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Spartan Acquiring OCRWC Is Bad For OCR

No, we aren't going to spend dozens of paragraphs bashing Spartan Race, but we do want to point out some obvious, or potentially obvious, problems with this acquisition.

Problem #1: Beginner Monopoly. Spartan Race is an umbrella company which owns multiple sporting events outside of obstacle course racing. They also own Tough Mudder, which was once the biggest OCR brand in the USA, if not the world. Granted, Tough Mudder was acquired after filing for bankruptcy due to bad management. Now, the largest single OCR event in the world is also owned by Spartan Race. It wouldn't matter who owned this large of a segment of the industry...we wouldn't like it.

Problem #2: Spartan's quality isn't the best quality. The fact of the matter is that Spartan Race doesn't host the best OCR events in the world. They host the most, that's for sure, but many many many many people attended OCRWC because of the extreme quality of the event. Luke and I raced at the 2017 OCRWC in Canada in our second year working toward reaching high levels in OCR, and to this day, it was still the best overall race experience I have ever had in OCR. Everything from check-in to the end of the race was tip top. I also competed at the Spartan World Championship in 2018 at Lake Tahoe, and while it was a really solid event overall, it was nowhere near the quality of OCRWC. We haven't made it back to an OCRWC since due to travel costs and work responsibilities, but we've made dozens and dozens of friends in OCR who go most years, and they always rave about it. There are also a lot of people who argue, with strong reasoning, that Savage Race has a higher quality product (event) than Spartan Race on average. Due to this purchase, I do expect a drop off in quality because Spartan now has its hands in the pot - even if the same staff who always ran the event continue to.

Problem #3: Agendas. For all of the businesses hosting obstacle course racing events, all of them, to my knowledge, have 1 or 2 agendas, with most having both agendas at the same time. Agenda 1: Make money. If the race doesn't make money, the workers don't get paid, and there is no more race. Making money is essential. Agenda 2: Put on an awesome event that people can enjoy. This is actually equally as important as making money for an event, because if people don't like the event, they won't come back, and the event won't make money. Spartan Race is different though, because Spartan has a 3rd agenda: Get into the Olympics. I don't understand this personally, but it is what Joe wants and has wanted for a long time. On route to his specific goal, he makes decisions to reach that goal. It's simply an agenda that removes focus from event quality, and perhaps, though I can't say for sure, puts the good of the athlete on the backburner in regards to that agenda.

Problem #4: Not paying up. Spartan Race has a horrid track record of paying their athletes. Not only have they removed the vast majority of prize money offered at events over the last 5 years, but there are news reports and accounts from athletes every single year where Spartan hasn't paid them for months or even over a year. If you plan on now owning an event called OCR World Championship, where prize money is offered for the supposed World Champion, you HAVE to pay the money out in a timely fashion, or you lose all credibility with the top athletes which your event exists to showcase.

Hopefully Spartan doesn't ruin a good thing. Hopefully they treat OCRWC as a sperate event and let it be the way it always was, not because change is bad, but because it was an event that people loved and planned for and worked toward all year long. Don't ruin the good thing, Spartan.

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Oct 04, 2023

All good points Joel and I agree on most. Yet it is very much one-sided. Everyone can have an opinion and even be biased and one-sided. But an argument can also mention pros and cons, while still maintaing the bias.

What is your opinion of OCRWC's self-appointed title of World Championships? What do you make of the organizer's antagonism with respect to FISO? Do you not think that better event calendar alignments is positive and worth mentioning? Thank you for your insights and content, which I always appreciate.

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