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Obstacle Course Racing Gets Ready for a National Governing Body

22 Mar, 2017

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Sit down. Take a deep breath. And brace yourself.

Obstacle course racing has a national governing body.

That’s right, OCR, that wild, muddy, take-no-prisoners sport, now has oversight – contrary to the dire predictions of those who claimed an NGB would damage the integrity of the sport and hurt its ability to attract athletes who liked the fact that it defied stereotypes.

And for the USA’s OCR industry, it marks the first step on the path toward sanctioned international events.

The International Obstacle Sports Federation (OSF) this month announced the creation of USA Obstacle Course Racing (USAOCR). The OSF has recognized the USAOCR as the official governing body for the United States. It will govern all obstacle sports and related disciplines in the United States. Competitors in events sanctioned by USAOCR can qualify for championship races and can be selected to represent the United States on Team USA at international competitions.

As a recognized member of OSF, USAOCR joins 50 other national federations and can send teams to the OCR World Series, Continental Championships, World Championships and various multi-sport Games.

In an article in Mud Run Guide, Tim Sinnet, in charge of media relations for the new NGB, noted the USAOCR is recognized as a commission of USA Pentathlon, a national federation of the US Olympic Committee.

Additionally, he noted in the interview, “there are currently plans to have an OCR Pan American Championship later in the fall.”

USAOCR has also announced that the first OCR US National Championship (international distance) sanctioned by OSF will take place at the Spartan Race on April 30 at Amelia Earhard Park in Hialeah, Florida. In fact, it will be at this race that athletes will be selected to represent Team USA at the Pan American Championships.

A press release from USAOCR noted,

Obstacle racing has seen phenomenal growth over a very short time. The sport has grown over the past seven years from relative obscurity to the #1 mass participation sport in the world, larger than Marathons, Half Marathons and Triathlons combined. Obstacle Races are held in a growing number of countries and are quickly becoming the world’s most popular sport for elite athletes and weekend warriors alike.

According to data from Running USA, the American College on Exercise, and American College of Sports Medicine there are 8 million people participating in obstacle sports in the United States. These include obstacle course races and mud runs (Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, etc.), functional fitness competitions (similar to CrossFit), obstacle competitions like American Ninja Warrior, and adventure racing.

Sinnet told Mud Run Guide that USAOCR became affiliated with the International Obstacle Sports Federation by meeting the requirements of affiliation and recognition. OSF has been working on establishing the governance structure and systems required as specified by IOC as well as SportAccord (a union of both Olympic and non-Olympic sports.)

Robert Killian has been named the acting president of USAOCR, which is currently seeking members for its board of directors. Information on the election process is available on this section of the website.

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