Top Obstacle Course Races to Try in 2015

by Thomas A. Nastasi

It’s been a little over a year since I last wrote an article for Sunwarrior. Since then, the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR) has exploded in popularity. Everyone knows someone who has competed in an OCR because anyone who’s competed in an OCR won’t stop talking about it! I have completed over fifty OCRs over the past four years myself. I still love it more than any other sport I have ever participated in. It’s more than a race; it’s an experience. Do you want to truly challenge yourself to push your mental and physical limits? OCRs do just that. It’s an atmosphere you cannot recreate. The sense of accomplishment when you cross the finish line justifies all the pain it took to get there. I personally feel that anyone can finish an OCR. I have seen people of all shapes, sizes, and ages participating. Obviously, a person in great shape will have an easier time doing so, but simply crossing the starting line is the first step to getting to your goal. Try one of these nationwide races listed below for an experience you will nevernastasi_spartan_race_obstacle_course_ocr_climb_ropes_girl_litle_daughter_pic forget.

Reebok Spartan Race

This OCR is the best in the business with challenging courses setup throughout the nation each week. The races range on distance depending on the venue and category of race: Sprint (3+ miles, 15 obstacles), Super (8+ miles, 20 obstacles), or Beast (12+ miles, 25 obstacles). Spartan Races are typically held on mountainous terrain, but they also have a Stadium Series. Stadium Series races take place in professional ballparks across the country. It’s hard to find a close competitor when it comes to an OCR. They do a great job putting on a memorable event. I have completed over twenty Spartan races in my four years of racing. My four year old daughter competed in the kid’s race last year and cannot stop talking about it. This is my personal favorite race series.

Battlefrog Race Series

The Battlefrog Race Series has become very popular quickly. BattleFrog is an obstacle race series designed by Navy SEALs, conquered by YOU! They have courses for the whole family, as well as a family friendly festival area that everyone will enjoy. They offer a 15k, 5k, 1 mile, and 400 meter course. The course is a combination of a timed race for serious athletes, as well as standard heats, meant to encourage teamwork and foster the spirit of cooperation among participants. I completed a Battlefrog race last year and was thoroughly impressed. It was a challenging course with extremely innovative obstacles. I can’t wait to do this one again. I’m told the kid’s race is unbelievable. My daughter will verify that when she tries it in June.thomas_nastasi_run_mud_race_obstacle_electric_wires_shock_water_pic

Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder is one of the biggest names in the OCR world. Many people have heard of this company because they were the biggest name early on. Per the Tough Mudder website, “Tough Mudder is a team-oriented 10–12 mile (18–20 km) obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit. Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finisher rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge that allows participants to experience exhilarating, yet safe, world-class obstacles they won't find anywhere else.” I have participated in this race three times. It’s a good one to do with friends to help push each other to the finish.

Rugged Maniac

Per Rugged Maniac, “How about a day filled with 25 epic obstacles, a crazy party, and plenty of beer? Rugged Maniac Obstacle Race has you covered! Here’s how it works: Sign up for the race and you’ll run our 3-mile course where you’ll climb towers of shipping containers, rocket down a 50’ water slide, bounce on trampolines, jump over fire, and more!” I’ve completed this race twice. It was a quick race with pretty easy obstacles. The gigantic water slide at the end is the true prize. That slide makes it all worth it. Check this one out!

Warrior Dash

warrior_dash_thomas_nastasi_race_run_finish_line_run_picWarrior Dash is a fun race. The course is between 3–4 miles with 12 obstacles. This is the sort of race people wear costumes to—it’s a fun time. This race is untimed. Top 25 finishers in the competitive wave gain entry to a more serious world championship race. This is the perfect husband and wife OCR race. I ran this with my wife and she had a great time, but she has officially retired from OCRs. She’s glad she tried one, but one was enough for her. This is a really cool race to do with friends and stay for some good music and beers afterwards.

Remember, with the right attitude you can accomplish anything!


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