BATTLEFROG CAROLINAS

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Once again, I am grateful for the opportunity to be working with such a wonderful company. This group of Navy SEALs are no ordinary people, and true to their nature they are not willing to settle for second best. Already, with only two events under their belts, they are on par with companies such as Reebok Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. Actually, with the SEAL demonstration, helicopter rides, and the way they handled the mixup in the elite race, I’d say they went a step above.
I’ll explain: As is often the case with 9 mile courses such as this where you have to mark nearly every foot to keep people on the trail, somehow, someway, somebody went through a section of the course, moved the markers out of their way, and failed to put them back. The error was caught too late to get everyone back on track, and the top 7 runners ended out skipping part of the course. For the first time in OCR history as far as I know, BattleFrog owned up to this completely and ended out paying full prize money to the top 3 finishers of the shortened course, and to the top 3 competitors who made it through the entire course.
COURSE:
Once again, BattleFrog had a great course. Big obstacles, fun obstacles, challenging obstacles, they brought us up the largest hills, and through a beautiful river section. Even though it was 9 miles, the constant variety kept it exciting throughout.
It was a challenging course, and we were flirting with 100 degree weather. It was a recipe for disaster, but water stations were plentiful and they utilized nearly every water pit there was on the property, enabling everyone to survive the day.
FESTIVAL:
Have I mentioned the Navy SEAL demonstration? It’s a show you don’t want to miss. Along with what you typically get at an OCR event, there were also plenty of tables and chairs set up under large tents so you could relax out of the sun, and two bounce houses to keep the kids entertained.

Like I said though, BattleFrog is not going to settle for second best. There were a lot of little issues that they are determined to solve. They don’t take them lightly, and want to make BattleFrog the greatest OCR experience you have ever had. I am confident that we will find a way to make the next event in West Virginia the best one yet. I hope to see you all there.

On a personal note, I decided to run with a camera and take pictures along the way instead of “racing” through the course like I usually do. It was fun taking the time to watch so many of you work your way through the course.
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THE ULTIMATE SUCCESS OF A SPORT IS DETERMINED BY ITS SPECTATORS

Spectator Friendly Obstacle Course Format

(1)
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.

Spectator Friendly Obstacle Course Format

Spectator Friendly Obstacle Course Format


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

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“THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE IS TO CREATE IT”

(2)
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.

(3)
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.

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(4)
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.
Q: Distance?
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.

(5)
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.

(6)
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:

Football Stadium Obstacle Racing Course

Football Stadium Obstacle Racing Course


(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
(5) Over-unders
(6) Rope/bungee maze
(7) 30’ barbed wire (made into lanes so you can’t roll through)
(8) 6’ wall
(9) Same as #7
(10) 7’wall
(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.

SPARTAN GLADIATORS

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Well, since no one else is willing to tell it how it is, and considering all the confusion behind the subject, I guess I might as well tell it how I see it.

- The gladiators were not removed from the races because of the elite athletes, or because of Spartans desire to adhere to Olympic standards. Nor does this have anything to do with Reebok. Reebok has in no way tried to influence these kinds of decisions.
- This, plain and simple has to do with insurance and potential lawsuits. A high percentage of injuries happen at the gladiator pit. Spartans insurance company has finally caught onto this and are either threatening to raise insurance rates, or refusing to insure them altogether. Also, it creates potential lawsuits because if you get injured by the gladiators, you could sue saying that it was Spartans fault. If you fall off of a wall and break an ankle, Spartan can prove that the wall was safe, and thus the injury your fault. If a gladiator knocks you down and you break an ankle, whose fault is it?? That is not something an insurance company wants to deal with.
- Now, fortunately for Spartan, it is true that we will not be seeing Gladiators at the finish line of an Olympic event, so their story sounds plausible. I would be tempted to sell you the same story if I were in their position. But, personally, I like to know the truth even if it is an inconvenient one.
- If this were about wanting to conform to Olympic standards, then you can also expect to see these changes at a Reebok Spartan Race near you very soon:

- SANDBAG CARRY: they all have to weigh the same. Maybe initially Spartans “pancakes” do, but it doesn’t take long before they spring leaks, or take on water, making the weights of many of them different. I can assure you, one person carrying a 35 lb. sandbag and another person having to carry a 40lb. sandbag is not something you will ever see in the Olympics. Spartan will either have to invest in new sandbags that won’t leak or take on water, or they will have to remove this obstacle altogether.
- BUCKET BRIGADE: same as Sandbag Carry. Even if you fill it up to the line, they won’t necessarily weigh the same. Expect to see pre-filled and weighed buckets, or expect that obstacle to disappear.
- LOG HOP: you can say goodbye to any variety. Every lane will have to be exactly the same. Each log will have to be the exact same diameter, exact same distance between logs, and exact same height differentials. We can’t have one person getting harder or easier lanes than someone else.
- TRAVERSE WALL: every block will have to be identically placed on each wall, instead of each wall being randomly different from the others.
- BARBED WIRE CRAWL: that’s right, expect your precious barbs to disappear.
We may all sign a death waiver saying that we are fine with going into a barbed wire crawl right behind someone with a blood-borne disease, but don’t expect to see that kind of attitude in the Olympics.
- TIRE FLIP: unless Spartan wants to invest in a couple dozen tires that are all shaped and weigh exactly the same, you can say goodbye to that obstacle. No more of this ridiculousness of one person having to flip a 300 lb. tire while the guy next to him has to flip a 350 lb. one. People make a big deal of a race that was won and lost by less than 1/10th of a second due to the gladiators, but how many races have been won and lost at unfair obstacles such as the tire flip.
- FIRE JUMP: there’s a slim chance that you might be able to keep this one, but I wouldn’t count on it. If the gladiators aren’t “athletic” in nature, then the fire jump certainly isn’t.
- TIRE DRAG: same as tire flip, except they will also have to grade the ground to make sure that all of the tires are dragging with the same resistance. Professional athletes and an Olympic committee aren’t going to put up with one athlete having to do more work than another on the same obstacle.
- TYROLEAN TRAVERSE: the tautness of every rope will have to be exactly the same. It might seem like a non-issue to you, but in the Olympics it will matter. Spartan will have to find a way to standardize this, or else you can expect to see it disappear.
- THE GAMBLE: in the Olympics, obstacles where you succeed or fail based on dumb luck will not be a part of the equation. That obstacle will have to go.

- And then of course there are things such as sabotaged obstacles. That’s right, Cody Moat, winner of the 2012 Spartan World Championships was most likely cheated out of thousands of dollars. In 2013′s race, he was in the lead at the Tarzan swing. The lane he chose, unbeknownst to him, had intentionally been sabotaged by Spartan. One of the ropes had been wrapped around the beam making it nearly impossible to reach. This caused Cody to fail that obstacle, and lose his lead. Burpees at that point in the race exasperated cramping, and he never recovered. Things such as this absolutely will not be tolerated in the Olympics.

-Truth be told, I would like to see a lot of these changes, and due to insurance reasons, you will inevitably see a few of them anyway, but it will definitely change the atmosphere of the events. There will be one great tragedy though. Much of what Spartan was truly founded on was that life is supposed to be difficult, things are not supposed to go your way, learn to “expect the unexpected”, LIFE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE FAIR. And when you come to realize these great “inconvenient” truths, what kind of person are you going to prove to be? Are you going to cry and go home, or are you going to rise to the challenge and be your best regardless? In the Olympics fairness will be a priority, and some of these marvelous life lessons will be lost in the name of “professionalism”. Spartans races of course will continue to be difficult, but making all obstacles equal, will take away from the rawness, the primitive, the “real”ness of the events. It almost invokes the attitude of “everyone’s a winner”. It will be sad to see our untamed sport become tame.

…………OR……….. Maybe there is a way to make this a win win for everyone.
What if Spartan left all of their current events alone, allowing them to stay wild, primal, and free, and created an “Olympic Series” designed just for the Olympics. A true professional, standardized format. A television worthy format; after all, the Olympics are all about television. Then, professional athletes could take the “sport” seriously, Spartan could continue to push for the Olympics, while at the same time, staying true to so much of what makes them great.
Everybody wins. :)

- Of course, there is one stipulation for this to work. Spartan will have to become a team player. As much as they would like to see “Reebok Spartan Race” in the Olympics, that simply will never happen. It will have to be Obstacle Racing, and the different organizations are going to have to learn to get along. TEAMWORK. After all, teamwork is much of what makes these events so great for the participants. Even the organizations constantly praise it’s virtues with pre-race speeches encouraging people to “leave no man behind”…. The hypocrisy is so in your face, that it could drive a person crazy. Work together they say, help each other out they say, no man left behind they say, but at the end of the day, the large organizations refuse to even acknowledge each other’s existence, let alone show any willingness to work together for the betterment of the industry.

- Well, if this industry is going to thrive in the long run, things are going to have to change. Without a “professional sport” side to the industry, it is destined to only be a fad that will eventually fade in popularity. But for this sport to ever be considered professional, and for it to even have the potential to reach the Olympics some day, someone is going to have to create a format that is spectator friendly, and the event HAS TO BE UNBIASED in its coverage of all athletes, organizations, and sponsors.
Spartan could do this, but only if they are willing to change their attitude toward other organizations. If not, someone else will, and they will become the leaders in the sport. Time will tell……

Reebok Spartan World Championships

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Reebok Spartan Race World Championships

I don’t know what to say, I still can’t believe I won!!
My legs want to say thank you to Norm Koch, my bank account wants to say thank you to Reebok Spartan Race, my heart wants to say thank you to everyone, and my brain is still in denial that I actually won.
I’ve always had a preference for the shorter more obstacle intense races, and as the the calendar inched closer and closer to September, I had to make a decision; was I going to train for Vermont, or keep doing what I was doing? I decided to stick with what I enjoyed the most.
After Virginia, to be honest, I was a little burnt out, and trying to fight off an injury. But an even bigger issue was that the challenge was given to Norm Koch to not let anyone finish the Vermont Beast under 4 hours. I had failed to win the two previous years in Vermont primarily due to my lack of endurance training, and now they were promising that it would take an entire hour longer to finish this year. I completely lost any glimmer of hope that I had had of winning. The 4 weeks between Virginia and Vermont were not pleasant. Not only did I lack the motivation to train, but I also couldn’t train properly because of my injury. I was contemplating not even bothering to show up, but then Spartan announced that in order to qualify for the season points system winnings, attendance in Vermont was mandatory.
In the end I decided that I needed to conserve every ounce of energy I could for the race just to keep from crashing. So, I slept in as long as I possibly could, and after picking up my packet, I lied down with my legs elevated until I had to go to the starting line. At the starting line, David Magida was gracious enough to let me use his shoulder as a headrest since the ground was wet, and I didn’t want to lay down in it. My warmup would just have to be the beginning of the race.
Once the race started, my mindset was “how fast would I be going right now if I were 3 hours into the race?”, and then I wouldn’t let myself go any faster than that. So, for those first few steep climbs, I made myself walk. It was difficult to watch those in front of me slowly pull away, knowing that I could keep up with them if I wanted to, but I had to do what I had to do.
……. Now, although I had contemplated not coming, and certainly wasn’t looking forward to the “race”, there is one thing that I like even more than winning, and that’s the atmosphere of the events. People are so passionate and excited to be part of obstacle racing and nowhere is that more evident than at the Vermont Beast. We really are one big happy family…. Crazy no doubt, but happy. So, I decided I was going to have FUN regardless of how the race unfolded……..
At the sandbag carry, as I was heading up the hill, Cody Moat came flying down it in the lead, shortly followed by Matt Novakovich. I was genuinely happy for them, and completely confident that they would finish first and second. They are both very committed and talented athletes that excel at long distance mountain running. They deserved to win more than I did.
My watch beeped and without hesitating, I set down my sandbag, and took the time to refuel myself. I wasn’t about to risk getting dehydrated or running out of calories before the race ended.
Shortly after the sandbag carry, I heard that I was nearly 8 minutes behind the leaders. By this point, I had become completely content with the fact that by the end of the race that 8 minutes would probably be 15, and I’d be lucky to finish in the top 10. It didn’t matter, I was having a genuinely good time running my pace and enjoying the moment. Then, in what seemed to be just a short moment, everything changed. People started to struggle with obstacles. Hercules hoist, barbed wire crawls, spear throw, rope climbs, swims, Tarzan swing…. The next thing I knew, I went from a distant 10th place to Hunter McIntyre and I in first and second. For the first time in the race, the thought popped into my head that I actually had a fighting chance.
Then what was probably the most memorable and definitely the most enjoyable part of the race happened. Just Hunter and I in the woods, no crowds, no cameras. We’re running along, Hunter about 15 seconds ahead of me,when all of the sudden I hear him cry out, “CRAMP!!” I quickly catch up to him. He’s holding his leg and screaming, wanting to know how to make it go away. I told him I was sorry, but there was nothing I could do to help, and continued to keep running. Then about 15 seconds later, “CRAMP!!” “NOOOO!” So here I am grabbing my leg as Hunter hobbles towards me. We’re both crying and rubbing our legs and hobbling along the best we can for a quarter of a mile before we really start moving again. I couldn’t help but to continually laugh at our situation and how ridiculous we must look as we fought to hold onto our lead. Soon after, my conservative start began to pay off, and as we hit the hills once again, I was able to run up them while Hunter and Matt Murphy who was chasing close behind, had to walk. So, I was able to pull a considerable lead by the last sandbag carry. It wasn’t until that point that the reality of the moment hit me. I was probably going to win. All I had to do was avoid a debilitating cramp, and this race was mine. But a cramp wasn’t out of the question, so I still had to be cautious, and I wasn’t sure how far we had left till the finish. After the sandbag, the course crossed through a row of trees, and the finish line was 100 yards away. It was over!! It was over?? I couldn’t believe it!?!? I was stunned. I had done it! I was too excited to race. I began to scream, waving my arms in the air. I slowed to give everyone high fives. I still don’t know what to think of the moment, it feels like a dream.
I have to give Norm credit. 3 rope climbs, one with a Tarzan swing, and two swims all in a 1/3 mile distance of each other made all the difference. That section of the race changed everything, and put the glory of “obstacles” back into obstacle racing.
3 hours and 35 minutes. I still can’t believe I survived it without hitting a wall. Thank you everyone for your support, encouragement and kind words. These races are becoming a family reunion for so many of us, and it’s wonderful to be a part of the experience.
A huge congratulations to everyone who showed up and gave it your best. As Jason Jaksetic said, “this wasn’t some extreme sounding weekend activity engineered to make you feel good about your finish”…. this race was built to destroy.
-Hobie Call

Extreme Nation: A Race For The Masses

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Why do we all love Obstacle Racing: because it’s exciting, challenging and fun all wrapped into one event.
–Looking for a challenge? Well, we don’t need 10 miles to kick your butts. We’ve stacked all your favorite obstacles into a couple of high intensity miles. While our toughest obstacles will be more than many of you can handle, that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy attempting them. And with less distance between obstacles, even the ones you normally navigate through without trouble will become more difficult.
–Looking for Excitement? Well look no further. We have more obstacles per mile than any Warrior Dash, Spartan Race or Tough Mudder you’ve ever done. No empty miles here.
–Looking for Fun? We’ve got those obstacles too, the kind that make you smile by just looking at them. Obstacles that make you feel like a kid again and remind you that fitness can be fun.
Welcome to Extreme Nation
Why do we all love Obstacle Racing: because it’s exciting, challenging and fun all wrapped into one event.
Welcome to Extreme Nation

http://www.extremenation.com/

Is Obstacle Racing Heading In The Right Direction?

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I do not believe so. There are 3 things that I believe need to change in order for the “sport” to really take off and be truly successful.

(1) RACE DISTANCE
Right now, the motto is “longer is better”. Spartans points system favors the longer races, and their championship race is the longest race in the series. Tough Mudders only real race is a 24 hour event. Warrior Dash’s 5-k races are a party, if you want to get serious, sign up for the “Iron” Warrior Dash that is 15+ miles long.
The problem with this is that people want this sport to require well-rounded fitness in order to excel at it. But the longer races are for elite runners. Case in point:
If you take the top 5 guys from the Crossfit games, and I take the top 5 guys from the Boston marathon, and put them into any obstacle race over 8 miles long, even if my marathoners fail miserably at the 5 hardest obstacles and have to do 30 burpees at each one of them, my 5th place marathon runner will still beat your 1st place Crossfitter by at least 5 minutes. That’s hardly a well-rounded athletes sport. Now, amongst the top runners, their abilities with the obstacles will matter, but if you’re not an elite runner, nothing else matters.
Until we get the distance short enough that there is some crossover between “strict” runners and other athletes, I believe the “sport” will have limited appeal to the masses.
I also firmly believe that the masses would prefer to watch the shorter more obstacle intense races. Longer races are less intense, physically and obstacle wise, and the athletes are more spread out making them much less appealing to watch.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we get rid of the longer races. Having a variety of lengths to choose from is a great thing, but the events that we “feature to the world” should be the shorter events.
(2) INDIVIDUAL RACING vs TEAM RACING
As long as the races are individual races, there will only be 3 or 4 professional athletes at most. They will win all of the prize money at the larger races leaving nothing for anyone else. You can be the 5th best obstacle racer in the world, and nobody will know or care, and you won’t be able to pay your bills off of racing either. The sport will have very limited long term success if there can only be a few professional athletes.
How to fix this? Team racing:
With team racing, there can be 20-30+ professional athletes which will create a lot more incentive for people to try and excel at the sport. Team racing also creates far better rivalries, which makes the races more fun to follow and watch.
(3) RIVAL ORGANIZATIONS NEED TO WORK TOGETHER
Now, this is the most exciting one of all, but also the most important. It’s the most exciting because the organizations don’t want to work together, but the athletes do. Whoever forces this to happen will have the collective marketing and publicity powers of the entire obstacle racing industry.
And how do the different organizations work together??….. With team racing. Each organization puts together a team to race against each other. Since most organizations resist this idea, it’s a “build it and they will come” idea. If you create a race and put out enough prize money, teams will show up. Now, Superhero Scramble has attempted this, but they lacked the money and marketing power to really get peoples attention. With Reebok partnering up with Spartan Race, it has created the perfect opportunity for this to happen. They have the money, and they have the marketing power.
Take one of your “Sprint” races (no more than 3 miles), load it with 30 solid obstacles, make the elite heat a team race, with enough money that even the 4th place team walks away happy, and the excitement, drama, rivalries, and viewership that this will create will have ESPN and major sponsors knocking on your door.

2013 Race Schedule

With my new goal being to chase the Spartan and Superhero Scramble points systems, here is my tentative schedule for the next few months.
5/18 Texas Spartan Sprint
5/25 Superhero Florida
6/8 Superhero Amesbury
6/29 Utah Spartan Beast
8/3 Washington Spartan Sprint
8/10 California Spartan Beast
8/24 Mid-Atlantic Spartan Super
9/21 Vermont Spartan Beast
9/28 Atlas Race Medford Oregon
10/19 Chicago Urbanathlon
Or Savage Race Florida

Sandbags for the 5k Obstacle Racing Fitness Challenge

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The second and final thing you will need for the 5k Obstacle Racing Fitness Challenge is a sandbag/slam ball, etc., basically something that you can throw on a track or infield without damaging the ground.
Men 30 lbs.
Women 20 lbs.
Here are just some of your options:

If you really want to go all out with the most durable bag I’ve seen, then the Ultimate Sandbag is for you. I took this out with the intent of destroying it in one workout. I brought a couple of friends with me and we went out to a rough jeep trail. Slamming it over the roughest of rocks, throwing it horizontally to test its abrasion resistance, the 3 of us beat that thing the best we could for an hour, and it took it with ease. Finally, I went out to the paved road and dragged it for about 100 yards to wear a small hole into it. And it’s not the kind of fabric that will tear easily, so I don’t imagine that hole causing any problems for many years under normal circumstances.

Another option is a slam ball. If you want something that’s simple and easy to get a grip on, then this is a great option. No bells and whistles, just a good ball for throwing. I do not recommend regular medicine balls. You don’t want something that bounces or rolls.

A third option and my new favorite (also what I’ll be using in the challenge) is a steelbell from hyperwear.com. This is the same company that makes the sand bags (pancakes) for Spartan Race. After seeing them in action at the races, they have proven to be more durable than I initially thought they would be. I prefer the steelbell over the sandbell because I like the smaller size and they are harder to keep a hold of, thus working your grip strength more. The main reasons why I prefer this is (1) you don’t have to finagle to get a grip of any handles like you do on the ultimate sandbag, and (2) it really is harder to keep a hold of than a slam ball which as I said, works your grip strength more (which is very helpful in obstacle racing).

If you’re on a very strict budget, this is for you. $3 for 4 sand bags (and I was ripped off) and $1 for duct tape. Tape each bag loosely (this allows the sand to move around which helps with durability). I just layered 4 bags over each other. I didn’t put it through a rigorous testing, but I did throw it around a bit including standing on top of a table and throwing it as hard as I could at the ground. It appeared to take it with ease. Durability is questionable, but I’m 92% sure that it will survive the 5k challenge.
Another unique option for you DIY’ers is to make a sandbag out of an old tractor tire tube. I’ll let THE man himself, Jason Moss demonstrate how to make one of these in a youtube video he made.

Energy Drink

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All right, I’ve come across a lot of energy drinks in my life, and I must say most of them are complete garbage. There have been a few decent ones, but I’ve never seen one that has really impressed me. So, what did I do? Make my own of course. This is a perfect drink for those workouts that are just a little too long that water alone just doesn’t quite cut it. It’s also a great replacement for soda drinks.

Here’s what it has:
–10-16 oz. Water
–2 Tbsp. Raw Honey
–2 tsp. Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
–1 tsp. Pines Beet Juice Powder
–1 emergen-c packet
Ice cubes. Drink tastes best when cold.
If you want to make it in the morning but drink it later in the day, just put it in a thermos with 4 or 5 ice cubes and it will stay fresh all day.
The honey, apple cider vinegar, and beet juice powder individually have great health benefits. Emergen-c is also pretty good. But combined, it makes for one remarkable drink that your body will love.

Biography

-Age: 36
-Birthday: April 9th, 1977
-I was 10 years old when I decided I wanted to be the best runner in the world…. 26 years later, I may not have accomplished that goal, but in the process of doing my best, I’ve learned that “success is a journey, not a destination”. And I’ve truly enjoyed the journey.
-1995: 1st place 1600 state track championships: 4:28
1st place 3200 state track championships: 9:41
-1995-1997: Attended College of Southern Idaho (CSI) junior college where I was All-American in cross-country and steeplechase.
-1997-2007: Worked many jobs, always putting my running ahead of getting a “real career”, my favorite being a youth supervisor at a program for troubled youth. I had good days, bad days, good years, bad years. Through it all though, I managed to put together a half decent resume.
-Half-marathon PR: 1:04 (downhill course I admit)
-Marathon: 2:16:39
-Pikes Peak Ascent: 2:15:12
-By the end of 2007, I had become frustrated with the mediocre results I had amassed over the years (by my standards), and decided to completely rebuild my training from the ground up.
-June 2008: World record for the fastest lunge mile: 24:56 (not officially recognized by Guinness because of witness statement paperwork errors)
-October 2008: Lunge mile with 40 lb. weight vest: 34:01 (Guinness denied my request to make that a category)
-March 2009: 4:40 mile with 40 lb. weight vest
-April 2009: Salt Lake City, Utah 5-k: 17:36 with 40 lb. weight vest
-The remainder of 2009-2010, I was plagued with injuries and for the first time in my life, 5 months before my 34th birthday I decided that I had given it my all. I would race a few marathons in 2011, hopefully make a few thousand dollars, and then retire my dream and get a real career. And then a miracle happened. Here I was training my best, hoping that I would perform well for the few marathons that I would do the next summer knowing that they would be my last, when I was introduced to this new sport called Obstacle Racing. Some crazy guy named Joe Desena was offering $100,000 to anyone that could win all of his “Spartan” races in the US in 2011. As “luck” would have it, I just happened to be doing high intensity upper body workouts along with my running at the time so I wouldn’t have to run outside in the dark every day. That coupled with my strength based running program, had me believing that I might just excel at this kind of race.
So, my wife and I decided to make a go at it and spent everything we had signing up for the first race, buying contacts, and paying for the gas to get there. And I must say it was worth it. For the first time in I couldn’t even tell you how many years, I felt like a kid again. Never had a race proved to be as uniquely challenging, exciting and fun as this one. Immediately I knew I had found my sport. Road racing, trail running, and triathlons just didn’t compare. For the first time after the race people weren’t standing around talking about their times or how many miles they run a week, they actually talked about the race itself.
Getting to the next few races proved to be quite challenging. Just paying the rent month to month had been difficult enough, now we needed to find a way to travel the country. We sold our only TV to pay for the plane ticket to one race, sold our RC cars and had a fundraising bake sale to buy the ticket to another. Before long people were chipping in a little here and a little there and offering to let me stay with them so I wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel. Knowing that we had nothing, just the idea of getting to each race seemed an impossible challenge, let alone having the energy to win them after working a full week and traveling such distances.
But, I somehow managed to win 6 races in a row from California to Miami, to New York City. I had never traveled so much in my life. The cold of the Death Race proved to be my demise though and I was out of the running for the $100,000. By then though, Spartan had decided I was an OK guy and agreed to pay my travel expenses to get me to the rest of the races.
-Since February 2011, I have participated in 41 Obstacle Races:
(34) 1st place finish
(2) 2nd place finish
(1) 10th place finish
(1) DNF
(3) Ran for fun, didn’t “race”
2011
1st place: 2/26 Socal Spartan Super
1st place: 3/12 Arizona Spartan Super
1st place: 3/26 Texas Spartan Sprint
1st place: 4/23 Florida Spartan Super
1st place: 4/30 Georgia Spartan Sprint
1st place: 6/4 NY Tri-State Spartan Sprint
DNF: 6/25 Spartan Death Race
1st place: 7/9 Utah Spartan Super
10th place: 8/6 Vermont Spartan Beast
1st place: 8/27 Massachusetts Spartan Sprint
1st place: 9/10 Pennsylvania Spartan Sprint
1st place: 9/24 NY Staten Island Spartan Super
1st place: 10/15 Midwest Spartan Sprint
1st place: 11/19 Malibu Spartan Sprint
1st place: 12/3 Texas Spartan Super
2012
1st place: 1/28 SoCal Spartan Super
2/11 Arizona Spartan Super tethered to my wife Irene
1st place: 2/25 Florida Spartan Super
1st place: 3/10 Georgia Spartan Sprint
1st place: 3/24 Miami Superhero Scramble
4/21 Indiana Spartan Sprint: Ran with Corn Fed team
1st place: 5/5 Colorado Spartan Sprint
1st place: 5/19 Texas Spartan Sprint
1st place: 6/2 NY Tri-State Spartan Sprint
6/9 Colorado Tough Mudder with Ray Upshaw
1st place: 6/16 Pacific Northwest Spartan Sprint
1st place: 6/30 Utah Spartan Beast
1st place: 7/14 Pennsylvania Spartan Sprint
1st place: 7/28 North Florida Superhero Scramble
1st place: 8/25 Mid-Atlantic Spartan Super
2nd place: 9/22 Vermont Spartan Beast
1st place: 11/17 Sacramento Spartan Beast
1st place: 12/1 Malibu Spartan Sprint
1st place: 12/8 Texas Spartan Beast
2013
1st place: 1/26 Temecula Super Spartan
1st place: 2/9 Arizona Spartan Sprint
1st place: 3/9 Georgia Spartan Sprint
1st place: 4/6 Las Vegas Super Spartan
1st place: 4/27 Georgia Superhero Scramble
1st place: 5/18 Texas Spartan Sprint
2nd place: 5/25 Central Florida Superhero Scramble