“Mission Accomplished.” Those were the two words I saw and heard the most at Goliathon. “Mission Accomplished” could’ve meant a number of things. For participants it could’ve meant overcoming an obstacle on the course or simply finishing it. For race organizers it could’ve meant a successful event with packed wave times of participants or a venue that provided all with an awesome OCR experience. In this case “Mission Accomplished” meant more than all of that. “Mission Accomplished” meant to everyone on race day that we (participants, race organizers, sponsors and etc.) were able to bring clean water to Malawi, Africa. This was the true meaning to accomplishing something great. Everyone had a huge role in accomplishing this mission. This was so much bigger than overcoming an obstacle, running a personal best or receiving a medal at the finish line. We all made the quality of life better for people that need it. This was what I took away from my first Goliathon.
Goliathon is a completely non-profit organization. Their staff, including their board of directors, are all volunteer. No one here collects a paycheck or funds their vacation home at the beach. This organization spends their time and money creating an OCR experience that gives back. They only have two events a year, with this one being their 7th. Later this year in October they will hold their 8th event. I’m sure they will have no problem accomplishing their mission again.
Since this was my first Goliathon I had no idea what to expect. Would the course and obstacles be easy or hard? How many people will be there? Those are two questions I constantly ask myself while driving. Upon pulling into the parking lot my first question was answered. Yes, they had a great turnout of people. Lots of teams and lots of individuals. I also took notice to the amount of kids. This truly was a family friendly event. After getting checked in (easiest process of any race) I was ready to get out there and find out about the course and obstacle difficulty.
The course was 4 miles with 12 obstacles, pretty evenly spread out, along the course. There was some slight elevation gain, but nothing compared to a Spartan Race. For the most part I ran keeping pace with others around me. I always try to stay near someone in case if my knee decides it’s time to go or if I should slip and hurt myself. With the amount of people on the course this wasn’t too difficult. I remember getting to mile two and thinking to myself it felt like I had already ran four miles. At least I knew I was halfway. Overall, I enjoyed this course because it incorporated some open running, trail running and some elevation gain. These courses are the best.
Each obstacle had three different difficultly levels (G1, G2, G3). G1 was the least challenging and G3 was the most challenging. For the most part I opted for G2, but for three obstacles those were too difficult for me and resulted in a failed attempt. I completed a few G1’s and one G3 (the wall). At each obstacle they have volunteers and volunteer referees watching your every move for completion. Seriously these people didn’t miss anything. If I successfully completed the obstacle difficulty of my choice then I would get a silicone bracelet and points awarded (G1- Green, G2- Tan/Brown, G3- Blue). Overall I finished with 21 points (4 G1, 4 G2 and 1 G3). Not my greatest performance at an obstacle race, but I still completed some difficult obstacles.
My favorite obstacle was Slippery Wall Monkey 2.0. I enjoy obstacles that have different aspects to them. First it started off with traversing a floating wall then quickly switching to monkey bars all while over water. The hardest part of this obstacle was the distance between the monkey bars. I had to use a lot of momentum to swing from bar to bar.
The medal is sweet! It reminds me of an Olympic medal. A few of my running and non-running friends all felt the same. I’ll be proudly displaying this on my medal rack. I also received a t-shirt with the Goliathon logo on the front and Mission Accomplished on the back with the African Continent and a drop of water over the place we helped bring fresh cleaning water to from our efforts.
I was a little late participating in Goliathon, but I’m happy I was able to complete one…finally. This race is a must do especially if you want to challenge yourself by trying different difficulty levels. It’s also important to note that the entire staff I met throughout the day were enthusiastic, encouraging and great people. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an OCR with a team like this. It definitely helps making the experience a lot better for everyone, but also for those that run alone (like me!). I would register for this race again and would hopefully bring a team with me to compete in the team competition.