Reflecting on the end of the year is always fun. Because we are in the business of tracking eyes, ears, clicks and whatnot, we thought we’d let you know what the world observed the most from ORM in 2015.
Most read: Gear article
Dario reached out to the Albon, Atkins, and Moat to find out what got them through the Spartan World Champs. You can find out how they were decked out, top to bottom. There are also links to where you can purchase these items yourself wherever possible. The “What The Pros Wear” series is quite popular overall, but it does appear we need to reach out to some women in this department.
Charley caught this 15 second video. It got shared over 3,300 times and was seen by over 430,000 people. Watch and you’ll see why.
Most read: Editorial
At the end of May, in a conversation about what he was going to do after Atlas folded, owing him thousands, Hobie told me he was going back to working full time. I was inspired to write this.
Most Heard : Podcast with Lee Haney
Most Read: News item
In August, Spartan announced they were casting for a new reality competition show. Things moved super fast and the show was shot near Atlanta in November, and is due out in 2016.
Most Read: Transformation
Even though it was just released 23 days ago, Allison’s brave story about herself has been the most viewed in our transformation series. My speculation is that this is a testament to the growing popularity of the monthly series, and Allison willing to “go there”.
We asked our staff to do the following:
Please write the biggest memory or take-away from 2015 in OCR. Could be from a specific race or weekend, could be something you are reflecting on that you are relating to your life.
Here is what we said.
It was spring BattleFrog in Carolina’s. When I got to the monkey bars, I knew something was wrong because of the caliber of elites who were still there. I made my first attempt getting two rungs to the end and grip and biceps gave out. This was my first indication that I wasn’t ready for the coming season and that BF had stepped up the game.
2015 was another year of the big 3 becoming the bigger 3 and many smaller races fading away. It worries me that as great as Spartan Race is that they are becoming one of the only brands in the business capable of putting on a fully figured out great race weekend. The concept makes me think of the similar situation that is occurring in the current US economy with the middle class shrinking and the upper class gaining more and more ground on everyone. This is naturally the way capitalism works out and I thoroughly applaud Spartan Races ability to continue to dominate the market place.
But I do want other companies to succeed at the same level because this drives competition which in turn drives innovation. Races became a bit stagnant and repetitive as I did more and more of them over the past few years. Some companies have started to try and fix this issue such as races that invented creative obstacles that weren’t just the usual variation of either jumping over something, carrying something, or going under something. And while I don’t currently think BattleFrog is innovating I hope they succeed in drawing larger audiences with what seems like their move to push in all of their chips this year. Will Tough Mudder move into competitive morning heats? I hope so. Will another company make a big push to change the big 3 into the big 4 or 5? I, again, hope so. Who will come up with new challenges and obstacles? I hope everyone does.
The biggest takeaway in OCR 2015 for me would have to be the introduction of the BattleFrog Xtreme! I had heard of endurance events like the Death Race and the Toughest Mudder, but those events sounded a little too extreme for my beginner status. When I heard that BattleFrog was introducing an event where you can run as many laps as possible during one race…I knew I had to participate at least once! I honestly never thought I would be able to run the required three laps to get my enormous BFX medal with stars, but once I was on the course I just had to keep going. BattleFrog Xtreme really lives up to it’s slogan that, “if you have a never-quit heart, the BattleFrog Xtreme race is for you”. You never know what you are capable of until you are on a course all day…especially when the last person you want to let down is yourself. I’ve already signed up for another BFX for 2016 and I know I will be able to push for more than the three lap minimum!
I have to give my “Best of 2015” to Tough Mudder. I was honestly disappointed in their 2014 event and they came back with not only a better event this year, but they came back swinging with a phenomenal event in 2015. They upgraded their existing obstacles making them a notch harder, added new obstacles that were truly inventive, their festival area was freaking awesome, and some of their obstacles I just couldn’t have done without help–which beckons back to their original identity of being a challenge (not a a race) and emphasizing teamwork. In a small cultish world of OCR, it’s becoming more and more important to establish and assert your identity and Tough Mudder put on a pair of brass knuckles and hit me with a surprise left. I made new friends, grew closer to old ones and when you attempt an obstacle and walk away saying “that was awesome!” even when you’ve failed, you know you’re onto something special (I’ve never heard of anyone giving up on a wreck bag carry only to say “that was cool”). Having a combination of fun (despite failure) and the ability to have a sense of accomplishment afterwards is the sweet spot of OCR and TM nailed it this year.
Matt B. Davis
After a ridiculous quantity of races in 2013 and 2014, I made a conscious choice to do fewer races, and to travel on fewer weekends in 2015. I didn’t go to Spartan World Champs in Tahoe, The UltraBeast in Killington, which were “CANT MISS” events I had been to the previous 3 years. I also didn’t go to BattleFrog’s first championship. I have zero regrets and greatly value the time I spent with my wife and kids instead. My favorite race experience this year was BattleFrog BFX in Georgia.
2015 had a great start. I placed well at a few road races, a couple ultras, and the occasional OCR. I felt strong as the latter half of the year approached. My end goal was to place well within my age group at OCR World Championship. As October came around, I became sick. My body slowly weakened and I ignored it telling me to allow time for rest. By the time OCRWC weekend rolled around, I had strep and developed an acute respiratory infection. Even though I was advised not to race by my doctor due to the weather, I wasn’t going to miss this event. To be honest, I don’t even remember most of the event. I didn’t realize how little I could recall until the next day when I was getting pictures for the team competition and had no idea what the course layout was. I remember briefly running into Jared Campanella and Cody King at Tip of the Spear. I remember the generosity of a couple towards the finish line. It took me over five hours to finish the course, but I did it, and completed every obstacle on the first try. I conquered a lot of fears that day. I’m terribly afraid of heights. I was so out of it, I couldn’t even be afraid. I walked away that weekend disappointed I failed to perform, but happy that I ‘conquered’ my fears. The sting of that weekend has stuck with me. As much as I hate slowing down, I learned that I have to listen to my body. No matter how strong your drive, refusing to respond to what your body needs will end in failure.