Posted on Leave a comment

The NE Spahtens Show – Episode 31

The 2017 race season has started! In episode 31 Paul, Sandy and Josh talk about the recent Blizzard Blast event (Featured Review here), the upcoming Polar Bear Challenge and the #racelocal program

We also talk about the end of an era, with Tough Guy having it’s 30th year – and final – event this weekend in the UK. Check out the video, it’s pretty amazing to watch.

We have a larger than usual batch of listener questions to run through – thanks to Vincent4Vega4, Marie O’Keefe, Michael Braniff, Ben Millina, Flux and Amy LaPanne for those!

And we round out the show with Josh covering the latest in Spartan Race’s T Shirt obsession. You can read more about that here, too.

See you all at Polar Bear Challenge next weekend!

Posted on Leave a comment

Featured Review: Blizzard Blast 2017

Huge thank you to Nicole for our Blizzard Blast review!

Leave your own community review here.
[P_REVIEW post_id=18033 visual=’full’]

There is no better way to say it: Blizzard Blast really stepped it up this year. New OCRWC qualifier status. New venue. New obstacles. Same great attention to theme and focus on fun.

This year, Blizzard Blast took place for the first time at Shedd Park in Lowell with the festival at Wamesit Lanes, a brand new bowling alley and family fun center. Race day logistics had all participants parking at the Ocean State Job Lot about ¼ of a mile down the street from Wamesit Lanes. Buses then transported people to the bowling alley. Another set of buses provided transportation to and from Shedd Park. Prior to the event, I was a bit hesitant about all this busing. I am not a busing fan, plus the buses were a bit slow at last year’s Blizzard Blast . I need not have been concerned. Logistics were well ironed out and ran smoothly, as far as I could tell. I parked my car at the Ocean State Job Lot and then decide to walk the quarter mile to Wamesit Lanes since it was so close. The walk took me no more than five minutes – it was just as close as some places where I’ve parked for other OCRs and not had the benefit of busing.

Registration and check-in was at Wamesit Lanes, along with the post-race party. In sum, Wamesit Lanes was a good place for a party. Personal caveat: I’m not much of a post-race celebrator and I found Wamesit Lanes to be way too loud for my personal taste; however, it was really perfect for what, I think, Blizzard Blast was looking for, and I bet most racers loved it. There was cheap food and drink, large areas to hang out, and plenty to do. It was a bit of a drag that the festival and the course weren’t at the same place, as in year’s past, but the new location was definitely better suited to the number of people at the race, and SmithFest did a great job providing convenient transportation.

Check-in at Wamesit Lanes went very smoothly. I was given my chip and bib. I was able to go and pick-up my free long sleeve t-shirt (love the long sleeve option!) and buff and then proceed to check my bag for free. Excellent all around! I then went to the bar area to hang out with the other NE Spahtens as I waited for the bus for the 11:30 a.m. team wave. The busing was ultra-organized with the DJ telling us when it was time to depart.

The course was, for the first time this year, at Shedd Park in Lowell. The race location was excellent. One reason it was so good was that Fred, race director of Blizzard Blast, did a great job integrating existing elements in the park with the course. Examples: We got to run along a wall that bordered the park, many elements of the race had us using the tables and playgrounds within the park, and finally for traverse walls the race utilized a couple of walls already in existence at the park. This was a really creative approach and added to the number of obstacles on the course.

This year’s Blizzard Blast was, for the first time, an OCRWC qualifier. As such, they really upped their game. In past years, I’ve commented that Blizzard Blast can be light on the obstacles. Last year’s course was a 10K and sparse with the obstacles, making it feel more like a trail run than an OCR. Not so this year! I would say with 100% confidence that this was the best Blizzard Blast yet. There were more obstacles than the past and less running. The course was 3.5 miles in length, and you didn’t run more than a couple of minutes without hitting an obstacle. The length and number of obstacles was spot on!

Blizzard Blast had all the classic obstacles from past years along with some new and innovative ones. To begin a discussion of the obstacles, it’s important to acknowledge that Blizzard Blast is great at keeping with their winter theme. As such they had pine trees aplenty. We had to climb over pine trees, run through pine trees, do a pine tree carry, and do a sled drag with a tree (new this year). There was also sledding. Kudos to Fred on getting some snow out there. Even more kudos because when he heard that the sledding was getting a bit too fast, he adjusted to have us sled from farther down the hill to avoid injury.

The other main themed aspect to Blizzard Blast is kegs. The race is sponsored by Shock Top, a beer company, and the kegs seem to proliferate each year. The signature obstacle at Blizzard Blast is keg kingdom, one of my favorite obstacles. It’s a Rig with hanging kegs that move unpredictably making this one lots of fun. Keg kingdom is one of my favorite obstacles in OCR. There was also a keg hoist, a mini keg raise, and two keg carries – the first of which required racers to roll the keg half of the way (uphill of course!). Inspired by the new festival venue, there was also an obstacle where racers had to walk along slacklines using bowling pins suspended overhead for balance. While not very challenging, this new obstacle was innovative and super fun!

Blizzard Blast featured one new obstacle that was a great new test for racers, Devil’s staircase. This obstacle was a giant metal a-frame with rungs spaced far apart to be ascended by swinging as if doing inclined monkey bars. Super hard for me, and the one obstacle I did not make. These inverted climbs are always a struggle for me and definitely an area where I need to do some training. (Note to self: Talk with my coach.)

Credit: Caley McGuane

Naturally all the traditional favorites were there: walls, under-over-thru’s, a peg board climb, and a rope climb. All of these elements were well placed on the course. I was very impressed by how little running took place between each obstacle. It made the course every enjoyable.

I crossed the line in 1:14:19 (28/116 in my age group and 256/705 overall for open, to provide context). I was given a medal which featured a bottle opener and a little OCR racer who moved back and forth across a mini keg kingdom. So cool!

Blizzard Blast really had a tremendous event for 2017. They nailed the race, integrating new obstacles and creating an engaging course that was challenging for seasoned racers while still be very approachable for beginners. The new location is stellar. Logistics were well handled. (Though the post-race chowder would totally have been enhanced by some oyster crackers – get on it, Fred! Jk!) All around, I was very impressed with what I consider the best Blizzard Blast yet. I look forward to the 2018 race. I plan to be there.

Please support the New England Spahtens community by leaving your own review – eave a community review here.

Posted on Leave a comment

#racelocal 2017 is fast approaching

A new year, and a new #racelocal season is almost upon us!

It’ll be our fourth season of #racelocal, and like previous seasons, we switch things up, learn from mistakes and grow the program – and I’m hoping you’ll be along for the ride, and bring your friends!

(all this, and more can be found right here:

For those who may be new, #racelocal is a program started within the New England Spahtens to encourage and promote the rich and high quality local obstacle race scene we have here in New England. All too often, people start with, stick with and retire within the large national programs – and never get to know the physical challenge that is Shale Hill, or the huge group of friends gathered at FIT Challenge, or run in a snuggly onsie at Blizzard Blast – or the many other unique events going on in the region. As a community we’re firm believers that the local scene here is pretty much the best in the world – but if you don’t participate in it, don’t register for the races, don’t support it – we lose it.

So, #racelocal was born. The more events you participate in, the more miles you complete – the more prizes you get.

Lets talk a bit about 2017 – this is not news if you’re a member of our #racelocal Athletes group on Facebook, so if you haven’t already, hop on over and join in.

Firstly, the confirmed race list keeps growing. More and more local events are still building out their schedule, so expect this to grow even more. But, as of today, we have the following events.

For every event you complete, we will be converting your miles covered into points. The points table looks like this.

+20% for competitive miles (elite wave at FIT Challenge, Shale Hill’s competitive division and Bonefrog’s competitive division)
-50% for non-OCR events (We’re an OCR community, but run lots of races. Events that aren’t obstacle based will be handicapped to reflect that)

Most recently we announced that the competition isn’t just going to be the full year – we have two mini-competitions going on.

Winter Warriors – all miles logged before the Spring Equinox (6:29am, March 20th 2017) will count towards the Winter Warrior prize. Top Male / Female prize earners will win some unique and cool swag.
Charity Runners – all miles logged at events hosted by registered charities will count towards the Charity Runners award. Top Male / Female points scores.

Of course, there are prizes to earn along the way – and at the end of the season, the biggest points ranking prize awards we’ve ever done (more to come) – and we’re putting significant development time into a better tool for tracking (this is a way bigger job than I realized!).

#racelocal 2017 is going to be our best yet – I hope you’re along for the ride, and I hope you bring your friends along too!

Posted on Leave a comment

Winter is coming …

10629393_798675933554088_8871261640807198930_oand so is the winter obstacle course race season.

Wait, what?

Spartan Race recently announced that they will be holding their first winter focused event – and the social media space got all excited.

Spartan Race, in the snow? I mean, holy crap right? Crawling in the snow? Running in cold-gear?

I’m here to break the news to you that while I think this is an awesome move on their part – they are late to the party.

New Englanders have been running in the snow for four or five years now.

Blizzard Blast – January 29th 2017 – Lowell MA. While the snow doesn’t always co-operate, this is a ridiculously fun event, and last year, we ran in onsies. That non co-operative weather? 50f.

Join Us.


Polar Bear Challenge – February 4th 2017 – Held on the world class course at Shale Hill, snowy and challenging – you want to push yourself, this is where you should do it. One lap, or 8 hours worth of laps.

Join Us.


BoldrDash – March 4th 2017 – A Rhode Island staple, this Winter Dash was a blast!

Join Us.


and of course, now a Spartan Race. Held in central New York state, a 6 or so hour drive from Boston. If you’re excited for this, check out the other much more local options too – because after all, there is no off season!

Join Us.


(and here’s to there being *snow* this winter!)

Posted on Leave a comment

Spahten Story: Stephen Sweetser – All it takes is a little courage.

blizzard blast wall top backOn February 1, Stephen Sweetser shared a photo of himself going over an 8-foot wall and a small story on the challenges he faced before the race and how his own courage and the encouragement of his battle buddies got him through.

“I normally don’t post anything like this, but the overwhelming urge is killing me. I just want to throw out a huge thanks to the people I met at Blizzard Blast. It was my first OCR ever, and it was a very emotional and motivational event for me, and it may be the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

When I told people I wanted to get into the OCR scene, I was mocked, jeered, and put down by most. I’ve heard it all from “You can’t do that” to being laughed at while I get a disheartening and mocking “Good luck”. Even a family member of mine had little faith, and was so surprised about it that it destroyed me on the inside. But thanks to my brother Brian, I didn’t have a choice but to prove everyone wrong (he bought the tickets, thanks again!). And I did.

blizzard blast wall topYes, I’m overweight. You can say I’m obese. It’s obvious, I can’t hide it, Yet society never lets me forget that I am. So therefore, I’m fat, and I’m not fit. Right? It was so easy to be discouraged by stereotypes. I’m 340ish pounds, and thanks to society, I thought that I was basically “going to kill myself” at this event. I didn’t think I could do a single obstacle. I thought that I was going to be a quitter and just throw in the towel half way through. But thanks to all of the NES I met so far, and my family running beside me, I gathered the courage to go out there. I felt like a totally different person while I was around you. I wasn’t fat anymore. No one looked at me and said “you can’t do this” or “what is this guy doing here?”. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more accepted in my life. And for that, I thank all of you, even those I haven’t met, because I already know that you all have the same mentality.

I’ll try and keep this short. I could write a 12 page essay on this, but I’ll save some time for everyone. I was a nervous wreck getting out there. Finally 1 PM came, and I was off. And of course, the 8-foot wall was the first obstacle. Here comes the negative thoughts. I can’t do this, just walk around it. But for some reason, then and there, I shut everything out, and I said to myself “no, we are going to do this”. And to my surprise, I made it. I climbed that wall. I made it to the top, and went down the other side. I wished everyone that doubted me was there to witness that. I proved them all wrong. I did it. That one obstacle meant more to me than anything I’ve done in my life since graduating high school.

So again… THANK YOU to everyone. Without the support of people like you, I’d still have so much self doubt and negativity. It’s time to blizzard blast wallturn things around for myself. I look forward to MANY new adventures with you all, and I hope I get to meet more and more of you. It was so much fun out there, and I feel like a new person in just one day.

But for now, I’m off to rest my sore muscles and join a gym, I have so much I can improve on!”

The courage to step out of your comfort zone is pretty incredible.  Stephen has it in spades and was able to answer a few more questions to go just a little bit deeper into how it helped get him through

What made you decide to sign up for Blizzard Blast, your first OCR?

Well, my brother signed me up, along with my sister and my mother. This race was our Christmas gift from my brother. I’m glad he did it too.

bb end groupStepping outside your comfort zone is never easy, especially when mocked and jeered, but you did it. How hard was it to not give up?

It was really tough. While waiting at the starting line, I started to feel really anxious. To the point that I felt sick. My mind was telling me to give up before I even got to the first obstacle. It definitely helped to have some NES and family with me, because I didn’t want to be “that guy” and throw in the towel, they helped me keep going.

What are your plans for this next season?

I’m already signing up for races left and right! I can’t remember a time that I’ve felt so motivated and so determined to do better, and be better. So far you will be able to find me at Boldrdash Winter Dash, F.I.T. Challenge, Wason Pond Pounder, and the Spartan Boston Sprint (in Barre). I can’t get enough! Like I told my brother, I have to see how far I can push myself, and how much I can improve!

One piece of advice you would offer to a newbie?

Don’t be afraid of failure! I think that all my fears boil down to being afraid to fail. Becuase unless you are Spiderman, you are most likely going to fail at least one obstacle. And you can NOT let it stop you from trying. Like I was saying about the 8-foot wall, I didn’t think I could do it, but I tried it anyway. And I DID do it! Like my brother said to me when I voiced my concerns about OCR to him “you are going to surprise yourself”. And I did. And so should you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Featured Review: Blizzard Blast 2016

cropped-BBno5kBlizzard Blast holds a very special place on the New England OCR calendar. Every year – by virtue of their handy location, and early date, they get to launch the season – and for the past few years, we’ve brought the biggest team of OCR enthusiasts to Dracut, MA.

2016 – we did it again, with north of 250 people coming along for a mixture of competitive elite wave racing, multiple lap endurance – and pure fun single lap laughs. Considering there are current 985 finishes listed – thats a significant portion of the field!

Oh, and many of us did it wearing onesies. We’ve already established that the onesies were Sandy’s fault – and the weather certainly didn’t co-operate – but for sheer fun? Can’t be beat.

Lets get the big one out of the way – there wasn’t a lot of Blizzard going on at Blizzard Blast. Despite some snow a couple of weeks prior – we hadn’t had much snow, or even cold weather in the last ten days or so – in fact, race day was a spectacularly unseasonable 50+ degrees – which totally removed the Blizzard!

It’s ok – we still had a blast.

Lets get the next one out of the way – onesies SUCK in 50f weather. Sweaty, sticky mess. Many of us rolled our’s down to our waists for some ventilation. I also picked a dragon onesie with a knee height crotch – which made walls and climbing obstacles a whole bunch of “fun”.

12662734_10153274902087014_6955727160989491093_nStill – we did have a blast!

Buses from a remote parking lot seemed to be smooth all day, with no complains coming my way, and registration was pretty quick, despite a crowded tent. As is typical at a Smithfest event, you registered, then lined up for your shirt separately – NES members getting a nice perk here, and a temp tattoo to slap on you, if you’re inclined. Free bag check – which I didn’t use, but again – no complaints this way.

Plenty of indoor and in-tent seating – but the inclement weather meant you could comfortable hang outside if you want – no big problems there. Venue does great food, and a free bowl of chili (eh, last years was better) – and a full bar inside. Indoor bathrooms – with showers!

Biggest Team perk of a private room off to the back is ALWAYS appreciated. We can become quite the crowd, and having a single place to meet, mix and mingle is huge. HUGE. I can’t state this enough – if you’re a member of NES, and you make use of these facilities, please keep them clean, make sure the RD and staff and treated right – because we don’t always get them, and they make our lives so much better.

As people wandered in and out to do their elite waves, early waves and such – time ticked on to our noon biggest team photoshoot – kudos to Vince who left him home with bronchitis for this – he’s on the road to recovery, and needed to get out – but thank you! Onesies on! Team assembled!


I promptly headed to the start line – FIT Challenge RD Robb McCoy was assisting with the start, and sending waves out promptly – not more than a few minutes, and I was off – with my tail wagging away behind me, and the sweat starting to build inside my fleece dragon suit.

Lets be totally frank – Blizzard Blast is an event designed for a snowy day, with cold temperatures. Last year, we slid and slipped our way through the course, crossing frozen golf greens and more. A full five obstacles were 100% designed for the snow – including the super fun sledding.

12592549_10153998682181654_3017102760297941706_nWe had none of that. Because of the total lack of snow, the course had to be rerouted to stay on paths or wood trail – no crossing golf greens, no snowy sledding down the hill, no snow angel penalty. It led to a course that was 5.5 miles long – but definitely felt obstacle light. We got to the first obstacle about a mile in, and the next group of obstacle a further 1.5 miles in – after that, it felt more like an OCR, less like a trail event. I don’t think anyone expected this circumstance – but if I was to pick – I’d cut out the first two miles, and have a much more condensed, 5k course with a better concentration of obstacles. An OCR needs obstacles more than it needs distance.

12622228_913477785368182_1498038158742709941_oThe obstacles we did have were fun – a few walls (one was super wobbly though!), a nice keg carry right in front of the lodge windows, a wrist burning mini keg hoist (wrap the rope around a small stick), and a full hercules hoist with double kegs on the trail – the thin wet rope proving a pretty big challenge for many. The dreaded peg board climb (still can’t do it) and a short rope climb that was low enough not to be too challenging, although lots were struggling (knots and no knots were available).

We also saw the teeter totters – after witnessing a nasty fall on these (at another venue), I skip these unless I have my studded icebugs on – and having a fleece onesie around my ankles didn’t help – call it an educated decision after 6 years of OCR – I can see when I’m putting myself at way more risk than it’s worth! Right next to the teeter totters was a very awesome hot chocolate station – so while my race partners went over the totter – I enjoyed a hot coco with marshmallows. Very nice too!

Some more time in the woods – a paintball shoot, a football throw – both nailed easily, then a traverse wall to tire “monkey bar” rig that was pretty cool – before we hit the infamous christmas tree carry. Fortunately, my tree was considerably lighter than last years, which blew – and I spent 1/2 the carry proclaiming how much I loved my tree before we got to drop them off, and crawl through some open windows on abandoned cars, into a foam block pit in the middle – again, my giant dragon tail getting in the way … then onto Keg Kingdom, a much improved version over last year – I got a few kegs in this time, but ultimately, rigs are not my strong suit.

BlizzardBlastMedalOver the line to a kick ass medal, water and banana.

Blizzard Blast provides awesome swag, and a top notch social experience for members of the biggest team. Multiple laps were handled smoothly, logistics are all squared away and smooth. With snow on the ground, there would be few complaints – but without snow – people noticed the lack of obstacles in the first part of the course, and it was mentioned. 2017 – a shorter course backup plan may be in order to negate this.

However, 2016 Blizzard Blast gave us a stellar start to the season – we certainly sweated in our suits and earned our bling!

Do you have a Blizzard Blast story? Leave it right here!

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s all Sandy’s fault.

Just look for the Tigger.Sandy in a onsie

This Tigger —>

Somehow, Sandy managed to convince us that running the team wave at Blizzard Blast this year would be even more fun, if we did it in onsies.

So, like a bunch of fools, we’re doing it in onsies.

Sign up for the first event of #racelocal 2016 – sign up for the NE Spahtens team wave – and buy a onsie.

BB 30Extending the $64 Price through this friday, 1/15/16ONLY $64 for a few more days!!!

Posted by Blizzard Blast on Monday, January 11, 2016


Posted on Leave a comment

Who is ready to race?

The warm sun, the gentle breeze, the mud; cooling off in the water after tackling a grueling course in the heat of the summer.  Congratulating yourself for a race well run with an iced cold beer.

Boy, it’s going to be amazing when race season comes back around!

Except, around these parts, we didn’t get the memo of race season requiring warm sun and a gentle breeze.  On Sunday, January 31st the 2016 #racelocal Grand Prix kicks off in earnest with Blizzard Blast!

BB tree

When you sign up for Blizzard blast, make sure you use the following team name: NE Spahtens. We’ve got your hook up for 15% off, at check out pop in NES15.  Boom, saving cake!  We’ll be rolling in one of three waves, 12:30, 12:45 and 1:00. Right now, until this Friday (1/8) the price is $64.  $64!!!!  I mean, holy ___.  A kickin’ race, amaze-ball obstacles, more fun than a barrel of monkeys on a sled in a blizzard, and a medal you won’t want to take off!

#racelocal 2016 is the year we get the whole family involved!  Do you have kids who have always wanted to run with you?

BB kegsThe minimum age for this one is 14.  If you think you have what it takes to keep up with your super star, make sure they are signed up as well!

Blizzard Blast has some of the most innovative, challenging, and fun obstacles you’ll find…on top of the fact that it’s an OCR in the winter.  I mean, right?!?  Let that sink in for a minute. You don’t have to wait until spring or summer, and your kids get to run with you.

It’s time to get serious, and it’s time to race, and it’s time to get the family involved!

Have you registered for the 2016 #racelocal yet?  Have you seen the 2016 medal?  Ooooooh,  you haven’t?

rl medal


Those eyes, tho. Right?!

Your first race gets you this badass medal.  And, here is the thing…every year this happens after Blizzard Blast:

Pictures of the event get posted and people get massive FOMO.  “Those obstacles look super cool, why didn’t I know about that race?”  Then the pictures of people’s medals start hitting on line…

Don’t be left out.

#racelocal.  Blizzard Blast.  It all starts…now.


Posted on Leave a comment

NESpahtens.TV: Fred Smith of Smithfest Events in the studio

Fred Smith, of Smithfest Events, Panic in the Dark and the beloved Blizzard Blast visits and talks about his past, his races and where Smithfest is going …

Also available in the iTunes store as a podcast!

Audio Only:

Posted on Leave a comment

Review: Blizzard Blast 2015

BB no words1We go for weeks with nothing but the frozen, useless remnants of the previous snow storm, and the day before Blizzard Blast, all the snow dances of the Smithfest Events crew and owners pay off, mother nature takes Fred’s backhanded bribes, and boom – snow. Lots of big, fluffy, fresh snow in time for his race.

Fred sure has friends in high places.

Blizzard Blast couldn’t have scheduled better weather.

The event was back at Four Oaks country club – a great venue for something like this, and our second visit. We’d already heard rumors that the event was being expanded, from a 5k winter fun run, into a 5 to 6 mile event, and with most GPS’s clocking in at 5.8 miles, we got an awesome run in – and Blizzard Blast was WELL worth the entry fee!

Totally appropriate clothing
Totally appropriate clothing

The essentials:

Parking was off site, $10 a car and I heard no problems with parking or delays all day.
The check in was handled in large heated tents, and while it wasn’t toasty, the lines moved swiftly, thanks to the experienced and efficient volunteers.
The whole festival / communal area was indoors – with some heated patio lamps and fire pits outside for the braver folks, so temperature was never an issue.
1658579_789707074450974_7650593021514617223_oAs biggest team, the New England Spahtens were given a whole room to ourselves, with a bar, which was nice to be away from the music, and handy to be close to the bar!
Swag, as always Smithfest events leads the way – we had custom long sleeved Blizzard Blast shirts with our own logo on the back – custom Blizzard Blast buffs with our logo – and a snack bag with yogurt and granola in it – this was VERY appreciated, considering our wave was around 12:40pm and we could grab a snack before heading out.

The Team:

10931056_789687954452886_7581540997690363826_oWe brought nearly 300 people. Thats a lot. While it brings its own headaches, Fred and his crew handled the crowd with grace, splitting us up over several waves back to back to avoid crazy delays, giving us unique custom swag and our own space to hang and socialize. Again and again I’m blown away by how much difference it makes when you run with a large team – you’re NEVER far from a friend, NEVER far from help, NEVER far from a push, and NEVER far from amazing company.

If you aren’t running with the Spahtens, you’re doing OCR wrong.

The course:

10927847_789628904458791_2088816134748061006_oNo course break down from me – I don’t have the memory for it, and it’ll all be different when you get there next year – besides, Nicole did an amazing write up here – suffice to say that the extension of the course out to nearly 6 miles was appreciated. In a market stuffed full of 5k races, it’s VERY nice to stretch the legs a little – with over a mile of dedicated trail running at one point, I really enjoyed getting my legs stretched.

The ice! Underneath all the lovely, puffy, pristine snow, was an ice rink. The worst of it was on the hills, and if you weren’t wearing Icebugs or tracks of some kind, you were on your ass. A lot. Even in my Icebug’s, I was having trouble getting grip, as the snow would fill my treads and stop the studs biting in! This was a non stop problem, and easily the biggest obstacle of the day – and, of course, the reason we sign up for a winter event.

The obstacles:

10373060_790714471016901_7694881856415104429_oWith an official count of 23 obstacles, I know I heard some people say it wasn’t quite enough for the course, but I was quite comfortable with it. A good mix of straight forward obstacles you simply rolled under or pass through, to evil obstacles you needed physical strength or agility to make it through. Those peg boards! The sledding hills are always a huge hit, and some of the new obstacles, like the mini keg pull with the rope were fun – not everything worked out as intended – the mini kegs came off their pulleys easily, and the teeter totter was just too slick for the environment, and too many people spent too long waiting for that. An obstacle as simple as the block step was made doubly hard by the snow – we got through it with some team work.

10537489_790152094406472_2899357635576663162_oLastly, that damn Christmas Tree carry. Mine was carved from rock, and despite not looking especially bad, I could barely get it up on my shoulders and had to drag it the whole way. This took me way longer than it should have!

Was the course too easy? Only if you did it wrong.

Much kudos to the entire volunteer crew who stood out in the snow for hours on end so we could have a safe race!

The afterparty:

Smithfest always puts on a fun after party – this one themed for Hawaii – the promised hot tubs never made it (apparently the vendor didn’t want to move them around in the snow – phooey), but there were coconut bra’s and grass skirts all around, and the free bowl of chili was very much appreciated – almost as much as the beers from the bar post race 🙂 (these were not free, with the money being spent on better swag – thank you, Smithfest!)

Is Blizzard Blast for you?

Yes. Blizzard Blast is a fantastic OCR and unique in it’s winter theme. Wear some half decent gear and you don’t have to worry about the cold and snow – just go get it done. It’s a fantastic course, with a unique twist and a really *really* fun time, all around. Oh, and the new bling!

Looking forward to 2016!

Thanks Sean Kuusisaari‎!
Thanks Sean Kuusisaari‎!