* From: George Flanders
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My first OCR, there was a lot more running than obstacles. I had fun and can’t wait for my first spartan in amesbury! The shwag was good at this event. Parking was good also. I was expecting more mud.
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Most of the obstacles were small walls, and dirt mounds, I thought the obstacles were easy, but I need to work on my running
* From: Dennis Michaud
* Event Details
This is not the review I had hoped to write, but there are positives. This was my third Renegade Playground Challenge, RPC for short. A little history, RPC Spring 2011 was my first OCR and I was hooked. After all the events I have done since, it remains as one of my favorites. Fast forward a year, RPC 2012 was a complete disaster in my opinion, and I was very vocal on social media about the myriad of issues that plagued the event. I decided then I would never do another RPC. Well, never say never. RPC 2013 seemed well received in the OCR community and I like to think I’m fair-minded, so why not try it again. RPC is stretching this year and is putting on four events in the New England area and this review is specific only to the event that occurred on July 19, 2014 at the Rochester, NH Fairgrounds.
Venue and Festival:
The venue itself was easy to get to, if you have ever been to an agricultural fair you know what the layout of the venue is, so I won’t bore you with details. Parking was easy with volunteers directing where to park. There was no fee for parking or for spectators, which is a positive in my book. I don’t like being nickled and dimed after paying for registration. There were enough porta-potties for the number of people, never saw a line more than a few minutes long. There were a few hoses to rinse off, if you felt the need to after the running the course. The changing area was nothing more than the fairground restrooms in the parking area. There was a free gear check tent as well as a portable locker trailer where you could rent a locker for a small fee. One food truck was there. I saw samples of an energy drink, but no vendors to speak of. There was music and the MC who tried to pump up the crowd. RPC did provide tents for 12 or 13 of the largest teams in the VIP area.
Overall impression of this part of the event would be maybe a little above average because of the free parking and no fee for spectators, otherwise average, at best.
Registration and Schwag:
Registration was easy, fill out a waiver at one table, get your chip and bib at the next table, ID check next,( a little out of place, but…), then you picked up your shirt, a nice tech t-shirt, and then you also got a nice pub quality pint glass. Definitely above average due to the quality of the product.
The course itself was reported by reliable sources to be a true 5k. I would describe the course as a flat, fast 5k course, with pot holes and speed bumps with a few real obstacles. It was definitely a runner’s course. The majority of the obstacles were nothing more than holes/trenches dug in a field with the dirt piled either in front of, or after. There was an attempt to line some of the holes/trenches with a plastic liner and to make and add dirt back in with water to make mud, but I’d estimate the deepest was no more than 6 inches of water on top of 2-3 inches of mud, with the hole/trench being 2-3 foot in height. The few true obstacles that were included were numerous 3-4 foot high hurdles, 2 piles of hay bales, a set of monkey bars, a cargo net climb, a log balance beam over what were supposed to be mud pits and a very wobbly step up/step down log balance obstacle. (Sorry for the poor description). There was a unique obstacle, a dodgeball obstacle. As you approached
a couple of volunteers would throw small almost nerf like balls at you. I caught one and threw it back, so a fun obstacle. Part of the course also included running up and down the steps of the grandstands. The signature obstacle of this event, the run through and jump off the back of the school bus was missing. There was plenty of drinking water on the course, as well as plenty of volunteers. The best I can say about the course is this: If you are a road runner and only want to do one OCR and then say, those races aren’t so tough, then this is the race for you. I’d like to at least say that this would be a good entry level OCR, but there are better choices. I would have to rate the course as it was at poor to fair. Here are a few obstacles that could have been added easily and for minimal expense that in my opinion would have made the course challenging enough to satisfy all but the most fervent obstacle junkies:
1. Sand Bag Carry in the grandstand section, 20 lbs is doable for all, grab 2 if you want .
2. A tire and/or cinderblock drag on the course; it was sandy soil, so doable.
3. A farmer’s carry on the course.
4. A real wall or two, put a few toe and handholds on to make it doable for the beginner.
5. An inclined wall rope climb.
6. Some lengths of black drainage pipe can serve double duty, a crawl thru, and would be able to hold water and mud and then loop around and crawl over.
A nice finishers medal, nothing out of the ordinary. Can’t say I was crazy about the free beer choice, but as one of the larger teams, we did get 2, and you can’t complain about free beer. Not much in the way of other activities Average rating here.
There was a kids event that I saw a few kids doing, but that is all I can say. Free race pics, photographer was at the cargo net and finish line. Free race pics are a nice touch even with just a couple of photographers.
I’ll repeat myself; this is not the review I had hoped to write. While definite improvement from 2012, certainly nothing like 2013 was reported to be. There are positives and there is certainly potential to be a family friendly and fun event, which is at least mildly challenging to the average OCR participant. I’d have to rate it overall as below average, and while I won’t say never, it’s unlikely I will ever spend my money on this company again.
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