Tis the season… to run awesome holiday themed races! With all of the Ugly Sweater and Jingle Bell runs popping up all over the country, it was high time that an obstacle race ran with the idea and made a Christmas race of their own! And for us Floridians, Badass Bash was just the race to do it!
I had been pleasantly surprised by the inaugural Badass Bash, hosted earlier this year, and when the Snowball Bash was announced, I knew that it would be a unique, challenging, and very fun race. Scheduled for the day after my birthday, I decided that it would be a great way to continue celebrating! I’d get to not only do something that I loved, but I’d also be celebrating the holidays with a few of my favorite OCR people in attendance!
Race day was gorgeous! We awoke to low-70 degree weather, and the high was to be in the mid-80s. This is a bit high, even for us in Florida this time of year, but knowing that plenty of slogging through cold, muddy water lay in my future the warm weather was quite welcome.
Located in Punta Gorda at the Red Neck Yacht Club, a popular mudding spot for off-road vehicles, the 5 mile course lead us through many lakes, puddles, and gullies of thick, shoe sucking mud. The heat made the chill of the water quite refreshing, and since hydration stations were few and far between (my only critique about this event), our frequent trips into water ended up being rather enjoyable. This race is all about mud! I’d say a majority of the course involves running through water and mud, and, in my opinion, this is exactly what a true mud run is all about!
Obstacles offered a great challenge, and each had witty holiday themed names to go along with them (Ho Ho Ho Hurdles, Reindeer on the Rocks, Don’t Fa-La-La-La-Fall, The Nutcracker, etc). We encountered a chilling low crawl through ice filled water, teeter-totter style beams we had to balance our way over, wall climbs, a tyrolean traverse, and my favorite of the day, the rope climb. Why the rope climb, typically one of the most dreaded obstacles? Because I decided to give it a go on a rope with no knots, my first attempt at this since… hmmmm… middle school perhaps, and I made it!! No knots necessary. And I did it with ease. I happily tapped the mistletoe hanging from the top bar and made my way back down, celebrating my victory as I lowered myself down. That was a great moment!
One very imaginative obstacle was the Chimney Sweep. This was a tall, skinny box with four compartments that participants were to climb into a hole in the bottom and climb their way up, as though climbing up a chimney, to a hole in the top and then climb back down the opposite side. Although this obstacle proved a bit difficult for a tall person like me (me knees kept getting almost stuck as I maneuvered up the small rope ladder provided!), I thought this was a great, very unique idea!
I really thought it was neat how the race director was so creative not only with the naming of the obstacles, but how they were able to give a difficult race a fun, holiday vibe the entire way through while also incorporating in original obstacles and challenges with a holiday twist.
We also were given several strength challenges through the race. On three occasions we were asked to carry a large red weighted ball that got heavier each time. The first time, 45 lbs, the second… well I have no idea but it was heavy, and the third ball was so heavy that I had to roll it the entire way. We were asked to hammer a battering ram 5 times into a target, and to drag a fire hose a pretty decent distance, through water, and back again. There was a 25 lb sandbag we were required to squat and then lift above our head 20 times, and then at one point we were asked to stand in knee deep water, complete 20 jump squats, bear crawl to dry ground, and then complete 20 push ups and 20 sit ups.
Near the end of the race Mason excitedly joined me on the course, and we spent the final half mile or so of the race together. He helped me hoist a heavy red Santa sack, he cheered me as I ascended the incline wall, he climbed with me over dirt hills, and was thrilled to run through the water with me, enjoying every moment.
The race ended in the best way that a Christmas themed race in Florida could, with a inter tube ride down a mound of snow over the finish line! So cool! Mason and I rode together, and the photos of the absolute glee on his face are some of my favorite!
Although Lance, race director of Badass Bash, stated that he’s not certain as to if he will continue the race series, I really hope he does. His two events have been well organized, fun, challenging, and extremely unique. The medals are great, the kids race is great, and the after party is a blast (this event’s festival area even had a snow machine snowing down on everyone!). It’s overall a really good time, from the time you arrive to the time you leave.
So if this race does return, and you are local or able to come down to the Redneck Yacht Club to get Badass, I highly recommend this race series. It’s definitely worth the trip!
Thanks for another fantastic event Badass Bash, and for a great, hardcore way to celebrate the Christmas season!