Rushwood Race 2017 by Walter F Hendrick

I haven’t been able to do many races this year due to a sore and injured knee, but I didn’t want to miss Rushwood so when my knee was feeling pretty good, I decided to do the long drive and sleep in my car and participate in the race.

Registration and Festival

Registration appeared to be faster than last year, but it was still not a really fast process. They had it broken down by sections of the alphabet and I think they should consider adding a few more lanes and breaking down the alphabet to less letters per lane.

The festival area was set up nice and worked really well for both racers and spectators. With the Canadian military on site, the DJ and MC all being involved, it made for a really fun experience all day. Everyone was clearly having fun and all smiles.

Pre-race MC

The MC for event was Anthony Horng Perso who I always look forward to seeing and hearing. Anthony is always creative and active the entire time and this was no different. He walked around the venue/festival area all day with a wireless microphone and did an amazing job with his pre-race motivation and entertaining the venue area all day.

The Course

According to my GPS watch, the course was about 9.95 KM (6.18 miles) and utilized the venues property to its fullest potential. This was my third year in a row running the Rushwood race and each time the course was completely different and unique. The course was a tale of several terrains and I remember thinking more than halfway thru the course, I have yet to see the more aggressive terrain sections of the property and I had no doubts the later parts of the race would take us into the tougher rolling hills of the property and sure enough Rushwood didn’t disappoint.

I feared that my injured knee would totally give out in the more aggressive climbs and descents, but it held up and I was able to complete the course. For those that are not aware, Rushwood is a military themed obstacle course race and in my opinion, they have nailed the theme better than most of the other military obstacle course themed companies like BatttleFrog (no longer in business), BoneFrog, and CMC.

One of the things I have really enjoyed about all the Rushwood races I have participated in, is that they put racers in water multiple times. I am a huge fan of water playing a big role in obstacle course races and have I been pretty disappointed with the lack of water at most races, but Rushwood had us in water several times throughout the course, including a really awesome and fun water slide that launches racers into a pond.

The course wasn’t all about the terrain, rolling hills and pond as it included well over fifty obstacles, with most of them being really awesome and challenging. The obstacles included a cargo net climb, several different styled ladder wall climbs, several heavy carry obstacles that had us carrying some interesting heavy objects including a sandbag (racers filled the sandbags themselves). Some of the other obstacles were a rope climb, an awesome warped wall, several other slanted walls to run up, a monkey bars type obstacle, a straight bar obstacle to monkey across, a long (suspended over water) rope traverse crossing, a hoist obstacle, a barbed wire crawl, several rope climbs both up and down aggressive rock structures and multiple military themed obstacles.

The Rushwood team has gone to great lengths to build a course that really does make racers feel like they are in basic training and preparing to potentially fight in war. When you combine the terrain, aggressive rolling hills, heavy carry obstacles, water entries and several dozen obstacles that are no joke and really challenging, you end up with a course that is both lots of fun and challenging to run and this is a finisher medal that you are proud to have earned.

Another cool touch is the end of the race, racers climb up onto a high box and ring a bell just prior to finishing the race, which for me is odd (in Navy SEAL’s BUDS/boot camp ringing a bell means you are quitting), but I still like the concept and have always looked forward to ringing the bell and completing the course!

I didn’t participate in the Mission version of the race which is the last wave of the day because my I feared my knee would be able to handle it. The Mission version of the race had racers carry heavy back packs with them for the entire course described above which makes it way harder and more difficult to complete.

The Bling

The finisher medal is sexy, a good size and has bullet holes in it! The shirt is a Dri-Fit type shirt which is really nice and always different from the previous year, so I look forward to wearing it in the future.

Overall Feelings and Event Rating

Race director Francois Branconnier and his team have kept busy after every successful event to add/build more obstacles and keep making Rushwood better and more challenging and that is the reason I keep going back and consider Rushwood a “must do” / “bucket list” race/event.

When you combine the course, the obstacles, the awesome MC, the festival area and the amazing job the Rushwood team and volunteers did all day, you can’t ask for a better product so I am rating the event/race 5 out of 5 stars .

Based on what the Rushwood team has done over the three previous years, I am really excited to see what Rushwood will add to next year’s race. I am pretty positive if Rushwood will have me back, I will make it a priority to make sure I make it to the race.

Article written by: Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)

Tags: Rushwood

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