Are you fit for the F.I.T. Challenge?

A short OCR course, based in New England. This OCR brainchild of Robb McCoy, brings its racers a non stop experience. With three words defining it, fortitude, integrity, toughness, F.I.T. Challenge tests physical capabilities on a multitude of levels. So are you fit enough for the F.I.T. Challenge? According to McCoy “Everyone is fit for the F.I.T. challenge.” His question is to what degree is your challenge? Covering distances and skill levels from multi lap survivor to mandatory obstacle completion, open waves and even coming out for a fun time as a team. “…there are so many challenges with in the one event you cant go wrong.”  Still unsure? Here’s a quick peak behind the curtain.


The Fall Fit Challenge VII was located in Cumberland, Rhode Island, a 3+ mile course stacked with 40 obstacles and a solid 1,100 feet of elevation gain. Needless to say, this is not your average 5K in the woods. Taking off, racers immediately hit their first climb. A direct shot up the mountain. What goes up, must come down, right? Lucky for us it goes back up too. After making the first descent we hit a back to back climbs over walls, vertical cargo nets, over-under-through combo walls, before the first of two carries, the log carry. A quick, but steep loop followed by hitting to more jumps and a floating inverted wall, before our next climb. Are-you-fit-for-the-F.I.T.-ChallengeAre-you-fit-for-the-F.I.T.-Challenge

This climb wasn’t as rough, but the obstacles that followed were stacked. Descent into a hoist, pulley curl, Double Ups, and a, choose at your own risk, Wreck-bag carry. If you were questioning your fatigue now F.I.T. presented you with the first Destroyer before going back into the trails. Where we faced a cargo net style monkey bar, back to back peg board and rope climb. Hitting an incline, army style crawl then a final steep rolling hill and climb.


Just when you think your out of the woods and in the clear, F.I.T. Challenge makes sure to get in some of its toughest obstacles. Over-Under Rig, walls, The Destroyer 2.0, 3-optioned Rig, Atlas Balls, and a slip wall, with a few walls and crawls sprinkled in between, before you were able to cross a finish line you know you earned.


So, are you fit for the F.I.T. Challenge?

Yes, your physical capabilities will be tested in many areas, pure brute strength, cardio endurance, lifting and carrying, along with speed and agility, if your racing it, but being super human is not a necessity. F.I.T. Challenge opens itself to catering to many different athletes, whether interested in an Elite, open, or Multi-lap Survivor option.


If your looking to have a challenging, but fun race, check out the open wave option. With ability to take your time and learn the obstacles, you’ll be able to build your confidence. Joe Crupi, founder of Team Panda Fit Camp SGX, says going out as a team is one of his favorite ways to take on a course “…It makes for an outstanding and fun experience, helping each other over walls, coaching each other through challenging obstacles like the rigs, and motivating each other to try our best and discovering abilities you never new you were capable of”.


“Signing up for the elite heat in F.I.T. challenge is definitely intimidating” – Sarah Kelly

Ready to fight for your band and take on the Elite course? If 3 plus miles of quick elevation climbs and 40 obstacles wasn’t tough enough, F.I.T. Challenge has a mandatory obstacle completion for its Elite wave. Upside is you get to give that Multi-Rig another shot if need be. Female Elite, Sarah Kelly’s advice is to be confident. “It’s a small and stacked group…but it’s a great way to see what your made of and how hard you can push yourself, since it’s such a brutal course.”


Now if Open and Elite waves don’t quite feed your appetite, F.I.T. Challenge offers you the Multi-lap Survivor wave. Giving you a solid 5 hours to get in as many laps as possible, with a mandatory last lap start before the final noon wave takes off. Get three or more laps in and earn yourself a handmade block to show off your toughness. Taking on a multi lap course, competitively, takes a bit more grit and mental preparedness then the others. As competitive multi-lapper and elite racer Antoni Favata would say its “an entirely different animal.” Aside from training, he stresses the necessity of having fun in order to keep a good and competitive mental state on the course. His advice is to “…get familiar with pacing. Train time on feet!” and to toss out the “cookie-cut 60 minute workout window”.

Whether Open wave, Elite racing, or Multi-lap Surviving, or having fun, the best way to see if your fit for the F.I.T. Challenge is to cross the start line.


What can you do with your 1,000 finishers?

altas-race-logoAtlas Race have gone under. Again. Superhero Scramble couldn’t make it work for them, Ruckus took their show on the road and it drove them out of business. Battlefrog just reformatted their entire race experience in an effort to attract more people and stay in business themselves. They aren’t the only stories either – Foam Fest, Hero Rush, Extreme Nation and more.

Ace – Superhero CEO himself – once went on record with the vast amount of money his race costs to put on every weekend. Six figures, and up – each and every weekend – will get you a race comparable to the Spartan Race experience in many ways.

Except, not in the most important way – athlete attendance.

See, when you put on an event, regardless of how much flash or pomp you have, how much money your backers have, how much you spend on social media marketing and how many employees you have, if people don’t show up and spend money … you go out of business.

We seem to have reached a rough – entirely unscientifically studied – going by my gut-feel average of about 1,000 people willing to go to a race – be that a national, traveling event, or a local OCR. Some races with history in an area can do more of course (Savage Race for example) – but as a general benchmark, 1,000 people seems to be it.

Can you survive as an OCR business with 1,000 people?

Local OCRs are doing it.

Local OCRs like Wason Pond Pounder in New Hampshire can. They just had 989 finishers, a certain Junyong Pak won first place with cash on the line, and they had enough money to donate everything they made back to local charities. FIT Challenge – in their third year – regularly has successful 1,000 to 1,500 attendance events, donates money back to charity and can still afford to come back a couple of times a year. I hear of local events in other regions doing the same thing – making it work with 1,000 people.

 Why can a local OCR pull 1,000 people and be a success, when a traveling road show would consider the same numbers a total failure? They spend considerably more on marketing, so surely they should expect more attendees? They’ve got a bigger brand, more presence on social media, sponsored athletes, bigger prizes, bigger obstacles – with names! Surely that should add up to at least a significant uptick in attendance?

Except, it doesn’t appear to be that way at all.

10603552_666698620096929_6171903817587809113_nWason Pond Pounder’s marketing budget bought them some flyers.
FIT Challenge drop under $1k on flyers and Facebook ads for an event.

I’m fairly certain – but have no proof – that Battlefrog, Atlas, Superhero Scramble and co spend more than that.

Why is this not working out for them?

I believe it’s a combination of things. I’m no marketing expert. I don’t work in marketing professionally, but I have slept in a Holiday Inn.

They’re simply doing it wrong, and don’t seem to be prepared to admit it. If you followed the Atlas message, they told you how bad ass they were. How extreme. Battlefrog are at it too – they promote their elites, and the athletes who do multiple laps of their Xtreme challenge. They tell you stories of their biggest and toughest obstacles – with photographs shot by amazing photographers of the elite athletes in sports bra’s or shirtless.

11351375_666697980096993_3114513093996936763_nWason Pond Pounder? A couple of cell phone photos of the construction. FITChallenge? Photos of the owner’s kids


But they clearly have different target markets! Local, low budget OCRs are only pulling in the weekenders – the casual participant. Big budget traveling road shows are focusing exclusively on the enthusiast and elite market!

Except Wason Pond Pounder did such a good job, they pulled in two time worlds toughest mudder. He wasn’t there for the prize money ($100), nor the incredibly challenging obstacles (they were family friendly). He was (I assume) there for the fun.



How much fun can the average joe or jane have, staring down huge walls or 1/4 pipes, with scary names, or hang upside down from rope ladders over freezing cold, muddy water – or carrying heavy heavy loads for long periods of time?

They don’t. Thats not fun for them, so they stay home and run a 5k on the road – or go to a local OCR where everything is accessible and fun.

Thats not to say these events don’t bring out the enthusiast crowd either – FIT Challenge routinely gets 200, 300 members of the New England Spahtens – a community of enthusiasts. Wason Pond Pounder setup a special desk just for participants of the #racelocal Grand Prix to make the process of registering for multiple laps easier and quicker – some people did the course five times – each lap putting money back into the charitable donation the race directors donated.

 So, what is the point I’m trying to make here?

Local “easy” OCRs pull in the same numbers as the challengers for Spartan’s crown, yet they do it with a fraction of the cost. They don’t market themselves as brutal slog tests, full of military scary stuff, and they don’t make you feel like you have to be one of the fastest runners in the world to toe the start line.

They invite you and your family to enjoy a fun time – and assuming they nail the details and deliver on those promises, people come back time and time again.

And thats not something that anyone involved with Atlas can offer any longer.