Recently, I had the pleasure of a conversation with Jim, from Wicked Awesome Ideas – he had been brought to my attention by one of the members of our community because he and his organization were about to step into the world of obstacle course racing with their new event, Escape / Jailbreak
Of course, the first thing I wanted to know – was he for real? Do they have what it takes to step into the OCR world? Should we even bother sending a team?
It seems he does. We’ve all heard of terrible events – both local and national events that just don’t come through – Jim has too, and he’s trying to make sure his event doesn’t fall into that trap.
Wicked Awesome Ideas is his production company and day job – they have been putting on well rated road races for a while now and using that as a way to nail down the logistics of organizing an event. They have contracted a private, dedicated company to help them with obstacle construction and layout too, so they aren’t “cheaping out” there – plus, they have a focus on *fun*, which is nice to hear when every new OCR out there is telling us how tough and hard and difficult they’ll be …
They also put together a fun video – which while professional and fun, doesn’t have too much in the way of obstacle details – something they continue to work on.
So – I definitely think they have a race worth looking at, and they will be providing us with a Spahten team discount – we’ll also be sending someone along to review the event
for those who want to let a race have one under their belt before committing.
Run The Apocalypse is a new race for the 2013 series, based out of Swanzey NH on August 31st – with the unique attraction of being able to pick your distance for the same price, you can run the 5k, 10k and 15k event – but pay the same price.
Of course, being a new race to the area, and being a first time race, rather than just start signing up for the event, I wanted to reach out to the race organizer, find out who they were and what they were about – and let them tell you what they have planned, and then let the Spahtens decide for themselves. First time races tend to have mixed results, with common problems being volunteers, and not enough preparation time to make everything run smoothly, so before you spend your money, do your research …
The Apocalypse Run is offering discounts in the form of rebates if a team grows – starting at team sizes of 100 – and he is also offering a free race to volunteers in an early morning wave, if you want to hang out and help out for the day. If you’re signing up to race, or to volunteer, let them know you’re coming from the New England Spahtens!
Over to Trent, the race director:
Tell us a bit about the Apocalypse Run. What should we expect at the event (obstacles, distances, difficulty)?
Let me start by saying that I created Apocalypse Run out of my love for the sport. My Son and I got involved a few years ago and drove from NH to Maryland for our first ever event. It was a 5k zombie race – Run For Your Lives – their first ever event. We loved it and felt like olympic champions after surviving with our flags. Then we found Spartan race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash etc. and loved them all. We Decided that we wanted a Trifecta Medal from Spartan so we did all three Spartan Races in a space of 6 weeks. Then we decided that would not be hard enough, so the three of us on the team (My son brought a friend) created “Team Rock-it” We carried 30 pound rocks in our hands during every step of all 3 races, even swam with them etc.
We created Apocalypse run and set out to make it different, more extreme than most other events, while at the same time appealing to beginners. That’s where the 5k, 10k, 15k idea came from. These days, I can run a Spartan Sprint without breaking a sweat, but for others, a 5k is intimidating. So during my race, you can run 5k and call yourself a finisher, get the medal and the shirt. But for no extra charge, you can simply keep going onto a new loop of the course that you did not see previously. After the first 10k, if you want to continue, you can enter the last loop for a total of 15k. But we choose sites that are challenging with hills and water.
We will have lots of obstacles but 5 of them are key. They will earn a rubber wrist band at these which signify the 5 survival elements. What if we were in a post apocalyptic wasteland? Would you be able to obtain Food, Water, Fire, Shelter and Health? When you swim across a lake to the island, do a stunt and swim back, you get the water bracelet, you run through a long fire challenge to earn the fire bracelet, My favorite is the shelter bracelet. No big deal really, you just kick down a door, fight hand to hand with 30 mixed martial arts professionals and try to take a bracelet from them, then kick down another door to escape the shelter area. A child could probably do it. (A really big child after too much sugar!)
We will have some industry standard obstacles like barbed wire crawls and rope climbs, and then we will have new and exciting ones that no one has ever seen, like the door kick and our grenade toss etc.
For our first event in Swanzey, we have our first loop on and around the fair grounds property. The second loop will be on and around Mount Huggins across the street from the fair grounds. So you have to climb a mountain on a dirt path so steep, my Dodge Ram 4×4 groaned and slipped off. I had to survey the mountain on foot because my truck could not make it 100 feet up the trail.
Finally, we plan to send runners on the last loop on a treacherous trail to and across a large lake. There’s an island in the middle where they will swim out, perform a stunt and swim back, then take a long run in waist deep water and navigate more water obstacles. When I design an over under through, you might have to hold your breath a while.
Tell us about you and your team. What is your event planning / race directing background?
We have been to all the other races, and I have been to Parris Island and many other obstacle courses while serving in the Marine Corps. I even ran the infamous “Mad Max” course in Quantico VA while stationed there. That course is used by the FBI and the Marines in the area. That was intense and complete with live fire exercise, real tear gas, smoke grenades etc. So I am drawing from vast experience to create this course.
Our team began as a Father and Son exercise and has quickly grown to a dedicated staff of professionals, each with their own specialties to include legal, insurance and taxes, advertising and all the other essential areas. We have carpenters and engineers and safety people. Active duty police officers and active duty military. People like that are all coming together to either join the staff or volunteer to help create and run the event.
This is our first ever event of our own. But the core team has volunteered for years at Spartan and other races over and over as well as assisting in the creation and implementation of smaller charity obstacle courses to gain experience.
What are your plans after the event?
I am most excited to hand a large check over to my charity partner – Police Athletic League. They have sponsored us and so has Radio Station Rock 101.1, the largest fm station in New England.
We will be planning future events and plan to travel the nation with one event after another. I look forward to holding events in warmer places than New Hampshire. I had to climb Mount Huggins in a snow storm to get gps coordinates to get my permits.
Let me know how many folks you can sign up and we can work out a discount for you.