An obstacle course race without mud, color, electric or any of the other messy stuff. :P Nope. Urban RAID Boston used history as its backdrop - it's WOW factor.
On Saturday, I participated in RAID Series inaugural Urban RAID race in Boston.
Not gonna lie - I LOVE being a part of a race during the first year. I like to see the highs and lows and offer the race committee my personal thoughts on how it went. Not that many care, but I like to offer them anyway. ;)
Let's back up.
In May, through social media channels, I got ahold of someone at RAID Series who after some emails back and forth offered me the chance to run the event in Boston for free ($65 value) AND create my own team (3 other folks).
OH HECK YES!!
All I had to do was share my thoughts on the race - good or bad.
Well that sounds like a deal I could go for.
So in June, I worked on building my team. The goal of participating in the run and having a team was to 1) relay the joy or running this type of race with friends and 2) to prove that people of all fitness levels could participate.
Our team was set and we were looking forward to it - as you can tell in my post a month before the run.
Shortly before race day, Mark had to back out due to a prior commitment so I went to my blog and thankfully a reader - Jacqueline - was happy enough to sub in.
Now as we have all learned by reading this blog - I love a good running outfit. Well an obstacle course gives me even more reason for a fun outfit. Why? Because I have very poor upper body strength (working on it) so I can distract the crowd with sparkles or good socks. :)
I had to come up with a team name for us quickly to get us registered so I panicked and called us: "Blog-bastic." Like Boombastic, but with Blog (since 3 of us were bloggers). Yes I told you it was bad.
Thankfully Erin decided to rename us Team Peanut Butter ... and we went with it! :)
Photo Courtesy FightingForWellness.com
I was lucky enough to pick up all of our bibs the afternoon before so we coordinated to meet in front of Anthem in Faneuil Hall at 8:30am on Saturday.
Oh did I not mention that the race was taking place in Boston's historic Faneuil Hall. Yeah, pretty badass if you ask me. Running, jumping and climbing through one of the most historic parts of the country is pretty sweet.
The first wave went off at 9am. When we arrived at the race, we had no idea what wave we would be in. They weren't pre-announced. Instead the DJ/MC announced who was eligible for each corral as they were decided. They ended up being broken up by sex then age. So all males from 16-29 say went in Wave 1 then Wave 2 was females from 16-19, etc. Well our team had a mix of ages so we had no idea which wave to join. It seemed as if most people felt the confusion - especially co-ed teams - so most people just seemed to go whenever they wanted to. So that was a little confusing at the beginning.
We decided to go in one of the last corrals for no particular reason besides allowing us to really stick to our own pace.
I let the group know before we started that our goal was to start together, make it through all the obstacles as a group and finish strong as one. This 5k race was about pushing each other, finding each other's strengths and completing the course.
As I said over and over - we didn't need any heroes that day.
If someone was unable to complete an obstacle, it was stated on the website that the person would do 5 burpees in place of the obstacle.
Once we crossed the Start Line, we were in the zone and all nerves were gone. We kept a nice even pace and really got into a nice rhythm and conversation - since we were basically all meeting for the first time that morning.
Thankfully chemistry was instant.
There was a preview of obstacles online, which you can check out here.
But the course had to be changed at the last minute due to a conflicting event happening in Downtown Boston as well.
I give the RAID group credit for thinking on their feet and really using the best of the space they were given.
Marine Hurdles (twice)
Saddlebags (20 or 40 lbs)
Monkey Bars (which Jacqueline is OWNING in the front & Erin in the back)
And the final obstacles heading to the Finish were: rope/ladder, climbing down the wall backwards and heading over the wall.
That was a glimpse of about 90% of the obstacles.
I am proud of myself for completing each obstacle on the course, but walking down the wall backwards gave me the biggest shock. I felt like I would just tumble down to the cobblestone. Thankfully a fellow runner took pity on me and walked down the wall slowly next to me, encouraging me the whole way and offering a huge high five when we hit ground! I owe that man a lot.
In the end, we finished in about 36 minutes ...
... and looked AWESOME doing it! :)
The race was well-organized (whereas good number of volunteers, course was well laid out, etc). The wave situation was confusing at the Start, but that is easily fixed.
There was also a course issue where you had to cross two streets which were open to traffic twice during the run. An odd layout, but understandable given their lack of space situation. RAID did handle this little hiccup well. They had timing mats on both sides of the street so if you were stuck at a red light - it wouldn't compromise your overall time. Additionally, they put the water stop in the median between the streets so you could walk and drink water/dump it on your head without worrying about your time. Brilliant use of technology folks. I found it a great break as it was hot on the course.
It was super cool to be running and doing obstacles while tourists were just going about their business enjoying Boston. I'm sure we ended up in a lot of their vacation albums.
There was a sweet tech shirt, which we were lucky enough to get with our entry, but most people had to pay $20 for it.
The only other confusion came at the post-race party. RAID was nice enough to partner with Ned Devine's to offer the runners an air-conditioned space to meet up with family and friends after the run. Now we were under the impression that each racer would receive 3 complimentary beers courtesy of Shipyard Brewing since there were 3 BEER tear-off tabs on our bib.
But, when we got to Ned Devine's, they informed us it was one beer per person then $3.50 a beer after that.
So I went in search of my contact to inquire about what was actually owed to racers. She said she was working with her managers to figure that out and to check back.
Well, I had to get back to my patient so we decided to head out after our one brew. I did not have a chance to follow-up to see what ended up happening with the beer situation, but would be interested to see what did occur.
(Note: when I went home after the race to search through race emails - the emails from RAID did have one beer per person from the get go.)
Would I do this race again? For sure -- if either price was reduced, a Finisher's Medal was included and more than one beer. It was challenging enough, but was still doable by each member of Team Peanut Butter. Plus, having the burpee option put many people's minds at ease.
Have you ever done a RAID Series event?