Englishtown NJ Terrain Racing – August 06, 2016
By Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)
At this point, I have pretty much participated in almost every OCR event in both America and Canada, so I was really excited to finally have the chance to do my first Terrain Race and at a venue I know well, Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ.
• Registration and Festival:
I was running late and was concerned registering would take a while, but I was impressed to by the bar code scanning registration system that Terrain Race uses (similar to what Spartan Canada uses) and registration was fast and easy.
The festival area was set up well and easy to find each section.
• Pre-race MC:
This was my first time that I had seen/listened to Terrain Race MC Lashay R. Marks and I came away very impressed, he actually started talking to racers and spectators prior to the start of his pre-race speech and I just assumed he was some cool guy that was hanging out to motivate each wave. I ran both the 10k and 5k versions of the course and as well watched him send out the kids heat and each time he changed it up and kept it fun and fresh. Personally, it’s always a major plus when OCR’s have a really good MC and I think it adds to the overall experience for both racers and spectators.
• The Course:
Both the 10k and 5k courses started out with a short sprint and the first obstacle was a 4’ wall to hop/climb over. After another brief sprint came a muddy water trench crawl under ropes and a muddy mound to traverse/climb over. The course continued you on, and up next was a monkey bars obstacle and just a short distance ahead was a high wall with a rope and notched sections of wood to climb up and over. The course started to exit to an area that was predominantly black top pavement and up next was a black plastic drainage pipe that slid down and into muddy water.
The course tuned towards a section of the venue that has been used by several OCR’s that is a kid’s dirt bike and/or BMX dirt track and just prior we went up and down a large stone mound/hill. The course looped around the outside of the dirt track and next up was a tall A-frame rope net obstacle to climb up and back down. After a water station that also included Oral I.V. ampules (cool) the next challenge up was a Wreck Bag carry around a short loop and then course stayed on the dirt track for a while. Then the first obstacle built on the actual track was a series of muddy water trenches and muddy mounds to traverse/climb through, I ran an early 10k wave so the sun wasn’t out full blown yet, but I personally enjoyed having more than one obstacle that got me in the water (muddy or not) and a chance to cool my entire body temperature down.
At this point the course remained on the dirt track for a little bit and eventually made a U-turn and up next was a 7 or 8 foot wall to climb up and over and then the course turned and for the first time entered into the woods. The course continued on in the woods for about 1k and came to a deep mud trench to enter and walk through. It was fun to watch the other racers both times I did this section. Both times other racers were laughing and freaking out about how thick the mud was. After exiting the trench, the course only continued on for a short distance and then arrived to the 10k & 5k splits in the course. The wall (a higher wall) on the left took racers on to the 10k and the right wall went to the 5k course.
For my first lap, I ran the 10k version of the course which included a rope climb, a tire flip, a bucket filled with water carry (which I enjoyed because I dumped the water on top of my head after the loop), a high wall to climb over, a sandbag carry, a short swim, and a three hanging ropes Tarzan swing obstacle. The 10k loop eventually merged back into the same course as the 5k and up next was a round bars, boxed structure with the top and exiting section covered with a rope ladder to crawl/role across the top and then climb down the other side. A short sprint later came another muddy water trench crossing and another chance to get dirty and wet. It was time for one last brief sprint and we made our way to the hardest/most challenging obstacle on the course, it was built over a portable pool and started out with a monkey cross section of rock climbing grips and then segued to hanging balls to grip, the obstacle lives up to the Terrain Racing’s Monkey theme and is clearly an obstacle a real monkey would enjoy and probably complete with ease. A very short distance ahead and only about thirty feet from the finish line was the last obstacle on the course which started with a balance beam crossing to a rope ladder crossing and then finished up with a fireman pole to slide down.
• The Bling:
The bling included one of the biggest, sexiest, and coolest finisher medals in the OCR industry that also is a spinner medal (the monkey spins). The finisher shirt is an off white color and nice as well. The highlight of the bling though, is the medal and for that alone this is an OCR worth running.
• Overall Feelings and Event Rating:
I noticed a few local OCR Elite athletes were very critical and disappointed with the Terrain Racing course and expected more obstacle and for it to be harder, but I wasn’t that disappointed. I would have liked to see more obstacles on the 5k version of the course, but with that said, I saw so many families and friends running the course and they were all having a blast. I overheard several groups of racers talking about upgrading to the multiple laps option and looking forward to running the course multiple times, so I have to take that into consideration when my overall rating of the course/event.
I have said many times that not all OCR’s need to be really hard and/or a long distances to be successful in this business and in fact, in my opinion for this sport/hobby to keep growing and survive races like Terrain Race are important to help keep bringing in new racers and as well stop some from burning out.
The volunteers and staff were awesome, the MC was top notch, the finisher medal is one of the best in the business, and all though the 5k version of the course was a little low on total obstacles, it was still a fun course with obstacles that were well built and safe for all types of racers. I am rating the event/course a 4.8 out of 5 stars.