by Eduardo Gonzalez
It is no secret that Puerto Rico is booming with Obstacle Racing. With an average of 2-3 obstacle races per month and an average participation of 1000 runners per event, the tiny island of Puerto Rico has become the center of the obstacle course racing industry in the caribbean. Last week, I had the pleasure to be invited to the Reflex Extreme Challenge. This event took place in the Parque Agroturistico in Dorado and consisted of a 5k with 21 obstacles. On top of well built obstacles, we had a tropical wave passing over the area which meant lots of rain, lots of fun and 0% chance of turning into a lobster. In my opinion, it was the best possible weather for obstacle racing.
This was a special event for me as it was my mother’s first mud run. For a few years, I have been participating in OCR, triathlons, and all sort of other running, swimming and cycling events. Recently, I have become more active in the fitness industry in Puerto Rico and with that came more participation in local events. Earlier this year, after completing the Elite Challenge in Ponce and the grueling IronMan Puerto Rico 70.3 in San Juan, we had a small family get together at my parents house in Guaynabo. As I drowned out my fatigue and pain in good ole’ bourbon whisky, I heard my mother say the magic words “Yo quiero correr una!”(I want to run one!) So naturally, I say “it’s on!”
The Reflex Xtreme Challenge was exactly what she was looking for. A flat 5k course with fun but challenging obstacles. It was not a piece of cake by any means but the average athlete should have had no problem doing most of the obstacles. This event was perfect for entry-level mud runners and weekend warriors who wanted to go out there, enjoy the day, have fun and get their dose of exercise. The Reflex Xtreme Challenge offered the standard obstacles such as vertical and inverted walls, tire hops, crawls, wall traverse and mud pits. They topped it off with their signature obstacles, the King Kong and Twister. The King Kong was a single beam monkey bar where the holds stick out of a single beam rather than a bar across a set of beams. The Twister was a six wheel monkey bar where timing and strength were essential to get through the obstacle. On top of a very well-built obstacle course, a storm was passing through. Is fair to say that my best memories of anything sport-related involve a torrential downpour of apocalyptic proportions. Therefore “Llueve, Truene o Relampaguee”, it was happening!
With brand new Innov8 provided by Ultimate Runners and wearing the traditional MudRunFun Orange, my mother, myself and a few other family members took on the 5k course. As my family slowly progressed through the course, I took close range pictures while my father took pictures from a distance. After a few obstacles, we came across a tire flip station( probably around 50 yards of flipping an 60 lb tire). My mom chose to do burpees instead of tire flip. Who does that?! We walked some, we ran some, we tackle all the obstacles, and we arrived at the finish line after 2 hours.
The end of the race was epic! We arrived and a lot of people were cheering for us. MudRunFun, Reflex Volunteers, Luxury Fitness, you name it, tons of people congratulating us as we got our medals. I wanted to point out that a few MudRunFun members joined me and decided to double down on the weekend. That meant, completing the 5k Beerfest in Aguadilla the day before and the Reflex Xtreme Challenge. That is true beast mode so, congrats to all of you! The experience was a great one and I’m sure my mother will get on the OCR bandwagon. I wanted to thank some hard working people who helped to make this event a special one. First off, Tanya. She is essentially the team mom of MudRunFun Puerto Rico. Also, Daniel who has taken the lead in creating the MudRunFun Elite team. Thanks to Marcos from Reflex Xtreme challenge for giving us the opportunity to make this happen and also to all the sexy people who made the finish line experience so awesome. Let’s keep the Orange Machine going. MudRunFun!
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