The Punisher, Hamilton, Ontario 2014
This race was located at the Christie Lake Conservation area in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The race itself is an 8KM trek looping through woods and fields and back to the main event area. From the very start of the race, racers are dunked into the lake for a swim and then right into a variety of obstacles (16) including river back crawls, walls, over/unders, monkey bars and mud pits. Water stations were dotted throughout the course and no obstacles were too overwhelming. First aid was available at the race finish line as were a few food vendors (ice cream, burgers/dogs and coffee).
Registration was quick at the start of the day, however, lineups continued to build and there were a few complaints about the wait time for kit pick up. There was good communication prior to the race and detailed directions to get to the location to avoid confusion. Racers received a nice medal and cotton shirt at the end of the race upon the return of their timing chips. Parking was included in your park entry fee of $10.00 and if you got there early you could park close to the main venue area. Racers could access the lake to clean up after the event and large washrooms were available. Post-race there was a live band but they had not begun to play when we left the park around noon.
Our suggestion is to have them begin playing at the start of the event to keep the motivation alive and to entertain racers while they wait for their heat. Our team had to postpone this event from last year (2013) and the race director did a great job carrying forward our entry fee for this year’s event. We were hesitant that this event would be ‘punishing’ however it was a beginner’s race with great trails and some fun obstacles and challenges along the course. Photographers were near one mud pit but we did not spot any area at the end to take post-race photos. The finish line is quite uneventful and away from the main vendor area. Overall, a creative theme (but not extended throughout the race), beautiful location, good signage and fairly well organized event, there was some confusion at the start but it seemed to improve as the heats continued.
Tips: no gloves required, wear tech shirt as you get wet at the start, pack a lunch if you want to stay for longer periods as the food choices are limited, bring a swimsuit for beach access swimming –the lake was beautiful and warm.
Feedback for race: add more volunteers for registration desk, set up a post-race photo area and have the band play from the start as mentioned above, add a few more volunteers along the course and change the shirts to tech shirts or provide the option to purchase extra SWAG on-site.
Hotel: We stayed at the Best Western in Burlington and drove to the event the next morning about an 18 minute drive. This hotel was extremely noisy on the highway side and not recommended if they will not move you to the south side. The hot breakfast is buffet style and included in the room rate. Internet is free and fast. Pool and hot tub were well-maintained.
Overall the race was a 2/5 based on level of difficulty, location, organization and cost –not recommended if you are looking for extreme obstacles or athletic challenge. But it would be a fast course for racers. If you are looking for a family-friendly event, then this one could be considered.
Photo Credits: Kelli McRobert