Dress Code – What?
Two days ago the Reebok Spartan Race set the interwebs on fire with the announcement about no costumes in the elite wave of the Tuxedo, NY event this weekend. Obstacle Racing Media had a great article yesterday which you can read here. In that article they interviewed some of the more notorious athletes who participate in the elite waves who also potentially wear a costume of some sorts. Stephen Sinek, aka “The Painted Warrior”, Stephen “BowTied” Spartan, and Michael Deater aka “The Panda”, all left quotes and opinions on the Spartan press release. The most shocking interview was with Mr. Spartan himself Joe Desena; he considers body paint to equal a costume. Here at mudrunfun we have to wonder how will this play out? We already know that The Painted Warrior has a different paint scheme on his body for every race. But what about other elite wave runners like friends of mudrunfun Thing 1 & Thing 2? Andrew and Eston Jones don’t wear a ton of body paint and would you really consider them a costume? They have two words marked on their chest with a marker and they wear their signature red headbands. Will they get pulled out of the chute? We had a chance to talk with Andrew Jones aka “Thing 1” and here is what he had to say:
“Whether or not what we wear is considered a costume can be debated, but the reason we wear what we wear, is for bigger and better reasons than being an elite Spartan athlete.”
So what about the future of this so-called sport? What about the up and comers who have a story to tell and want to inspire others? Recently we ran across an up and coming elite wave runner named Kimberly Easterling-Stewart who also goes by “The Mud Pixie”. We recently sat down with her and discussed her transformation story (separate story to be released soon) and how she became the Mud Pixie and why. She had planned to start competing in the elite heats officially later this summer after a few races and more training. Here is what she had to say about the ORM article:
“The Mud Pixie arose from believing in myself, using perseverance and the sport of OCR to reshape my body, mind, and spirit. Isn’t that what Spartan is supposed to be all about? And the underlying meaning of their new book Spartan Up?”
She further stated,
“My purpose now is to continue to progress as the elite racer I was always meant to be and prove to the world, anything is possible when you believe! If they would like me to drop my leather get-up for elite races I can understand that. I ran in athletic compression gear before the pixie and I can do it again. But my wings are simply a part of a full functional camelbak that I have always used. They don’t slow me down or get in the way! After everything I have overcome, all I ask is they don’t clip my newly found wings!”
I guess it wouldn’t look good on TV to be “Spartan Chicked” by someone wearing a pixie outfit or having two people in athletic gear and one as a mud pixie standing on the podium. We couldn’t write an article and not get some of the opinions of other owners and race directors in the industry. So we reached out to a couple races to get some feedback. The first one to give us a sound bite was Troy Levy with Armageddon Ambush, who puts on events up and down the East Coast, he has two thoughts on this, the first being,
“What Spartan is doing with their national media coverage is great for the sport and industry. Obviously Reebok, Spartan and NBC know what they are doing and if they want to market the elite aspect of the sport that is their purgative. If the vision is to bring credibility and legitimize the sport then having someone run the race in diapers and costumes probably won’t do that. I can see why they would not want that on national TV. But on the other hand, I am not sure if showing just the elites would drive the masses to sign up for any mud run event. The industry as it stands now shows a large gap of participants from Elite to non-Elite. So having the non-elite or elite participants freely showing their freedom of dress wearing speedos and panda hats is welcome to many events So that being said I can see both sides of the coin.”
The Armageddon Ambush is one of the most unique races going, they combine the physical challenge of the mudrun with obstacles as well as a color run! There is nothing like getting blasted with color after crawling out of a mudpit! It’s like two races for the price of one! Our next conversation was with Tim Scrivner with the Texas based mudrun series “Run the Jailbreak.” Here is what he had to say on the topic:
“The explosion in popularity of obstacle events over the past five years has been fueled primarily by non-traditional runners. People are flocking to these types of runs because they are fun and challenging, it gives them the opportunity as an adult to get together with friends, dress up, get dirty, have fun and enjoy the camaraderie of a shared experience. A big part of that experience has been the costumes and group themes that people come up with to brand themselves and their groups, people watching is nearly as much fun as the events themselves. I understand what Joe is trying to accomplish and the last thing you want is for your sport to be marginalized for a WWF atmosphere. However, I believe that you need to have personalities and story lines for people to follow if you are going to gain a wide audience for your sport. Your local marathon will have runners in all forms of outfits and costumes but the elite runners will not be wearing anything that will hinder their performance, I assume the elite Spartan competitors are responsible enough to not get “carried away” with their attire and would be conscious of how it could possibly affect performance as well. The Gen X and older crowd remembers countless “hokie” events that were passed off to us as “sports” by ABC’s Wide World of Sports and ESPN 2, but the Millennial’s have grown up on X Games, video games and TMZ. They judge by a different standard than we do.”
While the “Jailbreak” is not a themed event in terms of mandatory costumes in which to participate, his events do draw thousands and you can typically see the masses dressed as a convict or police officer! Which is funny in itself, because if you ask them why they dress up, the typical response is, “I never get to be bad, so I’m a convict today!” and having attended one of these events, you will not find a greater assortment of “Sexy Cops” even the Reno 911 guys! Our Final Interview was with event owner Sean “Ace” O’Conner with the National Superhero Scramble series;
“I think it’s comical…I understand why Spartan is trying to regulate, but also think that this and other regulations take away from the overall experience for racers and spectators.”
While Sean was the least outspoken event owner of the three, it is easy to see why, his race is about Superheroes and pretty much the entire field gets to be a superhero for the day! The only dilemma is are you a DC or Marvel guy? So at the end of the day there are lots of opinions and views from all sides. Mudrunfun just wants to raise the awareness of the industry as a whole, so whether or not you are an “elite” runner or a weekend warrior, we want everyone involved. We don’t care if you wear a costume or run stripped down to the “bare essentials” we just want everyone to have a good time. We also don’t necessarily think you have to be labeled in one category either, we love all the events whether OCR, Mudrun, Color Run, Zombie Run, Glow Run, or X-Run. We live in a wonderful country who doesn’t discourage you and allows you to have the freedom of expression, so express yourself, tell your story, be a Painted Warrior, a Mud Pixie or Bowtie Spartan or be yourself and the best you, you can be. At the end of the day the consensus seems be on the side of The Mud Pixie, so please Spartan, don’t clip our wings. Want to know more about the people mentioned in this article? Click below on the person or event you want to see.