Tuff Scramblers – May 2015

tufflogo* From: Alissa

* Event Details
This was my first race of 2015 so it was a “get the kinks out” sort of race for me, before I tackle the Boston Super in June. It definitely served it’s purpose – not too hard but challenging enough to keep you moving and get back into race mentality.

The parking was very easy – $5 fee and approx a half mile from the race location and shuttle buses every 10mins kept things running smoothly.

Registration was quick and well organized – folks were handed ID bracelets for food and alcohol as well as a nice quality tech t-shirt. There were several porta-potties as well as men’s and women’s private changing tents and shower stalls. There were only two shower stalls though and there was quite a backup after the race to rinse off, so I ended up skipping the rinse off and just changing in my car (taking LOTS of mud home with me). I would recommend to the race directors to setup more rinse stations that actually are not private stalls because people were taking full-on showers in there (shampoo and all!) This would help post-race since this was a VERY muddy course.

* Race Details
The course – very rocky, muddy, and wet. In fact I think the amount of rocks on the trail and the boulder mounds we climbed made it hard to gain any real speed on the course in my opinion. There’s just no way to run thru a rocky trail both quickly and safely, it seems to be one or the other. Mounds of boulders where rocks would shift and people’s hands would get pinched created a trecherous feel and again slowed you down. The obstacles themselves were for the most part moderately (but not very) challenging, and this was a no-penalty race so there was no dreaded burpee pressure if you missed or failed one. There were alot of dirt mound climbs and water pits, I would have liked to have seen a bit more variety in the obstacles, as it started to feel repetitive after the 3rd or 4th dirt climb, and what seemed to be countless water pits. Two obstacles that I
really enjoyed were the giant cargo net and the monkey bars, which gave two options – the swinging bars or the standard stationary bars. The final obstacle was a walk (or swim) in a small pond, with the Finish line in sight. The cool water felt refreshing after all that mud, and having our Spahten teammates waiting and greeting you at the Finish was awesome!

Obstacle summary: mud pits, water pits, PVC pipe walls, cement pylon jump, metal wall climb (with footholds and rope), under/over bars, boulder mounds, dirt mounds, monkey bars, cargo net climb, incline PVC pipe climb with water and rope inside, pond swim. There were no strength carries such as bucket or sandbag and I felt a bit underchallenged in this regard as I really like the strength obstacles.

Food tent – the food was generous and had enough variety to make it more of a meal than a snack, which was appreciated. Choice of sandwiches (chicken or pork), pizza, salad, potato, snack/candy, beer and soda. We ate in a tent with plenty of open seating and watched people finish the last couple of obstacles.

My finish time was 1:03 and this was a 5k. That seemed slow to me compared to other 5ks I have done, but I attribute most of that to the rocky terrain and I was happy with my finish time and effort level.

Overall, a good and fun race but not one of my favorites due to overall obstacle challenge level and lack of creativity on the course, but I think the race directors optimized the natural terrain well.

* Rating




* From: Niki Leonard

* Event Details
What it is:  5k Obstacle Course through a section of a state forest.
Where it is:  Rehoboth State Forest
Parking:  Funny story here, so I accidentally plugged the venue into my GPS instead of the parking address. We arrived about 45 minutes before my10am heat (we were running a little bit behind), and I didn’t even realize we were at the venue instead of the parking lot, nor did the attendant correct me. He asked me when my heat time was, and then just asked for my $5 to park. It wasn’t until I asked another attendant if I jump on that bus idling that I was told I was already where I needed to be. Oops!! However, this really contributes to how friendly and patient the volunteers were.
Vendors:  There wasn’t any vendors here. There was a really cool guy creating sculptures out of wood with a chainsaw. You could purchase a raffle ticket to win a sculpture, with the money raised for charity. The food was catered, and there was a great selection of food, as well! It was delicious. A free ‘Gansett beer (you had a few options for flavor, which was nice), as well. Our choices were pulled pork, pulled bbq chicken, pizza, salad, potatoes, and a few other things. They were generous on their portion size as well. Food tickets were sold for spectators (I’m not sure how this process went, as my hubby, a spectator, wasn’t hungry). The food was very well done!
Facilities:  There was a huge tent with tables and chairs to eat and drink right in the middle of the obstacles in the last half mile of the race, which made it a great location to sit and eat. There were just enough porta-potties for the amount of people (didn’t find any back-ups when I went), and were clean. The offered the larger teams area for their pop up tents, which was great! I don’t recall if there was a bag check or not, due to the tent area being just fine for my sack. They also offered shower stalls to clean off in (but I found the pond rinsing at the end, I was mud-free enough to just change into dry clothes at my car before heading off), which is nice.
Schwag: Beyond the good food and getting a beer, we also received a nice BRIGHT green technical t-shirt (and can I just give a HUGE shout out for offering XS?! You have no idea what that means to a small girl in an industry dominated by men’s sized t-shirts), which had really fun graphics. The medal was handed to you among finishing, which was a nice round medallion, and a funny animation. I appreciated the “fun-ness” the race projected through and through.

* Race Details
Check in:  Was a breeze! Lanes were set up depending on the first few letters of your last name. I was behind one other person, and was checked-in in under 5 minutes. With your bib came your shirt and 3 bracelets; one for food, one for drink, one to let others know you’re old enough to drink. The volunteer suggested to keep the bracelets aside for the race, so they don’t get dirty, which I did! My registration accidentally stated XL for shirt size, but the volunteer asked me if that was correct, and it was no problem to swap to the XS. The hubby, as a spectator, went off in a different direction to get into the race, a small table to the left manned by a nice lady, where he had to either pay $5 or donate 2 non-perishable food items (he chose the latter), and he got his bracelet, then we were in!
The course:  I don’t remember all the obstacles, or their order, so this is going to be a general overview with nods to obstacles that stand out to me. Overall, this course was not that difficult. I’m not saying it didn’t hold its challenges, but you got a vibe early on that this was more about FUN than being the hardest 5K challenge. That being said, there was an announcer over the speakers (usually playing music) giving heat times 15-10-5 minutes warnings. We got to the start line with a few minutes to spare. There was no MC pumping us up or anyone giving an overview of what to expect, but there was an older gentleman with a race gun, who others seemed to remember from previous runs. With a bang, we were off! This course consisted of a LOT of technical trails. I joked a few times throughout the race that I didn’t envy the guy who had to spray paint all the tripping hazards, and times wondered why the ground wasn’t just completely covered orange. It was a lot of detail, and truthfully appreciated. The course started off with mud, where there was a bit of slow down if you weren’t in the front, where we got to trail running. There were a lot of natural obstacles too (fallen trees, small brooks, etc). A few under or throughs from a barbed wire fence we passed a few times (where they protected the wires with tubing). Eventually we came to the first sandy hill climb, which led to another one, and I think another one. These types of hill were frequent throughout the race, pretty steep, often loose dirt. Eventually you were led into a muddy crawl, then into more liquidy mud pits (where I was looking behind me and completely missed the deeper second pit, which the small crowd got enjoyment from). Back through woods, more piles to climb, and eventually the dirt piles became rock piles, which are a bit more difficult, then the rock piles became boulder piles. The boulder piles REALLY slowed people down, with height and ankle breaking a serious scare. This was my biggest slow down point, as the path options are very narrow, and it was a slow trek over the top. Somewhere in these climbs you went up another sandy hill, into a mud bath, then had to climb a ~10ft metal wall, with varying lengths of rope. This wall and I were not friends. Thankfully, I found a foot hold and managed to get over without help after a few shots. Finish all of the boulders, and back to trails. There were a number of obstacles and trails in the next section, and because I can’t remember the order, to touch a few were pvc walls, mud pits, a version of log jumps, but on cement columns and about 6ft off the ground, a large cement cylinder with holes in it that had to be climbed over, another larger pvc wall with strap assistance. As you near the end, the obstacles became more frequent. More pvc walls into water mud, eventually onto a giant cargo net climb up to a platform, then down, but it tapered out, rather than stayed vertical (I found this more challenging to look behind me while going down, so I didn’t snag a foot or anything). There was a GIANT pvc A-wall to climb over, and there were sprinklers on top. Looked more challenging than it was. A set of monkey bars (also with sprinklers), where you could choose between a thin, frequent bar option or swinging bars (each end of the bar on chains). I opted for the straight bars, but found it slightly difficult because I couldn’t swing like I normally do due to their narrowness. I enjoyed the change in pace! Eventually you end up in waist-deep mud which leads to the pond (again, about waist deep), where I chose to free-style it to the other side. Walk out, and boom! You’re done! Got my medal, gave my bib number for time, and off to chat and food.
Rating:  It was a REALLY fun race. I didn’t push myself for time, and it took about 50 mintues to finish, but not attempting to get in the front of the heat, definitely added time in slow trekking with other people through tougher spots. I highly recommend this race for a newbie or for someone looking for a change of pace. I will be back to the October event!

* Rating
Above Average

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