Latest reviews by Aaron Gosser

(2016)
"Fun race meant for those who are slightly "less" than Spartan"
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This was my first Mud/Obstacle race ever, so I am afraid I don't have too much to offer in regards to what this race offers vs it's competitors. From what I gather, the Spartan race aims itself at more elaborate obstacles than some of the other races of its kind, and to that end I think they did a great job.

This year was the first for the Richmond location. The terrain wasn't especially hilly, but there were lots of portions through trails, streams, and woods. The obstacles were extremely impressive to me, and there were parts that went through paintball courses in the field, which added a pretty cool element.

The race was run extremely efficiently. The waves were very clear and things moved quickly. There was plenty of help at every obstacle. Aid stations were always full The expo area out front was great. The bad check ran quickly. Really impressive all around.

To anyone on the fence about these types of races, I would highly recommend it. The atmosphere is far more friendly and team oriented than most other races I have done. People are extremely friendly on the course and I enjoyed the race far more than I have others.

Once piece of advice I will give is to try to take a very early time slot. The later it gets, the muddies the conditions become. Also the course gets congested and people move very slow, at times walking. I hesitated to take the earlier "competitive" slots because I thought those people would really be out of my league. I can say, despite the marketing this event does to make it look like only crazy people can do it, most people who cross train regularly could hack it with the competitive waves.

Lastly, if you don't do a crazy move over the fire at the end, then you are just a loser.

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(2015)
"Great neighborhood, family friendly race"
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I think this event was amazing for what it was. It has been put on for 15 years now in honor of Lew Blond, a former Maple Jr High teacher who passed from ALS in Feb of 2000. This year they had over 1,000 participants, which is not bad for a small suburban race. I would say more than half of the participants were teens and children under the age of 10, and I can't wait to have my 3.5 year old join me next year when he is 4. They do a 1 mile run as well for the littler ones.

It is not a very competitive race at all, and for it's short length there isn't a huge need for aid stations. The shirt was also kind of awful, and will probably sit in my closet until it gets donated in 2018. But I really liked the event and the run. It was fun to see so many families sharing a healthy hobby on a weekend morning.

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(2014)
"It's a long way to the top if you wanna Rock N Roll!"
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This race was my first one running a charity group. The organization leading up seemed poor as they incorrectly registered nearly half of our group, and left many of us scrambling up to race day. To be fair though, I am not sure how much of this was the fault of our group, and I also can't imagine it ever goes smoothly when you have one person speaking for 50 others who aren't really paying attention of following any directions whatsoever.

As for the race, the good:

-Very well organized! Most of the minor gripes (congestion, delayed wave starts, tough to access the start) are going to be present at any race of this size, and I think those were all reasonably contained.
-Race shirts were awesome. Always have been at this race.
-Post race activities were extremely well organized. Beer tent was run very smoothly and not crowded. Meetup area was huge and well labeled. Gear check was a breeze.
-Aid stations were all great and well staffed. Save for one near the end that was run by a bunch of kids who looked like deer in headlights while a parent yelled at them to stop taking so long to separate the cups and just pour water!

The bad
-No bands allowed in downtown anymore. Kind of takes away to point of this race. The first band was after mile 6, and as usual you can only hear them for about a minute as you pass. More of a cute novelty than a real selling point. I was literally saying that they should have wireless speakers 800 yards before and after each band so you can hear them for longer, and then BAM! At mile 10 there was a DJ who then had speakers lined up another mile after him. It was a great boost and really kept me going. I can envision a race where all the artists are set up this way for a more continuous streak of music, and said race would probably be my favorite one. I'm sure there is a reason they don't do this. I'm not nearly that smart.

-the route. To be fair, there just aren't many options in a downtown race, but the whole go north, then west a bit, through the loop, and then far south on the lakepath thing has been done at most of these Chicago races. It's not that big of a deal I guess, but I felt like I needed a second bullet point for "the bad"

Overall great race. The no music thing was a bit of a bummer, but I don't know the story behind it. Hopefully that is something they figure out next year, and they have speakers every 10 feet from my house to the finish line.

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(2013)
"Great Race!"
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Great red long sleeve DriFit shirt!

Fairly Challenging Race through some hilly and scenic portions of Madison. The race starts and ends at the Capital building which was really cool.

We were able to park right near the start, which seems unheard of for a major city race. Aid stations weren't great but weren't terrible.

Overall a very nice race

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(2012)
"Skip this Race. Run on a treadmill and eat a Snickers"
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Seriously, the sweatshirt is fantastic. They should stick to selling them instead of running races.

My wife showed up to the expo with our 1 year old, and people insisted she cut in line, which saved her what sounded like a 3 hour wait.

The start was such a mess. I was about in the middle of the pack and it took about 40 minutes before was running. The crowd was thick for like the first 3-4 miles, and even after that I had to weave through people for most of the Race.

The course itself was OK, but nothing to really make it better than any of the other Chicago races and rationalize all the waiting.

The chocolate at the end was OK. A cute novelty, but really just no big deal.

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