On Sunday, January 28th I had the opportunity to experience Blizzard Blast up in Lowell, MA. For those who are unfamiliar with this event, it has been around for the years put on by SmithFest Events. The company who puts on numerous New England Spahtens #racelocal events.

This was my first local OCR event overall it was a great experience, I would encourage everyone to check out this or another local event in your own area. Blizzard Blast lets you make the race as challenging as you like. There are elite and a multi-lap options on top of an open heat. The elite and multi-lap both have prizes for top finishers.

The terrain was a combination of pavement, mud and ice. With it being January here in New England mother nature tends to have a mind of her own. One minute she is dumping three feet of snow on you and two hours later it is melting and 50-degrees. As someone who skis and enjoys the snow, if I could have controlled the weather I would have put a couple of inches of powder on the ground. Once I get into Hogwarts and learn to control the weather, I'll make sure we all have perfect conditions on race day.

Obstacles

There was a wide range of obstacles for every skill. There were walls, balance beams, and a weird obstacle where you rolled string around a dowel to test your forearm and grip strength. I will say these obstacles were pretty creative.

One of my favorites was the Christmas tree carry!!

Yes, you read that right we carried a Christmas tree! More importantly, I want to know if they will come pick up my tree from Christmas to use at the race next year. There were multiple obstacles where you had to carry, roll or swing from beer kegs. All very creative, fun and enjoyable for sure.

 

Improvements

There were only two things I wasn't a big fan of, and to be honest they weren't deal breakers. The first was $10 parking and $5 bag drop. My recommendation is get rid of the $5 bag drop charge. The parking was a bit of a pain as we were first shuttled to the check-in/waiting/after party area, then later shuttled to the actual race course. We parked at Cawley stadium then shuttled to Wamesit lanes and then to Shedd Park for the race. I am grateful that the waiting area and after party were warm and offered real bathrooms. However, with the party away from the race what I found lacking was a bit of that finish and start line atmosphere and spectator route. It's always nice to watch others start/finish the race and spectate along the route.

On a scale of one to five, I'd give this race four stars. I found it to be a great local OCR event, well organized and the volunteers to be incredible.  They were friendly, supportive and were having fun out there with everyone. The post-race beer and swag were solid as well. Make sure to support your local races and check this one out.

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Rating: 4/5

 

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