The event style that is taking hold of the obstacle racing world are endurance events, more specifically the multi-lap format. Enter Bonefrog Challenge’s Endurance event. The endurance distance was introduced last year and is very reminiscent of another company that also had a frog mascot. In this breakdown, I will be digging into my experience to help compare this event to other OCR endurance events.
Bonefrog Endurance has two different waves, Elite and Open. Much like other races the key difference being that the Elites must keep their band and finish every obstacle or risk being counted as “Removed Band” and continue laps in that division. The open division doesn’t have harsh rules but requires attempting an obstacle. Which was a little confusing for me, because last year there was a 20 count body weight penalty if you failed an obstacle, while it seemed this year it was a free pass.
So the course consists of running your first lap on the challenge course, which is roughly six to eight miles and has some of the event’s more grueling obstacles. After this first lap, you now spend the remainder of your time running the three-mile sprint course.
At the end of every lap, you cross the finish line, (a critical piece of information I did not get for my race), then enter the pit area, refuel, rest, go to the restroom, whatever your heart desires, and then head back on course. With the event starting at 8:30 AM, you have until 2:00 PM to get out on your last lap. If you start your last lap by 1:59, you can take as much time to finish. But to be kind, don’t take forever to finish that last lap.
So where does this event fit into the mix of endurance OCRs? Bonefrog Endurance is not like an UltraBeast. Bonefrog encourages you to get back out there, see what you can do and you'll still get a medal. It feels very similar to what F.I.T Challenge offers, a short course OCR that isn’t designed to break your will but offers you a challenge. I decided to do this event to test out some gear, nutrition, and training that I have been doing for some of the bigger endurance events this year. Which some may think that could be an insult when it is a compliment to the event they put on.
Like I said before, Bonefrog is a challenge. Their course isn’t up and down a mountain several times a lap, loaded with obstacles. They have obstacles that are unique to their race, and you won’t find anything like them at other races. If you are a grizzled veteran, then these obstacles will be a breeze at first, but a few laps deep they will start to beat up the body. Most of their obstacles are grip intensive so start working on those dead hangs.
A downside about the obstacles are that there are a few that have a big back up as the day goes on, specifically the grip intensive ones. A found a few endurance runners waiting in the long lines for them when you can walk to the front, just let people know you are a multi-lapper. Bonefrog did introduce a gigantic A-frame cargo net but it was limited to 10 people on it at a time, for multi-lappers, this could be an issue if improperly timed and is hopefully fixed in the future. But you can’t blame them for wanting to keep racers safe.
I have a few recommendations on what you should consider bringing for this type of event. I decided to wear an OCR shoe that is designed for longer distances. You could easily do this in a more low profile race shoe if you have tougher joints that are used to miles. You also won’t need a deep or aggressive tread because there is mud but not a lot of steep descents or obstacles that require extreme shoe grip.
I would recommend bringing a hydration vest, but you could leave the water pouch empty until you desperately need water. This is more for taking your nutrition on course. I find eating while being still can upset my stomach. There is enough water on course to keep you hydrated, and they do keep extra water in the pit if you did not bring enough. Also, a huge recommendation is to bring an iPod and headphones. Bonefrog doesn’t dunk your head so you can run to your favorite podcast or running mix. Just be careful on the obstacles and mindful of other racers.
I highly recommend doing a Bonefrog Endurance event. They have an event every month and are up and down the east coast. Those seeking podium fame and glory or a new OCR personal best, this event is the one for you. For those looking to have a good time, truly test yourself, and earn some sweet bling, this is also for you. This was my second time running a Bonefrog event, and I loved both experiences. The people who build and run this event are right there in the festival area talking to you, cheering you on which makes for an incredible experience. Also, Mr. Inspiration (The man with the Glitter Beard) is probably the best starting line MC out there. At the start of every lap, you may get a fist bump, high five, or jump high-five from him.
One drawback I do have about this race is the racer turnout based on location. Bonefrog has an amazing course, but the draw for some events doesn’t seem to be there. So trying to qualify for NorAm or OCWC could be a bit of an issue. I am hoping that there will be a lap count qualifier similar to F.I.T Challenge for Bonefrog in the future.
Wrap It Up
Being that there is a Bonefrog event once I month, I highly suggest signing up for an Endurance course. You can truly test yourself and have a good time doing it. The medal walk is quite a large medal that comes with pins that match your lap count. You receive a gold pin for getting to five laps.
If you run elite and keep your band, you get that as a bonus trophy as well. There is also a Bonefrog Endurance shirt that is also handed out when you finish. The most prominent selling point is that Endurance events run you $120 to $150. So this is one of the more affordable endurance events, and you get way more than you pay for.
In His Own Words
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