I hear it from people all the time: “Man, I got to do one of those mud run things with you sometime.”
“Great," I say. "Sign up and we can train together.”
“Uh… I need to get in better shape first. Then I’ll sign up.” Said Never to be heard from again.
One time, however, after hearing me relentlessly talk about it, my would-be-client knew it was something he had to experience. We barely knew each other but were in the beginning stages of a relationship that would soon be forged in fire. He registered while still on the phone. I knew right then this was someone with whom I needed to do business.
During our Spartan race, the final obstacle before the fire jump was the Herc Hoist, and I nearly failed it. My upper body was so fatigued, and my muscles began to fail. He encouraged me to hold on and coached me through it successfully. We’re still friends to this day, and he eventually even performed my wedding ceremony.
I was first introduced to OCR by my boss. Just imagine the job security that comes along with completing your first Ultra together. My wife and I frequently race together, and I know her so much better because of it. She’s even got her mom to do a few 5K’s and her sister to do her first Spartan.0
Whether it be your CrossFit Gym, your networking group, or even Mom, all relationships can benefit from doing an OCR. Just imagine the Mother’s Day gift of Tough Mudder's Electroshock Therapy.
Building relationships is about trust. That shared feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing one of these events endures as a greater appreciation for one another.
Suffering is less, and successes are greater when they’re shared. You reveal your vulnerabilities and help each other through the struggle. Share that truly personal connection that transcends all fears, suspicions or doubts. You aren’t trying to beat each other. Your goal is the same. A true win/win. Just like a healthy relationship should be.
Completing an OCR with a friend, family member, or romantic partner is also a great exercise in commitment. See how far you’re each willing to step out of your comfort zones and how each other responds when things aren’t going as planned. Show them that you won’t give up; and see that they won’t give up on you.
The racing community is the greatest group of human beings I’ve ever encountered. Everyone needs a Wolf Pack. Everyone needs a tribe.
There’s a bond that’s forged in overcoming obstacles together. Facing the unknown and standing up to your fears together doesn’t happen in the office, at Happy Hour or the family reunion. It happens when you reveal yourselves. There’s no buyer. No seller. No boss or employee. No parent or sibling. Just a group of people against the elements discovering who they really are.
As it’s said: You’ll know at the finish line.
Nick Klingensmith is an amateur obstacle course racer closing in on his 100th OCR. He’s completed 5 major marathons and is currently training for the Berlin Marathon in September. An ambassador for MudGear and Spartan 4-0, Nick is the author of Through the Fire. Nick works as an executive in the logistics industry and lives in Seminole, Florida, with his wife and two dogs.
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