By Jason Henline
Hero Rush is a more family oriented event with a slightly different take on obstacle course racing. Instead of your typical mud, barbed wire, and walls to scale all of the obstacles here are somehow related to something a firefighter or a first responder may encounter in an emergency call.
The race itself is a blast for everybody. The start fulfills a wish of many with a simulated fire pole slide. Playing a recorded
emergency call, then sounding a sired the MC shouts “GO!!!!” We all climb a flight of stairs then slide down the fire pole and take off running. Similar to a real call, the first obstacle is to kick and push your way through 3 sets of doors!! Other obstacles with names like Hose Haul, Stretcher Evac, and Hoarders Hell are along the way and exactly what they sound like. Carrying a bundle of fire hose, working as a team or individually to move a stretcher with a simulated patient through a miniature obstacle course, and climbing through a sea container filled with pallets, giant cardboard tubes, boxes, and plastic sheeting are all part of your journey.
Combined with the obstacles and 4.2 mile course it was a good event for beginners or seasoned athletes. The terrain was gently rolling hills, none of which took more than a minute or so to jog up before enjoying the downhill side. Most of the running was through mown fields or manicured trails. No special footwear was needed but certainly couldn’t hurt.
Like any race Hero Rush has a few signature obstacles. The largest of which, Towering Inferno, is one of my favorites in the OCR world. Climbing two stories up through a black drainage tube with rock climbing holds and platforms along the way, all the while water is raining down on you. Once you reach the top you are rewarded with a slide down into a refreshing pool of water! Another unique obstacle to Hero Rush is Entanglement. Another black drainage tube, this time horizontal with ropes and string crisscrossed and draped in it. You must make your way through which is easier said than done, this one always seems to delay me and can be a but frustrating as well. Bystander Blast is one of the final obstacles and Hero Rush is the only place I have seen anything like it. A knee deep pool of water about 30 feet long that you must cross, WHILE your family and friends hose you down!!! I actually really like this for a few reasons, spectators can be a part of your race, you can get all cleaned off before you finish, and on a hot day it is quite refreshing!!! There are of course several other obstacles along the way but I wouldn’t want to give everything away.
Once you finish enjoy yourself in the festival area. There are games and contests all day long. Fire trucks and fire suits to take pictures on and in. Great food and beverages. Music so you can dance and have fun with your friends. As well as real life Heroes who would be happy to meet you and take a picture. For those of you after swag the finisher medals are among the nicest I have received in racing and the shirts, although only a cotton t-shirt, have a very eye catching design with the race slogan “Tough, Crazy, Fear Facing, Fun!” on the back.
Like many races today Hero Rush donates a portion of their proceeds to charitable organizations like the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Hero Rush is one of the races I am sure to do whenever they are close by. It’s great to be a Hero for the day!!
Jason Henline, a former self proclaimed couch potato , has spent the last year turning himself into an obstacle/endurance/adventure racer. He looks to take on the upcoming Survival Run-Hunter/Gatherer in October as well as the UltraBeast in Australia.