If you like to spend your September weekends here in the Valley running along trails, across mountains, and through enormous human-made puddles of mud, as you negotiate 15-foot-high walls, slick-wet quarter (snowboarding) pipes, and other challenging obstacles (and who doesn't, really?), then you're in luck: Berkshire East is hosting the very first ever Bone Frog Challenge the weekend of September 13-14.
What is the Bone Frog Challenge? It's an adventure/obstacle race, "owned, operated, and designed by U.S. Navy SEALS" to be a life-changing (or at least enhancing) challenge that is as mentally taxing as it is physically excruciating. It is not, they stress, "just another mud race."
"The mud-run/obstacle/adventure race industry has split into two distinct categories: 1) the mass of ~5K events with a handful of obstacles and 2) true tests of fitness, stamina and teamwork (such as the Tough Mudder/Super Spartan/Spartan Beast)," their website explains. "The latter category is where the Bone Frog Challenge resides, with at least 36 military-style obstacles placed approximately every ¼ mile on courses ranging 9-12 miles in distance. You must be functionally fit to succeed. Our experience with functional fitness, obstacle courses, challenge and motivation enabled us to produce an event that goes above and beyond those in existence. As Navy SEALs, we know what tough is – and we don’t mean Harvard."
It's like Tough Mudder (which bills itself as "the premier obstacle course series in the world," and, indeed was the first successful one on the scene), but better, Bone Frog's crew might say.
The lengths (about 10 miles), obstacles (military style), and settings (usually held off-season at ski areas) are all ways in which both Bone Frog and Tough Mudder are similar.
But, while Tough Mudder's courses are designed by British Special Forces, the Bone Frog Challenge is designed by U.S. Navy SEALS. And while Tough Mudder was created just a few years ago by a student in the Harvard Business School, is now worth $70 million, and has raised $5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, Bone Frog is just getting under way, and is dedicated to supporting the Navy Seal Foundation. Lastly, but not necessarily leastly, while Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh ran in the Tough Mudder this past spring, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick would be more likely to compete in the Bone Frog Challenge, due to his family's extensive Navy connections.