* From: Michael downey
* Event: Spartan Race – Beast Vernon,Nj
* Date: 2015-04-18
* Event Details
This is a venue most of us have done before in the Super format so the parking and main layout of the festivle was the normal.
One change to the events this year was spartans new bag check policy,where you got handed a white plastic bag when parking and that is the only bag they would accept at bag check. the bag itself is just about big enough to fit a pair of shoes, shorts and a tee shirt but not a whole heck of a lot else. This was a EPIC failure on spartans fault for numerous reasons. First there expectation for the change was to make the check in and out process smoother, not only did that not happen they made the check in process worse and quiet a bit slower. Second for most people they get dressed at the venue and have a dry set of cloths and towel and shoes in there bag for post race with this new way of bag check its going to be a tight squeeze at best.
I understand trying to make changes to enhance the customers experience but this move does not do that and only makes things easier for SR not the customers. A better way to attack this issue is more of a airline approach, for $5.00 you can check in a backpack ( something most people have access to or can get on the super cheep) or for a extra fee you go to a separate line and check in a larger bag ( with a size limitation explained on the website) . this is also going to prevent a problem if say the day when the marker # rub off the plastic bag and you have a few thousand now unmarked bags, atleast if people had there own bags they could identify them rather easily .
Vendors – same stuff thats been in vernon before nothing exciting or new
Schwag – this is where spartan stepped up and improved the biggest. this year is a new medal that is quiet a bit bigger than last year ( think its close to the ultra beast size) and a new design on the front. Also the finisher shirts are now color coded for the specific level event it was so those doing a few of each level will end up with a little more varity of shirts this year and not a closet full of the same shirt.
* Race Details
The course since this was the first time a beast has been held here no one knew really what to expect. most GPS are putting it at or a shade over 13 miles.
the race started on the south peak slopes as usual and taking the same starting path as last year and if the climb wasent tricky enough they built giant snow mounds that we had to scale over we continued on the path except where the monkey bars were at the last super we took a slight right turn instead of left and then followed the chair lift path to the top, this was a steep long rocky climb and had almost all going at a slow pace. once at the top we saw a kinda newish obstacle the vertical cargo climb and usually this is going over a net supported by new trees but this one was supported by a truss system making the net a lot sturdier and less moving around. we then went back down the mountain giving back a lot of the vertical climb we just did and came to the memory board, i know in years past some people would write things down on there body with a sharpie to help but they had a blue shirt staff member taking sharpies from people. a bunch of off trail walking going up and
down the hills working our way north. herc hoist in the same location as years past and now its a more standardized weight of 45 for women 90 for men. the traverse walls were at the top of vernon peak you then worked your way to the base and what most felt was the hardest obstacle of the day bucket brigrade going up a snowboard half pipe that has a nice extreme angle and back down then you went back to vernon peak and started to work you way back south. after this things were a blur for me but a few notes the inverted wall LOT steeper angle now and no 2 x 4 at the top for a hand grip tyrolean traverse was done on the sandy beach due to the water still being only about 40*f some trail walking to get back up to south peak and the A frame cargo , normally not a big obstacle but this was the location where a black bear and cub were spotted crossing and near the course path. then back to the festival for a bit then back up for one last summit but standing in your way was a uphi
ll barbed wire crawl covered in snow then one last all the way up a nice steep climb and back down to finish the event.
overall obstacles is where spartan is becoming a bigger and bigger disappointment not a lot of innovation or new obstacles the past few years even though they keep touting how 2015 was going to be full of new things they failed to deliver on that. this is a department spartan needs to address ASAP if they want to keep people coming back in 2016 if not i think there going to see a sharp drop off in past cusomer come backs. with this and last years killington it seems spartan is more concerned with making the races suckfests and trudging you through backwoods and bushwhacking than fun and exciting obstacles. some obstacles they have dialed things up quiet a bit on ( slipper wall and inverted wall had there angles raisted a few degrees) while others had been dialed back ( herc hoist, a welcome dialing back) i think maybe its time to also take a look at dialing back bucked brigade a bit also because that seems to be the obstacle that gets the most to say ” fuck it i am going to
dump some rocks” and then just makes the path a giant mess and slip hazard for others.
I have a few other spartans later in the year and i hope to see some improvement and more of the new obstacles, if things dont greatly improve i dont intend to spend any money on them in 2016 and move on to other events that dont just sit back and rest on there name as whats brings people back year after year .
as for difficulty i asked a few people who did killington to see if this race lived up to Norm claim as ” hardest beast EVER” and the few i heard from said it did NOT live up to that due in part that Nj just dosent have the vertical space that killington has . But they did say that the way some of the obstacles were done were a lot more of a pain that killington
* From: Stephen Rodericks
* Event: NJ Spartan Beast
* Date: 2015-04-18
* Event Details
Parking is a pretty short ride fro venue about 10 min bus ride. Schwag is the typical spartan shirt and medal. I was please that they gave us a spread of a few cases of water, and Gatorade, as well as cliff bars and blocks all for us in the tent. on the flip side the tent was not even in the festival area, you had to leave and go outside of the tape, but hey we were closer than the biggest loser tent. Bag check is different this time as well. you get a plastic bag, not much bigger than a drawstring bag that have become popular in the past few years. they gave them out at the parking lot, the problem was that one of the people said that they only got one bag for a car full of 4 people, and could not get more bags, you can tell they are still working out the kinks on the new bag check, and it is frustrating to say the least. It is difficult to cram a towel, recovery drink, change of clothes, wallet keys and cell in a bag, doable but very tight. Again on the flip side since we got biggest team, bag check is free, and a separate line, which was much shorter, shared with season pass holders and corporate teams
* Race Details
So I have a hard time describing this race, to me it was easier, but i can not stress how much i was expecting hell. I say that because the famous Norm designed the course, and The only other beast i have done is the Killington vt.So i may have been unfair. This was still a difficult course, but there was nothing extra for elites, no double sand bag, nothing harder. The Traverse pipe was back, and it had a tarzan rope in the middle, and back to more pipes. I failed that obstacle, the mountain was pretty hard, a bunch of steep uphills, and downhills. A bunch of sideways trails, hard to find much runnable area, but they were more than killington. The course was not marked as well as should have been, i got lost three times at least, and i heard a bunch of other people got lost worse than me, and a some elites got disqualified from the race, due to getting lost. This race was fun, I would do it again, it is a good venue, but the fears people got from this made me envision another killington.