Muckfest MS 2014

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* From: Kristine Dreher

* Event Details
I arrived by 7:00am to volunteer so there was plenty of parking right up front. I’m familiar with Devens so I had no issue finding the venue. There was plenty of space, port a johns, changing rooms, and the food looked and smelled good buy I didn’t purchase anything. Due to UPS messing up the shipment the finished and volunteer shirts didn’t arrive – but they are mailing them out!

* Race Details
This was my first experience attending Muckfest. I decided to volunteer last minute and was really happy that I did. Overall the staff was organized and kept the volunteers in the loop. From check-in to relief of shift the staff and obstacle course captains were great. I didn’t get to run with NES but I met a few new NES members on my volunteer shift.

Mother nature sure didn’t help out as it was rainy, cold and a little windy but that didn’t seem to damper the spirit of the volunteers or the runners. I worked at the Big Balls obstacle from 8am-1pm and had a blast. The other volunteers and I got a lot of mileage out of the Big Balls and really had a fun time making all the runners laugh as they approached our obstacle. From the volunteer side, the staff kept tabs on us, made sure lunch arrived on time and also made sure we were cut loose when our shift was over. We received a great volunteer pin and they let us run the course.

I ran the course with a fellow NES member around 2pm – after we warmed up a bit and changed. Overall the course was a lot of fun – and it sure was mucky in some places. I think all the obstacles were fun, though my only concern was with the rope obstacle we climbed up and across the top. By the afternoon, the ropes were wet, stretched out and it was slippery. I’m not a fan of heights and in case there was any falls, there really wasn’t much to catch anyone below. Everyone really seemed to love the water obstacles that sent you into waist or chest deep water.

This event grew from 3,000 participants to over 5,000this year. I was told it’s the biggest turn out of all the Muckfest locations. I would definitely do this again next year – volunteer and run – and pray for better weather. Had the weather cooperated today I think many people would have stayed all day!

* Rating
Above Average

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* From: Paul Howes

* Event Details
Parking: Being the biggest team had some nice perks, like priority parking and express registration. This is definitely a bonus that other events could learn from!

Facilities: MuckFest was held in the same, easy-to-find location just off of Rt. 2 in Devens, MA. Everything is open and accessible. We had a team tent, but it was a bit too small given the size of our team!

Vendors: Due to the weather I didn’t really get a chance to walk around the vendor area. The hot food was of most interest after the event! that said, the food was quite good, ranging from cheeseburgers and sausage to brick-oven pizza. Yum!

Schwag: Nonexistent. When we finished the race there were no medals, shirts, or anything. We received an email afterward saying that there was a shipping snafu. Who knows if that is the real story?

* Race Details
Course: I love this location! There are tons of rolling hills and even a few steep ascents that had people crawling in the mud near the top. I wish more OCRs would use this facility. However, the race, which was billed as being 5 km, was actually closer to 4 km.

Obstacles: Fun, but a bit lacking compared to last year. There was a traverse (think rock wall, but horizontal over water) and water slide missing. I think the water was not as deep this year.

I have mixed emotions about this year’s race. It was fun, but I think last year had some better obstacles, the race was timed, and runners had a choice of two distances: 5 km or 5 miles. I did the 5 mile course on a bum ankle and loved it.

I wrote a full review with some video of the obstacles that is available on my blog: http://paul.thehowes.org/2014/04/2014-boston-muckfest-ms-review.html

* Rating
Above Average

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* From: Erin Spencer

* Event Details
Parking: We were there early so nice and close. Easy to access and to get out after the race.

Facilities: There was a place to stash my bag, a restroom (still clean since it was early), and a hose at the end to de-muck. What else do you need?

Vendors: I was pretty chilly after the race so I didn’t really hang around to see any vendors. It didn’t seem like there were as many vendors as I have seen at MS walks. Maybe due to the weather?

Schwag: I know there was some shipping issue so everything wasn’t there but I was able to get my hat and didn’t know until later I was supposed to get a t-shirt so that was a pleasant surprise. I guess I’ll be getting that in the mail.

* Race Details
This was my first OCR so I don’t have anything to compare this to but I thought it was a great course. Some obstacles were easy and some were a bit challenging but they were all fun! Truthfully, the hardest part of the course for me was running so we ended up walking between the obstacles.

My hip would have a different review of the course so I opted out of a couple obstacles and had some trouble with the hills (some may have seen my brother-in-law carrying me up one hill) but even with that trouble, I had a lot of fun and was able to finish the course. Without much reference, I would say this was a course that could be made more challenging if someone was at a higher level but was also appropriate for a first timer. The atmosphere alone makes it a good choice for beginners.

I think a good measure of anything is if it makes someone want to do it again and I definitely would like to at least participate in Muckfest next year and maybe even some other OCR events.

* Rating
Excellent

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* From: Jesica Kirrane

* Event Details
This race was only the second OCR I’ve actually ran in, my first being FoamFest last year. That being said, I’m one for fun, not time. šŸ™‚ I’ve attended 10 or more with my husband running. So I’d say I might be able to have an opinion.
Parking was easy. It was nice that premier parking was on asphalt.. no sinking truck!
The venue was nice, but tents were confusing and vendors were a little confusing. If this race wasn’t a fundraiser, I would gripe a little over the teeny, tiny tent our team was given, but since I’d rather know more money went to MS research and not to grand tents, all is forgotten. I like races with lots of vendors, gives spectators something to do when their racers are in the woods, but since I was a racer this time, I wasn’t concerned.
Schwag unfortunately wasn’t really available and again confusing. I raised over $500 in funraising, was supposed to get a reward, it’s being mailed to me. Finisher t-shirt, being mailed. All this extra postage, ugh… I feel bad, again because it’s a charity… I feel like they are going to get hosed in that and people griping, come on, UPS has never missed a delivery to you, or maybe those things only happen to me.
The only thing I think they need to work on is organization of info to people working/volunteering. My registration was screwed up because I registered the Wednesday before… and I signed up for our team, but it wasn’t showing up. Since I was concerned they had me registered for Sunday, I sent an email. They sent me an email saying to definitely run on saturday with the team. Thank god I brought the email because I was still stuck on sunday. Once it was all figured out, I was good. Overall I had a blast.

* Race Details
I liked the course. It was challenging with the hills. OMG the hills! I laughed through most of the obstacles with my friends and had a great time! The one obstacle I thought was potentially dangerous was the Thunderdome. I absolutely avoided it. Dark, water, loud music and athletes not visible to volunteers… I figured with my luck, I would be the one to get hurt, not be heard or seen and found dead during clean up…. but maybe that’s just me. I’m glad I didn’t do that one. Other obstacles were fun and creative.
Obviously the weather was no one’s fault, but that did suck. It was cold, wet and cold.

* Rating
Above Average

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* From: Jessica Wohlen

* Event Details

Directions: We weren’t given an exact address, but fortunately there isn’t much to Devens and it wasn’t difficult to figure out where to go!

Parking: The team was given premier parking, but it was a little unclear how to utilize this benefit. No big deal as we arrived super early and managed a fantastic parking spot on the grass.

Vendors: I have no idea as I didn’t take in much of the festival area

Schwag: None at the event. (There was a shipping snafu and we’ll receive out swag in the mail)

* Race Details
This was my first Muckfest, and I am glad I finally got to experience what all the fuss was about in 2013.

The weather was cold and rainy. We were going to get muddy anyway so the rain wasn’t so much of a factor, but the cold was a battle for me and my hands. We took off at 9:30 and immediately hit the down and outs (I know Muckfest calls them something different), which depending on your placement in the corral meant an immediate bottleneck. Fortunately for me, I was in the middle but closer to the front, lending well to not so much of an issue. I was able to get through and find my way ahead of the main pack.

We went on to do a number of really fun obstacles. There are few that stick out for their unique qualities.
Thunder Struck – crawling on your hands and knees through water in a confined space, under a tent where there was “thunder and lightning”
Skid Mark – think ranger bars but you have to drag your back through mud
The Spinner – hang from a rope while it moves in a circle, don’t drop or you will get wet
Swing Set – just what you think, only standing, and your exit is into a pool of water!

All the obstacles were well built and executed. The trail was not boring, and yet not so difficult that a newbie would be scared to attempt it.

At the finish line there was a great little table with snacks and water, however, if you wanted the snacks you had to hand over a food coupon that was attached to your bib initially. I found this odd, since I wouldn’t have assumed that need, and I also wouldn’t have any coupon on my person immediately after crossing the finish line for any race. When I saw this coupon I really thought it was intended for something other than a banana and some chips.

All in all this was a great event. I wish it wasn’t so cold and wet, this would have been even better if the weather cooperated!

* Rating
Above Average

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* From: Nate DeMontigny

* Event Details
Parking: Fantastic!! Being the biggest team we had premier parking, which meant on pavement and not stuck in mud. That is great for my 2-wheel drive, so that was appreciated. I can’t talk to much on general parking but it looked easy enough and straightforward enough.

Facilities: Great! Registration was extremely simple, showed em my ID and they gave me my bib. Changing tents were convenient, water hoses to wash off with, ample porta-potties. Not much here to talk about, if you needed it they had it!!

Vendors: These guys being an event to raise funds I thought maybe they might reach out to some local vendors to have them set tents up. That said the fest midway was a bit lacking. To be honest, because of it, I stayed at the team tent when I wasn’t running because there were no options.

Schwag: Due to UPS, or someone, making a shipping error there were no shirts or any of the rewards folks had earned for their fundraising efforts. Schwag is nice and all but where I feel bad about this is the fact they are now spending extra shipping to get everything to all the attendees. Having raised nearly half a million dollars, it’s a shame they need to waste money this way.

Timing chip: there wasn’t one. While it’s not important I feel it may cause some folks not to come out. I know I really like knowing how I did, especially if I have run the race before.

* Race Details
Course: The course was pretty amazing, made even better by mother nature’s constant raining. They promised mud, there was mud. The trails and everything were marked/ blazed well. The terrain was awesome, loved some of the steep hills. I love hills, yeah they suck to climb, but blasting down them after ward is cool as heck!

Obstacles: There were some standard obstacles but then there were some I had yet to encounter. While not overly challenging they were extremely fun. The swinging balls was fun, and tons of people got their kicks making comments about em. The spinner was interesting concept, it took a lot out of me to not try and climb it, it’s what you do with ropes right? Skid marks definitely “left it’s mark” and again, caused more than a few silly comments to be made. There was tons upon tons of water obstacles, so if you weren’t wet and cold enough from the rain than surely you were after Muck Off and The Swingset.

All in all this was a great event. I can’t wait for the next one and hope it is warmer so more folks could have stuck around and done a few more laps. I was soaked to the bone and shivering, it was time to exit after one lap!

* Rating
Excellent

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