Obstacle Course Races – Fun Fitness Events for Brave Hearts


Obstacle race courses are a series of grueling physical exercises modeled on military training, which aims at finding the physical and mental tenacity of the competitors. The entire course of the race has to be run on foot where the competitors will have to overcome various obstacles such as mud trails, heavy objects and even barbed wires. The objective of the race is to finish the entire course where the competitors will have to subject themselves through rings of fire, wall climbs and generally go through any hurdle that tests the endurance of the contenders.

The culture of obstacle races has ancient roots and can be traced back to a thousand years ago. The very first forms of obstacle races were witnessed at the Olympic Games in an event known as the Stadion. It was a part of the pentathlon events and is denotative of the very first forms of obstacle course racing. The participants were required to go through a series of mind-boggling practice courses before getting qualified to contest for the race, as this race involves an overall testing of total body strength and endurance of abject physical conditions.

Preparing for the Races
To prepare for an obstacle course race, one needs to master strength to overcome unusual encounters that will also be designed to test the contender’s presence of mind. In addition, it’s imperative for the participant to run for an average of at least four to five miles per day to get ready for the event. This helps a person to get acclimatized with different levels of physical exhaustion and improve resilience of the human body.


Besides running, you should also practice pull-ups on a regular basis in order to improve upper body strength. This practice is helpful for obstacles, such as rope climbing and other events, which require a lot of strength to pull against gravity and other general obstacles aimed at pulling the contender down. Squats and lunges are other effective exercises that one should master to improve lower body strength for running and improve stability levels.

If you are preparing to participate in an obstacle course race, you should keep your focus on a balanced diet and never compromise on your preparation. These training sessions help participants to shape their personalities and also assist them to relinquish certain bad habits and unhealthy lifestyle choices. For example, you will definitely want to quit smoking if you wish to participate in obstacle courses. Smoking leads to breathlessness, which can result in severe physical damage if you continue to go on despite undergoing training sessions.

There are several forms of obstacle course races, which differ based on the level of hurdles and the extent of physical and mental challenges designed for the occasion.  The three most popular obstacle course races are the Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder and Spartan Race.

Warrior Dash
As a 5,000 meter mud run, Warrior Dash is considered to be the world’s largest running series. It is a recreational sport that can be enjoyed with friends and family if the sole objective is to race through mud and slush. The mud acts as a great hindrance, reducing friction from beneath the feet and making movement more difficult, therefore challenging and enjoyable.


Warrior Dash is a time-bound game that can only be won if the participants can finish the race on time, while the Tough Mudder course is not concerned with finishing on time as long as all the participants overcome every obstacle and manage to cross the finish line.

If you want to run for a short distance and generally have fun with your friends, give the Warrior Dash a try. However, if you are of a more competitive disposition and would love to challenge yourself to a more grueling race course, the Tough Mudder event might be a better match for you.

Tough Mudder
The Tough Mudder is a much more challenging series of games, which require the participants to attempt a 10 to 12 mile run, based on the model of military-style obstacle courses. This game was conceptualized by two post-graduate students of Harvard University in order to test physical strength and mental agility.

The obstacles are designed to test the participants’ endurance level by subjecting them to natural discomfort and phobias. The contenders have to face great heights and overcome obstacles, such as fire and electricity.

Some of the most popular hurdles of the Tough Mudder race include the Arctic Enema, the Funky Monkey and Everest. These hurdles demand the participants to go through dumpsters filled with ice, race through monkey bars and run up quarter pipes caked with grease and mud.


Spartan Race
Spartan Race is among the toughest of the obstacle course races, designed to expose the participants to the most abject physical conditions that can be imaginable. There are various types of Spartan Races designed for participants on the basis of age groups and the stretch of distance to cover. These games are not for the faint-hearted as is evident from their tagline, “There is a real possibility you may die.”

Shape Your Character
Obstacle course races are becoming increasingly popular these days. These races are great ways to pump up your adrenaline and face fears and phobias that would otherwise be impossible to overcome.

Obstacle course races entail grueling physical exertion, which conditions the participants not just for the races but also for adverse situations that can be faced in real life. These races train individuals to struggle through every form of inconvenience and survive in the long run.

Preparing for a big race can also be a great way to quit fixations and other addictive habits, which may otherwise require professional help or the assistance of rehabilitation centers to overcome.

Always remember to stay fearless in the face of obstacles and to shut out all thoughts of misgivings or doubts when you decide to participate in a race. Remember to thoroughly prepare with a proper exercise routine before signing up for the competition and have a friend or personal trainer assist you throughout your training sessions so you can get the most out of all the obstacle course races you participate in.

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About Author

Robin Reichert

I'm an AFPA certified personal trainer, AFPA certified nutrition consultant, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I'm also an active member of the world's largest association for fitness and wellness professionals. See my profile page for more information!

1 Comment

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    I have always wanted to attend an obstacle course race. I’ve been doing some training for it, too. But sadly there are none available in my area. Hopefully I can be able to participate in one and really show all of my hard work.

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