#MeToo Hits OCR

Ameer Haroun

Spartan 4-0 is a Facebook group for obstacle racing enthusiasts. With more than 16,500 at the time of this writing, it’s the largest OCR Facebook Group not officially run by Spartan Race HQ.

Like most groups of it’s kind, 4-0 is a place where people that love Spartan Races and OCR can find friends to train and race with. It’s also a great resource where people new to the sport can learn everything from what gear to buy, to which races are coming up in their area. It’s a true community, that has helped thousands of people stay connected and live healthier, stronger lives.

The group’s undisputed leader is Ameer Haroun, a married, father of 2, who is undoubtedly one of the main reasons the group has reached its current size. He has a large personality and is extremely active on social media. He boasts of 4-0 landing the coveted “Biggest Team Award” at countless races and waves the 4-0 banner figuratively and literally everywhere he can. Ameer (who’s last name is actually Krass) has been interviewed for multiple articles and podcasts to speak about 4-0 the many  things that the group has accomplished.  In a recent article Ameer was quoted as saying  “We win because we lift and support one another. Our goal is to continue to grow and inspire while still feeling like a close-knit community. We are excited to see our family grow, and the lives we will change along the way”

Earlier this year, Ameer was even invited by Facebook HQ to appear at their Facebook Communities Summit.

Ameer Haroun at Facebook Community Summit

However, we have been speaking with several men and women in the obstacle racing community who have a very different view of Ameer. Obstacle Racing Media has been speaking to sources since January of 2016 to shine a light on some very troubling accusations.

Many we spoke to were not willing to go public until now, and there are those still not willing to give their full names names for fear of reprisals.

Not many know that the Facebook group “Spartan 4-0” was actually started by two women in the Fall of 2015.  J Clark and Alicia (how they asked to be referred to for this story) created the Facebook group with a simple post in another group, Spartans Of The Northeast.

“I’m starting a 40+ Spartan/OCR men and women’s private group tonight, reply below so I can invite you”.

The group quickly gained traction and began adding hundreds of members. The two women were approached by Ameer shortly afterwards to work together to grow the group. When we reached out to the two, J Clark told us:  “I wanted to trademark the 4-0 name and was told that I would be sorry if I went off and did this on my own.”  Ameer wanted the three of us to go into business together and that is not something that we wanted to do. He pretty much bullied me out of that group. I did all of the work when starting it and then got pushed out. I am a 40 year old mother of two. I just didn’t need his bullshit and didn’t need to be bullied by an aggressor like him, so I left.”

“He started texting me and threatening me. I ended up blocking his number on my phone, and blocked him on FB and Instagram.  To be completely honest with you…I was scared for my family after all of this. I truly was. That’s why I am hesitant on talking.”
By 2017, it began to be known in some OCR circles that Ameer was using his role as Spartan 4-0 Administrator to consistently and aggressively reach out to women. Some began to share pictures that Ameer had sent them. However, if anyone shared these images in Spartan 4-0, the posts would immediately be deleted and the poster  kicked out the group. If any man or woman questioned why people were kicked out, they too, would be removed.
Two polarizing camps began to build. One camp calling out Ameer as a predator who cheats on his wife. The other defending his actions stating some version of  “These women were complicit, and he’s doing something many men, married or otherwise, do every single day”.
As we researched this story, we heard tale after tale of Ameer Haroun’s inappropriate behavior. Several women who joined Spartan 4-0 with the hopes of connecting to a positive and supportive OCR community, were met with direct messages from Ameer looking for more than friendship.
Our goal was to distinguish fact from rumor, and to get information direct from victims whenever possible.

A woman who did not want to be identified told us “He would ask me of photos of my nether regions. He would say no one would know. He’d also tell me how to take them so he’d get the best angle. After that, and after all the other women in 4-0 started talking about what he had done to them, I pretty much blocked him and left that Facebook group.”

Ameer Haroun Bathroom Pic

Another woman who began a flirtatious relationship with Ameer posted her story in a private facebook group and allowed us to share some of it.  Her communication with Ameer quickly grew from messages to phone calls. “He used to talk about all the things he wanted to do to me sexually, he would call me at work and tell me these things. He would then get mad when I wanted nothing to do with the conversations. He had offered on multiple occasions for me to fly out to New Jersey to see him. He told me to buy a package deal and he would pay me back for the hotel if I got myself out there. Once I learned he was doing this with so many other women, I called it off. I never want this to happen to another woman so long as I live. Coming from the abusive relationship I was in, he preyed on me in the worst possible time of my life.”

Another woman named Amy joined Spartan 4-0 after doing her first Spartan trifecta. Shortly thereafter, Ameer began wooing her through messages on Facebook. Ameer told Amy that he was separated from his wife and asked to meet for dinner. Amy admits now that she was naive. “I thought it was cool to be hanging out with the leader of the Spartan 4-0 group. Little did I know that he was sleeping around with other women in the group”

She continued, “After dinner, he drove me back to my house and insisted on walking me to the door. He saw all my Spartan stuff on the wall and let himself into my house. He picked up my Atlas ball put it down, turned around and attempted to kiss me. I asked him to leave. He called me two minutes from his car. He told me he had driven over an hour for the date and that we would just talk if I let him sleep over. I had to tell him no, repeatedly before he got off the phone. That man does not like taking no for an answer.”

We got another example from a woman who became friendly with Ameer and his wife in 2017. They completed a race together with a large group from Spartan 4-0. Shortly after the race, she told us that Ameer pulled her behind a wall.  “He started trying to make out with me. He was shoving his hand down my pants and putting my hand on his d**k, on the outside of his pants.”  She was in shock as this was happening and did not know what to do.  “Your wife is literally just around the corner and I ran the whole race with her!”

Then we heard the most disturbing story of all from a woman named Kerstin. She joined 4-0 in 2015 and was excited to part of a fitness community which supported her and allowed her to thrive in her new passion of OCR. Shortly after joining the group she was pursued by Ameer and was charmed. She agreed to meet Ameer at the Hilton in East Brunswick NJ off I-95 in November of 2015. She admittedly knew there would be some “fooling around”, but had no idea what would transpire.

Shortly after Ameer entered the room, it became physical right away. He brought wine and began forcibly kissing her. She tried to slow things down, but was not successful.  Ameer would drink from the bottle, then kiss her so the alcohol would go down her throat.

“He started getting aggressive and I said to stop, repeatedly. He then then slapped me in the face. He got a look on his face like this was going to happen no matter what and I knew I was in trouble. He grabbed the back of my head and aggressively forced his d**k in my mouth. I was crying and tried to push him back but he was smiling and loving it.”

Hilton New Brunswick New Jersey

”At that moment I laid on the bed and let him do whatever he wanted to. I just mentally checked out. I knew it was gonna happen and I couldn’t fight him, so I let him. I fell asleep and he woke me up and he did it again. Again I just laid there. This whole thing was only a few hours. Then we got dressed and left. He had a hoodie on and put his face down. He freaked out when he saw the cameras in the garage of the hotel.”

She told us that she posted her story in the 4-0 group in hopes of getting some help. Ameer would delete her posts as soon as they went up.  She told us “Ameer said to stop talking. He said he would donate to a charity if I would shut my mouth. He ended up donating $250 a few weeks later”.

In the last 3 years, many men in powerful positions in politics and entertainment have taken down because of the #MeToo movement.  The bravery of the women that have come forward, whom Time Magazine called The Silence Breakers, has forever changed our culture.

Like the woman in our story, they risked ridicule, shame and their privacy. Our hope is that more women will come forward if they have had experiences like this in the obstacle racing industry.

We are so grateful to the men and women who had the courage to tell us their stories. We hope that we can help facilitate some changes.

**Update 10.21.19 5:28pm EST. Obstacle Racing Media received the following from a Spartan Race spokesperson.

“The safety of our community is our number one priority. Spartan is taking these allegations very seriously and we are working with multiple parties to investigate further to ensure swift and appropriate action where available.  We pride ourselves on creating an open, welcoming environment for everyone and won’t stand for anything to the contrary.”

 

Terrain Race Cancels Another Event For Lack Of Permit

The Cool Events/Terrain Race scheduled for tomorrow in Kansas City has been cancelled. Racers learned of this when the packet-pickup taking place at The Adams’s Mark Hotel was shut down suddenly. Attendees were told “You will get an email with further details”.  Then, this sign was hung up at the hotel.

Terrain Kansas City Cancel

This afternoon, Obstacle Racing Media spoke with Linda Niendick, County Clerk of Lafayette County, Missouri. Mrs. Niendick told us that Cool Events never applied for the permits necessary to hold an event at that venue. She said  “We do all kinds of large and special events. We did not know about this particular event until yesterday morning.”

She went on to tell us “Ordinarily an organizer will contact us to find out about any planning or permits so we can look into zoning, permits, etc. We asked Linda what Cool Events reasoning was and her response was “They said they didn’t know they should.”

Back in July, Cool Events/Terrain Race, received some negative press for cancelling a venue a few days prior to the event. At that event, the the local town’s enforcement department told us they had “bent over backward” to help get this event off the ground. She mentioned Terrain had given them only 3 weeks notice of the event, and “the town had to work fast to get all of the paperwork approved”.

There was also some confusion about where this most recent Missouri event was to take place. The venue Terrain Race began setting up their equipment belonged to a local farmer. However, Cool Events/Terrain listed the physical address as 11618 Highway 24, Lexington,MO,64067. This is the address of Jamz Trucking, which is across the street from the farm. We spoke with someone from Jamz Trucking, who told us”We called Cool Events 6 months ago to remove our address from their website, but they never changed it”

Lucas Pfannenstiel, who is one of the organizers of KC OCR was very upset at the news. Lucas told us that KC OCR had about 200 racers signed up for this event. “I spoke with Brandon Adams from Terrain earlier in the week and he said they were “excited for KCOCR to be here and have our tent set up and that they couldn’t wait to meet us. Guess that won’t happen now. For a small race community we beg OCR companies to come and trust we can produce racers. We held up our end of the deal.”

Obstacle Racing Media has reached out to Cool Events president Bill Spata, as well as their head of PR, Caleb Bacon, but have not received a response.

Shortly before press time, Terrain posted the following:

Terrain Racers,

We’re very sorry to inform you that we have been forced to postpone this Saturday’s Terrain Race Kansas City at River View Farms. Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control we are unable to put on the event this Saturday and we will be communicating with you very shortly about the new date. Currently we are working with the venue and city officials on the new date. You can expect to hear from us by early next week.

In addition, today’s Packet Pickup has closed early.

We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and we look forward to bringing you a great event soon.

-The Terrain Race Crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LIVE FEED 2019

If you are looking for the OCR World Championships Feeds from outside London, England look no further.

Our team of dedicated OCR enthusiasts will be manning Facebook, Instagram, and Instagram Stories all weekend to bring you live feeds from the Obstacle Racing World Championships October 11-13, 2019

Use these Obstacle Racing Media links – Facebook LinkInstagram (and Instagram Stories)

You can also see the results as they occur here :

 

 

OCRWC 2019 Results

OCRWC 2019 World Championship Live Coverage Feeds

World Champs Live Feed 2019

 

Continuing coverage all weekend at the links above including:

  • Friday 3K OCR World Championship Race
  • Saturday 15K OCR World Championship Race
  • Sunday Team Race
  • The 100 meter short course all weekend!

OCR World Championships will also have it’s own social feeds to follow as well!

Some of the links that ORM uses are affiliate links. They help pay for our operations. However, all race and product reviews are independent, and our opinions are our own.

 

Toughest Mudder 2020 Locations

There are now 4 2020 Toughest Events available for registration for 2020.

Los Angeles – April 4/5

Philly – May 16/17

Midlands UK – June 13/14

Chicago – August 22/23

Las Vegas Toughest is happening on October 19 of this year. History tells us that we will get that event around a similar date next year. It would be announced shortly after this year’s event is over most likely.

Will they change any of the CONTENDER status? Will events be day time or night time? We will most likely find out at the 2019 WTM Brunch or shortly thereafter.

The Spartan OCR/CrossFit FaceOff 2019 Results

Hunter McIntyre LogWod

Today, the first ever OCR/Crossfit FaceOff took place in Squaw Valley, CA, where the Spartan Race World Championships are taking place. The idea was to have 4 OCR based athletes compete against 4 Crossfit athletes over the course of the day to determine individual and team winners. Check out our article from earlier this week which discussed the inception in more detail.

The first event of the day was the 13 mile, 30 obstacle Spartan Beast course. The Crossfit athletes left at 7:00am and the OCR athletes left 30 minutes later. All runners would be chip timed but there were points to be gained or lost by catching/being caught.

There were no surprises in this event as the OCR athletes made a clean sweep. Matt Kempson came in first, followed by Hunter and Isaiah. Jacob Heppner, Sean Sweeney, and Chandler Smith. All 3 OCR men caught and passed all 3 CrossFit men. Corinna Coffin was faster than Emma Chapman but was not able to catch Emma on the course.

Jacob Heppner posted on his IG shortly after the race “All I remember was I couldn’t breathe, swam in 40 degree water, didn’t fail a single obstacle, met some cool folks. And now I have the worse Fran cough of my life”

I asked Chandler Smith before the WODs began, if the Spartan Beast met his expectations. “It wasn’t as ridiculous as I thought since I have run some half marathons. But I failed 6 obstacles (which require 30 burpees per failed obstacle) so I have already done a lot of fitness today.

Chandler Smith Tahoe WOD

The first afternoon afternoon event was a WOD called “Throw Down”, which was 4 Rounds of the following:

– 12x RAM Thruster (55lbs/33lbs)
– 20m RAM Overhead Lunge
– 2x Deadball Over the shoulder (150lbs/100lbs)
– 2x Deadball Over the Wall
– jump over 4 ft wall and 6 foot wall.

The order of finishers was Hunter, Sweeney, Heppner, Vidal, Smith, Kempson for the men and Corinna over Emma for the women. Some additional video coverage of this workout can be found hereand here.

The 2nd WOD was called “Hells Hill” which was 4 rounds of performing 5 deadball – ground to overhead (100lbs/70lbs). Then running increasing distances up a hill with double sandbags (120lbs/80 lbs). First round was 25 meters up the hill, 2nd round – 50 meters, 3rd round – 75 meters, 4th round – 100 meters.

Isaiah was the winner of this event. Hunter finished in 2nd with Sweeney in 3rd and Matt Kempson hot on his heels. Chandler Smith did not finish this event as the temperatures were dropping and he was having issues with his hands.  Corinna beat Emma in this event as well.

Watch some Facebook Live coverage of this event.

Corinna Coffin Sandbags

The 3rd WOD was titled “The Lumberjack” which was a 400 meter run on a TruForm treadmill, followed by max log flips (4oolb/280lb) in a 6 minute workout. Deadlifts were originally scheduled, but were swapped out because of anticipated rain.

Jacob Heppner LogWod

Sean Sweeney won this event, followed by Hunter, Jacob, Isaiah, and Matt. Corinna again beat Emma in this event.  Some live coverage captured here.

The WODs were originally planned for a 4:00pm start but were moved to 1:00pm to attempt to get ahead of the weather. Unfortunately, organizers were forced to make the call to cancel a 4th WOD as lightning and snow moved in.

Final scores:

Hunter McIntyre – 18 points
Isaiah Vidal – 13 points
Sean Sweeney – 12 points
Matt Kempson – 9 points
Jacob Heppner – 8 points
Chandler Smith – DNF due to injury

Women
Corinna Coffin – 4 points
Emma Chapman – 1 point

By having more overall points, Team OCR beats Team Crossfit as well.

*All photos provided by Anthony Yepez

Update on The Tahoe OCR/Crossfit Event – It’s Called “The Faceoff”

Last week we learned of a new hybrid event that Spartan Race was presenting this weekend in Tahoe. We called it the OCR/Crossfit Tahoe Throwdown Challenge. It’s actual name is “The Faceoff presented by FitAid”, which also happens to be the name of one of my favorite Nicolas Cage movies.

Tahoe Face Off

We learned last week the premise: 4 Crossfit Athletes will face off against 4 OCR athletes over the course of an afternoon on Saturday, September 28, 2019.

Today, we learned more about how all of this will go down. David Magida and Yancy Culp have been tasked with creating the programming for the day. Yancy will also serve as head referee for the event, while David will handle host and MC duties.

They both emphasized that everything currently listed is flexible, as areas they may have space limitations on the day, and/or other factors.

Event #1 – The Championship Beast Course

• The 8 competitors compete against each other in the Saturday Beast.

• Chip timing will be used, but catching/being caught counts for extra points.

• CrossFit Athletes Will Start Race 30 Minutes Before Spartan Athletes.

Additional Spartan Beast Scoring/Penalty Rules

1. CrossFit Athletes will start with 30min advantage on Spartan Beast Course.

2. If Male CrossFit athletes are caught by any Spartan competitor, they will be penalized -1 point. This includes if they are caught by a female. This penalty can only be assessed once, per CrossFit Athlete.

3. If Male Spartan Athlete catches All 3 Male CrossFit Athletes, Spartan Athlete will receive +1 bonus point.

4. If Female CrossFit Athlete is caught by Female Spartan Athlete, they will be penalized -1pt, but no bonus point will be assessed.

5. Female Crossfit Athletes are only penalized if caught by another female

6. If Female CrossFit Athlete is not caught on course, she will receive +1 bonus point.

7. If an athlete is beat by more than 1 hour by any racer (on chip time), they lose an additional -1pt

8. Failure to complete Spartan Beast = Disqualification from competition.

WODs 

  • Approximate start time 2:00pm local time
  • Failure to complete any event will result in a -1 Point Penalty

Event #2: The Throw Down

4 Rounds

– 12x RAM Thruster (55lbs/33lbs)

– 20m RAM Overhead Lunge

– 2x Deadball Over the shoulder (150lbs/100lbs)

– 2x Deadball Over the Wall

– 4 ft wall

– 6 foot wall

– Run back and Repeat

Event #3: Hell’s Hill

4 Rounds

– 5x Deadball Ground to Overhead (GTO) 100lbs/70lbs

– Double Sandbag Carry – 60lbs/40lbs

*Carries (and Run To Sandbags) increase in distance each round- 25m, 50m, 75m, 100m

Spartan Faceoff Deadlift

Event #4: The Lumberjack

3 Rounds

–        30Deadlifts (-10x Each Round) – Men’s 225lbs, Women 155lbs

–        4x Log Flip – Men’s 400lbs, Women’s 280lbs

–        10x Log Jump Overs

Event #5: Spartan RAMpage

5 Rounds

– 16x Spartan RAM Burpee (-2x Each Round)

– Run and low crawl with Spartan RAM

– 2x Plate drag

Scoring System

Point Allocation Per Event: 

Mens:                              Womens:

Place Points Place Points
1st Place 5 points 1st Place 1 points
2nd Place 4 points 2nd Place 0 points
3rd Place 3 points
4th Place 2 points
5th Place 1 point
6th Place 0 points

There will be a male and female Champion plus a team award for who got the better of whom, with Crossfit versus OCR.

Watch Facebook Livestreams for this event here!

Deadlift photo by Armen Hammer.