Victor Carrillo is no stranger to the world of obstacle course racing. In fact, over the last few years, he has made a name for himself and has turned his hobby into a passion and his passion into a business as the founder of Machete Madness, a group that hosts endurance events up and down the California coast and occasionally elsewhere.
It turns out that as innovative and cool as they are, the biggest obstacles are rarely the ones on the course, even at an event like the World's Toughest Mudder. Instead, they're the physical and mental obstacles we bring with us. I am proud that I managed to conquer a few of these myself out there in the desert.
Last week Mud Run Guide posted this article - Big Trouble in (Little China) Agoge 003 - written by former Agoge finisher Chris Cow. He was troubled after this personal experience didn't resemble the same event that he wrote two glowing articles about - Inside the Spartan Agoge Class 002 - and - On Leadership and Endurance. Something didn't add up in his mind.
There are many different events out there, and sometimes things don't go according to plan. If Agoge 003 was a glitch that suffered from bad decision making on the ground or an overabundance of ego, then Spartan Race and the Agoge directors need to own up to that, work to make it right, and ensure that future events don't follow a similar path.
Sunday, the weather changed and the rain rolled in. In fact, forecasts were calling for high probability of thunderstorms in the area, and because of this, staff at the OCR World Championships had backup plans B, C, and D ready... as you can imagine, climbing metal obstacles on top of a mountain is not a wise decision if there is lightning in the area.
This was THE race of the year; whether you were one of the fastest elites, an age grouper, or part of the journeyman division and regardless of whether you completed all the obstacles and kept your band or not, be proud of yourselves. You were part of something truly special.
A crazy dream of Adrian Bijanada, many people laughed when he stated back in 2013 that he was going to launch an independent world championship. A standalone event that didn't derive from any particular race series, at a time when Spartan Race was having its own World Championship and World's Toughest Mudder was moving to Vegas. Then in 2014, he pulled it off. A truly international event with strict qualifying requirements and an atmosphere that no-one in our sport had felt before.
This is the Spartan World Championship race, and more specifically, the World Championship heat, where a couple hundred of the best athletes in our sport are waiting to race for the big money and TV glory. Everyone here has had to earn a spot by obtaining a Spartan coin, given out to the top 5 male and female finishers at the other races throughout the year. All of the other athletes in the corral have stood on a podium or been close enough to taste it.
This weekend marked the return of Spartan Race to Southern California and the debut of a new venue at Pala Raceway. For years, Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, and other OCRs have been held at Vail Lake in Temecula. Love them or hate them, the endless, relentless hills overlooking and surrounding that venue were iconic to obstacle course racing in this part of the country. This year, all that changed, as the new owners of the Vail Lake property decided to rescind access to all of the various races that called Vail Lake home.
A few months after their first foray into Southern California, BattleFrog returned this weekend to put on a race at Lake Elsinore in Riverside County. I have been to several events now at the Lake Elsinore venue (Survivor Mud Run x2 and the Terrain Race earlier this year), and I make no excuse for the fact that it's one of my least favorite race venues - it's a very flat property with sandy trails and almost no shade, and in the last couple of years the drought has meant no access to the rapidly dwindling lake.