BattleFrog races gain in popularity; next event Saturday at Amelia Earhart Park

Runners set off to complete a BattleFrog obstacle course race in Miami, March 2015. The series returns to Miami Saturday at Amelia Earhart Park.
Runners set off to complete a BattleFrog obstacle course race in Miami, March 2015. The series returns to Miami Saturday at Amelia Earhart Park. BattleFrog

Corinna Coffin, an elite athlete, gripped onto a 50-pound wreck-bag weight while trudging across a 16-kilometer Navy SEALs-inspired obstacle course race series called BattleFrog.

It was obvious the race wasn’t her first as she triumphed through climbing 12-foot ladders and crawling through mud, made warm from the sun.

“It’s really fun for me to try to prepare for these races because you really can’t lack strength in any area, whether it’s mental, physical or all the different muscle groups,” Coffin said. “You need to have upper body strength and you need to have a good engine to get you through.”

Coffin has been participating in BattleFrog’s boot camp-inspired race’s for more than a year. Today, she is BattleFrog’s pro-team lifestyle director, and she’s training for BattleFrog’s next race happening Saturday, Nov. 21, at Amelia Earhart Park near Hialeah.

“What’s so great about obstacle course racing is there no cookie-cutter training regimen, it trains strength and endurance,” Coffin said.

BattleFrog is a race series that offers different obstacles for participants ranging in age. The Tadpole Dash is designed for children 4- to 8-years-old and has pro-team athletes running alongside side them while the children complete a 400-meter race equipped with eight different obstacle courses.

BattleFrog also has races suitable for amateur and pro-athletes looking to add some extra oomph to their running routine.

Former bank president Ramiro Ortiz, BattleFrog’s executive chief officer in Doral, said the general public shouldn’t call these races “grueling.”

“You have to understand the concept behind our races,” said Ortiz, a former chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. “The original inspirations for the company came from youthful retired Navy SEALs. They thought of their training and wanted to make that accessible to the public through an obstacle race.”

Indeed, the obstacles resemble boot-camp like styles, whether participants are running with weights, crawling through mud, climbing up and down ladders and nets or crossing bodies of water on a rope, like an upside-down monkey gripping onto a branch, the obstacles are meant to be challenging and never the same.

Coffin confirms each obstacle course varies depending on its location.

“If it’s a swampy area, we’re going to be trudging through the swamps with jerry cans. There might be a lake, and we’ll be swimming across it,” Coffin said. “It’s very cool the creativity that comes with the course designs. As an elite racer, I find that as where some of the obstacles are similar and carry over from race to race, in [BattleFrog] no race is the same.”

Since its launch in May 2014, BattleFrog has created over 17 different races in cities across the nation. Ortiz said next year the company plans to host 44 races with some to be held in Canada.

“We’re in a rapid expansion mode,” said Ortiz.

He believes there is a shift in the way runners want to experience marathons. He’s seen the number of BattleFrog race participants increase over the years and believes the races will gain in popularity.

In 2013, for example, Running USA reported over 42-million Americans ran six or more days per week. Ortiz said with the more nontraditional races reaching the public’s attention the demand for races grows steadily.

“We see it in our races, this will be our third Miami race and we’ve already have well over 4,000 registered runners,” he said. “I’m expecting about 6,500 runners come December.”

Other nontraditional races in Miami include Tough Mudder, The Color Run and Spartan Race, but Ortiz said what sets BattleFrog apart is the youth program led by Shawn Ramirez, the cross-fit games master’s division champion.

Ramirez travels to local elementary schools across Miami–Dade to motivate students to challenge themselves and engage in an active lifestyle. Ramirez says it’s more than how to live healthy.

“What we do is not just physical activity and nutrition or living a healthier lifestyle. A lot of that [the students] already heard,” Ortiz said.

He adds it’s about determination and drive.

“The most rewarding part is when you see them after a race, when they finish and they get their medal, and shirt, and they feel like they’ve done something big and they have.”

If you go

▪ What: BattleFrog Obstacle Course Race

▪ Where: Amelia Earhart Park, 401 E 65th St., Hialeah

▪ When: Nov. 21, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

▪ To register: Visit http://battlefrogseries.com/