Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rogue Runner VA Race Recap & Review

Rogue Runner Profile: 10k distance, 20 obstacles, timed 

My husband, sister, four friends and I ran as a team -- the "Spartan Rogues" -- in the inaugural Rogue Runner VA race on Battle Mountain near Ammissville, VA on October 20. Bloggers and other mud racing chicks have warned about doing first-time runs, but this one looked like it was super organized with really fun obstacles, and we got a great deal on the registrations, so we did it anyway.

Cargo net climb near the finish at the Rogue Runner VA race course

And I'm glad we did. Don't get me wrong, the race definitely had its glitches, and there were plenty of post-race complaints from some of the 1,500+ who came out on race day and completed the course. But it was a really fun family day. It was great to climb that mountain, to get out on an obstacle course and to be competitive at it.

The Good: What Rogue Runner Got Right

  • The people: race owners, volunteers and vendors were mostly very friendly and helpful 
  • Setting/venue: battle Mountain in October was just a beautiful backdrop for this race. 
  • Cool obstacles: while many were more fun than hard, they were all creative, unique and enoyable. Overall, not as hard at Spartan obstacles, but definitely some cool ones. 
  • Parking: a breeze, no long lines, no wait to get into the aprking areas. Did hear many complaints form other racers at having to pay $10 per car to park in a cow field. 
  • Traffic: there was none, Lots of thought went into this; well coordinated. 
  • Beer: a free beer after the event was enjoyed by many runners. 

The Not-so-Good: Rogue Runner Cons

  • Poor organization at the venue -- they were still putting up fence posts and mowing the path 20 minutes after the scheduled start time.
  • Late starting time for the first heat created a backlog when the 9 am, 9:30 and 10 am heats all started within 15-20 minutes of each other. They never recovered from this.
  • Long lines and waits at obstacles for most racers. I didn't have any personally (I was in the top 20 to finish and first woman) but this was the #1 complaint from other runners. Within 30 minutes of the first starting wave, there were backups at the obstacles. Some reported waiting over one HOUR in a line for just one obstacle. 
  • No signs for starting area, no signs for kids race. 
  • Volunteers who had no idea where or when or what when asked simple questions such as location and time for the kids race, awards ceremony, etc. 
  • Poor course markings -- some members of our team missed one of the obstacles because it was really unclear where to go after the barbed wire crawl. My sister and I were unsure as well and lost time asking volunteers at one of the other obstacles. 
  • No scheduled or posted time or place for awards ceremony
  • No contact post-race regarding the awards, despite promises from the race owners (My sister and I were the first women to finish and our team was pretty competitive as a whole -- did we win individual or team awards? 10 days later, we don't know.)

The Rogue Runner Kids Race Review

They advertised a 1-mile obstacle race for kids ages 9-12 and a  1/2 mile course with obstacles for the 4-8 crowd. On race day, they set up a small course with a few small obstacles and access to the adult water/ slip n' slide. My 9-year-old, who had trained almost daily by running, climbing the hill behind our house, using our vertical rope and monkey bars to improve upper body strength, was frankly very disappointed. It was nowhere near a mile, even when he ran it twice back-to-back.

The course was ideal for ages 3-5, I think. It's clear that none of the organizers actually have kids, or at least not kids in these age ranges. In fact, in responding to a comment asking about the kids race on their Facebook page, they wrote, "We are excited to have the little guys come out. " 

"Little guys"? Um, tell that to my 9-year-old and his 10-year old friend who came out to the VA race. They wanted to do the adult race course. Something a little harder than a three-foot high min-cargo net and 1/4 mile run would have been better. They're not "little guys."

The kids were happy to race, but it was a disappointment for the older ones and we were charged too much ($27 per child) for what it was.

At least they each got a T-shirt!

Did you run the Rogue Runner in VA or GA this year, or another first-time event? How was it? 

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