Will The Real “World Championship” Please Stand Up?

Which OCR World Championship is the Championship?

UPDATE-October 28, 2104. Read our update to this story.

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In December, two races were announced that bear identical names. Race directors Ken Corigliano and Adrian Bijanada released their plans within a week of each other and have both called their brand new races “Obstacle Course Racing World Championship.” The two races are set to be very different, but both plan to be a premier test of the elite and everyday athletes in the OCR world. Corigliano’s OCRWC is currently a six race series for 2014 with their Facebook page announcing the first on May 31, 2014. Bijanada’s race is planned to be an annual event with their inaugural championship recently rescheduled to October 25-26, 2014.

Both of these men want to bring you an OCR World Championship
Both of these men want to bring you an OCR World Championship.

Neither race director seems too concerned about the fact that they share an identical name. “I love the sport of obstacle course racing because it encompasses everything that is good: community, success, goal orientation, and self respect, overcoming obstacles. You just can’t get that in any other genre. And I love the fact that people are wanting to bring more to the sport because that’s what I’m doing,” said Corigliano, founder and CEO of Mudquarters. He has applied for a trademark on the name and logo of his race but currently has no plans to pursue a name change for either race. “Here’s the beauty of the sport… there’s no conflict. There’s no loser in this sport. You show up, do your best, do what you can, succeed, and have a great time, help the person behind you and the person in front of you. There is not inevitably a conflict. We will find a meeting ground.”

Bijanada’s perspective was very similar. “I’m not worried. The more choices the consumer has the better.” Bijanada said he hasn’t spoken with Corigliano and doesn’t see a conflict either. “We’re trying to stay away from the cliquey culture.”

Ken Corigliano's trademark request (currently under review)
Ken Corigliano’s trademark request (currently under review).

Bijanada described his OCRWC as a type of Boston Marathon of the OCR world. “We are the world’s first agnostic OCRWC. The idea is to create something that celebrates the athletes that are in the sport; that’s the focus. A lot of races speak a lot about the brand, trying to build a brand as part of building a race. But, we are the opposite. Not a race series, just a big championship for athletes across the board.” Like the Boston Marathon, Bijanada has put together a list of qualifying events in which a racer must finish at the top of their age group to enter his race. Currently the qualifiers include Spartan Race; Savage Race; Mud, Guts & Glory; Warrior Dash; Superhero Scramble and others. These can be found on Bijanada’s OCRWC “How to Qualify” page.

ORM spoke with all the races listed as qualifiers to ask their perspective on being included as a part of OCRWC’s entry standards. Spartan CEO, Joe Desena stated, “While we appreciate any efforts that further the sport of obstacle racing, as far as we are concerned, we created and hold the World Championships of OR every year. 2014 is particularly exciting as we are working on an incredible new location to be announced by the end of March. To be in this year’s Spartan ‘elite’ World Championship category, you will have to have completed a sprint, super, and beast and earned a base level of points.”

Sam Abbitt, CEO of Savage Race commented, “OCRWC management asked if they could use our results information to help them qualify participants for their upcoming event. We have no other affiliation than this, but I wish them success with this endeavor.” Savage Race was the only qualifier to mention being contacted by Bijanada’s OCRWC.

Warrior Dash parent company Red Frog’s Broadcaster of Buzz, Laura Shield King stated, “We have no affiliation with OCR World Championships (Bijanada’s) and have not given permission to be a qualifying event.”

Further, on December 31st, Warrior Dash announced their own World Championship set on the same day as Bijanada’s original date: October 18-19, 2014. They are offering a sizable monetary prize and while they continued to be listed as a qualifying race, their championship conflicted directly with Bijanada’s OCRWC. King stated, “[The conflict] is purely a coincidence and we simply picked Oct. 18 as it’s the last event date of our regular season. We’ve had this date and location choice locked in for some time.”

Bijanada’s OCRWC quickly responded by changing their race date to the following weekend. Bijanada made a statement on his race’s page, “The OCRWC was created with one mission: help unify the sport of OCR by serving the athletes that drive it. However, holding two competing Championship events on the same day does little to support that mission and arguably, achieves the exact opposite. Luckily, this is a conflict we can easily resolve with a little bit of elbow grease (or mud).To further demonstrate that we are serious in our passion to further the sport of OCR, we have decided to move our event back one week to October 25 & 26. This will allow us to support our friends at Warrior Dash in their inaugural World Championship, ensure the success of our event, and most importantly, this will offer athletes even more great racing options. And that’s something I think we can (and should) all get behind.”

Before the date change, athletes sounded off on the race date conflict, voicing what they would do if the events were to land on the same day. “Right now I’m all for Warrior mostly because I’m familiar with Warrior and they also give back to St. Jude. Also, the other one came out of nowhere, so not a lot of information is known about it. I will however qualify for both because I love the sport and the direction it’s going in and having more races never hurt anyone,” said OCR athlete Stephen “Bowtie” Crawford.

“Honestly, I can’t say right now. One is a race that has no history of proof of quality or success. The other is a race company that I usually laugh at because they’re a mud run masquerading as an obstacle race. But, I have tremendous hope for both of these events. And a big cash purse is always tempting. While I don’t know which I would compete in yet, I’m hopeful that an event like OCRWC, which claims to be devoted to the enhancement of OCR as a sport, would be willing to change their date to allow as many top tier athletes as possible to participate,” commented Spartan Racer David Magida.

The next year will see more new races and more athletes involved in the sport of OCR than ever. Both OCRWCs will have their chance to prove if they are here to stay. As far as how to tell between the two of them? Corigliano says the indicator will be in the differences. “What that looks like will be very clear when we launch… One of the reasons why we’re different? We are the real deal.”

Kaitlin Stein

Kaitlin Stein is a journalism student at UMass and is an avid runner and OCR enthusiast. She has previously written for ORM on the state of the Cornfed Spartans. While she claims to maintain her royalty, she is a princess who lives in dirty running shoes instead of glass slippers. When not outside covered in mud, she can be found with her two rescued hound dogs and husband (not rescued) traveling the world and trekking around Charlottesville, Virginia. 

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