An Open Letter to Battlefrog: What’s Going On??

Battlefrog– we need to talk. We might have to break up- and I’m not happy about that because I really have enjoyed your past events. However, there have recently been some serious transgressions on your part that are causing me to reconsider our association.

At the most recent Battlefrog event in Orlando.
At the most recent Battlefrog event in Orlando.

First, the lack of venue announcements. I understand there are things such as permits, contracts and licensing agreements to be signed. But to not have venues announced for events 6 weeks away is hurting your credibility. People travel to these events- sometimes flying from out of state or driving several hundred miles for a single event This means transportation, lodging and food costs on top of the race fees as well as requesting time off of work to travel. It requires advance planning and notification. And while, yes, many of us who don’t work on the operational side of things can’t understand the intricacies involved in planning such an event, the fact is we are 6 weeks away from the Tampa event and still have no venue announced. Tampa encompasses a whole range of possible locations that may not be ‘in’ Tampa itself, so this is important, especially to those needing to book hotels. Spartan Race already has it’s Palm Coast location set up for December- for an event 11 months away. Savage Race has their venues lined up for both spring and fall events and Tough Mudder has theirs for the Gulf Coast event in Pensacola. Even a ‘newer’ race such as Bonefrog has a place for their September event- why don’t you?

Secondly, several people have been complaining about your new structure for qualifying for the championship event (those wishing to qualify for the points series) : 5 regular season races and 1 regional qualifier race. That’s a total of 6 events needed to race this year alone. The costs I mentioned above apply to these as well- even more so because each state typically gets 1-2 events per year (Florida sometimes gets 3) which means at least 2-3 out of state events, adding to the overall cost for participants. Topping it off is the fact that  “our” (Florida’s) regional qualifier event isn’t even in the Southeast- it’s in Cincinnati! And this wasn’t even announced until after the season had started, giving those who missed out on the first event in San Diego some catching up to do. Many have already signed up for several events because we typically plan our schedules several months in advance. This would require some serious restructuring of spring schedules- unless everyone wanted to pack more events into their fall schedules.

While you may have the occasional racer who has a flexible job schedule or deep pockets, the majority of us are hard working people who don’t have the means to drop thousands of dollars traveling all over the country  to race. This severely limits the playing field- and to not give anyone time to figure out how your new structure will fit into their schedules is just plain inconsiderate. To top it off, when reached out to for comments, your response was that you’re “too busy” to worry about answering questions for the masses! This approach will only succeed in alienating your racers and causing them to choose other more reliable and better organized events.

While I really hope you are learning from past operational mistakes (changing the structure of the races with very little notice in early 2015 and cancelling a bunch of events) it doesn’t seem as if you are. I hope these new changes don’t damage your brand too much. The registrations for San Diego didn’t look very promising according to the website results. As for me, I’ll probably give my money to better organized events and make Tampa my last Battlefrog for a while- at least until the organization of future events starts seeing a more promising level of commitment to communication and your racers!



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16 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Battlefrog: What’s Going On??”

  1. your article is spot on …After doing BF last yr, i decided i like MOC more than burpees. Was looking at the 3 or 6 pass, but for the reasons you articulated above, ive been saying this for the last 6 weeks or so , no venues listed, i will likely end up settling on the groupon for the New England event, which actually does have a venue …

    1. I was also looking into the 3 or 6 event pass but yes, I prefer to stick with events that have venues locked down and aren’t trying to grow too fast too soon. This is one of their primary mistakes IMO.

    2. Just my $.02… It’s important to remember that BF is in only its 3rd year?? and is more or less a start up. I would agree that perhaps they were growing too fast, and understand the frustration with race cancelations. However, from talking with some **new folks at BF, I get the impression they are EXTREMELY dedicated to not only growing their series, but the sport in general. Also, I would argue their races are more challenging than Spartan (from my experience as an Elite). With that, I haven’t run savage race, those obstacles are supposed to be pretty sweet. BF pays out significantly more to their racers and are the only ones to get Universities involved. My training partner won a Spartan last year and still hasn’t received his trophy, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t racing Spartan anymore. For me, there is something unique about BF in the atmosphere and challenge. It’s not as cold and exclusive as Spartan, and you’re essentially helping out a start up rather then a corporate operation like Spartan or giving Mark Cuban more money through Savage Race. All in all, hopefully the sport grows and BF can help it to do that. I wouldn’t write off a company that seams to be really dedicated to helping the sport, only because they are experiencing growing pains.

      1. While I see your point and it’s true that it’s a young company, it’s important to also point out that other races have expanded in their youth and haven’t had the same logistic issues BF has been experiencing. I think it has to do with upper management. I know they really want to do a good job and be a solid race. Both events that I’ve run have been amazing and I loved them. I do agree that it’s not as cold as Spartan- that’s one of the things I don’t like about Spartan. And it has been more challenging. I just think they need to work on behind the scenes details.

    1. I believe they have. I’ve heard they want to speak with me and ‘set the record straight.’ I look forward to hearing actual commentary from them.

  2. Plesse keep us informed… i was thinking of signing up for the San Francisco race in 3 weeks….are the actual races safe for participants and challenging like Spartans?

    1. Chris, if they have a venue announced for San Francisco I definitely would say to sign up. I’ve done a few Battlefrogs and despite my irritation with the lack of announcements, I do think the races are very well put together when they get everything in order. They just seem to take longer than other events in finalizing everything. I felt like Battlefrog was on a similar level to Spartan as far as the challenge- they don’t have as many lifting obstacles but they definitely have a challenging course each time I’ve run it.

  3. Great article! They announced their schedule mid-August 2015. Almost 6 months ago, now, and they still do not have venues for over half of the races on the schedule. Unacceptable and a business model like that shouldn’t be supported. No venue, no sign up.

    1. I always hesitate to sign up for something with no venue. There’s also a great possibility that dates will change or be cancelled if they haven’t locked a venue in and based on past events that have been cancelled with other companies, I know how challenging it can be to get refunds. So I agree- no venue, no sign up.

  4. I read both of your articles/posts. And I agree 100% with your first one. The second article was good, but I am losing faith in the company. I started off OCRs with them & have stuck by the brand even through all the cancellations last year. I have been non-stop defending BF- because people are talking & are pissed. The majority of racers I have spoken to would love for BF to succeed, but many are feeling that they are going to fold. Many feel that the new CEO & other top guys are basically dragging the brand down (I am talking about execs).
    Races are 3 months or so away & still no venue announcements. And if you email you get the same cookie-cutter response about how a venue will be announced. & if you post anything to the BF fb page, you get NO response at all.

    1. I know it’s very frustrating. I too hope that they will succeed but it seems like their numbers aren’t predicting success and despite the protests I have heard, their backers will eventually not continue to support them with unlimited money if they don’t start to see better profits.

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