Cranky Bastard Virtual Race

Cranky Bastard 5K-10 Virtual Race

The Cranky Bastard 5K/10K Race is Over

Bummer, sorry you missed this one-time special event, but don’t be too bummed because we have more cool contests coming your way throughout 2014.


Let’s Work Together to Shut Him Up

We love Cranky, but all we hear in the studio is how little he thinks most obstacle racers speed-train compared to ‘real’ runners. Cranky thinks most obstacle racers don’t train specifically to run faster, and even goes as far as to say OCR is a just a trailrunning race with a lot of breaks.

Actually, maybe we don’t really love him that much after all, but anyway…

Let’s Race!

Not like we need an excuse, but let’s race.  Let’s show this fool that not only do obstacle race athletes train, we train to get faster, and what’s a better way to showcase this than in a Cranky Bastard 5K/10K Virtual Race.

Run. Record. Repeat.

The rules are simple.

  1. Register and pay the $25 registration
  2. {optional} Talk trash on the Facebook event page
  3. Choose your race distance (5K or 10K)
  4. Run the distance on the road or trail.
  5. Give it your best effort. After all, fast or slow, it is a race, and we want you to push yourself
  6. Record your finish time
  7. Submit your race time to the Queen of ORM
  8. Collect your unique, one-of -a-kind Cranky Bastard Finisher Medal

But, here’s a little spin:

The race begins once you register, but the race continues until January 31, 2014.

This means that for your one-time registration fee of $25.00, you can submit a race finish time more than once, up to 5 times. This way, not only can we show that Cranky Bastard that OCR athletes can run, and do train to get faster, but we can prove it.

Winners Here. Winners There.

How do you win? By being the fastest, of course. Didn’t we say this was a race?

The following categories will be eligible for prizes:

  • Top 3 male and female racers overall*

But, we will recognize all kinds of winners.

The following categories will be displayed and recognized on the Obstacle Racing Media website:

  • Fastest overall male and female at each distance
  • Fastest overall male and female master racers
  • Top 3 in age groups in 10 and under, 11-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+
  • For the runners who submit multiple race times, we will recognize the Most Improved Racer

* To be eligible for prizes, you must submit proof in the form of run tracking data, screenshot, phone picture, etc. If you are in contention for a prize, you know these technologies, and know what we mean.

Register Now

Easy, right?

Register Now, and get running. And remember, after you submit your first finisher time, if you think you can do better, submit again – until January 31, 2014.

A Word About Cheating

Come on, now, you guys know how much Cranky loves to call out cheaters.

We know there is nothing to stop people from cheating in a virtual race, but please do remember, we are a small community, and in the end, you are only cheating yourself, your reputation and your integrity – both inside and outside of OCR.

If you’re caught cheating, you’ll have to answer to Cranky. Good luck with that.

Cranky Bastard Finisher Medals for All Finishers

Okay, really, these are just flat-out cool finisher medals. One of the coolest ever seen in OCR, or road races, anywhere.

Every finisher who submits a time will receive a finisher medal. Period. It’s an exceptional way to tell Cranky to stuff it, visually. Naturally, all finisher medals will be mailed out after January 31, 2014.

Register Now


Cranky Bastard Logo Contest Winner

Meet Cranky Bastard

Cranky Bastard logo winner

Why This Logo?

First of all, choosing was incredibly difficult. I liked every single one of the logos, and quite honestly, the craziest, most maniacal ones were my absolute favorite. I agree that some looked more angry, than cranky, but I think that’s ok.

In the end, I went with the one I found to be the most unique logo design.

Other reasons I like this logo:

  1. There is really nothing else like it.
  2. As a pudgy racer, I’m much like the character.
  3. I like the “confusion” element of the icons around him.
  4. The distressed look, while sometimes played out, works here.
  5. There is a subtle feel of barbed wire to it, and I love barbed wire.

The Contest Winner

The winner of the comments contest was “Josh”. So, now “Josh” needs to respond to us using the same Hotmail email address he signed up with, and dude has a free race entry. Where ya at, kid?

I liked his response as it was obvious that he took the time to review the options, think it through, and respond. I’m a sucker for analytical people, plus he was kind of funny.

His comment read:

I would go with the stenciled guy gripping his fists. I like the font and that he looks pissed and irate and cranky at the same time.

1. The logos in the circles look like the little guy is taking a sh!t.
2. The other stenciled logo looks mischievous but not cranky.
3. The masked hero would be Fat Bastard, but he’s no Cranky Bastard
4. The dog and monkey logos are played out and childish
5. The panda one reminds me too much of Kung Fu Panda

Back to Being Cranky

Ok, enough with the niceties and love-stuff. I’ve got a boatload of Cranky content coming down the pipe, exploring all kinds of funny, interesting, and goofy elements of our OCR culture.

We are a “look at me” culture. That’s a simple fact. One look at OCR participant Facebook pages and Instagrams proves that, so keep an open mind, read with a light heart, and really, it’s ok to laugh at ourselves from time to time.

Congrats, Josh, hope you pick a really cool race to shred.

It’s Not Making You Faster

Huarache sandals

©2013 Scott Smuin

Who do we blame?

Born to Run?



Barefoot Ted?

Beyond The Minimalist Movement

I’m going to piss-off a lot of my friends with this semantic exploration into the current trends in racing footwear, but, well, c’est la vie, because Cranky believes it’s getting waaaay out of hand.

Footwear, or the lack thereof, has been rapidly changing in athletics over the last five years. What was old, like “Nike Waffle Racer in 1973, old”, became new again, and minimalist footwear hit the athletic shoe world with tremendous force.

Nike Waffle Racer shoe

photo: This looks like like it would be an excellent OCR shoe, yes?

First, it was the minimalist models that began trickling in, most notably models from New Balance, Inov-8, and pretty much anything supporting a neutral gait, with low profile, 4mm or less heel-to-toe drop, and weighing in at lighter than 8 ounces.

This was good.

Barefoot Running?

Then, came the barefoot movement. Seemingly, not so good.

I mean, ok, so there have always been “barefoot runners”, but they certainly weren’t considered “hip”, nor progressive – just a little crazy. The mid-foot vs. heel-strike movement started to ramp up, people started looking towards pose running, which lead them to more minimalist footwear options, and BAM!, some of the more extremists went straight to barefeet.

Sounds good, right? I mean, Who’s going to heel-strike barefoot?

When Barefoot isn’t Really Barefoot

If you haven’t already, you will soon hear someone say, “I run barefoot…” and then follow that up with, “…in Vibrams.”

Unless I’m missing something, that’s not really “barefoot”. Barefoot means bare, feet. No shoes. But somehow, Vibram Five Finger runners have redefined the meaning of “barefoot”.


Photo: as shown at

Let me start by saying, I own a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. I felt like, and continue to feel like, occasional training in very minimalist footwear, like Vibrams, helps to improve my overall foot strength and flexibility. That being said, I would never race obstacles in them.

Besides looking completely ridiculous, I see absolutely no advantage for obstacle racing athletes. Because most OCR races are run on the trails, and a majority of obstacles require a lot of jumping, and landing, it seems counter-intuitive to the needs of the racer, and seems that it would promote injury, force more careful foot placement, and ultimately slow the runner down.

Huarache Sandals and Various Knock-offs

It gets better.


Now, there are a lot of athletes, with whom I carry a great amount of respect, that choose to race in this kind of extreme minimalist footwear; but, I simply do not understand this incessant need to run in Huarache sandals, or any other sandal, when solid athletic performance is a desired outcome.

Unlike Vibrams, they look cool and interesting enough, but I have seen countless examples of OCR athlete, sitting on the side of the trail, all sad and dejected, with their cool, new, hip sandal in their hand, completely blown-out.

Or worse, feet that that have suffered some gnarly blistering from the in-between-toe straps, the ankle straps, or the loose footbed sliding around underneath.

Why is this better than, say, an Inov-8 Bare-X model shoe with zero drop heel-to-toe, minimal upper or cushioning material, and ultra-light at about six measly ounces? or a New Balance Minimus Zero model? Both of these shoes would feel every bit as light as Vibrams or sandals, but would provide that additional protection necessary to run faster, more worry-free, and less injury-prone.

It’s Not Just the Footwear

Overzealous athletes deserve some of the blame.

Many times, athletes jump on the bandwagon without taking the appropriate time to get used to minimalist footwear. The amount of new strain added to the calves, achilles and overall foot musculature is much greater in minimalist shoes, and it takes some acclimation before one can resume the same levels of racing and training.

In Cranky’s opinion, CrossFit is the best training methodology ever invented for the masses, but many people will tell you that CrossFit is a recipe for injury; and it can be, if athletes do not first take the time to learn proper technique, scale the loads and movements, and build a foundation for which to grow.

Minimalist footwear acclimation is exactly the same thing, and when this “foundational” process is ignored, people get hurt.

But Who Cares About All That?

All grouchy commentary aside, I believe that uber-minimalist footwear like Vibrams Five Fingers and Huarache sandals makes athletes slower, more careful runners, and rarely promotes maximum performance potential.

Ask yourself this, why do none of the Kenyons, ripping through 2:05 marathons, wear Vibrams or run barefoot?

Why are none of the fastest, elite, top-finishing trail runners, from distances as short as cross country, to ultramarathon distances of 100 miles or more, wearing Huarache sandals?

Or in OCR, where’s Hobie’s Huaraches? Cody? Ella? Margaret? Oh that’s right, Margaret races for Inov-8 🙂

These athletes do not choose this extreme footwear for racing because it does not make them faster, nor perform better.

So, Cranky has to ask, for those of you that do rock the Five Fingers at races, or the {gasp} latest model of primitive sandal, why?

What are you gaining by doing this?

How are your race performances benefiting?

Are any of you getting faster by doing so?

Cranky doesn’t think so, but is open to hearing your experiences.


A Bunch of Cheaters

How to do burpees

Cheaters suck.

In competition, there is little that is more frustrating than losing to someone who has cheated.

For Obstacle Racing to become a legitimate “sport” and a valid test of competitive superiority among its athletes, there must be standards that are met by all participants. When participants take it upon themselves to ignore the rules of competition, chaos ensues, doubts are raised, and conflicts develop.

Don’t be a cheater.

Attempt Every Obstacle

If you sign up for an obstacle race, you should expect to attempt every obstacle. In this writer’s opinion, if you KNOW you cannot swim, don’t sign up and just skip the swimming obstacle. Instead, find another race.

There is no shame in failing; but there is plenty of shame in first, glancing around to see if anyone is looking, and then, waddling past a 8-foot wall because you don’t want to make a fool of yourself struggling up the obstacle like a stranded seal in San Francisco Bay.

OCR is a supportive community. If you are willing to try, there a hundred athletes behind you, all ready to help you achieve that goal. If that means squatting on all fours and creating a step-ladder for you to get over that wall, or cupping the hands to give you a lift, or even collecting a group to toss your big ass over, athletes in the community will be there for you.

Even better, they’ll high-five you on the other side, tell you what a great job you did, and move on.

That’s the experience you came for when you signed up for an obstacle race, isn’t it?

Complete Your Obstacle Penalties

Most races do not have obstacle penalties. I could write an entire piece about this subject as in my humble opinion, a race with no penalties is no valid race at all – it’s just a trail run.

Spartan Race is probably the most well-known obstacle race series in which penalties can be a major factor in race performance and finish time. Typically, failing or skipping a major obstacle in a Spartan Race will result in the participant being ushered to the sidelines to complete thirty [30] full-range burpees.

They key here is “30”, and “full-range”, but what is really going on is anything but.

Is Counting To 30 An Obstacle?

It sure seems that way.

Next race, meander on over to a monkey bar obstacle, rope climb, or wall traverse and watch the crowds of obstacle failures attempt their set of burpees. Let me know if you find more than 1 out of 5 that are actually completing their obstacle penalty, because I’ve never seen it.

Why should that seemingly fit girl in purple tights get to short her burpee count, when a far less fit athlete, is struggling through her burpees, as instructed?

At one race, I informed a girl from the sidelines, “hey – that was only 14 burpees.”

Her response? “I have to catch up to my friends.”

There’s something wrong with that, isn’t there?

A Burpee Is Not A Squat Thrust

There is almost an infinite number of videos on YouTube displaying proper burpee form, but in short, the bottom of the burpee should have the athlete on the ground, full legs, hip, and torso contact, with the top of the movement consisting of an open hip, and controlled jump into the air.

That is a legit burpee.

You’ll find people who throw their legs behind them, into a high-butt plank, and then jump right back up, and do it again.

That’s not a legit burpee. No rep.

You’ll find people who flop to the ground, roll side-to-side to get themselves up, and then with a muted hip, start the process over. No open hip, no jump, and in my opinion, no rep.

Who Cares, Cranky?

I care.

I’m hardly an elite racer and I’ve never seen the podium in OCR, but I do run the elite heats, and in these heats more than anywhere, I expect a higher level of competitive integrity. The problem stems from the the top, to the back of the pack, and I would like to see our community police it more, and especially when there is money involved for the top finishers.

Look at every OCR race web site out there. What is the overarching theme?


“Dig deep and challenge yourself.”

“Achieve the seemingly impossible.”

I have yet to see a race that promotes,

“Super easy obstacles.”

“30 burpee penalty (unless you don’t want to).”

“Anyone can do it!”

Why? Because most obstacle course races want to be viewed as true tests of one’s physical, mental, and emotional capability under the duress of challenging competition – whether vs. oneself or other racers.

Cheating in an obstacle race only cheats one person – yourself. You are the one that has to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling, and asterisk your own race finish, right?

Now It’s Your Turn

So I ask the community, how much cheating do you see? How has it affected you or your race, and better yet, what can we do to curb it? Let us know in the comments below. Remember the OCR community is YOUR community and rest assured that the race directors are watching and reading.

Speak up to drive change.


Cranky Bastard is a weekly editorial feature of Obstacle Racing Media, written by a member of the OCR community, to share personal thoughts, experiences and opinions regarding obstacle racing. Got an opinion? Let ’em have it. 

No Refund For You!

Race cancellations

Event cancellations are getting ridiculous.

It seems ironic that an obstacle race web site can clobber us over the head, over and over again, with just how “tough” the course is going to be and how much we are going to have to “dig deeper” than ever before to achieve the seemingly impossible. We must “challenge” ourselves like never before, and then…

Cancelled. The event gets abruptly cancelled due to rainy weather, or as of late, poison ivy and “swimmer’s itch”.

Seriously? Poison ivy? Swimmer’s itch?

Kind of difficult to even make this stuff up, and I’m not singling out any one race. Several races, including the big brand races, seem to be doing this more and more.

Where’s The Beef?

Swimmers itch in Illinois?

A quick Google search, filtered to information from the last week, revealed very little current news or information about a supposed swimmer’s itch outbreak anywhere in Illinois. Previous years? Sure, and that goes for a slew of other places across the United States – a very common issue in very common places – but a huge obstacle?

You be the judge.

Extreme poison ivy? Same. Nada.

Double Standards

I get it.

As an obstacle racer, it’s so easy to find yourself registering for races out of excitement and forgetting to look at the calendar first. We’ve all done it, and there’s nothing quite like that feeling of nausea when you stumble upon one of these conflicts after the register button has been clicked and your bank account a few duckets lighter.

In that case, cancellation is all on you. Typically, we don’t even let race directors know because there is a 0.0% chance of getting a refund, and rightfully so. We just bail on the event.

But, if the race cancels on us, this should be a different story. The race is not holding up its’ end of the contract, and athletes should have both options available to them – a refund or free entry into the rescheduled event.

More Cost Than Just Race Entry

For some athletes there are flights, rental cars, hotels, gear, and other related costs for race participation. While this is not something the race is responsible for compensating in any way, it’s certainly a significant point which should be considered when “pulling the plug.”

Out Of Our Control

When state or federal officials shut down a race for something like a forest fire, that can be defined as “out of our control” as there is no choice whatsoever for cancellation; but, in this writer’s opinion, a few complaints, when compared to overall entrant numbers, of irritants at a race venue is hardly a situation of emergency.

Let the runners decide.

Offer the information, and let racers vote with attendance.

The Ultimate Insult

Lastly, and again, this is the opinion of this writer (but I’m sure I’m not alone), the ultimate insult comes when the race, trying to actually capitalize on the rescheduling, encourages dissed participants to get their friends to register for the new date by offering a discount for new athletes who sign up for the new date.

Doesn’t that sit funny with anyone else?

Or am I truly, just the cranky bastard?


Cranky Bastard is a weekly editorial feature of Obstacle Racing Media, written by a member of the OCR community, to share personal thoughts, experiences and opinions regarding obstacle racing. Got an opinion? Let ’em have it.