New Year, New Race Classes, New Medals – Spartan Race SoCAL shows us what’s in store for 2018

January ushered in a brand new start to the Obstacle Racing season and 2018 is shaping up to be very exciting! The first Spartan Race of the year was held on January 27-28 in Chino, CA. The Spartan SoCal Super/Sprint weekend brought new racing classes, finisher shirts, and medals.

The first big change this year is a revamped racing class called “age group,” which replaces last year’s competitive category. There are six categories for men and women that break down as follows:

14-17
18-24
25-29
30-39
40-49
50+

I like this idea as it feels like apples to apples. Age group also works similarly to the former competitive category for requirements (completing obstacles without assistance, etc.) and qualification into the World Championships. This link provides detailed information:  https://spartanrace.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115013084888

One more race change is in regards to the Ultra Beast. It will now be a stand-alone event and will not count towards your trifecta count.

Next up are the 2018 finisher shirts and medals. They rock! The shirts run pretty true to size and are made of tech material. The medals look great. I was really impressed with both.

Now, for the obstacles. Surprisingly, there were no new obstacles at the SoCal Spartan. There were some good old standbys that are staples in the Spartan races such as the Herc Hoist, Dunk Wall, Rope Climb, etc. There were also some of the newer ones such as Olympus, Twister (with the terrible foam pads on the bars….no one likes those!), and Bender. The one missing obstacle was the monkey bars. I was a little sad as I really like that one. I asked around and a couple people mentioned they may be phasing it out this year. This is just second-hand information though, so time will tell.

Spartan hosted an open house on Friday night so I decided to go. It was the first one I’ve attended. It was a good opportunity to work on obstacles and talk with SGX Coaches. I’ve been trying to get past the rig but haven’t been able to yet, so that is where I headed. The rope climb was on the way and I saw a couple of gals staring at the rope. I stopped and one of them asked if I could show her how to climb it. I taught her the J Hook and she went right up. She was impressive. I showed another gal and she got part of the way up and was getting the hang of it pretty well. It was fun to see the excitement on their faces! I was really curious if they got it the next day in the race. I bet they did!

I practiced the rig and did pretty well. I felt excited to try the next day and see how far I could go. The sun started setting, so I knew it was time to head out and rest up for the main event the next day.

Saturday arrived and it was time to start the SoCal Super! The start line had the standard wall you climb over to get to the corral.  I got into position. Aroo, Aroo, Aroo…and we were off!

The first few obstacles were the over walls, O-U-T (over, under, through), the hurdles, and the 6′ and 7′ walls. It was nice to get some of the walls done and see what else awaited. The first barbed wire crawl was next. There were two in this race and the second one was a doozie. I like to roll and I came away with tons of barbs in my clothes. They were an obstacle all their own for the rest of the race.

We had the Yokohama tire flip and Olympus, but the Herc Hoist was the obstacle where I noticed the biggest difference…biggest meaning, weighing a LOT! They were definitely heavier. There were six other women around me at the time and none were able to hoist it on their own. I helped a couple and then continued on. The bucket brigade had pre-filled buckets with lids, which made it nice. No filling or dumping at the end. They didn’t feel too heavy and it made it efficient. Plus, you could tip them a bit and don’t have to worry about the gravel falling out. I got to the Spear Man and it stuck…YES!

The Z wall looked different as it didn’t have a middle, but it felt the same for the most part. It did seem a little trickier getting around the corner before the bell, but not too bad.

When the race was over I decided to walk around the venue and cheer some of the racers on. When I got back to the dunk wall I spotted two movie cameras and a small group of people. I realized it was Joe De Sena! This was the first time I’ve seen him at the races so it was very exciting…the man who started it all!

I talked with a man who was with the group and he said they were doing a documentary on a 60’ish-year-old man who was trying to get into better shape for health reasons and Spartan was his inspiration.

The man’s 80+-year-old father was there too. I wanted to get a picture but didn’t want to interrupt. The man said I should go ahead and get closer and take a shot. I told him, “only if Joe doesn’t make me carry a big rock if he spots me!” We both laughed. I wish I had more detail on the interview but I’m sure it will be available soon so keep an eye out on the Spartan page.

Sunday brought warm temperatures for the Sprint. It was 70 degrees at the start line at 8:30 am. It was a nice change of pace from the cold and wet that has been dominating Seattle for the past several weeks.

I got about a quarter into the race and ran into the gal I raced with last year at Lake Elsinore…Karen! Out of all of the people racing that day, what were the odds of running into each other? We raced the rest of it together and caught up. We had so much fun. I love that about Spartan races, it’s such an amazing community and you almost always see someone you know while you are there.

Two days of fun in the sun, seeing old and new friends, and getting just a little further on the Multi-Rig, which I am going to conquer this year gosh darn it!! It was a terrific weekend and a great start to an exciting racing season!

Spartan fun facts:

  1. Serena Williams opted for a Spartan Race instead of tennis this weekend. Check out this clip of her having fun on the hurdles:  https://www.instagram.com/p/BeiesAvhWn4/
  2. The SoCal Super was approximately 8 miles and had 27 obstacles
  3. You WILL find mud in your ears after a Spartan Race!

Photo credit: Kim Collings

 

 

TOUGH MUDDER LAUNCHES NEW 5K EVENT SERIES

 

5K to Turn Running Into a Team Sport – Provides ‘Taste of Tough’ by Featuring 10 World-Class Obstacles on Course

 

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK (February 8, 2018) – Tough Mudder, Inc. the leading global sports, active lifestyle, and media brand, announced today it will debut its newest event series, Tough Mudder 5K at more than 25 event weekends in 2018. The company’s expansion into the 5K distance is designed to meet the growing demand of people who are attracted to mud runs as well as to serve as an entry point to obstacle challenges. Tickets are available for purchase online at ToughMudder.com for as low as $49.

In response to overwhelming demand, Tough Mudder is also launching 5K events globally in 2018 in more than five countries including Germany, Canada, The United Kingdom, Philippines, Oman, the United States, and more. This 3.1-mile event will provide a fun, easily accessible yet rewarding challenge. Requiring minimal to no training, the 5K will feature 10 famous Tough Mudder obstacles, excluding the more extreme elements, like ice and electricity found in Tough Mudder’s signature 10-mile event.

“Tough Mudder is setting the new standard of excellence in 5K events. So many runners and outdoor enthusiasts are not being challenged or excited by ordinary fun runs, 5K/10K races, and half marathons. The Tough Mudder 5K provides a taste of tough – taking your 5K experience to the next level – all while providing empowering moments after completing obstacles and helping fellow weekend warriors,” said Will Dean, CEO & Co-founder, Tough Mudder, Inc. “With the 5K, we can welcome even more Mudders into the global Tough Mudder tribe – from people who have never tried an event and want a flavor of our infamous camaraderie to well-seasoned Mudders who would like to try new obstacles and bring friends.”

 

Participants of all fitness levels will tackle iconic obstacles such as Everest 2.0, a slick quarter pipe more than 15 feet tall; Mud Mile, 10+ deep pits of mounded mud; Berlin Walls, a wall more than nine feet tall; and Happy Ending, a 25 feet tall slippery slide guaranteed to make you. Happy Ending is also the physical embodiment of the organization’s 2018 yearlong “Tougher Together” brand platform.

Dedicated to the development of new products and entry points that enable millions of people to be part of Mudder Nation, Tough Mudder 5k demonstrates the company’s commitment towards innovation and dedication to providing an array of unique event offerings for current and potential members of the fast-growing active lifestyle and endurance sports communities.

The new 5K events are on sale now and include a finisher beer, 5K headband, 5K performance finisher t-shirt and event photography. Participants will also have free access to Mudder Village – a festival environment packed with vendors and music. Ticket prices will go up closer to the event date, so those interested are encouraged to buy early. For the full schedule of events, visit toughmudder.com/events/what-is-tough-mudder-5k.

With more than 3 million participants to date across five continents, Tough Mudder has a range of accessible yet rewarding challenges, such as the Tough Mudder 5K, the Tough Mudder Half (five-mile event excluding fire, ice, and electricity), and Tough Mudder Full. For participants who complete more than one of the previously listed events, they will be recognized through the company’s rewards program and will receive a free orange kettlebell collectible, and an exclusive t-shirt.

This year, Tough Mudder, Inc. and its licensees will host an unprecedented 150+ events across nearly a dozen countries, such as the United States, The United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Canada and two new countries, South Africa, Philippines, welcoming participants worldwide into a global community that lives courage, personal accomplishment, teamwork and fun.

For more information on the Tough Mudder 5K, or to purchase tickets, visit toughmudder.com/events/what-is-tough-mudder-5k.

TM5K 2018 Events Calendar
 

Arizona [SUNDAY ONLY]

March 25

**Missouri [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

August 11 & 12

Sacramento [SATURDAY ONLY]

March 24

**Wisconsin [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

September 8 & 9

Miami [SATURDAY ONLY]

April 7

**Pittsburgh [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

September 8 & 9

Central Texas [SUNDAY ONLY]

May 6

Toronto [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

September 15 & 16

**Philly [SUNDAY ONLY]

May 20

**Nashville [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

September 15 &16

**Kentucky [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

June 2 & 3

**Seattle [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

September 22 & 23

**Michigan [SUNDAY ONLY]

June 3

1st MR Central North event, struggling traffic

Dallas Ft. Worth [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

September 29 & 30

**Boston [SUNDAY ONLY]

June 24

New event & TMB 1st opening

Tri-State [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

October 6 & 7

**Twin Cities [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

July 14 & 15

NorCal [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

October 6 & 7

**Long Island [SUNDAY ONLY]

July 22

Bigger event & in MR

Central Florida [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

October 13 & 14

**Western NY [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

August 4 & 5

**Atlanta [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

October 20 &  21

New WTM location

**Hudson Valley [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

August 18 & 19

New event and in 2 MRs

Las Vegas [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

October 20 & 21

**Chicago [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

August 25 & 26

One of our biggest markets

Houston [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

11/3

SoCal [SATURDAY + SUNDAY]

November 3 & 4

About Tough Mudder, Inc.:

Founded in 2010 with the launch of the Tough Mudder obstacle course event series, Tough Mudder Inc. has become a leading global sports, active lifestyle and media brand. With more than 3 million participants, the company hosts more than 130 non-competitive (Mini Mudder; Tough Mudder 5K, Tough Mudder Half, and Tough Mudder Full) and competitive (Tougher, Toughest, Tough Mudder X and World’s Toughest Mudder) events annually in 11 countries including China, Dubai, Indonesia, and Australia through its partnerships with IMG, Seroja and Sports Media and Entertainment 360 (SME360). The company’s content arm provides the more than millions of engaged online brand enthusiasts with fitness, nutrition, and wellness content delivered daily across social and digital platforms. Tough Mudder broadcast, OTT and Live Stream programming can be seen worldwide through partnerships with CBS Sports, Facebook, Sky Sports, The CW Network and ESPN Media Distribution. Other sponsorship and distribution partners include Merrell, Amazon, KILL CLIFF, Jeep, Aflac, Guinness, Vega, Samsung, Olympus, Lucozade Sport, Nexcare, For Goodness Shakes, Bosch, TREK, Head & Shoulders, L’Oreal Men Expert, Käserei Loose, Snapchat and Live Stream.

PR Contacts:
Angela Alfano  (703) 447-5629 Angela.Alfano@ToughMudder.com
Ethan Metelenis (917) 882-9038 Ethan.Metelenis@ToughMudder.com

2018 Abominable Snow Race

Adaptation.

The ability to overcome on the fly using the skills you have developed. Some would argue this is the single biggest quality that successful obstacle course racers possess. Maybe you have mastered the ability to adapt to obstacles presented to you during the warm weather races, or maybe you’re still fine-tuning them.

Well, let me throw a monkey wrench into your comfy regime. How about we add freezing temps into the mix, maybe some ice or snow, or maybe even a mixture of them all with some mud thrown in. You love mud right? The kind where you rinse off from a hose at the end of an event while sipping your finishers beer in 80-degree sunshine? Well, this isn’t the same shit.

Winter OCR is here to stay and it’s getting bigger and tougher than ever before. Winter is no longer the offseason for OCR with events popping up all over the country. I had a chance to race in the third annual Abominable Snow Race held last weekend with a few thousand other racers from all over the country at the majestic Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva Wisconsin and I can tell you Winter OCR is here to stay. Held on the grounds of a ski resort you kind of had an idea of what to expect, but ASR chief Bill Wolfe went out of his way to make this race one people would talk about for a while.

Yeti Nation

With morning temps hovering just above freezing my family and I pulled into the Grand Geneva bright and early for packet pickup and were directed to a parking space in a lot right next to the registration tent. Thank you once again, Bill Wolfe for the VIP treatment!

I found most racers were parked in a lot a short distance away and could either walk or take a quick shuttle bus to the registration tents. Now, there were only two stations were athletes could check in making the process somewhat slow, but ASR did provide warm trailers nearby as a changing area which more than made up for the cold wait.

After getting yourself geared up and ready you entered the resort lodge, bathrooms were to your right and food and drink were upstairs. This was your final chance to warm up before leaving the lodge and entering Yeti Nation. The iconic voice of Coach Pain was the first thing you heard upon leaving the lodge, and as you stepped foot on the snow the cold smacked you right in the face as your gaze fell upon the tallest ski slope Grand Geneva had to offer. Food, merchandise, and drink tents surrounded you along with info tents from local races including Frontline, Dirt Runner, and Highlander Assault.

An Epic Adventure

ASR offered 3 different heat choices along with a little Yeti course for the younger racers. The regular Elite and Open classes were offered along with a special Hero Heat for military and first responders. The Open class course offered 22 obstacles along a 4.5-mile course while the Elite class/Hero Heat offered 25 obstacles over a 5.8-mile distance. The little Yeti course was not timed and wasn’t very difficult, but the kids really seemed to enjoy it and they got the same huge medal as the adults did! The main course itself started and ended right out in front of the main lodge offering great views for those brave enough to stay outside or watch from the warmth of the two-story lodge. ASR started off Elites first with the Hero Heat and Open class following. With Coach Pain pumping up athletes for the start I think we all had a feeling that this was going to be an epic adventure!

 

A Tale of Two Shoes

The very first thing I noticed upon starting was that all racers fell into one of two categories. It was basically the have or have nots and it came down to shoe selection. As we climbed up our first hill made of ice those with metal studded shoes moved right along while those without struggled mightily.

The course conditions remained this way throughout the race and served to thin out the crowd right away as we came to our first obstacle, a wooden wall climb named the Ice Breaker. The trail was wide enough for a vehicle during this short stretch of the race and offered the only real chance to pass as the path narrowed to one lane shortly thereafter, but not before an over/under/through obstacle.

An Inverted wall, which ASR called Cold Snap, was the last obstacle before the trail veered into the woods where the terrain turned into a single lane of muddy slush which was chock-full of rocks and tree roots making footing unbelievably slippery. This section of trail was appropriately named The Abominable Forest and lasted well over a mile. Nestled along one of the few clearings along the way ASR set up their Alaskan Oil Rigs, which ended being a type of ladder climb with the rungs set far apart and at a 45-degree angle made slick with all the tracked mud. After tapping the bell on top of the rig it was again off along the slick path and over more of the rocky hills leading to The Winter Weaver.  It was also during this section of the race where ASR threw in a triple set of hurdles and their slip wall.  These hurdles were cut into a diamond shape with a sharp point at the top making athletes regret stopping on top for very long.

 

Sled-Pull

There were a couple different ways ASR made some of their old obstacles tougher and the sled pull was one of these obstacles. In the past, the sleds were filled with snow or a sandbag and pulled along in a snow-covered circle. Now, the only real difficulty doing that was guiding the sled.

This year, ASR filled the men’s sleds with 3 sandbags and the women’s with 2 and the path this year was solid mud making the pull long and gut-wrenching. This also created a bit of a bottleneck due to racers stopping for breaks along the way. After finally getting rid of that damn sled it was back into the forest for more of the sloppy trail run leading to an uphill low crawl.

This wasn’t your normal low crawl either as the ground was made slick with ice, frozen mud, and decomposing leaves. There was no getting around becoming wet and cold after that crawl! Back on the trail now the switchbacks increased making many racers wonder just what direction they were really going. It was along this route ASR placed a 9-foot wall and their Cliff Hanger.

This was a Z type traverse wall with 2×4 pegs along with one section made up of 3 rope loops suspended from the top. The addition of the ropes was another example of ASR making their old obstacles tougher. This marked the halfway point of the course with more fun to come in the form of the Himalayan Climb up one of the snow covered hills with a cargo net climb on top.

Separating Open From Elite

The ride back down might have left you a bruise or two on your rear end as the snow was packed tight and the descent was steep causing many racers to use their backside as a sled. Athletes now followed the trail back out into the woods in a route designed to make racers loop back up one of the higher ski jump hills. ASR had used a giant Earthmover to make snow mounds to cross as a replacement for the normal mud mounds used during the summer.

Once at the top racers made their way down the back side of the slope stopping at one point to pick up a log for the Lumberjack carry. One final loop back into the woods and returning to the festival area was all that was now required. Sounds easy right?

Well not so much for the Elite and Hero Class as obstacle 18 came into view. A slingshot target was set up and a miss required burpees. However, that was for the Open Class only as Elites and Heroes skipped this obstacle and took off down an extended section of trail.

This extended version started off with a long ass low crawl as bungee cord was stretched across the one lane path for what seemed like miles. Then there was the bucket carry. ASR put their own spin on this by filling the buckets with water during the week and allowing them to freeze making them Ice buckets. An athlete certainly knew after the race if during the bucket carry they happened to bump one into their leg. And the length?? It was a long, long, long ass carry.  Many a strong racer could be seen making multiple stops along the way to regrip. The last extra obstacle along the extended route was a set of rising and descending monkey bars with a bell tap finish.

It was at this point where the extended course and main course joined back up as athletes made one last climb up the ski slope and grabbed an innertube for a fast-paced ride back down to the bottom. Now in the festival area, only two obstacles remained starting off with a set of low walls and ending up with a tip of the spear type wall traverse. Three slanted walls were set up side by side with ropes suspended from the tops of each as your only means of getting from one to the other. From there the finish line and that awesome bling was only a few meters away.

Final Thoughts

I found the 2018 version of the ASR to be not only longer and more challenging, but also much better managed. Things seemed to flow smoother and I left with a feeling of accomplishment. The racers I talked to post-race were in agreement that this year’s event far surpassed the previous year’s race.

The only real complaint I heard was that a few of the course marshals were not specific enough regarding obstacle completion during the Elite heat. But when dealing with volunteers you occasionally get these issues. Our sport is volunteer-dependent so it’s just one of the things you live with. My final thought on this event is if you think OCR is only a summer sport, think again and come on out to ASR next year!

 

2018 TOYOTA WARRIOR OCR SERIES

Attracting close to three thousand athletes, and a couple thousand onlookers, the 2018 season opener of the hugely popular obstacle course racing (OCR) series, the Toyota WARRIOR Series, powered by Reebok, was off to the perfect start this past weekend at Riversands Country Farm in Johannesburg.

The OCR Toyota WARRIOR series is designed for adventure seekers from all walks of life, and, with no barrier to entry, makes obstacle course racing (OCR) accessible to anyone with a pair of trainers, t-shirt, and shorts.

Course designer, Jono Hart, says Toyota WARRIOR 2018 will be the best year yet for OCR.

I build these courses to allow ordinary people to start somewhere and build themselves into who they want to be. None of the obstacles are easy but they are all manageable depending on your fitness level. Black Ops is an absolute monster. These men and women are at the top of their game.

With three categories on offer, Rookie, Commando, and Black Ops, the Toyota WARRIOR races have something for everyone who wishes to have fun and challenge themselves across world-class obstacles.

The Rookie

The Rookie, the shortest and easiest race, is all about fun and comradery – a wonderful opportunity to have real fun with your friends and colleagues. For those seeking a greater challenge, the Commando offers a greater test of physical and mental ability. The most difficult challenge is the Black Ops – the ultimate test of endurance, speed, strength, and agility.

Black Ops Elite

The main event of the day was Black Ops Elite. This tough course incorporates 35 obstacles over roughly 15 kilometers of trail. These athletes are either climbing, traversing, carrying or gripping from start to finish. It is intense and only the super-fit and trained make it to the end.

Winners

Winner and ranked 2nd in OCR South Africa, Thomas van Tonder (Jeep Team SA) won the men’s race; the Women 2017 Series winner and #1 ranked female in OCR, Trish Eksteen (AOT) won the women’s race. Trish Eksteen came 4th overall, an indication of her strength and speed in this sport.

In addition to the honors and the R10 000 prize purse, these two athletes each got to drive home in a WARRIOR-branded Toyota RAV4 – theirs to drive until the next event in Bloemfontein on the 17th of February.

Contenders

The men’s Black Ops Elite was initially a close fought race between South Africa’s top 3 OCR athletes, Bradley Claase, Thomas van Tonder, and 2017 series winner, Claude Eksteen.

The toughest obstacle in the race, Breaking Point, proved to be exactly this as it defeated Eksteen, who eventually finished 34th overall, and Van Tonder, a three-time Top 10-finisher at the OCR World Champs, calmly pulled off a superb win ahead of Claase in second and Jason Friedman in third.

 

Says van Tonder,

Today, level-headed strategy beat bullish endeavour, which would be my normal stance. I took a good breather before starting on Breaking Point and this was my saving grace. I ran my own race and it paid off.  I am absolutely blessed to take home the win in the first Toyota WARRIOR Race of 2018. I had to dig deep today, mentally, as it was a very tough race.

 

In the women’s race, 2017 series winner, Trish Eksteen, showed her racing prowess, taking the win ahead of Carla van Huyssteen in second and Nedene Cahill in third. What makes their achievement even more impressive is that the top 3 women all finished in the top 10 overall.

Another interesting fact is that both Van Huyssteen and Cahill have made their mark in other sporting disciplines. Van Huyssteen is an accomplished trail runner with many stage and ultra-trail podiums under her belt, and Cahill is an ex-MTB XCO SA and World Champion. The cream always rises to the top.

 

These women are really strong. Everyone forgets how hard these obstacles are and yet, year after year the women get stronger and stronger and get through the obstacles with more ease. Well done to Trish. She is an amazing athlete, and I hope I can learn a lot from her coming into the next few races, concludes van Huyssteen.

 

Race 2 of the 2018 Toyota WARRIOR Race, powered by Reebok, takes place on 17 February in Bloemfontein, Free State, and promises to be equally impressive.

 

Says Hennie Scheepers, co-owner of the Warrior Series and race organiser, This is the Free State’s first Toyota WARRIOR and we are super excited to meet new warriors. The Free State has always produced strong, sporty individuals, so we are really looking forward to seeing them in action.

Results – Toyota Warrior #1

Black Ops Elite

Men

  1. Thomas van Tonder 01:23:10
  2. Bradley Claase 01:24:45
  3. Jason Friedman 01:29:51

Women

  1. Trish Eksteen             01:31:01
  2. Carla van Huyssteen 01:34:01
  3. Nedene Cahill 01:34:55

 

Commando Elite

Men

  1. Kelvin van Wyk 00:50:29
  2. Conrad Herbst 00:53:02
  3. Calen Hastie 00:53:29

Women

  1. Sammy Nel 01:10:15
  2. Sam Ryder 01:12:24
  3. Tarryn Butler 01:13:16

 

Rookie Elite

Men

  1. Nick Oberholzer 00:36:45
  2. Simeon de Bruyn 00:37:03
  3. Jasper Mutsindikwa 00:37:16

Women

  1. Tumi Matlou 00:45:11
  2. Monique Els 00:46:15
  3. Megan van Tonder 00:49:15

 

Written and distributed by Hot Salsa Media on behalf of Advendurance.

Images and Enquiries to viv@hotsalsamedia.co.za

For the full results of Toyota Warrior #1, visit www.jumpertrax.com.

For more information or to enter, visit www.warrior.co.za.

Images and Enquiries to viv@hotsalsamedia.co.zaWritten and distributed by Hot Salsa Media on behalf of Advendurance.

 

Editors Notes

Toyota Warrior Race 2018 Dates:

Warrior 1                             27 – 28 January                  Riversands Farm, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Warrior 2                             17 February                        Bloemfontein, Free State

Warrior 3                             17 – 18 March                    Soweto, Gauteng

Warrior Namibia              24 March                             Midgard Country Estate, Windhoek, Namibia

Warrior 4                             14 – 15 April                        Cape Town, Western Cape

Warrior 5                             14 – 15 July                          Blythedale, KwaZulu-Natal

Warrior 6                             11 August                            Nelspruit, Mpumalanga

Warrior 7                             20 – 21 October                 Meerendal Wine Estate, Cape Town, Western Cape

Warrior 8                             24 – 25 November           Tierpoort Adventure Farm, Pretoria, Gauteng

 

Toyota WARRIOR, powered by Reebok, is back with mud and obstacles built to sustain and delight the thousands of athletes, large and small, tall and short, thin and large that are ready to challenge themselves having fun building better humans.

The event calls adventure seekers from all walks of life – whether a weekend WARRIOR or an elite athlete hoping to snatch up the series title. With a Rookie, Commando, and Black Ops category on offer, WARRIOR has something for everyone.
For the first time in the popular series, there will be an escape route for those who don’t find the idea of mud particularly appealing. Instead of diving into the infamous Mud Monster, participants will have the option of taking a penalty loop that will take them the same amount of time to complete. The ‘mudless’ option will not be made available to any Elite athletes, however. Adventure seekers looking for some extra high-speed excitement have the option of entering the popular Reebok Sprint Race. A specifically designed children’s obstacle course will be available for little adventurers, as well as a WARRIOR Kids Zone under the supervision of child-minders.

 

There are some exciting things in store at the 2018 TOYOTA WARRIOR SERIES, powered by Reebok:

  • You can choose your own batch start times again, so enter soon to choose the batch you prefer.
  • The theme for 2018 is Māori Warrior, so expect to see a lot of tattoos and funky designs
  • In 2018 the Mud Monster will not be compulsory, non-Elites can do a penalty loop and skip the mud
  • Sprint Race: we have changed the Sprint Race format to make it more exciting and involve more age categories.
  • Two one-day action-packed events added in Bloemfontein and Nelspruit
  • Warrior is going International! On 24 March 2018, we will be hosting a Toyota Warrior event in Windhoek, Namibia. Entries opening soon!

OCRWC Founder Launches a New Organization for Races and Athletes

Adrian Bijanada, whom you may remember as the man behind the OCR World Championships and its sister event the North American OCR Championships, has announced the start of an organization that will support the sport and its participants. The American Obstacle Course Racing Association is intended to be a democratic and transparent group that will offer members tangible benefits, such as race discounts, as well as support for the sport, such as scholarships and access to drug testing at smaller races.

AOCRA is not to be confused with any of the alphabet soup of organizations that have sprung up since OCR took off. Unlike USAOCR and IOSF, it is not intended to be a governing body. “We’re not telling people how deep to dig a ditch or how high to build a wall,” he explained. Rather, he hopes to pick up where the IORCU left off and address the needs of athletes and races to help the sport grow. Since the national and international governing bodies appear to be concentrating on adding OCR to the Olympics, there is plenty of work to be done to keep the sport growing in other ways.

Adrian has a good track record for seeing what OCR needs, setting up a framework and following through. He wants to get many people involved, and he hopes that the community will drive the priorities and the actions that AOCRA pursues. If the success of the OCRWC is anything to go by, this is an organization to watch. In the meantime, I’m proposing that we all pronounce it “A-Okra”, like the vegetable.

American Obstacle Course Association Launches

New York, NY (January 30, 2018) – Today saw the official launch of the American Obstacle Course Racing Association (AOCRA), a cooperative organization with the goal of developing and supporting the sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) and its participants within the United States.

The American Obstacle Course Racing Association (AOCRA) is a not-for-profit organization created by a group of companies, individuals, and supporters of the American obstacle course racing community. Through community engagement, its goal is to unite, support, and grow the sport of OCR while establishing a foundation built upon unity, transparency, and partnership.

AOCRA is a membership-based community which will issue athlete development and health care grants, expand anti-doping efforts and testing, support charitable initiatives, and offer an array of benefits for its members, including discounted entry to races, special offerings from AOCRA partners, training camps, and onsite perks at select events. Additionally, a national point series, results platform, and ranking system is planned for mid-2018.

Athlete Members will be asked to adhere to an Athlete Code of Conduct (ACC), which requires that members practice good sportsmanship, clean (drug-free) racing, and uphold a number of other organizational values.

At present, the following organizations have elected to participate in AOCRA:

North American OCR Championships
Green Beret Challenge
Indian Mud Run
Terrain Race
FIT Challenge
BoneFrog Challenge
City Challenge Race
Epic Series Obstacle Challenge
Blizzard Blast
Epic Hybrid Training
Yancy Camp

Governance of the organization will follow a decentralized model supported by race organization voting members as well as an athlete guidance board. To become a member or get involved visit: .

One Woman Overcomes Anxiety Through OCR Thanks to Instagram Contest

My story doesn’t have any shocking before and after pictures, but my transformation is just as real.

In 2016, out of nowhere, my sister asked me to do the Sun Peaks Spartan Sprint with her, without even considering it I told her “I can’t.” I had a long list of seemingly reasonable excuses; it’s too expensive, it’s too far to travel, I can’t run, etc., but the truth was, I was too scared and lacked all confidence to even sign up.

A month later at Thanksgiving she tells me that 2017 is going to be her “big year” she wants to be the healthiest she’s ever been, this happened to also be the year she turned 40, and instead of a loud girls weekend in Vegas like I was hoping for she tells me she’s doing Tough Mudder and getting her Spartan Trifecta … Shit! She’s my closest friend and we do everything together, no one else is going to do this alongside her and I sure as hell won’t be letting her celebrate “40 and fit” on her own, so now I had to put my own insecurities aside and support her … maybe she’ll forget?

Fast forward to Christmas, we both get Tough Mudder tickets, no big deal, right? Tough Mudder is just a long muddy fun run, no timing chips no pressure, I can do this!

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Here’s where my entire life changes – my cousin sends me a link for her friend’s Facebook/Instagram challenge group the “OCRGUYCHALLENGE.” (Editor’s Note: OCRGuyChallenge is done by one of ORM’s favorite contributors, Glenn Hole). January 1 is the start of the “10-day Ultra” Challenge, each participant is required to run 5km per day for 10 days. I get all psyched up and tell myself I hate running, therefore, I must run… I miss the first day! Alright, day 2 here we go, I get to the gym, I hop on the treadmill which I haven’t done in years and get going before I knew it, I had run 5K! It was awful and I tried to talk myself out of it more than once, but I finished. Day 3 – I had to make up for missing Day 1 still so I ended up doing 5K in the morning then another 5K on my lunch break, the thrill from these runs and the sense of accomplishment I felt still motivate me over a year later, I went from “I can’t run/I’m not a runner” to running 5K every day for 10 days. I was hooked, I followed everything the OCRGUY posted and all the members of the group, they were so incredibly inspiring and motivating and FIT. I felt silly posting my times, I was too embarrassed because it seemed like they were all elite athletes, but then I mustered up the courage and posted, and all I got was an outpouring of support and congrats, I felt like I was truly part of a community that cared.

Next came the “OCRApocalypse” challenge and the lovely 4 horsemen, this challenge had prizes! Second place was compression socks and I knew I was going to need those for Tough Mudder so I thought I would give it a go.  I did the challenge, the workouts were intense and completely foreign to me but I had a bunch of personal bests and ventured far out of my comfort zone which got me a  lot of weird looks at the gym. On the day of the prize draw I woke up and checked my phone, I was really excited about those compression socks! Sure enough, OCRGUYCHALLENGE had tagged me in the post! Then before I even read it panic sets in, my heart starts racing, I had completely forgotten about the first place prize, a ticket to X Warrior Challenge, what had I done?! I told myself, “there’s no way I could have won that prize, that prize would surely go to someone in better shape, an actual athlete!” I clicked the link and there it was “First place prize, Candice Llewellyn-McKnight!”

I put my phone down and tried not to throw up, now I’m thrown into one of the biggest panic attacks I have ever had, “I can’t do this. I’m not good enough. I’m too out of shape. What the heck is X Warrior Challenge?!” I put on a brave face and leave my obligatory “thanks so much” message on the Facebook feed and spend the next few hours trying to calm down.

Here’s where I tell you a bit about my past: I have spent the last 15 years battling a crippling anxiety disorder, I’ve tried different medications, read all the books and seen my fair share of counselors/therapists/psychiatrists. Over the years of re-training my way of thinking I discovered that exercise truly is the #1 medication for anxiety. I developed a pretty good routine. I would wake up at 4:30 am, head to the gym for my standard “3 reps of 12” workout and the occasional spin class then off to work. I loved this routine, it kept me “sane,” until now…

The thing with chronic anxiety is you live in a constant state of self-doubt, everyone is better than you at everything so there’s no point even trying. Why would I ever enter a race, I’m just going to embarrass myself! Well, now I had a race, and my sister wasn’t going to be there holding my hand and saying “it’s ok if we take it slow.” I had a ticket with my name on it, what was I going to do? I spent that day drafting my “thanks, but no thanks” email to the OCRGUY.

After some time I calmed my brain and thought rationally. Overcoming anxiety is about testing your limits, getting out of your comfort zone, and persevering. What better way to do that then to do this race? I told myself there are specialized gyms in the area, I had been to cor.fit with my sister before to check it out, I will just have to start going there more. I went online and registered for Sunday Bootcamp. I was so nervous that morning, I sat in my car in the parking lot convincing myself to get out and go to the class. I walked in the door and everywhere I looked were people completely shredded and climbing walls with holes in them using only sticks (pegboard).

Here comes the panic again, I note the nearest garbage can and check out the exit “I can’t do this, they’re all machines, this was a mistake” then it was time for class to begin, it was hard, one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever had, but in the end I couldn’t believe I had done it. I showed up to a class by myself, where we had to work as a team and I had to interact with these “people,” and as the class went on I realized that they were actually normal people and incredibly supportive at that! I kept apologizing for slowing my team down. I remember thinking “I thought I was in shape!” but I learned that day that yes, I was healthy but I was not in OCR shape! I went to a couple more classes and I remember getting to the top of the 12 foot inverted wall for the first time and having a full-blown panic attack. I was shaking and on the verge of crying; I took a deep breath and the coach talked me through how to swing my body around and lower myself to the ground. It was the most incredible feeling to overcome not only the attack but also the wall! This may sound cliché but it was this moment that I knew that by simply trying, I could do anything! That’s when I dropped “I can’t.”

In one of my first couple of boot camps, I remember standing, waiting for class to start and this girl walked in, it was obviously her first day, she looked like I did on my first day! I walked up and introduced myself to her and we’ve been workout buddies since. That day she signed up to run X Warrior with me! I had never met someone so spontaneous, she’s completely inspired me to take on new challenges with confidence. She’s encouraged, pushed, and supported me through every race this year. If I hadn’t shown up to those boot camps I would have missed out on this amazing friendship.

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Since getting involved with obstacle course racing I have learned so many things about myself and my capabilities that I would never have experienced had I have not won that challenge. At the starting line for X Warrior Challenge, squatting and listening to Coach Pain basically wash my anxiety away and replace it with sheer adrenaline and excitement literally brought me to tears. Not only was this happening but I was going to crush it! I ran the race, nailed the rope climb (which was another panic-inducing obstacle for me in training), then was faced with the X Dragon. That’s when I had my first face to face with my grit, I ran up and fell, I kept running up that first incline and sliding down on my forearms over and over, the volunteers tried to direct me to the burpee zone, but I was relentless. I ran at it again and made it up, once up there the panic set in, I was going to have to literally take a leap of faith and trust my body to grab the bar on the other side, and guess what? I did it!

The 2017 race season has completely transformed my way of thinking, to anyone who suffers from anxiety I can’t recommend Obstacle Course Racing enough, the sense of accomplishment once you overcome physical obstacles makes the mental obstacles that much more manageable. My anxiety is all but gone, I slew Tough Mudder and finished my Trifecta, and cannot wait to see how much stronger I am in the 2018 race season.

This is my thank you to the sport of obstacle course racing and the Alberta OCR community. OCRGUYCHALLENGE was the first to push me out of my comfort zone, X Warrior Challenge forced me to face my fears, and the amazing coaches at cor.fit have taught me my true strength by throwing me at obstacles with no time to over think about what I’m actually doing.

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