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Featured Review: Savage Race MD 2018

I had the opportunity to venture the 360 miles down to Savage Races Spring race two day event this past weekend at Hopkins Game Farm Kennedyville, Maryland. Location was easy to find, parking was plentiful and onsite for $10. At its farthest point the parking was about a five minute walk to the entrance/check in area. There was also a premium parking option for $20 and this got you within 100 feet or so of the entrance. Checking in was easy, with no large backups, and then you are directed through the merchandise tent to the festival area. The festival area was a perfect size for the approximate 3200 finishers and their spectators that were there throughout the day Saturday. However, it felt almost empty on Sunday with only about 650 finishers and respective spectators of the inaugural Blitz race. Looking around you had the start line, a small platinum rig, the awards stage with a DJ/emcee, and last obstacle/finish line at one end, then at the other end you had the port-o-johns, two BBQ vendors, a healthy/nutritional food truck, and a shaved ice vendor. To fill in the outer perimeter of the festival, in between these two ends, were the beer tent, an AIR FORCE table, Maryland National Guard table, a Maryland Air National Guard table, the Savage Syndicate tent, future race purchase tent, and a gear drop off tent. In the open area was found numerous round tables with chairs to sit at. The area was well thought out and funneled everyone’s attention to the far left in the direction of the start/finish and the DJ.

Our start time was at 10:20am, and we had three New England Spahtens make the journey to race. We were let in the starting corral about ten minutes early and they had a hype man get everyone ready for the race. After a warm-up, hyped out speech, and a 10 second countdown, we were sent off to tackle the course. The terrain is not what most from New England would expect, open flat fields, very few single tracks thru the woods. We ran for about half a mile before we encountered our first obstacle and never went that far in between after that. One thing this course does have that we do not is slow flowing river beads. These were used on several occasions. The full race clocked in at around 6.5 miles on my Garmin, just as advertised. Not too long and not too short.

The obstacles, thirty in all, were all well built and sturdy. We got to see many of the obstacles that were in Massachusetts last year including Shriveled Richard (HEHE), Big Cheese, Saw Tooth , Twirly Bird, and Davy Jones Locker among others. We also got to experience three new obstacles just introduced this year. Holy Sheets, literally a rolled up sheet traverse to four hanging balls. Pedal to the Medal, a tire drag with a twist, you lay on your back and using only your feet you “roll” in the tire. When done drag it back out to the line. And battering ram, which was the obstacle in the finishing area, and I find this obstacle is hard to explain, but as best as I may, you are suspended from a pipe via a handle and you need to shimmy down the length of pipe to make a transition to another handle and then do it all over again to a bell (which you could kick). After completion, this brought you to crossing the finish line to get your Savage race medal, which is a new design for this year, your finisher t-shirt, water, and a Trimino protein water.

We hung around for a while watching the start line, cheering on finishers, and generally listening to the music. We cleaned up, had our beer, three options were available with your participant ticket, Coors, and for a $1 up charge you could have a Blue Moon or Dos Equis. We left with smiles on our faces, knowing we were returning the next day to participate in the first of its kind race, the Savage Blitz.

When was the last time you got to do an inaugural race? When we arrived at the venue on Sunday we got to do just that. We were two of 640 participants in Savage Races new series called the Savage Blitz, a shortened version of their course. We arrived a little later than we did on Saturday, knowing that there would be less people. While getting ready we saw the top three males and the top female cross the finish line. After that, we finished getting ready and went out with our 10am start time. The Blitz race wound us around the venue in a new way than Saturday, much to my surprise, and it was fun doing some obstacles backwards from the previous day. It made you really have to wrap your head around the technique first, at least for me. The course was just over three miles by my Garmin, and it was perfect. This being what appears to be a gateway into the full Savage Race, most of the big daunting obstacles were missing, like Colossus and Davey Jones, but you did get to run by all of them and see what could have been. The three new obstacles were still on course and fun again.

Crossing the finish line for the second time in two days was amazing. Picked up our new Savage Blitz medal, Blitz specific finishers t-shirts, a water, more Trimino, and headed over to the Syndicate tent to pick up our huge (did I mention HUGE) Syndicate medal and state Axe pins. Grabbed our beers, watched some more people finish the race with huge smiles, cleaned up and made the seven hour ride home to Massachusetts.

This was one hell of a weekend! The full course was fun, and challenging at the same time. The Blitz course was great. Hopefully they will roll this out at all venues next year. Savage Race does a great job at paying attention to what racers want. Sam Abbitt, one of the cofounders of Savage, is very active on the Syndicate facebook page and is listening. I give both Races an A+, for fun factor and quality.
So New England where will you be on July 14t​ h​? I know where I will be, at Carter and Stevens Farm, running the Savage race. I hope to see you all there.

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Featured Review: Savage Race, Maryland

As we’re all aware, Savage Race had an awesome showing here in New England – and Steve was immediately interested in heading down to their Maryland event to find out if that showing was a fluke. As you’ll read, it certainly wasn’t!

This past weekend I ventured the 5.5 plus hours down to Kennedyville, Maryland to participate in the Savage Races Maryland fall race. The venue was easy to find. Parking was $10 and on site. A short 2-3 minute walk brought you to the entrance/check in, passing 8 port-o-johns. A premium parking option was also available for $25, and basically got you within feet of the entrance/check in area. After check in you walk thru the merchandise area into the festival area. The festival area was neither too big nor too small. The start line was on one end and the finish was on the other. In between there was a stage, two different BBQ vendors, a shaved ice vendor, the ubiquitous beer tent, a gear drop for $5, the Syndicate tent, a Krave jerky vendor, some extra obstacles to test yourself on, about 25 port-o-johns, and a few more location specific vendors.

Our start time was 1pm, though we went off closer to 1:20pm, due to the awards ceremony. We were given an apology because they only had one DJ at the venue this weekend, as the second one was still in Florida dealing with the hurricane. Pre-sendoff speech was given to get everyone in the correct frame of mind and we were off. The terrain was different from what I am used to, most areas had room enough for 3-4 runners to run side by side. Hardly any single track or technical trails here, folks. It was mostly run on grass and well-worn trails. We started on grass and ran for about three quarters of a mile before we encountered our first obstacle. This was the longest we had to wait for an obstacle for the entire 6.5 mile race. The terrain was well used; including flowing river beds on more than one occasion and to good effect.

The obstacles: what can I say? All were well built, sturdy, and fun. Some of the obstacles we did see were: Shriveled Richard (little kid in me is laughing even now), sawhorses, slippery incline, Big Ass Cargo, Sawtooth (the distance between the last bottom sawtooth rung and the top rung to start the downwards monkey bars made this one of the hardest monkey bar rigs I’ve attempted yet), Hangerang, Lumberjack Lane, Davy Jones Locker (fun, fun, fun), Wheel World, Colossus, and the Savage rig, among others. A few that we didn’t see in Massachusetts included Twin Peaks, and a unique slip wall with slats that you can grip or wedge yourself up to the top. Savage Race has shown great innovation and originality in their obstacles that make them incredibly refreshing among big brand races.

After about 6.5 miles the race was over, smiles on everyone around. You were given a medal, a shirt, and a bottle of water for crossing the finish line. Headed over to the Syndicate tent to pick up an amazingly huge spinning medal and corresponding state pins, for completing two races (for me it was Massachusetts and Maryland). We cleaned up and changed, however the one small gripe I have, and it is really small, is that the changing tents and the showers were too far away from the festival area. You had to walk to the other side of the parking lot, the furthest point away from the festival to clean off and change. But like I said it is a small gripe. Then we headed over to the beer tent for the free beer, which was Coors light, but you could “upgrade” to Blue Moon for $1 if you preferred. Additional beers were available for a nominal price. We hung around the slowly ending festival for a while where I ate pulled pork tacos and Beef brisket nachos from one of the food vendors and was very happy I did, while enjoying our beers and the atmosphere.

All in all I had an amazing time at the Maryland Fall Savage Race; great race, great company, good food. I would recommend this race and venue to anyone. I am looking forward to next year’s Massachusetts race, and possibly a few others. Great job Savage Race!!

Do you want to run the 2018 Savage Race in MA with the New England Spahtens? Scan the QR Code, or click and join us!

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Featured Review: Savage Race 2017

New England is – for lack of a more appropriate word – a mature OCR market. Many big names had their start here, then moved onto other regions, and our local OCR game is strong.

Which means it’s a rare thing for us to be able to enjoy a new brand, and rarer still when that new brand is already established, already developed and has a following we’ve not really had chance to be part of.

Savage Race finally arrived in New England.

This has been on the cards for some time. They’ve been trying to get a foot hold, and for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened, since 2013. After talking to the people at Carter & Steven’s Farm last year – they had a venue – and Saturday we got to see what they were all about.

For many races – reviews like this start on the morning of the event – but with Savage Race, we got to not only have founder and CEO Sam Abbit on The NE Spahtens Show twice in the lead up, but we also got to sit down for dinner with him and his team on Thursday night – a great chance to get to know the people who make Savage Race happen. We also swung over on Friday to setup a couple of popup tents, and enjoyed some Stone Cow Brewery beverages, BBQ, met more of the team and Farmer Phil took us on a tour of the farm in his Cool Bus – a 6 wheel, 30 seat off road monster.

Got bus? Cool bus!

So pulling into the venue on Saturday morning, a place I personally know well from many ice cream runs and prior events – we already felt that sense of familiarity that many events still don’t have. Parking was off site, and while there was plenty of local parking in people’s front yards, there were zero reported problems with the remote lot and the shuttle buses – a short ride to the venue and a walk down the main entrance road – and into the Savage Race experience.

Check-in opened later than we’re used to, and many of us showed up well before they were letting people check in at 8am. The lines moved quickly though, and no one missed their wave times – and into a big, open space of a festival. Can I just say – having seen a couple of other brands using the same space – THIS is the way to do it. For the other races, the festivals were cramped, with large tents dropped in the middle and stepping over guy ropes all the time – Savage had a huge open space – stage and finish line at one end, all the vendors forming the outer border. Open, spacious, easy to move around in. Also welcome, compared to other large brands – Savage were incredibly flexible with helping us as biggest team. We were grouped into a single wave, with flexibility for anyone who needed to simply hop in, no hassle. We were given our pick of spaces in the festival and early (the night before!) access to setup any number of tents we wanted.

Very *very* refreshing from a national OCR. This kind of easy going, athlete first nature is usually only seen on the local scene. Kudos, Savage.

The perfect obstacles, the perfect distance.

Big claims – claims that they put on all their marketing, their shirts and even the medals. And, claims they backup on the course, too.

Clocking in at around 7.5 miles, the distance was attainable by everyone – and took us to area’s of Carter & Steven’s Farm we’ve rarely, or never seen. The terrain was the expected gnarly, tricky trail – open field, wooded trail and lots and lots of mud. No elevation to speak of, which I, frankly, am fine with. A water stop every couple of miles (three total) and tons and tons of water available (all in bottles, which caused some comment – but they do recycle them!).

And, those obstacle. Oh boy.

There are two kinds of obstacles I don’t excel at. Rig style obstacles and water obstacles. Savage Race love both kinds. Of course, I wasn’t running Pro, which means I didn’t have a band to keep – and there are no Open wave penalties, so I knew I could pick and chose. In the Pro wave, there was a roughly 50/50 split between those who kept their bands, and those who did not.

But no penalties in Open waves is the way to go. You do what YOU want. What YOU are comfortable with – and other than some teasing from your buddies, it’s your race to run how you want.

Of the signature obstacles we did see – the Savage Rig, Shriveled Richard (which I actually enjoyed!), Davey Jones’ locker (15’ jump into a 15’ pool – no thanks!), Collosus (nope, nope, nope) – we also saw Twirly Bird, Wheel World, Squeeze Play, Pole Cat (loved this one!), Big Cheese – one of the more unique walls out there, Tree Hugger, Hangarang, Mad Ladders (nailed it!), Saw Tooth, Barn Door, several Mud ’n’ Guts crawls, Block Party (one of the only pure strength obstacles out there) – and a few more surprises.

See the full list – http://savagerace.com/obstacles/

On top of that – they were well spaced, incredibly well constructed – we had one back up early on, a result of a larger than normal Pro wave and our larger than normal team wave leaving so close to each other – it was quickly resolved once our team wave moved through.

At the finish line, a neat finisher shirt in a nice material, an awesome medal – and if you wanted to do another lap, a second medal, a huge spinning Syndicate medal and an MA state pin.

Not the finisher shirt, but the swag tent was epic too

All the usual stuff – great beer from Stone Cow Brewery, great food from Carter & Steven’s Farm and other vendors, Inov-8 were present and a well stocked Savage Race gear store – each handled well, flowed quickly (with the exception of bag check, ten minutes before our wave – I went twenty minutes before and was in and out in moments). Great volunteers (many of them NES members – thank you for giving up your time!).

(the kids race was great too!)

And, as I sit here on Sunday – not even 24h later – results have been sent to my inbox, many photos are ready (with more to come, we’re assured).

Savage Race – New England has waited a long long time to experience what you have to offer, and now we have it, you’ve got a new group of fans. I’ve just done something I never do – and registered for a race a year out – and registered my entire family.

See you back at Carter & Steven’s Farm, July 14th 2018. Click the very cold Robert and his Shriveled Richard to join us.

2018 event – team NE Spahtens

Got your own opinion? Leave a score right here – http://www.newenglandspahtens.com/community-reviews/savage-race/

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Episode 27: Savage Race

If you’re listening to this show, then Savage Race are coming to New England and we’re the first to let you know – and you should not only listen to the show to find out the details, but get a bit of history about Savage Race itself, and find out what it is that they do differently to all the race brands that came before them, and failed.

Some links we discuss in the show:

Learn more about the Savage Syndicate program – http://savagerace.com/savage-syndicate/

Twin Peaks (watch this, it’s hysterical) – http://savagerace.com/2016/11/inside-the-obstacle-twin-peaks/

and when registration is open, code “savage” will get you an awesome price. http://savagerace.com/locations/

Thanks for listening!

If you enjoyed the show, we’d love if you could let us know. Feedback, questions, reviews on iTunes – all help us record better content and get our show out there more – we appreciate your support!

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Savage Race Review

Central Florida based Savage Race ran their flagship event at a gorgeous ranch in Dade City, FL on October 20, 2012.  It appears to be their third event since inception.  I arrived at the Little Steeplechase ranch after a four hour drive from my home in Boca Raton.  One of the many aspects of obstacle course racing I enjoy is traveling to new places to see the local terrain, flora and fauna.  I was pleased to see sprawling green grounds dotted with live oaks and cypress trees draped in moss.  The sky was blue and my respiratory system welcomed the arrival of fall in Florida with warm dry air.   After five oppressive months, humidity was nowhere to be found.  Onsite parking was $10 and very smooth, however there was no re-entry into the festival area, which limited the convenience of vehicle access.

Check in was fast and simple.  The festival area was rather typical for obstacle course races, gear check ($5), food & beverages, merchandise, sponsor tents, and a bank of vile porta potties scented with human waste were all represented.  I completed my final pre-race prep of hydration, trademark eye black and stretching routine, then headed to the starting line.

The Savage Rave claims that they need no more than 5-6 miles to kick your ass as well as more obstacles per mile with less jogging than comparable events.  Approximately two dozen obstacles were peppered throughout the very fun and occasionally challenging six mile course.  Three water stations were on the course and finishers were greeted with a medal, t-shirt and a bottle of water.   Here are some of the obstacle highlights:

The ice bath plunge called “Shriveled Richard” was very early in the course and literally took my breath away, but required no special skills.   Significant shrinkage was unavoidable.  The monkey bars were terrific.  In a saw tooth profile, Savages climbed up, then down, then back up, and finally down again to complete the bars.  Grip and concentration were critical for success.

In addition, there was plenty of crawling, lots  mud, diversified terrain, various walls to conquer, giant mud hills to navigate, a balance beam, several water crossings, log carry, “shocking” wire crawl, giant hay mountain, and a floppy cargo net.  I’ve never run a Tough Mudder (registered 12/1/2012 Sarasota FL), but having researched TM, the Savage Race felt like a half of a TM.  The obstacles were not only similar, they were nearly identical.  However, I could care less.  I’m there to challenge myself with a fun and dirty adventure.  The companies can duke it out in the legal system.

There was only one negative aspect of my experience, which was a rather lengthy wait at two obstacles.  A ten minute wait preceded the balance beam and a 30 minute wait was experienced prior to the “Colossus Wall”.   The wall was a large 1/4 pipe in which you had to run up the pipe, grab a dangling rope and pull yourself to the top.  Savage staff assisted participants when necessary.  It took me 2:05 to finish the course including the 40 minutes of idle time.

In conclusion, the event was well run with ample and friendly staff.  Savages were clearly having a rad time throughout the course.   The obstacles were plentiful and some required impressive construction.  Furthermore, spectators were allowed to walk the course, which was very cool in my opinion.  I thoroughly enjoyed the Savage Race and would recommend fellow obstacle course race enthusiasts to indulge in the Savage Race experience.  Your ass may not be kicked as promised,  but you’ll have a great time doing what we love in a burpree-free filthy fit environment.  In 2013 the Savage Race will be coming to Dallas, Atlanta, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina.  The official schedule can be found at www.savagerace.com