This past weekend was the BoneFrog race in Washington. Actually it was in Charlotte Hall, Maryland. The race was held on a motocross course, and through several of the surrounding trails. The course seemed fairly flat when I entered, but once the race started I realized the course directors used every bit of hilly terrain in the area. Plus, because it was a motocross course, they used the moguls and hills of the course to add in hill climbs. The terrain was fairly technical, lots of rocks and muddy terrain. It had rained till about 7am that morning so everything was still pretty wet.
I had signed up for the BoneFrog Endurance race. That consists of running the Challenge race first, which is 33 obstacles and about 6-7 miles. After that, the goal is to then run as many Sprint laps as you can by 2pm. The Sprint is a shorter part of the course, about 20 obstacles and 3-4 miles of distance. For every Sprint lap you run, you get a Frog pin to add to your medal. At 5 laps you get a Gold Frog pin. Your last lap has to be started before the 2pm cutoff in order for it to count. There is a transition area by the finish line for your drop bin, and you can check in with the timing machine to see where you’re at with your lap counts.
The Venue was pretty easy to locate and get to. The parking lot was on the flat grassy fields, so a little bit of off-roading but not too bad. Short walk down a dirt road into the venue. You could see several obstacles right when you walked in. The Registration area was at the front and was pretty quick to get through. Then the Merch booth was behind it as well as a large tent with tables and chairs for spectators. The tent faced the main highlight obstacle, Black Ops, with its big American flag and the winners podiums.
There was only one food vendor unfortunately. The food was good but the lack of choices kinda stinks. Also, from the venue itself you could only actually see Cargo Net, Black Ops, and the start and finish lines. If you wanted to see other obstacles, you could take a short walk to the left and see about 4-5 other obstacles. If you went to the right, you could then see a couple more. The majority of the obstacles were out in the open near the venue, so it was great for spectators as long as they didn’t mind going for little walks.
They also had a tent for a DJ. He had some good tunes playing and they were loud so even racers could hear them. This seems like a good thing in theory, however when I was in the venue area it was really hard to hear other people and to talk. Felt like we were screaming at each other. So maybe chill a little with the loud music.
Lots of volunteers on the course. They were all pretty friendly as well. The Young Marines were there as well, and they were barking out orders to us during some of the “tribute” obstacles. They seemed to really enjoy yelling at us, and it made for a fun experience.
Just a FYI: this venue does not allow for alcohol. So there is no finisher beer. No biggie for me and I can’t really ding BoneFrog for it since its not up to them.
So one of the things I always enjoy at BoneFrog, is their military focus. From the Military themes, the American flags, and the “Tribute” obstacles to fallen soldiers. Also they don’t have any slides, dunk walls, or ice baths. If you get muddy at a Bonefrog it’s because of a Low Crawl or a Frogman swim, not because they just decided to put a random mud pit in the middle of nowhere for you to jump into. They have some technical rigs like Chopper and Strong Hold. Also the only carry is a sandbag carry through walls and under barbed wire.
I really liked that the Endurance Elite racers got to start before the Open Endurance racers. Gave us a fresh shot at the course. With the corrals being placed fairly decently apart, I never felt slowed down by masses of Open waves after my first lap. They seemed to have it well structured with the Heats.
The start line MC was very direct, informative, and sent us off without any 5 minute long group speeches. As someone who does a lot of races, it can be tiring to listen to the same speech over and over. I just want to get out there and race! BoneFrog seems to understand that. They line us up, go over a few rules, then say go!
The drop bin are was covered with q tent and had tables. This was great, because if there would have been rain, none of our stuff would have been affected. Also we could make discreet gear changes when needed.
Volunteers were a lot of fun and very encouraging. Some of them saw me so much, they were counting my laps with me! All the event staff were very helpful, and seemed to enjoy being there.
It’s hard to describe, but at a BoneFrog race I feel like they have a little more heart invested in it. It just feels more like a family.
One of the things I noticed is some of the rigs had very few open lanes. Like Chopper only had 3 step-stools. So it caused a backup at obstacles, except for the tall guys who could reach the first grip by jumping up. Also 33 obstacles but only 4 photographers kinda stinks. Especially for people running multiple laps. I basically have like 25 pictures, but at the same 4 obstacles. With having so many cool obstacles, I feel like there’s plenty of other places for photo ops.
Also the obstacle Dirty Name, I think they should scrap it. It just seems very slick and i saw lots of people falling off onto their backs or sides. It’s not a challenging obstacle, more of a fear based one. Just feel like they could do something better with that. Just my two cents.
Also with any Mandatory Obstacle Completion race, once you fail and lose your band, it becomes a lot less about the obstacles and more about just continuing on. Would be nice to have something for the people who couldn’t 100% through multiple laps.
Because they are a much smaller race, there are only timing mats at the start and finish. Which could allow for some big course cutting. The obstacle completion is kind of on the honor system, as they don’t have someone watching every obstacle. The obstacle I failed and surrendered my band at, I actually ended up giving it to the volunteer at the next obstacle who thanked me for my honesty.
Lastly my previously stated issues with the DJ and one food vendor. Not sure how much control they have over vendors coming in, because this has been an issue at plenty of other OCRs as well.
Thank you so much for reading my review. I would appreciate if you could comment and give me your opinion. Let me know what things you would like me to talk about. Or what things I should get rid of. All feedback is welcome!