I tested the Beast, and it’s going to be bad@#$

   April 21, 2013 3:37 pm    0

 

beast

OK, I’ll admit, I scoffed when I first heard about the Barber Beast on the Bay adventure race, primarily because I’m tighter than two coats of paint and was annoyed that the race had a $100 registration fee.

But, after participating in a 3-mile Beast on the Bay trial run on Sunday, I can say with every confidence — it’s going to be worth every freaking buck.

Open up your checkbooks and chalk it up to a good cause (the Barber Center) and one bad@#$ hometown opportunity. This is one race you aren’t going to want to miss.**

First impressions

First impressions count and from their first press conference to the race’s website to this weekend’s trial run (and the very detailed instructions/Parking map/course map we received in advance), race organizers have impressed me wholeheartedly.

These people have their stuff together. This is going to be a first-class race and it’s going to go smoothly and flawlessly. I am in awe of the amount of planning and effort that has already went into this race, a race that is not happening until September, mind you. (Heck, I direct a race a few weeks later and I don’t even have my application done yet).

The very fact that they hosted a test run is testimony to the every-detail-thought-out event that you can expect.  Event organizers wanted to test their registration and bag-drop process, they wanted to make sure the wave times were going to work, and they wanted to try a few of the planned obstacles.

There were more than 50 area runners on Sunday morning who were willing to be the Beast’s guinea pigs.  And, they’ve got the bruised and scraped forearms and bloody knees to prove it.

It’s going to be a beast

Folks, this is going to be a tough race. It is being designed by Erie athlete and former Navy SEAL, John Walker, who, based on my experience yesterday, is not going to go easy on our civilian candy a@#$es.

It’s going to be a challenge. I don’t care if you run 50Ks or 100Ks, running miles on sand and pulling yourself up and over three 10-foot (?) storage boxes with nothing more than a rope and a hand, if you’re lucky, from a strong guy on top, is going to stretch your physical limits.

The little beast trial run

The trial run started at Waldameer. Waves of runners went off every 10 minutes. We ran down to beach no. 1 and were directed onto the sand just after the condos across from Sara’s.  SAND. (Yep…prepare yourself now).  We ran over a few natural obstacles — sand-stick-stone hills, a driftwood-strewn obstacle and up and over at least a half dozen sand mounds.

Then, we came to the metal storage boxes with ropes dangling from the top. Three in a row. And we had to get up and over them — twice  (it was an out and back course). These were definitely the most challenging obstacle on Sunday and they left most runners, including yours truly, with bruised, swelled and bloodied forearms and knees.  Getting down was almost harder than getting up.

If you think I’m complaining, you’ve never done an adventure race.  War wounds are expected and, frankly, I think most participants would be disappointed if they didn’t have bruises to show off and brag about the next day (see my photos below! :-) ) .

The turn around consisted of about 9,567 tires (well, it seemed that way) that you had to high-step it through.

There were water stops, an enthusiastic and crowd-rallying DJ, an entire photo/video crew, a costumed mascot, and a mini party, complete with bananas, granola bars, water, free “Beast on the Bay” tumblers, and beer at the finish line.  And, THAT was just for the “test” run.

The verdict

This is a don’t-miss event if you’re the type who likes a challenge and isn’t afraid to get a little banged up to get your kicks.

Want more opinions?

Ask any of these people who battled the Beast on Sunday.

A few lousy photos

Here are a few photos I took. I’m sure there will be many, many more photos of this event based on the five-man crew Erie photographer, and runner, Rob Frank from Rob Frank Photography had there. UPDATE: There are now 284 photos here.

**  There are a few types of people I’d recommend miss this race: pregnant women, kids, those who aren’t physically fit and/or don’t run, runners who don’t want to get injured (or take the risk of getting injured), and those who are planning to run the Erie Marathon the next week because you will get banged up, bruised and bloodied and one week before your “big race” is a really bad time to do that.

 

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