by Montana Ross (Pretty Lil Mudder)
When the OCR world first heard that Bone Frog Challenge was expanding south from their Massachusetts roots, we all wondered what it would be like. Many obstacle races in the past have expanded to different states and cities, some leaving us intrigued and excited and others leaving us disappointed and a bit letdown. However, Bone Frog promises to be a challenging new addition to the Obstacle Course Racing circuit in Florida– and one that I’m definitely looking forward to participating in this September.
The founder, Brian Carney, started Bone Frog Challenge before he left the Navy SEAL’s in 2012. At the time, there was no other SEAL owned or operated company, so he and his friends saw the opportunity and went for it. Their first event was held in the Berkshire East Ski Resort in Charlemont, MA in 2013 and, according to Mr. Carney, it was a massive success. The reviews were all 5 stars and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Since then, Bone Frog has been focusing on organic growth and increasing awareness of their event and finally decided to expand more in 2016.
In 2014 and 2015, Bone Frog held a New York and Tri-State event and began to see both the benefit and complications of going from a static event to a traveling one. This is where a company like this shines- being able to recognize the issues they might come upon and doing some serious work to perfect and fix those issues before continuing to expand. In 2015, they won MudRunGuide’s “Best Small Event of 2015,” so they knew they were ready for a bigger slice of the pie come 2016.
For those who aren’t familiar with Bone Frog Challenge, it originated as a 9 mile challenge with 36 obstacles- that’s a LOT of obstacles! Many of the events that come our way in Florida have between 20-30 obstacles, some having even less than that. In 2014 they added a Sprint distance (4 miles) along with a TIER 1 Challenge (both the Challenge and the Sprint race together). This year they’ve even added a Championship event- returning home to the “B’East” venue where it all began. According to reviews and racers, the “B’East” has the best terrain and is a very good venue for obstacle races, so racers will definitely be challenged and have a true OCR experience at this event. As Brian said,
Any company can put obstacles along a course and call it an OCR but we make our bread and butter by choosing the right obstacle for the right time IN the course to maximize it’s effect on the racers.
The Championship format will be a 6 mile race, rather than the standard 9 mile one, so it falls into that “perfect” OCR distance according to surveyed readers, who said they preferred a “middle distance OCR” to the shorter or longer courses. This experience will be coming to Charlemont, Massachusetts on October 29, 2016 and is one that should not be missed!
For the volunteer lovers in this group, volunteer options are available, with a full day prior to race day (build week) getting you entry into the 9 mile challenge distance and a half day offering a Sprint distance entry. Plus you will get the chance to be one of the first people in Florida to work on this brand new event- and what better way to sneak a peek at some of these legendary obstacles? 😉
I asked Brian about the Bone Frog mascot- what is the significance? For those of us familiar with the BattleFrog Series race, we’ve seen this reference to Navy SEAL’s before so it peaked my curiosity.
The Bone Frog is the unofficial mascot for the current generation of Navy SEALs that carry out our nation’s most difficult and dangerous missions around the world. The origins date back to before Navy SEALs had been created. Our predecessors were the men of the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) that served so courageously in WWII, Korea and through Vietnam. These heroes were known as “UDT Frogmen” due to their incredible abilities to work in and around the water while battling fierce opposition. During Vietnam, these UDT Frogmen transitioned to Navy SEALs and the UDT were phased out. As a result of the great respect current SEALs have for our forefathers, we still prefer to be known as “Frogmen.” The Bone Frog has come to represent today’s SEALs who have brought warfare to an entirely new level in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. Many of our current warriors have some rendition of the Bone Frog tattooed on their bodies – it means that much.
When asked what MudRunFun can expect at their Florida event, Brian responded with,
MudRunFun can expect the BEST OCR experience to date. We truly stand by our word when we say we will be bringing you a 5 star OCR with obstacles you have never seen before and are anything but run of the mill. Bone Frog is a very challenging race but that makes finishing that much more rewarding.
Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing these obstacles. While I have fun at the regular events that come through Florida and each event does have a unique twist to their obstacles, sometimes it’s good to shake things up and see some things we haven’t seen before! Everyone from the Northeast that I’ve spoke to who has participated in a Bone Frog says it’s definitely a challenging and fun event- all have recommended it. Brian also told me that after the event, we can come hang out with the Navy SEAL’s at the event- while Bone Frog isn’t all about the after party like some other events, they do have a “work hard, play hard” mentality and promise an experience we aren’t likely to forget!
Logistically, Bone Frog seems to have their heads on straight and are doing a great job of continuing their expansion slowly and organically, rather than pushing more events before they are ready. Their September event in Florida promises to be challenging and a great new experience for those of us in Florida who have already tried our hand at the other major players. I always look forward to participating in new events and this is no exception! Let’s show Bone Frog who is the largest group of obstacle racers in Florida- taking over MudRunFun style!