Written by: Audra
I’ve been in the Obstacle Course Race (OCR) world since March of 2014 and have been hooked since my first race!! Admittedly, I had no clue what I was getting into.
I bought the Groupon for the Spartan Sprint in Charlotte with no research. It was a two (2) day event- a Saturday at a blazing temperature of 70 degrees and Sunday (my race day) at a chilly 40 degrees and rainy. You would think that it would have been a one-and-done for me, but nope, before I picked up my race packet I looked at the big Spartan logo and vowed to complete my Trifecta that year. I ran not only the Charlotte course, the Wintergreen Super (another awful weather day and one of the worst Supers) and finally the Winnsboro course earning my Trifecta.
One thing that I noticed over my last 3 races is the lack of friends. It kinda bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fighter. I may not be the strongest, and I still need lots of help on the course. Plus, when help is not available I do my 30 burpees and move on.
Still, where are my fellow brothers and sisters?
I know there are competitive friends stronger than I am. But what keeps them away?
In 2015, a few ladies from Black Girls Run (BGR) saw my repeated Spartan race posts, and they began calling me and sending Private Messages. They wanted to participate in an upcoming race. I honestly did not think that most of them were serious so I didn’t pay them too much attention. However as their requests became more frequent, I decided to form a team, “Spartan Newbies”. I also created a FB page “OCR Newbies” (now OCR Junkie). I figured I would post other OCR races onto the page as well. And so, I started adding my tidbits……
I literally spoon fed them ALL information, including links (something that no one ever did for me). The response was slow, but in the end something unexpected happened.
I was surprised that, in the end, I was able to convince 30 first-timers to take on the Spartan Sprint in Charlotte this past April with the help of 15 Veterans. That Sunday we took home the title of biggest team.
Most of them have gone on to complete the Asheville Super and will continue on to do the SC Beast to earn their trifecta status next month (As of 12/9, 80% completed their Trifectas).
In putting this team together, some questions came up (mostly from my sisters):
The main one being, what to do with their hair, will the mud stick, and will it damage their hair. And of course, the cost of the races (that argument is pretty universal).
Another thing that I’ve noticed, is that we are not as encouraging of each other on the course as one would believe. Hmmm not the same on the Spartan course. I’ve gotten side eyes, look away, and heads down as they get closer. Meanwhile, I’m all smiles, ready to yell out “AROO”.
I have come up with a list of why we don’t see our friends on OCR courses (more specifically Spartan courses, as I run more of those than any other). These are common concerns I have heard from everyone who has verbally agreed and yet, they chicken out at the last minute.
And if you’re an OCR racer, then maybe you can relate:
1. The Cost – Every year Spartan Race and a host of other races increase thier prices. Lets face it, these races cost more than $100 for the medal, the free photo and the mud! But even with a Groupon/Livingsocial/Spartan promo code – most friends don’t want to commit(pun intended) to the price, but let the new Jordan’s or IPhone come out…….
2. Change – Most do not like change. Change is supposed to challenge you- thus the prupose of the sport of Obstacle Coure Racing. But in OCR- “What’s that? Why do folks do it? What will I get out of it?” They’re not sure if signing death waivers are worth the risk of injury and a memborable experience.
3. Race Gear – For most of us avid OCR racers, you know that in order to be properly prepared for race day there are certain race day essentials that are needed, compression gear, dryfit gear, hydration pack, the proper trail shoes, etc. If they can’t use those items on a regular basis, why invest in them?
4. Hair – This is mostly for the women. I’ve had this question come up more times than I care to remember. It’s just hair ladies…it WILL wash out, I promise you. Honestly, in my 3 years of Spartan racing, the only time your hair truly gets wet is when you go under the dunk wall, its muddy water, and more brown than anything. It’s not thick mud that will stick, even so, again IT WILL WASH OUT. At the Charlotte race, I saw two ladies with swim caps on, while I thought it was excessive, I wasn’t too mad at them, I guess their fear of muddy water was real and hell, at least they were out there.
5. Fear of the unknown- I mean ok, we all have that fear, but if countless others have done it and survived, why not at least try it once. If you never want to do it again, ok, I will understand, but to just say “it’s not my thing, it’s not for me” and you’ve never even tried it? Naw, I don’t buy that.
6. Try Something New– I think most importantly, my friends tend to not want to try anything new. Most folks that I see on the course are surrounded by a team of non-blacks, they tend to be the only ones, or one of two blacks on the team. It’s as if it’s only ok to do these things if the “others” are doing it. Also, I have yet to see an all-black team.
Does anyone else feel as I do?
It’s kinda sad!!
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