Obstacle Racing has continued to grow exponentially over the years. As of Saturday, August 19 at 10:20 pm, there are five Spartan Race Production Teams on the road setting up for races this coming weekend. According to the Mud Run Guide race calendar, a total of about 41 races on Saturday and 10 races on Sunday are scheduled around the world. At what point do we have to wonder, how many races are too many races in a weekend?
Some athletes complain about Spartan Race having too many races the same weekend. Some of these race locations are highly desirable and so athletes want to do those races. But schedules, cost, and proximity prevent that. The same can be said for multiple venues being held nearby. For instance, on the weekend of September 9, the industry has the Spartan Race DC Sprint in Mechanicsville, Maryland will also see the Savage Race nearby in Kennedyville, Maryland. The two venues are two hours from each other and competing for the same market share.
Added to the complication are the numerous, unlisted mom and pop races. I have been part of many of those races in the past. We struggled to get enough participants to break even while a major venue nearby that same day attracted thousands. It’s a race director’s nightmare and a race organizer’s bane. Runners equal cash flow. No cash, no race.
It’s a complicated equation. Are there too many races? Not enough racers? One venue more popular than another? Cost is, of course, a factor. People want to race with their friends and teams. What motivates athletes to go to a particular venue versus another?
I’m not married to any particular venue. I like the variety offered in obstacles and terrain. But I do tend to stick close to home. There’s plenty to offer right here in the Northeast. Quite honestly, I like the locations of my favorite Spartan Races like Palmerton and Tuxedo. But I seriously question whether I will ever do Vernon because of the poison ivy. You just don’t know what else goes through the minds of people when they decide what race to run.
Perhaps it has to do with the photographer on-site. People love their OCR pictures and so they want to have the best opportunity to get good shots of themselves on the course. I happen to know that one of our best in the business will be shooting at the aforementioned Savage Race, not the Spartan Race.
Are some OCR athletes more photographer groupies than they are racers?
Perhaps there are also obstacle groupies. Two weeks ago was the F. I. T. Challenge in Connecticut. This multi-award winning venue definitely attracts a crowd for various reasons. The Destroyer is one of them. Yet on the same weekend, there were plenty of other races to choose from. Sure you had to go to Canada but hey. Was the organizer just lucky that he tagged a weekend free from competition by the big three? Or do the big three just throw up their hands in surrender to the draw of that devilish obstacle?
What are your thoughts friends?
We see little venues come and go. We see some big ones get sidelined too. Is there simply too much competition? Or too much supply and not enough demand? Consider my op-ed from last week about OCR on TV. Are people not watching and competing because there really is not as much demand for the sport as we believe? Or have we not yet figured out the winning formula?
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and official policies of Mud Run Guide LLC, or their staff. The comments posted on this Website are solely the opinions of the posters.
Is it possible that the ocr lifestyle just doesn’t lend itself to sitting in front of a screen for very long if at all? Personally i love to play several different sports and ocr but can’t take sitting and watching. I’m just not a very good spectator.
Too often there are competing events on the same weekend in the same area. Cost is also a factor – this sport is NOT cheap so people have to be creative.
I do SR less but they have had a few weekends where they have 2 and 3 major venues simultaneously, ie in nov this yr Fenway and Vernon, races which usually individually draw the same crowd and i know more than a couple racers will do both. Ive seen over the past couple yrs certain weekends where there were 8 races i wanted to do , within a 3 hr drive of me and i had to make a tough call, I say the demand is there , sometimes an overabundance of options…
Arkansas has 2 races per year : Conquer the Gauntlet and Warrior Dash…. there’s always room for more!!
It depends on the area. Being in central VA, there is something about once a month within a 2 hour drive. I am sure in other parts of the states, that is not the case.
Cost and location my big factors.
What about the northwest, we have very limited offerings, having only Spartan a few times a year, Warrior Dash, which is boring, and two or three Terrain races. I see Midwest athletes racing nearly every weekend. Stead the wealth find more venues out west!
I find it ironic that the story cover photo has a pin on Arkansas when we have so few events. Now that WD folded, we have only Conquer the Gauntlet and Lizard Creek (a local event). Both are great, but that’s definitely not an oversupply. I’d love to see Savage Race come to Arkansas. An event in NW Arkansas would draw from there, Little Rock, Ft. Smith, Tulsa, Kansas City (huge KCOCR group there!), and Springfield.
Living in Edwardsville,IL I only have TM Missouri as an option and driving 3 and a half hours both ways isn’t an option. I’d be glad to have more races!