I’m considering it. Seriously considering it. It would be good for my soul.
The Endeavor Team Challenge offers exactly what drew me (and many of the OGs) to obstacle racing to begin with: more of an adventure and less of an event. As much as I love obstacle racing and the many improvements in terms of races and obstacles, the days of OCR being an “off-the-grid” sport, free of the downsides of mainstream sports, are gone. While we all have watched many new great athletes join the sport, I’ve simultaneously observed racer after racer slowly drift away; many who have become disillusioned by the commercial forces that chiseled away all but the most minute elements of adventure. I expect that the ETC might hold significant appeal to the disillusioned who have transitioned out of OCR into trail running, ultras, and the like.
Created by former Army Rangers and modeled loosely after the Best Ranger Competition, the ETC is in its 4th year. It is a 30-hour event held on a September weekend (8th and 9th) in Stanislaus National Forest in Bear Valley, California. The description reads “an unforgettable experience that pushes competitors of all backgrounds and skill levels beyond their perceived limits.”
The race combines the expected and unexpected. You can prepare, but you can’t prepare. In my mind, I picture it as a more structured, but shorter and significantly tamer Death Race, void of the mind games and the”we will make you quit” philosophy. The event has a little bit of everything including rucking, obstacles, rock climbing, swimming, and orienteering. Yet, unlike many other adventures of this sort, there are spectator viewing and cheering opportunities, as well as numerous safety measures in place to help prevent people like me from inadvertently dying in the mountains.
If this has piqued your interest, watch the video below or visit their website for more details. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll see you there, either this year or next.