Last week I ran the first Hero Rush LA. This was a 5K race planned by firefighters, donating to a good cause, so I figured I would give it a try. They touted the catchphrase “More challenge, less mud” so I figured the obstacles would be awesome, I was wrong. Maybe I am just getting biased after running Tough Mudders and Spartan Races but I think this race could have been so much more. It was littered with first time mistakes both logistically and during the race, which confirmed my philosophy of skipping first time races. I am going to take a cue from my friend Adam Daniels and do a what worked/what didn’t setup for this recap.
The last wave. I signed up for the 1pm wave which was by far the smallest so there was no wait for any obstacle. It also helped that the final wave often has the slowest people so I was easily at the front of my group which aided in the lack of wait time for obstacles.
The cause. The event raised money for the fallen firefighters foundation and paid homage to the 343 firefighters who died on 9/11. You can’t really argue with that cause and I did not mind paying what I consider a high price of registration to support it. I hope that a significant portion of my registration fee actually went to the cause.
The partner obstacle. One obstacle was a two person event. You had to work with your partner to put a person “Tire set” on a stretcher, carry it over and under some walls, under barbed wire, and through a tunnel. I’ve never done an obstacle like that and it was pretty cool.
What Didn’t Work?
The bag check area. For some strange reason, they had the bag check area set up by registration. The problem with that was that registration was not anywhere near the post race festivities. Additionally, the changing rooms were in the post race area and not near the bag check. This meant that in order to change, dry off, or get money for food you had to walk back to the bag check area, but once you got your bag you were closer to the parking lot so it was easier to just leave. I ended up changing at my car and leaving. This was probably a huge loss in revenue not to mention it was just annoying.
The “Hero Dinero”. After the race you got five dollars in race cash to be used on food and apparel. The problem was that this money got you almost nothing because the food costs were ridiculous. And since I didn’t have my wallet all I could get was an awful microwaved pretzel and a bag of Doritos. At all other race I have ever done you at least got a free beer, but not at the Hero Rush, no beer cost $9. Ridiculous.
An abundance of tires. This race boasted eighteen obstacles, yet four of them involved carrying or pulling one or more tires. That is not inventive, it is boring. I could think of a lot of other things they could do but they must have gotten a deal on tire rentals. I’m sorry but connecting two tires together does not create a brand new obstacle.
False advertising. If you go on the website and watch the video you see people climbing through obstacles filled with smoke, riding down zip lines and, jumping over multiple fire pits. Awesome right! Definitely, if that is what really happened. This race had none of that so I felt completely cheated. I was so excited about the zip line and the smoke filled obstacles because they were very unique but all I got was traditional mud run obstacles without any mud. Even the fire was a joke. We just ran around a large campfire, no jumping at all.
This race was not built for regular adventure racers, it is really a way for firefighters to get together and run a race. I felt very out of place, almost everyone I met asked me where I was a firefighter. I could also tell the tone of this race by the lack of competitiveness. I put in a minimal effort because of my knee issues but still finished 33rd overall. There were a ton of beginner errors that could easily be fixed but the big issue was the lack of the obstacles touted on their website video. I felt ripped off and hope that they can make the races more consistent in the future. I do not think I will run this race again and with just stick to what I know and like.
Race Grade: C