Obstacle Course Racing: a newer industry rapidly expanding across the United States and world. In 2014, approximately 1.5 million people registered for 150 obstacle course racing events in the United States. What is obstacle course racing (OCR)? OCR races are ones in which there’s a combination of running, and obstacles to challenge you to your fullest potential. Each one is different in mileage & obstacles, but they all revolve around team work & pushing you to be your best.
Most recently, I have become a new OCR racer. No 1st or 2nd place ribbons or prize money, but to challenge myself at the next level. The two races I have completed have been fun, tiring, hot, bruised, and have worn me out to extreme muscle failure – but they have always been worth it.
Each race has different obstacles; they test your strength and endurance: climbing 12 ft walls (believe me, there was tons of help from friends & my boyfriend on this one), river crossings, hills, ladders, cargo nets, crawling under barbed wire, jumping over fire, carrying logs & buckets, and more!
What I love most about these races is that they’re team-oriented. Since I am new in this racing industry, I am still working on upper body strength, and endurance. But, lack of those things won’t stop you if you’re interested in one! Whether you sign up by yourself, or with a group of friends, others around you will help you climb over or under things, and push through each obstacle. They are usually muddy, and tough – but it’s so rewarding to cross the finish line. They generally take place in mountains, hills, state parks, ski resorts, corn fields, trails, or any other venue that will support the race. OCR races range from 3-13+ miles, with 20-40 obstacles, taking 30 minutes – 10 hours to complete.
If you’re interested in training for a race, you’ll definitely want to focus on strength & endurance conditioning – pull ups, burpees, pushups, planks, intervals, sprints, farmer’s carry, hills/ stairmaster, and trail running. Don’t let the extensiveness of the training get in your way, though – you will find yourself improving each race you conquer. Time doesn’t matter – finishing does.
Sign up for a race in your area – search: Obstacle Course Races, Spartan Races, Battlefrog (as most recently seen on ESPN!), Tough Mudder, or Warrior Dash races – I promise it will be the most fun, & muddy race you’ve ever done! Conquer your fears, overcome more than you think you can – it will be worth it! Every muscle will hurt the next day, you’ll find mud in places you didn’t know were possible – but they will be addictive (just think, it’s like a huge playground for adults!)!