Does Battlefrog Now Make It “The Big Four”?


With Battlefrog Race Series’ big announcement yesterday, they may have just cemented themselves as the fourth OCR event in what has been a 3 company race since the explosion of obstacle racing and mud runs in 2012.

When Battlefrog announced it’s first race at the end of March of this year, it was met with skepticism. The OCR world had just witnessed the much hyped, and quickly failed Extreme Nation. The community was also licking its wounds over many other race closings.  So the promise of  a new series with “big money backers” and fell mostly on deaf ears. Then, just a few weeks later, they put on a race worth talking about.

Their first event in Georgia on May 31st and June 1st was met with rave reviews. It had a few hiccups, but none of the usual BS excuses that so many badly executed races had given us in the past. (It was only our first race, our volunteers didn’t show up, etc). The obstacles were well built and challenging, the course was laid out well, and the volunteers were encouraging and informed.

The biggest impact was arguably made my the Battlefrog Staff itself. Battlefrog had a distinct advantage that no one saw coming, OCR experience.

When The Big 3 started, they essentially started in a vacuum, learning on the fly and creating a new genre of sport along the way. Battlefrog was able to tap into the OCR community and reap the benefits of hiring many who had been working in obstacle racing since the beginning. Some had worked at other OCR companies, and some had been highly active members in the community with no specific ties. So when the Battlefrog staff approached it’s consumers with a ton of enthusiasm and care, it was legit. Paul Jones of the New England Spahtens said of their August 2nd New Jersey race said the following: “The attention shown to the participants and athletes on race day was very reminiscent of Spartan Race, back in 2012 and 2013 – days when they were big enough to put on a show, but small enough to still know people’s names and interact on a personal level”. This sentiment was echoed by members of the Georgia Obstacle Racers and Mud Runners, amongst many others.

Battlefrog had around 1000 runners per day for all 6 of their 2014 races. This does not come close to equalling their marketing budget and race payouts. However, they’ve continued to advertise aggressively with all forms of media as well as putting together Battlefrog Superfans also known as their “Field Team” nationwide. (You’ve probably noticed your Facebook filled with BF codes lately).

On top of this was, of course, yesterday’s $1,000,000 payout announcement, which includes 13 races, a point series, and a year end championship race ala Tough Mudder, Spartan, and Warrior Dash.

Battlefrog Champs

Which brings us back to the question:

Is Battlefrog officially the 4th of the Big 4 or should we wait to make that call until their registration numbers match their massive plans?

Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.
  1. I think the real key to whether or not BattleFrog will eventually become one of the big names in OCR is longevity. Anyone can throw a ton of money around and grab headlines with million dollar purses, but to ultimately be competitive, they will need to start drawing in larger crowds to their events.

    It’s how they handle that larger group that will tell if they will continue to be successful. Will they be able to still keep that personal feeling? As mentioned in the article, people used to get that impression from Spartan Race when they first started, but as they grew, and crowds got larger, the personal touch was lost.

    And at the same time, eventually BattleFrog NEEDS the higher attendance numbers to start being profitable. The people backing this event aren’t doing it out of charity or the kindness of their heart. Eventually, those backers will want to see a return on their investment, which will only come when the public and OCR community buys in to BattleFrog and becomes as committed and dedicated as many Spartan racers and Tough Mudders are.

  2. I, for one, truly believe that ALL of the OCR’s are missing out on a very large number of potential participants. I am 73 and just started the circuit with five races under my belt for 2014. After some cancer treatment this spring I’ll be up and ready for 2015. There are plenty of so-called “older” people who would participate if the marketing was slightly different. Right now it seems that all the attention is on the “elite” – and they rightly deserve all the credit and kudos – but if these events were marketed to the many alpha males that are out there I believe that a whole new group of athletes could be found. And just think about the health benefits that could be advertised via the training process? That could bring in multiple newer sources of revenue (sponsors).

    1. Paul, like every major company though, these events need to direct their spending towards their largest target market, and it’s a bell curve. It’s also why they don’t spend a ton of money marketing the kid runs. The vast majority of participants fall in to the middle of the age spectrum.

  3. NJ Battlefrog was a great event. The key to BFs longevity is building their brand. Legionaries identify with being Tough Mudders. Spartans define themselves with I am Spartan. They both mean something different. BattleFrog needs something unique that participants can get passionate about otherwise they become an OCR provider and that can be easily replicated. Marathons are identified by where they are run (NY, Boston, Chicago, etc.) because they are basically all the same. Marathoners can be passionate about running marathons but not necessarily about any particular one.

    1. hi Eric,
      We hope that our affiliation and support for the US Navy SEALs, veterans and all branches of the military will give people something to be passionate about aside from our quality events.

      1. Garfield,

        Then by your account wouldn’t Bone Frog stand to pull from your same exact “passionate” pool seeing that they are owned and operated by Navy SEALs?

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