Porter Farms has been the home of Bonefrog’s Carolinas event for three years now. Though Porter farms is a mostly flat area, it comes with it’s own features that make a course here particularly challenging. I first ran Bonefrog Charlotte in 2017, now in 2019 they have started changing things up. I also brought along a newbie to Bonefrog to see what they think of this US specific race.
Porter Farms is also the home of the Spartan Charlotte Sprint. Even though this venue is a cattle farm and is mostly flat. At a quick glance the running paths seem nice and flat, but looking closer, it is filled with uneven terrain and hidden divots. This makes running at a consistent pace quite challenging. This also has an elevated risk for rolling or twisting an ankle.
Being that this race takes place in a lot of open fields, this gives a competitive racer the chance to spot the next runner. You can see that next position just off in the distance, and they don’t look that far away. In reality it will be several minutes of fast running and by the next time you see them, they will only be slightly closer. Bonefrog will make use of the woods they have and send you through some uncut brush. Doing this race will give you some cuts on your hands, knees, shins, and ankles. Luckily, there is very little trace of poison ivy at this venue, so those who are allergic don’t need to worry.
Bonefrog Obstacles in 2019
My one criticism of Bonefrog from 2018 to 2019 was the lack of obstacle innovation. While they boast some of the most unique obstacles (Chopper, Get a Grip, Strong Hold) and the perfect photo-op obstacle (Black Ops), they haven’t seen a lot of new obstacles or variations since their introduction. That is, until recently. Bonefrog has started to change their obstacles just slightly, making them a little harder to complete.
For this race venue, Strong Hold, a grip intensive rig with curved monkey bars, and cargo net grips, was simply reversed. A lot of veteran obstacle racers may be thinking to themselves, “So what? Just do it backwards.” This obstacle has been the same for almost two years now, that your brain and body can go through the motions to complete it. When it is reversed certain handholds seem a little farther away, and swinging motions no longer start the same.
Guillotine was a large port-hole wall with a log balance beam leading to and from the wall. Now logs are replaced with a rope wall climb to the through wall. This is a fairly easy modification but makes the obstacle quite tricky for larger racers. This also makes it tricky for those who are a little weary of heights.
A First Timer’s Experience
Joining me for this race was Jillian who is from Australia. I wanted to include here in this article because she had a first timer experience with this race. She ran Bonefrog Tier-1 and this is what she thought of her experience:
“Bonefrog was definitely a unique experience compared to races in Australia. A lot of the obstacle races I have done are very similar and the obstacles have gotten very repetitive. So the obstacles at Bonefrog was a new challenge for me, and it was a fun challenge. They were very grip intensive and were not like anything I have ever come across before. I do feel like they were a little too heavy loaded on the arms. Especially the back to back grip intensive obstacles like Get-A-Grip to Swingers Club, and Strong Hold to Chopper. I would definitely recommend people to run the race and if anyone was traveling to the US and doing the race, I would recommend just going to do the Trident to get all the medals.”
Wrap It Up!
Being that this was my second visit to Bonefrog Carolina and my fifth time running a Bonefrog, I would say this was a great experience for me. It was definitely one of the most humbling races for me. I went in thinking I was very ready for this race, but I was more tired that I was willing to admit. I've always enjoyed Bonefrog and I am happy to see that they are working to shake up their obstacles. I think they have some of the best looking medals and they don't feel cheaply made. I highly recommend that anyone who is thinking about running a Bonefrog to just do it and have a good time!
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This author is part of the Mud Run Crew and received a free race entry in return for an independent review. All opinions are those of the author and were not influenced by the race sponsor or Mud Run Guide.