Erica Jesseman, 26, trains for marathon on Scarborough Beach in Maine
Get Ready for Your New Obsession: Obstacle Course Racing
By Jeff McAninch
This season’s obstacle course racing (OCR) is going to be the best yet in New England. There are several events for people who are just starting to get into this growing sport as well as professionals who are trying to make a name for themselves.
If you’re new to OCR, there are a few upcoming events to check out. In Maine, there are two great OCR events: Dynamic Dirt Challenge and Tough Mountain Challenge. The Dynamic Dirt Challenge is on June 4th at Pineland Farms in Gray. This four-mile course is designed to challenge your all-around strength, stamina and mental grit. The second event is the OCR that I started with, the Tough Mountain Challenge in Newry on July 29th. This four-mile adventure obstacle race will test everything you have with the challenging Sunday River Resort as the setting for this twenty-four obstacle event. If you are looking to get an earlier start on this new physical hobby, then check out Thunder Run in Epping, NH on May 20th. This is a 5k format with all the fun of the other races including plenty of mud.
If you’re ready to tackle the next level of OCR, Tough Mudder offers “escape the ordinary events.” There will be two events in New England featuring Tough Mudder’s newest obstacles, that you won’t want to miss. The first event is at Mt. Snow, VT on June 24th – 25th, also known as the Beast of the East. This 10 to 12-mile course has more than 20 obstacles that will push you beyond any point you have reached before. The second “escape the ordinary” event is at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on August 19th – 20th and this will offer Full and Half Mudder both days. The Half Mudder is a 5-mile mud run without some of the advanced obstacles, a perfect way to start your Tough Mudder career. You will find that even if you went alone to these events you will come across the finish line with 20 new friends that are like family. In my opinion, it is an event that is truly life changing for most of the participants.
The next OCR series coming to New England are the Spartan Races. These races are for all levels, but geared to competitive OCR athletes because races are timed with cash prizes. The first New England race is the Spartan Sprint, this 3 to 5-mile course features 20 to 23 obstacles in Rutland, MA on June 17th. The second event is the Spartan Super and takes place on August 15th in Barre, MA, mileage is increased to 8 – 10 miles with 24 to 29 obstacles. The third and largest race is the Spartan Weekend on September 16th in Killington, VT. This is birthplace of Spartan racing and it offers the Ultra Beast, Beast and Spartan Sprint. The Ultra Beast is a test for the most advanced athlete with 26+ miles and 50+ obstacles. There are strict time hacks as well and not all who start will finish this race. The Spartan Beast is a 12 to 14-mile course with 30 to 35 obstacles to push you to the next level. The last of the Spartan race series is at historic Fenway Park on November 4th. This Spartan Sprint will be the one every OCR athlete who loves the hometown Boston Red Sox circles on their calendar. Many New England OCR athletes will attempt to earn their Trifecta medal, by completing a Spartan Sprint, Super and Beast in the same year.
I will round out this OCR report with some other upcoming race series dates and locations:
May 13 Terrain Race Thompson CT
May 20 BoneFrog Challenge Charlemont, MA
August 10-13 Shale Hill OCR Festival, Benson, VT
August 19 Warrior Dash, Thompson, CT