The Gladiator Rock ‘N Run is one of the lesser known obstacle course races that comes through our area. Created by “Nitro” from the American Gladiators, this mud run raises money to help find a cure for autism. The Michigan course was a 6K with 17 obstacles at Stony Creek Metropark and entry fees run between $55 – $90 depending on how and where you register.
It just so happened that the night before the race a huge storm tore through the area. Thousands were without power including the GF’s work so she was required to go in leaving me to do this race by myself. When I got to the park I expected some signs or any type of indication of where to go but there was nothing… no traffic… no signs… so I drove. Stony Creek is rather large and I kept driving and driving and there were no signs of any activity anywhere… I panicked a little that maybe somehow I was in the wrong place that is until deep into the park I finally saw parts of a race course putting my mind at ease.
Packet pick up was easy enough so I got my gear, stashed it in the car, and made my way to the starting line. I was in the 9am wave and it was just about time for the 8:30 competitive wave to start… only they weren’t starting. So I wandered around a bit more taking some photos for the blog then came back …still not gone yet? So I moved in closer to find out what was going on.
It seems the storm knocked over some trees on the course and the creek, which was only ankle deep yesterday was now chest deep with a strong current. Nitro, himself, was actually at the race which was a nice touch. It’s nice to know he is actively involved and didn’t just lend his name to someone and sit back and collect the checks. He announced that crews were working feverishly trying to get the course rerouted and the trees cleared. The promise of “five more minutes” over and over was more like 45 minutes in reality …totally not the races fault but the extra long delay was really bringing me down. Finally they got the go ahead and the competitive wave was off! Followed by us …20 mins later.
The course itself was set up in a way that didn’t require much running. I’d say the longest stretch without an obstacle may have been a half mile tops. This was actually good for me and allowed me to break out in front of most people in my wave. Many of the challenges we faced in the beginning were pretty ho-hum run-of-the-mill obstacles. A few small walls to climb over, tires on the ground… the old stand-by’s.
The rain tore up the course pretty bad leaving some areas flooded and muddy. I actually liked that about this course as it’s something that couldn’t be reproduced man-made so it was unusual and fun. (the point is to get muddy right) We had to cross over several creeks and one was waist deep with a pretty strong current which almost pushed me off balance. One obstacle, the trenches, were flooded out and they had to remove the top and it became a muck walk which was also pretty cool.
There were a few too many exercise stops in my opinion. There were “cinder block burpees”, “tire carry” lunges, sand bag carry, log carry, and person carry. The lunges were awkward with a tire and the circle was too big, I didn’t witness anyone who was able to do it “correctly” as most of us just muddled through it as best we could. When I got to the Gladiator carry …well I had no one to carry. So I either had to stick around and wait for an odd numbered group or skip it… needless to say there were no odd numbered groups of hot chicks heading my way just a bunch of dudes so I skipped it lol.
Towards the end the obstacles got to be more fun (as pictured in this post). I really didn’t struggle on most of them although I did fail the monkey bars and something called the dumpster dive where you had to climb in and out of a giant dumpster but with no apparent means of doing so. My finish time was apparently 1:04:33 according to a print out but I haven’t seen the official totals for the entire event as a whole. The medal is really nice and bigger than I expected. Post-race food was minimal: a banana and some garbage can water blah! I skipped it and attempted to get showered off, only there was no water, so I toweled myself down as best I could and put on some dry clothes and headed home.
Naturally I made a video of what could be seen from the spectator area:
In the end I had a good time. I don’t think this one will be on my must-do-every-year list, however, it was on my must-do-once list. This was OCR race 4 of 6 in the “Year of the Mud Run” for me. Up next is the Spartan Super in Chicago, then the Spartan Beast in Ohio for the Trifecta!