I have run and participated in just about every well know OCR in Canada but, Prison Break so when the chance came to do the Hamilton race/venue I jumped on it.
• Registration and Festival:
I arrived later in the day so registration was pretty much done, but it moved nice and fast for me. The festival area is setup between the start of the race and finish and everything is easy to find.
• Pre-race MC:
This was the first time I heard this MC Philippe Mainville and I must say, I really enjoyed him. He was funny and did a good job firing up the waves before they went out. It’s obvious that he enjoyed what he was doing!
• The Course:
The course was designed by well-known Canadian racer and race director/course designer Marco Bédard and I really loved how he embraced his former BattleFrog ways and included multiple water entries on the course. The weather was amazing, so going in and out of the venues lake was perfect.
The course started out by exiting a staging area that was designed like a holding cell next to the festival area and went for a short trail run. The obstacles on this course included a tire flip, a bucket filled with water carried up and down a short hill, a low crawl with a heavy medicine ball, a second obstacle that used heavy medicine balls and had racers roll them and then pick them up pretty high off the ground and toss them through a round circle in a wall, it reminded me of a child’s game to help teach shapes (lol).
Every time the course made its way to a water entry, I cheered with joy, but I seemed to hear a lot of other racers grunting and not wanting to enter the water. The water was never deep and unsafe, so these parts of the course (at least foe me) added a safe and fun break from running or rigorous obstacles.
The course had around twenty-six total obstacles on it, including an always challenging Platinum Rig and several other challenging obstacles, but what make Prison Break unique is the sections of the course with police/correction officers trying to pull one of your three flags off racers as they run through these sections trying to avoid the officers. I personally found strategy to work better than pure speed and I was able to keep all three of my flags the entire race.
I found all the obstacles to be well-built, fun, challenging, and safe and really enjoyed the combination of the trail runs, water entries, obstacles, and sections of the course we were chased by officers. I have done several other races where racers had little flags/ribbons that chasers had to try and take and this was by far the safest group I have seen to date. They didn’t tackle racers or grab anything inappropriately at least when I was around them.
• The Bling:
The bling included a sexy finisher medal and finisher shirt! I ran the different race series that weekend and by far the most of popular of the four medals I earned was the Prison Break medal.
• Overall Feelings and Event Rating:
As noted above, this was my first Prison Break race and I really enjoyed it. The course was fun, the obstacles were good, the staff and volunteers were awesome the entire time, and the bling was really nice, so I am rating this event a 4.8 out of 5 stars. I look forward to running another Prison Break in 2018.
Article Written by: Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)