There are a ton of great OCR venues across the country that are in locations that never move.  These permanent facilities allow for larger obstacles, year-round racing, and training. Each location has its feel and uniqueness. Whether it be The Battlegrounds on a vineyard or Shale Hill situated in iconic Vermont on a farm each venue is special. After using some of these permanent courses for OCR America, I thought it was time to them and why you should go check them out.

Dirt Runner

Website: http://dirtrunner.us/

Location: Marseilles, Illinois (just outside Chicago)

Signature Obstacles:

Buccaneer's Swing:

Swinging like a pirate from an elevated platform onto a giant cargo net above water (see video below).

Festival/Obstacle Dense Area:

Back to back obstacles in the central area makes it great for spectators and challenging to athletes including things like Delta Force Grip (similar to Tip of the Spear), tire flips, tire drags, atlas stone carry, low crawl, weaver, rope climb, the weaver, cargo net crossed like monkey bars and much more.

Several strength obstacles visible in the festival area.

Approximate Events Held Annually: ~20+ (Check their event page for the latest list)

Types of Events:

-Midwest Mayhem- 10k OCR 60 obstacles with multi-lap options

-Warrior Rush- 5k OCR 30 obstacles with multi-lap options

-DRX Dash- 500+ yards OCR 25+ obstacles

-DRX Games- Strongman type competition using OCR Events

-DRX Brute- Strongman type competition using heavier weighted OCR Events

-Ninja Wipeout 50 yard, 5+ obstacle ninja course (available for training)

-Night Run: Non-competitive OCR at night

Who will love it: 

If you like Spartan Races but wish they had mandatory completion, I would check out Dirt Runner.  The course has few technical obstacles (like rings, Delta Force Grip and a pegboard that is sometimes used with pegs already inserted) but has a lot of Spartan-esque classics like Atlas Stone carry, tire drags, enormous A-frame cargo net, the longest tunnel I have seen at an OCR and technical terrain.  The technical terrain is sure to slow down even the fastest runners giving an edge to those that can handle uneven footing, thick mud and lots of rocks.

Their DRX Games and Brute events are a mix of Strongman/OCR and remove the running from the event.  Before TMX, DRX has been going on for years run in a format more similar to strongman than a race.  For a review from one of their recent events check here.

Reason for Open Wave Athletes to Go:

Dirt Runner has some of the coolest finisher medals around.  The DRX Brute medals looked like mini-Atlas Stones; their Night Run medals are glow in the dark skulls that were a different color for each race you attended and their Midwest Mayhem medal is a dragon/shield medal.

Reasons for Elite Athletes to Go:

Although they only sometimes give out cash prizes, in true Dirt Runner style they give out some of the best podium prizes in OCR including giant swords, custom-made plaques, skulls, dragon heads, spears, lightning bolts and more.

Jordon Buscemi, a regular at Dirt Runner, with another 1st place finish adding to his undefeated streak at the venue this year and another impressive trophy.

Where You May Know Them From

The venue was the site of Spartan Race Chicago (before 2015) and the location of the one (and only) BattleFrog Chicago in 2016.

Bonus Reason for Attending:

For many of their events, they allow for camping on-site making this a cost-efficient trip for any athlete.  Add in one of the cheapest seasons passes in OCR and this course can keep you racing almost year-round.

Check their website for the latest list of events and details.


Use discount code MRG5 for $5 off your Dirt Runner registration!