Mile 55: 2016 OCR Event Rankings

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As you know by now I completed a lot of OCR’s in 2016. Almost every weekend from late April through early September was a race weekend for me. It was a bit too much for me to handle. That is why I decreased my event schedule for 2017. Even though it was a little overbearing at times it was still a fun race season and probably my best overall. It was a season full of personal bests, achievements and new experiences. With a bunch of new OCR’s (Rugged Maniac, MuckFestMS, Hardcore Mudd Run and Terrain Race) the competition for best event was tough. However, along the way it was clear which OCR’s stood out over the others. Let’s see if you can guess which OCR was the best.

Hardcore Mudd Run Series

I really had high hopes for this local race. It’s managed by a local group and they claimed to have one of the best OCR’s in the industry. With both individual effort awards and finisher awards this seemed like an event that rewarded racers for their achievements. Unfortunately, this race left me with disappointment and questions about what I just did. Based off of the feedback on their Facebook page and event page others felt the same. I hope 2017 is better for those who commit to their race(s).

Favorite: this race offered a challenging terrain that I wasn’t expecting. They did a good job of using a good venue to their advantage.

Least Favorite: their lack of obstacles and participants. They had some obstacles, but a few were missing that they weren’t able to set up. This was the common negative review left by others as well.

Warrior Dash

Warrior Dash has become stagnant. They haven’t introduced many new obstacles the past few race seasons. However, it’s still one of the best OCR’s for a first timer and they have one of the better festival areas for spectators and post race fun. I’m not planning on completing a Warrior Dash in 2017, but I’m hoping to try again in 2018. Maybe there will be some different obstacles to look forward to.

Favorite: their festival area is one of the best in the business. A lot of people stick around afterwards for beer and pork wings.

Least Favorite: the lack of creative obstacles. Warrior Dash needs to change it up a little bit.

Terrain Race

This was a new race for me, but Terrain Race has been around for a few years. This was the first year that they held events along the East Coast. I think Terrain Race has a lot of potential to be a good race series. They offer a 5k and 10k course with a decent number of obstacles. Besides a small scare of potentially shutting down, Terrain Race had a successful 2016. Look for them to potentially overtake the loyal Warrior Dash followers.

Favorite: they have one of the best OCR medals in the industry. If you like medals you’ll love Terrain Race’s finisher medal.

Least Favorite: some of their obstacles seemed a little cheap. They might want to invest some money into their obstacle props.

The Zombie Fun Run

It’s technically not an OCR, but it’s still a fun race with some obstacles, mud and living zombies. Night time racing is definitely more difficult and adds to the experience. Hopefully the race in 2017 will be even more fun.

Favorite: Running from zombies. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Least Favorite: Again, they seem to have zombie issues for the night waves. However, this year they stacked the zombie hoards towards the end of the race.

BattleFrog 8k…RIP

Well, it doesn’t really matter about BattleFrog’s ranking anymore because the series is no longer in business. BattleFrog shut their doors to public events halfway through the race season. It was a very shocking surprise to many in the OCR community. They have now shifted their focus to their college championship series. We’ll see how successful they are in 2017.

Favorite: they shifted to a new venue in 2016 and it was a good one. Too bad I won’t get to experience it again in 2017.

Least Favorite: the obstacles seemed to be more challenging in 2015. Even though they offer three different levels of difficulty on their obstacles the elite lane wasn’t too difficult.

MuckFest MS

If you want to do an OCR that is both fun and for a great cause then MuckFest MS is for you. Raising money for MS while playing in the mud with your friends and family doesn’t get any better. Also, it’s great to see people living with MS on the course and achieving great results.

Favorite: the personal changing tents. Nothing is better than having personal space while changing into clean clothes after the race.

Least Favorite: the long lines at some of their obstacles. It is never fun waiting in lines.

Spartan Race Series

There isn’t a racing series or event that is tougher than the Spartan Race. However, tough doesn’t always equal fun. Spartan Race’s obstacles have also become stagnant and overly used. Each race (Sprint, Super, Beast) has a sandbag carry, bucket brigade, atlas carry and etc. After awhile it’s not surprising with what to expect anymore. The highlight of my Spartan Race experience was the Stadium Sprint at Citizens Bank Park. That race was the most fun I’ve had at any Spartan Race.

Favorite: getting my first Spartan Race Trifecta. I doubt I’ll ever go for it again, but I’m glad I finally achieved this.

Least Favorite: Spartan Race’s are becoming more and more expensive each year. I understand the need to race prices, but they have to offer something better as a justification for it.

Tough Mudder

I enjoy Tough Mudder so much that I completed two of them in 2016. Tough Mudder is a premiere event that is Spartan Race’s biggest competition. With some new concepts and events in 2017 they will make an even better run at trying to top Spartan Race as the most popular OCR. I’m looking forward to 2017 and adding another headband (or two!) to my collection.

Favorite: they are constantly introducing new obstacles and even asking racers to submit their ideas and designs for new ones. They care about each participants experience.

Least Favorite: for just one race I’d like to run without the rain, wind and cold. This isn’t Tough Mudder’s fault at all, but it would be nice if this could happen.

Rugged Maniac

Rugged Maniac was my favorite OCR in 2016. They have a lot of obstacles, great festival area and are creating an awesome experience for everyone. This is also another great race for a first timer. I completed two Rugged Maniac’s in 2016 and that wasn’t enough. I’m looking forward to seeing what Rugged Maniac has in store for all of us in 2017.

Favorite: they have some great obstacles. I enjoyed so many obstacles in just a 5k race. It was even better not hitting any lines along the way.

Least Favorite: the race is too short. They could easily make this race 5 miles with even more obstacles.

Savage Race

Savage Race is the best race in OCR right now. They have the best obstacles, venues and medals. Three major components to a successful OCR. Each year they are introducing new obstacles that are fun, challenging and outside the box. With some of the new obstacles they’ve released already for 2017 it looks like the competition will have a tough time beating Savage Race as my best OCR.

Favorite: introducing the Savage Syndicate medal. Not only did I get a sweet medal, but it was an incentive to complete more than one Savage Race a year. Great business model!

Least Favorite: I really wish they would get rid of Thor’s Grundle. I hate that obstacle.

2016 was a great race season for me and the various teams I competed with along the way. Everyone I ran with had a great time at the various events they completed throughout the season. The JAM! Just Another Mile team and I are looking forward to a fun, obstacle filled, muddy and successful 2017 race season.

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