We figured we'd take a look at a few key "metrics" in OCR to try and objectively determine which race is better. As you read this, please keep in mind that we over here at Trio Fitness Training like both races, and want both races to continue to put on awesome events at awesome venues, and we're glad for the diversity of choice in OCR, and we'll continue to participate in both events. That being said, it's time for comparison.
Savage's normal race (not the Blitz) is roughly 6 miles, so we'll compare the price of that event to the price of Spartan's Super (10k/6.2 miles). To make comparisons as similar as possible, we're choosing pricing as of 3/20/2023 for races in May 2023 for both events.
Open Wave Pricing:
Spartan: $142 ($184.72 in cart)
Savage: $139 ($145.26 in cart)
Pro/Elite Wave Pricing:
Spartan List Price: $163 ($208.08 in cart)
Savage List Price: $169 ($176.61 in cart)
Their lists prices are almost exactly the same, but the final price you'll pay is about $40 higher at Spartan Race than at Savage Race. Savage Race gets 1 Point.
Obstacles are obviously the most important part of an obstacle course race...without obstacles, it's a trail run, and there are millions of those already. When you pay a lot of money for an OCR event, you want obstacles that are fun, challenging, unique, and well constructed.
Both Spartan and Savage do a great job building their obstacles, and both have obstacles that are challenging and fun, but Savage Race takes the challenge to a new level with some of their rigs, and they have been extremely innovative with the types and varieties of obstacles, whereas Spartan has been stagnant for years at a time.
I don't think you could find a single person who think Spartan does a better job with obstacles. That's 1 more point for Savage Race.
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Savage clearly won the best obstacles, and Spartan is going to blow Savage out of the water in this category. You can argue and say, "But Savage doesn't try to do the crazy awesome venues and courses" to which I say, "Exactly". Spartan Race hosts races on some of the world's most beautiful mountains. That alone wins them this category. However, they also put races together ON the mountain, not just down at the bottom, which means completing obstacles overlooking amazing landscapes in beautiful places all over the world. The mountainous terrain and beautiful venues are a huge reason why I got into obstacle course racing in the first place. The mountains are such a challenge, and make the race that much more fun and special...though grueling. That's 1 point for Spartan.
This category comes down to preference...there have been years when Spartan has had some really nice, really cool looking medals, and some that I thought were lacking pretty badly. For Savage Race, I think the same is true. I have some medals from Savage Race that are cool, but not amazing, and some that are actually really sweet. They've had some sick Syndicate medals, and yet, Spartan has medals that are MASSIVE for those who complete multiple trifectas...and the medals just get bigger and bigger as you go. Spartan Race also historically has given the triangle plagues for top placers, which are cool. But Savage Race has some big medals for top placers, and AN AXE for 1st place. UGH. This one is tough. My preference is with Savage's style, and I'm the author, so Savage gets this point, but barely.
I don't mean what YOU choose to wear, I'm talking about what the event gives you to wear, such as bibs, timing chips, etc. I HATE bibs for OCR. I know most races use them because they are easy, but I hate them. I have done a bunch of Savage Races, and several other smaller race company's events, in which my bib has nearly torn off. By the end, it's hanging on by a single pin. Bibs are not conducive to flinging oneself over obstacles and crawling through mud and rough terrain. I think they suck completely. I greatly prefer Spartan's headbands. They do the same job, and you are very unlikely to lose it (except in the dunk wall, and that's an easy precaution to take). As far as timing chips go, both company's have working systems. I both like and dislike Savage's two-chip system for Pro athletes, but I understand it, and it's no big deal. It certainly doesn't hamper the athlete. Spartan just has one chip, and they are about as reliable as it gets from my experience. Overall, Spartan steals this point for me because I hate bibs. Hate hate hate bibs for OCR. Get an arm band or head band or something else. Spartan Race + 1 point.
Savage Race: 3 Point
Spartan Race: 2 Points
This is my opinion...though some of it is based in fact and logic, so I'd love to argue with you over my opinions in the comments :D. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, we support and race in both Spartan and Savage events because both hold aspects we like. Diversity of thought and ownership and everything that goes into the events is good for OCR because it provides options for athletes. I like having options for competition!
See you all next time!