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Are you Viking strong?  

Eric Sirois's picture

On July 30, the annual race organized by the Sunny Hill Resort in the state of New York was held: The Viking Race. The race, which attracts a few hundreds of racers each year, takes place mainly in the woods surrounding the resort and offers something for all tastes. This year, the organization made the decision to reverse the course in order to offer a bit of novelty to the regulars. Note that the course is permanent and therefore includes some rather imposing structures.

For those who know Shale Hill, you'll be delighted to know that Rob's creative genius greatly influences the Viking Race's journey. Indeed, the course was originally designed by Rob or at least he was greatly involved in the design of the course. There is a bit of the same kind of family atmosphere as at the Shale Hill events. The race on July 30 offered different formats to the runners: An open wave where three attempts on an obstacle was sufficient to keep going, a team wave, as well as an elite wave in a mandatory obstacle format. A wristband was given to the participants of this last wave which they had to hand off in the case of a failure. There was also a wave called "Viking Double" which consists of making two laps of the track in mandatory obstacle mode. In addition to the regular distance of more or less 10km, a wave of 5km was also offered.

The first part of the course is quite technical and sends the runners in narrow paths sometimes muddy, sometimes rocky. The rest of the route mainly takes place under the cover of the trees in beautiful paths where the racer must still be vigilant. No big mountain or endless climb, but still a bit of ascending and descending all along the course. Thirty-five obstacles of different levels rise across the trail and offer a rather interesting challenge. Of course, the route includes several walls, crawling obstacles, some carry (log, bucket, etc.), but some well-placed obstacles give a good challenge.

The monkey bars are quite special and unique in their kind. In addition to a good inclination in the middle portion, no bar is at the same level with respect to each other. The "traverse wall" is very reminiscent of Shale Hill, but gives more options at the block level, which makes it easier, but still remains one of the most difficult traverse walls out there. What about balance obstacles? There are several during the race, even one in the water and one that totalizes a length of about 140 feet!

Other obstacles will challenge your fear of the heights: The climbing rope and the Norses poles both rises to about twenty feet. Odin's table seems trivial, but on the contrary. You must down a rope from a platform that is quite high ... and this, twice. These are just a few examples of the obstacles you face if you have the courage to face the course. One very important thing during this race is to be aware of your physical abilities, because at some obstacle, a failure could lead to an injury. In fact, it is not specific to the Viking Race, because an accident can happen in any race, but the lack of padding under some obstacle or the height of the obstacles, combined with the fact that everything happens in the wood can add a small dose of risk. If you are not sure, nothing prevents you from passing an obstacle and continue your journey ... at least ... in the open wave.

Would I recommend this race? Certainly! With the amount of obstacle, 95% of the course in the woods, its passage in the water, the challenge represented by some of the obstacles, free parking and spectators and a meal after the race (hamburger, hot dog, salad) it would be almost criminal not to recommend it! Take advantage of it and spend a holiday on the resort which is acclaimed by many as an ideal site for family vacations. Indeed, Sunny Hill resort is offering an all-inclusive service, meals and activities that are offered on site. You can even enjoy the course of the race during your stay! So? Are you strong like a Viking ?!