Tuff Scramblers – Spring 2014


* From: Ben Millina
* Event: Tuff Scramblers
* Date: 2014-05-17

* Event Details
I thought Tuff Scramblers was a great for a race. It provided great technical trail running with plenty of rocks to negotiate throughout. There was also an overabundance of mud (you can never get enough!). The obstacles were also very entertaining. I really liked how the course works in with the natural surroundings of the gravel pit area. It made them raw, and in that sense…more real. You were negotiating walls made of pieces of culverts stacked upon each other, piles of quarried out boulders, and mounds of loam, gravel, sand, etc. It made them much more slippery and much more of an eye opener than your run of the mill obstacles such as walls constructed of lumber. I loved the log hops made of filled in 55 gallon barrels & concrete pilings. My favorite part of the course was the stream crossings. There were plenty of those, including a very long and deep crossing at the very end. The monkey bars were really interesting too; they were bars on swinging chains. All the obstac
les were GREAT and the terrain was bar none! It was very, very technical with all the rocks and single tracks, streams, and large quarry rocks to cross. The R U TUFF ENOUGH marshmallow hay bale tower was also an epic touch. This definitely gave you the rejuvenated “kid” feeling! It was also very great that ALL of the obstacles were visible to the public in the spectator area. The only areas non visible were the trail running sections.

The venue was great and had a great location. It is in an very forested area that is not too far off the beaten bath. There was plenty of parking. The festival area was ample enough-not too big and not to small. There seemed to be plenty of porta potties and it was VERY nice to have a shower & changing area! EMTs seemed to be right on the cue as well. I can’t testify fully as I did not thankfully require their services, but they were in John Deere MULEs with sirens and beacon lights. The DJ was pretty good too-he played a nice mix of motivating pop tunes at a volume that wasn’t over the top or too quiet.

My only critiques of the day would be not including a finishers medal. The LOVE the Tuff Scramblers logo of the smiley guy running through the mud. He would look quite nice on a piece of bling. Given the choice, I’d prefer a medal over the glass given out. The only other issue seemed to be with timing. Many people’s times did not register, and some times were incorrect and way off. The timing official from RaceWire told me this was most likely due to the finish line marker being in such close proximity to deep water.

I’m looking forward to do it again next year!

* Race Details

* Rating
Above Average


* From: Dave Kennedy
* Event: Tuff Scramblers
* Date: 2014-05-17

* Event Details
First off, one of the things I loved most about this race is that it wasn’t a huge race. It never felt crowded and had a great local feel to it. The parking was a short bus ride to the event and was only $5 ($10 seems to be the norm these days). I arrived relatively early and there was no line to get your bib and only a couple of people waiting to get the shwag (glass and tech t-shirt). Bag check was free and you got a band for a free meal and a free beer. Unless you were planning on getting hammered after the race, there was no need to bring any cash into the event after you parked your car.

One thing I was impressed with was the first aid presence. They had two ambulances on site with a quad and looked to be very ready to help with any injuries. I saw two people go out with injuries and it looked like they were very quick to get them help. While I didn’t need any medical help, it was a nice piece of mind to know it was there if I needed it.

* Race Details
The course was great. Lots of technical trail running (very rocky with a lot of mud and creek crossings). I can’t tell how much the heavy rain the night before added to the mud, but I got the sense that it would have been very muddy even without the rain. Most of the obstacles involved going through mud at some point. And the end of the race was wading through a thigh-deep muddy water creek and then a deep muddy water crossing. It was deep enough that I had to do the crawl through the deepest part.

What the course lacked in hills was made up with a lot of climbing up and down tall piles of sand and small and medium-sized rocks, and a semi-long section with large boulders. A good chunk of the obstacles were around the start/finish area so it gave spectators great views of the race (and gave the racers a decent feel of what to expect before they started). There weren’t any obstacles that were mind-blowing, but they were all challenging and there were plenty of them so it didn’t feel like a trail race. They were spaced well throughout the course to break up the running.

My only complaint about the race was that it could have marked better in some sections. There was a section towards the middle of the race that was in the open woods (compared to the rest of the race) and I got lost and ended up running a section twice. There were no volunteers in the woods to help with the course so I didn’t realize I was off course until I got to an obstacle and heard a volunteer yelling that they had a runner going the wrong way. I was thinking “what an idiot” until I realized that idiot was me. There was also another section where I got off the course and had to get back on track. I talked to another racer after the race who saw me go off the course at that part and he said a piece of tape to mark the course had fallen down.

Overall, I give the race an A. I loved the atmosphere and the course, The only change I would make would be to improve the course markings in the aforementioned section in the woods or add one or two volunteers in there to help keep people on course.

* Rating


* From: michael downey
* Event: Tuff scramble
* Date: 2014-05-17

* Event Details
parking was easy, for me being a city boy for a lil bit once i got off 44 i honestly thought they could have used maybe a sign or two along the way so you knew you were on the right path. facilitates onsite were great this was the first time i saw a actual shower at a race. they gave us a nice place to spread out and set up tents for the day and relax pre and post race. the schwag was nice we got a tech tee when we walked in instead of being given a shirt at the end of the race when your all a mess and also a nice pint glass as our ” bling” me myself i more prefer a medal as the award because there easier to display and store than a glass so if given a choice id choose a medal over a glass.

* Race Details
this was my first time ever doing this race and after seeing how much people gave it great reviews i had the bar set high for a local race and i will say they met and exceeded my expectations. the course was very well marked and laid out and very few pinch points where it was reduced to one lane of traffic. my only criticism is that it took quiet a while to reach the first obstacle ( maybe close to mile 1) i like to see a race that you hit your first obstacle in the first .25-.50 mile mark. but once we got to the obstacles is where the fun and creativity began with nice giant steep dirt mounts and rock mounts to scale ( beware of falling rocks) then a nice lil mud crawl and a lot of boulder walking that you really had to watch you footing.my favorite of the day had to be the climb up the drain tube towards the end. overall i would say this is a high quality event that is great for a first timer and yet can also be challenging for a elite runner with all the technical terrain

* Rating


* From: Christopher “Flux” Hoey
* Event: Tuff Scramblers Rehoboth, MA 2014
* Date: 2014-05-17

* Event Details
Let’s first talk about everything but the race and course itself for what turned out to be a gorgeous day in Rehoboth, MA at the Tuff Scramblers “Ultimate 5K Adventure Race”.


Driving into Rehoboth from Central MA proved to be no challenge. Typical for the first time at an event, there was the nervousness of getting to the event on time. With time to spare for check in and parking, we encountered no issues getting to the event. Parking was ample in both the regular and elite/volunteer lots by the time we arrived at 9:30am and left by 3:00pm. There was a slight moment of uncertainty arriving at the parking lot as the Tuft Scrambler parking signs are little and low, but seeing all the guys with the traffic flags you figure “I must be in the right place!”

From the regular lot, you could walk the approximate half mile to the venue if you know ahead of time where you’re going. With no signs to guide you there, taking one of the two buses from the lot is a sure and easy way to get back and forth easily.

Arriving at the event can be a little uncertain at first if you are used to the big name events where you see huge blow up arches and metal signs with fire high above your head. Yet this is local racing, down and dirty and nothing but good home fun. Walk down a little ways through the already rainy and muddy roads (you’re gonna get muddy anyways so don’t fret so much over your footwear) and you find the check-in tent with plenty of volunteers and workers in all areas to get you squared away.
Bib and timing chip – Check

Souvenir glass and tech-t with Worcester, MA have a nice day face saying “Happiness is Muddy Sneakers” – Check

Walking over into the event area past the warm fire pit and finding The NE Spahten tent – Priceless
Unfortunately, I cannot speak much to the additional schwag or sponsors as it was a bit tucked away and didn’t grab my attention at the time.

U.S. Air force had an obvious presence as a sponsor supplying the portable main stage and outdoor speakers uniquely designed as a jet.

Showing a huge presence having now partnered with Tuff Scramblers was the Unleashed (The largest indoor obstacle training center in New England) crew. Located conveniently next to the Salmon Ladder (which proved to be a huge event area draw where plenty stepped up to test their abilities…. Or just show off), Unleashed was both there with materials and information about their group and facility and also largely present in nearly every wave starting throughout the day.

On a side note, I ran with a member from Unleashed (Mike) during my second time through the course whom, I thanked, gratefully, for pushing me through the course as we ran neck and neck leading the entire 12:20pm wave. More positive kudos for Unleashed!

Skipping over the experience of the technical and fun course for a moment let’s talk after the race!


Now I will admit to being a bit spoiled after some races by finishing to a horde of people there to hand you things, congratulate you, and hand you a beer. In this case, you are left to the applause of the spectators and other runners to congratulate you as you emerge from the pond and do a short little jog over the finish line (which is actually quite humbling, as it not only amplifies the experience of racing local, it makes you appreciate all those strangers around you who stick around to see various personal triumphs occurring before their eyes!)

There are simple showers nearby for cleaning off any excess mud and minimal changing areas as well as a hose outside the stalls for hosing down your shoes and legs. Nothing that will beat that heavy water pressure shower waiting for you at home!

Following a change of clothes and drying off by the fire if needed, you can head on over to the food tent where you can pick up a lovely catered meal of two snack sized rolls of pulled pork or chicken, salad, roasted potatoes, and for you 21+ liquid grain lovers a 24oz Narragansett beer. All included in your race admission I might add!

Now if your course time is of interest to you, this is where things might get dicey for you. Course times are posted up according to wave time next to the Air Force stage. Many, however, were finding issues with their times supplied by RaceWire. Based on third party sources, (I had no direct contact with RaceWire), the proximity of the finish line to the pond caused several times to either not register or be registered incorrectly. As of 5/18/14 I have seen no official statement in regards to the issue. However, for having personally ran as hard as I could for timing, it was upsetting to not have an official chip time. I recommend tracking your own time as a sure bet way to know. This issue I see falling on RaceWire and not the organizers of the Tuff Scramblers event.

Now let’s talk course!

* Race Details
Some quick course start area notes before getting into on course detail. On my first run, the starting announcer was clearly visible, but unless you’re standing right under him you can’t hear him for squat.
Loved being able to hear the music through 80% of the course and loved that you didn’t hear the same songs all day or the same start song for every wave. It was a helpful cue to tell whereabouts you were on the course.

After the start you are right down a grassy straight away, into your first little moment of dodging people trying to avoid the mud early, around the corner, up a few small hills and right into the wooded terrain. There are no super early obstacles, which if you are a runner looking to get your pace settled in, is great.
The terrain proved rocky. Some areas more than others, left you wondering how you didn’t get stuck and face slapped by a jagged stone. I do recall a beautiful moment where you are running along a nice, flat, open terrain to give you a moment of rest, especially if you’re racing hard.

A few areas will force you to look up as you’re navigating the terrain as the course markers are in front of you, not under you. While you are spending time through those wooded areas looking down, you may notice several stream crossings, pine needles, rocks (of course), previous slipped footings, and some lost shoelace duct tape. Mind your step. Keep your eyes open for guide arrows and yellow tape.

Now here is a beautiful aspect of this course. When you’re not in the woods avoiding rocks or jumping over them, you’re close to the spectator viewing areas, doing obstacles in clear view for all to see! A spectator event for sure with plenty of opportunity for pictures. I do warn spectators, however, if you are close to a water obstacle and you see a runner come barreling through… you’re gonna get splashed… so no whining.

Lets talk obstacles:

This is a gravel pit. You will cross over high and dry dirt mounds, pebble mounds, (which I recommend crossing with consideration of those around you. Smaller rocks are easily dislodged and go rolling down) and giant piles of boulders. I particularly loved the giant bolder piles, as I got to navigate through them monkey-style.

Among the harder obstacles to navigate and climb, were walls made of PVC piping and a harder steel wall with minimal foot holes and a thin slippery muddy rope. Both of which may take you some time to negotiate or use team work to cross.

Rounding out the obstacle arena, you’ll find a giant cargo net, slick triangle PVC walls, a tough climb up a narrow, nearly vertical tube with nothing but a rope to grip on to, both high and stable pillar hopping (my favorite), and your choice of traditional or swinging monkey bars. Course designers did an excellent job using and transforming their surroundings!

At nearly the finish is what we will call the marshmallow mountain which will ask you “R U TUFF ENUF” Now I do love this obstacle and there are easy and hard ways over it. The plastic covering is, however, thin and slick when wet. Take caution as you get higher not to make foolish footing choices. There is little to no padding on the ground if you fall off from a higher point… That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! This course was full of moments where your parents would have yelled at you saying, “Don’t climb on that!” So embrace the childhood rebel in you!

Rounding out the finish is a crawl through waist deep muddy water, a short swim through a shallow pond, and then the finish to a cheering crowd.

Overall, this is both a highly doable and enjoyable course! Definite value for those who like to run multiple laps. Waves are spread out enough that bottle necking with other racers is minimal to non-existent. Medical staff are present and at the ready. Although not in need of it myself, they were quick to respond to issues. A touching moment was seeing an injured woman being driven away from the event, visibly upset, and with no hesitation, receiving a supporting round of applause from the NE Spahtens as they gathered up for their team photo. This was an event with local OCR at its finest.

See you Tuff Scramblers next year!

* Rating
Above Average


* From: James Ocasio
* Event: Tuff Scramblers
* Date: 2014-05-17

Tuff Scrambler experience 5/17/2014

Local Races in my opinion are as good as the big names with a family touch. Parking, Shuttles, and low distances. Make it easier to plan and get to. Less Chaos sometimes can mean way more fun, get in, get dirty and get out if you need to. Obstacles are challenging, inventive, and not a simple walk in the park. Participants are friendly, your friends may also be the volunteers, and the food and beer is usually the best part.

As part of the Spahten Race Local Grand prix I stumbled onto this event when my co-worker and fellow Spahten Chuck Maurice challenged me, to challenge him. The idea is to run, walk, or crawl through local OCR venues in order to support our very close neighbors in their endeavor to create what is becoming an awesome lifestyle. A lifestyle of fitness, training, and most of all about finding friends who have the same interest of kicking our own butts for charities, and just an opportunity to roll in the mud.

The Scrambler email came with clear instructions and parking options. $5 wasn’t bad and there was plenty of it. I was late; I had to attend my daughters College Grad before I could hit the highway and hopefully get in on a later heat. I arrived on the lot at 11:10, the shuttle driver was very nice, and saw my anxiety as I was unsure if or how I will get on the course. As soon as a second bus appeared she gave me the, don’t worry kid, I’ll get you there in time to get dirty nod. She also didn’t leave anyone behind as apparently I wasn’t alone on the missed start time. The ride was short, so short in fact you could almost have jogged it for a warm up.

Registration took seconds, and coordinators were friendly and understanding. I didn’t have to explain anything accept, I missed my heat and I was sorry. At larger big franchise venues this is usually a lot harder, bag checks, throw out your food or water, get in this line for that, then that line for this, nope, not here, Name, Bib# if you have it, and your ID. The coordinator took a note, gave me a new time, handed me my packet with a smile and I was off!

As I was searching for the Spahtens I was impressed, the obstacles that were visible looked intimidating and fun at the same time. I was rushing to find my comrades but with quick looks I noticed, the pond swim, giant marshmallows, monkey bars (I hate you), walls of PVC and mounds after mounds of tall dirt and boulder climbs. I got changed quickly behind our easy ups (Thanks Spahtens for making this awesome) I didn’t get to put on my usual super suite, but it was enough to get my bib pinned on my Drill Shirt, and my Hylete Gear on and I was ready. Jumping in on the 11:40 heat I was pumped to get start and finally finish my Grand prix.
I didn’t have my running mate with me as he started with the Spahtens at 11:00, there were no usual Spahten faces in line so I did what Spahtens do, I made friends with the two closest people. “My name’s James AKA The Stump, I’m running alone, but if you help me I’d be happy to help you.” And there it was I had two new friends who didn’t even know that they were Spahtens.

The mud started early so deep and soft sneakers were being lost, participants were elbow deep pulling and fighting with suction and the reaction of, ”Oh man this mud stinks!” was priceless and you knew it was going to be a good day.

There was plenty of trail running or in my case simulated running at speed walking pace. My new friends were ahead and behind as one encouraged the other to go along and she was doing great. Since I was alone I picked a group and made it a point to keep pace, a team with Yellow shirts that read something like, “remember what’s at stake” were moving at my pace, some very athletic but did the right thing and hung back to help the newbies and slower members ensuring it was fun for them and not total torture.

The course wasn’t really hilly, not that I mind at all but it had some natural and man-made obstacles that helped separate the upfront jog. The dirt mounds were tall and not overly loose so you could get a footing, the boulder climbs had some loose rocks so you had to go slow and be careful. The first wall wasn’t bad, my new friends insisted they try it first before I help and they made it. After this they built plenty of confidence and said, “Go ahead stump, we’re good.” And so I did. Jog and walk intervals it was. As I was stumbling through the back woods I hear a guy say, “Dude, your look like a wondering bull lost in the woods, you’re huge.” We laughed and I cheered them on when they went around me clearly I was blocking their path.

The majority of obstacles came later in the course and they were fun, under overs, barrel jumps I appreciated that they were solid and didn’t move like other courses, PVC walls were unique and added a different complexity to get over, the vertical pipe jumps were awesome, I could only imagine Chucks chest pounding on the height alone. Cargo net climb was enormous, got my heart going, the inclined pipe crawl was one of only two fails, and I do look forward to going back and beating it. I did appreciate that the end of the race was a waist deep river jog followed by a 5 foot pond swim so we could get all the mud off.
It was done, it didn’t seem bad at all, and I have to say along the way seeing familiar Spahten faces made it better as they would cheer recognizing the Spahten shirt. I wandered over to the shower, wasn’t heated but the water and swamps we just crawled through were a lot colder so after the initial shock, getting the mud off was actually enjoyable. A horse trailer was a good idea for a changing room. After changing into some clean gear I was off, the pulled pork sandwich was great, with salad and potato wedges the Narragansett beer washed it down nicely.

My overall experience was one of the better of the season. I had a blast, made many new friends, and got to chat with some Spahtens who are becoming friends more each time I see them. The none chaotic smaller crowd, great staff and volunteers, and my comrades all made this an event I will do twice a year, maybe even more now that Unleased will be training on site.


* From: Mike McKenzie

* Event Details
Onsite parking for Tents, Elites and Volunteers was great, the remote lot is 1/2 mile up the street. I have jogged this in the past and taken the shuttle – options are convenient and 2 buses running 1/2 drop off meant easy and quick access.
TS offers changing and showers on site always a plus. I think I have ran this race 3 or 4 times, a few vendors in the festival area, They supplied water and muscle milk was on site. FIT, Unleashed and the Air Force were also there and i always appreciate an air force towel.

Having done this race a few times with my Wife, we have a lot of Scrambler Glasses. I would really like to see them move onto some Race Bling, Belt Buckle, Medal or whatever they can think of. They also give you a technical tee which is always good quality. They had Free Meal and a Free Beer for runners which i thought was pretty cool.

* Race Details
When I Rank a race, it is of my opinion you cannot be above average or an excellent race unless you:
1. Mark your Course appropriately.
2. Have sturdy, well built Obstacles.
3. a course designed in a way to keep back ups minimal in afternoon waves.
4. Good Spectator Management.
5. A well laid out “festival” area

It is of my opinion TS excelled in all of these areas. LOTS of Yellow Tape and Spray painted Stones. They finally did away with manual time management and brought in Racewire. Which i did hear had several timing issues. TS addressed this and I cant really hold TS responsible to some gaffed timing chips. The Trail portions of this course is VERY technical and honestly any Newbie Runner or OCR Newbie should be very careful. Even Elites, if you havent run on this type of Terrain in the past its a difficult run. Difficult as in the wrong move your going to roll an ankle. You should have experience running trail before hitting this course and even then use caution. New to OCR runners or take this course should not be scared as long as they take their time through these areas. TS has some quality sections including a great cargo net, those Tube wall things that suck. the rope in a tube climb etc.

I rate this Race as Above Average – Excellent. Its worth the money you pay for registration, They offer a challenging course, good amount of Volunteers. They do Charity work with the race and offer a course where Spectators can view 80% of the course and not be in the way.

They would get an Excellent from me if the Festival area could be spiced up a bit. Some more Food options, maybe a few more vendors. Its a small area so i dont know what you can do. The Race is big enough now where the Food Tent was a little Crowded and at one point had a pretty long line to get food.

* Rating
Above Average

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