Obstacle Race Tips

Obstacle racing is the newest extreme sport that requires you to make your way through a course, dodging walls, swinging over water and crawling under barbed wire. It’s fun, intense and down right addictive so here are some tips before you go at it live!

Obstacle course race tips are a must for anyone looking to make their obstacle course races more successful. The tips that I have given you here, will help you with your next obstacle race. Read more in detail here: obstacle course race tips.

Man seeing anaconda in river.

“The most important things in life – brilliant ideas, discoveries, and innovations – are frequently nourished in adversity, often pondered in sadness, and finally established with effort.” -Scottish author Samuel Smiles (1812-1904)

Outside aid is only available in defined regions; there is no motorized transport, no “civilized” paths, and no GPS devices. You’re in charge of transporting all of the required gear, as well as providing the endurance, talent, and grit required to negotiate your way through a wilderness race that might take up to 10 days.

These are the fundamental principles of adventure racing, which draws triathletes, ultra-marathon runners, mountaineers, and adventurers of all kinds wishing to spice up their typical sporting routine.

Men hauling canoe for racing.

What is Adventure Racing and how does it work?

“Adventure racing caters to and promotes a proclivity for taking the long way around. It’s difficult to finish an expedition-level adventure event without stretching your own boundaries and determining what is really necessary.” — Triathlete Magazine’s Matt Fitzgerald.

Adventure Racing is the strange offspring of triathlons, outdoor exploration, and travel. Depending on the race, a team will be made up of two to five people who must keep together throughout the route until they reach the finish line. Adventure racing incorporates at least two of the following endurance sports:

  • Cycling on the Alps
  • Trekking
  • Running on a cross-country course
  • Paddling
  • Swimming
  • Caving
  • Climbing
  • Navigation and/or Orienteering

And this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list. Those are the disciplines that can be anticipated at any given event, but part of the allure of the sport is the section of the course when the race directors throw you a curveball. Anything from a “beast of burden” portion (camels, horses, and burros) to zip lines and paragliding is fair game—especially on the longer races, when your stamina and sanity begin to unravel like loose string the deeper you go into the race.

Because there are no dark intervals, your crew must determine whether or not to rest, adding sleep deprivation to the mix as yet another challenge to conquer.

Men looking at map navigating for racing.

Navigation and Orienteering

In an adventure race, there are no course markings to assist you, and you are not allowed to go on highways or other “civilized surfaces.” This is when your navigation and orienteering abilities come into play, making the sport not just a physical challenge, but also a mental one for keen participants.

A compass, a map, and a clue sheet are among your equipment. As you traverse terrain, your aim is to discover a series of checkpoints (small nylon boxes) in a precise sequence to get to the next transition place, where you will transfer to a new endurance sport.

Expect to get disoriented.

The checkpoints are concealed amid acres of wild country, somewhere sitting peacefully in a course covered in trees, bogs, gullies, summits, and whatever other natural obstructions may lay in your path, despite the fact that orienteering maps are incredibly precise. Consider it a well-defined treasure hunt where the prize is a major case of competitive glory and exhilaration. Just remember to align your compass with the map before going out in search of those nylon boxes; else, you can end yourself wandering in circles for hours.


Man running with canoe paddles on the ground.

Course Lengths: There’s a Course for Everyone

If all of this seems a little scary, don’t worry. Sprint races (two to six hours) to expedition-level events (up to ten days) are available, with the former being suited for both novices and specialists. Here’s a summary of the most typical adventure race lengths:

Sprints last two to six hours and typically include unexpected cunning or agility contests as well as minor navigation.

12-Hour: Similar to sprint events in makeup, but longer. They also have basic navigational abilities.

Between 18 and 30 hours every day. Some races may need a support crew to transfer your gear and supplies to the transition zones, thus your team should be familiar with UTM-based navigation and rope abilities (traversing/rappelling).

Multi-Day: With races lasting 36-48 hours, sleep loss becomes a factor. For route selection, you’ll need sophisticated navigation abilities, insane endurance, and a trusted connection with your partners.

Expedition-length events are the granddaddy of adventure racing, lasting between three and 10 days. Climbing, beasts of burden, rope work, and technical paddling are all essential abilities, but expeditions may also involve mountaineering, beasts of burden, rope work, and technical paddling.

Man hiking on mountains with rappelling cliff.

What’s the purpose of Adventure Racing?

Develop Teamwork: Adventure racing is a team sport with unique characteristics that need a skill set that is similar to the formula for success in life. Individuals with patience, great communication, and leadership qualities make up the strongest adventure racing teams. You must have faith in your teammates, and they must have faith in you–which leads us to the following issue.

Learn Skills: You don’t have to be an expert in every endurance activity that could be included in an adventure race, but you do need to be competent. Many teams give each of their teammates who excel in a certain subject a designated role. Teams, on the other hand, spend a large amount of time practicing together and building a well-rounded set of abilities in order to be safe, competitive, and have fun. It’s the ideal time to finally learn how to use that compass you’ve had for years, or to enhance your paddling technique for increased efficiency and speed.

Have a specific goal in mind: It’s not very inspiring or rewarding to pedal mile after mile on a stationary cycle at the gym with the nebulous objective of becoming in shape. Pedaling a mountain bike through the woods in order to complete an adventure race is. Working for a goal provides an unparalleled feeling of purpose and fulfillment.

Adventure Close to Home: We’ve discovered that some readers have concerns and constraints when it comes to pursuing adventure in the answers to several of our travel and adventure articles. Many of us have children and jobs, so we don’t have the spare time or flexibility that overseas travel requires. Fortunately, adventure racing does not need costly trips or months away from home. Adventure races may be found in every state in the United States, and in many regions, urban hybrids have emerged. A basic internet search of your home state combined with the phrases “adventure racing” will most likely show up anything reasonably near to your house.


It’s Difficult: There’s no getting around it. However, it may be used to counter the typical cultural attitude that “easy is better.” If we agree with Samuel Smiles’ statement about adversity, then participating in a sport that is both intellectually and physically demanding might be seen as a step toward pushing one’s boundaries. Hardship is a good thing to embrace since it serves as a continual reminder of your efforts to improve yourself and progress. “The nicest sensation in life is when one is ascending the stairs,” Casanova famously wrote.

While we revere the guys of the past, it’s not like they were formed of a different material than we are. Rather, they were honed via a series of trials and tribulations. For our forefathers, suffering were an inescapable part of existence. Modern comforts and technology have made life a lot simpler for us these days; tremendous problems are no longer unavoidable. As a result, we must go out and find them. Adventure racing is a fantastic method to do this.

Man wading in river for adventure.




The “horse races” is a type of obstacle race that can be found in many places. There are different types of horse races, but the most common is the flat race. The horse races are usually safe for people and horses, but they do require some skill to navigate.

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