* From: Nele Schulze
* Event Details
Parking on site and easy! (Not sure if it was free as I travelled with a vendor).
Excellent facilities. Indoor hall, proper bathrooms, and a cafe for food.
There were some vendors. They were originally more out of the way but then moved to where the crowds congratugated.
Good quality t-shirt! Medal seemed a bit cheap. Free Yankee candle air freshners and a Verizon coupon.
Free après race beer too, and good craft beer.
* Race Details
The course made
Excellent use of the terrain. A challenging 9 miles!
The obstacles were unique and difficult! Refreshing to see well built and well designed obstacles with different penalties for different obstacles.
Lots of volunteers.
Designed by navy seals.
Didn’t distinguish between elite and open, even though there was an elite heat.
* From: Mike Collins
The event took place at the Berkshire East ski resort in Charlemont, MA. Where is Charlemont you say? Keep driving on route 2 until you feel like you should be in NY, then keep going and you will get there.
Parking/registration were incredible. I literally showed up 15 minutes before our wave and was able to park (for free) get my registration info, get my t-shirt, take a team picture and stretch out a bit. This was made easier because all the registration info was neatly placed inside a paper yankee candle bag, including your soft 100% cotton t-shirt as well.
Due to being late, I wasn’t able to check out the vendors until after the race. My two favorites were the monster recovery drinks and the core power, both of which gave me a free bottle/can. There also were massages for $1/minute but I didn’t partake. The Navy had a tent as well as our friends at Reload. There also was a place to buy some more bonefrog gear.
The mountain was open for ziplining still so there was an entire cafeteria of food minutes from the starting line, but I didn’t eat any of it. Bathrooms also were inside the ski lodge and seemed to be more than enough.
The post race beer came from local micro brews and featured two different IPA’s and two other options I didn’t try out.
* Race Details
Bonefrog had the benefit of months of preparation. They’ve been posting obstacles on their facebook page over the past few months and you could really feel the effort they put in. According to an interview done by the RD, many of the obstacles are going to remain up year round, unless they were on the ski slopes.
The course was 8.94 miles per my gps and began with some very difficult uphill climbs over the first 2.5-3 miles. After this, there were still climbs, but for the most part they weren’t as bad. The terrain was tough, but this course wasn’t about terrain, it was about obstacles. Bonefrog had advertised 36+ obstacles and they came very close to it.
I have never seen this many volunteers/safety personnel at an OCR before. There were surgeons in the field, firemen at the fire jump, lifeguards (MANY) at all the water obstacles and then numerous volunteers at each obstacle including some men and women in uniform. As you came to the “slide for life” there was a man dressed in fatigues on a hill cheering people on. When you cross the finish line there were 3-4 retired Navy SEALS to give you your medal and shake your hand. I am happy the announcer informed me who my SEAL was so I could thank him for his service.
In addition to some OCR regulars (walls, barbed wire, up and over logs etc) they also some some amazingly original obstacles, some of which came straight from the Navy SEAL test. My personal favorite was the “water O’Course” which was really 4 obstacles in one. The objective was to cross a stagnant river. To get there you had to walk across a telephone pole balance beam to get to a floating platform. On the platform there was an elevated horizontal cargo next about 6 feet or so off the water. You jumped/pulled up onto the cargo net and rolled/crawled until you dropped into the water. From here you swam to the other bank while a snow machine blasted cold water in your face.
There were so many great obstacles I will just go through an list some of my favorites
-The rope climb had an added challenge where the bell was in the center of the ropes so you had to get to the top and secure yourself to reach over.
-Slip N’ Slide was excellent
-Truss Monkey Bars- Similar to the TM monkey bars (angled)
-Monkey rings- a different adaptation of the standard rings.
Spider Walls- Think “The Beast” from superhero scramble, only you beast up the wall, beast down the wall and then do it again.
-Charlottes web- The standard “web in the forest” obstacle with an excellent twist. In the spirit of being a navy seal you weren’t allowed to touch the strings. Every time you touch a string on of the volunteer “drill sergeants” made you do 5 push ups. I was unable to channel my inner cat burglar and had to do 10.
-Tire poles- similar to the “lumberjacked” obstacle at TM only there were tires on the poles which spun and made it more difficult. I had to help some guys over and they helped me.
-Solar Field- All of a sudden you come to this clearing after running some trails and all you see are enormous solar panels. Reminded me of the Matrix and the fields where machines grew humans. Basically the obstacle was just running in mud around the panels, but it was very memorable.
Boat Bridge- There were 8-10 Navy Seal rescue boats tied together crossing a body of water and you had to cross them. Excellent idea.
Slide for life- Straight from the Navy Seal test, climb up a structure and traverse down a rope.
Cat Carry- Carry a 75lb tire-like object up and down a hill.
Stump Field- logs buried in the ground, navigate the field.
Overall there were about 31 excellent obstacles. They did have 3 obstacles which were just tires on the ground to bring the number to 36, but those don’t count in my opinion. Obstacle 17 was also labelled, but there wasn’t anything there. According to the course map it was supposed to be “mud bog,” so the mud must’ve dried up. There also was an obstacle called “mud mound” which was just a 6 or 7 foot tall pile of mud, not very impressive. Penalties varied on each obstacle but they were made up of either burpees, push ups, squats or military presses (I didn’t see any weights, so I’m not sure how that is performed.)
This race was a great time. I look forward to next year and even though this date worked out for me, I hope the RD’s are mindful that the OCR community is committed to the Beast next weekend and move it to a different week so more of my fellow Spahtens can partake in what was the best race of the year.
* From: tom kelly
This is an event that I have been waiting for since April when I signed up. I know a few Seals, Green Berets, and other Special Warfare individuals from the military, and wanted to see what their course would be like. Starting in the spring we were teased with various obstacles, motivational posters, and reminders to bring gloves. All on facebook until I went to the website. Here I found even more, including a birds eye moving map of the course. Never seen that before, and being tech stupid it was super. Great computer pages!
When I got there(did recon week before) I found parking to be a breeze(FREE!), and registraition simple. I knew there was a good, clean lodge, bathrooms, seating and cafeteria so facilities gets a thumbs up. Showers were missing, but there was not the level of mud to wash off so not an issue for me. I did hit several vendors prior and meet Reload. I am a fan of schwag, and anything for free is good, would take more and almost pillaged the reload tent just by habit.
It was easy and cool to meet more Spahtens, and Adrian was the bees knees for holding valuables and filling in for Vince on Kodak detail. I am always impressed with the Spahtens and their condition as I am old and have milage/pound issues, so the Gazelles(fast people) are an inspiration.
* Race Details
I do not remember as much of the course as I would like, and did not grab a map so this is going to be scatterbrained. The wall was big, 10′ and required teamwork. The volunteers went above the call by doing some heavy lifting. The water net thing just about killed me but the lifeguard did his job. This was my only negative from someone who signs up for a Seal driven race to not be able to swim for crap. YMCA pool yes, sneakers, camel, snowmaching blowing, nope. PFD(life jackets) here would be great. The next one in my mind was up and over hurdles where I had to help/coach a lady who ended up beating me. The waterslide was cool and not dangerous! Anything that involved monkey bars I took a punishment on but the punishments fit the crime. No 30 burpees cause, simple obstacle simple punishment! There was a lot of rope work, but all doable and great coaching available . I enjoyed every obstacle i hit except 17 that was missing in action. Another thing about this race was the hill climb. There was no gratuitious go up so you can come down to go back up. There were hills but they took you somewhere and there was a lot of traverse so you could run! This was better in my opinion then the 3 spartans, 2 locals, 2 hero rush, and superhero that I have attended. I love what Shale Hill is, I love the Spartan get off the couch mentality, and now I have another favorite flavor of koolaid. Rob and Brian(RD) really should meet. Could have been the people i hooked up with, the weather, the layout or the obstacles, or as I believe, the combination of the above with the spirit of the cause. Brian, the race director, deserves to be mentioned by name for the outstanding race, and if possible(race dates conflicting) rewarded by a strong NE SPAHTEN showing next year. If there is a conflict, in my mind it has been settled by the US NAVY SEALS. (coming from a career Soldier)
* From: Alison Hersom
* Event Details
The locations (however a little bit of a haul) was beautiful. The parking was ample and right at the event. No charge for parking and you were allowed to come and go to your car (which was good cause there was no bag check due to the proximity of the parking lot). There were a few vendors inlcuding Reload Fitness. Since this was a first time race there weren’t a lot of frills but that certainly wasn’t a down fall. The bathrooms were inside (which is always nice to have indoor plumbing). NO lines or waiting at the bathrooms, but it was a smaller race.
Food was great. They had a lunch counter in the ski lodge which actually offered healthy options, such as garden salad, fruit salad and some yummy sides like homemade potato salad and pasta salad. For $10 you could get 2 hamburgers or 2 hot dogs, with 2 sides and a drink. Our free beer was for a local brewery which is always appreciated.
* Race Details
The course was great. For a first time race it was very well organized. The obstacles for the most part were a challenge but didn’t seem to be designed to make everyone fail. There were a few obstacles that were a little repetitive but it’s bound to happen with 36 obstacles over 9 miles. Even though there were a few repeats they were still obstacles. There really wasn’t any mud to crawl through which I was a little bummed by, but in it’s place were some great water hazard challenges. A slip and slide, a set of pitched roof monkey bars (up the roof and back down) of a small pond, and one where you had to balance on a log to a floating dock crawl on to a cargo net, roll and drop into a pond and then swim to the shore as they used a HUGE fan to blow water in your face (to mimic if you had jumped out a helicopter). There were back to back 20ft wall you had to climb up and down with a rope and many many more. The terrain was a great challenge. Some really steep parts and some amazing somewhat technical trail running. The penalties were even awesome as well. They had a variety of penalties such as 20 buprees, jumping jacks, squats and push ups. It was nice to not just have to do 30 burpees anytime you failed an obstacle
They also had medics at many of the obstacles which was great. They had lots of 4 wheelers wandering the course as well so I felt completely safe. They had 3 water stops which were self serve and they offered gu’s and gummies at 2 of them.