5 Steps to Obstacle Racing Success

Thinking about becoming a Tough Guy or Spartan warrior? Follow these five steps to obstacle racing success

1. Lend a helping hand

The only kind of ‘PB’ you should be worrying about is a Post-race Bath. Obstacle racing is about mucking in and helping your fellow masochist. If someone’s struggling to get over an obstacle, lend them a hand.

2. Don’t get a tattoo

You managed to make it round and you want to commemorate your achievement in ink. Please don’t. Obstacle race tattoos are second only to crossed-out names of ex-wives in the terrible tatts stakes. Have a pint instead.


3. Wear your worst

This is a kamikaze mission for your clothing. All items will perish, save for your running shoes. Therefore, don’t wear your favourite t-shirt or expensive shorts. Ask yourself, “Would I mind if I never wore this item of clothing again?” If the answer is “no”, continue. If the answer is “yes”, repack.


4. Keep your top on

You’ve gone paleo and bashed out more HIITs than the Beatles. Besides, the Spartans were always shirtless: why shouldn’t you be? Because, King Leonidas, you’ll look like a mud-caked narcissist. Plus, barbed wire and bare skin make for a poor combination.


5. Embrace the mud

Attempting to complete an obstacle race without getting muddy, wet and grazed is like attempting to run a 5K PB without getting out of breath: it simply won’t happen. Much better to embrace your inner warthog and wallow in the mud. After all, you are paying to do this.


Ace the obstacles

OCR world champ Jon Albon’s top tips to obstacle awesomeness

Half pipe

“Reduce your run-up. You can reach maximum speed within a couple of metres, and that way you’ll have a lot more power to try to get to the top. Take a lot more steps than you think, too. Lots of people try to take a few massive strides and then jump. It’s better to take smaller steps: you’re running up the ramp, not jumping up it.”

Cargo net

“Hold one vertical strand with both hands. If you put your hands next to each other on a horizontal strand, the net folds in on itself. Also, the fewer steps you take up it the better, so go for a few big steps up.”

Monkey bars

“These require good grip strength. One of the best and most enjoyable ways of developing this is by going bouldering or climbing. Also, swing like a monkey. Seriously: swing your loose hand down and through in an exaggerated motion. This creates great momentum.”

Jon Albon is a professional obstacle racer and mountain runner: jonathanalbon.com


Rick Pearson

Written by Rick Pearson | 237 articles | View profile

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