ROC Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge Review – Charlotte

Let’s be honest… the primary reason we love obstacle course racing is that it appeals to our “inner child”. We climb, we run, we crawl, we get muddy, we get wet, and we LOVE IT! How many of us also look at those bouncy houses in a neighbor’s front yardROC and want to kick the kids out just so we can play? We dream of being contestants on Wipeout , American Gladiators, and DoubleDare!

Vavi Productions of San Diego (a social and sports club) created a “ridiculously” fun obstacle course race which appeals to people of all athletic abilities called the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge (ROC). The purpose of the organization is “to bring fun to life”, and this course does just that.

This race started on the West Coast and is moving around the country. We decided that the day after the MidAtlantic Super Spartan would probably be a great time to have some fun, so we planned a stop at the halfway point back to Atlanta.

I’m not a Nascar Southern girl, but I have to say, I was thrilled to be on the race track and in the infield at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC! The enormity of the stadium and the energy of a race track added to the electric atmosphere! Walking presented its own challenges the day after the 8.2 mile brutal Spartan Race, so we knew we could appreciate the fact this race wasn’t timed and soak in all of the fun!

CAM00331As we approached the front gate, we saw people wearing brightly colored costumes, t-shirts, and hair colors as well as still “wearing” bubbles from what we would soon see in a number of obstacles. The atmosphere was a party from the get-go!

While the race offered pre-race bib pickup, we didn’t have any problems with long lines to get our bright pink bibs and blue venue wristbands. We quickly made our way from one station to the next as all information was available electronically to each volunteer. Signs pointed you logically from one place to another, so after we left our race bags (for free) at the bag check tent, we ventured off with the Dirty Old Men to find the start line.

In the starting corral, we were entertained by a humorous announcer who moderated a costume contest, giving teams a chance to “strut their stuff” to the applause and amusement of other racers. It was obvious that the “talent” was impromptu, but it was all a part of the fun! He also told us about the local charitable organizations the race was benefitting, which generated a huge round of applause!

From there, we went through other gates to get to the official start line (having our bibs checked by security twice for designated start times). Our friendly emcee taught us a “ROC ME” move to use on the course and led us in several versions of “the wave” and a booty dance. Yeah, he called out the guy in front of me who thought he was “too cool” to do the dance, making us all point at the guy and start the dance over again! In order for us to officially start, we had to yell loudly in unison “ROC ME!!!” and we were off!

The first part of the race took us out onto the racetrack on a hot summer afternoon at 3:00pm. We were moving a little slower than the day before, but we kept telling ourselves we were there to have fun! Luckily, there wasn’t much distance between obstacles, so it definitely appealed to the non-runners in the crowd as well as the runners!

Each ROC race has lots of fun obstacles listed on the website and differ by venue. The course map was mostly correct, but it varied with respect to the order of the obstacles.

Obstacles in Charlotte
Concree-stadors: A straightforward obstacle with road barriers you see on a daily basis. You already want to jump them when you see them on the road, so having the opportunity to jump over 10 of them was a dream come true! It also helped to stagger out the participants according to athleticism and competitiveness… remember….

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We are here to have fun! LOL!

Wrecking Ball: This obstacle has gotten lots of play in the television obstacle races. Hoisted on a crane, two “wrecking balls”, twirl in a constant circle. Your job is to cross the pipe (solid although made up of a gymnastics mat type of material) without getting knocked into the water. Additional entertainment at our venue was provided by an announcer with the voice and appearance of Wolfman Jack wearing a tuxedo speedo… yeah… that one will stay with you for a while!

Gorilla Bars: Thick monkey bars, evenly spaced with an inflatable bouncy surface to catch you when you fall…. Including a bubble maker…. If you fall, you will get covered in bubbles. No fear, you will be rescued!

Get It Up (And Over): Three different height walls with 2”x 4”’s on the sides to help you climb! No worries if you select a higher wall; on the other side of the wall is a platform.

Aqua Drag: For this obstacle, you get to channel your inner Superman and Aquaman as you run at top speed, throw yourself into a lane, and ride the water to the pool at the end! So much fun, they included it twice!

Tight Rope Traverse: Two ropes suspended over water, one for your hands overhead and one for your feet, with different heights (taller people in the middle two and shorter people on the ends). The fun for this obstacle, as exhibited by my two teammates, is jumping up and down on the rope to try to knock the others on the ropes off into the water/bubbles…. Ahhhhhh, good times!

Tire Mile: Think tire run drills from football practice combined with tires on a Nascar track!
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Tarzan Swing: No leopard skin loincloth required, just a grip on a knotted rope and a well-placed landing on the other side!

Belly Flop Drop: This mini version of the larger slide included a knotted rope with inflated ladder steps on the upside and fun on the downside! Whether you choose to flop down on your belly or slide down on your touche is up to you!

World’s Largest Moon Bounce: This bouncy house would make all of the kids on your block green with envy! Jump through it with the right person who can counterbalance your jumps, and you will catch some MAJOR air! Super fun and super bouncy! Remember, it is a race…. You have to keep moving through!

World’s Largest Inflatable Slide: To cross the finish line, you hold on to the rope handrails and climb the stairs to the top of the slide. What you do to cross the finish line at the bottom of the slide (which has water to help make the trip fast and fun) depends on your own personality and creativity! This has to be one of the best finish lines EVER!!!

CAM00334 Overall, we found ourselves smiling, playing, and laughing a lot! The obstacles were fun and ridiculous, especially due to the participants decked out in an array of costumes. This is a race for people 13 and up, of all athletic ability levels, who are ready to have a good time. There is no penalty for not doing an obstacle, but you are encouraged to do all of the ones you feel comfortable doing… which should be most, if not all of them!

There were plenty of water stations spread throughout the course which helped with the heat we experienced in the afternoon (although the water containers were sitting in the sun, so they were a bit warm).

The cost of this race is a bit more than your average 5k ($49-$65, depending on when you register), but you do have obstacles and the feeling that you are doing something positive for local charities.

The downside? It’s only a 5k, so it’s over really quickly. I can see this as a race I would travel up to an hour to attend. If your drive requires an overnight stay, make other plans to continue with your theme of “fun”!

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