Savage Race Review - Florida 2015

March, 2015. Dade City, Florida.
The Savage Race! Woooooo!
I was there! Let's review.

Awesome! You ran the race? How was it?

Uh, actually... Uh, I didn't run it.

Oh... What?

I was a vendor! Yeah, vendors!

Oh... So you're going to talk about the race without having run it?

No! I can't talk about the race itself. I am going to talk about the event! Woooooo!

Oh... Maybe I'll click this flashing thing over here....

Put your fucking hand in your lap! This is Gad damn important!

The Savage Race is quite awesome. It's about a 7 mile track with obstacles. This is the only one I could get a picture of. It's run in waves. You have your assigned start time and then you go. Some people go like a mother fucker and others are like, this is cool, nice day, eh? The guy with the best time came in at 45 minutes and the winning lady was at 55.

There was a competitive wave for the serious peeps. The ones who are awesome and come from states far away to give this a serious shot. And that's cool, but here's what's cooler. Most of the racers were there for the fun! And damn, it looked super fun.

The key to the fun, I think, is that it looked like most people were there as a team. As a team, you worked together to get through the course. Helping people over walls and through the mud. That's super cool.

And the damn costumes! I couldn't get away from the booth to take many but there were teams dressed as bananas, ballerinas, face painted warriors, and piles of superheros. It was silly and casual and at that level the only competition was with yourself. The mantra was "Don't compete, complete."

So, mostly the Savage Race is well settled. The crowd was estimated between 12-15k and it looked like that to me. The atmosphere was fun and not at all douchey. Everybody I talked to thought that the track was the right amount of challenging.

There are two areas where I feel there could be some improvement. Neither were significant detractors, but while I don't think there needs to be any tweaking to, say, the track, these two things could use some work.

First, the website. Yes, it looks awesome. The visual design is great, lots of cool pictures to psych you up. As a vendor you know what I couldn't find after multiple searches? The fucking start and end times. They encourage spectators, but the site doesn't tell them when to show up. I think that there's a lot of room to add basic info and blog-style text without taking away from the cool aesthetic.

The other thing that could be looked at is the "party atmosphere." One of the organizers stopped by our booth and mused about how it didn't looks like people were hanging around even though there was a decent DJ and food and stuff. To this, my observation was that the execution of the big hang out area was off the mark.

The food was wrong. People going to a race, even casual racers, don't want state fair style sausage-on-a-stick. They want booths that say PALEO and VEGAN. I'm not a vegan, but I'm much more likely to check out that stand then to risk my digestive system on a corn dog.

Vendors were not enough. The vendors I talked to were cool, but 1) there weren't a lot of us, 2) two were all bout t-shirts, 3) most were not interactive. Yes, the Air Force Reserve should be there, but the dude behind the table had on his mean face sunglasses and didn't look like he wanted to talk. Orangetheory Fitness was next to us and had the right idea. They brought one of their crazy looking water rowers and people were trying it out.

There was a lack of stuff to hang out and do. Aside from the race, the organizers must have assumed that having inappropriate food, a very appropriate beer garden, and random vendors would be enough to get people to hang out. It was not. I think that the organizers should pursue some additional interactive stuff that you would want to hang around and try. Here are some in-the-right-direction-but-maybe-not-there-yet ideas: free yoga demo, a massage booth, bean bag toss, tug of war pit, cooking/shopping demo, personal trainers giving performance/exercise/form tips. Dude, I'd hang out all day for that stuff. Man, I should organize that myself.

All in all, it was a very cool event and even though I'm thinking of getting an "I hate running" tattoo on my face, I might just run one of these. Recommend!

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