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New Association Gives Growing Obstacle Course Trend a Leg Up

The American Obstacle Course Racing Association won’t act as a governing body, but it will support both the events and the athletes that have cropped up with the recent trend.

In an era when athletically inclined folks are just as likely to take part in a “mud run,” like Tough Mudder, as they are a 5K, it was only a matter of time before an industry group emerged to support such events.

And that group, the American Obstacle Course Racing Association (AOCRA), hopes to bring together the many companies that have emerged around the increasing number of people interested in obstacle course races.

The group, announced late last month, is partly a trade group that supports the companies that put on such events, in contrast to other groups that act more as governing bodies for the sport and its athletes, such as USA Obstacle Course Racing and the International Obstacle Sports Federation.

“We’re not telling people how deep to dig a ditch or how high to build a wall,” AOCRA founder Adrian Bijanada said to Obstacle Racing Media.

AOCRA, however, will have an individual membership component that will offer athlete grants and make benefits available to members—including discounts on events.

“Through community engagement, its goal is to unite, support, and grow the sport of OCR while establishing a foundation built upon unity, transparency, and partnership,” the group said in a news release.

While not creating official standards for the sport, AOCRA emphasizes that it will use its position to advocate for issues key to the sport’s integrity—among them creating an athlete code of conduct that discourages harassment, discrimination, and doping.

“AOCRA grants the privileges of membership to those organizations and individuals that are committed to [supporting obstacle course racing in the U.S.],” the athlete code of conduct states. “This privilege may be withdrawn if a member or prospective member’s conduct is not consistent with this mission or organizational goals.”

The group, which will use a decentralized governance model, launches with the support of 11 organizations and events, including the North American OCR Championships, the Green Beret Challenge, and Epic Hybrid Training.

(Lorado/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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