5KFoam Fest – Another OCR/Themed Race Casualty?


It’s no secret that the OCR industry is booming – and we’ve got a checkered history of events that simply didn’t make it.

Each time it happens, the warning signs are consistent.

It starts out with a fall from grace. The races that people loved turn sour. Maybe attendance is terrible, or the organizers start to make slip ups with the course. Backlogs and parking disasters. It could be several things, or one thing – but it’s out of character for the event, and they get bad publicity because of it.

Then, future events start to look shaky. Maybe they need to find a new venue at the last minute, or they cancel entirely.

The death knell though? Thats when they don’t offer refunds. Or they “transfer” them to another race.

This process can happen quickly – in just a few races, or it can happen slowly over a longer period of time. Atlas Race, Extreme Nation and Hard Charge – are among those that have gone this road in 2014, with Run for Your Lives, Ruckus, and Hero Rush and several more preceding them last year.

foamfest_R_I_P_gravestoneToday, we may be watching 5KFoam Fest go through this process.

The growth of Foam Fest was fast – they have over 30 events on the US map alone for 2014, which doesn’t count Canada (8 events), or Mexico and Australia ambitions (no events listed *yet*) – and they cater firmly to the fun crowd. 5k in length, the obstacles are fun, featuring foam and inflatables and slides – there are no burpees, no timing chip, no judgement – just some soapy suds and good times.

In 2013, they held an event in New England, and it was by almost every report an absolute scream – despite massive lines for things like the slides (which got popped a few times) and reports of feeling nickel and dimed to death, everyone had a great time – Foam Fest had a ton of great energy and people wanted to go back.

NE Spahtens reviews – http://www.nespahtens.com/submit-a-race-review/foam-fest-5k-2013/

In 2014 though? Not so much.

“The 2014 New England Foam Fest was hands down the most poorly executed race I have run in my entire 8 year running career. Multiple hour waits in the hot sun for shuttles to and from the race, poorly run registration, failure to provide promised race swag (medals, shirts, etc) and a course that seemed thrown together at best.”

– Heather Gannoe, Relentless Forward Commotion

Read more here – http://www.nespahtens.com/submit-a-race-review/foam-fest-2014/

From parking disasters (the owner of the venue indicated that Foam Fest vastly underquoted their expected number of runners), huge obstacle disappointments, no medals … Foam Fest failed to deliver on the fun factor.

This was *half* of the line for parking.

Thats just one venue though, right?

Since then, they’ve cancelled two more events – Cleveland and So Cal were both scheduled for this coming weekend (the 19th) and are being “postponed”.

So, perhaps it’s time to call those credit card companies and dispute the charge? With no refunds being offered, you may be taking a gamble on if your rescheduled race actually happens or not.

It’s worth noting that Dirty Dash, held by Roundhouse Racing, the same company that produces Foam Fest, has events scheduled to take place in New England and beyond – and there is currently no indication of problems there.

We reached out to Roundhouse Racing, and were told they would be releasing a statement “soon”.

July 17, 2014 8:05AM EST – An update to this story has been published.


Paul Jones

Paul Jones is the Idea Wrangler over at the New England Spahtens and has been a contributor for ORM since it's inception. The NE Spahtens are one of the most active, and successful obstacle racing communities in the world.

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  1. Registration is closed right now for all events in 2014 except Jackson, St Paul, and Albuquerque. So one could assume that all those events may be cancelled too. Just doesn’t make sense that 3 would be open.

  2. Dirty Dash recently cancelled an event in NY. Fortunately they promised a refund which was promptly delivered, so there’s hope for them.

  3. 5k Foam Fest also cancelled Memphis in May stating they didn’t have enough registrants. From what I understand refunds were made.

  4. PLEASE SHARE! Cleveland Foam Fest Participants – hop on the Ohio Turnpike to Toledo Exit 52! Our permanent course is located adjacent to The Toledo Express Airport along the Ohio Turnpike! You cannot miss it! This Saturday 7/19 The Mud Dog Challenge is holding an obstacle course/mud run to benefit Heroes In Action! We want to give back so they can continue to help our soldiers with care packages and provide support when they return home from active duty! It only costs $30 with promo code: July10, to have some great fun! The race bag has more than $100 in it! Help us PAY IT FORWARD! Register online at http://www.muddogchallenge.com or day of! Questions call 419-279-2643!

  5. They have cancelled all events and are NOT issuing refunds and neither will Active! It’s not right they are crooks … They have all our money …

  6. The Buffalo area dirty dash has been canceled after being postponed already, they did say that they were issusing refunds for that though.

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