Obstacle course races have been all the rage as of late, often bringing people who weren’t interested in “road racing” into the running fold. These obstacle course races (OCRs) combine a running distance of 5k, 10k, or half marathon and a number of obstacles than can range from sliding under electrified wires to climbing walls.
You’re probably asking yourself why anyone would pay money to do such a thing! 🙂 Well, I can tell you there are a lot of them! I have yet to commit to an OCR, and I’m not sure I will in the near future, but I know PLENTY of people who love them! The obstacles add yet another level of challenge to a traditional race, and they help to break up the distance.
Training for an OCR requires whole body training, not just miles on the road. You will see participants gearing up for the race in the weight room to make sure that on race day they can pull their weight (pun intended!). From this perspective, I think that OCRs are great for cross-training and keeping the “whole” body in shape. As runners, we often neglect our upper body strength, which can definitely be detrimental.
The two most popular OCR races are the Spartan Race series and the Tough Mudder. The Tough Mudder series was founded by former British Special Forces member Will Dean. The first Tough Mudder was also held in May 2010, and it took place in Pennsylvania. The Tough Mudder races are incredibly challenging, but they focus more on teamwork. Many of the obstacles require working as a team to be successful. The series donates a portion of their proceeds to wounded veterans (over 5 million dollars!).
The Spartan Race was created by ultrarunner and triathlete Joe DeSena. The first Spartan race was held in Vermont in 2010, and this series is more about the toughness of competition than being a “fun run.” The race requires some serious physical and mental toughness– something with which DeSena is VERY familiar! 🙂
The Spartan Race series recently started a brand new podcast called “Spartan Up!” In the podcast, Joe DeSena (CEO and co-founder of the Spartan Race series) will be interviewing experts and other thought leaders throughout the world about what it takes to be successful in all areas of life.
In exchange for sharing this information with you, I get to give away a FREE entry to a Spartan race in the U.S. (open heat). To enter, follow the instructions in the Giveaway Tools widget at the end of the post. You can also use the code SPARTANBLOGGER to get 10% off any race.
Among the guests interviewed on Spartan Up! podcast are an ultra marathoner, a former member of Seal Team Six, and Richard Branson. DeSena and his podcast will help you craft a blueprint for success, not just in Spartan racing, but in life in general. Click HERE for more information on the podcast.