First of all, I guess I should start an obstacle racing race report website since clearly these aren’t ultramarathons, and that’s what people expect at this site.
Stay tuned for Obstaholics.com, but in the meantime…
Let’s Get Ready to Jungle
Let’s face it – I’m not a team-building guy when it comes to these events. I enjoy times with friends and I’ll help others along the way, and accept help from others, as certain obstacles call for it, but I like to race, and if we both approach a cargo net together, you can bet your butt I will work hard to get up and over it before you do – both because I’m competitive, but also because of the fact that I have a paralyzed diaphragm, and my weakness, and where you’ll catch me afterwards, is during the run.
Less Obstacles, More Running
The Jungle Cup race was what I call organic.
There were a lot of man-made objects, but they did a really good job of using the surrounding terrain, too, to create obstacles that felt functional and “real world”-challenging. Most of the man-made obstacles were at both the beginning and end of the race, with the remaining long stretches winding through lots of ups-n-downs and technical single-track trail at the Conyers Horse Park, home of the first-ever Olympic mountain biking course in the world.
On the difficulty scale, this one was a 5 out of 10. I was tired at the end, but that’s because my boy Matt B. Davis, star of the famous obstacle racing podcast, was pushing me a little more than I wanted during the run. We both later shared stories of, “well, if you were going to run the hill, I was too…”-kinda stuff that always seems to get a dude in trouble. Hash tag – ego.
Did I Say Organic?
“So is the course marked well”, I asked.
“I think so.” said the race volunteer at the start. “This is our first time out of Miami and not many of our volunteers showed up.”
But not to worry. No one got lost, and although I lead our heat a few times, I never made any wrong turns, or took people off course …well, not too off course.
A Blazing Beginning
Our heat was so small compared to other races, so the start felt more intimate with lots of hand-shaking and “good luck” nods. We took off across the chip-timed mats and headed across a field to the first obstacle – a short, 5 foot wall that I leaped without really even thinking about it. Being used to Spartan, I found it a little lame there was just this one lone wall, but it was sort of there to introduce the next section of technical trail, I think.
We ran through some trail and jeep road, and a dude named JD joins me upfront. He moves ahead and hits the freezing-cold water river before me. The water was, at most, waist deep, but it was really cold and murky, so the footing was slow and deliberate.
After popping out of the water, we ran up to stack of logs where we had to carry them up a short hill, circle a stake in the dirt and return. Once again, after experiencing Spartan sandbag nightmares, coupled with the concrete block carry and tire-flipping obstacles, this log thing at Jungle Cup was a piece of cake. I ran with mine.
More fun single-track led us to a sandbag carry, negotiating a weird, horizontal net, then descending into some cold water, traversing the water while a photographer fired off photos, and then ascending a muddy, slippery bank to return the sandbag, before running again up a nice li’l uphill.
Technical Trail Trotting
This must be where they had trouble getting volunteers, but what the course lacked over the next miles in obstacles, it made up for in good ol’ technical trail running. Tight turns, quick steep climbs, slippery sketchy downhills, and plenty of downed trees to scramble over and across.
But it was during this section where I found the coolest obstacles of the day – the rope rappel.
The trail skirted this HUGE drop-off, maybe 100 feet, and volunteers would stop us so we didn’t just run right off the edge, into nowhere. They had placed a couple ropes, down this VERY steep, and long, drop-off. It was a little intimidating to look at, but I tend to be strong at things like this, and I had a great time getting myself to the bottom …but, then, we ran a few feet past, and realized we had to then climb back up using another rope.
I loved this, but think it would be most cool and challenging if they would have had a series of those. Down-n-up once was challenging and taxing, but 6-10 times would be an all-out physical war with one’s strength and grip.
More technical trail running ensued, and all this time Matt Davis was chugging along with me.
We both ran a long, semi-steep hill, that we later said we only ran cuz the other one did, but both of us were glad we did it. +1
Playing on the Playground
As we rolled into the last mile of this 3.77 mile obstacle course trail race, we did a lot of climbing:
- Pretty typical cargo net
- A log climb thing with logs spaced out about three feet apart, going up
- A very easy, climb-able wall
- Climbing ropes
- A very weak mud crawl with zero danger (no barbed wire)
- Some kind of barrel push thing that I missed. (never even saw it)
- A cool, and VERY challenging slanted muddy wall
- A Tarzan rope swing over cold water
- Some skinny balance beam logs over cold water
- A bar traverse over water
Then jump into this freezing cold, nasty brown, water pool, before climbing out and running across the finish line.
Would I Do It Again?
Yes. I had a great time, and when I finished, I felt like I had done something, so that’s a win; but I did just look at it as Spartan Beast training for Texas next weekend.
In all honesty, I didn’t feel that great (and still don’t typing this out with a 100.9 fever), so I appreciated the tamer obstacles and the opportunity to trot around on some technical trail. Typically, I like them to be more difficult than this race, but clearly, this race is designed to accommodate all levels of obstacle athlete.
What I liked:
- Lots of technical trail running
- Low key atmosphere
- Really cool rope rappelling section
- Sandbag carry
- the “playground” of back-to-back obstacles at the end
- encouraging volunteers
What I didn’t like:
- Missing an obstacle cuz I never knew it was there and no volunteer to point it out
- No food or fluid replenishment to be found anywhere at the finish
- Limited obstacles
The Jungle Cup is a good race for those looking for a more modest challenge. It’s nothing like a Spartan Race, and the obstacles are just not that challenging. However, it’s fun and great day of physical fitness training, outdoors, and sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered.
Jungle Cup Race Results
The 2012 Jungle Cup Race Results.