* From: Kevin Fitzgerald
* Event Details
Finding the venue was easy! There was a massive billboard on the main road, and the winery was easy to spot. Parking was five dollars and volunteers were on site to direct you to the parking area. All the parking spots were within two hundred yards of the starting line which was great. Due to the proximity of the parking, it’s understandable that the organizers decided to opt out of a bag checking area, but it would have been nice to have someplace to secure my car keys.
The scenery was absolutely gorgeous. Spectators couldn’t see much of the race, but there was plenty of activity at the starting line. The first thing I noticed was a climbing wall that seemed to be a big hit with the kids. Corn hole was also available along with a few flying discs.
The architecture was beautiful. There were vines everywhere, metal chairs, stone walkways and fresh cut green grass as far as you could see. Every race should be at a vineyard. It was like something out of a magazine.
There was a wine bar, beer on tap and a Hawaiian Ice vendor. They had a food station set up with fruit, hot dogs, chicken, pulled pork, burgers and a few other items.
Food and beer was not included, but prices were reasonable. I had what I believe was called a Flounder Ale or something which I thought was pretty decent; definitely preferable to Coors light. The teriyaki chicken was cooked well, tender and flavorful.
There were ten to twelve porta-potties set up which seemed like enough since the lines were short. However, at 10:45AM, a few of them were overflowing and pretty disgusting. Perhaps next year, they could use a few more.
There were a few other vendors set up that appeared to be promoting their obstacle training facilities/gyms. I didn’t speak with any of them. At the finish line, there were free bottles of Core protein drink and a sports drink. I definitely appreciate the sports drink since I didn’t see any water available.
I started the race in the 11:00AM wave with about 25-40 others. One of the organizers with a mega phone started pumping us up, we counted down from ten, and then we were off.
* Race Details
A majority of the race took place on tall grass that had been pressed down. It was easy to run on, but the first obstacle… the mud pit was a different story. A majority of the runners went to the side, skipping the mud pit entirely. A few stuck to the sides, but I, along with a few others went straight through. It was like walking through drying cement. I struggled to pull each foot out and watched as others lost their shoes and even their socks. After three steps, I gave up and pulled myself to the side. I didn’t see anyone who chose the middle of the mud pit actually make it through.
The next obstacle was a tire flipping pit. There were three tires, so this presented a bit of a bottleneck with about twenty people lined up. After about five minutes, I started flipping the tractor tire. Four or five flips each way was all it took.
Up next were three rows of your standard monkey bars. There was no backup here, and I was able to breeze through it without any difficulty. The bars were well constructed and felt sturdy. Even with three of us swinging at once, the frame never shook.
After that was what appeared to be an eight foot wall, though it may have been slightly shorter? There was a gap large enough underneath if you wanted to take the easy way out. There were support beams that acted as a boost as well for those who didn’t feel comfortable attempting the full wall. I ran at the wall full force, stood on top and jumped down without any swaying. The landing wasn’t too bad, but that was likely due to the soggy ground on the other side. If we have a dry season next year, I’d recommend putting hay or sand there to soften the landing.
The next obstacle was new to me. 2×4’s were nailed to a beam, and you had to sort of hang off of it using only your fingertips and pull yourself across. There were two separate 2×4’s that were about 8’ long, so that when you reached the end of one, you needed to reach a bit higher for the next. There was enough room to get your fingers behind the 2×4, so it didn’t require a tremendous amount of grip strength, but I felt it was a really unique and fun obstacle and would welcome its return.
After that, there were three balance beams set up. You chose one and walked across it. It was maybe 4” wide and 15’ long. It turned slightly halfway through which presented a minimal challenge, but it was a nice break from the running between other obstacles.
The first and only water station was the next stop where I observed people attempting the Reverse Staircase. It’s an American Ninja Warrior inspired obstacle that can best be described as ascending monkey bars that you go up backwards until you reach the apex, at which point you turn your body around and descend; Except, instead of bars, you’re just gripping the edge of a 2×4. I saw many people using the side for a handicap, but attempting and completing this obstacle legitimately was very satisfying!
Immediately after was a large stair climb. Each stair was 2’-3’ tall and it was 4 steps high. Up and down, very easy.
Shortly after that was the traverse wall. There was one wall with pegs on each side. To me, it felt a bit easier than the one at Spartan Race, but it was still a great challenge that slowed me down a bit. There was a slight bottleneck, but within a minute, I was able to claim a space on the wall.
There was a bit of running that eventually led to a rope climb over a muddy water pit. Four ropes were set up and that appeared adequate as I didn’t have to wait for one. All the ropes were knotted, but one rope was missing a knot towards the base which added a bit of a challenge. The ropes were thick, slick and covered in mud.
Up next was a wall set up at like a 45 degree angle that may have been 10 feet at the apex. Three ropes were available to assist in the ascension, but a good sprint could get you to the top. The opposite side had planks for the descent.
The next obstacle was a problem. Three ropes were set up to traverse across a small pond. You had the option of skipping the obstacles and swimming across, but everyone wanted to try this challenging obstacle. I waited for twenty minutes to attempt the obstacle. I’m glad I had the opportunity to attempt it because it was quite challenging, but a twenty minute standstill in a timed 5k is unacceptable. Maybe next year, they could add way more ropes, or leave this obstacle out.
After that, I crawled under a 20’ cargo net in water about 6” deep. The cargo netting wasn’t very tight, so my head kept poking through the holes, but otherwise it was well constructed.
Up next was an obstacle where gentlemen had to carry two 5 gallon buckets filled with (rocks?) and ladies had to carry one bucket. The buckets weighed maybe 20-30 pounds each. It was about 50 yards uphill, around a cone and then back down. With a tired grip, wet hands and plastic handles, I found this to be a pretty good challenge.
Afterwards, I ran through some tires. Pretty basic and old school, but again, serves its purpose of breaking up the monotony of running.
The final obstacle was a soapy tarp with running water that you slide down. For whatever reason, these slides never work for me. I don’t know if I just sit on them wrong, or if the material of my shorts creates too much friction, but this tarp was slippery enough that I only got caught up once. The soap was a little weird, but it definitely helped.
The finish line was just a few minutes ahead. I was presented with the medal and a few free samples.
I received an e-mail with my time, but I think it was off and gave me my time assuming I was in the 10AM heat.
The medal was smaller than most, but I love the design and I’d wear it with more pride than I would a majority of my other race medals.
The tee shirt was high quality cotton. It almost felt like a tech tee. I love the shade of grey and the design on front. It wasn’t obnoxious like some race shirts. The sponsors were listed in white on the back. It fit as expected, perhaps a bit larger.
I have a few suggestions for an improved race next year.
1. More/better restroom options
2. One or two more water stations
3. Fix the rope traverse obstacle
4. Add more tires for the flipping area
5. Soften the landing for the 8’ wall w/ mud, hay or sand
6. The marking arrows could be a bit more noticeable
7. Some free bananas or waters at the end would be nice
8. Add some changing tents
Despite a few hiccups, this race was remarkably well run for a first time event. It was challenging and really fun! If they could add a water station or two and correct the traverse rope obstacle, they would have put on a race on par with Spartan.
Overall, the race was easier than Spartan, but much more challenging than any other local race I’ve experienced. I will definitely run this race next year, and I will recommend it to everyone I know.
* From: Chris Bordenca
* Event: Samurai Sprint Mud Run
* Event Details
$5 cash for parking next to a gorgeous vineyard. Short walk to the event area. I arrived (late) at 9 for the 9:30 heat and the line for registration was long but only took 10 minutes to get through.
Upon registration we received decent quality cotton t-shirts. Post race there was a very nice medal for a first time event. Two different drink companies were set up at the finish line giving away free bottles of their protein and fruit shakes.
There were vendors and gyms with tents as well as a local country radio station booth. Buzzard’s Bay Brewing had great beer on tap for $6. There was also a rock climbing tower set up. There was plenty of space for spectators to watch a good portion of the race. The event was just the right size for the amount of people. No changing tents, showering area or ATMs on site.
* Race Details
The race began at a corner of the vineyard so that the rest of the course was not visible around the rows of grape vines. Most of it took place on long soft grass that made for a very comfortable run with mild hills and a few steep but short hills later on. The course around a through the lush vineyard which was beautiful however trail marking was a little spotty. Running alone for a while I had to ask which way to go a few times, especially when there was a lot of open ground and no clear trail, small arrow signs or hard to see arrows painted on the grass.
The first obstacle was a 15-20ft. mud pit that claimed at least two people’s shoes immediately. There was a Spahten who finished with one shoe.
From there it was a lot of running and mostly familiar obstacles with a couple exceptions. Over, under, through, straight monkey bars, crooked balance beam, 8ft. wall, tires, a short tractor tire flip, crawl through mud and water under a cargo net, rope climb, wall traverse, bucket carry, water slide, plus a few I’m probably forgetting.
Most of the smaller obstacles were over grass not mud and didn’t have any staffing. Being in the early heat there was never a line for obstacles, but I can imagine things getting backed up later in the day.
The killer obstacles for me were the reverse stairs and the tyrolean traverse. The reverse stairs was set up on grass, not over mud, so slipping off the last step and landing on solid ground while bending backwards was less than ideal. I’d hate to have dropped from the top steps.
The tryrolean traverse was the obstacle everyone I spoke too talked about. It’s a single rope stretched across a lake that you must shimmy across. I hung underneath and used my ankles and hands to get across. From the ground it didn’t look too far. Halfway across it seemed like there was mile left. Forearm strength was key and I definitely considered dropping into the water for a second or two but manage to get across dry, with rope burned calves and jelly arms.
I hope Samurai Sprint comes back next year. I’d do it again at the early heat for sure.
* From: Kristine Dreher
* Event Details
The drive to the venue was very easy and a huge billboard pointed me to the location. While parking was very easy there was no distinguishable sign along the road leading the vineyard on which road to turn down. A few cards in front of me were backing out of one road so I followed them to actual vineyard entrance. Parking was very open, just $5 and volunteers pointed me to the spot. It was a quick walk to the venue. The scenery of the vineyard and farm were really, really nice.
I was originally going to the race to support Unleashed and happily was given a free groupon. The line at the registration table was long, but moved fast. The setup wasn’t the most ideal but they had about 4 people working off of a printed list and bibs and tshirts were organized. Since I was a “day of” registrant I had to sign up with Race Wire…one guy was with Race Wire and was working the start line….but when I tried to find him he was no where to be seen. Luckily, another volunteer working registration took my name/info and gave me a bib and allowed me to jump in at 11:30 with the rest of Unleashed.
Overall the facilities were really nice. They had an open area for picnic tables, people to play frisbee and the vendor tents. I didn’t visit any of them and a couple of them were no shows. There was an area set up for the official race photo which was really great. Country 102 was there for a little bit and then a band set up. The 3 person band played for maybe 1-2 hours (and were fairly decent)….from about 1pm on there seemed to be no a lack of music but everyone seemed to have fun regardless. There was a FREE Rock Wall set up for kids and adults to try.
I heard about the port-o-potties being full when everyone first arrived – I heard they had an event the night before. They seemed to have been cleaned out by the time I needed them around 10:00am. The set up though wasn’t idea. They had about 4-5 lined up facing each other..logistically having them in one row would make it easier to access, but nevertheless they were fine.
I did visit the food and beer tent. The beer was locally brewed and was $6..not to bad of a price and overall it wasn’t a bad beer! I bought grilled chicken and a lemon orzo salad..both were really, really good and just $9 total..I was pleasantly surprised.
The schwag was great as well…they didn’t’ have my size tshirt but hey..can’t win em all for day of registration.
* Race Details
Overall I’d say for a first time race this was a great effort. The course was very flat for the most part and we pretty much ran the outskirts of the vineyard so the paths were cut down already. Pretty soft surface – the course markings were not 100% clear – I managed to stay on course – but larger/clear signage is needed. There was definitely a lack of volunteers as some smaller obstacles didn’t have anyone there. Also for those volunteering suggest identification as those large obstacles who did have someone at them were obviously people racing who just switched out. I got hung up on the Reverse Staircase. The rest of the obstacles were pretty basic….the tire flip only had 3 tires..I didn’t have to wait but a few other people said they waited quite a while…they really could have used 6-9 tires total.
There was a water station and for the race length I found it to be enough. There was Core Power and another drink option I can’t remember. The only downside was by 12:30 they were running out of ice to keep it cold. We knew there wouldn’t be a changing tent but, as per usual, I just changed by the NES/Unleashed tent and was good to go.
Overall the course was decent – a few challenging spots but not many. The weather was perfect…venue was a nice site for sure and it was a good time. I would consider doing this again with some improvement.