Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is a sporting event requiring an athlete to run through a variety of different obstacles as fast as possible. The obstacles are designed to test the participants' strength, agility, endurance, and mental toughness. The OCR courses can vary in length and difficulty, ranging from short courses with a few obstacles to multi-day events with dozens of obstacles over a long distance.
The OCR course can include obstacles such as monkey bars, rope climbs, mud pits, crawling under barbed wire, jumping over hurdles, crawling under barbed wire, running through a series of hanging stun guns, carrying heavy objects, climbing over walls, and many more.
Originally, races were inspired by military training methods designed to test endurance as well as the physical and mental limits of athletes. The first race was designed in 1987 by Tough Guy. In recent years, longer distance OCR events have become a popular form of fitness and recreation, with many events and competitions held around the world.
Some of the most popular Obstacle Course Races include the American Events Rugged Maniac, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Warrior Dash and these European events Tough Guy, Bog Commander, and Legion Run. These OCR events can be competitive, with participants racing to finish the course in the fastest time, or non-competitive, with participants working together to overcome the obstacles and finish the course as a team.
Short sprint-type obstacle courses are also becoming popular, and can resemble the ninja warrior courses. Obstacle racing was among the sports contested at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. There were events over 100 meters with 10 obstacles, 400 meters with 12 obstacles and 5 km with 20 obstacles. The Olympic sport of Modern Pentathlon is also considering replacing the horse show jumping discipline with a short obstacle race.
Vocation-specific obstacle races are part of the Military World Games.
- In the Military Pentathlon, the obstacle run component requires competitors to navigate a 500m course involving 20 obstacles. Some of the obstacles include a rope ladder, tripwire, balance beam, water jumps, crawls under barbed wire and an assault wall. The obstacles are designed to simulate the types of obstacles that soldiers may encounter in combat situations.
- In the Naval Pentathlon, the obstacle course component for men is over 305 meters with 10 obstacles (women do 280 meters and 9 obstacles). The obstacles include a hurdle, balance beam, barrel, Irish table, grenade throwing, climbing net, long jump, tunnel, combination obstacle (Parallel wire, climbing planks, yard and footrope) and sloping wire (males only).
- In the Aeronautical Pentathlon includes an obstacle course of 300 to 400 m, with 10 to 12 obstacles. The obstacles are of the same type as Military Pentathlon obstacles, but may be placed in a hilly or irregular terrain and the obstacles may be placed in a different order. Some of the obstacles include a rope ladder, tripwire, balance beam, water jumps, crawls under barbed wire and an assault wall.
- Parkour — activity involving overcoming obstacles in an urban space.
- Freerunning — a version of parkour that adds acrobatic moves that are purely aesthetic, also known as tricking.
- Chase Tag — a chaser has 20 seconds to tag an evader as they race around an obstacle course.
- Dog Agility — a dog version of the obstacle race.
- Military Pentathlon — a competition involving a shooting phase, obstacle run, obstacle swimming, grenade throwing, and cross-country running.
- Naval Pentathlon — comprises an obstacle race, Life saving swimming race, Utility swimming race, Seamanship race, and an amphibious cross-country race.
- Aeronautical Pentathlon — despite the name, the sport has 6 events: shooting, fencing, orienteering, basketball skills, obstacle course and swimming.
- Steeplechase — an athletics distance track running event with barriers and water jumps.
- Adventure Racing — an event combining two or more endurance disciplines, such as Orienteering, Cross-Country Running, Mountain Biking, Paddling and Climbing. It is also called Expedition Racing.
- A swimming obstacle race was once held at the 1900 Olympic Games.
- An obstacle race is being considered to replace the equestrian event as part of the modern pentathlon.
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports