Being an OCR enthusiast from Kentucky typically means lots of travel to attend events. BattleFrog (BF) finally visited the Bluegrass State last weekend, and I was as ecstatic as a teenage girl at a Taylor Swift concert. After a lackluster Chicago event two weeks previous, I was hoping BF was keen to “Shake It Off” and get back to the challenging series we have come to expect. Having the legendary “Beard” back as race director gave me great confidence this would be the case.
General Butler State Resort Park nestled in the rolling hills of Carrollton, KY 45 minutes east of Louisville was the event venue. Not only is the park located a mere 2 miles off I-71, the event parking was directly at the main entrance making for one of the easier morning commutes. Parking fee was the standard $10 and the festival area was a short 200-meter walk away. As usual, the registration process was well staffed and participants entered through the merchandise tent to the music-filled festival area.
With the clock striking 7 am and the sun creeping higher in the sky, Elites began crowding into the starting corral. The “Beard” reviewed the rules, Coach Pain provided the motivation, a few Hooyah’s were chanted, and we were off. Like thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs, participants charged towards a sharp left turn only 50 meters away causing an early bottleneck. The course then stretched alongside the highway and provided some rudimentary O.U.T obstacles leading up to the 4-foot wall.
The straight, wide running path then turned into the dense woods and shrunk to more single track racing. General Butler State Park has many well-groomed trails and BF succeeded in using none of them. The next three miles would take us directly through the untamed forest, creeks, and ravines providing extremely technical terrain. The metaphorical and literal pinnacle of the natural terrain was Mount Battlefrog which towered 200 feet in only 300 meters kicking up to a 35% gradient. Complimenting the natural obstacles along the way were man-made obstacles such as Ramp Wall, Spider Web, Monkey Bars, and a short Jerry Can Carry.
After three miles of technical running, the last two miles of the course was an upper body/grip strength assault of 14 obstacles. These included 60 Degrees, Wreck Bag Carry, Wedge Wall, 8-foot Wall, Platinum Rig, Tip of the Spear, and 12-foot Rope Wall. The thick morning dew during the Elite heat made this sequence even more challenging (not to mention the second lap). Athletes attempting to conquer the course later in the day would be facing them in the sweltering 95 degree heat. The finish line was a welcomed sight after this course.
Podium finishers for the male Elites were Ian Hosek, Alex Stephens, and Jamie McCart and the female Elites were Laura Hunt, Heather Moss, and Jen Kohlbeck. Greg Bugher, Glenn Nakamura, and Josh McDaniel took the top spots for the Master’s male Elites while Maria Tornudd was the sole female Master’s Elite finisher. A few brave souls endured the Kentucky heat all day for BF Xtreme (BFX) with Michael Bell and Jennifer Hawkins taking home the coveted trident.
BattleFrog has established themselves as one of the more challenging OCR series and that was solidified with Louisville’s course. More importantly, there was fun to be had on this course no matter what skill level you entered the starting corral. BattleFrog’s tiered obstacle system with novice, intermediate, and elite options provided everyone a chance to feel accomplished. To paraphrase Stephen Foster’s famous state song, the sun shined bright on my old Kentucky home.
Photo Credits: BattleFrog Series