{Compete, Don’t Cheat!!}

Although I rarely use this blog as a platform to speak about controversial things, I feel compelled to speak on something briefly today as I reflect on today’s experience at Savage Race.

Savage Race was a brutal 7 mile race that lived up to it’s tagline, “The Race Built To Kick Your A**”.  I’ll be sharing my official review of the race on the Savage Race website (and for the record, I LOVED IT!), but today I want to bring up the frustration that occurs when fellow competitors cheat.

Now I understand (within reason) when participants in open waves may take a shortcut or skip an obstacle due to fear or inability to complete the challenge presented them. However, I do feel that if someone makes the choice to sign up for a competitive or elite wave of an obstacle race, that they are therefore accepting a challenge to also give their full effort to the entire race as well. 

Unfortunately, this does not always seem to be the case.

Here’s why I feel the need to speak on this topic. Today at Savage Race two females caught up to me near the end of the race.  They arrived out of nowhere!  Now I cannot vouch as to how they participated in obstacles prior to catching up to me, but when we reached the Colossus, I ran up to it head-on, and gave the obstacle every ounce of energy I had left.  I even gave myself a wicked calf cramp as I hung on for dear life trying to tackle this beast of an obstacle!  These ladies did not even bother to give it a try, instantly heading to the ladder on the side to ascend to the top, completely skipping over this challenge.  They didn’t even consider trying it, they didn’t put forth any effort to at least attempt this obstacle, and instead (in my opinion), kind of punked out.  

As a competitor I took the more difficult road, and they chose the exit strategy.  Not cool.

This still may not have bothered me as much as it does, had I not heard the same females complaining post-race that I had still beat them.  Absolutely I beat them!  Whether my time showed that or not, I gave 100% effort, and I do not feel as though they did.  Just as I want those who I surpass to know that I fairly earned my place above them, I’m most definitely not going to give in easily to someone who won’t give me the respect of beating me fairly.

I’ve encountered situations like this in past races as well.  People only completing a portion of the required burpee penalty, people deciding to jump right into the water instead of attempting the monkey bars, people taking shortcuts on the course, the list goes on.  And as a runner who prides myself on giving my all at each event that I take on, it’s very frustrating (and frankly pretty annoying), when someone places above me who half-assed the competition.  Thankfully I have the peace of mind knowing that each time I step on the podium, I have earned that right and no one will doubt that I gave my all to that race.

Whew, glad I got that out!  Now to go celebrate an awesome finish, as I earned 2nd place in my age group and a 14th overall female finish today.  I gave each obstacle 100%, and earned the shiny bling that will now hang in my living room. No cheating necessary.

Stepping off the soapbox now.  Have a great night!


I’m interested to know if anyone else has experienced a similar situation?  Did it frustrate you as well?  How did you handle it? Let me know!


12 thoughts on “{Compete, Don’t Cheat!!}

  1. First off great race today!!! You and Sally are my two race idols out there… I was so excited to be up there with you ladies today. I remember reading in the competitive wave official rules that all obsticals need to be completed to qualify, they should of policed that a little better. Like you said if you signed up for competitive you should be willing to take the challenge. I will admit I did not do davey jones locker but that’s because I am an awful swimmer and had completed the obstical previous and had a close call so I opt out of that one. I can understand your frustration! Anyways good race today!!! See you at the next one! 🙂


  2. I didn’t see anyone cheating, but I know it happens. And all I can say is they are cheating themselves. I paid my dues, I’m going to enjoy the obstacles and I’m out there to challenge myself and prove that I ROCK!


  3. 100% agree, though on the flip-side, if an event is going to run an added-expense elite wave (especially the larger and more stable/popular race venues) there should be motivated folks at each obstacle to police this. For Savage today for instance, you halve the time required for volunteering and grab some more experienced mud runners for the task. Take down bib #’s or even snap pics of those who attempt such shenanigans, and quietly DQ their competitive time. Until the race venues themselves start throwing penalty flags, this will continue to happen 😦 Great seeing you today at the race, and good job on your placing!


  4. I see this all the time, particularly in races that are intended to be competitive. However, I don’t let it bother me…for the most part, I run these events in a cooperative, leave-no-{wo}man-behind manner, so it really doesn’t bother me. The one 5K even (Rebel Race) that I ran competitively, I ran my first circuit alone, and smoked everyone, even folks half my age. There was really no way for someone to half-a$$ the obstacles and get passed me.

    So, yes…I do see this sort of thing, and I do see how, if someone is running the event to compete against others (rather than themselves and their own time), it can be frustrating. What I would suggest is that if this really bothers you, take it to the event organizers. If you sign up for a competitive or elite heat/wave, there should be someone at the obstacles to monitor what’s happening, and record the numbers of those who do not even attempt the obstacle so that a time penalty can be added to their times.

    And congrats to you on putting out 110% effort and beating the cheaters anyway. I would’ve loved to have been there with you for when they caught up to you, as well as when you caught the b*tching about it at the end!


  5. Holly…

    I tried to comment but my phone will not let me. I just wanted to say that I could not agree more!!!

    I have slacked off on my work out regime and am trying to get back to it, so at the recent runs I have done, I’ve noticed I have a bit of a tough time on a few things, but I push myself to try!!! And I am terrified of those water jumps. But I have never skipped one. Not even the Leap of Faith at Scramble intimidator in Miami back in Jan. And it was a crushing fear for me. It took me over 15 minutes to get up the courage and the soothing reassurance from Jeff the diver to finally jump. I had made him promise me he wouldn’t let me drown because I fully expected to pass out before I hit the water. 😦 But I jumped anyway.

    I also watched from the top of Colossus at Savage in October (our first mud event ever by the way) as my 17 year old niece Blythe repeatedly fell before she could get high enough for me to grab her… On her 5th try she made it. Thats what pushing yourself is!!!

    The people that totally skip obstacles piss me off. I want to say “are you proud that you didn’t even try?” and then cut the ribbon on their medal. LOL (actually how funny would that be??)

    Anyway…. I see you at all these OCRs but I don’t think I have connected with you on FB. I will look you up. Also, I am going to share this post on my page. Good stuff!!

    Thank you for sharing it.

    Sharla Green

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________


  6. I agree its super frustrating! A race I did last year a friend of mine and another girl wanted to do it with me. She only lived a couple blocks from the start/finish line. We had no sooner got out of the park the race started at that she quit and went home. Only for me to later find out she came back before I finished and they crossed the finish line to show they did the race super fast. They didn’t place in their age groups but it threw off the placing for those who did the full course of the race! I was so mad and upset I didn’t talk to her for weeks. She didn’t understand what the big deal was….
    You sign up for a race you complete the whole thing or take a DNF… Especially if you sign up for a competitive wave of an obstacle course you should attempt each obstacle not just pass it by.


  7. You know whats crazy… I saw some people who could not make it up Colossus, not go up the ladder either… They just gave up, and I suppose they didn’t know the ladder was there. They just walked around and did not cross the finish line… That or, they figured since they could not do it then they did not deserve a medal. Still scratching my head on that one. I kinda feel bad for not saying anything at the time, I wasn’t suite sure what they were doing until it was already done… Of course I was beat and didn’t feel like chasing them down either. I always come back to Colossus and watch after finishing, for awhile… Got some nice face plant videos 🙂


  8. This is my 3rd year of obstacle racing. I compete in the open waves and my goal is simply to finish. I endured the grueling Super Spartan at Wintergreen Resort in Virginia last year. Although I am not competing against anyone for a podium spot, I was disappointed when I witnessed some of the participants avoiding what seemed like the 100th hill climb and cutting off a 1/2 mile or more of steeply graded course. I almost let it cheapen my overall satisfaction at the finish line, but realized it only reduced their satisfaction since they knew they had come out and not conquered the entire course. My, and many others, accomplishment was complete. (still a little bitter that they got the same medal and t-shirt as me though.)


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