Monday, September 10, 2012

Race Review: Hero Rush September 8th 2012

I am new to Obstacle Course Racing. I have raced and competed in many different sports, Cycling, Karate, Adventure Racing, Running and Tri.

But this past weekend I did my 2nd OCR (that’s what the veterans call Obstacle Course Racing) and I’m hooked. 100% hooked in fact.

Heather ( and I drove 2hrs thru lovely Bennington VT and eastern New York to Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spas NY for the Hero Rush OCR.  And man, it was more than worth getting up at 5am for.

First thing, Hero Rush is not a “Mud Run” and, here’s the best part, it is geared towards and from Firefighters. The obstacles, the awareness, the participants and a portion the proceeds go towards firefighting charities. Solid. There’s a reason it’s called “Hero Rush”. Every damn firefighter you know is a Hero. Period.

“Geared towards and from firefighters” means exactly what you think. The obstacles are toned down versions of some of the physical tests that firefighters go through when performing their jobs. From smashing thru doorways and jumping thru windows to clawing your way through smoke filled crawlspaces, this race makes you appreciate these guys even more. I would have to guess 90% of the teams there were firefighters from various Fire Stations from around the area. Big Kudos to them for coming out and throwing down with us civilians!!

The race…fun. That really is the best single word for it, simple and effective. The race was FUN!

OCR’s are obviously meant to be fun, but something about this race felt truer to that goal. There was a lot of running on our New York course. The total distance was 3.8 miles, and the obstacles very different from a Mud Run.
You should def check out Hero Rush’s site for better pics and deets but I shall throw in my 3 cents here (and check!!!). Some of the obstacle names I forget, so I just describe, others are Hero Rush names.
Firepole start! Killer. Although technically the race isn’t started, the first obstacle is a stair climb to a fire pole descent. Then you’re off running. The terrain was a bit tricky. It looked predictable, but was not. For the most part it wasn’t ankle rolling dangerous, but it was enough to destroy the stride I’ve been working so hard to perfect.
Jump through a window, push your way through some doors and try not to get slammed by the door closing back on you! Run!

Tire Field with swinging tires trying to knock you over. A bit tricky if you’ve been sprinting till now. Run!

CPR. Def a Hero Rush staple. Stop and do 30 true compressions on a CPR dummy. Unfortunately there was no volunteer at this station and I saw more than one competitor just blow through this.  Run!!

Entrapment. Crawl through a drainage pipe that has been interlaced randomly with climbing ropes and 2x4s, thankfully there is light at the end of this particular tunnel. I actually was able to rest a bit on this obstacle as you had to crawl and slowly pick your way through. Run!

My favorite obstacle…The Towering Inferno I think they called it… Jump into the pool of water and crawl UP a sewer pipe with water dumping  down on you, not quite blinding you, but pretty un-cumf all the same. It’s quite slippery in here, a fall, even into the pool, would probably hurt. When you get to the top it’s a fun and all too quick trip down a tarp slide butt first in to another big pool of water. In hindsight, I should have just done this obstacle a few times in a row. Run!
Hazmat Pool.  I have no idea what was in here with the water…Jello? But regardless, jump in, dive under the barrels, emerge on the other side covered in goop. Run!

Ugh…the crawlspace sim. You’re on all fours crawling through a smoke filled box. No light at the end of the tunnel! Better hope your eyes adjust quickly or you may go head first into a wall (hahaha Heather!)

RUN!! This is the only true mud on the course. It’s not Spartan mud, but it is treacherous! It’s also a good place to step off trail and water the trees, if you know what I mean.

The first required team obstacle. Let me digress a bit here. I do not like Team stuff. I work better alone. But I do also understand the nature of this kind of racing, so I’m good. Even though I lost minutes and a placing waiting for the next competitor  to assist…. So, grab the simulated victim (2 tires sewn together),place on a stretcher then bring the whole thing over 2 walls, under barbed wire and through a drainage pipe. Then just for fun, back underneath the barbed wire. All this with a partner who is spent compared to me who got a nice little break while waiting for him J. Run!!!

Foam Pipes. Crawl through pipes filled with foam. Man, don’t inhale this stuff. I did, hell, I swallowed a bunch too and almost yacked when I exited and started running again. This obstacle did need some more attention. The single volunteer didn’t tell us exactly what was going on and I ended up just going thru as quickly as made sense, which ironically was not the real idea…in fact I’m still not quite sure what I was supposed to do….Run!!!!

Basement Entanglement. FUNFUNFUN!! I like rope climbs. This was actually a fire hose climb with knots tied in it. Fire hose is way gentler on the hands than rope. Climb up a story then, crap…figure out how to get down this contraption…One hose for your feet, one hose for each hand, set up in some kind of suspension bridge contraption.  You really need to see pics to appreciate this obstacle. Run!

Hoarders Hell. I did hear that my neighbor, Willy Nelson, is a hoarder.  Up a ladder into a shipping container filled with smoke. Dodge the haybale obstacles, don’t smack your head on the overhangs and descend a ladder on the other side. Run!

I loved the Dummy Drag. Simulated victim of two tires sewn together, no stretcher, no team-mate. Get them over, under and through. Thank god they were fine with me brutally tossing the tires over the wall, I think if it were a real victim that may have been a faux pas. And I may have inadvertently pulled off a victims arm too….Runnnn!!!
Bystander Blast! Your final soaking. Jump into the pool while bystanders soak any part of you that may have dried. This was a favorite of the little kids and families spectating. Run!

Fearless Finish of fire jumping. 4 lines of fire and a ton of smoke. I wish I had gotten some better pictures of this obstacle. Man, it was smoky. One of the very coolest things about this fire obstacle…if you did catch on fire or trip or whatever, there were literally hundreds of firefighters and EMTs all over the place.  (In fact, if at any time during the race you got hurt , you knew there were responders nearby.)

If you’ve done other OCRs or Mud Runs, def check out Hero Rush. You can’t beat the cause and you won’t find any participants truer to that cause. If you haven’t done other OCR’s, you will not be disappointed by having this be your first.

Heather and I did the Elite Wave at 9am, Heather nabbing 2nd and I landed 5th, first wave on the course. Any pictures taken by us were taken the 2nd time we ran with the 10:30 wave.


 I am very sorry to say that Hero Rush is no longer doing races. This race had some really great potential.


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