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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
© 2009-2013 Melissa Rodriguez
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