One of the things I wanted to try this year is other Obstacle Course Races. So this weekend I drove down to Maryland to do my first Savage Race. I had heard a lot of good things about these races, so I was really looking forward to it. I signed up for the Open heat instead of the Competitive Heats since I didn’t know what kinda obstacles I would be facing and I wanted to take my time and focus on learning about their races. Plus after doing the Ultra, I thought it would be good to have a “fun” race where I wasn’t worried about my race time.
This race was on a farm area, so I knew it was going to be very flat. The festival area was pretty lively when I got there. Registration was super easy, lines weren’t long at all, although I was in a later heat so I may have missed the rush. Got my bag checked in and got ready to race. The starting MC was fun, had us doing group stuff to get us pumped up and talked about how we should all help and motivate each other out there. Good start.
Race starts and we’re off down through a field. 1st obstacle is barbed wire crawl. The wire was very high so super easy to get through. Then Barn doors which was basically a wall climb. Through the fields some more to the Shriveled “Richard.” Basically an ice cold bath that required you to go underneath and out the other side. Definitely more of a mental obstacle than a physical one, but something some people may struggle with because u can’t see when u go under.
Squeeze play followed. Basically an up and over with plastic barrels. Then Backscratcher which was a combination of walls and barbed wire crawls. After that a little wash down the road was a cheese grater type wall called Bug Cheese. Small foot and hand holds were how you got up this rounded wall. Twin Peaks was dual running ramps like American Ninja warrior but much shorter and they had planks to help you jump up. Kinda tricky, took me 3 times cause I wasn’t timing my leap correctly, but once I figured it out, it wasn’t too bad.
Up and around to the Sawhorses. Wooden logs you had to hoist yourself over. They were really slick in some spots, so I kinda laid on them and spun myself over. Next obstacle was the Venus Guy Trap. A double inverted wall. Pull yourself Up and over the one side then run up and drop down the other. Nothing too hard but some of the lanes were kinda slick and muddy.
Thor’s Grundle was next. Another dunk yourself under water obstacle. Only this time it was in extremely muddy water, but the wall to dunk yourself under was very thin so it was quick. Only 2 lanes though and some people seemed really scared at this obstacle, so it got backed up quick. But I wasn’t in a hurry so I just waited my turn.
Slippery incline followed. Basically a slip wall with ropes. The ropes were very low so you barely had to run up the wall to get them. Me So Thorny was another barbed wire crawl. They seem to really like these, think there was 3-4 barbed wire crawls in the race.
Next was NutSmasher, a walk across a few balance beams over water. The beams moved a little so you had to have good balance throughout. Wasn’t too bad but I saw a couple people fall in. Great Wall was after. Seemed like a 7 foot wall. Got up and over with no real issues but the wall is very thin and not stable, it wobbles. I was climbing down when someone jumped on it from the other side and it moved so much it almost knocked me off.
So I’m halfway through the obstacles and I was kind of like “where are all the grip obstacles?” Well they decided to group a lot of them together! Sawtooth was the first one. A long monkey bar climb up and then down a couple bars. Then you had to pull yourself back up and down the monkey bars on the other side. A very LONG grip obstacle. Oh and it’s over water. Waited for my lane to clear then started up the bars. Very thin bars so they were easy to grip but they were quite wet as well. Got to the transition and took my time lowering myself down. Didn’t want to swing too much and lose my grip. Got to the other side and was able to pull myself up the bars. Was a move I had been practicing at my gym, lifting myself up while on monkey bars, and it definitely paid off. Started down the monkey bars and touched down on the other side. My arms felt spent but it felt awesome to complete that. The volunteer told me that obstacle has a very high fail percentage.
Kiss My Walls was after that. A fairly long wall climb down the wall. Felt pretty good going into it but about halfway through I slipped off. Wanted to try again but the line was so long I said forget it and moved on. Wasn’t going to beat myself up over it since I’m usually pretty good at wall climbs.
Next up was one of their newer obstacles, Holy Sheet. It consisted of a sheet hanging horizontally from a rig that you had to climb across, and then transition to 4 metal balls. The sheet climb was easy but the balls were tough to grip. I used both hand on each one as I swung. Had to pull myself up on the last one but I was able to hit the bell.
Another obstacle followed, Mad Ladders. Several hanging ladders you had to navigate through, some of which had no footholds. Wasn’t hard, just tricky and awkward. Watched a few people try and struggle but I didn’t have much problems with it. Just took my time and tried to maintain 3 points of contact throughout it.
Big Ass Cargo was a big cargo net you had to climb. Been there done that. Then Wheel World. 5 spinning wheels you had to navigate then pull yourself up onto a rope to then be able to touch the other side. Went across once but slipped off trying to reach the rope. Climbed out of the water and tried again but this time I got stuck 3 wheels in and couldn’t get my momentum going to keep moving. So I fell again. Thought about trying again but I figured I’d just keep moving on.
Mud and Guts was basically a barbed wire crawl in mud with a guy spraying a cold water hose at you. Was pretty brutal actually and that cold water was a real shock to the system. Banged my knee up pretty good on a rock, but I kept going.
Lumberjack Lane followed that. The only carry of the race. The 2x4s weren’t very heavy and there was so few of the long ones so I just grabbed 2 of the short ones. It was a short flat walk around a small pond. No big deal.
Up next was Davy Jones locker. Basically you climb up this 15 foot wall then jump off the platform into the pool below. Not really an “obstacle” unless you’re afraid of heights. Also they had signs saying “if you can’t swim don’t attempt this obstacle”. Probably a smart idea. There was lots of lifeguards too. Waited my turn then 5 of us jumped in. Felt pretty good and that was a lot of fun.
After that was Twirly Bird. That consisted of a swinging handle to some bungee cords then a handle and then bungee cords. Think it was a set of 3 altogether. Watched several people do it. The secret seemed to be grab high on the bungee cause the lower ends were wet and loose. Swung through and actually had really good grip. Made it through with no issues on the 1st try, actually surprised myself because I had heard many racers struggle with that one.
Savage Rig was next. Rings to rope to rings. Like 3 sets of that then ring the bell. Wasn’t bad although the rings were far apart so you really had to reach and not lose momentum!
Colossus was looming up ahead. A big warped wall with a rope to pull yourself up. Followed by a big slide on the other side. The line for this was LONG! Since only a few people could go at a time it seemed to be taking forever. I waited a couple minutes but after realizing that I hadn’t moved much in the line, I just got out of it and kept waking. Kind of a bummer but I guess that’s what happens when you run in the later Open heats.
Blazed was a fire jump in the middle of nowhere with no photographer. Kinda weak and pointless. 2 new obstacles were after that. Pedal to the Medal was a wheel that you had to spin with your feet in order to drag the tire that was attached to rope to your side. Sounds easy but it’s not. You had to lie on your back and spin it. My legs were burning while doing this. Had to stop halfway through but I couldn’t put them down or else I would lose some of the slack. Finally finished pulling the tire close then I went out and dragged the tire back to the starting position.
Last obstacle: Battering Ram. Very tough. You had to shimmy yourself with the handhold down this pole then transition to another handhold and shimmy to the end of that pole in order to ring the bell. I tried it twice and I couldn’t make the transition. My arms were gassed at this point so I chalked it up as a loss and went to the finish line.
So despite never doing this race before I only failed 3 obstacles. Felt pretty good about that. No idea what my finishing time was as I never looked at a clock and I spent a lot of time also observing the obstacles in the race. Wasn’t racing for time at all.
So I have some things I really liked about this race and some things I didn’t:
Pros: Love all the grip strength obstacles. They are lots of fun and a good challenge. There was no hills at all, just some technical terrain in the woods, so it’s definitely a fast race. I liked not having any heavy carries like buckets or sandbags. The check in was super easy and things like bag check and various tents were easy to locate. The MC was fun and he really engaged with the crowd. There’s was lots of volunteers and they were all super friendly. Several water stations as well, although I thought it was weird to get a water bottle instead of just a cup of water. Who is drinking 16oz of water at a water station? Because you’re definitely not carrying it with you through the muddy obstacles.
Cons: Bibs! Really? You know how expensive OCR shirts and shorts are and you want me to stick pins through it and put holes in my gear?? And there’s no real reason for the bib since the number isn’t tracked on their photo system and the gps tracker isn’t attached. I guess maybe the pros need it for identification, but there’s gotta be a better way! Also there was way too many barbed wire crawls. The dunking yourself under water obstacles, I’m not really a fan of and there was 2 of them. That’s not an obstacle to me, at best it’s just a good photo op. Course setup was weird too. 30 obstacles but you don’t reach a single grip strength obstacle till 15. Maybe space them out a little? Also spectators were allowed on the course! Several times we would be running through the course having to dodge spectators that were just hanging out on the course. Lastly, for some unknown reason the showers were on the complete opposite area where the festival is. You had to walk like a half a mile to get there! Was kind of annoying.
Had a good time trying this race out. Will be doing it again when they come to PA this year so I’ll be able to judge any differences or changes.
Let me know if you’ve done this race before and what you think about it! I wanna hear your Pros and Cons!
As always if you have questions or comments please message me below. Or you can message me on my Instagram or Facebook page. Thanks for the support!! 🤡👍🏽👍🏽