Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Race Review: Superhero Scramble

The new official photo of the VS. the Road crew :P

This past weekend Louie and I ran the Superhero Scramble! The New England race was what they call a "Charger", which means it was their shortest race at approximately 4 miles and 20 obstacles. It was hosted at Amesbury Sport Park, a popular location for New England obstacle races. With Tropical Storm Andrea hitting the northeast on Friday night, the race got pushed back three hours, so we didn't get there until the afternoon - nice change of pace after all these early-morning starts!

We had our friends Brett, Kristen, and Jeff come along with us to spectate. Unfortunately, they had to spend $20 just to get in, which is all well and good - obstacle races cost a lot of money to put on - but I was disappointed in what they got in exchange for the entry fee: a $5 ticket to the merch tent (none of them wanted to buy merch for an event they weren't participating in) and a view of the smallest portion of the course possible. All three of them agreed that the $20 would have been worth it if they got a free beer or burger, and access to more obstacles so they could take pictures and cheer us on. I would have loved to have them cheering me on at all of the obstacles that were just over the hill from where they were waiting for me! If they had done a bit more for the spectators, I bet more people would spend the money to come to the event.

Off we go!

First of many climbs.
There were many different types of people running the race, from elite athletes to those attempting the first athletic event of their life. I would say that the majority of the obstacles are totally doable by everyone participating, and if you couldn't complete the task, you had the option of taking the penalty of 10 burpees and 10 spins on the dizzy bat. (They may as well have given us a couple shots of tequila instead!) The obstacles we had to complete were:

  • Up and down a giant hill twice
  • Climbing the wall near the start (pictured above)
  • Up and over a cargo net which was pretty high off the ground - definitely made me face my fear of heights!
  • Run through tires
  • Crawling under barbed wire
  • "Leap of Faith" - a 15-20 foot drop into a pool of water. We just got up there and jumped before we thought of how far the drop was and freaked ourselves out, haha. Lost my headband at this point!
  • Swimming under barbed wire
  • Swing across a pool of water on rings
  • More barbed wire!
  • Dragging a cinder block through sand
  • Carrying a sandbag across a river
  • Rock Wall (this obstacle was closed - I guess it got ruined in the storm)
  • A number of walls you had to get up and over, or under and through
  • Mud holes
  • Balance Beam
  • Rope climb
  • Army Crawl through mud and under barbed wire
  • Slip n' Slide (I'll detail this one in a bit)
  • "The Beast" - a giant wall that you had to scale using a rope that looks like this:

  • "The Final Battle" - two guys that are trying to tackle you that you have to dodge
I was able to get through all of them except the rings and the rope climb. Let's be honest - I have little to  no upper body strength.

The Slip n' Slide was my only real complaint about the course. Apparently while we were out on the course, the Slip n' Slide broke or something, so instead of shutting the obstacle down (you know, the smart, safe thing to do) they just took half of the tarp away (the part of the tarp that would have plateaued and slowed you down) and let people slide their way onto the ground at top speed. 

What are you doing?!
I'm sure this was fine when the bottom was still grass, but after hours of racers and water sliding down, the bottom turned into rocks and gravel. They didn't warn us about the rough landing, so Louie and I went down the slide, oblivious to what would happen. I bruised up my arms and booty pretty badly, and Louie scraped his side and legs. We saw a few people at the bottom with broken bones, and after the race there was tons of people with scraped up backs and bums. Not a smart idea on their part at all. Even if you have people signing injury and death waivers, you shouldn't have obstacles that are straight up unsafe. With an event this scale, they should have known better than that. Just shut it down next time.

Trying to ignore the pain of the slide...

The Beast was definitely the obstacle I was most nervous about, but when I finally got to it I had a pleasant surprise!

Brett had volunteered to help the event staff out and basically ran the obstacle! It was definitely a comfort to have a familiar face helping out on the obstacle I was most nervous about. :) I really didn't think I was going to make it over the wall (again, no upper body strength!) but Brett came up with an idea of pulling the rope while I walked up the wall... 

...and I made it!

Louie also made it up the wall, although he's a bit stronger than me, and didn't need as much assistance. I'm proud of us for making it up!

One thing that would have made The Beast better would definitely be better padding at the bottom. There were only hay bales to catch people if they made that enormous drop, and again, I saw a lot of injuries at this obstacle. Jeff suggested using high-jump mats at the bottom of this obstacle, which I thought was a perfect idea. It's an extremely high drop to just be caught by a hay bale, especially when people are falling back first, or even head first.

Finally finishing!

Louie and I finished at 1:47:56 and 1:46:35 respectively, although obstacle races are more about getting through each obstacle and finishing rather than time.

Finisher's medal close-up

I'd say that despite a few safety issues and benefits for spectators, this race was put on well and a lot of fun. Superhero Scramble is still in its first year of touring the nation and they're working out a few kinks, so I really hope they take runner reviews into serious consideration going into their second year to make their event even better. I would love to do this event again next year to see how far it comes!

Obligatory before and after photos!

A big THANK YOU to our friend Kristen for taking photos!
Check out more of her awesome photography by clicking here.

If you'd like to see more race photos, check out my personal blog for a few of my favorites!

1 comment:

  1. Yay!! :-) Thanks for the photo creds! Good work you two! xoxo