Accept my challenge: Do an obstacle course race

This year’s Tater Dash Mud Run is July 14 in Eagle.
This year’s Tater Dash Mud Run is July 14 in Eagle. File photo

Anyone who has been reading my column for any length of time is well aware that I’m a huge fan of obstacle course races (OCR).

I think everyone should try at least one at some point. In fact, if you are reading this, I think you should too.

Yes — that is a challenge.

“Why I do I need to do an OCR?” you may be asking yourself. For one, it essentially encompasses everything that involves being fit: strength, power, endurance, athleticism. But it also taps into something we often lose when our “grown up” responsibilities take priority. It’s that need for the same vigor and youthful playfulness that once were a primary part of our lives. I mean, heaven forbid that we still have a little fun in our lives, right? Still not convinced? Consider these reasons.

Motivation for the long haul

The “operation weight loss” frenzy that grips our nation at the beginning of every year is usually running on fumes by the time April rolls around. Finding something to train for like an OCR will more than keep you on task with your fitness regimen. While weight loss is a legitimate goal, it can be an emotional roller coaster, and many people aren’t willing to stay on that plan for the long haul. Shifting focus by training for a fitness event like an OCR can bring more enjoyment to your training, and more often than not the pounds will come off as a result of your training.

Level up your fitness

Does this sound like you: “I need to get into better shape before I can do something like that”? Quite the contrary! No matter what your fitness level is, you can do this.

I have raced in well over 10 OCRs and have seen all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to participate. Plus, whatever your fitness level is, getting prepared for a race is only going to improve your fitness even more, which is the point of training anyway. Bottom line: The only true obstacles that you need to overcome are the ones created by your mind.


Who doesn’t want a little more adventure in their lives? OCRs provide plenty of it: trudging through bodies of water, army-crawling under barbed wire, climbing ropes, hopping overall walls, just to name a few. I’ve had clients with the tamest personalities get seriously transformed after completing their first race. The fun and excitement experienced in an OCR only builds momentum and drives people to aim to get more out of themselves.


OCRs are definitely events that you want to rally your own troops for. When you collectively take the journey together, it creates a bond with your teammates that becomes unbreakable. Plus, there is an added accountability and a tendency to strive for better results when you have the positive support of a training group.

Making memories

Not only has participating in OCRs been rewarding both physically and mentally, but it has provided some of the best memories not only for myself, but for many of my clients and friends as well. So I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and create a fitness journey that is more fulfilling and filled with lasting adventure.

Jason Wanlass is the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian. Contact him at or

Upcoming obstacle course races

Spartan Race

June 23, Thomas Pence Ranch in Payette, $100-158;

The Tater Dash Mud Run

July 14, Twin Oaks Farms in Eagle, $50 through April 16; prices continue to increase thereafter; same-day registration is $70.

Tough Mudder

June 9-10, Tahoe, Nev., $99 and up. Tough Mudder is a hardcore 10- to 12-mile obstacle race designed by British Special Forces to challenge the toughest of the tough. Events are held across the world.