BoldrDash is known as one of the great local race series in the northeastern United States. Lynn Hall the series founder and race director said BoldrDash, the Bold stands for Boldly Overcoming Limitations with Determination, first came up with the idea for her race series in the back of her car after taking about 50 people for the first Spartan Race in Amesbury in 2010. She took that idea and ran with it, holding the first BoldrDash in Rhode Island at Yawgoo Valley Ski Area in Exeter on August 13, 2011. Since that time the series has grown to be a staple race in the northeast. Lynn Hall took the time to answer some questions to get to know BoldrDash better.
Tell me a little about that first event
Our first event was held back when most people didn’t even know what an OCR was. Building it was a challenge, luckily I had some great friends and I met even more though the BoldrDash Bootcamps I created for the event. Most importantly our main builder, Grant and he is still with us today. A little over 600 people showed up for our first event. Back then that was huge. We had 15-18 obstacles. Looking back they were pretty basic. Walls, cargo climbs, crawls, and of course… Mud!
How has the event grown since the first event?
We have grown from what was expected to be a one-time event to 3+ events a year. We added a beach course; kids courses and have even held Kids only events. We do smaller scale fundraisers for local entities. In 2014 we created the All-Abilities team, a team of folks who run with the assistance and encouragement of more seasoned runners and in 2015 we started a non-profit organization called Find Your Bold. We are growing in many directions. One of the biggest goals for 2016 is to work closely with Find Your Bold and give back. The first step in that direction was our WinterDash in March. We have always worked with and donated to local charities this was our first fully non-profit event – 100% of the proceeds went to Find Your Bold.
What have you learned from each event you have put on?
No event will go 100% as planned. Each one presents new challenges. Even if you have been at a particular venue in the past, don't think things can’t go awry.
Do not view a complaint as a negative. Be open-minded and take the time to listen to you runners and the volunteers. They are the ones out there experiencing your event and often times have great ideas on how to improve it.
How many events do you plan to hold in 2016?
We plan to hold three adult events (that will also have kids courses) in 2016. We would also like to hold our annual Kids Only event for a total of four.
What are some of the obstacles that you get most excited for participants to try out?
Our new Shimmy and Slide obstacle is just fun. We took our crawl-through pipes and built a stand to make them pivot like a teeter-totter. It’s deceivingly difficult to get up the incline, but when people come out the other side they are always smiling. Of our older obstacles is another favorite. A ten-foot wall climb into a horizontal cargo tube tunnel then down a fireman’s pole. We like to put some partner inspired obstacles at each event as well, encouraging folks to work as a team to complete.
Are you known for a certain obstacle?
The Boldr Dash is at every event – where you run approximately a quarter mile with a Boldr (rock). At our mud event we have a 250 foot slip and slide that has always been a fan favorite and at our beach event we have up to 13 over/under/through walls with the added twist of carrying a water-filled buoy along for the ride. We are also known to do a ton with tires. Our Tire Hurdles twist and move as you go over them. The Tire Swing has multiple tires hanging from ropes that you have to navigate through. We have a 12 Foot Tire Wall and a new tire obstacle is the Tire Ring Toss. It mimics an amusement style ring toss.
What do you think makes your event stand out from the others in the industry?
Our events are built for success, but made to challenge. Many of our obstacles are built in multiple difficulty levels allowing beginner athletes to feel accomplished while providing the challenge elite athletes are looking for.
How have you seen the industry evolve since you began holding events?
We have truly seen this industry grow from infancy. From big blue tarps on the ground to crawl under to giant rigs with multiple facets to navigate. We’ve seen it all and we are thrilled to say we have grown along with it.
Tell us about anything exciting you have coming up in the next couple of months.
We have an incredible first-time event planned for September 10th. The venue is one of the most iconic spots in Rhode Island. The former location of an incredibly loved Amusement park, Rocky Point. We are the first event of this magnitude and complexity to go there. It took a lot of work to get us there, but it will be well worth it. Rocky Point is a beautiful spot and one that is loved by Rhode Islanders. We also have our final Mud event at Yawgoo Valley, the only ski area in RI on May 14th. We’ve been there for six straight years and the venue and grounds need a break from the pattering of thousands of ‘happy Boldr feet’.
Finally, add anything else you want to add about your story
One important thing about BoldrDash is our mission to partner with local non-profits and give back to the community. We do this not only financially, but by physically getting out in the community ourselves. We regularly work with Special Olympics, the Best Buddy program, local schools and J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center. Our new relationship with the Find Your Bold Organization and the creation of the All-Abilities team (soon to be called the Find Your Bold Team) are two things I am very proud of. I worked in the non-profit arena for many years and always said that if I had the chance to ‘give back’ someday I would. Now is my chance and BoldrDash and Find Your Bold are my vehicles. I can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring.