Chances are you have seen a picture of a friend or family member on Facebook covered in mud and grinning from ear to ear at the finish line of an obstacle course race. And they are not alone; obstacle course racing is a booming industry in the running and adventure world and, according
to experts, is expected
reach $1 billion and draw as many as 4 million participants worldwide annually. Sure, for the average roadrunner, taking time out of your carefully curated training plan to go roll around in the mud might seem absurd; however, I disagree. So let me present you with five reasons why you should join those 4 million participants and sign up for an obstacle
1. Test Your Fitness
Despite what you may think obstacle course racing or "OCR" is more than just a weekend warrior muddy 5K with beer at the finish line. Unlike traditional road or trail races, obstacle course races require far more than the ability to simply run. In an obstacle course race you may face challenges such as traversing monkey bars, climbing a rope, crawling under barbed wire or even carrying heavy objects. Obstacle course races require endurance
, full body strength and agility to successfully make it to the finish. Running strength alone will not be enough for a strong race.
2. Leave Your Comfo
Dark tunnels, deep water, heights, mud and electric shock are just some of the possibilities you may face at an obstacle course race. At a Spartan Race, participants must jump over rows of blistering, flaming logs. At a Tough Mudder, you may be challenged to crawl through small, confined, dark tunnels. Though some races are tamer and more focused on fun, others are significantly more difficult and unforgiving. All obstacle course races will likely bring challenges you may have never expected or faced before. The feeling you experience when you face and successfully tackle one of these fears is absolutely priceless.
Unlike the solidarity of traditional running, working with and relying on others is almost always necessary at some point during an obstacle course race. For example, the majority of athletes will need a boost from a friend or fellow racer to scale a giant wall or climb out of a deep mud pit. Having friends or family members by your side to help push you as well as being there to
support others can be an incredible bonding experience.
4. Get Dirty
For once you are not actively trying to avoid the mud; instead, you are told to go through it. Not only does traversing an obstacle course race while you are soaked with mud add a level o
f difficulty to your run, but it is downright fun. Admit it; your inner child com
es out when y
ou can splash in giant mud puddles!
5. Have Fun
It is easy to become bored with the monotony of day-to-day training. An obstacle course race is a c
hance to break free from your normal fitness training and let loose from the stressors of everyday life. While some obstacles you encounter will likely be a challenge, many others are simply fun and thrilling.
Obstacle course racing brings a challenging, yet enjoyable, test of physical and mental strength to both beginner and experienced athletes alike. Whether you are looking for a chance to step outside of your co
mfort zone or simply an opportunity to let loose and have fun with friends, an obstacle course race is certain to be an unforgettable experience.