Should I bring my young children to spectate at an obstacle course race?

Actual Rugged Maniac

Rugged Kids

Why hello there. If you have clicked on this then odds are someone in your immediate family is trying to trick you into bringing your children to spectate at an Obstacle Course Race. Or maybe you’ve tried to do this to your husband or wife before. I know I have. The pitch is simple:

There is a festival area with fun stuff to do! It won’t take me long! The kids will love seeing me do the obstacles!!! It’s family friendly!

Don’t listen to a word that is coming out of that filthy liars mouth. It’s mostly a hopeful half truth. Shame on them.  How do I know this, you ask? Well, I recently decided to sit out and spectate my first race as my wife took on her first elite heat. I was excited to bring the kids and watch her. Yes, this was actually my own idea and I’ve had my wife do the same for me in the past on multiple occasions. Boy, was I an asshole. Thank you you for being supportive, honey, you are a real trooper! Kisses!

Ok, well we all know people are going to bring their kids. Since this is basically a given, I guess I will give you some helpful tips to make having your young children at an event slightly tolerable. Here goes.

  1. Bring shoes you don’t mind getting wet and prepare to walk– Your husband or wife has been prepping for this event by running in the rain, mud, and any puddle they can find. Maybe they bought special shoes and clothes after googling “what to wear at a mud run?“. The course will be muddy, but the spectator routes will surely be paved to enhance the spectator experience! Yeah, fat chance….. Little did you know as you walk through farm land, Motorsports Raceway minefield or any other unkempt grassy knoll you will be stepping in your fair share of mud and logging your fair share of miles. For reference, I GPS’d my festival walking today and logged 3.1 miles, which is basically the distance my wife ran during the event.  I’d recommend being prepared for this by wearing shoes you are comfortable getting Stinky and Dirty (love you Amazon Prime) and bringing a change of footwear and socks for the ride home. This also means your children will be getting muddy and wet as well, so bring a change of clothes for them too. Also, bring plastic bags to put your muddy shoes and socks in. TL;DR…. leave your Jordans at home and bring some flip flops and changes of clothes!
  2. Rugged Dirty Feet

  3. “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”– Whatever your best case scenario for this experiment is lower your expectations immediately. I mean, it could work out and your kid could handle everything like a champ but why set yourself up for disappointment? Just assume they will be actual Rugged Maniacs and do everything in their arsenal of child doom to embarrass you and make the next 2 hours of your life a living hell. You want an apple? Here! You threw it in the feces laced mud after 2 bites and still want it? This is going to be a long day. Come to think of it, bring snacks. Lots. Of. Snacks. Don’t trust that your kid who loves Oreos won’t have a nervous breakdown when you try to feed him a delicious Deep Fried Oreo covered in powdered sugar. Have regular Oreos ready. It’s also way cheaper.Actual Rugged Maniac
  4. Find the loud music and stand by it– This elite tip is brought to you by screaming toddlers everywhere. The beauty of this tactic is that as your children scream bloody murder, songs like “This Is How You Remind Me” and “Hotline Bling” completely drown out the screams of death that were unleashed after your children saw their mom or dad run by after completing an obstacle and not stopping to chat. This tip is even more effective when the DJ plays music that is actually worse than children crying. This is not a given, but when it occurs people won’t even realize how bad your kids are behaving.
  5. Check to see if they have a kid’s race or a Bouncy Castle– This one is tricky because the ages for the Kid’s Races vary from company to company and I’ve only seen a bouncy castle at Rugged Maniac. Aside from the kids crying that they wanted to go in the bouncy castle right as their mom approached the last 5 obstacles of the race, they finally calmed the hell down and had some good old fashion fun in muddy puddles. Considering obstacle races are basically adults trying to relive being a kid for a few hours on the weekend it is pretty cool getting to watch kids be kids on things like bouncy castles in the mud. My daughter is clearly ready for World’s Toughest Mudder as she did 3 laps of the bouncy castle obstacle course. #UltraEliteBeastSydneyRugged


At the end of the day even though my kids weren’t on their best behavior I still had a really good time watching and supporting my wife during her race. It was certainly messy with all of the rain and mud, but what fun would it be without it? By bringing a change of shoes, socks and clothes for everyone involved and being aware that we would be getting dirty it made the act of getting dirty easier to swallow. So go ahead and bring your kids! Unless of course you can secure a babysitter during the event…. totally do that instead.

Rugged Fun

Editor’s Note – The author’s wife, Kelly Allen, was the 3rd fastest female in this race. Keith was too distracted watching the kids and preparing this review to make note. Sorry Kelly, and congratulations!


Keith Allen

Keith Allen is an Air Conditioning Salesman and an exhausted father of two. When not carrying his children around in Baby Bjorns he is often found cooking delicious homemade quesadillas to fuel his hunger from running OCR's

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