OBS TACLE COUR SE R ACING
GET OVER IT Mud, mates and mayhem are the main ingredients in obstacle course racing. Kath Hudson finds out more about where this new sport is headed
t’s an unseasonably cold, wet and windy
years has made OCR something to which
autumn day and I’m standing in the
everyone can aspire. Races are designed
corner of a cliff edge field in Poldark
to test participants mentally as well as
country, waiting for my children to
physically, and require them to work as a
come into view. My last glimpse was
team. Crawling, climbing, sliding, dropping,
Mud is an essential ingredient of obstacle
them shooting down a makeshift
swinging and jumping – all those things you
course racing events
tarpaulin slide into a chest-deep river and
loved doing as kid – are all part of the fun.
running off into the woods on the other side. Just as I’m getting anxious that they might
have fallen off the cliff, I see them climbing
The two big players in the market are
bracing themselves for electric shocks,
over a gate at the opposite end of the field.
Spartan and Tough Mudder: they both
participants can expect to do a limbo
Their team of six are soaked and muddy,
started around 10 years ago, have gnarly
competition or a Zumba class mid-race.
but wearing huge smiles as they run across
reputations and have become global brands
“We’re all about getting people off the
the field towards the next obstacle, which
with millions of participants. Tough Mudder
sofa to come and do something cool in a
involves scrambling under wire netting –
famously brings fire and electric shocks into
friendly, non-intimidating environment,”
through mud, naturally. A few minutes later
its challenges, plus other aspects that play
says Rocket Race director, David Baird, who
they’re collecting their Tuff Enuff t-shirts and
on human fears, such as heights and water.
is an enthusiast turned organiser.
medals and asking to do it all again.
It offers a wide range of races from the
“Lots of OCRs tick boxes for people’s
entry level 5km up to a 12 hour overnight
egos, but that’s not us. I like to bring in
out of long distance endurance racing.
challenge, but the eight to 10 mile lap, with
elements that make people laugh. We also
Only the mighty could ever hope to even
25 obstacles, is its classic race.
love people to come as a family. It’s really
Obstacle course racing (OCR) has grown
start an endurance race, let alone complete
At the other end of the spectrum is
important for parents to inspire kids to put
one, whereas the proliferation of events
Somerset-based Rocket Race, which aims to
down their Playstations, but also for kids to
that have sprung up over the last 10
be fun and non-intimidating. Rather than
inspire their parents to be active.”
ISSUE 1 2019