Spartan Race Socal Trends

Spartan SOCAL 15 Year Report
Spartan SOCAL 15 Year Report

This analysis, conducted by Obstacle Racing Media, provides a comprehensive review of participant trends in Spartan Race events across Southern California from 2011 to 2024, excluding 2021 due to pandemic-related disruptions. These events generally inaugurate the Spartan Race calendar each year, traditionally held in late January. While there are additional races scheduled in the region during the Fall season, those will be addressed in later articles.

The focus is on finisher counts from the Spartan Sprint, Sprint, and Beast distance events, providing insights into the region’s obstacle course racing industry’s development. It does not include Spartan Trail or Hurricane Heats. There has yet to be an ULTRA distance at this location and time of year.

The data below reflects actual finisher counts, individuals who completed the course, as opposed to registered participants. This distinction is important for understanding the true engagement within the OCR community. While there are instances of non-finishers (DNF), analysis indicates that such numbers are minimal and do not significantly affect overall trends. For a broader perspective on engagement, it’s estimated that registrations can be inferred by increasing finisher counts by 17%, accounting for no-show participants.

The data presented below outlines the participation trends in this region, segmented by date and venue location:

Participation Data Overview

  • February 26, 2011: Vail Lake – This was the 5th ever OCR put on by the company and had 1,248 finishers.
  • January 28, 2012: Vail Lake – The event significantly jumped to 4,249 finishers, reflecting growing interest in OCR.
  • January 26, 2013: Vail Lake – Finisher count rose to 5,904, indicating continued growth.
  • January 24-25, 2014: Vail Lake – A notable surge to 12,599 finishers over 2 days marked a new peak in participation.
  • January 17-18 and 24-25, 2015: Vail Lake – Rising registration levels in the area led to the scheduling of consecutive weekend events. The combined total for both weekends was 16,436
  • January 30-31, 2016: Vail Lake – The event returns to a singular 2-day weekend and 12,969 finishers.
  • January 28-29, 2017: Lake Elsinore – There were 13,744 finishers.
  • January 27-28, 2018: Prado – This year has the peak number of 14,033 finishers.
  • January 26-27, 2019: Prado – There were 13,219 finishers.
  • January 25- 26, 2020: Prado – The year recorded 12,262 finishers, shortly before the pandemic’s onset. It would be one of only 5 Spartan Races held in 2020.
  • 2021: No event was held due to pandemic-related restrictions in Southern California.
  • January 29-30, 2022: Glen Helen – The event resumed with 6,839 finishers, indicating a cautious return to OCR events.
  • January 28-29 2023: Glen Helen – The number of participants decreased to 4,873. A delayed announcement of the venue might have contributed to this lower turnout.
  • January 27-28 2024: Perris – The most recent data shows a rebound to 8,604 finishers suggesting a resurgence in interest.

This analysis provides the audience with a factual representation of Spartan Race participation trends in the region over the past 15 years. The data highlights the event’s initial rapid growth, the impact of the pandemic on participation rates, and the recent signs of recovery in the OCR community.

As the industry continues to evolve, Obstacle Racing Media remains committed to delivering accurate and timely insights into the dynamics of OCR participation.

Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.
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