Last Updated on January 30, 2022 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP
I’ve run a lot of obstacle course races (OCR’s), and I have to say, the Hero Rush ranks as one of the best I’ve ever done. I didn’t find the course incredibly difficult (challenging, yes, but I can actually walk and raise my arms over my head today, haha), however it was really, ridiculously FUN. I’d say it is certainly do-able for a trained first timer, no question about it. If anything, the most difficult part is mental, such as having the confidence to crawl up slippery ladders or through small, dark, confined, smoke filled spaces.
While the course certainly is not at the same danger/difficulty level that our real firefighter/hero’s face in a real fire, the obstacles did simulate (and simulate well in my opinion) what the firefighters do face in an emergency. The obstacles, being firefighter themed, were unlike anything else I have seen before, and therefore that in itself was a challenge. And while we certainly did not stay dry, the race lacked mud, which believe it or not, was a nice change of pace for once.
The volunteers and staff were amazing, the course directions were easy to follow, and the race swag and post-race food/drink were all fantastic. I can not say it enough, Hero Rush was a class act, and I absolutely, positively WILL run this race again.
Now, sometimes I wonder if I’m blogging or writing a novel. This is another long one, but this race was so fantastic it deserves a great big long review. Thus, I’ve broken it up in two parts, depending on what brought you to this website in the first place.
Part one: Preface/The competitive wave (a.k.a. Heather ramblings you’ve all grown to know and, uh, love?)
Part two: Course review (all the pictures and descriptions, fast forward to this if that’s what you are here for!)
Hero Rush generously invited Geoff and I to their NY race to compete and review on my blog. When given the registration code, I felt compelled to register for the competitive/elite wave. I don’t know why I do these things, but I’m a very compulsive girl when it comes to adventures.
So early Saturday morning, we left Vermont and made the (beautiful) drive up to Ballston Spa, New York. The race was being held on Ellms Family Farm a really large and quaint New England-esque (though I realize NY is technically not in New England) farm. Pumpkin patches, cornfields, tractors, red barns and silos. It was really a fantastic (and family friendly) location.
We arrived in plenty of time to get front row parking ($10 parking fee, however spectators are free) check in and get our bibs and timing chips. The volunteers were all incredibly friendly and seemed very excited to be a part of this race.
The weather was ominous and we weren’t quite sure if it was going to storm, but the show must go on.
We wandered around the farm for a little bit. You could certainly feel the theme of the Hero Rush with fire trucks and firefighters everywhere, as well as teams sporting t shirts from their home fire stations or honoring fallen firefighters.
There was an immense sense of camaraderie and pride for the real hero’s (not just the racers!). We checked our bags (again, free, and really easy), and that’s when I turned to Geoff and said those magical words:
I think I want to race.
Not just run the course, but actually race. Try to win. I had toyed with the idea ever since I had signed us up for the elite wave. And now that we had arrived, I noticed that the competitive wave seemed to be relatively smaller compared to some other OCR races I’ve been to. It had been so long since I’ve “raced” anything, and never before an OCR. I doubted my strength, I doubted my health (still coming off of bronchitis) and I had no idea what I was up against.
I thought of all the badass Spartan chicks who compete to win and laughed that I thought I’d show up to one of these trying to complete. But then I reminded myself that I *do* have a sub 20 minute 5k under my belt, I do train like a beast, and while I’m not the strongest or fastest chick out there, I certainly can be a force to be reckoned with. And after all, we were registered for the competitive heat. Maybe it was meant to be. Maybe it wasn’t either, but a good hard run couldn’t hurt.
But most importantly, I had a BLAST.
Geoff found me before I even finished. He had come in just a few minutes before me, then back tracked and cheered/ran me (on the sidelines) to the finish line. I’m pretty sure the first thing out of his mouth was “that was SO fun, let’s do it again!”
So after the awards ceremony, we went back to bag check where the volunteer was AMAZING enough to let me dig through my checked bag, drop off some items (award and medal) and grab our camera. We hopped back in the corral for the next wave, and got ready to run the course for a second time.
Part 2: Have fun & love what you do
– Course/race reviewTo start, we all lined up in a corral for obstacle #1, “Dispatch Descent”. At the sound of the horn, we ran up stairs to a platform with multiple fire poles on the opposite side. Slide to the bottom, where the starting timing mat was, and your race began.
There was A LOT of running in this race. I mean, 3.8 miles is 3.8 miles no matter what way you look at it, but for some reason, it just felt like a lot of running. I think it felt this way because most of it was running through fields and on grass (there were occasional gravel roads, as well as some real muddy trail). It was certainly doable for anyone, but it was far from traditional pavement or even well groomed trail running. We ran down a hill and through some cornfields where we encountered wooden windows, walls, and some doors. OCR’s have made me a champ at the over/under/through’s, but the doors were something new. I opened the first one with no problem, only to encounter another one. Door #2 didn’t open nearly as easy, and I certainly had to put some body weight into that thing to get it to swing open. Then there was more running.
|The face tells all. Yuck.|
|Gel remanents. It’s still all over my car!|
OK maybe there was a little bit of mud…
Next up was the most difficult obstacle, in my opinion. First you climbed a fire hose to the platform below (if you can’t climb, there were ladders available). Then, you walked DOWN a fire hose, sort of like a tightrope, using two other hoses to stabalize you. All three hoses moved independently, and it was a lot harder to maneuver than I initially imagined. This was also probably the scariest obstacle in my opinion, as there was nothing holding you up and nothing to catch you if you fall. Hang on tight!
|I used my 2nd place certificate to purchase this awesome mug, and my $5 hero dinero to fill it with a delicious IPA!|