Wason Pond Pounder – 2013


  • Name: Sandy Rhee
  • Event details (parking, facilities, vendors, schwag etc):

This is my third time to do the Wason Pond Pounder and after its first year, I’ve looked forward to it every year. The race organizers have done a phenomenal job with this race and it gets better every year. This year was no exception.

Parking was easy and hassle free. Directions led us to an off site parking area where there were a number of volunteers keeping things running very smoothly. A bus was waiting when we arrived and took off shortly after we boarded. A really nice touch this year was a binder with all the bib numbers in it on each bus. As we boarded, we were asked if we already knew our numbers, which we did. However, anyone who didn’t was able to look theirs up even before arriving at the location. This was a great time saver for anyone who needed it and is an example of the amount of preparation that goes into this race. What other group would have thought to add such a nice touch? I was very impressed.

Check in was really fast as they had enough lines set up to handle an entire bus full of people without anyone waiting for more than a minute or two. They could easily have halved the number of registration tables to save on the volunteers, but they didn’t. Another touch that shows how much thought they put into everything they do and how much they pay attention to their participants entire experience for the day.

The race t-shirts were at a separate table which kept the registration tables free and running quickly. Often, t-shirts are lumped in with registration, which takes more time and means that quantities of shirts have to be at each individual area. With them being separate, you simply had to let the volunteers know what size you were and let them mark your bib to show you had collected your shirt.

I didn’t look around for vendors, so I cannot comment on that. I will say that the spectator area was nicely spread out and included large grassy areas as well as a number of picnic tables. We had a large enough group that we used a couple of the tables throughout the day. This was a nice option.

There were two food vendors and I heard positive comments about the hot dogs. I chose the pizza instead and was happy to tip a little extra since it was for the Fireman’s Association. They even had a chicken ceasar wrap/salad option for those who preferred something more than burgers and fries. They seemed to aim to please everyone without going over the top.

Next to all the trash cans were recycle bins for both plastic and cans. This is the one thing I wish was required at all races. It is disturbing to me to see the number of plastic bottles that get thrown in the trash at events. I was glad to see that Wason Pond had thought of that as well. All they need next year is a compost/food waste bin for all the banana peels and it will be completely perfect! As it is, I give them two thumbs up!

I didn’t see how much food they were able to collect for the food bank, but I am pleased that all their emails included a reminder to bring a food item. I know that some folks still forgot, but many didn’t. Again, this was a nice touch that they didn’t have to do, but did.

  • Race details (course, obstacles, difficulty etc):

The course they put together is fantastic. It isn’t terribly difficult, but not every race needs to be! The obstacles have improved each year and it is obvious that they put a great deal of thought into their design and construction. Each year there have been large wooden wire spools to hurdle for example. This year, what made the obstacle different is that you had to hurdle several of them while also going uphill. This added a little twist that made them even more fun. Wason Pond made good use of the terrain with several small hills to run and some good water crossings. The obstacles have some good variety, but most are some version of climbing over or crawling under. They added a slant wall this year that I really liked and a tire drag as well. The only criticism I could make about the obstacles is that some weren’t 100% clear on what you should do. There were barricades that you could either go over or under and the volunte
ers said either was acceptable. I chose to make those half over and half under, but others may have chosen all of one or all of the other. What I interpreted as a tire drag could also have been a tire carry (which I actually would have preferred as it would have been faster), and later in the day, I saw several people high step over the low crawl bungee cords. However, even with the ambiguity, the obstacles really were fine no matter how you did them. This certainly didn’t subtract in any way from my enjoyment of the event.

I love that this event is not significantly difficult. I don’t want every race to kill me every time. Wason Pond bills itself as a family friendly race and I’ll take slightly easier obstacles so that the kids can be involved. I believe the minimum age for this race was 8 and I was thrilled to see the number of kids out racing in the family heats. I even saw one young man run the elite heat next to his father and he did quite respectably at that! I hope there will continue to be the emphasis on the family over a really difficult  course.

I’m rating this as Excellent, but really wish there was a “Must Do” option on the scale. For those of you who have children who will be at least 8 at this time next year, I say go ahead and sign up now for next year. Where else can your kids run the full course with you? Where else can you get a quality event for all the adults AND the kids at the same time? Where else can you get an event that is as well planned and run as this one? Nowhere. So, join me next year for the fourth running of The Wason Pond Pounder.

  • Rating: Excellent


  • Name: Rob Fournier
  • Event details (parking, facilities, vendors, schwag etc):

With not many obstacle course races scheduled in New England for the month of May, I had three to choose from: Wason Pond Pounder, Bold R Dash and Tuff Scramblers.  After completing the Muckfest last weekend, I was anxious for the next one. Due to the fact that both Bold R Dash and Tuff Scramblers were scheduled on the same day later in the month, I decided on the Wason Pond Pounder in Chester, New Hampshire.

The Wason Pond Pounder is promoted as a challenging 3.5 mile obstacle course race that will test your fitness, strength, stamina and agility. The local race featured about 15 obstacles around the scenic trails of Wason Pond.  The event included a couple competitive waves and two family waves in the afternoon. All of the proceeds benefitted the Chester Charitable Foundation, a non-profit group raising money to support charitable endeavors in the community.

I will be reviewing local races differently than the larger national races. Many of the local races do not have the man-power or funding that the larger events have, so they will be judged accordingly. Similar to college when you got a 53 on your calculus exam but received a B+ grade because the professor scaled all of the scores. Local races will be measured against other local races and national races will be judged against other national races.

  • Race details (course, obstacles, difficulty etc):

Parking/Location: 4.0 out of 5.0

It was another beautiful spring morning in New England as we headed up Route 93 towards Chester, NH.Since Wason Pond has limited parking, all participants were directed to a satellite lot in nearby Raymond, NH, about 5-10 minutes away. The charge for parking was only $2 per car to offset the cost of the shuttle buses. The buses made frequent trips back and forth to the venue. When we arrived, a bus was waiting and we were quickly on our way to the race.

Wason Pond is a quaint, picturesque spot with scenic trails through the woods  The main area was an open field with picnic tables and tents setup, along with a row of port-a-potties. There were obstacles spread throughout the space, allowing spectators a nice view of the race.

Registration: 5.0 out of 5.0

A day prior to the race, you were instructed to visit the website and find you bib number, as well as print out the waiver. For the people who hadn’t gotten their bib number ahead of time, there was a clipboard on the buses with all the information as well as boards setup at the venue.  They had a few tents setup right in the front with the various bib number ranges. There were absolutely no lines when we arrived. I simply provided my bib number, handed over a signed waiver and received my bib and timing strap. The volunteer directed me to the t-shirt area to get our free t-shirts.  I was scheduled for the 11:00 wave time, but since the entire registration process went so quickly, I decided to jump in with the 10:40 crowd…maybe a mistake as you’ll read later.

Course 4.0 out of 5.0

We were directed to the starting line where a volunteer instructed us of the course and rules. After a short count down, we were off!  The course snaked around and through Wason Pond. The trails provided some wonderfully, panoramic views of the surrounding area.  The course was marked by painted arrows, red caution tape and cones. There were plenty of volunteers in bright orange shirts encouraging and directing participants throughout the course. The first obstacle encountered was a span of four elevated logs that need to hurdled.  Next came a stretch of tires staggered along a hill that we need to run through.  Two areas on the course involved carrying objects around a certain area. The first was a cinder block carry and later in the course was a tire carry. After the cinder block carry was a set of over/unders, followed by a bunch of large wooded spools that we need to jump over. We climbed our way over a couple wooden structures and completed the aforementioned tire carry.
Next up, we waded across a section of the pond through waist-deep water (not as cold as I imagined…actually kind of refreshing except for the soggy shoes).  We winded are way back to the start where we climbed over a couple 6′ walls and military crawled under some bungee cords.  Up and over some hay bales and back towards the pond. Along the beach was a rope-assisted climb up a ramp. Slide down the other side and back in the water we go! We trudged through the water again, following a path of swimming noodles. Back through the woods and over some hurdles. We had to swing across some monkey bars and head towards the finish. We ran the zig-zag hills, jumping over hurdles, and finished the course by climbing over two 10′ A-Frame wooden structures. Volunteers where stationed throughout the course and were helpful in directing racers in the right direction.

Post Race: 4.0

There was no wash off area, but since there was no mud on the course, it wasn’t necessary. They did have two decent sized changing area tents. There was also a bag check location that I didn’t take advantage of. The food consisted of a couple vendors with a few choices.  The Chester Firefighters Association was offering  pizza and a chicken caesar wrap. The Purple People Feeder truck had hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, soda and chips. No free beer at this one! They had also requested that each participant bring a non-perishable food item to help stock the local pantry. Unfortunately, that was the one thing I forgot to bring with me. Next year I’ll bring five to make up for it! A DJ was setup in the corner playing tunes throughout the day. Results were posted shortly after each wave time and were broken up by waves. Since I jumped in with the 10:40 crowd instead of my 11:00 scheduled wave, I searched both sheets and didn’t see my name.  The email I received prior to the r
ace did specifically state that in order to receive an accurate finishing time you must start during your registered wave. I’m not quite sure if running in an earlier wave caused my name to be completely left off the results list or if I simply had a bad timing chip. Now I am not exactly Hobie Call in these races but I do like to see where I finished. Luckily, I was able to review my GoPro video of the race and determine what my time was. I was probably better of not knowing!

Conclusion: 4.0

The Wason Pond Pounder was a family friendly event that boasted some picturesque trail runs. Since families participated, most of the obstacles were fairly tame. The layout of the course provided spectators with some great views of the action. Nice family atmosphere.

Photos and Video of this race available at muddywarthog.com

  • Rating: Above Average


  • Name: Mark Gearin
  • Event details (parking, facilities, vendors, schwag etc):

The parking was off site and we were bussed over for $2 and well worth it.  The facilities were ample and there was plenty of food and beverages.  There was a changing area and easy to get around.  The T-shirt was nice but no medal.

  • Race details (course, obstacles, difficulty etc):

The course was 3+ miles of Trails and it had its challenges.  There were walls, cinder block carries, tire drags, water, monkey bars and lots more.  It had its challenges but it was easy enough for my 9 Year old to tackle.  I never felt crowded on the course and there was a volunteer at every obstacle to make sure we were going the right way.

I enjoyed the family atmosphere and will definitely be bringing everyone up next year.

  • Rating: Excellent


  • Name: Christine Mackey
  • Event details (parking, facilities, vendors, schwag etc):

I did the family heat with my 7 year old. Though my finish time was an hour, I was so proud of my little girl. She rocked every single obstacle, didn’t whine, and ran most of the race.

The race itself is easy, as far as OCRs go. But it’s nice to have one with a family atmosphere that my daughter can run with me. She is already asking what her next race can be!

  • Race details (course, obstacles, difficulty etc):

There were 18 obstacles this time, 3 or 4 more than last year. The course changed a bit, though I’m not sure where. The parking was easy, there was plenty of volunteers out on the course, tshirts were nice, changing area was ample.

It was my third time doing this race, we’ll definitely be back!

  • Rating: Excellent


  • Name: Dennis Michaud
  • Event details (parking, facilities, vendors, schwag etc): The nature of OCR’s means that not every event is held at a truly handicapped accesible venue, some are more accesible than others. Prior to an event being held at a venue that I’m not already familiar with, I either visit the venue or at least contact the event. I contacted the event orgainizers of Wason Pond Pounder explained my wife’s situation and was given all the information needed to feel confident of ease of access. Due to a medical emergency we were not able to attend. However, the organizers followed up the day after and asked if we found the venue to be as accesible as they said. That was a step above and beyond and why I will make every attempt to participate in the event again in the future.
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