Thoughts and Reflections from the Barber Beast

Posted: September 8, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Articles

Beast Before

Twoguns Barber Beast Team Before

This past weekend, a group of the Twoguns Training Systems family and I participated in the “Barber Beast on the Bay” held at Presque Isle. After the event, I took a hot shower, grabbed some food, took a nap. After I put this picture on Facebook…

Beast Finish

Twoguns Barber Beast Team After

…with this status…

I am very open about the fact that I think most events like this, including the Barber Beast do infinitely more harm than they do good and for the average person recommend against participating.

However, I am a team player and I wanted to support the members of the Twoguns Training Systems family who were participating (and I was bamboozled 🙂 ) so I did.

I wouldn’t necessarily say I enjoyed the run and found the course redundant but I did very much enjoy the experience, support and camaraderie the Twoguns family had as we traversed the course. I was very proud of the accomplishments of all of them as well and was glad I was able to witness it.

Extra thanks to Stephen Michael and Jeremy Reed for leading the team and helping everyone through as well as Db Cummings for all of the organization and of course thanks and great job to the Twoguns family who participated.

I received a couple of questions as to why I think a lot of these “mud run”/”fun run” events, including the Barber Beast do more harm than good and feel it is worth elaborating on. I feel like they are good events to build community as well as give competitive people a fun and competitive outlet. All in all I had a good time bonding with the Twoguns family and helping support them through as they “conquered the Beast.”

However there are three main issues I have, that all kind of tie into each other…

The first and main one is what the event is and who it is marketed toward. The Tough Mudder’s are known for being challenging and intense and “aren’t for everyone,” even though some people “slip through the cracks.” This is all good and fine – make an intense event and market to people who are capable and willing. Where most events, including the Barber Beast fail is that they develop a course that is meant to break you down, be hard and intense but market it as if it is for everyone. I don’t feel you can have it both ways.

If you want to market it to everyone, that is completely fine, but make a more responsible course that is centered around everyone being capable and everyone having fun in the process of a responsible challenge. And if you want to make a competitive course that is meant to break people down, be intense and challenging, market it to that crowd, not everyone.

The problem in my first point ties into my second point – people get injured as a result of this. Injuries are going to happen in any event, I understand it. But they happen infinitely more often when the aforementioned (and the upcoming point) are the case and you have people who haven’t trained and aren’t physically prepared participating in these events.


This was posted sarcastically but is true a lot of the time…

I myself witnessed at least a dozen injuries with my own eyes, some extremely serious, including someone tearing his biceps and heard of countless more assorted injuries. This isn’t okay. I know I am bias as someone who makes a career of making people move well, lose fat and remain injury free but the “average joe or jane” getting injured doing something so immaterial as this, matters and shouldn’t be accepted or promoted.

The third, again tying into the previous two is that people who really don’t know anything about safety or fitness develop the course. They don’t know who they are marketing to and don’t know how to implement it. A couple of prime examples… There was a “Half Pipe” obstacle…

Beast Jesse Half Pipe

Twoguns Client Jesse going up the Half Pipe right before cutting his shin open on it…

The picture is of the second identical half pipe obstacle on the course. The first of which was closed due to injuring too many people. The problem is that first one was on cement, which is actually infinitely safer than the one pictured which is in the sand and the bottom of the ramp being covered in said, sand. So the safer one was closed due to injuries but the second, more dangerous one was still open… hmm.

Why is it more dangerous than the first? In something where you have to sprint to lead up to it, with sprinting being harder in the sand, and that sand at the base of the ramp creating a super slick environment for you to slip one as you have to accelerate most is a recipe for disaster and irresponsible.

There was also a monkey bar obstacle, a challenging obstacle for the vast majority of adults, was closed due to injuries by the time we got to it was placed over pavement. Why wouldn’t this one that the average person will fall from be placed on sand where falling would be less injurious? I don’t know.

These three things combine to make an event that is supposed to be enjoyable, less than so while being potentially dangerous. Id also add that it would be more enjoyable it while being marketed as “20+ obstacles” that there actually be 20+ different obstacles, not 10 obstacles repeated a couple times.

When I thought about writing this article, I didn’t intend for it to come off negative in any way, I just feel like there needs to be a safer, more responsible approach taken to these type of events to prevent a lot of the problems that arise from them. Here’s to hoping we have something similar to that in next years. If we do, I’ll be participating, but if not, I will be passing.

If you have any thoughts or feedback, feel free to post over on the Facebook link and leave a comment.

Leave a Reply