Themed OCR’s- “Buyer Beware!”

To understand the basis of this article let me give you my background. I’m an OCR noob and not afraid to admit it. I signed up for my first OCR last year at my younger brother’s bachelor party after a friendly visit from Fire Ball. Myself and the guys got into a discussion about bad asserey. I suggested to my brother “let’s do a Tough Mudder!” There on the spot as his wedding gift (his wife was pissed) I registered him and myself for the 2013 Dallas Tough Mudder. When I sobered up several days later I realized what I had done and couldn’t possibly back out. I don’t run, haven’t done real physical activities since before my son was born and was a half a pack of camel smoker for over 10 years. Ten to thirteen miles would kill me without exaggerating. I signed myself and wife up for a Savage race scheduled one month before the Dallas Mudder since I figured its half the distance so a good warm up, I was sorely mistaken.

2013 PA, Savage was one of their coldest events to date with a start time temp of 41 degrees with 29 degree wind chills. Being my first OCR I wasn’t physically or mentally prepared for an ice bath. I made the ultimate mistake of easing into it and having trouble submerging my head to go under the barrier. It could have gone either way for me personally. I could’ve crawled out of Shriveled Richard, walked to my car, lit up a menthol and crank up the heat. I went the other way, my wife and I finished the event and I was hooked. Since closing out 2013 with the Dallas Mudder, I’ve completed 23 OCRs in 2014, earned my first podium in NY Down & Dirty Brick division and have 3 more scheduled including OCRWC. I’m not and won’t be die hard on one brand or company (i.e. Spartan) I do every kind of event I can with mud and obstacles to see variety and experience the difference in each company. I’ve done several themed runs and that’s where my story begins.

armageddon ambush

In the midst of registering for every event I could find within a 4 hour drive of my home I stumbled across a great new theme on Mud Run Guide, Armageddon Ambush. I love mud, obstacles, and have never done a color run. Imagine my excitement seeing I could combine all three elements in once race. Then the first issue arrived, a 4 ½ hour drive for a 3 mile race. Being like most in the OCR community I then looked for reasons why this would be worth the drive…the bling. The medal design was nowhere to be found on their site or Facebook page so I took to YouTube. While searching I found AA’s promotional video. It was very generic and looked as though it were filmed using a GoPro. That should have been my first red flag but I convinced myself after seeing it, that I wanted the medal (yea I’m a medal whore). I found a discount code, registered, put the date on my calendar and went on with my day.

Several months later as the event approached I received an email from AA on September 4th exactly 9 days before the scheduled September 13th event. The email read as follows (look for the beginning of the end):

“Dear Armageddon Ambush Racer,

We are excited to announce that Armageddon Ambush is joining forces with Running Dirty! We are relocating the Armageddon Ambush race on September 13, 2014 located at Wicomico Motor Sports Park in Charlotte Hall, Maryland to Ticonderoga Farms in Chantilly Virginia on the same day. The two races are in the same metro area and both Armageddon Ambush and Running Dirty believe that combining the two races is the best for the participants of the two races.
Running Dirty features 23 Naval SEAL inspired obstacles over a 4-mile course and Armageddon will bring the AMBUSH!
We know this may cause some inconvenience for some racers. There are a few options if the new location with our merged races does not work for you. Running Dirty will be holding another race on September 27th, in VA beach, and you can transfer this registration to it. Racers may also choose any of the Armageddon Ambush Races that are open for registration as well.

Best Regards,
Team Armageddon Ambush & Team Running Dirty”

This email is all that more alarming by what we know today involving “Running Dirty”. That transfer option 9/27 event never happened. Then 4 days following this email came another, stating the exact same information with this tidbit added in.
“Everyone will receive a Running Dirty Medal & Shirt, and Armageddon Bracelet & Stickers. Armageddon Ambush Medals will be mailed out the week following the Race to participants that come to the merged Race!”

As of October 20th confirmed through two participants of the rescheduled event no medals have yet been received. One person stating, “I keep getting the run around myself. They keep saying next week although it’s been over a month now. Now they are saying there was a mix up in the mail.” Luckily I decided last minute to skip this event after all the red flags, to attend the Philly CMC. I decided to look into the details of this event after reading Matt B. Davis’s July 14th article in ORM titled “Are Themed Runs Done?” I wanted to debunk his thought that this was a growing trend. I looked into contact information for the creators of this event by going the main page for the event organizer who produces Armageddon Ambush called Fierce Fit Events. That’s where the next string of red flags hit me right between the eyes.

arme

When you go to their main site it’s a collage of advertisements for past events. When you click on any and all pics on their page it takes you to an Eventbrite registration page that says “This Event Has Ended”. Or you’ll find an advertisement for a contest such as free Armageddon Ambush Sleeves. When you click on that picture it takes you to an Instagram photo from 5 months ago directing you to go to their Facebook page. Low and behold Armageddon Ambush doesn’t have a Facebook page. “Fierce fit the Extreme Mud Run” has a page where you’ll find an event listing for a December Central Florida event created in July. You’ll also find several grievances in the “post” section about missing medals.

I was still determined to prove Matt wrong so I sent an email to the “Contact” link I found buried in the collage of pictures on their site. I titled the inquiry “public relations”. I explained to the company that I was writing an article to shed a positive light on recent concerns of themed OCRs going under and taking hard earned money with them. I addressed in the email how concerns have been made public on Facebook in AA’s recent event relocation and merger and I wanted to give them an opportunity to express the naysayers by confirming that their company is thriving and this merger was an attempt to make a top notch high quality event and not a money grabbing reach of desperation. I received a response from Troy at Fierce fit on Friday 9/12 the day before the merged event was taking place Troy stated in his response he was interested in learning more about my article and provided me with his number instructing me to contact him later that afternoon to discuss the details of the article. I was pleased to get a response but was also shocked and confused when I called the number Troy provided and was instructed by the automated voice to “check the number and dial again”. So I sent Troy a follow up email stating he may have been out of range or typed a wrong number by mistake, again trying to give the benefit of the doubt. After several weeks, multiple attempts at calling the provided number, and four emails with no response I fear the worst, Matt Davis was correct.

This is yet another themed event with a solid idea and lots of potential that I fear will let you down (think Superhero Scramble, unless you want discounted tupperware and shower curtains). They do still have the one scheduled event in just over a month but if you’re considering the possibility that it’s going to happen, let me give you one piece of advice you’ll thank me for later, use a credit card.

*Photos By: Extreme Mud Run- Armageddon Ambush

10345732_10154427872840023_6282331066243885660_nMike Natale is an OCR addict who loves life, family & medals!

Mike Natale

Mike Natale is an OCR addict who loves life, family & medals!
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  1. Excellent article Mike,

    As this sport continues to grow and gain popularity, I think that it is important to shed light on fraudulent companies such as Fierce Fit. Especially, so “noobs” that do not practice due diligence and research an event as you did, do not get a muddy taste in their mouth…..that doesnt come from the course of a well put on event at least.

    Thanks for writing this.

  2. Spot on.

    i ran that race, it wasn’t the best I had run, also wasn’t the worst. That being said, I have yet to recieve my medal in the mail either, I am very displeased and have sent numerous emails with no response. I was just about to give up completely until this morning I recieved one of those internet “Badge” things. This is at least hopefully a light near the tunnel. The race was good enough that if I do get my medal, I would run it again, if I do not I will not run it again. Like you, I am a medal whore. Love my races, and love my bling.

    Thanks Mike.

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