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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

I

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

FAMILY FUN

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.”

44

ISSUE 1 2019

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