5 Things I Have Learned in 5 Years of Obstacle Racing


2015 means my 6th season of obstacle racing is underway. I am closing the door on half a decade of obstacle racing and mud runs. So other than the alpine ski industry which consumed about 25 years, or women’s lacrosse with 9 years, obstacle racing has now moved into the third slot with half a decade committed to the sport. I don’t count the ballet and gymnastics as a kid! But back to the point, obstacle racing and this journey, much of it documented in this website, has taught me a lot more than just what I learned on the course. I spent the second half of my 20’s and now my early thirties in this world and these are the main lessons learned.

Nobody Cares

OK I admit it, being born in 1983 makes me one of the first of the millenials, the generation that everyone loves to hate. I am the beginning of the “ME” generation and know it. Facebook came at the end of my college career, we used MySpace, AIM, and were the pre-selfie nation, we are the forefathers of the ego-centered world that has become social media. We grew up thinking people wanted to know about everything in our lives and each of us were brought up thinking we were unique snowflakes.

Here is the thing, at a certain point you realize NOBODY CARES cue This American Life, The Seven Things You’re Not Suppose to Talk About; producer Sarah Koenig’s mother will give you the perfect “nobody cares”. But here is the thing, you might win a few races, you might get your first burpee free race, or even just make it up a rope climb, make Everest solo, but in the end of the day, nobody cares.

Our friends congratulate us online, we share our most badass photos, it might get a like or a comment but at the end of the day, nobody really cares. The only person who cares is you.

Personally, I learned this the hard way. It’s fun when people want you to be at races and ask if you are going to be at XXX event, it’s good to feel wanted. We all want that, but if going to that race means possibly missing something in life, trust me at the end of the day people won’t care if you weren’t at the race, but a family member will care if you miss something important.


Own it, the good and bad

Obstacle racing has taught me to own up on my life, my actions and my words. All of which can be used for the greater good or the opposite. Through relationships in obstacle racing the greatest lessons have been learned and I learned you can’t run away from your $h1t. It’s best to look it in the face and own it, the good and bad.


Don’t Cheat and Don’t Dwell on Cheaters

In life there will always be cheaters on and off the course. People are normally just trying to get by and sometimes the shortcut is appealing. Instead of dwelling on the actions of a few acknowledge they exist then let it go. Don’t let the cheaters cut into your personal mind time.


There is always someone…

Just when you think you are on the top or you know just about everything, there is always someone faster, stronger, smarter, more unique or more …. out there. Once we except the fact that nothing is permanent and everything is evolving life becomes more content. For those who are on the top today could be knocked down anytime. The problem comes when those at the top think they can stay there forever. No one stays at the top forever, life is about evolution and it’s a constant changing world.


Cherish the Moments then Move on

Most of this post might seem down but really it’s not. Knowing and acknowledging many of these things has led to a much more content life. The most important lesson the last 5 years of obstacle racing has taught me is to stop; enjoy and give gratitude for the opportunities we have in life – large and small.

Cherish the moment you are in but don’t cling to it for too long. Before long that moment will be in the past and a new moment awaits you in the future. We must take our past experiences, own them, acknowledge them, give them proper importance, then put them to the side and be open for what is ahead.

Margaret Schlachter

About Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter is Founder of She has been part of the OCR Community since 2010. When not working on the next article she can be found running from race-to-race. She is Editor-in-Chief of She authored the book Obstacle Race Training.
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