Finally, after a year full of cancellations, I was able to compete at a Savage Race! (My only OCR in all of 2020). Who thought running and climbing in the mud could be so refreshing?! My last Savage Race was the Maryland Fall event in September of 2018. Since then I've only done Spartan events since I had their season pass. I can say without any hesitation, Savage obstacles are way more challenging, unique, and fun than Spartan obstacles. I definitely missed Savage events! I had originally signed up for the Charlotte event when it was supposed to happen in May. Obviously, Covid had other plans so the race was postponed until December 5th.
My biggest concern on race day, was that it was going to be extremely cold, but it actually turned out to be the perfect temperature! At the venue entrance, Savage staff members were doing temperature checks and health screenings to help prevent the spread of Covid. You also had to wear a mask when entering. I think Savage did an excellent job spacing things out and creating an environment that made people feel safe without taking away from the overall experience. The Charlotte area had gotten a lot of rain leading up to race day, so there was a ton of mud throughout the course. That's part of the fun though, right? That's why we call them Mud Runs! It was a 6 mile course, and for the first 5 miles, I kept thinking in my head "I wonder where all the grip intense obstacles are?". They kept teasing us by having parts of the course run by obstacles like Wheel World, Piece of Queso, and Anchors Aweigh. The first 5 miles of the course had a lot of running and was scattered with walls, carries, and other fun obstacles. Finally, packed into the final mile of the course, it was a back to back onslaught of all the grip intensive obstacles!
Piece of Queso is definitely the hardest obstacle in my opinion. It took a serious amount of functional grip strength and since I had never done it before, I had to figure out what to do while hanging in the air! My favorite obstacle overall was Battering Bird! It was a mix of their Battering Ram and Twirly bird obstacles and made for a fantastic combination!
Side note: Less than 50% of Pro Heat runners were able to complete all the obstacles! That's a testament to how tough the obstacles were.
I know I said that the course was the perfect temperature, but Savage made sure we didn't get too comfortable! Colossus was the 4th to last obstacle. I knew the water was going to be cold, but I didn't expect it to be Shriveled Richard level cold. As soon as you hit the water, it was like a punch in the chest and knocked the wind out of you! I had to catch my breath from Colossus more than any other obstacle. Then, right after your body was nice and frozen, they had the Kiss My Walls rock wall. It was definitely tough with freezing cold finger tips. I saw a lot of athletes really struggling there.
It felt so great to cross the finish line and get the medal and t-shirt! That's a feeling I've truly missed! Also, Savage did a great job designing their 2020 shirts and medals!
All in all it was a fantastic event and Savage Race made a killer course as always! I'm happy to say I was able to complete all the obstacles without any retries/fails! It felt great to be back out there pushing my body. It was also really awesome to be with the OCR community. So much positive energy and support! I am glad to see the OCR community is staying strong and I can't wait to have a fantastic 2021!
Author: Luke Hayes
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