Thursday, October 30, 2014

Goliath Gauntlet Race Review

On Saturday, October 25, 2014, I ran the inaugural Goliath Gauntlet a race designed to provide a quality event, but more importantly to raise funds to support a great non-profit, Sheridan House.

I was so very impressed with all aspects of this race-- you would never have guessed that this was a first time event. Obstacles were well-built and challenging, the course was great, organization, parking, registration-- the usual trouble spots seemed to be trouble-free. I think the biggest reason this race was so well done, because it was a charity event-- organizers and investors wanted a high quality, family fun, yet challenging event that would exhibit excellence and promote Sheridan House. There was no one behind the scenes looking to make a big profit, cutting corners to save some money.

My thoughts on the specifics:

Parking/Registration/Pre-race...
Communication was great-- instructions were clear. We were sent a complete race guide, including a course map, complete instructions, bib numbers and start times. Packet pick-up was offered Thursday before the race. Parking was close to the start line and FREE! I even saw a shuttle for the people who had to park a little farther away. Check-in was smooth-- plenty of volunteers were onsite. Bag check was FREE! And very organized AND indoors.

And maybe the best part of the starting of the race-- it was ON TIME! Waves weren't crowded; the women's competitive wave was only 5 deep. So, if you are interested in competing, this is definitely a race to put on your calendar for 2015. I've not see a race that was more fair in the competitive division.

Photo courtesy of Goliath Gauntlet
The Course...
The 3.5 mile course wound through and around the campus of Sheridan House. Obstacles were very well constructed and offered a variety of challenges. Competitive racers were required to complete every obstacle in order to take 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place with cash prizes. Volunteers were stationed at each obstacle with clipboards to record the bib numbers of any racer in the competitive heats who failed an obstacle. All other racers could do 10 penalty push ups if they couldn't complete the obstacles.

The advertising claimed 20 obstacles, but it was actually 20 stations of obstacles. They didn't count each individual wall as an obstacle as some races do. For example, the first obstacle-- The Sand Flea-- had racers climb one structure to enter a sand pit, crawl through tunnels, and then crawl over another tall structure (some race organizers would count 3 obstacles). Another section-- Saul's Walls of Pain-- is listed as 2 obstacles, but in actuality, there was a series of 3 tall walls to climb over and 2 walls to crawl under and through a tire.
Photo courtesy of Sheridan House

For a small, first time event this was probably the toughest course I've raced. Lots of walls, rings and the final warped wall made the race especially challenging. But the friendly volunteers and the option to complete push ups made this a race that even beginners could conquer.

Finish Festival Area...
Food trucks were present and some local gyms and CrossFit boxes were on hand. Only water was given at the finish line, but our goodie bag contained a granola bar.

I absolutely can't wait to see what next year's event will be like. I've not heard negative reviews on any aspect-- except that one guy the day of the event who claimed the 3.5 mile course was just way too long and built for endurance athletes. That it was just impossible for strength athletes to succeed. He admitted to being a first timer when I explained that this race is one of the shortest courses offered in the OCR world.

I will definitely be back next year to defend my first place finish. But I know there will be many more competitors on the start line in 2015. I hope to see you out there on the course!

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