If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would register for a race set in the midst of a cow pasture, climb obstacles in said pasture, and also run through mud and muck that definitely had “cow pies” mixed into it, and enjoy it, I would have told you that you were a crazy person.
Yet yesterday, I went to Odessa, Florida to do just that.
My friend Stephanie and I ran the Braveheart Challenge, part of the Squish Squash Challenges. With Stephanie feeling a bit under the weather, and with my Double Race Challenge coming up next weekend, we decided that this race would be just for fun. A good day spent out making great new memories.
To be honest, the day started out a bit rocky. Upon arrival we were instructed to sign our death waiver, head to another table to find our name and bib number, and then head to yet another table to get our bib, shirt, and chip timer. A bit different than I’ve done at any other race, but not bad, just different. The problem that presented itself was that many of us had registered through Living Social, and many of us also did not show up on their list of people racing. So I went to the final table to inquire, and it was immediately insinuated that I had not properly registered, which I had. The woman and I went back and forth for a bit, and I began to think that they were not going to let me race! Then finally she looked at HER list and found my name instantly. Phew! We then discovered that we were listed in the 3:30pm wave, even though we had both registered for the 1:30pm wave. Thankfully they were able to switch us back.
The race itself was okay. What was advertised as a 5 mile race was rumored to actually be around 10k length, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was true. Many of the obstacles were challenging, some difficult enough that not many were able to fully complete them. It was unfortunate to see a lot of people skip over obstacles, and I’m not sure if it was because they thought of them as too difficult, but you at least should give it a go right?!? I will say that some of the obstacles were very wobbly and unsteady, and there was a definite safety concern due to shaky or warping wood on quite a few obstacles. Hopefully in the future the Squish Squash team will be sure to build their obstacles sturdier and safer for their racers. Also, if their races grow, they will need to expand some obstacles to incorporate higher volume so as to avoid massive bottle necking.
I must commend the Squish Squash team for the ample water breaks! Although I did hear complaints that they ran out of water for later waves. The only available wave times for the Braveheart Challenge were in the afternoon, and although it was a beautiful day, the sun and heat quickly dehydrated us. Water was much needed. One recommendation I would have would be that they do not pass out water bottles though. Half empty water bottles were strewn throughout the course, and piled at obstacles as people had to abandon them to complete a task. Very wasteful and not very environmentally friendly.
The volunteers were not well informed at all, and had no idea what was going on, at check in and throughout the course. During the race, if you asked them how far you had gone, how much farther you had to go, what obstacle was next, or anything race related, they had no idea.
We completed the course, and truly did enjoy ourselves, making the best of the race! I love the bib and medal. You can tell a lot of thought was put into them, and they weren’t cheap material. The MudRunFun team did a good job as MC’s and kept the post race atmosphere fun and entertaining.
There was not much for post race vendors, and many packed up and left by 4pm, so later finishers did not get much of a post race party to enjoy. Beer choice was good! Yuengling Octoberfest (YUM). We did not take advantage of the free food ticket, as the only available food was hot dogs. There was a fun photo pit for a great post race photo op. We got a couple taken
and are excited to see them!
Overall, the Squish Squash team has a lot to work on with regards to organization, preparation, and safety of obstacles. I’m glad I was not running this one competitively, or I think I would have been much more disappointed. In the end, my friend and I made the most of it and had a really good time! I don’t regret running this race, but they definitely have some work to do if they are going to survive in the OCR world.
Have a great weekend everyone!