Strength & Speed


"If you want something you never had, you have to be willing to do something you have never done."

S&S Articles

Ultra-OCR Man Documentary Update

Posted by Evan Perperis on February 15, 2022 at 2:30 PM


No doubt if you have been to this website before you have seen the teaser trailer for the Ultra-OCR Man documentary that is on our main landing page and is the banner of our Facebook page. After a slow 2020, shooting has finally concluded in 2021, so we wanted to share a quick update with you on the documentary filmed/edited and produced by Bobby Ross from Stoke Shed.


 

Initial Concept vs. Final Product (Story): A good chunk of the movie was filmed at 2020’s charity event OCR America 2, which produced daily 3 minute videos to raise money for Folds of Honor (scholarship money for kids whose parents were killed or wounded in US Military service). I was expecting Bobby to just cut/paste all the videos together and call it a day. However, that didn’t flow and tell a story like we wanted it to so lots of additional, unused and never before seen footage is now part of the documentary. For those who closely followed OCR America 2 as it was occurring, you’ll get a lot more out of this upcoming documentary and a look into the mindset of Ultra-OCR Man including dealing with training, injuries and failure.


 

Release Timeline: The current plan is to submit the completed documentary to film festivals, which typically occur in March/April. After the film festivals the plan is to release it to the public this coming summer in 2022. We will see how things pan out but the goal is to release it on a major streaming service like Amazon Prime or Netflix to give it the widest audience and exposure the weird world of Ultra-OCR.


 

Bottom line, is check back here for updates and links so you can see the documentary upon its completion. We saw an early draft of it and loved it, although our filmmaker, who has a more refined eye says it still needs a lot fine tuning. We are looking forward to sharing it publicly with everyone this summer!

 

Run Endurance For Charity like Ultra-OCR Man

Posted by Evan Perperis on January 21, 2022 at 11:30 AM


If you’ve been following Strength & Speed for any amount of time you are likely familiar with owner, Evan “Ultra-OCR Man” Perperis’ charity events. Each year since 2016 he’s done a self-created endurance event for charity to raise money for Folds of Honor (scholarship money for kids whose parents were killed or wounded in US Military service). He’s done things like an Ultra-OCR at 21,000 feet of elevation, 24 hour treadmill OCR, 48 hour multi-lap and 8 days of OCR marathons in the winter. If you like the concept but things like that sound too daunting, here’s your chance to do endurance for charity thanks to Tough Mudder’s Infinite Hero Honor Challenge.


 

Tough Mudder’s new endurance event is a 10 hour team building challenge that takes place at three different venues in the 2022 season (California, Georgia and Texas). Groups of participants are organized into platoons, provided a scenario and then proceed to do (easy) land navigation between points. When you get to each point you’ll be required to do a task or complete a Tough Mudder obstacle in a non-conventional manner (think blindfolded, tied together, backwards, carrying something heavy, using a different set of rules, etc.). You don’t follow the Tough Mudder course but make your own path. It’s not a race, it’s a challenge.


 

The event also has a fundraising goal tied to it. When you sign up you’ll be required to either make a donation or fundraise for Infinite Hero Foundation, a group that provides mental and physical support to military veterans. My recommendation is to pay the charity amount up front and then hit up some family and friends for some small donations to recoup your cost.


The event takes inspiration from Tough Mudder’s fun virtual events but combines them with more physically taxing events (some influenced from Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection). Your guide during the event will be none other than Ultra-OCR Man himself as he provides these tasks that are part of an immersive experience operating behind enemy lines and occasionally shares some real world war stories (like those told in the book Ultra-OCR Man: From Special Forces Soldier to Record Setting OCR Athlete).

If you are looking for a new type of challenge, looking to raise money for a good cause or want to experience Tough Mudder in a new format, check out Infinite Hero Honor Challenge. All skill levels welcome since sometimes the tasks are physical while other times they are mental. Sometimes it’s in your benefit to be big and strong and other times it is better to be small and nimble. You’ll find that everyone has a unique skill they bring to the table to make the team succeed.

 

Sign up for Infinite Hero Honor Challenge at the Tough Mudder website www.toughmudder.com


 

Off Season Strength: Weight Belts for Obstacle Course Race Training?

Posted by Evan Perperis on January 1, 2022 at 4:45 PM

I fully expect a string of “No” in the Facebook comments of this article without them reading beyond the headline.  That’s fine, they can go back and read it after they hurt their lower back.  Weight belts are typically associated with bodybuilders, strongmen, Crossfit athletes or powerlifters.  However, they do have a place in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) training when used appropriately in a training environment and here’s how...


I’ll start off with a case study of myself.  Personally, as an OCR athlete on most days I separate my endurance and strength training, only combining them once or twice a week.  This allows for my strength to develop without interference of an elevated heartrate and my running systems to develop without constantly stopping to do exercises.  Think of it like how a baseball player does batting practice and doesn’t run around the bases after each swing or a triathlete doesn’t do a swim/bike/run workout every time.  Due to this, I often endurance train in the morning and strength train in the evenings.  Which means my body is already fatigued in the evenings, which increases the probability of my form slipping when doing heavier compound movement exercises.  So, I wear a weight belt if I’m going heavy on a compound movement to avoid possible injury.

 

I’m not suggesting you put a weight belt on for every set, nor for every exercise.  Nor am I suggesting you put one on for crossing a rig.  I’m suggesting when you do heavy sets (think five or below repetitions) or plan on doing compound movements after another workout, it is probably a good idea to play it safe.  After all, over the last 15 years I have seen plenty of athletes leave their chosen sport due to injury and not by voluntary choice.  Out of the people I serve with in the military and train with for sports the two most common injuries I see are lower back problems and knee injuries (RockTape has Assassin knee sleeves if anyone has the latter concern).  Having a strong back will make you more resilient to injury and building that strong back safely is where the weight belt comes to play.


Here’s an OCR specific example:  If you have trouble with the tire flip, then you should probably be practicing deadlifts.  Deadlifts will give you the strength you need to successfully complete the tire flip every time.  Deadlifts provide the foundation of strength providing an easy method for progressive training (it’s easy to add weights to the bar but not easy to constantly find heavier tires as you improve).  Build the strength with deadlifts, then work on technique with the actual tire and do it safely by incorporating a weight belt when you are approaching your max effort.


Using a weight belt on your heavier sets of compound lifting exercises (like deadlifts or squats) can help keep your form tighter and lowers the possibility of injury.  The heavier your go (which is a relative term), the more likely you should put a belt on.  Your lower back is used in almost every obstacle/exercise as a stabilization muscle but also gets specifically used during heavy carries.


So if you decide to invest in a weight belt to avoid future injury, the next question would be which brand should you buy?  A full answer would require another article, but I would recommend Harbinger Fitness.  Their products high quality and a staple of gym goers everywhere.  You get what you pay for with them and if they save you from an injury the belt will be an invaluable piece of your training gear.  Train hard and as always make sure you practice safe sets.

Gear Review: Harbinger Lifting Straps for OCR Training?

Posted by Evan Perperis on December 15, 2021 at 4:45 PM

Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is so heavily focused on grip strength that the use of something like lifting straps seems to be the opposite of what you want.  After all, lifting straps are cloth or leather loops you wrap around your wrist to take your grip out of a movement that involves weights.  That’s the opposite of what we want to do….most of the time.  Here’s a couple of reasons you may want to add lifting straps into your strength training and why you should go with Harbinger Lifting Straps.

 

Forearms are much smaller than your back muscles:  Your forearms are a smaller muscle and will always become exhausted before you fully exhaust your back muscles.  It is one of the reason you’ll often see pro bodybuilders or strongmen using them.  It allows you to continue to improve back muscle strength even after your forearms have given out.


But if my forearms are exhausted, that means I can’t do obstacles so why do I need a stronger back?  Good question, let me give you a couple of examples.  You’re 16 hours in Spartan Ultra-World Championship or World’s Toughest Mudder and you’ve been failing the monkey bars for the last couple of laps.  However, you still have to pull yourself over a series of walls, an obstacle that requires back strength but not grip strength and is usually a mandatory obstacle.


Maybe you ran Conquer The Gauntlet’s Continuum race this year (5+ hour CTG Multi-lap), you quickly found out that even after failing obstacles like Pegatron (peg board), Tarzan Swing (rig), Cliffhanger (monkey bars) and Stairway to Heaven (all of which you can penalty out of), you still need to get over the Great Wall of America and the 5x8 foot Walls of Fury.  No penalty option, just the strength required to pull yourself over with your lat muscles.


What about at Spartan Races when you need to use your back muscles to help stabilize yourself during obstacles like bucket carry, sandbag carry and more?  The point is you want a strong back…even if your grip has already hit complete muscle failure.  Let your back muscles grow to their max potential, while continuing to work on your grip.

 

So I should use lifting strap all the time?  No!  Like most exercise tools and equipment, there is a time and place for it.  You want to be sure to exhaust the forearms completely first before switching to lifting straps for the last couple of exercises.  We all know the importance of grip strength, so make sure you train it adequately first.  Lifting straps can also be of use during very heavy compound movements like deadlifts where you are going below your five repetition max.  This can help make those movements safer and avoid a possible injury from losing your grip on the bar.


Why Harbinger Lifting Straps?  Harbinger makes lifting straps that are constructed of high quality leather as well as ones made of nylon and have padded options.  Plus, if you want to show some flair they even have pink leather straps and a variety of colors in the nylon option.  Harbinger is a major brand in the bodybuilding world because they provide high quality products at an affordable price.  Go into any gym in America (minus Planet Fitness) and I bet you’ll find some Harbinger products in there whether that be weight belts, straps, knee wraps, ab rollers, wrist wraps or dip belts.  They’ve been a leader in the industry for years and for a good reason.  I’ve had several of their products for over a decade and they are still functioning as good as new.  No rips, no torn seams, just high quality lifting equipment.


With the end of the season for most OCR participants, I encourage athletes to take a break from the running.  It gives you not only a physical break allowing minor aches to heal, but gives you a mental break allowing you to come back into 2020 ready to crush it.  The alternating periods of heavy strength with heavy speed training is a program I’ve been using since 2010 and have found great success as well as a way to avoid overtraining injuries.  Grab some lifting straps, head to the gym and be sure to practice safe sets.


If you want more training tips, pick up a copy of my bestselling book, Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite OCR available off my website.

S&S 7th Development Team Application Window Now Open!

Posted by Evan Perperis on December 2, 2021 at 1:30 AM

Strength & Speed is opening the application window for their 7th S&S Developtment Team. Each year has brought success to our athletes with a list of different benefits that change but also expand slightly every year. In the past the team has included accomplishments such as athletes getting their first sponsors, several becoming ambassadors for brands and many hitting new PRs including first Ultra-OCR win, first win, first cash podium, most podiums in a year and more. To check out some of the athletes from the last three years, check out the Teams page, under the Athletes tab.


 

Unlike Pro Teams which often provide larger benefits like free access into races spanning multiple states and other perks, the biggest benefit of this team is access to knowledge for improvement not published elsewhere. Upon entrance into the team you will have small group access to personal trainers, a nutritionist, physical therapist, OCR professionals and other sponsored athletes. As part of the Development Team, you will get unprecedented access to knowledge includes training information, workout templates and guidance when applying for sponsorship.


 

Additional benefits of the team include name/S&S score on the website, a couple of items of free apparel (choice of book(s), audiobook or apparel), marketing support, discounts not available to non-team members and the opportunity to expand you influence in the OCR world. As S&S gets perks they are allowed to share, those discounts, free items and free entries are passed along to the team.


In 2022 we have over $750 in race entries that we plan on giving away for free to members of Strength & Speed (past and present Development Team athletes).  Companies want athletes that not only provide them quality finishing results but also have an outlet for spreading their message. Being a part of Strength & Speed gives you an established platform to spread your desired message to a larger audience rather than trying to build something on your own from the ground up.


 

Getting sponsored by a larger company is not an easy task and it requires significant work. The athletes at Strength & Speed have already solved a lot of the challenges associated with this process. If you do not need training advice but just knowledge on how to get sponsored, the Development Team will also help you with that.

 


Apply today by filling out the information below and sending it to Evan@TeamStrengthSpeed.com as AN ATTACHED WORD DOCUMENT if you are interested. We are not necessarily looking for the best athletes, just those with a strong desire to succeed. Application window closes on January 15, 2022 and selectees will be notified during the first week of February 2022.:



(Cut and paste the below into a word document and fill out)

Name:

 

Is this your first year applying?:


Major Goal for 2022:

 

Minor Goals for 2022:


Races for 2022:

 

2021 Race Results:


Race Highlights from 2020 or Earlier:

 

Social Media Sites (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube/etc.):


Other Relevant Information You Think We Should Know:

 

Other Sponsors (if applicable):

 

Possible Interests in Expanding Influence (interested in writing articles, reviews, videos or other ideas?):

 

(Reference Criteria section of the website for below information. Proof of score not required at the time of applying.)

Strength Score:

Speed Score:

Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) in Critical Condition

Posted by Evan Perperis on August 15, 2021 at 5:35 PM

I like to think of myself as an optimist for most things, but when it comes to attendance at races, the numbers aren’t lying. We have seen a dramatic downtick in race attendees in 2020 due to a complete shutdown for three months and then people’s reluctance to return to something many consider a luxury, Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). What does this mean for the future of OCR?

 

The next year will be critical for the future of our sport and OCR is at a crossroads. In my opinion failure to act will lead to the death of some of our favorite parts of OCR. This isn’t a prediction of doom, but rather a cry to do something now to avoid future problems. Here’s what I think we can do to keep our sport thriving and growing:


 

1. Bring your friends: We’ve all got those friends who keep putting off running a race with you. Now is the time to get them to sign up. If they don’t sign up, there may not be your favorite race brand to come back to next year.


 

2. Start Checking Things Off Your Bucket List: We’ve all got a list of races that you really want to run. Whether you pulled it from Mud Run Guide’s Ultimate OCR Bucket List or just have your own personal list, the number of events often keeps growing. Start signing up and crossing things off now. With the industry hurting, don’t wait until next year. Let me see those Ultra-Beast buckles, black/orange World’s Toughest Mudder headbands and the most coveted of them all, the OCR World Championships finishers medals this fall!

 


3. Pick Up Some Extra Merch: While I don’t think you want to just give race companies money in exchange for nothing, picking up that piece of merchandise (merch) you’ve had your eye on is encouraged. If you remember when BattleFrog when out of business, people were clamoring to get that last BF shirt or sticker to remember their favorite race. Take your pick of your favorite mech now. Brands both old and new are rolling out new stuff. If you are like me I would check out two of my favorites Conquer The Gauntlet merch (www.getourmerch.com) and Battle of the Lions (new merch coming soon including some MudGear stuff…that I may or may not have seen a sneak preview of).


 

While some may be wary of signing up for races or committing to big plans, now is the time to do it. If race companies don’t recover from the COVID pandemic, there won’t be a race to return to in 2022. Our sport is built upon overcoming obstacles, this is just another challenge in our path. Let’s join hands (virtually…while staying 6 feet apart) and help the industry to conquer what may be the biggest obstacle in our path for the future of OCR.

 

In Defense of Spartan WC

Posted by Evan Perperis on August 1, 2021 at 5:35 PM

When Spartan announced their move to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last year there was definitely some public outrage from the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) community. The reasons went the full spectrum from “It’s too far away!” to “I don’t like the Middle East’s treatment of ” to “They only got the championship because they paid for it”.

Every point has some validity but there is always another side. Here are a couple of reasons you may want to reconsider if you are “boycotting” Spartan World Championship Abu Dhabi:



1. “It’s too far away”: Some think a world championship has to move to be “legitimate”. I would disagree (as I discussed in 2017) as evident by other sports history of never moving outside the US or not even moving locations (i.e. Ironman World Championship). However, I do think it’s a nice touch to move the location. While it may be “too far” for you, it’s been “too far” for the rest of the Eastern Hemisphere since the sport’s inception. I think it’s great to expose some other athletes to world class competition who have been racing their local and regional events for years. Many of them are as fanatical of fans as American Spartan’s are.

Some of my all-time favorite races I have run were on the other side of the world (Hannibal Race Kuwait, True Grit Enduro Australia, Toughest Mudder UK, Hannibal Race Lebanon). Plus, several more that are on my bucket list like Nuclear Race, Toughest and a couple more Hannibal Races. It not only gives you a new race (instead of going to the same venue you’ve run a half dozen times) but gives you a cultural experience unlike anything else. Instead of going to McDonalds and IHOP, get outside your comfort zone and experience something new and unforgettable.


 

2. “It’s Not on a Mountain/Usual Spartan Championship Terrain”: Spartan’s championships have only been Tahoe in California and Killington in Vermont, both are mountain courses. Honestly, I’m more excited about watching Spartan WC this year than any other year. The sandy terrain and (what I expect to be) rolling hills as opposed to a death climb should require a different form of athleticism. I can see people who normally do well falling well short of historical placements and some lesser known names climbing toward the top. It should be an interesting year.


 

3. “I Don’t Agree with UAE’s Policies on (insert issue)”: First of all, I’ve seen a lot of comments that are generally ignorant associated policies in other Middle Eastern countries and assuming those policies are the same in UAE. Just like Europe, each country has their own policies and laws. Here are some other things to consider:

a. UAE’s Progressive Nature: UAE is home to two of the biggest Middle East tourist destinations for westerners, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I’ve been to Dubai (not Abu Dhabi but fairly similar) as part of my wife and I’s honeymoon (it was awesome) and spent almost four years of my life in various countries in the Middle East. UAE is about as progressive of a Middle Eastern country as they come. If you’re set in your ways, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more American/Western friendly Middle East experience than the UAE.

 

b. It’s a sport, not a political movement: At the end of the day OCR is a sport. I generally believe politics should be left out of sports/racing as much as possible. I’m personally not a fan of when countries boycotted the Olympics for political reasons regardless of how just their cause or belief was/is. On a similar note, I don’t think athletes should boycott races based on issues that don’t have to do with racing.

 

c. “I’m not going to change my behavior while I’m there”: I regularly workout shirtless in my home gym and occasionally walk around in my underwear around my house. When I go to public gyms or other people’s houses I adjust my behavior. The same logic applies on a bigger scale for visiting other countries. I respect local customs, which may mean showing a reduced amount of public displays of affection (PDAs). While on my honeymoon my wife and I didn’t hold hands in public, it wasn’t illegal, I was just trying to be respectful based off cultural norms of others I saw walking around. There’s nothing wrong with showing respect when visiting someone else’s home.

That being said, it’s a Spartan Race and UAE knows what they are asking for during the race. Dress in your normal racing attire for the event. If you are going to go out in town afterwards to eat, perhaps a sports bra and booty shorts (or shirtless with compression pants) may not be appropriate dinner attire, just as that wouldn’t be appropriate in most places in the USA.

 

d. “You’ll never change opinions or gain understanding without exposure”: If you are a racist/ethnocentric person and you are never exposed to the group you hate/dislike, you’ll never change your opinion of them. I had an Iraqi soldier who worked with our Jewish Executive Officer (XO) for six months say, “You know what…I always thought all Jews were bad, after working with the XO, I know that’s not true.” Exposure and understanding can go a long way as long as you are respecting local laws and customs.

 

e. Politics never stopped people before: California is one of the far left states in the USA. I don’t recall anyone taking a strong stand against California’s laws on major political issues when the championship was in their border for the last couple of years. I don’t recall people from the left boycotting races in far right states either. Why are people starting now?


 

4. “They are only getting the WC because they paid for it”: I don’t know if this is true but if internet rumors are to be believed UAE paid Spartan a lot of money to get the championship in their country. If this is true…I say…who cares? Spartan is a business. In case you forgot, in the last two years the big three of OCR (Spartan, Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash), has now become just Spartan (Warrior Dash went out of business with Spartan buying some of their assets, Tough Mudder went bankrupt then was purchased by Spartan). If the sport can thrive longer and more efficiently thanks to outside investors I say great and bring them on. This is truer more than ever since COVID-19 delivered what could be a fatal blow to parts of the OCR industry. I would also bet similar stuff goes on the USA with venues/towns vying for having events come to their area to boost local businesses.


 

5. Let’s punish people of a region for actions of their government: Imagine if a brand like HYROX said “we refuse to hold events in your country because of the American stance on or because your president is .” Now let’s assume that you agreed with HYROX’s political stance, which was opposed to the current policies of the government. It would seem unfair and ridiculous to “punish” the citizens of that country just because the company has a different opinion. In a similar way, I don’t think the people of UAE and surrounding countries should not have access to racing just because of what may or may not be a good stance of a government.


 

One of the beautiful thing about sports is it brings people together and breaks down barriers. Brenna Calvert and I experienced this first hand in Kuwait and Lebanon. Many of you may have experienced it at OCR World Championships where I’ve seen athletes swap country shirts along with eating meals together after the race. Instead of letting political opinions and national policies divide you, maybe it’s time to go over some personal obstacles and experience a different culture. Maybe you aren’t ready for that though, either way, things aren’t always as simple as they seem. Regardless of your decision to attend Spartan World Championship or not, I hope you can at least understand other people’s point of view even if you disagree with it.

 

OCR World Champions: Your Opinion is Biased

Posted by Evan Perperis on July 15, 2021 at 5:00 PM

Most of us view the world through our own biased lens, which can affect how we picture things. When I say the word “world champion” world champion to an OCR athlete, typically a name or maybe two pops into your head and that’s it.

If you only race Spartan when someone says the Spartan World Champion your mind will default to either Robert Killian (winner at Spartan World Championship 2019 in Lake Tahoe) or Ryan Atkins (winner at 24 hour Spartan Ultra-World Championships). Even as I type this my bias is shown, as a male, I initially typed the names of the two male champions instead of the women’s champions Nicole Mericle and Rea Kolbl (respectively).


 Brand Bias: If you are a hard core Tough Mudder Legionnaire when someone says world champion, your mind will default to World’s Toughest Mudder individual champion. If you race lots of series besides Spartan and Tough Mudder your mind probably defaults to OCR World Championships.

 

Gender Bias: As I showed in the initial example, you are also probably bias slightly towards your gender. When I think of world champions I default to males because that is who my direct competition is and that is how I frame races.

 

Distance Bias: Your opinion is further biased by what you like to race and/or more frequently compete in. As someone who specializes in Ultra-OCR, I tend to think of other ultra-athletes over the winner of the OCRWC 3k or the 100m world champion.


As someone who races across brands and across all distances from 1 mile to 24 hours, when someone says world champion to me, my brain defaults to the OCR World Championships 15k. In my mind, the most prestigious based off level of competition, prize money, distance (not too long, not too short), originality of event (the first OCRWC in 2014 had only the 15k and team) and difficulty of obstacles that require mandatory completion. So if we are going to talk about THE world champion, we must be talking about Jonathan Albon (undefeated 6x winner of the 15k). If we are going to talk about A world champion, it could be any of the brands, distances, genders or categories talked about in this article or the previous article. Regardless of who they are or which world champion title they held, they still had to earn it by training, competing and performing at the highest levels.

 

Race Review: Indian Mud Run

Posted by Evan Perperis on July 9, 2021 at 1:35 AM



After saying I’m going to make it out to Indian Mud Run since 2017, I finally made the trip. It always lines up as a bad date for me due to a major endurance event or a local race. However, this year it was in the middle of me moving houses, so much to my wife’s happiness (sarcasm), we made the trip to near Columbus, Ohio for Hubie Cushman’s race. Here’s what I thought about my first Indian Mud Run experience:


 

Parking/Check In: Parking was in a lower lot (unless you paid for VIP) and they had buses running to the start line. Unlike almost every other race I’ve seen do this, the buses were quick, efficient and there was enough that it didn’t feel like you were waiting. This is one of those races that I think VIP Parking is worth it if you want quick access to your car since standard parking is a short bus ride away. However, normal parking ran without issue. Check in was super-fast and inside the building where the merch shop was collocated.




Race Organization: One of my favorite parts of this race is that it is separated into Pros and then Male/Female broken down by Age Groups. Therefore, if you are someone who is mainly concerned about Age Group placement you’ll get to run with your wave and know exactly where you stand mid-race instead of guessing on the ages of the guys in front of you.



 

Terrain/Course: Technical hills. That about sums it up. After a short run through an open field the course jumped right into the woods with lots of technical footing and short/steep inclines and declines. If you have run the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC) when it was in Ohio, the terrain is very similar. Whatever you normally take for a 6-mile OCR, you may need to add 50% or more to your finishing time to get an accurate estimate. I thought the course was marked well, not as well as OCRWC where it is taped the length of the course, but the trail seemed pretty clear to me and it seemed like I could always see at least one course marking. The course ran by the festival a couple of times, usually as part of one of the interesting obstacles making it great for spectators. Spectators could even venture out a little to see some of the final mile of obstacles which included many of the other fun/interesting obstacles.



 

Obstacles: The course boasted an epic 85 obstacles over its 10k length (actually most people’s GPS had around 7.2 (+/- 0.1) miles for the course. What I liked, much like OCRWC, the really hard obstacles weren’t super long. Therefore, if you failed you could take a minute to regroup and retry with a decent probability of success. The ones that look the longest even had points where you could partially rest your legs either in a cargo net or short ladder, so not a complete rest for your arms but taking a little of the pressure off.

The most notable obstacles were Nuclear Rings (a traverse across pegs using rings), Force 5 Gibbons, a low rig, a red rig (underneath a cargo net to rings that ascend/descend and underneath another cargo net), 40 foot monkey bars and Indian (Skull) Valley (skull valley holds to ring to pipe traverse to short ladder to alternating skull holds). Add in two of the most epic water slides in all of OCR, Full Potential Obstacle’s The Destroyer, two different Dragon’s Back obstacles (one low and one normal sized) and of course 3 different variants of Floating Walls (one low, one that you go over instead of across and the epic massive one at the finish). Honestly, I could spend the entire article talking about their obstacles. Bottom line is they were some of the best in the sport, period. Obstacle designers Sidney Morris and David Mainprize from Battle of the Lions were out there building some of the more technical obstacles so I shouldn’t have been surprised with the quality/design of them.

The Red Rig was probably the one that took the longest but the two cargo nets meant you could wrap your arms and shift the weight off your forearms. It definitely took a lot out of you but the design meant even with a tired grip it wasn’t impossible.

The final obstacle was the signature Indian Mud Run Floating Walls, except the higher set of floating walls was replaced by three swinging bars and two rings providing a fun trapeze like ending to the race.




Chief’s Challenge: Their multi-lap option is called Chief’s Challenge. It requires 3 laps of the course…something which seemed like no problem the day before. On event day I quickly figured out why it only has a 35% success rate. The technical nature of course, density of obstacles, heat and overall exhaustion made the three-lap fun run feel a lot harder than I was expecting. If you finished all three laps you were rewarded with a genuine Native American arrow made by a local tribe. Although not competitive yet, rumor is the 2022 Chief’s Challenge will be its own competitive division.




Awards: Indian Mud Run gave awards five deep for men and women pros, a nice touch for a field that had two of the top four men from North American OCR Championships. The men’s and women’s field were both deep with podium regulars and athletes who have been on Pro podiums of OCRWC and North American OCR Championships (NORAM) so the five deep awards was cool and well justified. Pro podium received Native American made tomahawks as well as a giant metal plaque which identified their placement. Top three in each age group also got Native American tomahawks for their performances.



 

Overall: Indian Mud Run has a high-quality reputation and for a good reason. They did an amazing job and it is truly one of the best races in the USA. The bottom line is this, if you like OCRWC or NORAM you will love Indian Mud Run. The obstacles, the awards, the atmosphere and the community is all top notch. My only complaint was that I did the Chief’s Challenge, so I missed out on some of the great atmosphere since I was logging miles most of the day…but I did get a sweet arrow so it’s a tradeoff…one that I would probably make again.



 

OCR World Champions: How many OCR World Champions are there?

Posted by Evan Perperis on July 1, 2021 at 4:55 PM

Who is the world champion of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR)? Well, that’s not really a good question. It is like asking “Who is the world champion of running?” Are we talking 100m dash, 5k, marathon, 4x400m, steeple chase or another distance? Are we talking the last Olympic gold medalist or the last IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation) World Finals?


Using the same logic for sports like swimming and running, here’s a breakdown of who can call themselves a “world champion”.

1. Different Distances: Just as in running, swimming, cycling, triathlon and all other endurance sports, there are multiple world champions based on different distances. In OCR for the OCR World Championships (for each gender) we have a 100m champion, 3k champion and 15k champion. This doesn’t count the team champions (discussed later). For Spartan there is the Beast length champion and Ultra-World Champion. Typically Spartan refers to the Best length champion as “the Spartan World Champion” and adds caveats to other event’s champions like “the Spartan Ultra-World Champion”.


 

2. Different Brands: Over the year’s different brands in the OCR world have held different world championships. Brands like Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder (World’s Toughest Mudder) and OCR World Championships have all claimed a “world championship title”. Interestingly enough, BattleFrog Championship wasn’t labeled a world championship, just championship or series championship. The point is that multiple brands crown their own world champions. So can anyone with a brand crown a world champion? Technically yes, but similar to the value of money (which isn’t backed by gold or something tangible), people generally need to agree that it is a world championship event.


 

3. Team Events: What about team events do those count? Yes. Spartan has a team world championship event, OCRWC has an all-male team race, all-female team race and coed team race. World’s Toughest Mudder had a team event (four man until 2016 and two man 2017-2018), two man relay (2019-current) and four man relay (2017-current). Similar to Spartan saying “Spartan World Champion” and “Spartan Ultra-World Champion”, for the most accuracy if you are a team world champion you should probably add the caveat of team in there if you are referring to yourself or someone else that is a “team world champion”.


 

4. Age Group World Champions: Just like team, if you win your age group at a world champion event, you are technically a world champion too, as long as you add in that caveat “age group” before world champion.


 

What’s my point? My point is many people can claim the title of a OCR world champion. Some may be thinking why should I even care? Just like with “What Makes a Race” article, it is about being transparent and honest with people and/or potential sponsors.


 

Are we cheapening the word? Not all world championship titles are on equal level of prestige. Age group world championship wins are not as prestigious as overall world championship wins. Team world championship wins are not as valuable as individual world championship wins. Finally, some distances are more prestigious than others. I would argue the same logic applies to Olympic medals with individual golds being more prestigious than team golds. Just like in running people care more about the 100m and the marathon than the 200m and the 1500m.


 

When we hear the words world champion, our bias comes into play and who in our sport comes to mind. Check back next we as we explore you inherent biases and how it relates who you picture when you hear the words OCR and world champion in the same sentence.