There are now more than enough people writing race reviews and I have no reason to think mine are special. I won’t review the 2016 BattleFrog race in Louisville, which by the way was not in Louisville at all, but I will make a bold statement resulting from my experience. It’s bold for me, so don’t get too excited.
One of the criticisms that BattleFrog has faced in multiple forums is that their races are designed very well for elite competition, but at the sacrifice of being overly difficult for the masses of participants who essentially foot the bill for the sport. Multiple times I have heard the frustrations of those who simply did not enjoy BF because too many obstacles were way beyond their skill level. Admittedly, I have even advised some beginners to avoid BattleFrog as their first race because I feared it would drive them away from obstacle racing completely.
But now I will go on record stating that BattleFrog may actually be one of the best first races in the market. What?! How did that happen?
They instituted 3 lanes of varying degrees of difficulty (novice, intermediate, elite) at certain obstacles. The failable obstacles (ie, the ones requiring exceptional grip and/or upper body strength) are now doable by virtually anyone in decent shape who is willing to take one of the easier lanes. Elite racers still have to complete the top tier lane, which keeps the competition fair, but the other 90% of the field can choose based on their ability. Open racers can opt to go for the elite lanes throughout if they want to be tested, but the format still permits newer, less-athletic participants to take easier routes and not feel so defeated at the end of the race. Even if they do fail an obstacle, ten reps of 8-count bodybuilders are significantly easier than 30 burpees!
The one downside of multiple lanes is that comparison of times in the open waves are now even more meaningless because some racers may take the easiest route and/or go straight to penalties while others make multiple attempts on the most difficult lanes. Competitive, but not quite elite, athletes just do not have a great option within BattleFrog. Regardless, no race series has all the answers and BattleFrog may have just solved a major problem that most say threatened their long-term existence. I witnessed just how much more fun people were having on the course and I feel better about BattleFrog’s chances of hanging around for awhile. Now if they can just get their marketing and branding on par with their events….