Rebel Race 2012

Rebel Race aftershot

  • Name: Christine Mackey
  • Race details (course, obstacles, difficulty etc):

This review is for the November 10th race in Haverhill, MA. I’ve done literally dozens of mud/obstacle races, from tiny local events to the big ones like Spartan. But back-to-back Renegade and Rebel disappointments are going to make me a lot more wary when signing up in the future.

My first clue about the way the race was organized should have been that the only option for a 15k course was at 2:30pm. With the clocks having changed, unless you are a very fast obstacle racer, there’s no way you are finishing in daylight. I emailed the course promoter, but was told it was no big deal, and that people finish the course within two hours. No need for headlamps, and the course was not lit.

I average 15 minute miles in an obstacle race, so best case, I was going to finish around 5pm. As it turns out, there were delays, and my wave didn’t even get going until nearly 3pm.

There were very long lines everywhere, from packet pickup to bag check. Several obstacles had wait times that exceeded 30 minutes.

Inconveniences are lousy, the wait times are a pain in the ass, the nickel-and-diming sucks, but the lack of attention to safety is positively unacceptable.

The rope traverse obstacle in particular was treacherous. The photos from the website show a traverse over water. No fun to fall into in November, but no one is going to get injured either. As it turns out, this course was built so the traverse was over an 8′ rock gully with round hay bales covering it. The hay wasn’t even spread out and fluffed. Hay in bales makes for a pretty darn hard landing. In fact, there are reports that several people were seriously injured, including one woman who broke her neck and back. At one point, one of the four ropes broke away from the frame. It simply wasn’t safe.

It may have been the time of day I was running, but there was no volunteers on the course, except for the larger obstacles. I didn’t see EMT personnel either.

Due to delays and long waits at obstacles, my friend and I completed just 10k of the 15k, and since it was already dark, and the course abandoned by any staff, we decided to call it a day.

I googled the race afterwards, and it looks like the complaints are across the board in all locations, so it’s pretty apparent they are just in it to make a quick buck, safety be damned. If they aren’t willing to make changes anywhere, I won’t spend my money there again.

I am particularly dismayed that Rebel Race is removing all negative feedback from their Facebook page, and banning people who wrote anything negative. Their refusal to own their mistakes and make a better race leads me to write this review.

I can still have fun with my muddy friends no matter what I’m doing, but I’ll be more selective in the future. And I’ll check race reviews first as well.

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

The parking was the most organized part of the event. The location was awesome! Kimball Farm is a working New England farm right on the edge of the Merrimack River. Great terrain and beautiful views.

Schwag was pretty pathetic. Just a cotton T-shirt and an odd little bag. The line to check in was about 20 minutes with only a few people ahead of me. The line at the bag check was longer than all of the registration lines combined.

When they told me that the food/beer tickets in my registration pack were just for the privilege of purchasing and that there wasn’t a free glass or anything, I didn’t bother to check any of vendors.

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

The starting line was a massive bottleneck because the timing sensors were so close together. About 1/3 of the obstacles were things like pushups, running sideways, rolling on the ground, and so forth. Pretty pathetic.

I liked how the course used the natural terrain of the farm. Great view and some awesome hills. My legs were burning half-way into the race. The walls and cargo nets were pretty standard, but fun. I’m not fond of heights, so the taller ones got my adrenaline pumping!

The water/mud slide was the most fun of all! Some of the other races could learn from this. Instead of landing in stray or something soft, drop us into a three foot deep pit of mud!

I was looking forward to the rope traverse because they advertise it as being over water. If you fall, you get wet. Fun, right? Nope. They used very thin, cheap rope and suspended it over a rocky pit filled with round hay bales. A quick lesson in hay baling: The round ones are six feet tall and weight about a ton, each. Round bales are preferred over the classic square ones because they are more dense. In other words, they’re not soft. Falling on them would be like falling on a bolder! That actually happened to someone in my heat. After waiting ten minutes in line, someone fell and was seriously injured.

I did not see any EMTs on site during registration, and it was 15-20 minutes later that I saw ATVs heading up the hill. Safety is paramount! There should be EMTs and a couple ATVs or Gators on standby all day.

These details are highlights from my full review over at my blog:

Thanks for reading!

  • Rating: Terrible


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

Rebel Race
Overall rating – 7.5 out of 10

Parking – well organized
Facilities – ok
Vendors – had a couple of cool ones I hadn’t seen at other venues (The Air Force – dropped and gave them 30 push ups for a free towel, water bottle and  carrybag)
We did not do the post race beer – would have been nice if they were at the finish line w/ it.

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

Course – was ok
Obstacles – not bad – they put in some effort.  I liked the American Flag wall.  Def not as hard as a mudder where there are no slats to help you get over, so there was not much team building.

They failed on the rope and the mud slide where there were extremely long waits.  We bypassed the mud slide on our first run through (we did 15 k which was 3x go around the course) but did it the next 2 times bc there were no lines.  The rope we did the first time and bailed the next 2 bc the ropes were thin and cut into tender flesh 🙂

Overall, I thought this was a good value for the money.  Sure, it could have been better but it wasn’t $100. I was not expecting a Tough Mudder.  We had fun.

Keep in mind we also did the Firebreather which was an epic fail, so in comparison, this was not bad at all.  I’d do it again for the price (I think we ended up paying about $40 per ticket.

  • Rating: Above Average


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

When Rebel Race in MA was being talked about a few months ago I gave everyone a disclaimer that I had done one in July and it was not by any means a challenge, more a fun training event that I would never pay full price for. I dealt with the $35 Living Social deal just to have a fun race with good NE Spahten friends.  Expectations from there, for me, we low.
Parking was decent, though we got there around 9:30 so it may have gotten worse at the end as it seemed kind of a small field. $10 parking onsite seemed absurd though, but seems to be the trend and at least bag check was free. Bathrooms were minimal and I can’t imagine how they looked at the end of the day since they were getting pretty full by 10am. Registration was a mess, waivers weren’t signed, the A line had no one but she wouldn’t help the 20 minute wait of the B line. Swag was a simple drawstring bag, white cotton shirt (really? at a mud-run?), two tickets to sub for the free beer (very helpful since you could use it for food or the bull ride),  and a dog-tag like medal. We skipped the beer and food and went for a bull ride, which cost another ticket. The actual dollar price for the ride was $6. Seeing that the worker had us get on, swung us in a circle, when we then flew off, max a couple seconds, it was definitely not worth paying for!

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

On to the race itself… As I said before, my expectations were low, and Rebel stayed true to my beliefs. Runs through fields, small walls with steps up, ass-busting slide with a ridiculously long line that we burpied out of, over unders in a water pit with PCV pipe (might have been the best obstacle), various lame workout exercises, one giant wall (might have been tied for best), a 10 ft barbed wire crawl, and ending with the terrifying campfire at the end. We forgot our marshmallows and apparently some of us had trouble taking turns. Such a shame. A big note about one more obstacle- there was a rope traverse that someone decided to put over a rocky ditch with a few hay bales to perhaps calm the terror going through runners minds at the sight. We were in the hugely long lines when we watched one of the bolts come free and let the rope loose and leave the guy traversing flying to his certain doom (broken arm) at the bottom. That was more than enough to make us move on through. At that point I hope they at considered closing down the obstacle but I’m pretty sure they didn’t.

Overall, I had a blast at this race, but the race itself had nothing to do with it, it was the team I ran with that did. Would I recommend it to anyone? I will say I would do it again in July in NY and camp the whole weekend with friends and have some fun practice racing then party it up and talk people into doing Spartans the rest of the night. All at a living social or other discount site price of course.

  • Rating: Terrible


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

Parking was perfectly fine, which is really the best thing I can say about the event.  Not enough port-a-potties, crazy lines for everything else.  Immediately threw my free schwag in the trash when I finished the race because the whole thing was so bad.

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

Hard to rate the actual course part of this low enough.  Low quality course design and execution with basically zero level of difficulty for 90% or it.  Appalled at how dangerously they set up the Tyrolean Traverse.  Long lines for lots of the “obstacles”.  Just terrible…

  • Rating: Terrible


* From: Sarah-Anne Arsenault Joyal

* Event Details
Terribly organized race. Rebel Race is concerned with the bottom line and not at all with the safety of their participants. I ran the race last year, until I got to the rope traverse. I had almost completed the obstacle when my muscles gave way and I fell 8-10 feet onto rocks. I broke my neck in one place and my back in two. I was in the hospital and rehab for 11 days and in a back brace for 8 weeks. In the beginning I couldn’t get out of bed without assistance. I can hardly express to you the incredible blessing it is just to be vertical. Please don’t take a moment for granted. Thankfully the friends I ran with along with other racers came to my aid, because not one person from Rebel Race did. None of the volunteer staff at the obstacle had radios or numbers for the EMTs on site. One of the racers had to call 911 from their cell. I have never heard from anyone at Rebel race since the incident. Please don’t run Rebel Race. I still don’t know the names of so many racers who helped me, but if you happen to be one of them or know someone who did THANK YOU!! YOU, along with my friend Beth Armstrong and the other friends I raced with, the nursing and doctors at Lawrence General Hospital and Spaulding Rehab, my mother and family members who helped me through, YOU are my angels! Please drop me a line or put in a friend request for me on FB (Sarah Anne Joyal). I am beyond happy to report that I have made a full recovery and am back to racing. I joined NE Spahtens about a month ago and am excited to be a part of what is clearly a very well connected and supportive team! I ran the Spartan Beast, my first OCR since my injury, two weeks ago in Killington and it was EPIC! I loved (hated) every second of it. It was heaven and oh-so-sweet hell at the same time, and I am SO happy to be back. I saw many of you up there and said ‘Hi’ to a few and although I tend to be shy at first, I will most definitely run with you again soon with a more proper introduction 🙂
Way to go, NE Spahtens!

* Race Details

* Rating

10 thoughts on “Rebel Race 2012

  1. Friends don't let friends do Rebel race. This ones a pretty common flop.

  2. BUYER BEWARE: REBEL RACE IS A RIP OFF – They changed the date I was registered for, then initially said via an email reply that they'd provide a refund, but it didn't happen and they have stopped replying to any attempts to contact. I've made 4 attempts in a month, all ignored. Even tried to contact via different means, still nothing. I'll never register for another Rebel Race, and am telling everyone I know. I'm severely disappointed and expected way better from a nationally recognized mud race organization.

  3. I think I have reconsidered this, and stick to reputable OCRS.

  4. Thank you for the FYI

  5. Rather than copy and past my review from my own Blog, I’ll just link to it from here:

  6. yes – the rope was AWEFUL. WE watched someone has to be brought out by medics…… Brought 2 first timers to Mud Races so for them it was OK. I didnt get any free schwag – not even the medal at the end. Id still like it for my wall though… No reason to ever do their race again… But it was good exercise for a Saturday 9 miles..


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