I was excited to be back out there finally and looking forward to another race at Amelia Earhart Park, which now seems to be the go-to venue here in Miami. Initially my thoughts went to the opportunity of being able to compare race promoters on an even scale. What kind of race could they put on using the same exact terrain as other promoters? That doesn’t happen very often in OCR. However, it was clear from the beginning that Spartan Race wasn’t just playing against the rest of the OCR field, they were upping their game from their last visit here.
Race reviews are important to OCR, as are many of the other stories we write about the sport. They inform us, inspire us, share stories, remind us of our first obstacle race and most importantly serve as a record of the sports progression throughout the years.
For years now I’ve been trying to find ways to push my limits in search of that DNF (Did Not Finish). I realize that may seem like a strange goal to many people. But ever since I started Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) over six years ago, I keep doing things that would not have seemed possible…only because I tried. Each step has been to a new plateau for me something just out of reach, but ‘possible.'
First off, Spartan Race (SR) didn't have to do this. When Spartan canceled, correction, when Hurricane Matthew canceled the Spartan Race in Okeechobee, FL. No one would have blamed them for packing up their trucks and moving on to the next race. Instead, they chose to put on a special Hurricane Heat at Virginia Beach on Virginia Key in FL. So, having always wanted to do a Hurricane Heat (HH) and rather than driving three hours to Okeechobee, I could do one virtually in my backyard....sign me up!!
This past weekend would be the third time this year I was at Historic Virginia Key Beach for an Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) event. It would also be the third time I was at an OCR event that was different than any I'd been to before. This past weekend was The Benjamin Dash. Interestingly, on the way over, I passed at least three other running/biking events going on and it reminded me just how hard it is to get the attention of people in Miami. There's just so much going on all year! So I was very interested to see just what this race was about, as there was apparently cash up for grabs...and not just for elite racers!!
After four months of being off from Obstacle Course Racing (OCR), I was excited to be getting back on a course. I was specially excited to be heading up to Orlando for my first Bonefrog Challenge. In fact, unlike my most recent races, I was actually up early (meaning before the alarm!) so I decided to head straight over and get this show moving. So, despite my GPS guiding me 'relatively near' the venue...which is pretty standard...I got there just after sunrise.
I saw a post recently from a writer I've been following since I first began Obstacle Course Racing (OCR)...back when all obstacles were wood and rigs were just a futuristic nightmare of someone's imagination. At first, I made the mistake (which I just warned everyone NOT to make in my own post the day before) and assumed I knew where the writer was going here. Wrong! It was a relatively short post and I read it several times before finally putting it aside to let the concept rattle around for a while.
Obstacle Course Racing in North America was born just seven years ago. Exploding onto the sports and fitness scene in an unprecedented way. Becoming even more popular than marathons by 2014. This in itself was a huge change from the previous sports norms, and people are still writing epic volumes trying to explain why. So it really shouldn't come as any great surprise that Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) has been evolving continuously ever since.
Why in the name of Odin would you want to do something that would even have the possibility of reducing attendance? Did this not occur to anyone? The feedback from the average racer, looking to move up a notch in challenge has been overwhelmingly bad! And remember, people "vote with their feet!". For every comment, there are dozens who feel the same and just won't be considering your race.
This would be my first Armageddon Ambush in Hialeah, FL (think City of Miami and go west a bit). But it wouldn't be my first trip to Amelia Earhart Park. Several races have been held there. With this in mind, my first challenge was to keep my expectations in check. I didn't know much about this race, and I didn't want to influence the experience by comparisons to other events there.