So you haven’t done a Savage Race yet? Why not? I have participated in over 60 obstacle course races and these guys are truly one of the Big 4. Savage Race came to Ohio, for the 3rd year in a row, on June 13 at Mad River Mountain Ski Area in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Participants numbered around 4,000. The weather was a typical Ohio summer day with lots of sun and temps in the upper 80’s. There were storms the night before and the humidity was through the roof. They got the distance up to around 6.5 miles this year but kept the start line the same, looking straight up the longest ski slope at the venue. This first quarter mile of going straight up a hill will jack your heart rate to incredible levels, you have over 6 miles left to go and will be back up that hill several times on other trails.
There were 25 listed obstacles and they were all spread out nicely. There were no long trail runs with all the obstacles near the festival area, like other races might do. They had all the standard Savage Race signature obstacles like, Colossus, Sawtooth, Shriveled Richard and Nuttsmasher, including last year’s introduction of Pipe Dreams. I love the Pipe Dreams obstacle. It takes a lot of upper body and grip strength and has an extremely high failure rate, especially when it gets wet.
New addition to Savage Race this year and introduced in Ohio is Spin City. Based on a Ninja Warrior and playground style obstacle, this thing was great. Consecutive bars that spin when you grab them, the key to this one is stay in motion and go with the flow. The elites went through with about 15% failure rate and the open waves had a 40% to 50% failure rate on this one. As with many obstacles in all the events this year, upper body and grip strength is key. This new obstacle was the brought to life from an idea of Garfield Griffiths, OCR veteran and new hire to Savage. Garfield gave a sketch of the idea to Go Native Gear, who completed the final design and fabricated it. Go Native Gear specializes in obstacle and Ninja Warrior design/builds for homeowners, races and gyms and is based in Cincinnati.
Another item unveiled by Savage Race at the Ohio event is their new sponsor. NuAquos signed a 3 year sponsorship with Savage Race to provide recovery liquids at the finish line. I have to say this is the best tasting sports drink I can remember having and it has added protein. This will be a great relationship.
The top finishers of the Pro wave for this event truly earned their accolades. Yuri would have to let us know for sure but I have to believe the Ohio course is the most difficult Savage Race, simply because of the terrain. This event marked Yuri’s 10th top Savage finish and coveted axe. Following are the top male and female finishers of the Pro wave.
In my humble opinion, Savage Race is the best overall event on the market. They have incredible obstacles that are true, massive obstacles. They challenge everyone that participates, as well as the elites. The course designs are very well spread out and portioned. They don’t stack obstacles on top of each other and simply send you on a bunch of trail runs. They have added a couple ‘heavy lift’ style obstacles but they don’t overdo it by throwing ridiculous heavy carries and lifts all over the course, this is an obstacle course race not a crossfit competition. The addition of the manadatory obstacle completion requirement for the Pro Wave this year has legitimized their events as qualifiers for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships. The festival areas are always well thought and keep the participants involved with things to keep them onsite. I look forward to the potential growth of Savage Race across the country. The west coast needs to get Savage too.
As always, the best part of these events is the people you run with.
And then there was this guy ….
*Photos By: Savage Race, Kori Cioca, T. J. Shanteau, Juffrey Turley.