2015 SpeRUNking Sandmine Challenge
Crystal City Underground, MO
Extreme Quad Challenge (4 Laps of "5k" Course)
1st Place Overall
As with any new race I do I did my research on past results and the details of the course. I heard there was waist deep water in some sections as well as small obstacles, natural obstacles and lots of sand. All the above were correct and it made for a fun event. As I was running I got the instant feel that most of the people there were doing it for fun. The obstacles were sub par and not too difficult. Most of the running was on loose sand and the water sections were fun. Most of the "obstacles" ended up bottle necking. My competitiveness/impatience got the best of me here and I had to realize that most out here were doing for a fun challenge while I was out there trying to go all out and win.
Upon arrival you are driving into an area that dead ends, goes into a one way tunnel, over a questionable bridge and to the parking in front of a gigantic opening into the rocks. Outside the weather was snowy and low 20's but once you stepped inside it was about upper 40's which was nice. I had to change a couple times to something that was more comfortable after the warm up because I realized I'd probably overheat quickly over the course of 12 miles.
The race went off and in no time we were in waste deep water for 30m or so. The great thing about water in the dark in a race you've never done is the unknown but you jump into it anyways and keep moving forward. The water numbed the legs and it took a minute or two to get feeling back once on land again. Once you got feeling back you were right back into an equally long section of water. The course was rarely straight and had constant turns that you had to be ready for before the headlamp can only light up so far in front of you. Also, running in the dark makes you feel like you are going much faster than you really are. First "obstacle" if I remember right was the "Brick Wall" which was a knee high natural brick wall that you jumped over. The course then went into a number of really short steep hills, a couple more water sections, a balancing beam obstacle that was always backed up with too many people, a short tunnel that you basically just ducked under, an elevated 4ft. stage that you jumped up onto and ran over, a number of volleyball nets that you ducked under, an inverted V ladder that was also always backed up, along with a bunch of hose and piping equipment that was randomly lying around that you had to jump over.
The event was ran in waves and the Quad Challenge went off in the middle of the waves. So periodically I would run into a large number of people to weave through and really made it hard to do the obstacles fast because I had to wait a few times. I pulled away from the Quad field relatively soon in the race and just kept pushing the pace each lap trying to equal or best my previous laps. I was happy I stayed on pace. I believe each of my 4 laps were faster than the overall winner of the single challenge and my overall pace was quicker as well.
Overall this event was a good tune up for other obstacle races in the upcoming months. Getting into the frigid water was a good test. The obstacles were not true obstacles that I need to be practicing on but it was still fun to get out there and try something different. Im not sure Ill be back to do this one next year but its too early to tell.