Please see Part I of this blog to read ORM’s definitions of OCRelites and OCRacers and to read the recap by OCRacer J.D. Allen.
by Alec Blenis, Elite obstacle Racing Athlete
The 4.5 mile course was set up to be rough. A 150’ climb greeted racers right off the bat, and the trend of ups and downs continued throughout the course. My GPS data indicates an average elevation gain of 250 feet per mile. Compared to races on ski slopes (think VT Spartan), it’s not all that much, but it’s a ton for an entry level race. Not many obstacles came early on; most were packed in the middle and end of the course. The middle of the race had a rings, balance beam, rock wall, and sandbag carry combo; the end of the race had a O-U-T, rope climb, steep terrain climb, log carry, rolling mud, cliff jump, incline wall, slide, barbed wire all packed into under a mile. To do well on this course, you would need strong climbing legs but lots of brute speed for the flat sections.
The main competition travelling to the race included team Spartan Race, team Extreme Nation, and team Superhero Scramble, who took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the men’s races, respectively. Hobie Call was unsurprisingly the top scorer for the EN team and Hunter McIntyre led team Spartan Race finishing impressively close behind Hobie for 2nd place as an individual. Miguel Medina also made it to the podium with a 3rd place finish.
Prior to the GA Scramble, I had only run one Superhero Scramble event before. I was unimpressed by their Waldo race course and expected Georgia to be more of the same. Well, I was wrong! Superhero Scramble did a great job at listening to their racers (copying another race too, maybe) and fixing what needed fixed. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but I was happily surprised by the quality of the Georgia course.
They delayed the start from 8:45 to 9:30, then from 9:30 to 10:00…finally, the first wave started around 10:15. Apparently there were some legitimate excuses for the delay, but I think better organization in the first place could have prevented a lot of problems. Secondly, they nearly gave the wrong team the winning check since they neglected to confirm any team info with us before the awards ceremony. Our checks aren’t even labeled correctly. Finally, while not exactly an organizational issue, there was no attempt at obstacle standardization. For example, there was a “log carry”, where logs ranged in size from 5 to 50+ pounds; in a race with $5000+ on the line, participants were allowed to choose any log to gain an advantage. This type of issue presented itself multiple times throughout the course. Yes, this isn’t a problem for open wave racers, but it is very frustrating when running for money.
Simply put, the venue was awesome. It was super hilly (250 feet of elevation gain per mile) and very muddy. Yet, it was just easy enough to still be a “run” rather than a hike. There were some fun creek-running sections I wasn’t expecting from Superhero. Personally, I would have liked more “rolling hills” instead of alternating between totally flat and crazy steep.
Our first obstacle was some tires to run over which I literally cleared in two steps (lame). I love their rock wall obstacle, but standardization was an issue here as well (while climbing the 12ft wall, I was passed by someone who chose the 7ft wall). Rings were cool, I liked the twist on the “rolling mud” obstacle, and there version of O-U-T was a nice surprise. Overall, I don’t think there were as many obstacles per mile as a typical SR Sprint, but there were enough. I’ll talk about a few in detail:
Sandbag carry: too easy. Felt like 25 pounds and the carry was probably 50 yards
Balance obstacle: good obstacle, but the water beneath it was shallow and without warning. It was very possible to jump/fall into the water and get hurt, not realizing how shallow it was.
Log carry: another good obstacle, but logs varied in weight so much that racers could unfairly use this to their advantage (not cool with prize money on the line)
Rock wall: one of my favorite obstacles, but it is critical that scramble gamble runners be required to take the “elite athlete” path.
The Beast: the incline wall probably my favorite superhero obstacle. The steep grade and slick material makes it a true challenge. Slide was great, but they almost didn’t have it working in time. Obstacles should be ready hours before racers go through, not minutes.
Unlike Spartan Race, there’s absolutely nothing interesting going on in the festival area during the race. The only thing to do is run, drink beer, and go home. No festival challenges, entertainment, etc… Well, there was entertainment towards the end, but it wasn’t any good. Parking was very good and convenient, and registration was a breeze.
Editor’s Note: Alec Blenis and Team Spartan placed first in this event. Alec himself placed 6th.