by Eduardo Gonzalez
Last Weekend, the organizers at BeActiveSports organized what is without a doubt, the most “upper-body intensive” course in Puerto Rico. Think of it as a runner’s course with ninja warrior caliber obstacles within it scorchingly hot and humid 3 mile course. Within it obstacle course, this obstacle race had walls, rope climbs, crawls, hay bail pyramids, a truss pyramid obstacle, rope traverse, a 12 ft quarter pipe and two back to back monkey bars
The event was on a Sunday as it is typical of obstacle races in the island. You see, unlike Gringos, Puerto Ricans figured out that a race on Saturday is a terrible idea. Why waste a Friday of partying because you have a race on the following morning. Just have the obstacle race on Sunday, that way you have a full day to sober up after your Friday of madness. Anyways, I arrived the day before to help out with last minute logistics. Survivor Race is one of the few obstacle races that offers check in to the event the day before. This is great in case you don’t want to worry about making lines the day of the race and risk not getting into your wave. After a brief but intense rain storm, I went ahead and ran the course with my friends from TeamPoli. Then we went to check into our Air bnb and BOOM! no electricity . Yep, zero, but the weather was nice so we were able to sleep through it. But I find it funny, that while I stayed there, there was never electricity.
So Sunday morning arrived and at 6am, there were already people checking in and getting ready for their weekly OCR fix. Among the sponsors were the US Army, Ultimate Runners, Monster Energy Drink, the City of Arecibo and off course MudRunFun. The Arecibo Cadet Squadron was also there and provided all the volunteers who manned the obstacles and water stations.
Once most people were checked in, it was time for Kenneth John Seda of Luxury Cardio Fitness to do his traditional and always welcomed “Calentamiento” or warm up. You see, in Puerto Rico, all obstacle races can not begin until there is a proper warm up. That comes in the form of an aerobic/cardio routine that last between 10 and 15 minutes. Think of it as a cool version of a Richard Simmons and Billy Bank workout. Once it’s over, the elites get called to the corral and wave number one goes off. There were 9 waves and each wave had between 90-140 people. With the exception of 3 waves, waves at the Survivor Race are organized by OCR teams, so that you can all run together.
This course was flat, hot and humid! The elite wave was stacked but the 90 degree temperature and 70%+ humidity did not slow the athlete down. The first two obstacles were a under and over a hill followed by a 6 ft wall. The course was very reminiscent of a Battlefrog event, a lot of running and several “upper-body intensive” obstacles. These obstacles were, in this order, a twenty feet, straight monkey bar, a forty feet “M” shape monkey bar, a rope traverse and a trusses pyramid climb. This area separated the elites from the guys like me who just want to run early so that I don’t wait in line. Following these obstacles, the course made it athletes go through 4 pyramids of hay rolls, a combo crawl were you went through tunnels, under barb wire and cargo nets and finally finishing off with the quarter pipe climb. Oh but wait! I forgot the most painful part of the course! Sometime after the crawls and before the quarter pipe obstacle was a little 50 meter loop were all athletes had to squat walk. It sucked! It sucked because 1. my body was tired and 2. the owner of Survivor Race did not tell me about this the day before. So i was “finishing strong” before I was told to stop and squat walk 50 meters. Probably the hardest thing for me to do . The quarter pipe as always was fun. Overall, it was a very well laid out course that was extremely spectator friendly. Since it was in a farm and it was flat, everyone could just walk to the obstacle and take pictures of their friends and family. The obstacles were also greatly improved from the previous event in September of 2015.
After the race, the festival area was fun and lively. They had live music, DJ, and a several vendors with their products. It is one of the very few events where people stay to party after the event. One of the vendors is Ultimate Runners, a small mobile store of shoes that carries the products specific to obstacle racing. They were super friendly and even offered to sponsor Team Puerto Rico this year at OCRWC in Canada. Thanks to Ultimate Runners, Team Puerto Rico will be sporting brand new Inov8 trail shoes. The OCRWC Puerto Rico team is currently composed of Jay Flores ( 1st Place Survivor Race 2015-2016), Edison Carlos ( 2nd Place Survivor race 2016), Joselito Rivera and myself. We are currently looking for more athletes(especially ladies) to join us in Canada in the fall as we will be the equivalent of the Jamaican Bobsled Team.
On a closing note, Be Active Sports has been organizing events in the island for some time and they finally ventured into obstacle racing in early 2015. In addition to the three Survivor Races they have held in Arecibo and Cabo Rojo, they also have the Beach Challenge 5k and 5k Boot Camp. All their events have exceeded 1000 participants and that makes them one of the most successful OCR company in the enchanted island.
MudRunFun LLC is committed to the OCR industry in Puerto Rico and will be an active contributor of it. If you want to know more about Puerto Rico OCRs and travel with us to some exotic locations or are a local needing assistance with your own obstacle race, contact Eduardo Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org.