The race had 2 different distances. The short one was around 3 miles and the longer one around 6 miles. One of the aspects that I liked a lot about Firebreather was the location. Old Rope Mill Park has some of the best trails in the area that wind and weave through the woods with many sections crossing a river. Perfect for an OCR where you sometimes long for water to simply cool you off. What sets this race apart from other obstacles races is that along with your obstacles, you also have 2 timed challenges within the race. Unique twist to a race that already is testing your cardio and strength abilities.
I took the option of the longer distance and was set for a 9:30 start. We ran straight into the woods where we almost immediately hit our first obstacle which was a tire carry around a marker and then back. Back to the trails we went. As I said before the trails at this venue are great and the race made an excellent use of them. For the first part of the race, we encountered multiple wall climbs around 8 feet tall and a cargo net suspended between trees. During this time, we also conquered some major hill climbs where you almost had to climb your way up with your hands and had the first timed challenge. The first challenge consisted of a sled pull for about 100 feet. At the end of the pull, you had to do 100 sit ups and then pull the sled back to the other end. We also had the opportunity to do a river crossing and some running up a creek which was perfect to cool us off.
The second part of the race consisted of a cargo net climb into a creek bed, an incline wall, a series of over-unders, high wall climbs, and a barbed wire crawl through the mud. All together there were around 12-15 obstacles in the race. We encountered a river crossing where the river current was so strong, you had to use a rope suspended across it to pull you along a small section. The race deserves kudos for recognizing the safety hazard, and putting up the rope for racers. At the very end of the race, there was another timed challenge which was a sand bag carry up a hill. Once you were at the top of the hill, you stopped and did 40 burpees, and then carried the sandbag down the hill. The only catch here was the spot for the burpees was in ankle deep muddy slop, so every time you went down, you kicked mud everywhere. It was actually kind of fun because all you can do is laugh at this sort of stuff. After you were finished with the sand bag carry, you were off to the finish line.
They had a couple of vendors there and since the event was hosted by Garage Games, of course there was crossfit gear available as well. It wasn’t a particularly muddy race until the end and to clean us off, we had access to the river which was about all we needed. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this race. They had it well organized and well-staffed with volunteers. Check in was easy and parking was plentiful although it was a bit of a walk from the venue. A negative mark I would give them is the course was 1.5-2 miles shorter than promised. This is the 2nd year in a row that this occurred. I was ok with the length of this course itself, but race directors need to advertise more accurate distances. There is another event planned for December called Head to Head which looks really cool with 600 meters of obstacles followed by a 5k trail run. You can count me in to try this one as well.