Obstacle Course Racing
If you are an avid fitness enthusiast, love the outdoors, the challenge of trying something new and you don’t mind getting dirty along the way, then obstacle course racing could be just what you are looking for! Generally speaking, these obstacle courses are not for the faint hearted, with many of the courses being similar to those used in military training. The obstacles used are designed to test your strength, speed, endurance and dexterity as well as your mental clarity, determination and gumption!
Obstacles have been incorporated in athletic challenges for thousands of years, going back to the old Olympics. However this modern use of varying and challenging obstacles in an endurance race is believed to have started in 1987 with the first Tough Guy obstacle race.
With new annual races being created worldwide, all of which incorporate different challenges that cater for a variety of different fitness levels, you are bound to find something that appeals to you. One thing all obstacle course have in common is the purpose of pushing each participant to their physical and mental limits. Some of the extreme obstacle courses include a variety of challenges such as climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, extreme temperatures, high heights, mud, water, fire, ropes, barbed wire, 10,000 volts of electricity and even being chased by zombies or reapers!
There are many different obstacle course races to choose from, here are 4 of the most popular that are run across the UK, Europe and Australia.
The Warrior Dash
This 3+ mile mud filled race is a great one for a beginner in these strength and endurance challenges because you are able to skip any sections that you deem too challenging (until next time!) and you still receive your medal for finishing. These races are run in North America, Mexico and in Europe.
Tough Mudder incorporates a series of challenges designed to test you both physically and mentally. Though these obstacles vary depending on the location, there are several challenges you are likely to encounter which include butter slicked monkey bars, ice filled water, low hanging live electrical wires and half pipes filled with grease and loads of mud. These races can be found in several locations in Australia, America and Europe.
There are 3 different races run under the Spartan banner which vary in length and intensity. Spartan Sprint runs over 3 miles, the Super Spartan runs over 8 miles and the Spartan Beast runs over a grueling 12 miles. It incorporates fire, barbed wire and even gladiators that will try to knock you down with their sticks. These races are run across world with numerous events held in Europe and the UK.
The Tough Guy
This race, as the name suggests, is one of the toughest and most grueling collection of obstacles, set in a course that runs for about 4 hours. The intense challenges including extreme temperatures, treetop rope course, mud, water, barbed wire, fire and all the other obstacles you might expect to see plus more. Run in the UK, this is the original obstacle course race!
With many different types of obstacles that will challenge any athlete both physically and mentally, training for an obstacle course race may differ from conventional fitness training. Running is a key element in any race and races often range between half an hour to 5 hours (some even longer!). So being used to maintaining a high heart rate is important in order to endure the whole race, the use of equipment such as a weighted jump rope, will help train for this challenge. Another key element of all obstacle course racing is full body strength, to overcome all the obstacles that are designed to challenge all areas of physical fitness. So total-body exercises (such as burpees) are needed to increase endurance and overall strength.
If you haven’t tried an obstacle course race before and this sounds like something you could tackle (literally in some cases), then get your fitness buddies together and prepare yourselves for a fitness experience that you won’t be forgetting any time soon!
Why not join in with the Obstacle Course Racing conversation in our 66fit LinkedIn group? You can also find us on Facebook as 66fit Australia, 66fit UK and 66fit Deutschland along with Twitter and G+. Come and meet us in person at the NEC Birmingham for either Leisure Industry Week (LIW), 22nd and 23rd September 2015, Stand No: Hall 4/C29 or the Occupational Therapy Show on the 25th and 26th November 2015.