If you follow social media at all, you will quickly realize that nothing provokes OCR discussion like accusations of cheating and/or what the appropriate levels of obstacle difficulty should be. This article is not that. It’s about numbers.
I’m a little behind on this, but Run Repeat recently published Fun in the mud: Trends in obstacle course racing, which analyzed participation numbers from 1825 US obstacle races between 2010-2017. You can read the report yourself, but here are the 3 things that interested me the most.
- Participant numbers have leveled off and remained steady at just under a half mil. That was bound to happen. Now, it will be interesting to see what happens over the next 5 years. I only have tacit understanding to back me up on this, but there seems to be a short “career” span for a substantial number of racers who a) love their first race; b) go crazy scheduling every race they can for 2-3 years; and c) level back off to just a few races a year or leave the sport for different adventures.
- Spartan Race participants double Tough Mudder participants. I would have thought that Tough Mudder had gained ground participation wise, but not really. Will their new, short race formats make a difference over the next few years? If you look at overall OCR participants by race distance, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that shorter courses = larger target market.
- The age stats are pretty interesting (but once again, not surprising). If you’re 25-35, then you have a ton of competition. Under 20 or over 50 — not so much. That gives me hope!
If you’re a numbers person, take a look at the report. It’s easy to read with a lot of different statistics. If you want to discuss the findings then hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. If you want to discuss cheating or obstacle difficulty level….find someone else, please.