my ankle for the first time, and lost the front runners.
We then had a series of smaller obstacles – some balance beams with ropes across them (really liked this one!) and a series of webbing ropes to navigate – also an unofficial obstacle of some dog walkers, who hadn’t realized they were walkin head on into a pack of crazed Spahtens, before we turned off the pavement and into some trails – cue rolled ankle #2! I really backed off the throttle now – no race is worth aggravating an injury for.
The trails turned out to be a ton of fun – some steep hills, some tunnels to pull yourselves through, some pretty technical terrain – then we were crossing a road – throwing yourself over a big pile of soft hay bails (are you reading this, Rebel Race? SOFT hay!), then the finish line, where I met a bunch of the guys I’d been tailing for the first part of the race.
My finish time was quick, and a check with the GPS watches showed that the total race length was more like 2.8 miles – maybe a generous 5k, rather than the 4 miles advertised, and if I had one piece of criticism, this would be it. We had expectations of fun obstacles coming in, but certainly front runners were expecting to pace for and hit 4 miles, so to be finished so quickly was a bit of a disappointing moment for them.
I turned around and started walking back up the course to find my dad and wife – and run in with them – my dad passed pretty quickly, then my wife came in with another Spahten – she lost a contact at the second obstacle, and basically ran the whole race 1/2 blind, and with no depth perception – hard core! Of course, I immediately rolled my ankle AGAIN and had to hobble back in 🙂
The post race party was the spot that Type One showed they mean business. They had some excellent caterers bring in brats, burgers, mac and cheese, ribs, more cookies than the entire event could eat and some good hydration choices. They also had this served in a heated tent, and opened up a large meeting room for folks to hang out and stay warm – hugely appreciated, and the reasons so many folks hung out.
Tyson read out the awards, and top 5 men and women won pretty good prizes – the Spahtens represented well here too 🙂
In conclusion – Renegade Run isn’t going to test your limits, nor is it going to bust your balls – but it has the pleasure of being the last race of the season, run in the cold weather (and maybe worse conditions in the future?) and is the perfect price to bring out the large groups. Extremely well run, and apart from the hiccup of the distance being under delivered – something I strongly suspect won’t happen in the future – this is going to end up being a permanent fixture on the New England Spahten calendar, simply for the fun factor. Good job, Tyson, and the crew at Type One! See you in 2013, and thank you for hosting the Spahtens!