* Event Details
parking was the same as it was for the spartan super at a giant field offsite and bussed in. as we were the biggest team we got “VIP” parking when in reality was not really VIP just free parking ( not knocking it just saying call it what it is) i dont see any reason why they couldent have allowed the VIP parking to park onsite like they did with spartan, they had a LOT more cars in that front pasture area than battlefrog had today.
all the normal stuff a few people hawcking ocr related stuff did not really look much so cant comment on it.
schwag was a good quality finiher shirt that we got to pick up before the race making it one less thing to lug around later and a very nice medal
* Race Details
i ran the 8k single lap. course for the most part was the same path as mile 2-6 of the spartan super . the course map released by battlefrog is a bit off with obstacle placement.but most of whats listed was there. the carries were twice as long as anything spartan did and that really cranked up the millage a bit. lot of varations on inverted walls with this race. biggest negative marks goes to how and where they put the rope climb. having the rope be the first obstacle is a DUMB move because that is just a instant back up farm and also i REFUSE to do any rope climb that does not use some form of safety under the ropes weather it be water pit or gymnastic mats, i understand these races are ment ot be dangerous but when your having people go 15-20 feet in the air a water pit or mat makes the difference from someone being able to be lucky to walk normal again to them maybe just needing a min to shake it off and contiue on . second the ropes were WAY to close together and if two people
went up ropes next to each other there going to be kicking and bumping the entire way. next obstacle of issue was what most of us know as GUT CHECK. the obstacle itself was fine with the exception of when ever someone hit the second pole hard it would move and shake the entire obstacle a great deal . i also have a issue with the mud pit depth or lack there of at this venue yet again i dont think we got more than knee deep in water at any point and its more and more apprent if its the venue making these rules about how deep to dig i honestly hope races opt to just not use this facility in 2016
we all know there hitting a lot of bumps right now and its showing they have a solid product they just need to really start making adjustments and know what they are as a race and what there selling. when the race was first announced as a 5 or 15k i choose the 15 k . i was upset when they dropped it to a single 8k course and were offered either a refund and one lap or run 2 laps of 8k . after doing the spartan super i think it was a wise move by them to go to 8k because i am not so sure they could have gotten to 15k as that place stands. would have loved to seen them throw in another 5 or so obstacles for the 8k but i give them credit that unlike spartan they just dident throw up a bunch of walls to help get the obstacle count up.
as for 2016 if and when they announce a return i think i might sit,wait and see how there first few 2016 events go before i put money down
* From: Nicole Sibley
* Event Details
“This is different from New Jersey,” was the first thing Paul said to me when he saw me at the NE Spahtens tent at today’s BattleFrog race. I couldn’t agree more; it’s what I had been thinking all morning.
Last year, I had won an entry to the Tri-State BattleFrog race, one of the first three or four races BattleFrog had put on. It was epic. I wrote a glowing review. The race was 15K and dense with challenging obstacles. When the registration for the 2015 New England event opened, I jumped at the chance to sign-up. Here was a great race at Carter & Stevens Farm in Barre, Massachusetts, within 45 minutes of my house. It was one of my favorite events — a surprise hit — in 2014.
In the time between the Tri-State race in 2014 and the New England race, things have changed for BattleFrog. The company has faced serious financial difficulties. Things were on a downward trend. The race, which had originally been said to be a 15K was downgraded to an 8K. I won’t go into all the details about the industry gossip but suffice it to say I’m not sure BattleFrog is going to be around next year. All of this talk got me concerned about what this would mean for the 2015 New England event. As the date approached, I was curious more than excited. How will this race compare with last year? The answer. Not even close.
I arrived in Barre about an hour and fifteen minutes before our scheduled 9:45 a.m. team wave to find that parking was going to be a bit inconvenient. I thought I had gotten away from parking off-site after the closing of Amesbury Sports Park, but apparently OCR remains the only sport I can think of where off-site parking is routine. The parking was around 10 minutes from the venue and cost $10. When I arrived the wait to get into the parking lot wasn’t bad — maybe 5 minutes — and the wait for the bus was similarly short. Unfortunately, I heard that shortly after I got on the bus, things got extremely backed-up, and the parking and waits for the bus turned into a very lengthy wait. Suffice it to say, that is not cool. I know that a lot of races have been taking place in Barre, for example the Spartan Super a few weeks ago, and parking was less of a problem then (per reports).
When I arrived at the venue, I saw that things were very much scaled down from what we saw at the 2014 Tri-State race. There were a few vendors, but the tents were smaller. There were less bonus activities in the festival area.
Check-in is still an area where I think BattleFrog has every other company beat. It’s always a snap. There are tons of lanes, you don’t need to sign a waver, and they assign you a number the day-of, so you don’t need to bring anything.
After registration, I headed over to the Spahtens team tent. BattleFrog offers more swag than any other race I know (perhaps part of their financial woes?). Our team had around 340 people registered for BattleFrog, the largest team in the company’s history. We were provided with free parking (limited number), a spectator pass, additional beer/cider tickets, buffs, free bag check, and sleeves and t-shirts (which will be coming in the mail). The team perks, minus the sleeves and t-shirts, were all provided to our team captain, Paul, who had fellow Spahtens helping him pass out materials at the tent. I snagged my free back check, buff, and beer ticket, and sat down to change my footwear, while chatting with teammates. I quickly checked my bag before the line got to long and then headed back to the tent for the team picture before heading to the starting line.
* Race Details
Like many OCR races, once we all got into the coral (after climbing a short ladder wall, of course), it was time for a motivational speech. I’m pretty sure that every speaker at every OCR is trying to be Sean from Tough Mudder. I’ll give it to Sean from Tough Mudder — seriously no one is nearly like that guy. I am not a fan of motivational speaking, but Sean can get me ready to go. Needless to say, BattleFrog announcer, while giving it 100%, didn’t really do it for me. I was happy when we were off and running!
The course was an 8K, 5 miles for those of us who cannot get the metric system. Carter & Stevens Farm in Barre is pretty much dead flat, which meant that you could run the entire course. I know that we are New Englanders and are supposed to be rugged and like climbing steep mountains. I’ll be honest and say that I personally love a flat course. I like running the entire thing and getting from obstacle to obstacle as quickly as possible. Climbing up mountains is not a huge strength for me, and it’s also not something I’m that interested in doing a lot of training to get better at. Some things are just not things I like, and that’s okay with me. What it means, is that a course, like BattleFrog, where I can do a lot of running has a lot of appeal. (Note: Variety is good too. For example, Shale Hill cannot be beat! The course has enough flat parts that I can “speed” along, but also has some ups and downs.)
Compared with Tri-State 2014, the New England course had fewer obstacles and more running. The obstacles had also been scaled way back from last year. In Tri-State there were two 12′ walls back to back. Here there was one and it had kick boards. Tsunami last year had a warped wall you had to run up and grab a rope (my biggest fail of the day and biggest regret). This year there was just a cargo net. Some of the bigger and more complex obstacles were gone. The swims, which I really enjoyed from last year — this is a Navy SEALS affiliated event after wall — were gone. No declined rotating monkey bars. No balance obstacles. They were replaces with walls. Lots and lots of walls. This is not to say that the race wasn’t fun and didn’t have it’s share of great obstacles — the Rig stands out as a hugely fantastic obstacle — but the comparison with last year is lacking.
The obstacles were pretty well spaced, something I always consider very important. There was more running and fewer obstacles than I would have preferred, but the running was fun and well divided between fields and woods. The trails had some muddy patches where you had to watch your footing, but you could pretty much jog the entire thing if you wanted to. There was a little bit of bottlenecking at some of the earlier obstacles but nothing more than a minute or two wait, which I consider fine. I got to run with a bunch of different Spahtens as I traded places with people throughout the team wave. One Spahten said that he was looking forward to reading my review. (Thank you! I felt famous.) I also got to talk with another Spahten who did the winter Death Race, making him, in my mind, an epic hero of the same sort as the Avengers. All-in-all, it was a fun time hanging out with some good people, which made tackling the average course more fun.
Here’s a run-through of all the obstacles on the course. I’m following the order listed on the map, which is not exactly the same as what we saw on the course. For example, the Over/Under/Thru was much later. There were three well-stocked water stations on the course, meaning you could do this race without hydration.
1. The Dirty Name: Honestly, I don’t remember this being first. I’m guessing this was just a muddy section of trail.
2. Rope Climb: Very standard rope climb or probably around 15′ or less. This was early on in the course and no problem. I powered up and down the rope quickly.
3. Over/Under/Thru: Standard go over a wall, through another, and then under the last one. (Yes, they were in a different order than the name suggests. Also, this obstacle was swapped with the Tire Flip.)
4. Mud Trudge: I believe this was just a muddy section of trail. We had to go through a muddy stream around this point in the race. I wouldn’t necessarily call it an obstacle.
5. 8′ Wall: There was a small back-up at this obstacle, though nothing terrible. A pretty standard wall. I was able to get up by myself without too much difficulty.
6. 60 Degrees: This obstacle was cool. It was a metal ladder with around a half-dozen rungs inverted at 60 degrees towards you. We had to climb up the underside, then over the top, and down the back. I liked this one.
7. Jerry Can Carry: I remembered this obstacle from Tri-State. We had to carry a jerry can of water. At Tri-State we had to do the carry up and down muddy, slick motocross mounds. Here, it was a somewhat lengthy walk around the field. The can was a bit heavy, but no so heavy I had to put it down. We were required to hold the handle in our hands instead of doing a bear-hug around the can or putting it on our shoulder, so it was work for the grip.
8. Natural Ledge: This obstacle was an analog of Gut Check from Shale Hill. You had to stand on one log and then reach for another, jump and pull yourself around. Ideally, the logs are spaced so you hands can at least reach the top one. No dice. Someone was actually hurt when I reached this obstacle, since it was very wet and slippery. This obstacle is dangerous in most circumstances — I’ve heard stories of broken ribs — and I was in no way going to be able to make the leap from the bottom log to the top. While the volunteers said people could help you, participants were not allowed to use the side supports to help themselves. I got up on the obstacle, assessed, decided I liked my teeth in my head, and did the penalty.
9. Mounds of Grounds: Climb a hill of mud, go through muddy water. Times four.
10. Normandy Jacks: This obstacle features wooden jacks with wire (not barbed) between them. The wire is low, similar to last year, so it’s good that it’s not barbed. There are some divots that you have to navigate as you do this crawl. Similar to other barbed wire crawls but a bit more fun because the jacks are kind of fun looking.
11. 12′ Rope Walls: Climb a 12′ wall using a rope. There were also a couple of kicks. Last year, at Tri-State, there were two of these back-to-back after a number of upper body obstacles and no kicks. This year, there was one wall. Definitely an example of how BattleFrog had scaled back. I tackled this wall no problem. (Last year, I was exhausted and made one wall but failed the second. Though, I think this year my upper body fitness is better and I could have made two.)
12. Wreck Bag Carry: Uuuuggggg! This carry actually almost killed my shoulders. Both men and women had to carry 50 lb Wreck Bags along a long loop. Mid-way, we stopped, did a wall, and then continued with the carry. 50 lb is a lot, and I was sorely wishing that they had varied the weight for men versus women. After doing the wall, I wrenched my left shoulder pretty badly getting the Wreck Bag back up. I’m now pounding cherry juice and resting my shoulder to get it ready for the Shale Hill 8 Hour race (part of 24 Hours of Shale Hell) next weekend.
13. 4′ Wall: This 4′ Wall was the one I referred to that we had to climb during the Wreck Bag Carry.
14. Slant Wall: Standard inverted wall. This was a bit of a shorter one but with no kicks underneath, so you had to jump, grab the top, and pull yourself over.
15. Platinum Rig: The Rig wins obstacle of the course for me for sure! It was a huge challenge and fantastic. I always love the Rig and the many different configurations offered. For BattleFrog, they had one option for women and a different one for men. For women it was a rope climb, then walking through two suspended rings and grabbing a vertical pipe. From there, you had to take another rope and swing to a large square monkey bar. Next were to normal monkey bars, one of which was spaced super far away. I had to get a really good swing for my arms to make it. Next up was a pipe and then a ring to step in. I opted to get a swing from the monkey bar and grab the ring and bring it to me. This was very hard and took me a while to get. I imaged the American Ninja Warriors commentating and saying, “She’s been up there a really long time. I think her grip is going to give out.” However, my grip did not give out, and I eventually got the ring. From there, I had to grab a ring with my hands,
swing to at least touch the last ring, and then I was done. Standing in the last ring, my legs where shaking with fatigue. This was a very challenging and rewarding obstacle.
16. Delta Ladder: This was a big ladder climb of around 20′ with widely spaced rungs.
17. Tire Flip: This was actually switched with the Over/Under/Thru. We had to flip a large tire up three times and back three times. They were heavy, but I was able to tackle a pretty large one, so I’m sure others found this to not be a big hassle.
18. 6′ Wall: I ran at this wall and was able to get over without any problem. Good technique definitely helps on these medium height walls.
19. Tsunami: I mentioned before how this obstacle was definitely trimmed down from last year. Gone was the warped wall with the rope, which is too bad because I wanted to nail that jerk after my failure last year. Instead it was a cargo climb to the slide on the other side. Slides make me nervous after all the carnage at the slide at Superhero Scramble back in 2013, but BattleFrog does slides pretty well. This wasn’t as good as the slide at Tri-State, since it ended in the grass instead of a small pool, but it was fine. The slide down was almost vertical and fast. I went flying into the muddy grass and got a face full of mud.
20. Inverted Wall: Unlike most inverted walls, These walls were inverted away from us. If you didn’t get a good run up and jump to grab the top, there was no way to do anything other than slide down. I found this out when I neglected to get a good run and jump the first time. I nailed in on a quick try #2 though.
21. 12′ Ladder Wall: Two back to back ladder walls. The finish line was in sight, and there was just one obstacle to go!
22. Tip of the Spear: This was my runner-up for favorite obstacle of the day and an improvement on the still very good obstacle Bangers & Mash from last year. The obstacle featured three transverse walls with a balance beam connecting them. The first had around a half dozen ropes and the second had ledges that you had to grab with your fingertips. The third had ropes again. The rope sections were no problem. The ledge part was okay too, though my feet slipped a little on this one, and I had to grip hard.
I made it across Tip of the Spear and raced my way across the finish line. Done!
In 2014 BattleFrog was one of the best courses I’d run. This year it was just another Spartan-style race. BatteFrog’s future is certain, and they are going through a period of transition. I’m not sure what the future holds for them, but I can say that I am very glad I was able to go to the Tri-State race in 2014. I feel like that was the pinnacle of what BattleFrog had to offer. Today’s race was fine, but it wasn’t anything special. I’m not sure I’ll be doing BattleFrog again in 2016. (Honestly, Shale Hill may have spoiled me for all other racing with the combined challenge and interest of their course and the perks like onsite parking and a race director that knows your name.) Did I have a fun day? Sure. Was it stand-out and stellar? Not really. It was average. If I didn’t know how much potential BattleFrog had from their event last year, I might have been more satisfied. This year is going to be an interesting one for the company. We’ll see how BattleFrog fairs for 2016.
* From: Amy Lillis
* Event Details
The race was held at Carter and Stevens Farm in Barre, MA. This is a beautiful venue in the middle of nowhere.
Parking, as always at this venue, was offsite in a big field. I arrived at the parking lot at 8:15 for my 9:45 heat. While I probably spent 5-10 minutes getting things together from my car and meeting my family and friends, we didn’t arrive at the farm until 9:00. There was a long line for the buses and there just weren’t enough of them. In fact, people who arrived shortly after I did at the parking lot completely missed the team heat!
Since we’re talking about the buses, the line in the afternoon to return to our cars was simply unacceptable. I will give kudos to the Battlefrog staff who were apologizing to racers and setting out cases of water for us, but they knew how many racers to expect and how many people each bus holds. If a race is going to have off-site parking, they simply have to plan better.
Although I usually just leave my bag in the team tent, I opted to check my bag at this race. We had free bag check and the bag check was right next to the team tent. Big mistake! Check-in was easy. They didn’t even take my free bag check paper, and the line was long but moved along quickly. The problem came when I went to pick up my bag. First, there was no line. People just stood at the barriers and the volunteers went to whoever called the loudest. Secondly, if there was a method to where the bags had been stored, the afternoon volunteers didn’t know what it was. So, I gave her my number and told her I have a black backpack and she couldn’t find it. It took me a good 10 minutes to locate it on my own, then more time to flag down a volunteer to get it for me. Needless to say, I was more than slightly irritated by the time I got my bag back.
The schwag was good. A nice tee and medal for everyone. Since we were the biggest team, we also got bracelets, buffs, free bag check, and will be mailed another tee and sleeves.
* Race Details
Carter and Stevens Farm is flat, so the course was flat. I like flat and I had my 12 year old son with me, so an easy course was fine us.
The obstacles were basically good. The jerry can carry was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be – I probably should have taken the “girl” can so I could have helped my son because it was a very long carry for him. The platinum rig got me yet again, but was the only obstacle I failed. The tires looked big, but I flipped a big one without too much trouble and my son flipped a smaller one on his own, so they mustn’t have given too many people a big problem.
There were two obstacles that I felt were dangerously made. The ropes were really too close together. They were barely a body width apart, so if someone fell from theirs while another person was climbing next to them, they could easily both get badly hurt. The second was the “gut check”. This was similar to the Shale Hill obstacle, but there is no frog pond underneath and the logs were really, really far apart. I did see some bigger guys make it without much trouble, but I also saw a smaller woman fall right onto her back and another person was being taken by ambulance. I gave my son a piggy back and let him climb over, and I climbed the supports to get over. Even my 12 year old remarked at how dangerous this obstacle was.
I think my favorite obstacles of the day were the inverted ladder wall and the last obstacle (tip of the spear?) that was 3 panels with 6 ropes, a fingerhold board, and another 6 ropes. It was harder than I thought, but my IceBugs helped me nail it.
All in all, this race was OK. I had fun, and would probably go back if it didn’t conflict with anything else.
* From: Jonna
* Event Details
I was signed up for elite and got to venue at 6:20. I was able to park right at venue without taking the bus.
I briefly walked by vendors. There looked to be some very cool shirts, but I needed to prep and get ready so didn’t spend any time here.
* Race Details
The course was flat and I knew it would be since I ran the Super here last month. There was a lot of trails, rocks and muddy/ manure? areas to trek through. Only a brief stretch on road.
Obstacles were great! I had to give up my wristband as I couldn’t complete the sternum crusher. This was a log you had to stand on and jump forward onto another higher and further log and get over. It messed with my mind too much as several people were fetting hurt. An ambulance took someone away a on second lap.
Most obstacles were familiar. Over through under; walls; barbed wire without barbs; rolling mud puts and water; tire flip ( that didn’t have a volunteer at first elite lap so I doubt anyone even flipped it); short rope climb. But there was a few new ones. The tall delta ladder looked intimidating but was just a tall thick ladder. The slippery wall had no rope and I couldn’t reach top to get over. There was a tall cargo climb but the other side was a slippery slide down that was really backed up on second lap.
My favorite obstacle was the last! Loved the walls with rope and rock climbing grips to go sideways through and ring bell. There were about 5-6 ropes and then a balance beam followed by 4 sections of a grab bar to navigate across. Then followed by another 5-6 ropes!
The water carry was long and hard with 2 on elite heat. The wreck bags were all 50 pounds and you had to throw it over a 4’wall. I wish they had lighter bags. Having a hurt neck, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this, but once on, it wasn’t bad.
The rig was another difficult obstacle. For the guys- it looked impossible! It was very American Ninja Warrior with nunchuks to hold to. For the girl side, most rings for your feet with a few ropes, a long nunchuk bar followed by a wide monkey bar and few more regular bars and then more rings. I couldn’t make the wide bar!
All in all, great obstacles and the volunteers were awesome! This one girl at the sternum crusher kept telling me she didn’t want my band!
I brought waiver but they didn’t take it. They didn’t look at ID either. I heard others say the same thing. Wondered what would happen if someone got hurt.
All the cow patties everywhere! Especially during the water carry. It was pretty disgusting!
Bag check free early due to them getting organized.
Would I do it again…. Hell ya! I mean… “Hooyah!”
A total negative for me was I wasn’t going to run this due to an injury. I was trying to sell my reg, but figured since I couldn’t sell it and if I deferred it may be out of state, I would do first lap and see how it goes.
After finishing first lap, I was going to go home until I saw my team getting picture in coral. I saw some
Friends and decided to go again.
So… I was happy to have completed two laps but since I signed up elite and had timing chip cut off after first lap, it was considered a DNF and I didn’t even get my 8k time.
Second BIG negative…. Metals state 15k! It should have changed when they changed course to 16k!
Third negative… Having discounts of 40% off up until event doesn’t seem right. What’s the incentive of those to sign up early? Nice for late comers, but the pricing should benefit those that sign up early.
* From: Nicole Alves
* Event Details
Let’s start with the parking: it was a catastrophe. As we all know, the Spahten heat was at 9:45, I got to the parking area at 8:30 thinking I had plenty of time, wrong. First, it seemed like they sent you in circles to actually park your car and then when you finally do, you stand in a ridiculous line waiting for busses. First suggestion: MORE BUSSES! This is literally my only complaint of the day. The situation to get back to your car was no different, the line went all the way down the hill, the wait for both times was probably at least 30 minutes.
Registration was quick and easy, even though there was potentially an issue with mine (said I was already checked in and had to speak to a staff member, turns out it was user error) Staff member responded quickly and all was well.
I didn’t use bag check so I can’t speak for that.
As far as schwag goes, I am VERY impressed with what we received for “biggest team” perks and I can’t wait to receive it all (sleeves, 2 t-shirts, extra drink voucher, free bag check, free parking, free spectator pass, Battlefrog buff and bracelet, 30% off in their store) They excelled in this! I don’t recall receiving so much from any other race. Two thumbs up for this!
Festival area was great and fun.
* Race Details
I don’t always remember every obstacle but I will speak about the ones that stood out to me. First, those of us who ran the Super already knew the grounds and what to expect so my focus was checking out these obstacles and I loved them.
The wall to get to the start line, very high, scary because of the amount of people climbing at once. (I have a wall fear, you will see me speak of walls often in that regard)
First obstacle on course: rope climb, when does that happen?? This made it easier for us to do however, my only complaint about this particular obstacle was that the ropes were too close together. People kept hitting and knocking into each other. It was also intimidating for those people who wanted to give the rope climb a chance not knowing their ability. I saw a woman get out of line and immediately go do the penalty once she saw how close the ropes were to each other. Suggestion: separate them a little more.
First obstacle that stands out to me as a challenge, the inverted pole ‘wall’. Didn’t realize it was inverted as I was walking up to it until we got up on it. Seemed really easy until you got to the top and had to now maneuver yourself over that top pole. You saw a lot of people get up there quickly and immediately stop in their tracks to figure this out. Challenging but do-able.
I don’t know the exact name of this obstacle according to the course map, could be “natural ledge” but I am referring to the vertical logs. You stand on one log and either reach or jump to second log which was quite separated from first log and higher up. I only accomplished this with the help of battle buddies. I have zero leap ability and I am short, this was a big challenge to me. However, it brought a lot of people together helping each other. A success.
The next challenge, the 12′ rope wall. Thick rope to climb up the 12′ wall with, at the top is a pole that you go over and lower yourself on opposite side with another rope. This tested grip strength for me big time but it was accomplished and the feeling was awesome. Great obstacle, big challenge.
Platinum rig: these are always a challenge at any race but do-able, just not for me. I can only speak for the women’s side. Starts with a rope that you use to get yourself to step into rings, once you get across rings, you use 2 other ropes to get yourself to monkey bars and then hand rings (I believe). REALLY challenging obstacle.
Delta ladder: really tall, and steps were really separated. I actually used upper body strength to lower myself to next step because I wasn’t tall enough to get my leg to next step while foot was on previous step. Photographer at this obstacle was super friendly and non-stop snapping pics. She somehow made me feel more comfortable on this obstacle because it was really high!
The slide: This slide scared many people. Start on an A-frame cargo net to the top and on the other side is a steep slide that doesn’t look safe at all. However, it was a blast, so much so that I did it twice. Many people sat up there for a good 10 minutes before going down the slide. This was a big mental game for many people. Best bet was to just go down the slide without thinking about it. Awesome obstacle.
Many different types of walls ended this race but that last obstacle was probably my favorite of the day, “tip of the spear” and probably because I actually accomplished it all with no help. A good way to test your grip and what was left of your upper body and fingers by the end of this race.
Then, your’e done!
There were your typical walls, typical carries (wreck bag and water jug) both a good distance, normandy jacks (a crawl of sorts) all these you expect to see at OCRs and always adding to the challenge.
Overall, I loved it. I had a great time. I would say that some of the obstacles were different from others you’ve seen with varying difficulty. I would definitely do another Battlefrog event.
* From: Danielle Carrier
* Event Details
Event parking was off site in a giant field with school bus running shuttles to the race site. I like the fact that there were port-a-potties at the parking lot since the wait for the shuttles was 10-20 minutes and many people had long drives to the venues. We only waited about 15 minutes for a shuttle which was as advertised. The venue itself was beautiful, nice rolling fields and a nice dirt road to walk up to get to the festival area. Registration was quick and painless. The festival area was nice. There were people vending shoes, Battlefrog apparel and various other items. The team tent was nice with plenty of room for everyone to hangout and relax before and after the race. The music played in the festival area was decent and suitable for all ages. Showers were by hose and there were more than enough that you did not have to wait. The changing tents were nice to have but it would have been good to have it more clearly marked as to which was mens and which was womens.
Food choices were good with pulled pork (delicious), turkey sandwich option, buffalo chicken and some other options. It was also nice to have some beverage options, the hard cider was delicious. There was also a wood fire pizza oven, 10 dollars for a small pizza. It was delicous and my kids devoured the whole thing. The inflatable course was fun for the kids and made the wait before the kids race much easier. Eventhough we had free bag check we did not use it since the line was extremely long and moving slowly as we were getting ready to line up for the race. Medals were a nice and heavy and pretty unique to this race. Finisher t-shirts were separate by gender with the female shirt being more fitted. The kids race provided the same medal as the full race, just a bit smaller and the kids had their own special finisher t-shirt which I thought was nice.
* Race Details
I enjoyed this race. I loved that Elites were only elligible for prizes based on 100% obstacle completion. The course consisted of a lot of trail running, most of which was wide enough to safely pass. The course was well marked and was relatively flat which always makes me happy. There were a lot of typical obstacles, rope climb, basic walls and over under through, basic mud pits, and slanted walls. I liked that the wreck bag carry had only one weight, a challenging 50 lb bag. The Jerry can carry was a little different than others I have seen and although it was easy to hold, the water sloshing around inside added a little challenge to stabilize it. There were also some unique twists on some obstacles. The inverted wall with the metal poles was one that was challenging and doable. As someone who is afraid of heights, this was intimidating but doable. The platinum rig had a men side which look to consist of a lot of part requiring upper body strength and the women’s side tha
t had less upper body strength required. The A-frame was fairly typical except it seemed much higher than most and the distance between rungs added a level of difficulty. The slide was a bit scary but tons of fun once I had the courage to let go. There were a bunch of obstacles at the end which gave spectators a chance to see some of the race. I also thought that having these right at the end so close together added a bit of difficulty since we were tired and already starting to feel the affects of the race. I loved the last obstacle, a type of traverse wall utilizing ropes and a little lip to get across. It was challenging at the end of the race but was extremely satisfying to smack that bell at then end.
Two things that I was not overly impressed with on the course. I did not like the way the rope climb was set up. The ropes were strung across on a single chain and were really close together. As I was attempting this, the guy next to me essentially swung into me knocking me into the person next to me. Luckily, I never make it to far so when I lost my grip I was only a few feet off the ground but if that had happened further up it could have spelled disaster. I also did not like the log jump obstacle and after watching a few people attempt it and fall hard I opted to walk past and do my body builders. The placement of this obstacle after a mud pit was not a good idea. The logs were slippery which made this obstacle unsafe. I watched person after person slip and fall hard, landing flat on their backs. One girl was being taken away on a stretcher to an ambulance because of this obstacle. While I understand the importance of having different obstacles, this obstacle posed and u
nnecessary risk and could benefit from a safety feature (at least a mat or something underneath or maybe a couple options for difficulty with a shorter reach for people who are hesitant or short.
I also had the pleasure of running the Tadpole dash with my son. The kids race was well run and had Ryan Atkins leading the kids through the course. The obstacles on the Tadpole course were appropriate for my 4 year old. He had a blast. There were volunteers to help the kids coming off of walls so that the parents could be on one side without the fear of the kids crashing down on the other. There was no mud on the kids course.
Overall I really enjoyed this race. It was challenging for me and really forced me to face my fear of heights which is always satisfying. I will definitely be looking for this race next year and will not hesitate to sign up if Battlefrog survives its current restructuring.
* From: Nicole Landry
* Event Details
The signs on the way to the event parking were a little confusing, I thought. It seemed like we went around in a square a couple of times and could have gotten to the parking field by a more direct route. Of course, it was partially residential, so maybe they were trying to keep traffic to a minimum on some streets.
Once at the parking site, it was pretty straight-forward. They herded you in and got you parked pretty smoothly. For those of us who received a parking pass for Biggest Team Perk, the volunteer barely glanced at it, and wasn’t confirming names against a list as I thought we were previously told they were going to do.
The shuttle service seemed a little lacking. I know they said there was going to be a shuttle leaving every 15 minutes, but the line for the shuttle busses was seriously long when we arrived (9:45am). It seems that if you were going to make the team heat (or any other planned heat), you would have had to arrive at least 2 hours prior to your heat.
Once you arrived at registration, there was no signage or a volunteer to tell you to just get in whatever line you wanted. Once we figured that out, the process went smoothly. We grabbed our packets, put all our wristbands on, attached our bibs and we were off to the team tent.
At the team tent, we were greeted by Dennis and his wife Louise, who gave us our free beer tickets, buffs, and free bag check ticket. They were doing an awesome job, and I really appreciate Dennis’ advice to use the bag check and not leave our bags at the tent. Some other races were experiencing left bags being gone through, and items coming up missing.
The bag check only had one volunteer working when we got over there. This was a fail, in my opinion. There were people lined up around the whole corral, trying to drop their gear and get to the start line. Again, if you managed your time and got there a couple hours prior to your wave, it may not have made a difference.
The festival area was awesome. Everything had signage and was really easy to find.
* Race Details
The race itself was difficult. I had a blast, but hated it at the same time. I actually found the penalty for missed obstacles easier than a lot of the obstacles. 8-count Body Builders. I ended up doing 5 sets. I’ll take them over burpees any day 🙂
The start line was the first obstacle. Up and over the the fence/wall to get into the chute. I don’t remember the two gentlemen’s names that sent us off – one was the course designer, and the other was the guy who demonstrated the 8-count body builder. Inspirational speech was given, as happens at most races. This one touched close, as most military-inspired speeches do. I was ready to run this course.
Running was the last thing I did. The trails were rough, with rocks, roots, and foot imprints left over from the Spartan Super. It was a special kind of painful, and I wasn’t willing to risk rolling an ankle. I took most of the course at a walk, with some light jogging when I felt a burst of energy and thought it was safe footing-wise to do so.
The obstacles were tough, and the 5 I had to do penalties on were all upper body strength obstacles – the rope climb, the inverted wall, the inverted bar thing (which I got to the second to the top rung, and then couldn’t figure out how to get my leg up and over), the platinum rig, and the last obstacle – neither of which I even attempted.
This course almost broke me, with my frustration at not being able to complete obstacles, and my fear of heights – which actually didn’t cripple me. It was hot, it was long, and I cursed a lot, wanted to quit a lot, and was extremely thankful for my BB who kept me going. The volunteers were awesome, there were people on the course that I didn’t know, who helped me do a few of the obstacles.
The rinse station was good, compared to some other races I’ve done this year. There were enough hoses, there was enough water pressure. The changing tents were labeled; however, the banner with the male/female picture was actually under the flap of the tent itself. Once inside the changing tents, they didn’t actually close all the way. So, depending on where you were standing, you may have been flashing the community outside the tent. Personally, I didn’t care, but there were some women complaining inside the tent.
The festival area afterwards was fantastic. This was the first race this year that I stayed for the party, and I was glad to do so. The DJ was awesome, the food was meh (I got meat on a stick…it wasn’t good – but I heard the pizza was really good). The beer wasn’t bad, for someone who doesn’t normally drink beer.
Overall, I thought this was a great event. I don’t think this is a beginner event. And once they work out a few tweaks with the parking and the volunteer stations, I think it could be a top-rated event. I will definitely be doing it again if it comes back around next year.
* From: Brian Sullivan
* Event Details
The hype up to this event over the past year has been a rollercoaster to say the least. When I had first heard about BattleFrog, I was excited beyond all belief. A race that boasted difficult and plentiful obstacles over the course of a 5k or 15k race was a thing of dreams. I won’t get into all the hooplah that paved the way for BattleFrog New England 2015, but I went into this race not knowing what to expect at all.
When I got to the parking facility, I thought I had given myself plenty of time to get on a bus, get to the venue and proceed to go through the normal pre-race ritual we know all too well (registration, changing, biggest team tent, final pre-race check, team wave). However the busses were atrocious. A bus would come and leave every 15 minutes and I spent an hour just getting on site. I lucked out and my bus accidentally took us to the registration tent, however the driver clearly had little communication from the BattleFrog team on where to drop people off and that is a little ridiculous in my book.
When I got on site, my normal leisurely stroll through the festival area turned into a hectic sprint. registration was a breeze, as was getting my bag to bag check. The attendant noticed my team shirt and didn’t charge me for the check, since I didn’t have time to check in at the team tent, which was nice and a good moment for me to realize maybe this isn’t as discombobulated as I thought it was. I was barely able to get ready and made my way to the corral just in time for one of the announcers to say “Any final New England Spahtens just get in here!” and I happily climbed the wall and made it in at the last minute.
I was happy to walk around the festival area at my preferred pace and take in the surroundings. The changing tents were pretty standard. None of the hand washing stations worked when I tried using them (Around 2ish), plenty of potty’s, and a standard hose area.
I loved the cider’s that were available from the beer vendor, and I loved that they gave it to you in a can. I grabbed mine, dropped my stuff off at the team tent, and then quickly changed and made myself comfortable before coming back and drinking it.
Bag check wasn’t bad for me, but that’s because I found mine very quickly. However, I saw the look of frustration on many people while volunteers ran around looking for their bag, only to be distracted by someone else yelling that they found theirs. A better system is definitely called for, and most other races don’t have this difficulty, so I don’t think it’s an outrageous detail to harp on.
The merch booth was a little clustered for my taste, and browsing most of the wares meant maneuvering around multiple people. I liked the “store” layout better than Spartan’s merch booth set-up, if only because it allowed for better browsing, but another tent or two to space it out a little bit would have been nice. I got my car magnet, and headed off to enjoy the rest of my day. My friend and I were stopped by a BattleFrog employee and asked our opinions of the race, which we happily dished out, and it was a nice gesture and a good sign.
* Race Details
And now for the whole reason I was here!
I was excited to see what the course would be like, especially after running the Spartan Super a month ago. At this point, I was actually happy it would be an 8k with the option of multiple laps (perks of being signed up for the 15k race before they changed it). Sure, I was disappointed that it wasn’t going as long as it first said it was going to be, but maybe that would play to it’s advantage.
The obstacles were fantastic. The rope climb, though close together, wasn’t very high, which I was very okay with. It allowed for people to get up and move on quickly, and I didn’t wait for longer than a minute. I’ve climbed higher ropes at different races with no safety mat underneath as well, and the thought didn’t cross my mind until my second lap when, after I rung the bell, I climbed down, slipped on the rope a bit, and dropped a few feet. No injury, no shock, and I was able to continue on without an issue.
The Jerry Cans may be my least favorite challenge. My first lap I completed no problem, but it was one of two obstacles I was dreading when I started my second lap. Good on you, BattleFrog.
Normandy Jacks were easily one of my favorites because the wires weren’t barbed. I have one scar from barbed wire obstacles, and while I’m not against unintentionally adding more, my camelbak doesn’t heal nearly as well as my body does. Not having to take it off, tie it around my foot, or drop it at the beginning of the obstacle and running back for it was very nice.
The gut check, dirty name, ab check, etc. was an obstacle I enjoyed, but maybe make it a little closer. I have no issue against throwing my body into something and dealing with the pain, but your average racer probably has different opinions. I saw multiple people who looked to be in great shape hesitate at this obstacle and wait to see how someone else did it before trying it themselves.
The rope wall was simple and fun. Climb up, climb down. Perfect.
The walls were standard. Nothing special about them, nothing bad.
The multiple inverted walls were great. By my (sometimes faulty) memory, there were three. The first was almost like a giant inverted monkey bars wall. A lot of fun to get over. The second was a standard 6 foot inverted wall. The final was a slanted wall that you have to run up and jump to the top, or have a friend help you. Maybe not an inverted wall, but I don’t know what else to classify it as.
The mud pits were mud pits and the tire flips were tire flips. Nothing special to note. But nothing bad either.
Tsunami.. I was very disappointed when I found out this was a “water” slide and not a half pipe with a rope. My biggest, and one of my only, gripes against the actual course. It was a nice little rest period before the final sprint to the finish, but all in all I would get rid of it. Or change it back.
My favorite obstacle, and possibly one of the most dreaded, is the Platinum Rig. It’s a huge structure with a men’s and women’s side. I didn’t pay attention to the women’s (sorry ladies) but the Men’s was fantastic. You climbed a pole, had to get across two grip handles, climb across an inverted hanging swaying pole, onto a rope, make it through one grip handle, and then finish on 3 rings. A very tough obstacle that took all of my energy both times to complete.
You finished on The Tip of the Spear, which is a connected rope/grip/rope wall. You climb across an inverted wall using 6 ropes, before walking across a very gracious balance beam. Next is a good length of holding onto a wooden grip and traversing an identical inverted wall, before finishing on a set of 6 ropes, mirroring the start of the obstacle. There was a little bit of delay on this obstacle, but that was mostly it’s length. They had 6 lanes to work on, and overall I enjoyed the obstacle.
The water stations were also on point. Three for a 5 mile race was perfect and they were very well organized. They have 2 kinds of water, normal and electrolyte, and the staff was very good in yelling out which one was which, which made for a quick break and no confusion or traffic jams. Very well done.
My final thoughts? I would definitely do a BattleFrog again and I really hope that they are able to survive. I would happily sign up for an extreme race or even an 8k if I have somewhere to be that day, especially knowing what to expect from Barre. They have a few knocks against them, but nothing I think they can’t overcome. The obstacles could be better in some cases, and I would love to see some BattleFrog boasted obstacles (HOOYAH!, Half-pipe to rope wall, Paintball gallery) make it into next year’s race.
But overall, once I got past all the bad (which just happened to be, mostly, in the beginning), I had a great time running a solid course, made my way through some tough obstacles, and I was proud to be wearing a finisher medal at the end. Which, for me, are some of the 3 things that matter most to me whenever I run any OCR.
* From: ROBERT LANDMAN
* Event Details
im sure enough other reviewers will cover this, so no comment(s)
* Race Details
The 2 things I will primarily comment on are the Vibe, and MOC, Cheryl and I volunteered, so we ran 8:45 together, running into lotsa supportive NES’ers along the way, with Isaac taking a bazillion pics as i saw.. Mandatory obstacle completion, personally i really like it. More than half the elite racers had their bands cut,including Norm, most , likely at the rig. I like the fact , elite or open, that a racer gets multiple attempts at completion of an obstacle, While I didnt look at the course map, the gut check ( as its called at Shale Hill) hopping from one log to another and get body over, and the rig were the only obstacles where i took multiple shots at rig, had to do bodybuilders at the rig. BF used the farm no better no worse than SR did last month. Both carries, jerry can and wreck bag were longer in distance. There were variations on other obstacles as seen in other races, which made it fun that i had to strategize how to complete it. The Vibe, th
e vibe made me want to race. Coach Payne, fired me up , in the way that Dustin and TC have in the past at SR, which imo has made their festival area more carnival like over the last yr…..One comment on body builders, im not a dancer , so an 8 count coordinated motion does not look pretty after about the second one ……As volunteers, we were at the rope wall 10 foot wall with rope to ascend and descend, and had the opportunity to see many NES’ers along the way and we got to help many people get up and over the wall, help some manage their fears( i wont say anyone overcame them due to us helping) , but on the other hand, as a volunteer, I got to go up and down the wall probably another 2 dozen times . I liked the challenge of the course,. in the event BF is still around a yr from now( we all know they reorganized some) , I would be willing to try the multiple lap option
From: Steven Rodericks
So ever since last year, In NJ, at one of the first Battle frog races, I heard, read, and saw awesome things about this race company. Hard as hell, with really cool, and unseen before obstacles. And they kept that reputation going strong from last year, now I know nobody wants to say they have an easy race. Especially when you have the image of the navy seals you are portraying. But when you have awesome obstacles, that people struggled with, and athletes on facebook telling you how great and hard everything was. I really expected more from them, a LOT MORE, but that is because they flooded the market with their name, and the image of a harder race. So I am okay at these races, faster than some, slower than others. But This race really did not live up to the hype in my opinion, There were a bunch of excuses that I heard third hand, so I can not repeat them. The RD is pretty cool, and after talking to him, I am even more bummed that I can not make his other races, because he seems to know how to have fun at a race. But there were some things I just can not look past. For instance, the rope climb, really early in the race, between 2 trees, only one set, and at most it felt like a foot apart from each other, Now when you have so many ropes close to each other and have so many racers, you wind up hitting each other, several times each rope. They really should have spaced them out and put another set up between another set of trees, or put them somewhere that they could build a standing structure. The issues I had with the obstacles continue, For example the wreck bag carry was 50lbs only, nothing lighter for the girls, and I saw several women out there that clearly barley weighted 100! and what about the kids that are running the adult course! The last obstacle, the tip, which consisted of A frame walls, connected with 2×6’s to walk across, and you had to traverse by hanging ropes, then finger grip at the top of the walls. So I like the obstacle, and it was an example that they can give you a challenge, but they need to work on it. So I weigh about 180, Tall, and when I was the only person on the wall, the middle support 4×4 on the ground lifted up, I knew I was fine, but the amount it moved for a little person like me, it would have been scarier for people that weighed over 200, and I heard that it was scary for people bigger than me, proving that they need to work on proper building, the quality NEEDS to be better. The penalty they give out for failing an obstacle are 10, 8 count body builders (see video below) which I like, I had to stop myself from jumping, but I like that they do not tax you as much as say 30 burpees.
They also did not have a whole mess of obstacles that they had at previous ones, warped wall, traverse ropes, monkey bars, traverse walls. They did however have tire flips that I like, but seldom see at races. They have 3 sets of incline or decline walls, fun, and different from just solid walls, I like the idea to do something different, They had a decline “wall” that was climbing up several metal poles across, which was different and fun. Barbless barbwire crawl, which is great because it was less than a foot off the ground, except for the ditches they dig, but it was nice to not have sharp steel to avoid.
Fun course (even if it was not as challenging as advertised
Huge swag for biggest teams (buff, extra beer, free parking for1/4 of us, bracelet, and shirt and sleeves to be mailed at a later date)
BFX bracelet got you to the front of the line at all obstacles, the volunteers knew this and told you to go to the front and nobody said anything about it, nice touch
barb wire crawl had NO BARBS, pretty low, but nothing sharp! It is nice to not get scraped in the race
No full submerge in mud, I truly feel like it is not needed in an ocr, and is a nice change of pace
The course was seriously well marked, it was obvious where the trail went ,they had plenty of arrows, and way more of those tiny flags, seriously, you really would have had to tried to get lost
Portapotties, wile clean, and nice, were placed uneven, and in almost the same location as Spartan race put them in the super the month before at the same venue. to the point that i almost fell off often wile sitting down
BFX was not explained well at all: nobody knew where we were putting our drop boxes, no one looked over them, the fact that we were able to skip obstacles was explained at the last min, The wrist bands were not given out until the meeting before the race
signing up for BFX means signing up for elite, then making several phone calls, and paying more fees, so it was an absolute pain in the but to reg for it. there were issues with people being reg’ed for it, ect
very different from last years races, they are dulled way down, and there was a bunch of contradicting reasons from staff of all levels (much easier, except that the rig was “the longest in the world” dulled down slide, and generally easier obstacles, with various different reasons as to why. The company Is changing direction, but not advertising it, so they are still saying they are a hard race, when in reality they are a starter race, with a few of the harder obstacles
The “tsunami” Obstacle from last year was much cooler, and harder, It was a warped wall to a warped slide down, Which looked really cool, and just an example of the shift in the company
the rope climb had too many ropes too close to each other, to the point that everybody kicked, kneed, or somehow hit the people on either side, and got hit as well with nothing a racer could do about it
barely any shower space at all, luckily there were not that many people there that day, but for the BFX people they had run out of water, major bummer
Start line Announcer left a WHOLE lot to be desired! Elite started early no countdown, no anything, just odd, and very unhyped, and left a whole bunch to be desired. However, Coach pain Dewayne, announced for BFX, He did great, but he seemed to switch rolls shortly afterwards, He should have been the one to announce all day, the other guys was bad, and I heard they had several start line announcers at the start through the day.
Bag check was not marked, and so few people that I was waiting for like 10 min with nobody next to me right in front of my bag, missed several times by the volunteer and the employee working bag check. They zip tied the bags together, and onto a metal fence wall inside of the tent, which was odd, but it worked, to cluster the bags by bibs, and no bib numbers on the outside of the tent
The womens changing tent was next to drop box area for BFX, and they did not fully close off the tent, I hope nobody else noticed!
16k course, 15k medals, they still have the old medals for the new course, not a huge grip, but still, kind of disapointing considering the fact that they are trying to be a big name in OCR, trying to be with the big boys (Spartan, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash). They have a differnt medal for just the 8k, and a pretty badass one for BFX
No mile markers anywhere
The buses were really far apart, I heard several friends complain about the long wait, I do not know if that is just the venue, or what, but it seemed longer than most races I have done
Now I am being kind of hard on them, but they kind of asked for it. They have been hitting social media really hard ever since their inception, to the point of high annoyance, way beyond just getting their name out there. And they pushed for the whole really hard race, and did not live up to expectations. On race day it was explained that they are changing the direction of the company, and I had heard about a whole mess of layoffs, that being said, they never pushed their re branding anywhere. So going into it, I, Like may other people expected a lot, and felt as if they over promised, and under delivered, by a lot. To be fair, BFX was fun, even if getting registered was a pain, and disorganized (much like a bunch of festival, and pre race morning) and I am sore in the shoulders and upper back from running 3 laps, but they still left me wanting more from them. When they changed the race from 15k and 5k races on the same day and went with 8k or 16k, It really changed the dynamic of the race, and being told to run twice if you kept your original 15k, at least there was a route around the festival area so you did not have to deal with the start line. You did have to deal with people being on your course, because it was minimally marked, and 2 of the three times I had to go into deep grass, and not know where my footing was, because people were waiting for friends to leave the showers, and nobody explained to them, and I was too busy focusing on getting around them to say something, but they were most likely spectators that had no idea what was going on.
So They also just opened up reg for next year, and sent an email to participants with a 50% off code, wile offering 40% off from before memorial day to just before this race. This is just another thing that makes me weary about this company. Super hero scramble did the same thing at amesbury last year, wile the race was great, it was their last one, I do not think Battle frog is as bad, but they do not inspire confidence, I may do another race again, but I will have to volunteer, as I am concerned about paying in advance for one of these races. If they are around next year, and have a better venue, I may do it again, but I am on the fence.
* From: Nate DeMontigny
* Event Details
PARKING: Super simple. If you missed the signs than you weren’t looking. Finding my truck afterward was really easy too, it being bright yellow helps. HAHA
FACILITIES: The “midway” was plentiful and had what you would need at an OCR. Kill Cliff is one BF’s major sponsors, so they were there representing. BF had their own swag tent, which was plentiful for those that felt the urge to buy. RockTape was taping people up. WreckBag was there, and we all love Wreckbags! I’m sure I’m missing a few but there were some more as well.
The real facilities, the porta-johns, were clean and kept up with.
One major glaring thing was the enormous team tent they provided. BF made promises to the team for hitting certain marks and they loved up to them all. The treated us so well it felt like coming home, even though for many of us this was the first time.
* Race Details
This was my first time at Carter-Stevens. Honestly, I took a minute to step away from typing this to read a bit more about the farm. It seems to have some legit background, and I will keep my own views on that to my own page. It is a working farm. I saw cows (smelled them too), pigs and chickens. Not sure if there were any other animals there but that’s what I saw.
The land itself was not as “elevated” as most parcels that OCR’s seem to flock too. Carter-Stevens has seen it’s fair share of OCR’s by now, and it’s received a branding of it’s own, and that’s being a relatively flat course. Now, I’m not sure how the other races that had been here were routed, but the RD for this BattleFrog did a great job finding a bunch of technical trails. While it was flat, and you could run quite a bit, there were times you had to slow down quite a bit or you might hit a root, stump or slip on a rock. That was great, love the technical terrain for sure!
That said, the terrain was satisfactory to me. I love mountains, I enjoy elevation, but I don’t need it all the time. Running through technical terrain can be just as challenging at times, I like that quite a bit.
This being my first BF, I had of course heard how hard all of the obstacles were. I knew I wasn’t entering into a Warrior Dash OCR, so I expected more of a challenge. They were more challenging, for sure. As challenging as what I had been reading about? As challenging as some of the GoPro videos I’ve seen from previous events. Not so much. Hell after seeing the Pittsburgh Mines race I figured no one could match that, but comparing this race to that is apples and oranges. Don’t get me wrong, some of the obstacles were certainly challenging. I failed the Platinum Rig straight away. This was the only thing I failed. The nameless gut check whatever thing, THAT I did not attempt. When I came upon it a woman was lying under it in massive pain, wailing loudly as EMT’s worked on her. It was plain to see that she had sustained a major injury to her back. All the while, folks on the left side of the obstacle were still hopping over, some barely making it, others slipping and falling onto their
backs. All the while the obstacle was rocking back and forth as forks jumped on it. SCREW THAT! I did my 8 count bb’s and I was off. I’ve caught wind of some safety issues in the past and I was not taking any chances on injury.
All in all, this was fun. Was it a MAJOR challenge, no. Was it simple? Not in the least. It was definitely an intermediate level race. It was NOT the race it was billed to be though. I had butterflies in my stomach before this one because of how highly touted it came. That’s on me though.
Do not get me wrong, I am not tearing this race up. I loved it, for what it was. The whole package was legit. They know they have kinks to work out and I hope they do and can come back strong. They have a lot to offer the OCR scene and I’d love to do it again.
* From: Niki Leoanrd
* Event Details
This is a review from the Volunteer POV:
The newly redesigned Battleforg course took place this year at Carter and Stevens Farm in Barre, a mere month to the Saturday from the Spartan Super at the same venue. It had been highly anticipated up to the reorganization of the company and many questioned if the event was even still going to happen in the weeks leading up to. Thankfully, they pulled through and we were all here on a mild, but very sunny Saturday wondering what we were going to see. Unfortunately, an few months old injury was finally resolved at the end of June putting me in a boot for the entire month of July, causing me to move my run/volunteer plans to just volunteer.
Before the race:
The minute you expressed interest in volunteering, you got swept into what seemed like an amazingly well organized system. You would receive e-mails, phone call, and could even opt for text messages. You got to pick from available assignments, and they were on top of reminding you and encouraging you to bring your friends as well. I originally chose course (pre-boot decision), and when the option came up 2 weeks ago for beer tent volunteers, who would not be able to run as it would be a 9-5 shift, I excitedly hopped on board and things seemed set in stone. All volunteers were promised a free race, a t-shirt, lunch, 15% off merchandise, and free parking. You had the choice to volunteer 5am-12pm, then run at 1pm, or volunteer 10am-5pm and run at 7:45am. I have to say, I was impressed with everything prior to arriving.
The volunteers were asked to park at the off-site parking and take the shuttle. I arrived at the parking lot at 7:50 and had a little bit of a wait to show the volunteer collecting the parking money my pass. It was slow moving, which is surprising for the time. Turns out there was only 1 lane and 1 volunteer collecting money. I know this is NOT a Spartan race, but having used the same place to park and the same venue as Spartan did barely 30 days ago, it is hard not to compare. Spartan had 10 volunteers collecting the parking fee and moving people along, whereas Battlefrog only 1. I foresaw that it was going to be a problem later (and it was), but thankfully I was parked within 10 minutes of arriving. Grabbed my racelocal bag full of extra tees, water, and snacks, and headed to the buses.
As I came upon the the pick-up area, I immediately noticed 2 things: 3 porta-potties and a short line waiting for a bus. Both of these were a red flag for me. Spartan had at least 10 porta-potties and 2 buses minimum waiting to load at all times. Why was the downsize here such a problem? Most people travel at least an hour to get to this venue, and have been eating and drinking since they woke up to prepare for the day, which means most people will need to use the bathroom right away. If even 1000 people arrived that morning, and at least half have to go immediately, that is 500 people! I know there were a lot more people there and those things got full and nasty fast. And only 1 bus ready at any time for a 10 minute drive? Thankfully, I got on a bus relatively quick, but as the bulk of the racers started to arrive within a half hour of me, they were quickly overloaded, and couldn’t keep up. People waiting an hour just to get to the venue, missing their heats. I’m not even to the venue yet and things were not looking good.
Once I arrived at the venue, things started to look better. Getting to the volunteer tent, at the bottom of the hill from the festival, was a breeze. It was right next to a large multiple lane check-in/registration area that had no lines at all. Impressive. I was almost a full hour early for my shift, but seeing as I could not get in to festival to say “hi” to my fellow Spahtens, as I had intended when arriving so earliy, without checking in as a volunteer first, I do that first. I give my name and ask if I’m running first, to which I pointed at the boot. The “beard guy” was IMMEDIATELY grateful that I still decided to come and volunteer for the day when I couldn’t run. I tell him I’m signed up to be in the beer tent and that I’m early, but I still plan to do the whole shift until 5pm. He sets me up grabbing my lunch, consisting of a cold sandwich, chips, mini larabars, and the cliff recovery drink. I was concerned about picking up my cold sandwich at 8am, but thankfully, I packed a
hard container that I keep my snacks in, and the sandwich fit in there to be safe. I’m told who to go find and where to find him and he’ll set me up for the day. So off I go!
Unfortunately, as soon as I find my guy, Shelby, I’m immediately set to onto course. Wait, what?! No. I’m in the volunteer tent. Turns out, they’re really lacking on volunteers. Since I was early (even though I had no intention of starting early), I was moved to course, much to my disappointment. I hadn’t planned for this (no hat, extra sunscreen, nada), and was truly looking forward to being in the beer tent. However, being the person I am, I agree to head out onto course with the promise of being put where I wanted at the 12pm volunteer switch.
After being loaded in a truck and gotten a walkie-talkie, I was driven to and dropped off at an obstacle called mounds of grounds. I was informed by my friendly driver, Jiro, that 500lbs of ground coffee went into the making of this obstacle, which turned out to be a series of mounds and mud pits. My nose immediately confirmed that it smelled wonderful, but I wondered why they needed a volunteer here. My job was to make sure no one went around and to call in any injuries. There I was left to my own devices with literally nothing to do but cheer people on. Within the half hour, all of a sudden another volunteer gets dropped off with the, not to relieve me, but assist me. I was so confused to why a second volunteer at an obstacle that barely needs one at, had arrived. At least I had company.
Thankfully, the simplicity of this obstacle allowed me to be free to give all the hugs I could to many of the racers I knew. Almost from the moment I got there (I saw Rob Butler go across, but I almost missed him! Man on a mission… but he took first in Elite Masters!), I steadily saw Spahtens, those I knew and many I didn’t, pass along, to which I offered many hugs and words of encouragement. I had gotten asked many times when I was heading to the beer tent, and told them after noon, just as I was told.
Starting around 11:45 the walkie talkies started to get very noisy as anxious volunteers who have been on site since 5am, were waiting to be relieved to run their 1pm race. My own partner included. At 12:30 I finally buzzed in as well, hoping we haven’t been forgotten, and thus informed that the volunteer race has been pushed back, and they’re on their way. We were relieved by 2 volunteers (again, why 2?!), and we headed back, switching out volunteers along the way (making a very slow trek back). Jiro asked me if I was done for the day, and I said, “No, I’m heading to the beer tent, I believe” and the crap hit the fan … again. No, festival doesn’t need any help, the course is so short handed, almost no one showed for the afternoon shift, and on the list went. He asked if he could immediately drop me back on course to relieve a volunteer to run, to which I HAD to ask if I could at least use the bathroom first … I wasn’t planning to be on course at all and didn’t pack emergency toi
let paper. He consented, and I was anxiously allowed to go to the volunteer porta-potty, and had strict instructions to hurry back. The air of desperateness was very heavy and cloying.
Eventually I’m picked back up and dropped off at water stop 3/the inverted wall obstacle, given a walkie-talkie, and find myself alone. At a large and difficult obstacle and with a water stop to manage as well. It was a MESS. No one was there (the volunteers must have all been running and headed in earlier than I arrived), so there was a lot to do by myself. There had been at least 3 people assigned to this area for the morning, and the water stops had pre-filled the cups to hand out. This was not happening any more. I clean up the station, switch out the empty water bottles, make more electrolyte drink, set up the station to be self serve, then give my attention to helping people over the inverted wall. It was stressful, and I couldn’t fathom why I was alone at this station, but had a partner at the last one.
I truly enjoyed my afternoon. I didn’t see as many Spahtens this late in the day, but the ones I did see I encouraged along and chatted with. Got more hugs! And I coached or helped anyone who wanted it over the inverted wall. I kept busy and it was way better than my morning shift. I had many visitors and was very popular among the staff, who were very attentive! At least until it was time to round out the troops, then I was forgotten for a long time. Eventually I headed in myself, not being far from festival, as another group of Spahten volunteers made their way up as well. We were stopped mere feet from festival and were insisted on being driven the rest of the way (it was a silly distance). It took for ever to get from there to the volunteer tent, and an air of urgency hung heavy, as the entire truck of volunteers were parked at the offsite parking and the last bus was to stop at 5:30 (it was about 5:15 when we finally arrived to check-out).
Check-out was a breeze, but it was very disappointing. All I got was a t-shirt. I was told in the morning I was getting 2 race vouchers. But I never got any discount or free stuff from the merchandise tent, was not compensated at all beyond the t-shirt, lunch, and the promise of 2 race vouchers (that I have not seen wind of as of 10am the following Monday morning). Our group was asked if we wanted to fulfill any beer tickets before we left, but I didn’t have any, as I didn’t run, and those who did, could not honestly do so, as we needed to get to the bus, and the beer could not be taken out of festival.
Overall, the staff was extremely friendly and courteous. I cannot fault a single person there. I did more or less enjoy myself, but it was a tough experience. If the numbers were true and only 50% of the volunteers showed, I understand they are put in a hard place, but there were a number of poor choices with using the ones they did have (3 people per water stop, 2 people on obstacles that not too hazardous, etc). It was a frustrating day. Do I regret it? No. But it was frustrating to see my friends get thrice as much goods as I did for running on the team, most of them really cheap, and my 9 hour shift got me almost nothing. Would I do this again? Perhaps. I wouldn’t race and run in the same day again, I’ve done that before and seeing this race, it is too stressful, but if I was injured again, I’d probably volunteer again, but show up at my given time, not early, and insist to be where I asked to. Like they kept saying, “We couldn’t have done this without you volunteers”, I hope they look into the future with plans of treating those who DO show up and give their time with a little more thought. Especially those who aren’t volunteering just to run!
* From: Dan Eldredge
* Event Details
With the hoopla leading up to this race, I was a little worried about how it would go. As for difficulty, it was less distance than the Spartan Super, and I knew the venue to be flat, so I was not too worried.
Parking was similar to the Super, but right away you could tell things were a smaller scale. Whereas the Super they had maybe 10 porta-potties at the parking area, here there was only three (there were plenty at the festival area, however). There was also a line at the buses, but fortunately I didn’t have to wait too long to get on one. At the venue, Registration was extremely fast and easy. Up to the festival area, the layout seemed a little strange, and I had to cut through a merchant tent to get inside (perhaps I didn’t enter the right way, but I just followed the crowd). Bag check was smooth dropping off, but less so picking up–it did not seem very organized despite several volunteers helping out. I ended up having to find my bag myself and then point it out to the volunteer who retrieved it for me.
We lined up to start and prepared for the motivational speech. At other races I’ve been to, the speeches are okay, somewhat motivational, but always far too long, and I’m impatient to get going. This time, however, the speech was short, to the point, got me pumped up, and got us on our way fast. Good job and very much appreciated.
* Race Details
The course itself followed much of the path of the Spartan Super, so I was familiar with the terrain. As always, I lagged behind as the group surged ahead. To my surprise the first obstacle was a rope climb, and there was already a backup. The climb didn’t seem as high as some others I’ve done (and failed), and the ropes were very close together. I’ve never completed a rope climb before, and I wasn’t looking forward to failing the first obstacle, but I managed to do this one, which was definitely a mental boost early in the race.
Next was a Tire Flip, then a Mud Trudge (at the Super it was just a muddy pool that was part of the trail, here it was a little muddier and deeper, and called an obstacle). Next was an 8’ wall. At the Super they had an 8’ wall that I needed a boost over, here they had a horizontal board for a foothold maybe 3’ up that was sufficient to get me over the wall unassisted. Next was 60 degrees, an inverted ladder. I usually manage inverted walls just fine, but this one was a challenge to get over the top bar. Next was the Jerry Can carry. Men got a 20 liter plastic Jerry Can mostly filled with water (so about 40 lbs? It felt like a lot more). We carried that 0.4 miles, and then it was on to the Natural Ledge, which was essentially climbing up a fallen tree to get to the top of a ledge. Some might consider it cheating to call that an obstacle, but it’s really just taking advantage of the terrain of the venue. Next was Mounds of Grounds, which was a standard multiple mud pit
Next was an obstacle that isn’t on the map, but (I think) has been called “Gut Check” elsewhere. It is set up similar to gymnastic uneven bars. You climb up to stand on a log (the lower “bar”), then have to leap onto a higher log, get over it, and then you’re done. There was medical staff standing by at this one, and I could see why–it would have been easy to fall off the higher bar if you misjudged your jump. I saw several people jump up to it and not quite make it, clinging to the upper log and struggling to get over. Some succeeded, others didn’t. I saw one guy jump up, grab the log in a bear hug grip and swing right over it, which seemed crazy to me when I saw it. I decided not to overthink any particular technique and just go for it, so when it was my turn, I leaped, hugged the upper log like the other guy did, and my momentum swung me right over it like it was the most natural thing in the world.
Next was Normandy Jacks, which was a wire crawl (thankfully no barbs) that had some small pits dug into it as well, which made it more interesting than the standard wire crawl. Here is where I learned that compression sleeves do make a difference in protecting your arms during crawls! Next was a 12’ Rope wall. I attempted this one assuming I would fail, and I almost gave up, but I tried again, managed to get my foot on a foothold, and completed it. Next was the Wreck Bag carry for 0.34 miles. Since I could carry the bag across my shoulders and I could control it easily by the widely spaced handles, this was a breeze and I barely noticed the weight. Next was a Slant (Inverted) Wall, and then the Platinum Rig. By this point I was pretty tired, and by the amount of people doing 8-count body builders around it, there were a lot of failures. The women’s side had various footholds for parts of it, and I thought it looked plenty hard…but then I saw the men’s side and actually lau
ghed. A lot of guys just looked at the rig, shook their heads, and did the penalty. For principle’s sake I climbed on the first part, a vertical metal pipe that was slick with mud & sweat, promptly slipped right off, and did the penalty. I had forgotten how many body-builders to do, so I asked someone, who said “Eight? Ten?” and shrugged. There wasn’t anyone policing the body builders, which I thought was good. It’s my own race and I’ll penalize myself by what I think I deserve, and I don’t need anyone to yell at me while I’m doing it. I did ten body-builders and moved on. Next was the Delta Ladder, which was very tall with widely spaced planks. I just took it slow and steady and got through it fine. Next was a 6’ wall and then Tsunami. I had never done an obstacle like this before, and it looked like fun. First you went up a cargo net, and then dropped off the top onto a quarter pipe made slick with water from a hose. A lot of people were hesitating at the
top, but I just went over and did it, slid down to the bottom and that was that. Reading other reviews apparently Tsunami was a disappointment to others. I thought it was ok, but if there are better versions, then I’m all for them. I approve of the cargo net at the beginning however, as there was already a backup due to people hesitating at the top–a rope climb to get up or anything else that could slow it down would only make it worse. But a slicker slide or into a pool of water would be a welcome addition, but I imagine there were limitations due to the venue.
Next was an inverted wall, but this one was leaning away rather than towards you. I ran up, managed to get a finger hold at the top, and pulled myself over. Then a 12’ Ladder wall, up and down, and then the final obstacle. Tip of the Spear was the final obstacle, with a horizontal traverse across three slanted walls in succession, the first with ropes, the second with wooden rail for finger grips, and the last with more ropes. I managed the first ropes, got halfway through the second part when my grip failed me and I could not complete it. Angry with myself, I did 10 body-builders, and then completed the final rope section, then crossed the finish line.
Interesting side note on finishing: I’ve done 5 OCRs now, Spartan Sprint, Bone Frog, Tough Mudder, Spartan Super, and now Battlefrog. At Bone Frog, a veteran put the medal over my head and gave me a firm handshake. At Tough Mudder there was a crowd of people there waiting, all supportive and eager to award me my headband. At Battlefrog a volunteer put the medal over my head. But at the two Spartan races? Both times, the volunteers waiting at the finish line handed me my medal as if it was an afterthought. It’s not that I feel cheated for not getting a pat on the back at the Spartan races, but the reception you get at the end puts a cap on the tone of the race.
To sum up, Battlefrog was a fun race. Not as physically punishing as some of the longer (and hillier) races I’ve done, but some of the obstacles were unique and challenging, which is always a plus and makes a race stand out. It was good to have obstacles that were challenging but not impossible for someone of my fitness level. Assuming Battlefrog is still around next year I’ll definitely be back.
* From: Kristin Parker
* Event Details
Having come off the Spartan Super at the same location just a month before, and seeing how amazingly perfect their parking and shuttle situation worked, arriving at Battlefrog was the polar opposite experience. There was a huge queue for the shuttle bus and I only ever 2 saw 2 shuttles in the same place at the same time all day. There was an even longer line to get a shuttle bus back to parking after the race. The event staff were at least handing out water to racers who were waiting long in the hot sun.
The event site was great. Lots of good vendors, things were easy to find, there was a nice big tent to sit under and cool off after the race. My only complaint was that bag check could have been a little faster. The race shirts were a little flimsy, but the medals are great.
* Race Details
I really enjoyed the course. I was able to run most of it and blow through the obstacles. I finally had a chance to flip a heavy tire (12 times!), the Platinum Rig was fun, and I loved the giant zero gravity slide. There weren’t a lot of bottlenecks on the course and I ran at 10:30 AM and did 2 laps of the 8K in the open heat. Having seen some photos and videos of past events, I was expecting some bigger scarier obstacles (tsunami, and long rope traverse, and some big uphill monkey bars), but none of those things were on site. I was a little disappointed that nothing scared me.
Here’s where things fall apart for me. I originally registered for the 15K when the race opened with 5K and 15K options. Months later, Battlefrog sent out an email to all registered participants saying they were eliminating the 5K and 15K and just having an 8K. Here were the options:
“Racers signed up for the 15K course receive the following three options: 1) Keep your registration as it is and run the 8K course twice, starting with the same heat time already assigned. 2) Run the 8K once and get 30% off merchandise on site 3) Run the 8K once and get a 30% discount refunded to you”
I opted for option #1 so I would have the same distance plus 1K. When I sign up for any race that includes a timing chip, I assume that I will be ranked with others who ran the same distance as me so I can see how I competed overall, in age, and in gender. Nowhere in this email did they say, “If you run two laps, you will be ranked with others who only ran the 8K.”
I ran a REALLY strong race. I felt great the whole time and I pushed myself. I was really curious to see how I ranked against others doing 2 laps. I’ll never know because 8K and 16K results were lumped together so I was 1129th of 1222 overall, 432th of 481 in females, and 22th of 27 in my age group.
I sent the following to Battlefrog on their FB page (since they don’t seem to ever answer emails or support tickets from their website):
“Please post the 16K open results for Battlefrog New England separate from the 8K open results. We all want to know how we ranked against others who ran 2 laps vs. 1. Right now our results are absolutely meaningless.”
I got the following response:
“Hey Kristin, unfortunately the 16K open wave doesn’t exist within our timing. Those who were allowed to run two laps were extended that courtesy to rectify the change from the 15K/5K so they could have equal mileage if they chose. We apologize for the inconvenience of not being able to measure your 16K time against others but we don’t have that option within our results. We hope you had a great race and look forward to seeing you in the future!”
Unfortunately the offer to run 2 laps wasn’t a “courtesy” you extended to me when you took away accurate results reporting making the race no longer competitive. Had I known that, I would have taken the 30% registration discount and run the 8K so I would see where I ranked. The offer was misrepresented and that’s bad business. And when I initially checked my time on site at the results tent the day of the race and noticed the horrible rankings, I could tell the 8K and 16K results weren’t separated and I asked one of the timing company guys if they would be when final results were posted. He mentioned something about an algorithm to separate the data. He made it sound like it was possible to separate the results. Can’t they tell how many times you crossed each of the timing mats? There were at least 2 of them on the course.
Also, for anyone in the 8K wishing to find their age group rankings, what is up with all of the overlapping age groups in the results? There’s F 35-39, 36-40, 37-41, 38-42, 40-44. When I click 35-39 (I’m 38), I don’t even show up there. LOL.
Before the final results were posted, I used the 50% discount offered to purchase next year’s registration because I had a great time. Now I’m emailing and messaging to try to cancel that now due to my displeasure with the organizers of this event.