For the second year, the RAID series held the Urban RAID, a 5k OCR, in Boston on July 12. The Boston event was one of five planned this year by the RAID series, based in Portland, Maine. A great OCR for beginners, the Urban RAID is also a good option for more advanced athletes looking to improve their mastery of standard obstacles.
I was part of a team that completed the Urban RAID this year. It was a blast! If you’re a Boston area local, you’ll love the bonus of seeing downtown Boston and the waterfront before tourists hit these popular spots.
The Urban RAID Boston course was a very scenic one, covering several popular Boston sites. It was a mud-less run with the entire course on pavement, including the steps around City Hall. The obstacles were common to what you’d see in most OCRs and very well-constructed.
This OCR started with about a half-mile stretch of running followed by a sequence of a dozen or so short hurdles. After the short hurdles and some running, marine hurdles were next right outside of Quincy Market. These were scattered along the course twice, the second time right before the monkey bars, set up along the waterfront.
As the route looped back to the start, we faced a series of obstacles including a rope climb, a slanted wall, and tractor tires. A short set of stairs brought us back to City Hall plaza where there was more running, a sandbag carry, tractor tires, a huge cargo net, slackline, wall, and the finish line.
RAID set up packet pick-up at a Sports Authority a few miles away from the actual event. There was limited registration available on-site, but it was worth picking up materials beforehand since the Sports Authority offered a 15% discount for participants.
Considering the location of the event, mass transit was the best way to get there. There was gear check on-site, but if you were taking the train in, you could bring the minimal with you and maybe even race with them.
RAID sent wave details earlier in the week before the race. When I noticed the waves were only 5 minutes apart, I was worried about bottlenecking at obstacles and general congestion along the course. But with roughly 500-600 participants, crowding was no problem.
Freebies & Vendors
For signing up, participants received an Urban RAID T Shirt and Hoo Rag. Two servings of Shipyard beer were also served to attendees at a nearby Hard Rock Cafe. Other vendors onsite were Naked Juice, Zico Coconut Water and First Aid Shot Therapy. Although there weren’t many vendors, I wasn’t disappointed considering that the race, itself, was in the affordable range in comparison to other OCRs (at $50-$70 per registration).
As a whole, the Urban RAID was a solid event. My only complaint was the lukewarm water at hydration stops, but this seems to be the status quo for many OCRs held in the summer. Also, after the finish line, bottled water was tepid, so it was a good that Zico was giving away ice-cold coconut water.
Still, the Urban Raid is great for first-time participants, those looking for a mud-less race and OCR fans looking for a change of pace from courses hosted on mud-caked terrain. If you’re trying to get better at specific obstacles, you would have been able to do so in this event as some of the props were still standing after the last wave finished. And who knows? Race organizers may have even let you complete the course twice!