Bull Dam Trail Run results & photos

By | September 3, 2014 1:53 am | 0 Comments

bull dam

More than 100 people headed out to North East on Sunday, August 31 for the 2nd annual Bull Dam Trail Run. Looks like the participation numbers were pretty evenly split between the 5K & 10K options.

Complete results can be found here.

Lots of photos (I think taken by Pat Krott) can be seen here.

BattleFrog hops/swims/climbs/runs into Pittsburgh area – Sept. 27

By | September 2, 2014 2:13 am | 0 Comments



Hey…I know this redhead. It’s Erie’s own Jenny Turak.

There a new adventure racing series on the market and it’s not only amphibious, but kinda bad@#$. Created and run by former Navy SEALs, BattleFrog is not just a mud run, but a test of strength, endurance, and speed, too. You’ll get muddy…and wet.

BattleFrog is coming to the Pittsburgh area on Saturday, Sept. 27. The race location — Meadows & Mines Resort — in Wampum, Pa. is less than a 2 hour dive from Erie, which means you don’t have to invest in a hotel and make it an overnight thing, unless you want to, of course. And, you may want to because BattleFrog offers a distance for the whole family (not something you find at most big mud/adventure run events). There’s a 15K for those who want to really challenge themselves, a 5K for those what want a taste of competition, and there’s also two kids events: The BullFrog Mile for kids 10+ & the Tadpole Dash for kids under 10. (More info below).


I recently talked with Kraig Becker, Media Director for BattleFrog, about the Pittsburgh event.

How long has BattleFrog been in existence?

BattleFrog held its first race in Atlanta at the end of May, and we have had three other races since. Those races took place in the Carolinas, the Greater Washington DC area, and the New York/New Jersey area.

How did it get started?

The race was started by a group of former Navy SEALs who wanted to share a bit of what their intense training is like in a fun, competitive, and challenging way. They founded BattleFrog to do just that, while also using the race as a platform to give back to the SEAL community. Our efforts help support the Navy SEAL Foundaiton, the Navy SEAL Museum, the Trident House, and the Foundation for Navy SEAL Veterans.

Where was the first one held?

The first race was held in Atlanta, GA on May 31 and June 1.

How many are held each year now?

In 2014, we’ll have held six total races. Next year, we hope to expand to 20-25 events, and hopefully go nationwide with even more races in 2016.

What’s the story behind the name?

The BattleFrog name is derived from our Navy SEAL origins, and the “Frogmen” who make up those elite, highly trained units.


You’ll have a chance to see the SEALs in action, too.

What is the distance of the race? Why offer two distances?

Our races offer several distances to choose from. The 15k BattleFrog course features nearly 50 obstacles, and is designed for athletes looking for a true challenge.

The 5k BullFrog is shorter, has 25 obstacles, and is meant to introduce newcomers to the sport of Obstacle Course Racing. The shorter length is not quite so intimidating, and is a good starting point.

We also offer the BullFrog Mile and Tadpole Dash (400 meters) for younger racers as well.

What makes BF unique?

There are a lot of obstacle course races being put on today, but we feel we’re unique in part because of our strong connection with the Navy SEAL community. Not only are our founders Navy SEALs, but there are other SEALs throughout the course, offering advice and encouragement to racers. Beyond that, the BattleFrog team is filled with veteran race directors and staff, who have been putting on events for more than two decades. That has allowed us to enter the OCR market with a great product that is already impressing veterans of the sport, even though we’ve only had a few races in our first year of existence.

The race is timed, correct? Why did the creator want it to be timed?

The races are indeed timed. We recognize that a lot of obstacle course racers enjoy running the race just for their own enjoyment, but the sport has also gotten much more competitive in recent years, and there are a lot of top athletes who like to know just how well they performed. Providing them with their race times is a way of doing that.

There’s prize MONEY!? Who gets what?

Prize money is given out to the top three men and women in our Elite Wave of runners. This is the first heat of the day, and features some of the best obstacle course racers in the world. Top price is $1,000 for first place, $500 for second, and $250 for third. Winners also get a ride on the BattleFrog helicopter as well.

Is it more of a team or individual event?

It is both! While most of the runners are competing on an individual basis, there are teams who race together as well. Overcoming the obstacles out on the course can be a real challenge, so working together helps to accomplish that goal. Plus, we provide some great prizes for the largest team entry as well, including a private tent and plenty of beer.


How many obstacles are there, typically?

On the 15k BattleFrog course runners will face approximately 50 obstacles. The 5k BullFrog will give them roughly 25 obstacles to overcome. The number varies slightly based on the course configuration.

What’s the most unique or more fun obstacle you offer?

We have several signature obstacles that have quickly become the favorites amongst competitors. For instance, the Amphibious Assault challenges them to hit targets with paintball guns, which isn’t easy when they’re breathing hard. Others include the “Hooyah” which has racers climbing a wall, then sliding down a narrow tube on the other side, and the Normandy Jacks, which sends them scrambling through sand and mud in conditions similar to those found at the storming of Normandy Beach on D-Day.


What one gives most people pause (scariest one)?

One of the toughest obstacles to overcome is typically found near the end. The Tsunami is a three-story tall rope wall, that transitions into a waterslide for a fast and furious descent.


Tell me about the Pittsburgh venue – the Mines & Meadows Resort. Is it a ski resort?

Mines & Meadows is an ATV/RV park that stretches out over 650 acres, and offers more than 75 miles of trail for those who enjoy riding dirtbikes and quadrunnes. We’ll put all of that terrain to good use in building a tough course to challenge obstacle racers. As the name implies, Mines and Meadows gives riders the opportunity to actually go underground in an old limestone mine. You can bet that our course designers will include some underground elements in the race too.

Is there an after Party?

Yes! The BattleFrog festival area, which surrounds the start and finish of the race, includes a DJ spinning music, food, drinks, and all kinds of things to do. There are a few obstacles to try out, such as paintball guns and the tough salmon ladder. There are also SEAL demonstrations, changing tents, showers, a place to buy BattleFrog gear, and other vendors as well.


Do the SEALS actually run, too? Where do they come from (i.e. is there a base nearby)?

We have actually recruited and hired SEALs from all over the country, and they are part of the BattleFrog Team. Some of the SEALs will run the course, but you’ll also find them manning each of the obstacles, offering advice and words of encouragement.

What do runners who participate get, i.e. what’s the swag?

Swag includes a great BattleFrog T-shirt (including a woman’s cut!), and a high quality medal that is unique to say the least.


Editor’s note: Ladies, I speak from experience …women’s cut means the shirts typically run small, order up if you don’t like ‘em tight.

How many people do you expect in Pittsburgh?

We’re expecting somewhere between 2000-3000 participants, but there is always room for more!

Do you do waves?

Yes, we send off the runners in waves at different times throughout the day.

The Elite Wave starts things off at 8 AM, but after that, each wave is filled with competitors of all types of skill levels ranging from complete beginner, to very experienced.

Do you expect to sell out?

We would love to sell out, be we don’t anticipate that happening. That means runners can continue to sign up, even on the day of the race.

There are kids runs, too, correct?

Yes! We have two course designed specifically for younger runners.

The BullFrog Mile features ten obstacles, and is designed for absolute beginners and kids age 10 and up.

The Tadpole Dash is 400 meters in length, and built for kids under 10. They’ll actually get to race right alongside Navy SEALs, who will encourage them and help them along the way.


The Marines are known for the phrase “hoorah!” is there a saying/phrase that the SEALS are know for?

SEALs use the very similar sounding phrase of “hooyah!” And one of our signature obstacles bears that name.

Where can people find more information?

The BattleFrog website can answer just about any question your readers might have. It can be found at: BattleFrogSeries.com. Or they can contact us by email at info@battlefrogseries.com.

See more photos here.

FYI: Registration fees are: $114 for the 15K, $82 for the 5K, $30 for the BullFrog Mile, $20 for the Tadpole Dash (prices go up on race day). Too steep? This is kinda cool — they do offer you an option to run for free if you volunteer.

P.S. Dan & I are doing the 15K and I’m trying to talk the girls into the mile run. I’ll give you a full report after. :)

Friday question: Fav local running spots

By | August 29, 2014 1:28 am | 0 Comments

This week’s question: Where is your favorite place to run locally (in the tri-state area) other than the peninsula?

Asbury Woods and Frontier Park. — Amy Cronk

Only Asbury Woods. — Al Warner

Edinboro Lake, Ernst Trail in Meadville, and around Findley Lake. — Lisa Shade

Drake Well trails. — Terry Zalewski

Asbury Woods. — Heather Bedell

Behrend/the gorge. — Renee York

Asbury Woods. — Dennis Albrewczynski

Oil Creek in Titusville. —Christine Kalie

Findley Lake (with a stop at Addie’s after). — Lisa Meyer

Chautauqua Overland Trail. —Chris Borgia

Asbury Woods. — Julie Kaufman

Oil Creek in Titusville….worth the drive. —Christine Vassen

Erie Cemetery. — Marcy Hall

Any lightly-traveled back-country road. Any of the creek crossings promise a nice dip as well. — Jim Lang

The gorge and Harborcreek Community Park trails. — Karen Beebe

Oil Creek State Park. — Rob Kolodziejczak

I say Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The trail system is unbelievable. — Diana Leroux-Woolf

Bull’s Dam (Eaton Reservoir), Our Lady of Mercy Church, Point Gratiot Park. — Adam Rowe

No doubt frontier park to bayfront around all the docks and back! — Joe Dobrich

Depend on the definition of local. Bull dam/ Howard Eaton reservoir. Penn state Behrend. Vineyards in the fall. — Stephen Haeseler

I love the bayfront connector trail…can safely run from Behrend to Frontier with minimal interaction with traffic and a nice amount of scenery! — Tracy Jenks

Behrend/SW Harborcreek and the Gorge. — Dave Lesher

Asbury woods … Hill Repeats. I get a great workout even if I’d rather slug off. Hills don’t lie. — Cynthia Johnson

Findley Lake. Also, Logan House (Penn State Behrend’s property on Station Road in Harborcreek) to Brew Haha (Colony Plaza). — Jen Kelly

Findley Lake, especially when there is ice cream involved. — Bri Hodges

Penn State Behrend campus & trails.  — Leslie Cooksey

Anyplace But the peninsula! — Susan Ellsworth

Findley lake. — Renee Uht

HC Community Park…I love the option of pavement plus trail running for my low mileage style! — Brenda Carr

I have to agree with those who said findley lake. But fall in North East with the smell of the grapes and vineyards in full bloom is great. — Tina Gruber

Findley Lake. But truthfully, running anywhere with my friends is enjoyable! — Debbie Humphreys

From my house on Mooreheadville Road to Freeport beach. Also South Shore Frontier Area. — Amy Morrow

Really anywhere, but definitely Findley Lake and what Tina said. I like all the routes created in NE during all the seasons. — Kristen Currier




Things I found — 8/28/14

By | August 28, 2014 1:46 am | 0 Comments

A random collection of things I found while surfing the ‘net that I think are worth sharing:

Worth reading

 * The key to eating healthy is planning ahead. This basic slow-cooker chicken will give you a good base for creating a quick dinner.

* Need that extra motivation to get your butt out of bed in the morning? How about that good old fashioned mom tool — shame. Pavlok Fitness Bands will give you “not just the carrot, but the stick,” too.

* Ever get a metallic taste in your mouth when you run? Here’s why.

* In Ferguson, running bridges the races.

* Kristen Armstrong shares 10 lessons learned in her 42nd year. “Sometimes we train to run far. Other times we train to run fast. If we train to run joyfully we find our pace for life.”

T-shirt of the Week

This one is eerily true for me this week:


Rave runs: 20+ reasons to run around Findley Lake (I scream, you scream…)

By | August 27, 2014 1:44 pm | 0 Comments

With all due love & respect to Presque Isle State Park (we love you…we really do), there are many more places to run in the Erie area than the peninsula. In this occasional series, I’ll introduce you to some other really nice places to run in the tri-state area — some well-known & some off the beaten path. Today, we’re taking a drive down Route 430 to Findley Lake, N.Y.:

img_1453  img_1454

I’m not usually a big fan of ice cream. I’m a cake (mostly frosting, please), girl. But there’s one ice cream place I can’t resist — Addie’s in Findley Lake, N.Y.

From Erie, Addie’s is a quick drive out Route 430 until you, literally, run into town. Take a right on Sunnyside Road in Findley Lake and Addie’s is maybe a mile down the road on the left.

There are four main reasons I <3 Addie’s (and, no, they are not paying me — in cash or frozen treats to say this):

1. The selection of flavors is incredible. And the taste is incredible — Addie’s is the Smith’s hot dog of local ice cream.

2. You can have more than one flavor in your cone. Just tell them you want “New York cheesecake” AND “praline’s ‘n cream and you get BOTH in your cone. (I’ve heard people ask for three flavors). Just try that at another ice cream place without getting a dirty look and “we don’t do that.”

3. It’s inexpensive. A “kiddie” waffle cone, which is the equivalent of a “large” at any other ice cream store, is like $3.  And, yes, they take debit/credit cards. (I do believe there’s a minimum charge though.)

This is my friend, Cindy, with her “kiddie” cone:

ice cream

4. I like running around Findley Lake. It’s just over 5 miles if you go all the way around, it’s mostly flat (some hills on the way to Shadyside Drive) and the scenery/views are beautiful in any season (even winter…though Addie’s isn’t open then). And…if you run around the lake you’ve kinda-sort “earned” the ice cream, right?

If you go running in Findley Lake, here are a few other things you should know:

1.  There is free parking near the boat launch/swimming area, which is located to the right as soon as you come into the town of Findley Lake. It’s best if you park there, run, then drive down to Addie’s…or run down (but remember…then you gotta run back on a belly full of ice cream).

2. There are public restroom facilities directly across from the boat launch/public parking lot. The toilets are the eco-friendly, park-type toilets (the kind where there’s a note on top telling you to “keep the lid closed”), but there’s running water and space to change clothes/clean up.

3. There’s not much of a berm on the roads around the lake, but…drivers are friendly and used to people walking/biking — it’s is a recreation area.

4. If you’ve got a bit of daredevil in you, you may want to try the rope swing in the large tree near the parking lot.  This is particularly refreshing after you run around the lake and before you head down to Addie’s. If you do jump in the lake and you take off your $200 Garmin watch, don’t forget to pick it up when you leave, like I did. *sigh*

Here’s Dan doing a backflip off the rope swing (not recommended!):


5. If you do go swimming, be aware that Findley Lake is very seaweed-y. My environmental friends tell me this is good — seaweed is the sign of a healthy lake, they say. But…it’s also pretty dang creepy when it’s curling around your arms and legs and neck.

More info about Findley Lake here.

*** Where should I run next? Got a suggestion on future run locations to cover? Want to submit your own? (I accept guest posts!) Comment or send me an email to zipdang22 at aol dot com (spelling out to avoid spammers).



Know the lingo:

By | August 27, 2014 1:47 am | 0 Comments

When you’re just getting started in a sport, it’s hard to learn all the lingo. Running and walking, like any sport, has it’s own special language and local phrases. Each week, I’ll define a term or phrase that will help you not only walk the walk (or run the run), but talk the talk.


The ability of a shoe to provide a smooth transfer of a runner’s weight from heel-strike to toe-off. Ride is a largely subjective quality, but shoe wearers know it when a shoe has or lacks a good ride.

From the Runner’s World’s Glossary of Running Terms.

PI tri results & photos

By | August 26, 2014 2:04 am | 0 Comments


Photo by Mike Conway for GoErie Street View

Windy conditions made for a rougher swim than is typical at the Presque Isle triathlon, but it sure didn’t seem to slow anyone down, with the majority of participants completing the swim in less than 10 minutes. After the swim, participants made one full loop of the park on their bikes and then ran a 5K, returning to the starting spot at the Cookhouse Pavilion.

The race sold out again this year, with more than 450 participating in the individual or relay event.  The long-sleeve light blue shirts that participants received were soooo nice that I found myself wishing I’d just sucked it up and done the race!

* Complete results can be found here.

* Photos by Mark Bowen can be found here.

* Photos by GoErie Street View’s Mike Conway can be found here.