For many folks, the notion of running an obstacle course race (OCR) is a strange one. The idea of scrambling through a forest, summiting mountain peaks, crawling through mud, climbing up and over barriers, jumping through fire, seems too extreme, too intimidating, too…”nah, that’s not for me”. But I can personally attest that there is a powerful and long-lasting sense of accomplishment that comes from completing races like this. The process of taking those feelings of intimidation, unfamiliarity, and fear, and doing it anyway is the very act that brings us that sense of true accomplishment.
Research also shows that true courage is not about being fearless; it’s about acknowledging our fears and then taking those fears along for the ride. It’s about learning psychological strategies for not letting our fears stop us from living a purposeful, values-driven life – a life worth living. It’s about setting our sights on a goal, doing our homework, preparing, and then, when the time comes, jumping through that fire. And the process of jumping through the fire, exposing ourselves to those flames, those fears, and coming out the other side victorious is what yields that awareness that maybe, just maybe, we had ourselves all wrong. Maybe we are stronger and more capable and than we previously thought. And what a cool realization that is.
So a new OCR season has just begun and if you’ve ever consider trying an OCR, I would strongly encourage you to give it a shot. And if you’re wondering where to start, you might consider trying a Spartan. Spartan Race is one of the few OCR companies that really does it right. As noted on their website, they were voted Best Obstacle Race by Outside Magazine and they were the first OCR franchise to feature timing and global rankings. And when you do something right, people want it. The fact that there were over 130 Spartan events in 17 countries last year alone tells you there’s something pretty awesome going on over there. They know how to deliver a memorable and rewarding experience.
Beyond their races being accessible, another reason why Spartan might be a good bet for your first OCR is that they cater to different levels of physical and athletic ability. Spartan offers three different race distances so you don’t need to be a seasoned ultra-endurance athlete to complete a Spartan. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that because some races are shorter they will be easy. Where’s the fun in that?
And if all that still wasn’t enough incentive to get your feet muddy, then here’s the kicker. Reebok Spartan Race Canada has been generous enough to provide me with a race code for a free entry into any Western Canadian Spartan Race in an open heat. So the first person to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the three types of Spartan races with their respective distances will get the code (remember, the code will only work for a race in western Canada). I’ll be giving it away today (May 2nd, 2015) so if you don’t hear back from me today, then someone else snagged it. But don’t despair if you miss out, Spartan has also provided me with second code for 15% off any Spartan race: AROO15.
So if you’ve ever thought about trying an obstacle course race, it’s time. So take a deep breath, check your fears, and go get muddy.