Trends & Features

Fire, water and spears are all in a days racing

Fancy a rugged run through mud, fire, freezing water and barbed wire? You do! Then Obstacle Course Racing is for you.

Events such as Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and Total Warrior have captured the imagination of runners throughout the country. And where there are runners there are brands.

Brands have noticed that there is a burgeoning market and have been designing footwear and apparel to take on these courses and sponsoring events.

Spartan and CRAFT Sportswear have entered a global partnership, naming the leader in technical performance apparel as “official performance apparel and footwear” of the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand.

The multi-year partnership will see the two brands developing the first high-performance technical apparel for Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). CRAFT will be applying the same scientific techniques and sport-specific knowledge it uses in developing Olympic-calibre performance apparel for World Tour cycling teams and Olympic cross-country skiers as well as runners and athletes at all levels.

The OCR-specific “Powered By” CRAFT line of Spartan apparel and footwear is currently under development at the company’s sports science laboratory in Sweden.

They have recently introduced the brand’s performance footwear in Europe, CRAFT’s all-terrain shoe for Spartan athletes. The “Powered By” line will roll out in early 2019, with co-branded apparel from CRAFT’s existing training line launched this summer.

Spartan events focus on sport and athleticism, pushing the bodies and minds of competitors to the limit across miles of unforgiving terrain while they conquer signature obstacles such as the Spear Throw, Inverted Wall, Monkey Bars and Barbed Wire Crawl.

Sam Lansdale, General Manager Spartan UK, said: “With over 200 races in almost 40 countries, we are always looking for new sites to get racers involved. Recently we have taken the next step to make the race professional, paying our racers for finishing in the top spots. We have been running a scoreboard table too, so by the end of the season we will be able to crown the best male and female Spartan racers for 2018.”

For 2018, inov-8 is not only sponsor for the Total Warrior events but is also the footwear brand for the Obstacle Race World Championships, to be held in London in October.

This year – for the first time in the event’s history – the OCR World Championships (OCRWC) will be staged in the UK.

Total Warrior this year held events in Leeds and the Lake District. The most recent was the Lake District event, staged over two days in August. Around 4,500 tackled courses over 10km and 10 miles throughout the weekend.

Michael Price, inov-8 Product and Marketing Director, said: “Obstacle racers have been wearing our shoes for the past decade, trusting in the grip to lead them to success. Our X-TALON shoes have been first across the finish line at previous OCR World Championships.

“Forged in the fells of the English Lake District, we know all about muddy UK conditions and how important footwear grip is when moving fast over obstacles. Those tackling these courses are learning it too.

“Throughout 2018 we have invested in both the obstacle course racing and trail running communities, helping inspire competitors of all abilities to push their boundaries.”

Merrell are also involved in the growing OCR movement with a partnership with Tough Mudder Simon Sweeney, Senior Marketing Executive, Merrell, said: “Through our global partnership of Tough Mudder, we have successfully partnered with an event matching our core brand beliefs of inclusiveness, sharing experiences and enjoying the outdoors. It is a huge privilege to be part of such a fun, challenging event.”

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