Superhero Scramble, 2013

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* From: Jessica Wohlen

* Event Details
Parking:  Offsite at our favorite greyhound racing park in Seabrook, NH.  A painless 10-15 minute bus ride onsite.  $10 charge.

Facilities:  Your typical Amesbury Sports Complex situation.

Vendors:  Being that we were the largest team (What what?!) I didn’t really take in the festival area much.

Schwag:  A pretty awesome superhero medal and a performance blend tshirt

* Race Details
Let me preface this with SHS was dealt a crappy hand the weekend of this event.  A tropical storm blew through the day/night previous and there was some serious scrambling to make this all somehow work out.   An email was sent out late the night before to explain that everything had been delayed 3 hours.  If you happen to have seen the video of our event, it is evident they had a decent amount of cleanup in the festival area alone to make our experience memorable and I can only imagine what happened on the course itself.  I heard part of what was to be the course had been flooded out with about 3 feet of water, so needless to say the course was rerouted a bit.

The course was different from what any veteran racer had experienced before.  We definitely were on a lot of new trail created just for this event.  This also meant the real possibility of interaction with evil poison ivy.  It was challenging and technical.  Lots of muddy, root laden areas.  Several areas of downed trees.  Did I mention the plethora of mud? 🙂   I managed to avoid taking any diggers, but some of the muddier areas had roots and stuff buried within.

Obstacles consisted of your typical fare:  Over-Under-Through, barbed wire crawl, cargo nets, rope climb, carrying a heavy object.  One of the barbed wire areas actually was over a pool of water, so you had to keep your head above water and not get nicked.  Also found were a cliff walk, rings (think monkey bars, but rings instead), a wobbly balance beam, and a ridiculously steep slippery wall.  I fell off the rings (monkey bars are SO much easier).  I fell off the balance beam at about the halfway point.  I gave the slippery wall 2 reasonable attempts, but decided it wasn’t worth risking the rest of my racing season to keep at it.  The penalty for failing:  10 baseball bat spins and 10 burpees.  I can’t forget one of the very last obstacles, the water slide.  This was shut down by the time I passed through so I had to trudge down the big hill.  I was ok with this.  Word on the street was there were some serious injuries.  Best moment:  One of the gladiators taunted me at the
finish line.  I was really close to just taking the dude out, and you should see my mean face!

Overall the course was great, there was a lack of volunteers throughout the course though which was a bit of a concern.  They were easily found when necessary – like at the closed slide telling people they would have to walk down the hill rather than ride down.  Instead of a 3 hour delay it was more like a 4 hour delay for the elite wave.  Instead of heading out 2 for our 3 hour delay (we were slated to go at 11am, originally), we had to wait until 2:30.  As mentioned above, these were obviously not something SHS could control, but it was a little frustrating.  Changing a schedule more than 3 hours is going to definitely going to rattle some schedules and whatnot.  I believe they did the best they could to make this a great event.  I’d be willing to give this another shot next year and hopefully the weather will cooperate so we can see what the real course is like.  Also, next year GREEN SLIME please and thank you 🙂

* Rating
Below Average

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* From: michael downey

* Event Details

This was my first race at amesbury sports park. while granted the parking situation isnt perfect atleast the wait for a bus to and from was not long so that was a plus. once onsite for the race it was very organized and well run, packet pickup was very simple and quick the festival area was well laid out and offered plenty of space for all the runners and guests  . there really were no vendors besides the one food and beer location.but considering they were charging $15.00-$20.00 for spectators for what they were offering that seemed a bit excessive and think for future runs they either knock it down to $5.00-$10.00 or have a lot more offerings for them since they can only see the every beginning and end of the course.

* Race Details

As for the race itself considering the weather we got the night before of several inches of rain superhero did a great job making sure to email everyone when they had to push back the race by a few hours. but the all the obstacles seemed in good shape and appears maybe only one obstacle was abandoned. my only negative part was it seemed like quiet a gap of obstacles you hit the giant leap and rings just after mile one and then really dident hit much till about mile 3.5 or so . but overall this race was fun challenging  well run and a fun time overall

* Rating

Above Average

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* From: Sally Thompson

 

* Event Details

The day started on a slightly sour note with the 3 hour delay, but SHS more than made up for it with an awesome event. I like the Amesbury Sports Park for OCRs to begin with and the obstacles were great. Just the right amount of challenge. Parking was very easy and the shuttle buses were timely. I’m not sure if the delay made fewer people come out, but the lines for registration and schwag were minimal. I also like to SH Gear – normally I’m up for just a sticker or maybe a t-shirt, but they had a lot of great stuff. I’m also thrilled with the race shirt. Normally race shirts go right into the wax-rag bin but I’ll wear this one – it’s nice and soft and fits well.

 

* Race Details

The course was great – except for the Super Slide of Death. That slide looked way more fun that it actually was. The “sliding part” was great fun, but the 50 feet or so at 40 mph over rocks and gravel  after the tarp ran out not so much (sitting on only 1 cheek this morning due to a grapefruit of a bruise on the other.) I think the obstacles had just the right amount of challenge and that people had to “buy-out” of challenges with burpees is great. I’m fine with people failing challenges but not skipping challenges and not for free. I’m no great shakes either, I did my burpees: couldn’t make it across the rings…something to work on for next year!

 

* Rating

Above Average

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* From: Rob Fournier

* Event Details

The Superhero Scramble made its first ever visit to New England this past weekend. For those unfamiliar with the national race series, they offer three different length courses: the Charger (4+ miles, 20+ obstacles), the Intimidator (8+ miles, 25+ obstacles) and the Villain (13+ miles, 30+ obstacles). The New England event featured the shortest of their offerings, the Charger. For the elite athletes, the first wave of the day was the Scramble Gamble, where the top three finishers received cash payouts. (Spoiler Alert – Hobie Call won! Shocker!!) They also included a singles wave. Why the hell not! What better place to meet someone than crawling around in the mud. At least you know you have one thing in common. They also included a kids race and also some night waves, where participants ran the course wearing headlamps. Billed as a race like no other, with wicked terrain, bad ass obstacles, major water crossings and super slime, we were anxious to see what Superhero Scramble h

ad in store for us.

 

The morning of the race, we received an urgent email from Superhero Scramble regarding tropical storm Andrea that wreaked havoc on the area the night before. My original thought was that they were cancelling the race. Thankfully, that was not the case. They decided for the safety of the runners to postpone all the start times by three hours. While some racers may have been inconvenienced by the delay, I think they made the correct decision but was leery of how many obstacles would need to be closed due to the storm.

 

Parking/Location:

 

The race was being held at what is quickly becoming the Mecca of obstacle course racing in the area, Amesbury Sports Park. Runners were directed to park at the local dog racing park and shuttled to the venue. As is customary with most of the nation race series, there was a $10 charge for parking. By the time we got to the location of shuttle buses, a fairly long line had already developed. We had to wait about 25 minutes before we could board one of the buses. The ride to the venue lasted about 10 minutes and we were dropped off right in front of the registration tents. Amesbury Sports Park has become the main spot for these races. I think I’m scheduled for about four more races here this year. It is spacious and accommodating to both racers and spectators. They had a couple people at the entrance checking bags for outside food and drinks. All spectators over 14 years old had to purchase an event day pass for $20 which seemed excessive. There was also a $5 fee bag check fee.

With the amount of money that runners already spend on the race, it’s irritating to be charged even more when you arrive at the venue. While I understand that these are money making ventures, I would rather pay  an extra $10-15 dollars when I register and not be hit with any more expenses.

 

Registration:

 

The registration tents were broken up by bib number. A couple days before the event, all participants received and email instructing them to record their bib number off the website and print a waiver to speed up the registration process. For those that forgot, there was a list of bib numbers as well as copies of the waiver. There was no line when we arrived and we quickly received our bib and timing chip. Could not have gone more smoothly.

 

 

* Race Details

Course:

 

Tropical Storm Andrea hammered the race site throughout the night. Obstacle course racing is probably the only sport where a tropical storm can actually enhance the experience. Where there’s rain, there’s mud….and lots of it! Once our wave was called, we had to scale a wall to enter the starting pen. The MC hyped up the crowd and explained the course and the penalty for not completing an obstacle. Any obstacle not completed, runners had to do ten burpees and ten super spins. A super spin is what you see at baseball games when someone from the crowd leans over a bat and circles around it quickly making them incredibly dizzy. When the starting horn sounded, we were immediately sent up the hill, down the hill and back up the hill. Between obstacles, the trails included some deep forest runs made even more difficult due to all the mud from Andrea’s wrath. All the rain also created some knee-deep pools of water throughout the route that we had to wade through. Many of the hills

were extremely slippery and some racers lot their footing and resorted to sliding down on their butts. They did a good job incorporated the natural terrain behind the park. The trails snaked up and down throughout the woods and the boundaries were well marked with red caution tape. There appeared to be only one obstacle casualty due to the storm. Along the side of one of the trails were a couple walls with rock climbing grips on them that I am assuming was not safe enough to use. Here is a chronological description and comments of each of the obstacles encountered.

 

Cargo Net Climb: a large cargo net draped between two sections of stacked storage containers. The netting in the middle was supported by three large telephone poles. We had to climb up one side, either walk or roll across the middle portion and climb down the back side. I was able to walk across the middle while bracing myself on one of the telephone poles. I found this to be way more effective than the rolling method.

 

Tire Drill: small stretch of tires on a narrow path.

 

Barbed Wire Crawl: the first of many barbed wire crawls. Personally, I think they went a little too heavy with the barbed wire. There was at least 2-3 stretches of barbed wire crawls while we were in the trails as well as a couple more barbed wire crawl obstacles later in the race. Too much in my opinion. Give me something different.

 

Leap of Faith: (one of superhero scramble’s signature obstacles) climb up to a fairly high platform and jump into 14′ deep mucky water. Trust me, it feels much higher when you are standing on the edge of the platform. Beyond my fear of heights and fear of drowning, the volunteer at the station didn’t help by yelling up at me to take my GoPro of my head. I didn’t even realize what the hell she was saying until after I jumped. When I swam out, she said I could have hurt my head with it on. Huh?? I still have no clue what she was talking about.

 

More Barbed Wire!: this time the barbed wire was spanned across a pool of water. In order to pass by each of the rows of barbed wire, you had to dunk your head under water.

 

Ringworm: (my favorite obstacle) I haven’t seen this one yet. a stretch of about eight rings that you had to use in order to cross over a pool of water. I nailed this one! I got into a great swing rhythm and was able to skip past some rings. Great obstacle! This was also the first obstacle where there was a substantial waiting line. There were also a couple other obstacles that got bottled up.

 

Cinder Block Drag: drag a cinder block attached to a chain through sand around a short distance. This obstacle was immediately followed by….

 

Sandbag Carry: we had to carry a sandbag though a couple stretches of water and some fairly deep mud. The guy in front of me stepped in a mud puddle and sunk all the way up to his hip. I was shocked when he still had his shoe!

 

Over/Under/Through Walls: your standard over, under and through walls.

 

Mud Puddles: stretch of five waist deep mud puddles.

 

Karma Krossing: substantial wait at this obstacle as well. balance beams mounted on a slight incline. Many of the runners chose to cross the beams by sitting on them and “scootching” along. I attempted to walk across but halfway through, the boards started to wobble like crazy. I tried to quickly run to the end before losing my balance but never made it and took a pretty awesome fall. My GoPro went flying off my head but luckily I was able to grab it before it sunk into the murky abyss. My motto is: If you’re gonna fail at an obstacle, you might as well do it in spectacular fashion. I did exactly that. I paid my penalty and moved on.

 

Rope Climb: A group of ropes attached to the underneath of the telephone poles used in the earlier cargo net obstacle. Some of the ropes were knotted and some were not. There was a line behind all the knotted ropes but the regular ropes had no one. In hind sight, I should have attempted one of the regular ropes, but I felt I was too spent to even get half way up it, so I waited for one of the knotted ropes. Next time! After the rope climb was another barbed wire crawl through a couple inches of muddy water.

 

Super Slime Slide: (aka The Human Cheese Grater) Essentially it was a slip-n-slide down the side of a hill with nothing at the bottom to slow you down. Slip-n-slides are like trampolines: they seems like a good idea but they inevitably end with someone getting hurt! This was no different. First of all, this was supposed to have “super slime”. There was no “super slime”, just plain old water. Apparently, the plastic tarp was much longer earlier in the race. About a third of it was torn away, exposing the mud underneath. Most of the previous runners must have worn away most of the mud that was at the bottom of the slide because when we went down, we slid a good 15 -20 feet past the slide through mud and rocks and tore up our asses pretty good. To their credit, once they realized what was happening, they had the good sense to shut this one down but, unfortunately, it was too late for us. I have been assured that next year’s super slime slide will be different and bad ass!

 

The Beast: (another signature obstacle) an extremely steep wall climb using a rope. A bunch of people couldn’t get their footing with all the mud that was on the wall. My Inov8 Roclites held tight and I didn’t slip at all. Thank you Inov8!

 

Final Battle: A couple volunteers with padding that you had to run by to the finish line.

 

Post Race:

Right after the finish line, you were presented with your medal and t-shirt. Unfortunately, they were out of XL shirts so I had to settle for a large. I was in one of the earlier waves so it was surprising that they had no XL’s left. We were covered in mud so we made our way over to the “shower” area which was nothing more than a snow making machine spraying water and mist at people. It was barely powerful enough to rinse the mud of my upper body. Below the waist never got clean. Come on, next year get some hoses! Another negative was a lack of changing tents. Really?? Even the smaller local events have changing tents. It was no fun trying to struggle and contort under a towel to get changed. As is customary, your race bib got you one free “cup” of beer. They also had your standard food choices for sale and a merchandise tent with all things Superhero Scramble. A cover band was playing throughout the day for entertainment. There were tons of runners dressed as superheroes eve

rywhere: Batman, Superman, The Incredibles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc. However, my favorite costume was the guy dressed as Scuba Steve from Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy. Awesome! One great bonus was that Nuvision Action Image was taking photos throughout the day and the digital prints were given away for free a couple days after the race. Personally, I got about 10 great pictures.

 

Conclusion:

While I had some issues with certain parts of the day, I have to give Superhero Scramble credit for handling a difficult situation in a professional manner. It was obvious that a lot of hard work was put into preparing the course after tropic storm Andrea slammed the area. They could have easily cancelled it but they did their best to put on a word class event. I also visited their facebook page after the race and was impressed with how they handled some negative feedback. They did not remove the comments like some other national race series did. They responded to each one and took responsibility for any issues. I have no doubt that they will return next year and put on another great race.

Please visit muddywarthog.com for photos and video of the race! Thanks!

 

* Rating

Above Average

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