|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.