chism of maso s ho t a e f s those w fer f d o n t a e s l r t n, e the Gaun he power walk xhaustio e r l e a u q ic n s Co ot gh phy qually t g throu d. in h s u geared e p ARMON by ty of mu n h e l ig BY ROB H p h d ir n e a h t s r d e fin list , a few b wetness For centuries, going all the way back to Koroibos, the winner of the first recorded Olympics of ancient Greece in 776 B.C., Earth’s best athletes have raced competitively on foot. The world still showcases its finest runners in the most competitive footraces at the Olympics every four years. But these days, obstacle course races, like this month’s Conquer the Gauntlet at POSTOAK Lodge and Retreat, give the ordinary Joe or Josephine a chance to show what they’re made of. Conquer the Gauntlet, based in Tulsa, has forged itself into the upper echelon of obstacle races by becoming one of the Obstacle Course Racing World Championship qualifying races. Yes, there’s a world championship of obstacle course racing. It’s that big nowadays. You’ve probably heard of Tough Mudder or the Spartan Race. They’re huge events every year. In fact, industry experts predict that the obstacle course racing industry will reach $1 billion in 2017 and rumor has it that the IOC (International Olympics Committee) is looking into creating an event that is based on races like Tulsa’s Conquer the Gauntlet.
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Co-founder Courtney Mainprize sees Conquer the Gauntlet, which began in 2012, as a “jam packed” version of a lot of the other obstacle races out there. “It really started as an idea of something we thought would be fun to run,” Mainprize says. “The options at the time were either run really far, like a half-marathon distance with 20 obstacles or a 5K which only gets 10 obstacles. We created a run we would have liked that is a short distance but with all the obstacles.” The course set out for the Conquer the Gauntlet race at POSTOAK Lodge and Retreat is 4.11 miles, has 28 obstacles and an average run time of one hour and 32 minutes. Why did Mainprize and her husband, Stephen, and his brother, David, start Conquer the Gauntlet? “It’s unique and it’s fun,” she says. “It’s not something you can do every weekend. You can always go see a movie. You can have some friends