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Obstacle Course Racing in 2013

14 Jan 2013

emilyThis post is by Emily Metzloff, author of Obstacle Course Racing available at Amazon.com. Emily’s website, mudrunninghq.com, also lists Obstacle Course Races this year through her 2013 Mud Race Calendar.

Emily loves endurance sports and has competed in Mud Runs, Triathlons, Marathons and 24-Hour Mountain Bike Races. She is looking forward to adding a Tough Mudder and a Spartan Beast to her list in 2013. 

The Obstacle Racing Boom

It’s probably not news to anyone reading this that obstacle course racing has become hugely popular in recent years. But just how much the sport has grown since 2010 may surprise you.

Back in 2010, 40,000 people participated in 20 obstacle course races hosted in the US. But in early 2013, over 400 obstacle course races are scheduled throughout the country and will attract over 2 million participants. No other sport or fitness event can claim anywhere close to this kind of exponential growth. As obstacle course racing matures as a sport, it’s interesting to take a look at some of the event statistics.

What State Hosts the Most Obstacle Course Races?

Almost every single state will host at least one obstacle course race this year, though there have not yet been any races scheduled in Alaska, Wyoming or Delaware. Stay tuned though, because many local races will be announcing 2013 dates later on this year.

Which state will host more events than any other? If you guessed Texas, you are right. Texas leads the country with 38 events announced so far in 2013. The runners up are California with 35 and Florida with 30.

The Big Three Fight for Market Share

As far as the race series that own the biggest percentage of the market, the Big 3 (Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash) are still duking it out when it comes to attracting the most participants and bringing in the most profits.

However, there is a new competitor when it comes to the greatest number of venues. Dirty Girl (women only) will host events in 62 different venues compared to 55 Tough Mudder venues, 48 Spartan venues and 36 Warrior Dash venues.

Obstacle Racing Options Abound

There is also a noteworthy new kid on the block this year. Spartan has teamed up with NBC’s Biggest Loser to host a series of 15 “Off-Road Challenges” where participants can run or walk through an obstacle course. This is a cool development in the sport because women have already had non-competitive events to choose from if they wanted a more mellow event where they could build their confidence in the sport. Now the guys have a way to ease into the sport as well.

There will also be more options for fitness buffs who want an even more intense challenge beyond a 5k obstacle course. Tough Mudder and the Spartan Beast have offered longer races for several years, but in 2013 Warrior Dash will add their own extreme event. The Iron Warrior Dash will debut in three venues this year and will have participants running 15-20 miles.

So whether you are an obstacle course race junkie or you are just thinking about giving it a try, 2013 has a wider range of options than ever. Go get dirty!



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