Your First Obstacle Course Race – What to Expect

Jason @EtchRock

So you’ve booked your first Obstacle course race (OCR) which is great and you’re probably already aware (unless you’re planning on skipping around them) that you’re going to have to tackle a few obstacles! But what else should you expect when taking on your first OCR? We caught up with David Baird, Race Director of the UK’s popular Rocket Race to find out what else you should expect.


Well…of course, the clue is kind of in the name, but let’s look a little deeper.

One of the really cool things is that you’ll never know what obstacles you’ll be facing. This is because a lot of races like to keep them secret until the last minute. As you start to do more races, you’ll realise that there are key obstacles that set a great trend for most races.

Some of the most common key obstacles include:


It wouldn’t be a proper OCR if there wasn’t some good old mud. Races do vary, with some leaving you unavoidably covered, while others are a little less gruesome, it goes without saying that the weather leading up to the event can dictate a large part of the mud factor. Either way, it’s advisable to take a spare set of clothes for any event.

It can really add to the difficulty of events, making obstacles are a lot tougher, but it also adds to the fun and no doubt will put a smile on your face when you find yourself covered in mud for the first time (we hope!).



credit – Epic Action Imagery

Water Obstacles

Lots of events have water obstacles, including anything from fighting through lots of mud filled water to having to duck under obstacles fully immersing yourself.

Heavy Carries

Heavy carries can really test you and are surprisingly difficult when you’re already out of breath from running. They can be Atlas balls, buckets, sandbags, military style back packs loaded with weight, or anything else the event has been imaginative enough to choose.

Hang Time

There are lots of different obstacles where you’ll have to test your upper body strength, some of these include rings, monkey bars or rigs. Don’t get disheartened if you can’t complete these, they’re way harder than they look. After all, if you don’t manage to tackle them successfully, all the more reason to book on to another OCR event! Check one of Rocket Races hang time obstacles with a little added challenge at the end.


OCR hang time

credit – Epic Action Imagery


Like getting down and dirty? You’re in luck! Crawling through a tunnel, under a cargo net, or even barbed wire is a common sight at obstacle course races.

Rope Climbs

This may bring back memories from old school days… rope climbs are really tough, especially if you’re using just your arms. There is certainly a technique if you want to look like you know what you’re doing, and it will help make life easier for yourself too.


4ft, 6ft, 8ft… They just keep getting bigger! In a group or on your tod, fear not… these are great fun and you’ll always find someone there to lend you a hand, leg, or shoulder to get you over.


OCR Wall

credit – Epic Action Imagery


If you’ve already signed up to a race, then hopefully you already know you’ll be running. Races cover all kinds of distances, so choose something you’re comfortable with. A 10k might seem easy to you but keep in mind it’s not just the running, you’ll have to tackle all the obstacles too. It may help the kms pass you by, but we can promise you’ll be feeling it by the end!

Expect to get really hot or really cold

Chances are when you take on a race, it will either be a scorcher of a day or a bloody freezing one (especially if you’re embarking on a winter event).

Lots of fun & meet great people

OCR’s are so much fun and everyone is there to enjoy themselves. There is a good chance you’ll meet some awesome people and even make a new friend or two. If you’re feeling a little nervous, don’t worry, you’re probably not alone as they’ll be other participants that are likely newbies too. You’ll soon forget those worries as soon as you get going, just have fun and embrace it!

Find your next obstacle course race today and if you’re in the south west make sure to check out Rocket Race.


Discover Your Next OCR