Mudd Sweat and Tears: Niagara Race Review
Time to get down and dirty!
It’s one week before the first obstacle race of the season, I check the weather and UGH, it’s gonna be cold and damp! Welcome to racing in Canada. We are the only country it seems where we can go from frost bite to sunburn in one day.
We load the car and head off to the Hamilton/Niagara region, about a 4 hour drive. Upon arrival we check into the hotel and head to the race site for a preview. The Puddicombe Farm is a nice venue with a small gift shop, petting zoo, train rides and other family activities for spectators. The Iced Apple Wine is fantastic!
When we arrived in the afternoon, none of the main venue had been set up, so we returned to the hotel and rested. We were up early and had a full breakfast at the Comfort Inn which has recently been renovated and is quite nice and about 11 minutes from the race site. Apart from some rowdy kids overhead, the hotel is clean and quiet at a reasonable rate.
We checked in, submitted our waivers and received our kit: coupons, t-shirt, face tattoo, race # and some advertising. We switched our timing to 0900 to be the first out as the weather was quite cold at 5 (C) degrees and it was lightly misting (rain).
The terrain was through the vineyards and up the Bruce Trail, obstacles were placed throughout including, mud crawl with barbed wire, 9′ walls, hay bales, bridge crossings -over and under and some carrying challenges. Overall was a nice paced course, nothing too extreme with plenty of volunteers throughout to motivate you to continue.
I had the opportunity to meet the Race Director John Reed and he said “it was an excellent turnout at approx. 260 participants and is a very user friendly race site.” He thanked the race builders, Bobby Beaudoin, Joe Zack -who completed the course in 29 minutes and has the claim to fame of being an OCR star from the World Toughest Mudder course and Brad Anderson.
Here were a few other details: Parking was $5.00 and was donated to a local charity; parking may have been a concern if the numbers were much larger. The drink ticket should have be usable for both beer or water as the designated driver had to pay for any non-alcoholic beverage – John is aware of this and will make changes for next race. Emails were sent on a regular basis to update participants and race kit pick up was quick and easy -well organized.
Obstacles were well spaced out and were fun for all fitness levels. One obstacle needs to be revisited -the angled pallets, as they were too slippery for anyone to get traction. Most participants walked through them to avoid injury.
Location is good for a family venue. Music needs to be improved to ‘stoke the fire’ at the start and food options at the end were limited to a BBQ for a fee. The bonfire was a nice touch and hose off stations were available if you could withstand the cold. Bathrooms on site were enough for this size of a venue but they may need to be increased as participation goes up.
The finish line was well defined but there was a bunching issue for medal distribution, and photos at the end, so they may want to add a corridor for finishers to follow, to line up racers to prevent future confusion. T-shirts are bold red cotton and the medal is nice. I gave it a 3/5. 36 down and 14 to go!