Tag Archives: Obstacle Racing Media

Dress Code Sparks Craze Debate “On the Line”

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: 945222_201074453378031_804304775_n

quote“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: 10448656_720690051322838_187398030010595107_o.jpg

quote“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,

quote“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,

quote“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:

quote“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;

quote“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.

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Things I Think Thursday – Go Pound Gravel

Stop Drinking the Spartan Kool-aid!

I was going to let this go, just sit here with my thoughts and let the Spartan Cult spew on each other how much they love their almost but not yet an Olympic sport.  Which is kind of funny within itself, because if it ever does, which I seriously doubt, all of the people who commented on that post, will be watching from the sidelines, with the ability to say “That’s so cool, I can tell my friends I kind of did an Olympic sport!”

I don’t want to hijack another blog or draw more attention to it, but here is the ORM Post – “Go Pound Gravel”  Below is the infamous picture which drew all of the slander and ire from the Spartan faithful.

 

spartan-cheater-2014I know speaking my mind on this will only make you cult members dislike me, it will hurt my business, but that is okay, really. Every once and a while a person needs to be able to speak their mind right? I mean all of you Kool-aid drinkers did, so why can’t I?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Spartan Race as much as the next guy, in fact I have run all of the Texas races over the last 3 years except one. But guys come on; there are other races/runs whatever you want to call them other than Spartan. So I am going to defend this guy, I’ll play our devil’s advocate and you should all be ashamed of yourself for the harsh statements you have been saying about these people.

Fault one:

Bucket dumping. You say this guy is dumping his bucket, how do you know that from one picture? He could have been carrying it on his shoulder and adjusting it and it fell. That happened to me last year at the Glen Rose beast, except I was carrying it in the correct position and it slipped as I was adjusting my grip and fell over. I had to pick up my gravel, when returned my bucket, it was full of grass and sticks and crap. How do we know that this man did not? No one has mentioned it that I have seen. Maybe he did have some integrity and put it back and finished.  Now as for the girl with the empty bucket, yeah I am assuming she was happy just to finish.

Fault Two:

So you Kool-aid drinkers really do crack me up. Who really cares? You have made such a big deal out of doing an obstacle right, doing the burpees, etc., etc. Except for the elite runners in the first wave, no one else is running for time. If you are and if you are actually worried that this guy is going to finish ahead of you and steal your precious Spartan points, then you are a sad, sad person. I mean, come on really? This guy is not going to beat anyone, if you are all that and a bag of chips, then you certainly do not have to worry about this guy, more than likely at this point in the race you are way ahead of him. If Spartan really cared about the general population completing obstacles and doing burpees, then they would hire course officials to marshal this activity and not have volunteers at the obstacles. People skipping obstacles and not doing burpees would have their bib numbers written down and be accessed a timed penalty at the end of the race. Spartan does not care!

Most of you people commenting on this are volunteers and you just want your free race anyway. You can’t enforce this or make them do this, hell Spartan can’t even decide from race to race what their own “Elite” rules are because someone is always trying to get an edge and doing an obstacle in a “different” way than you and I perceive it. Ever listen in on a pre-race discussion on the “proper” technique to complete an obstacle by these elites with Spartan HQ…it is kind of hilarious.

I won’t call anyone out, but I do know of several people in these “Spartan” groups who are so AROO AROO into Spartan and yet at Glen Rose Beast last year, while I am struggling to stay warm, doing my burpees for falling off the Tyrolean traverse rope, just skipped the obstacle, skipped burpees. Some didn’t even try. Some tried, failed, and moved on or did a token 5-10 burpees and moved on. Do I care? Yes and no. At the end of the day, people who skip and don’t do it have their own moral dilemma. I am not going to judge. They tried, failed and felt satisfied to move on. They paid their money, so I don’t think it is fair for you to be the judge, jury and executioner on these people. At the end of the day don’t we just want people out being active and enjoying life? I know what you must think, “But Travis you hypocrite! You totally skipped obstacles at Savage Race in Dallas last year!!” Hell yes I did, I even wrote a blog about how I am not proud of it, but I refused to quit so I just kept running, 32 degrees and hands going numb means I’m not getting in the water, it was about my health. So judge me if you want, but I will pick my life and health over your stupid judgments.

Fault Three:

Let’s face it, there is no OCR world. Oh Snap! Yes I said it. Other than Spartan who does not want to be called a mudrun, there really are no other events that are labeling themselves OCR. Oh wait there is Extreme Nation, but didn’t that have an epic fail because they only wanted elite runners instead of everyone? Why would anyone else choose that label? A mudrun is what attracts the people. You elite runners make up 10% if that of the registration. The general couch surfer is who is buying and paying for these events. Hell, I am pretty sure every RD will back me up, but 60% of all these runs are females. These females are usually first timers who gather up the girls, put on an outfit and go “do it”.  Once you digest and understand that, you kool-aid drinkers, then you will know why the races don’t care if you complete an obstacle or not. Everyone gets a participation medal whether earned or not. Spartan Race just happens to be one of the better companies out there branding their race. So everyone wants to do it once. It is sad to say, but I will assume in that picture above, those people had no idea what they were getting into. Maybe they did do a Warrior Dash or another local event and figured this was the same thing. Who knows, I certainly don’t care and I doubt that Spartan does, they got their money. They don’t care if you run or no show.

In Conclusion:

I can’t resist, I love debate, so here are my thoughts on this wrap up from another blog:

A simple concept:

It makes me crazy that this is such a difficult concept for some in our community to grasp, and especially when you consider the roots of OCR, and the strong influence of police, fire and military conduct. The roots of OCR? Are you talking Spartan? Because I tend to think that the majority of the RD’s who put on these events have nothing to do with Military, Police or Fire. I am pretty sure that 3/4 OCR’s or Mudruns are actually put on by people not in the military. If you mean the participants, then you need to do more research, because again 60% women 25-35. Even in your precious Spartan Elite, I would think very few of them fall into this category.

Do the task or stay home. Why do you care? They are paying for this event, they want the experience, and theirs is going to be different than yours. Let them take home whatever sense of pride and accomplishment they want from the event. If you specifically mean Spartan, then why not ask Spartan to let the people know what obstacles they will have to do? Why does it have to be such a big secret? You know why, 1/2 of the people can’t do them; it would kill registration if they told you how hard it really was going to be.

Can’t do the task? Do your burpees. Take your lumps. Go home, learn the task, and come back to fight another day. Really dude? Learn the task and comeback? Most of these people barely run much less want to go home and start carrying buckets around. Be realistic. These guys are not elite athletes, they are weekend warriors at best. Why are you all comparing this guy to you? If you run for time and are trying to win prize money, then critique some of your elite buddies, not the average Joe.

It’s that simple.

That’s not just a lesson in OCR, that’s the basic premise of living a successful life. I thought it was okay to fail? Don’t you elite guys all have a motto of what doesn’t kill you… or failure is the way to be a champion? I would venture many of these people are successful just not very athletic.

Cheating is universally unacceptable in sport. Finally something we agree on, but is this really cheating? I don’t see a rulebook anywhere; I don’t see any enforcement going on to hold everyone accountable equally. Hold on, I have some pine tar on my neck.

OCR should be no different. I still raise the question, what is this OCR you speak of? What makes up this world of OCR? Is it just Spartan Race and Extreme Nation? I know everyone wants Obstacle Course Racing to be something, but for the most part isn’t it just really a mudrun world we live in that is made to be easy for people to have fun?

Okay so all in all, did this really cheat anyone or just himself? How does this really affect all of the Spartan elites who seemed to get so upset over this? Let it go already, you people are making yourselves look bad. Who are you to really call anyone out? Would you like it if we pulled a picture of you and made a fuss over your technique? People are human not superhuman. If this guy in the photo ever wants to run another race, I will run with him. Hell I know a whole group of people who will also. Doesn’t have to be Spartan, but it can be, or it can be a Superhero, Savage, Armageddon, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash (you get the idea) and I can get a group of people to run/walk, stop pose for pictures do whatever, because that is the beautiful thing about this sport, we can go as fast as we want.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.