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Introduction to Obstacle Course Racing

You may have heard about a growing phenomenon called Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). The big two OCR event organisations are Tough Mudder and Spartan Race. In early 2013, I took my eldest kids to Wonthaggi to participate in Spartan Kids – a tamer version of the monster adult course.

Spartan Race have four race distances, from the 7 km Sprint to the 42 km Ultra-Beast; you’ll race against the clock as you climb ropes, throw spears, crawl under barbed wire, cross balance beams, jump fire and traverse walls individually or as part of a team. At the end, you’ll face the Spartan Gladiators – expect no mercy in the arena as you fight to the finish.

Thousands upon thousands of people pay good money to participate in these incredibly gruelling events. We turned up and began the trek down to the starting arena full of super fit athletes, beefed up gym junkies, groups of mates, work groups and fit mums and dads; all eager to take on the challenge of the adult course.

Maddison and Cooper were very much looking forward to the Spartan Kids race (a shorter modified course for kids aged 3-8). When their time came they flew out over the hay bales on the promise of a good mud soaking, but returned 6 minutes later with hardly a smear of dirt on them! They got their Spartan Kids medal, but were a bit upset that the event didn’t live up to their expectations. To the credit of the organisers they admitted their mistake of underestimating the ability of the kids to complete the course so easily, and offered free entry and T-Shirts to the next race in October 2013.

Being an accountant and lover of all things free, I signed them up for the next race. I figured it was a great thing to inspire and encourage kids to get fit and healthy. Unfortunately I was emailed a tempter code by the Spartan organisers – a discounted price should the parent decide to sign up. I thought about all the bruises, scratches, blood and mud I saw on the competitors who crossed the finish-line. I thought how absolutely impossible it was for me to even think about doing the 14 km Spartan Super Course.

In the end I signed up and am now preparing myself to live up to the challenge. Stay tuned if you want to know more…

You may also join my team “299 – One Less Spartan” as a Spartan Super Melbourne 2013 participant.

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