Continuing with my recent trend of great back-to-the-roots races, I attended the Nightmare Challenge last weekend in Nashport, OH. It was a race that I would honestly have been unaware of had it not been featured as the final race of the Ohio OCR Grand Slam and was brought to my attention by a trainer at the gym I attend. I sure am glad someone passed the word along to me!

The venue is a supposedly haunted plot of land in central Ohio, east of Columbus, north of Zanesville, hence the name and some creativity having runners race through some make-shift haunted trail attractions such as a cemetery, a maze, past and electric chair, and a blacked out tunnel. I arrived early and the first thing I noticed was just how wet the ground was from the night before and all the mud pits along the course. I also saw a pretty innovative obstacle featured in the main spectator area, a rig of swinging all-terrain tires with a slight incline and the third apparatus rotated. I was informed that this was called Mini-Green and was quickly introduced to its big brother, Mean Green, a monstrous rig with an over 90% fail rate. I knew immediately that this would be the game changing moment when it came race time.

I continued walking around the course and the campsite, onsite camping is available to racers which are always a plus for those more rugged participants or those looking to save a few bucks and was met with an obstacle of mostly standard affair, crawls, pits, ladders walls, slant walls along a flat course. When we set off in the first wave at 8:30, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had not taken in the full picture yet. Although not hilly by many OCR standards, the course did have its fair share of ups and downs in ravines, lots of creek runs with natural obstructions to keep you from just striding out, and several surprising obstacles are hidden in the woods like monkey bars made of rope with a fair bit of slack, a slide, and a wreck bag carry.

All in all the course recorded just a tick over 3 miles by my watch and kept me smiling from start to finish with a good helping of challenges for all skill levels. I’m proud to say that I was the fourth person through Mean Green for the day, granting me my best overall finish to date in OCR, but I will not soon be forgetting the battle it put forth. The finishers medal were nice, the price was reasonable, the food in the festival area was good, I had a huge serving of pulled pork and some trail mix for just $3 and it was a day I will remember for some time to come. No one can complain about that!

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Rating: 3/5


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