Mud runs, obstacle-course races and novelty endurance events are growing in popularity, and some CrossFit gyms now cater to participants.
Obstacle-course racing gets under your skin. And in your mouth.
This year, hundreds of thousands of racers will shiver and shamble their way through icy mud, receive mild electric shocks and perhaps even risk infections borne by feces. Some will be swathed in capes, and others will wear Viking helmets and display hard-won abs. Some will complete the course, and some will be unable to overcome all the obstacles. But almost everyone will pose for a finish-line picture, gritty and grinning, and go home happy.
“It’s not the same as CrossFit, but there’s an overlap,” said Rich Borgatti, owner of Mountain Strength CrossFit. “Lots of new people come in to train for these races, and we tell them CrossFit is the next step.”
Borgatti is a frequent competitor in mud runs. He offers obstacle-course training groups to help prepare racers for competition and introduce them to CrossFit.
While some consider obstacle races a cesspool of liquid waste and liability, many CrossFit gym owners and athletes see a clear opportunity. Is there a reason to roll out a welcome mat for muddy feet at CrossFit gyms?