Would Bilbo or Frodo have been just as successful on their quest without Gandalf? It’s always the man with the beard that ensures the success of the warriors.
“The Beard” aka Christopher Acord has a long history with obstacle racing and he has taken his skills to new heights at the race director for Battlefrog. Just recently Norm Koch took on one of The Beard’s courses and had to forfeit his elite bracelet. EFFNorm is synonymous amongst Spartan racers due to him being known to create some of the most excruciating obstacle races known in the industry. Could The Beard have possibly out designed Norm with challenging obstacles and torture miles?
WOR: I have very little experience with Battlefrog. I did race in Houston this past spring and it was really hard. The biggest complaint or frustration I heard from the racers was that it is overly heavy with obstacles involving upper body strength.
The Beard: We have adjusted since then.
The Beard: The obstacles are pretty much the same, but it’s more about obstacle placement. Houston we had abnormally long carries, the jerry cans and the wreck bag. In Houston the weather also played a huge factor. The mud was so bad in spots we couldn’t even get a vehicle out there.
WOR: I do like that Battlefrog starts male and female elite racers at the same time. Once the race starts how do the men and women compare competing side by side?
The Beard: I go around and collect all the bracelets. There is yellow for the women and orange for the men. I by far get more men’s bracelets back than I do women’s; granted there is a smaller percentage of women who sign up for the elite heat. Take Houston for example, which was hard, fifty percent of the women completed the course with their bands and only 3 percent of the men completed with their bands.
WOR: What do you think makes the difference?
The Beard: From what I understand the women have less wit in them and have more of the desire to compete and being that some of our races are harder, a lot of the incoming elite women train for that and they come from a different background than runners like Amelia and Rose. It gives them an equal opportunity to compete in an obstacle race rather than being a sprinter or running 7 miles.
WOR: So, Battlefrog is geared more towards women who like weights rather than running?
The Beard: Yes, because they will be quick with the obstacles. A runner will get more tired with the obstacles because that’s not what they are training for. The runners are training to increase their speed in between obstacles. The stronger females will make up the time on the runners by excelling at the obstacles. Being that Battlefrog is obstacle dense, stronger women like that harder race.
For instance, in New England we didn’t have the monkey bars and people were wanting the monkey bars because it’s take a lot of strength and slows down the runners.
WOR: Your next race is in Pittsburgh, correct?
The Beard: Yes, we have people traveling from all over coming to race from Arizona, Texas and Ohio… just all over the country. It’s fun and interesting at the same time. I think it’s because they like the fact that they can be more competitive with Battlefrog and that there is a payout for top percent which is a greater chance for people to support their living in obstacle course racing.
WOR: Atlas race had large pay outs, not for top percent which is fantastic by the way, but how does the money add up with registration?
The Beard: We have set the standard for obstacle course racing. We do the most amount of obstacles with the least amount of crew and the least amount of time, which makes us more competitive down the road than any other race company out there. That’s how we sustain our tow.
WOR: I noticed that Norm Koch raced in New England. How did this challenge or competitiveness between you two start?
The Beard: There isn’t really a challenge per se. I designed the Houston course and immediately Hobi Call compared it to Vermont Beast without the terrain. Additionally, the Lone Star Spartans started tagging Norm and saying that my courses were harder. I think others created posts to give him a hard time because he failed the platinum rig in New England.
Norm sent me congrats that weekend after Houston and it was humbling. It was great to see Norm and his family have fun at Battlefrog in New England.
WOR: What makes your obstacles better and more challenging?
The Beard: The main dynamic between Battlefrog courses and other races is that we premier something different that and are constantly evolving. You never know what to expect because we keep giving the audience new challenges.
WOR: Are you going to compete in one of Norm’s course anytime soon? The Ultra Beast, I hope?
The Beard: I’ve always enjoyed his courses and his are about the only ones I consider competing in with his company. I’ve competed in a Death Race, ran Wintergreen twice and carried a 60lb rock through his Palmerton course. It’s not much of a challenge when you’ve done really crazy events.
Will Battlefrog let The Beard compete in an EFFNorm race anytime soon? We can only hope so. To see these two encourage and challenge each other to new heights can only take the obstacle racing industry to a whole new level.