"Local" Races Worth Traveling To

How far are you willing to travel for a "local" race? Alright, technically speaking, the race is not local if you're driving far. However, that's the language we hear and use when referring to that "little race" across town or across state that we've been meaning to drive to, but we've just never gotten around to it. 

Local race usually refers to single location events or regional races that only travel to a state or two - as opposed to a large multi-state traveling series. To many racers, "local" means little, and "little" means bad. Neither could be further from the truth. Several well established local races welcome growing seas of participants every year. At the same time, some surprisingly fun and innovative obstacles show up at even the smallest races.

Two of the hottest races this year have been "local" races. Hildervat - Ultimate Viking OCR gave us a chance to watch many of OCR's top elite racers battle it out on the sandy beaches of Florida... an environment we've never seen them in before.

Similar to the word local, some people frown at mud runs as if they're beneath them and not challenging. Meanwhile, Indian Mud Run has established itself as OCR's premiere "local" race. Hubie Cushman and his team consistently deliver over 50 of the most fun and innovative obstacles in all of racing. What's amazing is ALL proceeds benefit the Coshocton County (Ohio) Park District. So, it IMR really is a gift to the city and all of OCR.

The little town of West Columbia has become an annual calendar highlight and can't miss destination for racers throughout Texas and all parts of the country all hoping to partake in The GRIT Games.  

GRIT Games

EXTRA - Here's what one OCR fanatic posted about racing local. 

"6 hours is too far to justify traveling for a race.” I’ll be the first to admit that I was once a brand-loyal racer.

One brand pays for my races. So, I would rather have spent my money to fly across the country than to spend {less} money registering and traveling to a “local” race. I was naïve.

In the last couple of years, I’ve become serious about my quality of racing and about supporting a variety of race brands.  

The more I run the “locals”, the more I have people messaging me inquiring about the brands. The most common statement I hear though is that they cannot justify the cost to travel a certain distance for a “local” race.

Here’s a truth-bomb: The term “local” means more than just a race that is local to you; the term “local” means that THAT race brand is a small business that brings in racers from across the country to a small town, boosting the overall economy for the town’s local businesses. The local community benefits from that race, the local community comes out to support that race.

While “locals” might not be able to pay out major pro athletes, they are providing this sport with something far greater than paid competition. Locals are building up the strongest sense of community in OCR; locals are continuing to push the boundaries in creativity and innovation; locals are continuing to be the backbone of Obstacle Course Racing in their region; and they are building a support system with their fellow local races across the globe. Locals do this solely out of passion, not for profit. Their racers are more family to them than a paycheck.

I challenge you to this: the next time you go to book your race-cation to a race brand you’ve ran week-over-week, hop onto @ocrbuddy and find a “local” brand that you’ve been dying to try. Don’t look for the races that you know and that you’re familiar with all obstacles. Pick a race that scares the $hit out of you; one that supports its community while also building a strong community within the sport. I’ve been saying it for years; local races are what is going to push our sport forward, in both innovation and in community. #OCRUnited

-Megan "The OCR Trainer" Beck


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