* From: Jim Will
* Event: Superhero Scramble Amesbury
* Date: 2014-06-07
* Event Details
First, “packet pickup” put a sour taste in my mouth before I even saw the course. I went to pickup my stuff Friday night at the Sports Authority in Salem, NH. Although this is a bit away from Amesbury it’s not a terrible drive. They had waivers on and and at least for people working the pick up. However, there was not packet, no bag, not much of anything. I was handed my bib, safety pins, wristbands, timing chip, and Sports Authority coupon all loose. Sorry, they put it all on the table in front of me and told me to have a good time. Thanks! I will have a good time putting all of this crap in my pockets! I’m sure I won’t lose my safety pins when I pull my keys out, I won’t rip the tags off of my bib….. They also put a tag for the tee shirt pickup on the bib. This is all well and good if you have someone to hold it while you race, or you pick it up before you finish…Rant over.
Amesbury is a pretty sweet venue. It is easy to get to, knows how to handle the crowds, and usually has some decent food. The toilets were lacking this year, not a lot of them and slightly out of the way if you needed to go before your heat. Super Swag tent looked stocked. First aid tent had numerous EMTs. There was also a live band playing reggae covers…with a smoke machine…
* Race Details
Amesbury offers a lot of trails and possible routes. We went up, down, and up again before heading into the woods for a bit. There was a good bottle neck at a sort, narrow, and low barbwire crawl. Back though the woods and mud and all that jazz. There is a course map posted so I wont go into a lot of detail on order.
Leap of faith was regulated strongly with all the issues other races have had recently. They only issue was when Dennis lost his glasses and nearly left the race! He got some spares and finished. Then a ring swing crossing that got me ten burpees. These tarzan swings take out a lot of people. Had some trenches to go through that kept getting steeper and deeper right after.
They had a rock climbing wall to go up and over. This was about 15ft and I did get worried climbing it. Somehow I did not slip and was over easy. There was a short and easy tractor pull and sandbag carry..kinda bummed on that! After a bit more trail there was an 8ft and 5ft wall. A through wall, 5ft and another 8ft. Cargo net up and over the rope climb. That thing is very loose and nearly straight up at the tops. Rope climb was next, and ten more burpees for me. There was some simple under obstacles, another tarzan swing with just ropes, and then Hell Freezes Over. I jumped over the fire into the water and was bummed how warm it was. Then I slid into the next water pit….which was full of ice and took me by surprise! It sucked. The super slime after was not slimy, more crunchy. After was a nice crawl though some water and mud before heading to the finish.
The slide was good: fast and tall with a nice deep pool at the bottom. I don’t know why they didn’t use it last year. Down the hill to the inverted walls. Either the very tall one of the 6ft one for us less in shape folks. The beast took me out, hard. I got to the top and grabbed the edge. However, I was wiped and needed a hand but everyone was already helping others. I slipped down the wall a bit and just grabbed the rope. I got to the top again but I was just out of Sandy’s reach. I slipped halfway down before I lost the rope and fell the rest of the way, jamming my ankle and knee. My hands were tired from holding the rope and I limped my butt across the line.
I can’t speak for last year as I was not able to race, but this course was good. Everyone I spoke to said the same and added it was better than last year. I wish the best for Superhero as they continue to struggle with cancelled races and other issues. If they come back next year I am not sure I will race it. I will wait to see what the rest of the year is like for them.
* From: michael downey
* Event: superhero scramble
* Date: 2014-06-07
* Event Details
yet another race at our fav location amesbury sportspark and yet another homerun by them. so as always the facilities were amazing well laid out. schwag was the typical shirt ” that we were able to pick up before the race” and a medal and free harpoon beer. only outside vendor i saw was core power protine drink.
* Race Details
the course what can i saw but WOW SHS really stepped up there game from last years race it started off kinda like last year with a trip up down and back up the main hill before hitting the trails to the east side of the property and snaked all over and came up to some tires to run thru and then right into a slight uphill barbed wire crawl and this was a area where it got bottled neckfast and they did offer the chance to skip the crawl and not be penalized. then we came out to the big field area and the leap of faith and thankfully since they have a smaller crowd they are able to run this obstacle in a very safe manor and make sure only 3 jump at a time and make sure 3 heads come up in the water and are clear before others jump next was the oly ring swing and there version of rolling mud that just kept going and going :). after that bit we got into the main part of the trail run and came up to the clearing for the cinderblock drag and sandbag carry and from that point on it wa
s the long slow upward trail that leads back to the main field and were just hit with a bulk of the obstacles, varying height walls, giant cargo climb rope climb, water trench, tarzan swing, fire jump, ice bath and a final barbed crawl. a big upgrade this year was a proper SHS slide at the top of the hill and then a inverted wall and there large incline wall to the finish. also a new feature this year was the couch potato or extreme athlete giving 2 different difficulties of a obstacle and was a nice feature. overall even thought there were a few hickups at events earlier this year SHS they put on a great event and i look forward to a return in 2015
* From: Nate DeMontigny
* Event: Superhero Scramble 2014
* Date: 2014-06-07
* Event Details
Parking was easy enough, no issues to speak of. Facilities are what you can expect at Amesbury, and most folks on the team have been there numerous time. I think SHS could have used some more vendors in the festival area, it was still quite empty to me. We were able to get our race shirts, before racing, which was nice. I am getting tired of black shirts, and was pleasantly surprised to see this is a lighter shade of green. I will happily wear this often, material is good to! Typical of most races, you get your free after race beer. It was nice to have a Harpoon and not Coors lite or whatever.
Funny story, when I went to go get my free beer I didn’t bring my wallet. They said I needed my ID to get a blue band, than had to come back to get my beer. I chuckled, out loud, and explained that my 18 year old daughter is graduating tomorrow. I did not show my ID and surely walked away with my beer. It was good!
* Race Details
I hold my head in shame for this next comment, but this was my first trip to Amesbury. I was supposed to do the Spartan in 2012, but broke my hand. Was signed up for 2013, moved to Nashville. The planets had aligned in such a way that I felt like I was never going to get there.
Today, I got there. The buzz around this venue is legit. The terrain in and of itself was brutal, never mind adding in numerous obstacles. Tons of ups and downs, stretched of mud that had me giggling and making squish noises like a pig as I gallivanted through the brown muck!
SHS had some amazing obstacles. There was your standard fare, which I do not need to go into to much detail on. My favorite three obstacles were Leap Of Faith, The Slide and believe it or not, the rope climb. Why? Because I friggin nailed it without knots or the brake technique, just good ole fashioned upper body and grip! Oh, I loved the inverted wall at the end, felt like Spiderman!!
Overall, I would say it was a somewhat difficult course. It’s not a newbies idea of fun as some things might have been to hard. That said, I think most people could have done this.
It’s great to see that feedback has been heard and SHS made some adjustments. I can’t speak on last years event, but if someone asked me if I would do another it would be a resounding yes!
* From: Sandy Rhee
* Event: Superhero Scramble
* Date: 2014-06-07
* Event Details
~ Facilities – Amesbury Sports Park is a familiar location for me as I’ve done numerous races there. The facilities were used well by SHS. They utilized the entire soccer pitch and things seemed to be sorted into logical places that made it easy to get around and find everything. I think they did an excellent job coordinating the race course and the spectator thruways.Using and under for the runners and an over for the spectators was done very well.
~ Registration – worked smoothly, but I thought it was awkward that we were handed everything separately. One person gave you your bib, another your timing chip, a third your wrist straps (one for the timing chip, one for the festival area) and a fourth your 4 individual pins. It made it really easy to drop and potentially lose something as you made your way to an area to actually put it all on. This would be the only improvement I would request for the future – either put everything in a bag/envelope together in advance, or let the first person give you your envelope and others just put the rest inside it as you go down the line. (Of course, this completely goes against my desire for less waste, so I’m not holding the way they did it against them too much!)
~ Vendors – I didn’t walk around to see any of them, and am not really sure there were any.
~ Schwag – Medal with a 2014 specific Charger level strap, the standard beer (Harpoon!!! I don’t drink the beer ever, but my husband was happy that it was a fantastic beer!), and a really nice cotton/poly blend t-shirt.
* Race Details
~ Course – the course this year was done really well. There seemed to be constant uphills to really tax you and there was a nice mix between woods and open areas. The sandbag carry stayed out of the creek this year which was a very welcome change. The holes that couldn’t be seen last year caused some unnecessary injuries last year and I’m glad they chose not to do it again. The course was well laid out with many areas having room to pass if you needed to.
~ Obstacles – the obstacles this year were great! They had a good variety of obstacles. It wasn’t all walls, and the walls they did have were pretty varied as well. They had tall walls, over-under-through, inverted walls, and the super tall wall right at the end. The balance obstacle was nice with the large logs to go across – much better than 2x4s! The main obstacles of note were Leap of faith – which was done very well and had really cold water this year. Fire and Ice still had quite a bit of ice, even for the 11:00 wave. The water slide was excellent! This was their biggest improvement over last year – I’d be willing to be that no one was scarred, broken, or otherwise injured on this slide. It was a blast too! The only obstacle that left me scratching my head was the one they called Slimey Lips. This was a low crawl through water that had *something* in it. I just can’t figure out what that something was. Maybe rock salt? It was a really weird tactile experience – not a b
ad one, just confusing. If anyone knows what that was, I’d love for you to tell me!
~ Difficulty – They nailed this one. They had a little something for everyone. They had a few super hard obstacles (Tarzan ropes, and less so the ring cross). They had a few super easy obstacles (tires and the Down in a Hole trench). Most though, were pretty in the middle. Some could benefit from teamwork while others you had to do solo. They also added in a few that had people conquering some fears of heights – Leap of Faith, the cargo net, to the slide specifically. As noted above, there was a good bit of variety which is what I appreciate a lot.
* From: Josh Chace
* Event: Superhero Scramble Charger – New England
* Date: 2014-06-07
* Event Details
Superhero Scramble finally made its way north after a few missteps in the southeast where races were delayed/rescheduled and attendance suffered. New England has always had a great turn out for SHS and they had some definite catch up work if they wanted to change the minds of 118 NE Spahtens that followed their recent hiccups quite closely.
Amesbury Sports Park once again the site and after reports of several obstacle mishaps last year, Superhero started the media blitz early showing that they’ve learned from their past shortcomings and were geared up for an amazing event. Even the management at Amesbury Sports Park shared their enthusiasm that this event will not disappoint, and in my opinion knocked it out of the park.
The race began with and up-down-up of the oh-so-familiar starting hill that we’ve all become so accustomed to. But that’s about all that was the same from the past events. Immediately you were plunged into new trail lines that I hadn’t seen at past events. Harsh climbs into steep descents were only split up by several back and forth traverses of the mountainous backside of Amesbury’s Mt-SomethingOrOther. Grueling would be the only word that comes to mind.
While the trail running was a great highlight, the obstacles were still truly the highlight. The signature “Leap of Faith” tested racers meddle (and broke this ones) off a 15ft platform into murky depths below. They had aerial obstacles such as rings, tarzan swings, and a rope climb where if you didn’t make it, you’d be sure to hear it from fellow racers only inches above your head. There was also a couple walls where you could choose the “Extreme Athlete” route and scale the highest platforms or the “Couch Potato” side that tested you still as those options weren’t any walk in the park. A relentless Tall/Medium/Windowed/Medium/Tall wall section was sure to burn out your arms and legs before you had to scale over a two-story cargo net which then allowed racers to see how high they were about to scale in the rope climb that followed. This was a great touch in my opinion, mixing multiple obstacles together. The final few obstacles ensured that you didn’t get out clean by any means. You had a fire jump into a pool of water, that you climbed out of and then immediately slid down into their “Hell Freezes Over” pool where bags of ice were dumped into an overflowing chasm where you had no choice but to submerge to get by the barbed wire blockade. Did you ever wonder what a thousand tiny daggers stabbing you all at once feels like? I can only imagine it’s something like what I felt while I was under that water. After that SHS took a page out of Warrior Dash’s playbook from the week before and used the clay/mud pit as a final “there is no way you don’t get dirty here” obstacle. That led you up to the slide, which was a HUGE point of contention for many racers (and their road rashed backsides) last year. This year the slide was atop a two story platform looking down into a pool where you landed. No chance of overshooting this one but it sure gave you the feeling that you could go careening down to the finish line right quick as you sat atop it. A few final crawls and inverted walls brought your to another of Superhero’s signature platforms, the slanted wall climb. Broken bodies and burnt out superheros crashed upon the wall by the thousands. Some conquering, others waning. But no matter what, anyone who made it to that point was a hero to me. They earned the right to cross the finish line whether it was over the wall or around it.
COURSE – A+
Amazing and never before run trail lines and new challenging obstacles grouped together in relentless fashion made sure that you would feel this event for days to come after finishing.
ORGANIZATION – B
Check-in was done well, but no packets for your Bib, Timing Chip and Wrist Band, and event pass wrist band (not sure the point of this one) were simply handed to you while you checked in. The option to pick up your shirt ahead of time was a great decision I must say, as there was no chance you’d miss out on your proper size, etc. They did however pay respects to the biggest team, your New England Spahtens, in the form of an email shoutout in the pre-race packet and with a team tent for everyone to enjoy.
ATMOSPHERE – A
A festival full of superhero’s and a great spectator area right near the finish lines made sure that you were always hearing fellow racers being cheered on, and when there weren’t any a good local live band played originals and covers over by the beer tents. They also had some “fun” obstacles for anyone to try; Tire flips, Traverse walls, etc.
LOGISTICS – B+
Parking was done well as usual. Check in was fine. Bag check was easy and not too crowded (and free with ticket). Volunteers were in short supply for this event and I heard mumblings of some people being left at their posts for hours. I happened across a few sunburned ladies that were dying in the heat without food or water – I made sure to share some sunscreen with them. The lifeguards however were awesome. They were encouraging and helpful at the Leap of Faith and made sure to be in the water for any weary amateur swan divers.
OVERALL – A-
If there was any question about Superhero succumbing to the pressure of competition out there, events like today’s will ensure that they’ll be a force to reckon with. On course/obstacle design alone they’ve surpassed almost all of the prior events this year in terms of this customers satisfaction. There were a lot of happy New England Spahtens at today’s event sharing the sentiments of a great day and a very entertaining race. Nice job Amesbury Sports Park & Superhero Scramble.
* From: Erick Coleman
* Event Details
The shuttle service, like any service from Seabrook, was good. Almost no wait and my little crew had the fortune of catching a bus with A/C on the trip to and from. Plopping down into a nice, cool, air conditioned bus after sitting in the sun, having a few pops and listening to music was a really welcome thing!
Registration, I found, was very easy. I was able to pull up my Bib # from the night before, along with a waiver from the web page. All I did was flash my ID, hand over the waiver. They handed me the bib, timing chips, etc and I was off. I think I was in line for all of maybe :90 seconds. With the exception of Muckfest, it was the my quickest one to date.
I thought the food / vendors were fine, as was the available schwag. The finisher shirt is pretty sharp and a departure from the standard black / gross cotton that shrinks to an unbearable level as soon as you wash it.
One fairly large complaint: The “showers” and “changing tent.” Tipping over a snow gun and pointing at people isn’t a shower. Having one tent for all sexes to share isn’t appropriate. It was awesome jumping behind the dumpster to change, praying my towel didn’t fall off. No one needs to see that. Have some high powered hoses and split the tent in half. Not much to ask.
* Race Details
The course was really well done. I haven’t experienced parts of the trail, it was nice to see! The obstacles were a nice blend of “anyone can do as long as they have the nerve” and then really hard “less than 10 people have completed this all day” (the Tarzan swing, per the volunteer). For anyone curious, I was one of the ten. I did it front, back, sideways, and then one handed…just to show what eating your Wheaties will do for you.
I only have two pieces of feedback:
The random barbed wire crawl after the first climb into the woods. It was not a well placed obstacle. When you’re actively telling people they can skip it and not do burpees due to a bottle neck, you’ve done something wrong. Plus it was short, and un-eventful anyway. Move it and make it longer.
Leap of Faith: They had guards there, no divers. The volunteers at the obstacle were also losing control of it when we were on it. Had I jumped when I was told to, it would have been directly onto the head of another NES member, to which I pointed out to both people. They were just blindly counting “1, 2, 3, jump!” This can’t happen. People get terrified of heights and think “I’m just going to not think and do it.” Had *I* not thought and “just did it” I would have literally killed someone on Saturday, and it wouldn’t have been my fault, I would have been following direct instructions…however 100% of my weight would have crushed down on this person, who was just coming to the surface. Due to this, before jumping, I turned to the person behind me and said “make sure we are out of the way before you go.” They promised they would. My wife and her friend were about :20 minutes ahead of my crew and had similar experiences.
Memo to the staff of Superhero Scramble: There is currently a kinda sorta big deal going on with Leap of Faith right now. Maybe you’ve heard of it. If something happens at one of your events, your company will die, and someone will probably go to jail. Tough Mudder has provided you with a cautionary tale. Use it.
Other than that, the course was well done. Volunteers were nice (a few complained about not being relieved in time to go run at the last heat), the obstacles were very good. The rope climb continues to be a pain in my rear end, although I made it within an arm’s length of the top before I remembered I was terrified of heights. The water slide was really fun. I will admit this: I figured Hell Freezes Over couldn’t be any worse than TM’s Enema. Holy hell, was I was. Totally knocked the wind out of me. A few people before I gave us great advice – “bee line it for the mud crawl, the mud is warm.” So we did, and it was!
I really, really enjoyed this event! I hope this company is able to get their inner politics together. On game day, they bring it. I’ll be back!
Name: Michael Carr
event name: Superhero Scramble 2014 (Amesbury)
parking: Park at the race track and take a shuttle for $10
facilities: plenty of porta-potties at the base, Amesbury Sports Park food vendor (incl water/powerade/beer), “jet shower” for cleaning up after
vendors: surprisingly not many, SHS gear sales was it I think
schwag: awesome athletic fit tech tee, medal, free beer
course: 4.1ish miles, made excellent use of the relatively little elevation change to make for a surprisingly hilly course in and through the woods and onto a back field filled with very tough obstacles. Some trails were very steep and loose, and it was hard to slow yourself down on the descents, and your calves burned on the ascents.
obstacles: very well designed and constructed (some movable from city to city), safety well thought out. Some of the harder obstacles were “Ring Worm”, a series of varying height gymnastics rings (6-8 in a line) over a mud pit. The object was to swing from one end to the other and avoid the mud pit. A similar obstacle used relatively thin rope (1/2″ polypro I believe) instead of rings, and the object was to swing across Tarzan style. Less than 5% of the racers successfully stayed dry on that one. A twofer was the leap over burning logs into a pool of muddy ice water. Then a crawl through the Superhero Slime (which was warmed by the sun, and quite welcomed after the ice bath). Another twofer was the cargo net up-across-down structure that doubled as the rope climb (6 ropes, probably 18-20 feet high, 3 with knots every 3 feet, 3 without knots). Many people fretted at the leap-of-faith, a 20′ jump into a deep pool (I did not touch bottom) of muddy water, with a short swim to safety. Near the end of the course was the final three obstacles: the giant water slide (fun, and way safer than last year’s Slide O’ Death where many people lost skin), some haneous inverted walls, and their signature slanted wall climb.
Overall Rating: Excellent
The real testament to how good a race was (relative to how affordable it was) is would the racer do it again next year. Thankfully, there was a table in the infield to register for the 2015 Boston Superhero Scramble, which this racer took advantage of at 50% off!