Why Savage Race Should Not Be Your First OCR- Pennsylvania Review


Four years ago I registered for my first OCR – Tough Mudder Dallas – with my younger brother. To prepare, I registered for the Savage Race Pennsylvania that was happening two weeks prior to Tough Mudder….. Big Mistake.

I’ll never forget that day. It was cold… 25 degree wind chill cold. I jumped in a dumpster filled with ice. I remember bobbing my head like a chicken trying to work up the nerve to get myself to go under the divider in the ice bath. I finally made it under and it felt like an eternity climbing out.

I approached these insane looking monkey bars that went out, then up, then down, then up, then down, then across…over water. I still remember looking at that contraption and thinking to myself “WHAT THE F@&$!” I made it past maybe three bars before splashing down.


A little while later, finally drying off somewhat, I notice the large side of a platform that read “Davey Jones Locker”. Ooooook…. Walk up the wooden platform to realize the only way down was a high drop off the platform into water… Yay. It’s funny how it seems much higher standing at the edge of the platform than it does when you’re on the ground.


Ok… The worst is behind me…. Just a fun water slide and some smaller looking obstacle thats fast approaching. The sign read “Tazed”… Awesome. I realize it’s electric shock and recall thinking to myself “everyone’s making it through so it can’t be that bad”. After dealing with all the obstacles to this point I attempt to strategize the quickest way through…. “If I roll on my side the momentum will get me out quicker”…….yea

I recall my wife telling me later she was standing on the side to watch and the guy next to her saying “it’s not that bad, I think I got hit once”…. He didn’t roll sideways. My amazing technique made sure I hit every…single…hanging…wire.. Pretty sure I got zapped maybe 8 times. Every one felt like someone lifted me off the ground to slam me hard back to it. Savage Pa was my first OCR… Afterwards I said “never again”

Now… Fast forward through 4 years, 100+ OCRs, thousands of dollars, 13 different states and the most fun I’ve have had since I was a kid with no cares in the world and I blame it all on Savage Race. It could’ve gone so differently…. I could’ve registered for a nice ..easy.. relaxing mud run. Had a good time and say “ok that’s out of my system”. But no.. I had to register for a Savage Race and felt the rush, of fear conquering, upper body challenging obstacles.


Anytime I speak of Savage Race one word is always used, consistency. Year in, year out, state to state, Savage Race is consistent. They consistently deliver a smooth experience from start to finish. Parking is quick and effective. Registration and check-in is effortless. Bag check is always a very easy process from drop off to pick up. The best aspect of the brand is what keeps people talking, and coming back…the obstacles. The brand seems very receptive to their customers feedback(removing electroshock and incorporating new, exciting obstacles every year).


If you’re expecting to be given a heavy bag or bucket of rocks and being told to carry it up and down a hill, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re hoping to be challenged mentally and physically, you’ll be hooked on the brand like many before you. I had high expectations coming into the Pennsylvania event and they met and exceeded.
✔️ Smooth Parking
-quick, easy
✔️ Effortless Check-in
-small to no lines, efficient
✔️ Quick, Organized Bag check
-staffed with awesome volunteers
✔️ Start Line Emcee Hype
-Matt is insanely underrated
✔️ Challenging Terrain (flat but technical)
-woods, trail, ankle high water crossings
✔️ Fresh Innovative Obstacles
-constantly evolving and adding
✔️ Top Notch Finisher Swag
-comfortable tees, new medals every year
✔️ Loyal Customer Incentive(Syndicate)
-insane,large,spinning medal that exceeds BFX medal with add-on pins for each state


I’d have to truly nitpick to be critical….hmmm…. “Squeeze Play” (rolling barrels that require force to squeeze under and out) was in muddy water in MD, dry land in PA…… I’ve got nothing else. Some recent comments that were few and far between stated that “Sawtooth” was located in a wooded opening as opposed to spectator view. I run for personal enjoyment so this wasn’t a concern for me. I liked the unexpected location where that intimidating obstacle creeped up on you.

All around Savage has exceeded my expectations every year, every venue I’ve done. With the perfect blend of agility and fear based obstacles it’s exhilarating and fresh. If it’s your first Savage odds are VERY high it won’t be your last. If it’s your first OCR you’ve truly set your standards high(possibly unattainable) for your next. If you haven’t already… It’s time to get Savage as f@&$ #SAF.

Mike Natale

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