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Goliathon: It's a mission  

Eric Sirois's picture

Last weekend there was a unique obstacle course in southern New Jersey in a small village called Mullica Hill. As you will see in this review, Goliathon is far from being a typical race event as we know it. As the slogan of the race mentions, it's not a race, it's a mission. First big difference compared to traditional events, time does not count. The ranking is done according to a system of points awarded after completing an obstacle. So you can literally walk the full distance and keep your energy in order to overcome obstacles.

The circuit is four miles long on fairly flat terrain, but still includes some valleys here and there. The trails are beautiful, under the cover of trees for the vast majority and some sections more open to the whim of mother nature. Moreover, the weather forecast was going to be quite difficult for the region, but the race site was rather plunged under a sun and a really hot temperature which grazed the 38 degrees with the humidity kicking in.

Two elements make the race very unique: the obstacles and the classification system. Goliathon is a race that aims to reach everyone. Regular obstacle racers will find something to challenge them and new ones will have fun getting help. Each of the twelve obstacles in the course has three levels of difficulty. Level G1 is the easiest of the three and is for beginners, children or anyone not sure if they can complete a higher level of difficulty. The fantastic thing about the G1 is that mutual help is allowed. As children are accepted on the course from the age of 10, there are many parents helping their child through this level of difficulty. The G2 option is still a little more difficult and offers a nice challenge to the seasoned obstacle racers. Some are more difficult than others, but a person with good physical fitness and a little technique will be able to complete several obstacles with this difficulty level. The G3 level is designed to challenge elite athletes in this world. Moreover, only 15 people have managed to overcome the 12 obstacles in the G3 mode since the creation of the race including 13 of them being participants of the popular show American Ninja Warrior. In fact, the obstacles really seem to be inspired by what we see on television. An element that comes to mix cards for most obstacles is the landing platform. Apart from one or two obstacles, all have a platform of about two square feet on which you must land when finishing the obstacle. If you have the misfortune to touch the ground before touching the platform, your performance is considered a failure! Another unique aspect of this race is how to determine the rank of participants with the same score for those who completed 10 G3 or more. At the end of your run, you are asked to climb a rope of no less than 50 feet (secured by a harness). The fastest time determines the final ranking.

This is not the kind of event where you are sent into the mud, into the electricity, where you are asked to run as quickly as possible. We do not ask you to climb Everest, but simply to enjoy the course and make a choice as to the level of difficulty you want to face. This choice can make all the difference in your final ranking. The success of a G3 obstacle gives you 5 points, G2 3 points and 1 point for the G1. A new technology developed by the company allows to calculate the points in real time and thus allow the spectators with the application to follow the participants live to know where they are on the course and the results of each obstacle. The event was, in my opinion, held without any major problem. The inscription was fluid, the markup was perfect, the obstacles were solidly built, the judges were consistent in their decisions, the atmosphere was perfect. Upon arrival, participants were presented with a medal, sweater, bottle of water and a variety of other things provided by the sponsors.

The most important thing to mention is that the entire organization behind this race is composed entirely of volunteers. Nobody gets paid and all the profits go to a charity to provide drinking water to those places in the world that are not lucky enough to have the drinking water coming out of the tap. As incredible as it may be, there are still places where people have to walk five miles to get clean water. Through Goliathon, this team is helping to make water more accessible for those who need it. There is therefore no reason why you should not participate in this race. All possible irritants are not present and you just have to enjoy the day. Goliathon normally holds two events a year, in the spring and fall, and organizes for the first time an 8h race the week after the OCR World Championship. Do not hesitate and go face Goliathon ... maybe you will become a David!