Highlander Assault Dark Ages took place Saturday, August 15 north of Chicago in Holiday Hills, IL. Over 300 racers came out for Highlander Assault's first night race. Jacob Bosecker and Leah Hensley from BROCR were the emcees. A live bagpipes player helped them send out racers from the start line. Berserker Brew Coffee had an excellent cold brew and other treats for the attendees in the festival area.
Hitting the Trail
Torches and glowing balloons lit the 5k course. I appreciated the variety in the 20 obstacles at this event. The Highlander Hang was the highlight for many participants: traversing rings across pegs. I love a good heavy carry, so I was happy to see the wreck bags, atlas stones, buckets, and of course the caber carry that Highlander Assault is so well known for. If you're looking for a good photo op, the caber carry makes for some of the best OCR pictures of the season! The Gauntlet was a challenging rig put together by Race Ready Obstacles. It included stirrup grips, rope grips, and a T bar. A golf putt that went right along with the Scottish theme of the race was a surprise addition. Right before the finish line we did a crawl through Fog of War, and there was a photographer waiting on the other side to take pictures of the racers emerging from the cloud of smoke.
The order of events was unique. At 7:00 pm the multi-lap runners were sent out. At 8:00 the open waves began. Everyone else was finished by the time the elites started at 10:30. The elite racers had the rare chance to test their abilities on a dark, messy course. As an added benefit, the Dark Ages schedule made it convenient for the open wavers to be spectators for the elites. I enjoyed watching them take on that brutal rig that was in view of the festival area. It gave me the opportunity to take notes and improve on my technique.
Jordon Buscemi won the elite heat for the men. Gina Erbacci finished first in the women's elite. In the multi-lap division, Aleksandra Wronka took first place for the women by completing five laps in the allotted three hours. Jeff Wolschlag came in first for the men, completing 6 laps. Finishers received glow-in-the-dark medals and finisher shirts. There were some amazing-looking prizes for those who podiumed, like the Dragon's Breath Torch of Champions (it was as cool as it sounds).
I asked Jacob Bosecker what he thought of the event, and I think his observations summed up the event well:
“Weekends like Highlander Assault are important for the OCR community on the whole, especially right now. We are all pent up for months missing that social interaction. The ability to see a few friends, run, and find some normalcy is amazing. The safety of the racer is always front and center for a race, but I'm also so happy we were able to provide a feeling of wholeness to the community this weekend.”
The race directors worked with the city officials and the local health department to ensure that the race was conducted in a safe manner, and everyone I talked to who came to the event was thankful for the experience.
In conclusion, Highlander Assault Dark Ages II is already scheduled for May 1, 2021. It's an experience that you won't want to miss! Highlander Assault will have their annual 4-26.2 mile daytime race on September 19, 2020. I have raced the Highlander Assault for the last three years, and it has always been the highlight of my season. For more information check them out at highlanderassault.com.
Share this post!