Civilian Military Combine were doing things right.
They didn’t grow ambitiously. They didn’t enter markets they couldn’t afford. The races were high quality, obstacle builds were solid. They had something unique, with the PIT that attracted a whole new market to the OCR space.
Their staff were helpful, they operated professionally. If they had venue problems, they handled them appropriately. Over the past couple of years, I travelled to 6 of their events – and they ranked up there as one of my favorite race organizations.
This weekend, cancelled all current events and effectively folded.
How does this happen?
Obstacle Course Racing is a tough business – but the companies feeling it the most are the companies that travel. The amount of money involved in arriving at a venue, building a full festival and course, then breaking it down and moving it somewhere else is massive, and as we’ve seen in the past few years, it’s not an easy cost to sustain. As far back as 2013, when well liked events like Hero Rush, Run for your Lives and Ruckus folded, we could see the writing on the wall. As recently as FoamFest (USA) and LoziLu – well loved brands that attracted the coveted “newbie” market still couldn’t make the traveling roadshow work for them.
For CMC – they struggled to get a 2015 calendar to market. When it did, it was a much abbreviated calendar from their 2014 season, and they clearly struggled with venue’s, having to shut down one event early on. All along, they’ve offered full refunds when they run into problems, and thats the message they put out this weekend when they canceled all their events. Staff who’ve worked there for years are out, and it doesn’t look good for their future.
I’ll miss them. They gave me the chance to run an OCR on the pier in front of the USS Intrepid, and do a bucket carry under the wings of a British Airways Concorde. They were the only OCR to have a wave pool at the start of their course, and The Pit was the great equalizer, taking the technique and strength of a Crossfitter, and putting them against the endurance and speed of an obstacle course racer.
What message can we take away from this?
“I’ll register for that one next year” doesn’t help them this year.
Support the good guys. Read (and submit) reviews to figure out who those are.