It was a stunning spring Texas day as racers arrived in high hopes and bright smiles for the BattleFrog race in Houston, Texas. The birds were chirping and the weather forecast could not have been more ideal………then a vile man by the name of Christopher Acord and his henchmen ruined it with an absolutely grip-strength stealing and soul-crushing 8K BattleFrog course. Now I am severely limited in my wise decision making so I elected to enlist in the BattleFrog Xtreme wave, basically run/walk/crawl/cry my way through as many laps of this yet unrealized wretched course as possible before meeting my maker, or being stopped from starting another lap at 3pm. My plan was to solid pace myself, carry no gear, use water stations on course, and refuel at my drop-bag in-between laps. My race memory is always extremely vague, but here it is.
And we are off! The first lap started well. I settled into first place then came the Jerry Can carry. We were charged with carrying 2 Jerry Cans full of water weighing 30-40 lbs through the woods and mud for way too long. This began the torture that was for my forearms for the day. After dropping the cans off we were rewarded with a short swim. Normally I enjoy the swims as an opportunity to “clean-off”, but oh not on Acord’s watch. Immediately after leaving the water you had a meeting scheduled with some of Texas’s nastiest mud located under a cargo net. Some running ensued including roped-wall-climb/ cargo-net-pyramid/way too many versions of walls plus more walls (now normally I view walls as something that is placed as a “filler” obstacle, but there the nasty little children of Acord were slowly adding to my forearm torture).
This brings us to the “Wreck Bag carry” were we adopted a 50 lb sandbag as our own and were sent back into the woods. During our trip into the woods we crawled under wires dragging our little friends along and taking it on a trip over one small wall. After dropping our little friends back off at the orphanage, we took a trip down into a river bed were we spent some quality time climbing and sinking in more of Texas’s finest water/dirt mixture. A section of rock dancing followed by a short stroll into the woods dropped us back into sight of the festival area. Here we were treated with another small swim and some small hill running before meeting another one of Acord’s twisted ideas of grip-strength-sapping-fun. This abomination of all things fun was some sort of wire ladder inclining towards a wood pole fitted with rock climbing grips for your trip back own.
Upon taxing your grip-strength yet again we were treated with Battlefrog’s version of Monkey-Bars, good thing my forearms are super-awesome and super-pissed at this point. This is the point that I relinquished my first place status to Sal Medina who put the monkey into the Monkey-Bars and slid past me. Now a run towards the finish (or another trip back into Acord’s Hades Den) is blocked by a ramped-wall-rope climb followed by a slide back down the back-half. This now concludes, but does not include all of the obstacles endured during the course. As mentioned before my race memory is cloudy at best. At my drop bag I enjoy a diet of MexiCoke (if you don’t know you should), cinnamon rolls, salt pills, and a nice secret mixture provided by the fine folks at VPX sports.
Laps 2, 3, and 4 brought me just a little closer towards forming a tactical strike team whose sole purpose was the removal of Acord’s “legendary” beard. Lap 5 started as what I had convinced myself was a “fun run” as I believed that Sal had built a lead that I could not overcome, but after dropping those damn Jerry Cans off for the final time I found myself pushing my pace a little harder minute after minute. Upon stopping at the last water station I was told that Sal was no more than 3 minutes ahead. This lit a fire under my 40 year old backside. With less than a mile left (and luck on my side) I was able to catch up to Sal who, despite being severely depleted was fighting that course like a champion. I offered him my best advise as I have been in his condition way to many times. Then I ran like a bat out of hell (which was exactly what I was trying to escape) to meet up with those last few forearm pleasing obstacles before finally being allowed to cross the finish line. In total, Sal and I were the only ones that completed 5 laps in the allotted time of this ridiculous soul crushing BattleFrog course.
On a side note, I would like to offer Mr. Acord my deepest thanks for creating an extremely challenging and, dare I say, the best OCR I have ran to date. After this I am officially retired until my next race. Yours truly, John Taylor.
*Photos By: John Taylor and his Wife.
John Taylor is a 3 time Ultra Beast/ 5 time Fuego y Agua Survival Runner/ 2014 WTM runner and BattleFrog Xtreme, Houston winner. This is his first review for ORM.