Are obstacle courses the new marathon?

Are obstacle courses the new marathon?

The rise of the ultra-competitor has sneaked up on us.

With the likes of celebrities such as Eddie Izzard running 27 marathons in 27 days, and others joining in the recent Sport Relief challenges, people are looking to get their kicks in more and more extreme ways.

A marathon, such as the Virgin London Marathon, might once have been seen as the pinnacle of an amateur’s running career, but now a marathon is much like a degree – everyone’s got one.

Programmes such as Total Wipeout and more recently Ninja Warrior, where contestants are encouraged to beat the obstacles like “Topple Towers” and “Rolling Logs (TW), or “Prism Tilt” and “Crooked Wall” (NW) , have seen a surge of gameshow-inspired events across the country, with inflatable slides and walls of Jericho, travelators,  rolling barrels, and open water obstacles.

For many, a race must now include a number of challenges, not just rough terrain, and to be electrocuted, half frozen, and faced with near-death, is now for some the only way to race.

Tough Guy, Tough Mudder, Rough Runner, Rat Race and Mudstacle, are some of the larger events, but there are more and more popping smaller obstacle races popping up across the country.

So unless it’s an ultra, or you’re running 27 back-to-back, can a marathon still cut it?

Damn right. If you’ve ever run a marathon you’ll know how hard it is just to keep moving for that long. And if you’re looking at shorter races, be it running, swimming or cycling, and if they are completely obstacle free, then good on you.

The biggest challenge is getting out there in the first place.

The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.


Mike D.
5 May 2016

Mike D.

Personally, I haven';t even done one marathon. And it's crazy that I am saying 'even one' - when years ago one would have been highly impressive!

Matthew C.
3 May 2016

Matthew C.

Anyone who does more than one marathon in a row for fun is quite honestly, mad. It's different to do it for charity, but even then you think - isn't one enough??

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