Massive Changes For BattleFrog

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An update on this story posted 3/19/15 can be read here

We just received an email from BattleFrog Series on some interesting changes being made to their season. We will give you the official word from BattleFrog followed by a breakdown by ORM for each item.

Saturday‐Only Heats

We work closely with local communities, permitting authorities, logistics resources and our team of SEALs, veterans and volunteers to deliver a world‐class experience through the entire schedule of activities in each location. While it is our goal to offer two days of heats, that is not always possible. We had originally planned two days, but we have chosen to consolidate the schedule into one day in order to give our audience the best experience possible. If the audience cannot change dates, we will gladly accommodate their request and process a refund.

The Breakdown: Not enough people are registering for Sundays to keep them going. BattleFrog seemed to have learned this lesson last year. Their first ever event in Atlanta had about 2000 race participants over both days. Seeing as they would need to double that (at minimum) to justify keeping both days on the schedule, they took Sundays off the map for the remainder of the 2014 season.

Low and behold, when BFS announced their 2015 dates, they listed Sundays as part of the equation again. Many in the community questioned this tactic as even Spartan did not produce Sunday events in certain cities until their 3rd or 4th season. BattleFrog’s numbers have been growing, but still not enough to justify 2 day schedules in each city. So, while this is not a surprise, it is already making some people unhappy. BFS are offering full refunds for those that registered for individual Sunday races, which is the admirable move. However, the word on social media as early as yesterday was that those that purchased season passes are very upset, and there is no mention by BattleFrog as of yet how Season Pass holders will be compensated.   9:38pm Update : BattleFrog has emailed all Season Pass holders the following:

Dear valued BattleFrog combatant:

We are sending you this message to inform you of how the recent changes to our race schedule will effect you as a season pass holder.

All season pass holders will be receiving a 50% refund of their purchase price in order to compensate for the cancellation of our Sunday races (Houston not included). All of these refunds will be processed by our team within the next 24 hours.

If our schedule changes cause any further complications or conflicts with your existing registrations please contact us and we will deal with each issue accordingly.

We appreciate your continued support of BattleFrog Race Series and strive to deliver the best possible customer experience as we continue to change, grow and improve as an organization.

Brand New 8K Course

We have inaugurated a number of innovations and today announce an evolution to make the course easier to navigate and to provide more obstacles with less running. BattleFrog will provide an obstacle‐rich 8K course with 22 or more obstacles for all runners. Those racers who have signed up for the 5K course will get three extra kilometers to enjoy while those signed up for the 15K course will receive the following three options:
1. Keep their registration as it is and run the 8K course twice, starting with the same heat time already assigned.

2. Run the 8K once and get 30% off merchandise on-site.

3. Run the 8K once and get a 30% discount refund.

The Breakdown: It is much easier to build one course than two, it is also less costly. Once again, they offer several honorable options as a substitute for the previously planned 15k registration. BFS are offering racers a chance to get their “money’s worth” by offering the ability to run twice, or get discounts on race registration or merchandise. The questions are: Will 8k be too scary a distance for those that only wanted 5k? Will those that prefer a longer course be interested in this new “2 loop” method? We will find out soon.

Elite Competition

BattleFrog Elite Competition will now feature 2 laps of our new, approximately 8K, 22+ obstacle course. Elite Males and Masters Males will hit the course at 7:30am, followed by the Elite Females and Masters Females at 7:35am. Each course will have a re‐entry point for the second lap where elite racers will be required to cross the re‐entry timing mat. With over 1 Million dollars in cash, prizes and awards up for grabs, the comprehensive BattleFrog Series Cup, and the diligent enforcement of logical rules, BattleFrog is continuing to be a trend setter in the OCR industry. This is an innovative new format that BattleFrog is excited to introduce to our elite runners.

The Breakdown: This has a potential for disaster. At the most recent BFS in Orlando, there were accusations of course cutting and obstacle completion amongst racers.(ORM has a podcast coming with specifics on this in the coming days). This is not uncommon in almost every elite heat at an competitive race. Adding additional laps, only makes this more difficult to police and manage. When the elite racers take off, there comes a point when ALL elite racers have passed through the course, and the volunteers can relax and focus on the open wave particpants. Since the elites are now taking a 2nd lap, the course is going to have both open and elites on the course at the same time, making the volunteers’ jobs very difficult. Will the elites be allowed to go to the front of the line? Will BattleFrog create separate obstacle lanes for them? We will see if BFS answers these questions before the next race in Houston on March 28th.

One more breakdown: It is no secret that BattleFrog plays big and plays to win. We questioned if they should be considered the 4th player to the Big 3. However, this year, they have added even more races to an already aggressive schedule. They recently added a Nashville date (June 6th) under a very short timeline. They also recently announced the addition of 2 more races in Florida. Back in Orlando on November 21, and then Tampa/St. Pete (less than 100 miles from Orlando) on December 19th. Will the average attendee want to race that late in the year, so close to major holidays?

We here at ORM are big fans of BattleFrog. Every review from us to this point has been glowing. We just spent the weekend with them at the Orlando event which included the forthcoming ESPN College Championship. As always, we find the staff to be professional, courteous, and supportive. However, these recent changes will most likely upset many and may affect their bottom line.

Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.
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