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Renegade Run – year three!

This year will see the third rendition of the Renegade Run, put on by Type One LLC. I made it to their first year, and was ice stormed out of the second year (seriously, while you were all running, I was sitting at the side of the road, unable to go forward!).

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I’m hearing already that the wave they’ve set aside for the New England Spahtens is pretty full, and with code NESPAHTENS getting you $10 off the ticket price, why not run with the best OCR community out there?

Where: Wompatuck State Park, Hingham, MA
When: SUNDAY Oct 26th, 10am
How: http://typeonerenegaderun.com/register-now/

– It’s been a busy time for Type One – with the American Heart Association¬†and Mass Mayhem projects – how many of those events are part of your full time calendar?

It has been a fantastic year so far! We are coming off of extremely successful events, Mass Mayhem and The American Heart Association Heart Challenge! The positive feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive, and it energizes us to continue to produce these races, and make each one better than the previous! We are focused on this year’s Renegade Run at this time, and will soon after look to schedule our next events. We have every intention on repeat performances of both Mayhem and the Challenge in the coming years!

– Renegade Run was bigger and more badass last year – how do you plan to top it again this year? What lessons were learned?

Renegade Run 2014 course map
Renegade Run 2014 course map

This years’s Renegade Run will be starting and finishing at the Campgrounds of Wompatuck, which allows us to chart an amazing course that includes some pretty impressive elevations! We have increased the course to 5 miles and it will be taking runners up and down Prospect Hill, which has some very technical wooded trails, with difficult terrain changes, as well as some paved trails. We have a slew of new obstacles and some old favorites that everyone will enjoy. We are always learning how to build upon our last event, both through our experiences and by listening to our participants, and we find room for improvement with each obstacle race we host. We know what makes a good race since we have participated in many, and do our best to incorporate all those elements we find to be outstanding. We strive to constantly evolve and give our runners an amazing and challenging workout, and a overall memorable experience! Complacency holds no place in this business and we have learned to constantly mix things up and creatively push the limits of our events.

– How much money have you raised for you chosen charity to date?

Our company’s mission is to raise money and awareness to cure type 1 diabetes. 25% of our profits are donated directly to the Faustman Lab at MGH to find a cure. The Faustman Lab is leading the way with their clinical trials to regenerate the pancreas in diabetics! While we have donated thousands of dollars to date for this cause, what is equally as important is to raise awareness to the masses, and we can say for sure we have touched upon tens of thousands of them! Many of our followers have also donated directly to Dr. Faustman’s research as well!

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#racelocal 2014 and Zombie Charge

racelocalAt the beginning of 2014 we launched our inaugural #racelocal Grand Prix – it’s goal was simple, get people running local obstacle course races. The previous year, we’d seen a lot of races around the nation go bankrupt, from Hero Rush to Ruckus to Run for your Lives, and people were starting to ignore the incredibly fun local events in favor of the larger Spartan Race and Tough Mudder events.

Which was a huge shame, as these local guys frequently work harder than anyone else in the industry, care more than anyone else in the industry and put on events that are incredibly fun, and people were missing out, big time.

It worked. We had 65 people sign up, and commit to attending at least four of the six events we were working with. Almost half of those were planning to run in the elite division and shoot for cash prizes.

So, coming soon we have Zombie Charge – which will be the final event in the 2014 Grand Prix … while we initially intended to do it again, with a race calendar packed with non-local races, it’s never worth going up against Spartan Race or Tough Mudder – so instead we look ahead to 2015, and making a year long Grand Prix that is even more bad ass than the one before it.

http://zombiecharge.com/

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 10.05.29 PMFirst, though, Zombie Charge. The rules for the elites are laid out, the zombies will soon be getting ready and the last race of 2014 will happen. Will Brendan of the FIT Pro team take the top prize – or will his team mates pip him with high placings amongst the Zombies? Will Unleashed trainer Kevin, or Speedo Guy Mario pip them and spoil a top series of placements? On the Women’s side, will Julie keep Unleashed athletes Corrine and Aurelie behind her?

We’ll find out soon enough – register for Zombie Charge!

When: June 14th
Where: Stonington, CT
https://zombiechargect.eventbrite.com/

Check our event page on Facebook for a huge community discount code too!

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Featured Review: Tuff Scramblers, May 2014

Tuff Scramblers is a stationary course built in Rehobeth, MA. 2 times a year they hold races on the course, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. This particular race was part of the inaugural Grand Prix. #racelocal

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Parking: They changed this up a bit for this race, but I believe it was for the better. Elites, Volunteers, VIP team tent (if you were responsible for bringing the tent) were all able to park in the lot located on site. Everyone else was asked to park at a lot about 1/2 mile away. It is an easy and quick walk to the other lot, but also a shuttle ran in a timely fashion. The reason for the change, was to allow the shuttle bus a better turn-around situation.

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Registration: We arrived a little before 8, but at 8am registration was easy, organized, and uneventful. This isn’t a surprise, as I have never had an issue with registration.

Bling051714Bling: Tuff is one of the few races that doesn’t offer a medal. They do offer a pint glass to pair with your tech shirt. Both the glass and the shirt design changed this race.

 

Vendors: Unleashed, FIT Challenge, Air National Guard, Muscle Milk, Below the Waist

Food: Included in registration was a free meal and a free beer. The food options were all tasty – pulled chicken, pulled pork, potato wedges, and a salad. The free beer was Naragansett. I’m not much of a fan of beer, but I did drink close to half of it.

Now, that we have all that out of the way, let’s talk about the course.

If you’ve never done a Scrambler before, Joe (the RD, and the mastermind behind this course) is really great about tweaking things for the next event. This was my 4th Scrambler, and while I generally know what to expect, I love that there is always a surprise!

Prior to everything kicking into high gear, Joe chatted with us to let us know he made the course longer and apologized for not making a lot of the changes he had planned due to the crazy winter weather.

From the starting line we took off into the woods and looped around to tackle a couple dirt mounds. Then it was back into the woods again, emerging to find another dirt pile, a mud pit bear crawl, and another dirt mound. The pit was new for the Spring 2013 race. It started off with just netting and no real supports to keep you from accidentally popping up between the netting strips. In the Fall race it had metal pipes holding the netting up, and many people earned some eggs on their noggins from smashing into them. This time around I was happy to see the pipes were swapped to PVC, but there were straps and rope used to keep the netting from sagging between the pipes. I saw a number of people struggle with having to duck under the ropes/straps and not eat mud in the process. I wonder if using some smaller PVC and tying the ends of the netting to it might be a better idea. I loved the challenge of ducking, and I enjoy the evolution of this obstacle.

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From this point it is a blur. I don’t ever remember a course, no matter how many times I run it. I know there was lots of mostly flat wooded trail, with rocky technical terrain (which is always fun and challenging). A few more mounds to climb, the wall of boulders to negotiate, the metal plate wall, the barrel hop, stone pillars, the log climb overs, balance beam, cargo net, vertical tubes, hay bale “marshmallow” tower, PVC a-frame, and monkey bars.

Newly added was a 6 ft PVC wall, with straps to help get you over. This was great! I had a couple of people in front of me so I used the time to figure out my plan of attack. Also, the newly added trail brought a new, and giant, boulder to get up and over. As I approached it I definitely said out loud, “Well, this is new!” as I negotiated a way up and over!

This course has always been fun and challenging, and I don’t believe this will ever get stale.

I ran with the team in the 11am heat, and I think toward the end of my race I bumped into the heat before. As a result there were some bottlenecks at the last major obstacles. Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this was my final Grand Prix race, so time mattered a little more. The cargo net had about 10 people climbing it with 3 deep waiting to tackle it. The vertical pipes were 2 people deep waiting, but while some people struggled others didn’t, so the wait wasn’t too long. The Marshmallows were easily 8 deep waiting, and there was also a line at the monkey bars. I blasted through all of these as fast as I could when it was my turn, but I easily burned 5 minutes waiting in lines at the end of my race. This race has definitely grown over the past 2 years, so it might be time to start looking into expanding obstacles to accommodate more racers. Granted, there were definitely other times where these bottlenecks weren’t present and therefore I may have just hit these obstacles at the peak time of the day.

Cleanup: Being that this race takes place on a farm, the changing rooms are horse trailers which always makes me giggle. They supply a couple shower stalls, and 6-8 free standing hoses. When I ventured over to the cleanup area it was a buzzing place. The ladies trailer had a line, as did the hose off area. I opted for an additional plunge in the pond and then changing my outer layers behind a tent, which I could have done anywhere since I decided not to strip completely.

Timing: For the first time ever, Tuff Scramblers used a timing company. Gone are the days of a volunteer at the end guessing your start time. The timing company used was Racewire, and as with anything new there were some issues. I checked the time sheet and didn’t find my name on the list. This was easily fixed by having a chat with the guys running the booth. I gave them my bib and my estimated finish time. They assured me that they were jotting down the bibs that didn’t beep, and hypothesized that the water crossing was killing the chips. No big deal. They will get the timing situation squared away I am certain. (UPDATE: Tuff Scramblers has already started handling this issue. They were not pleased with Racewire and are investigating their options going forward.)

It is evident this race is becoming more popular, and therefore more people are participating. We *officially* brought 40 people to this event, with many others running Elite or with another team. I am looking forward to seeing how this event continues to grow!

This was another great race put on by Tuff Scramblers and I can’t wait for the next one in the Fall!

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#racelocal

racelocalIt’s no secret that here in New England we love local obstacle course races. We’ve got a lot of them to chose from, and they are usually of a very high quality. Many local race directors have realized that the New England Spahtens community is an amazing resource and they routinely run with us, and enlist members of the team to help with promo videos, course walk throughs, obstacle builds and more.

http://www.newenglandspahtens.com/racelocal

Even better, they have started to work together, and really – who wouldn’t benefit from that?

So – to show some community love for local, quality racing, we have started the first #racelocal Grand Prix.

What is it?

6 local races in 6 months. Register for the Open or Elite division and complete at least four of the events to qualify for a #racelocal medal and T Shirt. Elite division are also competing for points and prize money (and free race entries!)

What does it cost?

Participation in the #racelocal Grand Prix is $25 for Open and $40 for Elite. You are also responsible for your own race entry, transport, insurance etc.

A full set of FAQs, and full registration and participation information can be found right here – http://www.newenglandspahtens.com/racelocal

This is open to anyone. Let your friends and family know. Encourage your gym buddies to support local racing and meet great people at races!

Full details –¬†http://www.newenglandspahtens.com/racelocal

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Extinct races

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There is always a storm of activity when a race cancels. Facebook groups light up with people shocked and upset. Messages are exchanges between people to find out as much information as possible. Phone calls get made and blog posts get written.

It’s sad, and unfortunate when a race series ends. In a case like Jungle Cup – it’s with a bitter taste, as the owner takes everyones registrations fee and sinks them into a new venture, never officially closing his doors. For others like Ruckus and Hero Rush, they were well liked series that seemingly doing well for themselves, and confusion is left in their wake.

At some point during the exchange of communications that follow, someone will say “and this is why I only sign up for the big races” – referring of course to Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash.

Here’s why I think they are missing out.

The big three are backed and funded and will be here a while – we already know this. We run the races, and get what we expect from them.

The races above? The races that struggle in the market? They are, almost always, aspiring to be *like* Spartan or Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash. They *want* to be national and to grow to multiple cities and territories when they grow up. They frequently fail at it too.

There are plenty of excellent races that these folks miss out on. Local races that are happy and content to run one or two events a year – and don’t feel the need to expand at a rapid pace to cities they’ve never been to before. Events that we can speak to the race director directly, without having to go through a marketing team, or social media contact (because at these races, the RD *is* the social media contact, and the marketing department, and the lunch lady …)

These are the races run on not much more than enthusiasm and a credit card limit – rather than on cost projections and expense accounts. HQ is a living room floor, and the build yard is their back yard.

These local races can be just as innovative as the big boys (Check out the Tuff Scramblers course), even if they don’t have the numbers. They are as much fun, especially when we bring a large number of Spahtens along (Check the Prom Dress wave at FIT Challenge out), and frequently have the room to be more experimental and cutting edge (check out pretty much any of Shale Hill Adventure Farms obstacles out). Some are just as competitive, with money on the line, and because the event is smaller, you’ve got more chance to win too! Others look after you really well (check Panic in the Darks custom T’s and team flags)

So, when someone says they only run “the big three”, thats a shame. They are missing out on some quality local racing.

#racelocal