If you’re a mud runner you must know all about the various runs out there, right? The Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, and the Spartan races are among the most well known mud runs around. You may also have heard of the Rugged Maniac, Down and Dirty, the Original Mud Run, the Dirty Girl, and I’m sure there are hundreds more, BUT…have you heard of Shale Hill Adventure?
Shale Hill Adventure is a fixed obstacle course located in beautiful Benson, VT. The scenery is spectacular. Not only does this place offer races year round but they do training as well. The indoor gym they have created is phenomenal and I dream to have something similar in my own home someday.
The course offers a 5k distance as well as a 10k distance. The 10k course takes you 6.2 miles and through 50+ obstacles. You will jump over old equestrian cross country style jumps, traverse ropes, climb, haul, and crawl. I’ve heard that this may be among the most difficult courses in the country, after the race I just did I would believe it.
Races, you ask? Well, they offer the traditional 5k and 10k obstacle races. They also offer unique experiences. This past weekend we participated in the Halloween race that began in the evening. We needed headlamps to see in the dark as people chased us in costume; some even had chainsaws! Other fun events they host include an 8 hour polar bear race in winter (do as many laps as you can), a 24 hour race, and a non-traditional triathlon.
This past weekend I dove headfirst into the Halloween 10k. This was my first time here and I didn’t know what to expect…but I certainly didn’t expect it to be so challenging. This may have been a blessing in disguise as I might not have done it knowing its difficulty. Not only did I have to navigate an unknown trail in the dark but I had to look out for people chasing me! I was the last to finish….but I finished (I refused to quit!). I am very proud to have been able to complete the course. I plan to return again sometime in the daylight so that I can continue to improve.
- The facility is still relatively small. The crowd at this race was no larger than 30 people. The one thing that really stands out to me was the love and dedication that the owners have put into building their course.
- There are over 50 obstacles all with varying difficulty. You will cross a pond on a rope, haul a 60 pound sandbag, crawl under barbed wire, climb up ropes, monkey around on tarzan swings, and so much more.
- The scenery is breathtaking.
- There are no lines to do most obstacles.
- Everyone there is supportive and there to help you.
Being a smaller community it’s easy to feel like an outsider here. I grew up as an outsider and feeling like one never gets easier. To be honest I cried a little but in my car before my friends arrived because I was so nervous. The woman who helped me through registration made my anxiety worse; she was rather dismissive and impatient with me. It was clear to me she didn’t think I belonged there. If you go (which you should), I highly recommend you bring friends.
All in all this is among the toughest courses I have ever seen and I highly recommend it for your to-do list.