Variety is one of the key components that make the OCR industry so unique and great. From races on the beaches of Florida, to 26 milers in the mountains of Vermont, to 3 mile Foamfests in the deserts of Arizona, to 400 meter long events in a parking lot in downtown San Diego. All of this variety is great, and we don’t want to change any of it in the process of introducing the sport to the world.
What the industry is missing is a format that is prime for spectators/digital media/television. Luckily, we don’t need nor should we want to televise everybody’s format or distances. We only need to televise what the greatest # of people will want to watch. Just ONE “ideal” format for television can be used to dramatically raise awareness of the industry as a whole. Every company that puts on quality events would greatly benefit from the sport being televised, even if it’s not their event or their format that’s being shown.
YOU’VE GOT TO KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING BEFORE YOU START MAKING PLANS OF HOW TO GET THERE
“THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE IS TO CREATE IT”
SO, WHERE ARE WE HEADING?? WHAT IS OUR ULTIMATE DESTINATION??
Q: Do we want to be part of the X-games, or labeled with other “extreme” sports? Compete among triathlons and Crossfit? Become one of the worlds Mega-sports? Or, just be our own small niche industry, and not worry about becoming a “sport”?
A: This is the new “peoples sport”. It will lead the greatest fitness/health revolution the world has ever seen. With a wide variety of events that appeal to beginners to the most hardcore among us. Obstacle racing/events put the “fun” back into fitness unlike any other sport/fitness fad in the industry. While many of the events are “extreme”, it would be a travesty to have the whole industry labeled as such.
WHAT DO “WE” WANT FROM TELEVISION/MEDIA
Q: Maximum # of spectators (OR) mediocre viewership? Spectator only (OR) turn spectators into doers? Few professional athletes (OR) dozens?
A: (1) You can always find 100,000 people that will watch anything. With good marketing you can get 1 million people to watch almost anything. But, with the right format this sport will appeal to 10’s of millions of viewers. Truth is, most of the world’s population have no idea that this industry even exists, and among those that do, most have a distorted perception of all that it has to offer. Unfortunately, much of the media attention on the industry focuses primarily on the most extreme parts of the most extreme events. For every person that this attracts, probably a dozen are turned off by it.
(2) In introducing the “industry” to the world, the primary focus is to appeal to the masses in a way that will entice them to become participants. While strength, skill, stamina and speed will be required to excel, it also needs to look so exciting and FUN that people just can’t resist the urge to search out an event for themselves. Then, over time, they will naturally gravitate toward the events that appeal to them the most, whether a local fun run, or the World’s Toughest Mudder.
(3) This should be one of the world’s mega-sport. Why only have a few professional athletes if you can have dozens? Under the right format, dozens of well paid professionals is a very real possibility, and will provide longevity to the sport, thus keeping it from suffering the effects of just being another fad.
WHAT DO “SPECTATORS” WANT TO WATCH
Q: Live (OR) edited? High (OR) low intensity? Fast (OR) slow paced? Head to head action (OR) spread out? Top 10 finish 30 minutes apart (OR) 3 minutes apart (OR) 30 seconds apart?
A: For ultimate success, spectators must be able to watch a race live both on television, and at the venue. The greatest number of spectators will want to watch a high intensity, fast paced, head to head action race where the top contenders finish within seconds of each other.
Q: Masses and elites run same course (OR) separate course for elites
A: To turn spectators into participants, people need to relate to what they watch. Ex: watch a race, do a race. It is of paramount importance that the course that is created for television appeals to the greatest # of people possible. We need the #1 reaction of those watching to be, “this looks like so much fun, I’ve just got to try it.” It is this introduction of the sport to the world that will dramatically raise awareness and interest in the industry that will be of benefit to every company that puts on quality events.
Q: Penalty for obstacle failure (OR) Mandatory completion (for “elite” racers)?
A: People love the “X” factor in sports. The obstacles must be mandatory, but people also love a comeback story, and second chances. Two tries and you’re out creates an ideal balance. Also, if the obstacles are mandatory, you don’t have to worry about officiating penalties.
Q: Fun (OR) fear (OR) skill (OR) strength obstacles?
A: We need a balance of all of these. This variety plays on all levels of people’s emotions, skills and strengths. Also, this is much of what makes Obstacle Racing so popular. Fun is #1. The last thing we want to do while making this “sport” professional and serious, is take the fun out of it.
Q: Course format: Spectator friendly (OR) obstacles spread out all over the countryside?
A: Obstacles must be centralized in one area. If you can’t see the whole race live from a seat in the stands, it’s going to lack the greatest potential for mass appeal. Also, this will greatly simplify the filming process and officiating.
Q: Race format: Team (OR) individual racing?
A: (1) Teams are easier to sponsor.
(2) Teams are more fun to watch.
(3) Teams promote longevity.
Individuals have bad days, individuals get sick, individuals get injured, and individuals get old and retire. This unpredictability has sponsors wary of the idea of sponsoring individuals, and increases the probability of the sport’s popularity to rise and decline with the coming and going of specific athletes. In team sports, if one person falters, the team can still perform well. Teams create dynamics, rivalries, drama, etc. that individual sports can rarely duplicate. This helps create spectator interest. All of this works together to help create an atmosphere for there to be dozens of professional athletes unlike the vast majority of individual sports that only have a few true professionals.
Q: Preliminaries to qualify for the “championship” race (OR) an open elite heat?
A: With preliminaries, everyone has the opportunity to qualify while simultaneously solving the problem of 300 people wanting to be in a 40 person race. This will also ensure that only the best racers get into the championship race. Also, having preliminaries in the morning, followed by the championship race in the evening will give time and content to build up the story to get the spectators excited for the championships.
A: Spectators want action packed, muscle pumping head to head action where the top finishers all finish within seconds of each other. To accommodate this the course is going to have to be short and intense. Football or similarly sized stadiums are ideal in that they are just large enough to fit all of the necessary obstacles to make a phenomenal course, they have the ideal infrastructure for spectators, athletes, filming capabilities, and venues are plentiful.
HOST EVENT FOR ALL ORGANIZATIONS
All organizations, teams, and sponsors must be welcome. Unbiased coverage for all organizations, athletes and sponsors that put together teams will be absolutely critical if ultimate success is to be achieved for the industry. United we stand, divided we fall.
SO, JUST WHAT MIGHT THIS “IDEAL” COURSE LOOK LIKE
Here is an example paper drawing of how a course might look.
It is 700 meters long and formatted to fit in a football stadium. It would take the top men approximately 7-8 minutes to finish, the top women 10-12 minutes, and your average person 15-25 minutes. These are the obstacles:
(1) Sandbag carry: Men would carry two sandbags down at their sides, and women would carry one, however they choose. This is the equalizer obstacle. Wearing out the men’s grips right at the beginning of the race would make the upcoming obstacles such as the monkey bars and traverse wall much more difficult, while still being able to make them doable for the women.
(2) Monkey bars
(3) Traverse wall
(4) Ball toss
(6) Rope/bungee maze
(7) 30’ barbed wire (made into lanes so you can’t roll through)
(8) 6’ wall
(9) Same as #7
(11) 40’ Tunnel crawl
(12) 8’ wall
(13) 30’ long barbed wire crawl with lanes and horizontally placed boards, in effect forcing you to do more of a low spider crawl.
(14) 9’ inverted wall
(15) Same as #13
(16) Prison Break: (same as Spartans Hobie Hop).
(17) Parallel bars
(18) Horizontally placed bars spaced 2’ apart from each other (vertically) and you have to go between them.
(19) 20’ high cargo net: This will play a little on peoples fear of heights, but the real cool thing about it will be that just to your right, you will be looking at a 24’ high slip’n slide that starts with a vertical drop.
(20) Slip’n slide
(21) Under water swim: thick ropes placed directly on the water 4’ apart, and you have to go under all of them.
(22) Balance beams:
(23) Tyrolean traverse
(24) Rope climb
(25) Quarter pipe wall
(26) 100 meter dash finish with 5-3’ hurdles placed in the middle.