Polar Bear Challenge 2013

Shale Hill Adventure Farm

  • Name: Nele Schulze
  • Event details (parking, facilities, vendors, schwag etc):

The whole event felt very intimate. The parking was fine (and free! Don’t see that too often these days). The heated barn was a luxury in the 15 degree weather. The owners and organizers treated everyone like close friends and family. It was a wonderful atmosphere. Got a nifty long sleeve and pretty neat medal for taking part. The 2nd place bucket of prizes had some pretty cool stuff in it (love the simple brandz granola and stuff the most). And the NE Spahtens were each awarded a free race for having the biggest team. Very well run.

  • Race details (course, obstacles, difficulty etc):

5 mile loop and you had 8 hours to do as many laps as you could. For failed obstacles you took a penalty chip and handed them in when you checked in after each lap. The penalties were very imaginative and different from the usual Burpees. Tire flips, over/under 10ft walls, rope climbs etc.

The obstacles themselves were a lot harder than I’ve encountered before. From monkey bars on a steep incline (thankfully it was optional for women), to a Tarzan rope swing (never made it once), and a 130′ traverse wall. There were 35 obstacles on the 5 mile loop. It was very good. U

  • Rating: Excellent


  • Name: Sandy Rhee


  • Event details (parking, facilities, vendors, schwag etc):

Rob Butler is the owner and operator of Shale Hill Adventures along with his wife Jill. The put on one heck of an event on Saturday. The race was very well organized and the 60 people who took part definitely got more than their money’s worth. Parking was super easy and we were able to drop off gear on site before going to the parking lot. They even knew it was going to be dark still when we got there and so they parked a truck with its lights on to light the way. The facilities are really good as they are, and that is with them still being in a state of construction. I know that they have big plans for their barn, and I look forward to seeing the progress each time I go back.

  • Race details (course, obstacles, difficulty etc):

I cannot say enough about the course! There is an excellent use of the natural terrain with a variety of hills, ravines, trails, and open fields. The obstacles are well spaced and you never go too long before seeing another one. The obstacles cover a very wide range of ability and strength levels. There are a few that everyone can accomplish, even without training. Let me say that again. There are a few. Not many. There are many that are doable, especially if you have some good strength and/or team support. Then, there are many that will require a great deal of training and strength, but mere mortals can accomplish them. Finally, there are some that I don’t have a hope in the world of ever accomplishing even with all the training I could ever get! I think that is what makes this such a great course. There is something for everyone. I can’t imagine being really good at obstacle course racing and not ever having much of a challenge to push me even further. The NE Spahtens has a few racers to whom most obstacles are pretty easy. Rob pushes even them beyond their comfort zones. I like and respect that. Now, so that I don’t scare my fellow mere mortals, you are asked to make an attempt at every obstacle. If you cannot complete one, there is a penalty, but it varies. Each obstacle has a chip bucket. If you fail, you simply grab a chip. The chips are different colors based on how easy/difficult the obstacle is. When you finish your loop, you hand over your chips and are assigned your penalty. For each red chip, you might have to do 10 push ups or 3 tire hoists. For each blue chip, it might be tire flips or rope climbs. The ultimate surprise (which I was not lucky enough to pull) is when you get a free pass for one color or all color chips! Be sure to ask Nele Schulze what her penalties were after her fourth round!

All in all, this is a fabulous course run by a race director who truly loves the sport and is supportive of everyone who wants to participate in it.

  • Rating: Excellent

1 thought on “Polar Bear Challenge 2013

  1. […] can read here (Polar Bear Challenge 2013) – Rob Butler delivered, and we’ve been back a few times over the year to experience […]

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