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Metro Dash going out of business, RFYL predicts $18.8 million in revenue, and more OCR news

13 Jul 2012

There have been some great highlights in obstacle racing over the past couple weeks, but the most eye-opening story was in my inbox. Just two days ago, I received an e-mail from Frawg Stomp, LLC, the company that operates the Metro Dash. I had signed up for Metro Dash – Boston earlier this year, which was cancelled and organizers had yet to issue a full refund. The message:

You are receiving this email because you were registered for a 2012 Metro Dash event that has been cancelled. The company who manages the races, Frawg Stomp, LLC, has been forced to cease operations. Frawg Stomp has done everything within its power to locate a replacement event for you and to liquidate the assets of the company to refund your registration fee. While this is an ongoing process, we anticipate that there will be insufficient funds to provide you with a refund. You may want to evaluate your legal rights with your credit card processing company. At the current time we anticipate that Frawg Stomp will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We understand this is not a welcome email and are truly sorry for having to send it. Frawg Stomp, with no employees or resources, will not be in a position to respond to individual emails or phone calls but will attempt to provide additional e-mail updates in the event that circumstances change.

Thank You
Frawg Stomp, LLC

As much as it sucks to be out a few bucks, I am more disappointed that one of the forerunners of obstacle races is going out of business. It may not be entirely a surprise, seeing that participation in a lot of their events was low at around 150-300 contestants per race. At $35 – $60 per entrant, I doubt the revenue from each event was enough to even cover the race organizer’s expenses for race supplies, nevermind staff pay or travel fees.

The Metro Dash website is now down, redirecting to bluehost. Their Facebook page no longer exists. What’s left are the Twitter pages for Metro Dash and Frawg Stomp…for now.

Despite the popularity of obstacle racing, the Metro Dash’s fate shows that running a business in a new niche can be challenging. And as more brands and sub-niches within obstacle racing emerge, we may see others encounter the same challenges and similar end. 

I was still surprised when I received Frawg Stomp’s. I was looking forward to participating in the Metro Dash. I saw potential in this race to attract those looking for obstacle challenges without the running. But the concept just didn’t catch momentum like the Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash. A couple of less than stellar yelp reviews can attest to the Metro Dash’s drawbacks. If you participated in a Metro Dash, what did you think about the race?

Meanwhile, in the land of successful obstacle racing brands, the Wall Street Journal and International Business Times highlight the popularity and profitability of Run For Your Lives. More on the economic impact of obstacle races, the Dirty Girl Mud Run expects to raise as much as $250,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation this year.

Read on for more highlights.

For Die-Hard Fans, A Chance to Romp With the Undead (Wall Street Journal)

Obstacle-course races and zombie-themed events—from proms to marches to film festivals—have been spreading across the country like a flesh-eating bacteria. Now, a series of races called “Run For Your Lives” are bringing the two together…Reed Street Productions, a company based in White Marsh, Md., and formed by two friends in their 20s, is making a killing on the races. It held its first race just last year near Baltimore and unexpectedly drew 12,000 people, the company said. It will hold a total of 13 similar events in cities from Boston to Los Angeles this year. Next year, it hopes to double that. The company said it expects revenue of $18.8 million this year, but declined to disclose its profits. Between 3,000 and 10,000 people participate in the races, with about 5,000 at the event here.

Training Insights from an Orthopaedist: Obstacle Racing Popularity Soars, Offers New Fitness Challenge

“In addition to general conditioning, do a little research ahead of time,” advises Dr. Joel Buchalter, founding partner of Somers Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Group. “Most of these events post the race layout on their Web site so you can see what’s in store. Then train appropriately. If there are hurdle jumps, try jumping over a bench. If there is a crawling portion, crawl across the room. On the day of the race, stay hydrated at all times, pace yourself and don’t try to push through obstacles recklessly. When mud and sand slow you down, if you try to power through you run the risk of wearing yourself out or losing your footing, possibly causing a foot or ankle injury. To conserve your energy and keep your joints intact, take your time over muddy terrain.”

Tributes to Spartan Death Race Finishers

Maine locals recall surviving Death Race
PA local finishes fifth in Death Race
After falling short in 2011, Penn Yan (NY) native Ricky Weiss finishes Death Race in 2012

Girls get down and dirty for good cause

Race experience wasn’t necessary and women of all fitness levels jumped in. The only must-haves to participate in the Dirty Girl Mud Run at the Lake County Fairgrounds was a good attitude and supportive team through mud pits, climbing walls, fence jumping and tire obstacles along the 5K track…A total of 9,900 women signed up for the first-time weekend event in Lake County. The untimed, non-competitive race helps raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation…They give 2.5 percent of each racer’s registration to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Last year the donation to NBCF totaled $50,000. This year’s goal is $250,000 in the 15 races scheduled across the country. “Our goal is to keep growing this race and raising more money for research,” said race director Jimmy Gohsman. Dirty Girl hopes to have races in up to 60 markets next year.

Mean Streets, a 5k urban obstacle race is coming to Louisville

Mean Streets is different from the onslaught of military-type obstacle races that have exploded over the past year around the country. One difference is it’s being held at night, which runners will be thankful for during these dog days of summer. Another difference is the obstacles are inspired from some of the best chase scenes found only in the movies. Running over parked cars, climbing through windows and jumping into a foam filled dumpster. Everything your inner child has been dreaming about.



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6 thoughts on “Metro Dash going out of business, RFYL predicts $18.8 million in revenue, and more OCR news

  1. I can tell you why the Metro Dash failed. I competed in one of their first races, and it was awesome. It was in Atlanta, downtown, where you had to bring a map with you to find all of the different locations to do the Tabatta “obstacles.” The third location was “The Guantlet,” a mini obstacle course. This was a challenging race that took me just under an hour to complete (if you finished under an hour you got a different medal because it was so hard).

    I twas like the a mini Tough Mudder, only in a Metropolitan area. I was really excited to do this race again the next year. I wanted to beat my prior time. Well, goal met. Last year’s time, 58:32, this year’s time, 7:13. That’s right, SEVEN MINUTES! They removed all of the running, and Tabattas and modelled the entire race after “The Gauntlet.” This change pissed off a lot of people, myself included.

    “If it ain’t broke…”

  2. Thanks for shedding light on this, Michael. I can’t imagine many people would pay for an event that doesn’t pose much of a challenge! I had seen some walkthroughs on youtube of contestants finishing the Metro Dash in under 20 minutes, several at around 10 minutes. It’s really not enough of a workout or time to build rapport with other racers.

  3. I just stumbled across this old post and I will have to say I did the 2011 Boston Version and it was nothing like the first reply. It was in a parking lot of a Macy’s and I new going in from the site it would be no running and mostly obstacles. I was fairly out of shape and did it in 12 or so minutes. Overall I thought it was cool… it was a hardly expensive race, it was less then 15 min and had me feeling like I sprinted 5 miles. Well worth the money. The Metro Dash was never proclaimed as a full distance obstacle race, it was built as a Dash, Sprint that would leave you winded. Really sad they went out of business. They gave out awesome shirts, if you were in the top of all finishers, you had to run a head to head to be crowned winners, all the volunteers were very helpful. And you never had to wait on a line to do an obstacle. Tough Mudder may be cool and all, but when 90% of the people come back saying “I spent more time trying to stay warm waiting on a line” you know they have too many people on the course at one time.

  4. Thanks for your comment! I would have liked to try the Metro Dash to see for myself. It think there’s still room in the obstacle industry for a similar race.

  5. I did Metro Dash back in early 2012 with 4 other friends down in FWB, FL. It was small and I finished it in less then 20 mins. But the obsticals. Such a verity, from jumping, flipping, sprinting, pulling , crawling, climbing, even dangling, and hanging and pulling yourself across a rope 20 ft in the air. It was such a new experience I’m glad I got that opertunity. And like the comment above a cool shirt. And it was cheap. But you knew something was up when they handed out medals with the date from the year before and them saying they would have to get back to us later with updated ones. I always wounder why I haven’t seen one. Now I know. Sucks. I would have that again.

  6. I participated in last year’s Metro Dash in New York City and it was pretty obvious that they were experiencing hardship. The event itself was very challenging, but it was poorly run. It was easy for people to cheat due to lack of officials. NOTE: The entire course is roughly half a football field in area. It wouldn’t take much to properly officiate. Also, the swag packages were missing the all important t-shirt. They claimed to have had problems with the screen printing company and promised t-shirts would come in the mail. They never did.
    So, I’m not at all surprised that they folded.
    That being said, I wish that they had recovered or sold to someone more capable of running the business. I participate in a lot of mud runs and road runs but this even was unique. I felt that it catored to me as both and endurance and strength athlete. I have yet to come across another race where you had to conquer obstacles as well as carry atlas stones, flip tractor tires, and do farmer’s walks with various objects. I truly wish they could have gotten their act together.

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