“HOOYAH, HOOYAH, HOOYAH!” and they’re off! At exactly 8:04 a.m. on Saturday- September 27th, 2014— 98 elite athletes began their journey on virgin OCR territory.
The terrain used at the BattleFrog Pittsburgh race had many OCR familiarities such as: mud, trail, 6ft walls, 12ft walls, rope climbs, monkey bars, wire crawl, etc.… However, BattleFrog took OCR to an entirely new level when they built their course around an abandoned mine. Yes, I said it…a MINE!
BattleFrog has developed a positive reputation for the use of their event locations. This event location has blown their other races out of the water and set the bar higher than ever for similar events. The BattleFrog Pittsburgh location was at Mines and Meadows ATV & RV Resort in Wampum, PA. One of the resort’s amenities is their underground tour. The BattleFrog team used the underground limestone mines to their advantage and what people would normally experience on ATV’s, we experienced on foot.
Upon entering the labyrinth of pitch-black mines, every racer was handed a headlamp to guide their way. I enjoyed not having to tote my own headlamp throughout the entire race, but I did not enjoy that the headlamps were pre-adjusted and I had to fidget as I ran. This made the beginning of my mine journey very awkward because I couldn’t see where I was going. I ended up just removing the lamp from my head and carried it.
As we ran through the winding underground I was able to take in the beauty of the darkness. I know that sounds crazy, but it was truly a sight and experience unlike any other. I was in awe of the landscape and terrified of the darkness at the same time. I will say that they used glow lights and glowing cones to mark the path nicely (if a blonde can effectively find her way around in the dark, then you know you did a good job).
The moment you thought your underground journey was over…it had just begun! We turned a corner to follow a new path and a SEAL was standing there handing out floaties for us to wear. My immediate thought, “how come this isn’t a fun animal shape?” Once he said jump in to the water, I knew immediately that this American Flag decorated floatation device was going to save me.
“Holy cold!” is the only thing that could come out my mouth as I jumped into the underground lake. I doggy paddled my heart out to get to the other side. Along the way there were more SEALs in water suits and canoes making sure we were all safe to the other side. I thank each and every one of you for caring about my safety as I reenacted a scene from Titanic!
I finally reached the end of the lake, threatened to keep my floaty (but they wouldn’t let me), and raced off to the next adventure…underground paintball! Like a little kid, my eyes lit up, as we had to take 3 shots lying down, then kneeling, then standing. The paintball venue was glowing so spectacularly that in order to see your shot you had to turn your headlamps off. Once you made your “kill” you were free to run out of the mine. Honestly, I was tempted to stay in the paintball cave the rest of the day, just my floaty and me!
Of course there was more to the nine-mile adventure than just running through mines. There were walls, over-under walls, helicopter ladder climb, nets, A-frames, a nice twist on the monkey bars (a rock climbing version), PT drill, and Robert’s Ridge (a jerry can carry) to name a few. The infamous Tsunami was waiting near the end of the race. As I approached the half-pipe/slide obstacle, I had to pause as I watched the Tsunami drop its victims like flies (I really have to work on my vertical…I became a fly).
After nine-miles and a couple dozen obstacles, the biggest monster of the day was the HOOYAH! The HOOYAH is a mixture of a vertical wall mixed with culverts in the front. The vertical wall was no stranger, as we were met with one around the mile two markers. However, at mile nine…this vertical wall took the last hopes of many who had previously conquered it. The final slide led into the jacks crawl, which led you to your medal. Let’s just say I crawled so fast to the finish, you would have thought Channing Tatum was standing at the finish!
One of the most important aspects of the BattleFrog Pittsburgh event was the family oriented atmosphere. Like previous BattleFrog events, family was encouraged to participate. They provide access for all athletic styles such as a 15k, 5k, 1 Miler, and a Tadpole event for the youngsters. Seeing the glow in the eyes of people of all ages really motivates me to know that OCR is an event for everyone. You just have to get out there and try—that’s exactly how BattleFrog makes you feel. You walk away with a sense of accomplishment knowing that Navy SEALs are cheering you on and your efforts actually mean something!
Nonetheless, BattleFrog is an event you CAN NOT miss! This is an organization that welcomes all ages, all sizes, all fitness levels, and all backgrounds of people to just come out and give it their all. It provides a true challenge to the elites (they require you to complete ALL obstacles in order to qualify for prize money), a challenge for those testing their personal limits, and a fun time to encourage the family into a fitness lifestyle. If you haven’t experienced a BattleFrog event yet, what are you waiting for? SIGN UP NOW because you won’t be disappointed! P.S. I always encourage people to volunteer for this organization because they treat you like kings and queens (see my previous BattleFrog post for more info on volunteering). HOOYAH!
*Photos By: Evan Battle and BattleFrog Race Series
Want more? Check out:
Obstacle Racing Media ‘s review of Battlefrog in Big Beaver, PA 2014. Featuring the Medal Whores, all obstacles from the 15k, 2013’s World’s Toughest Mudder winner Ryan Atkins, and race director/course designer Chris Acord.