Local Obstacle Course Racing events you should check out.
Let me start by asking if you have ever raced a local OCR event? Sure, most of us race the "big" brands like Spartan, Savage and Tough Mudder, but if you haven't checked out a local OCR, then, you my friend, are missing out, and let me tell you why. With a local OCR, you're typically going to see some obstacles you've never encountered before. Local events are a bit more innovative in their obstacles, so they tend to be a bit more challenging in that respect, whereas, a race like Spartan, you always know what obstacles you're going to see, so there's no surprises there and you can easily train specifically for each one.
Below, are a few that are worth adding to your race schedule if you haven't already.
I'll start with Frontline, because while this is a race I've ran over the years, I got the opportunity to be the Race Director for earlier this year, and will be again for next years race. While I have always liked the fact that Frontline is a race that honors our military and first responders, the race in general is awesome. While it is a race for everyone with open waves, endurance, competitive and even a sweet kids course, it has the ultimate challenge for Elite racers, because it requires you to go through the race while wearing a weighted vest, approximately 20lbs. It's a mandatory obstacle completion race, but instead of losing a band for not being able to complete an obstacle, you lose your vest. If you can make it through the entire race with 100% obstacle completion, you get to keep the vest. It has some pretty epic obstacles like a warped wall, a couple of different multi-rigs and it's become known for an obstacle I've built called Kraken. Plus, I'll be introducing some new obstacles at the 2022 race.
Next up is Highlander Assault. This is another race that has something for everyone. It offers 4 distances ranging from a 4 mile course all the way up to a 26.2 mile course...aka the King Arthur's Challenge. The venue is a perfect place for an OCR event because it features a lot of trails, technical terrain, creeks and even has a small lake, where they make good use of by having a water slide obstacle there. Because who doesn't like water slides, am I right? They debuted a really rad obstacle I built called Tilt-A-Kilt at their race and have several other great obstacles and even more new ones planned to come out in 2022. It's Scottish themed, so you'll see a lot of people come out in kilts and the festival area is always fun.
For all of you that get tired of running in the heat, then Abominable Snow Race needs to be on your radar. Obstacles in the snow make for a very unique challenge and it's a blast. Not to mention they have a pretty epic tube slide. You're going to want to make sure you're doing your hill training for this one, because you're going to be running up and down them all race long. They usually have two different distances to choose from ranging from around 4-8 miles.
If you like obstacles, but don't like the mud, then you'll really like Hartfit DOA event. While this is an EPIC OCR gym, they put on one heck of an event every year and they pretty much have every obstacle you can think of. If you've seen it in a big named race, chances are Hartfit has it and you'll do some crazy obstacle combos that include multiple grip obstacles in one go. People tell me I put together some difficult rigs, but trust me, I don't hold a candle to what Hartfit's owner, Ryan Hart does. Go follow his Instagram and you'll get a pretty good idea. And if you're near the Chicago area, this is the place that you would want to train.
Indian Mud Run. Talk about some gnarly terrain for this one. Steep cliffs, hills, and some of the most technical terrain I've ever seen on any course. There's a sign at the beginning of the race that says "This is gonna hurt." And it did and it was awesome. This is also a great race to help you prepare for OCRWC as it has several of the obstacles you'll see there.
Battle of the Lions and Battle OCR. While these two are events I've never personally got the chance to do yet, I know the guy in charge of building and designing the obstacles and course lay out, Sid Morris. And if he's involved then it's going to be a great race. He's one of the most innovative obstacle builders I have met so you're always going to see some very unique obstacles and they're going to be a challenge and probably make you suffer a little..or a lot. But that's what we're here for right?!
There you have it. I'll mention one last thing that I like about the local events. The race owners and organizers from these particular events, and I bet many others, are all about building the sport of OCR. They share each others events on their social channels, support each others events. come out and help during each others build weeks, and just all around good people. For more local events, check out OCR Buddy. It's an app that you can search for events by location, date and so much more.
Hope to see you guys out on the course and please share other local events that you love to help spread the word!