Obstacle Racing and why it matters: a review.

Mud and Obstacle #1
Mud and Obstacle #1

I have received the very first issue of Obstacle Racing in the mail for the purpose of writing a review.

Those who read this blog know that I value overcoming obstacles. I view physical obstacles as a metaphor for our inner conflicts and I am excited about the idea of obstacle courses for that reason. Though I am not a huge “race” person I foresee obstacle course running and mud/trail hiking as a sport which is about to get big–not just in a competitive way but in playgrounds, in backyards and as a good mind/body workout. Imagine if obstacle courses were the new “Chuck e. Cheese’s” or shopping malls-a place to go with friends or family, to be outside, to work together on something and move our bodies–instead of staring at beeping bullshit while pounding beers or buying a bunch of crap. Yes, please.

I feel like a lot of what we work on in this culture has no beginning and no end, I mean our actual jobs, they give us no closure, no sense of accomplishment or sense of personal power. When I run up a slippery muddy hill, jump over creeks with my dog, climb up and over a boulder or just plain keep going until I’ve done what I set out to do I feel my sense of self building up, feel the long-buried realization that my body is important to me and it wants and needs to do this.

This is functional fitness! This is problem-solving! This has power!

So now we have a magazine devoted to mud and obstacles. And it’s pretty good! I do have a few suggestions…

Why, oh why, do SO many fitness magazines-including crossfit-based mags–feature prominent ads for weight loss products? agh. As an herbalist, as a Mom, as a critical thinker I am just fed up with the endless flood of supplements which appear to make outrageous claims. I do NOT like mud or obstacles because I want to lose weight. I know, I know–someone needs to pay for this stuff. But, hell, they wanted a review.

I want to mention that we all benefit by a focus on diversity. They do a good job here featuring a lot of females-and not all appear overly sexualized. I like to see they’re using female writers too! I want something my whole family can use, and while I have no problem with bodies–OK, I love bodies– I’ve noticed some magazines have an excessive  “sex sells” approach. Eh. It is also important to me to see different types of people in fitness magazines, including people of color, LGBT people and differently-abled people. So I think they are making progress on this, and, going forth, I hope to see even more diversity!

I especially liked the article Bury Me There and Use Me as an Obstacle by Mark Jacobs. It is inspiring and well-written, and to me it reflects the ways that obstacle courses can change or culture for the better.

I look forward to seeing both this magazine and Mud run culture expand and grow here, and I will be sweating right along with y’all.





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