What Obstacle Course Race should I do first?
If you're new to the world of obstacle course racing, aka OCR, or you're thinking about signing up for your first OCR, here are a few things you may want to consider and know about different race brands.
There are many different companies that put on OCR events.A few of the well-known ones include Spartan Race, Savage Race and Tough Mudder, but there are many local OCR events all around the country. In fact, a few of my absolute favorite ones, such as Frontline, Highlander Assault and Abominable Snow Race are all within a couple of hours from where I live, near Chicago. Check your area for local OCR events and see if any are near you. But for now, I'll share some of the differences between them and what I think are the best ones for beginners.
First off, there will typically be competitive and non-competitive divisions. For your first race, I would recommend running non-competitive, also called the "open wave", to get a feel for how the race is, plus in the open waves, racers can help each other with obstacles. Get a group of friends to go with you and it's a really fun time. When you're registering for a race and you see divisions or waves that say "pro", "age group", or "elite", these are all competitive, so look for the wave that says "open".
As for the different race brands, I think Savage Race is an excellent race for your first OCR. In the Savage open division, this is a fun wave, meaning you run your own race. If you get to an obstacle and you fail it or just absolutely don't even want to try it, then you just walk right by it. Although, I always say try it, it's okay not to be able to do everything. A lot of these kind of things take practice and training, like anything else. Why do you think I sell obstacle grips and OCR training equipment? And what's even better, at Savage, you can try as many times as you'd like on the obstacles. I choose Savage over Spartan because unlike Savage, at a Spartan Race, you only get one attempt at obstacles and a failure results in either 30 burpees or a penalty loop. And while I don't have personal experiences from a Tough Mudder, I do know they are more team oriented and several of their obstacles require you to have help going through them, so they would be another good one to start with and in OCR there is ALWAYS someone willing to help you. That's one of the wonderful things about the obstacle course racing community. It is a group of some of the most supportive people I've ever met. So even if you sign up and are running alone, you're never really alone on the course. There will always be someone there to help boost you over a wall or grab your arm to help pull you up that slip wall.
I hope this encourages you to sign up for a race and remember just go out there, do the best that you can and have fun, because that's what it's all about.