Notes from a Recovering OCR Snob


Hi my name is Margaret and I am a recovering OCR Snob.

For years, I proclaimed allegiance to a particular race series. I would only do events with a timing chip, medal, or other swag of achievement. I frequently went into groups sharing about other events that just didn’t live up to an OCR connoisseur standards. I would look down at events that “were only….” Or “only had x number of obstacles”.

“Oh that 5K untimed mud run, that’s cute but I run ….. real OCR events.”

Yes for years I would say such things, in private conversations look down on certain events. Then something happened. First injury struck and put me on the sidelines of an entire season practically, then changed jobs and found myself at the races I once poo pooed for being lame or otherwise.

At those events, I was forced as a writer to stop, look around, and really watch the other participants. In an instant, the events were no longer about my personal taste but about what the general consumer was doing. When I stepped off my high horse what did I find.

A whole bunch of people having a lot of fun.

I stepped away from the competitive scene, starting running in the middle of the day, running with friends, running for fun. Learning more from each event. I went to untimed events, I went to women only events (something I opened made fun of for years). I ran with friends, I opted for the shorter distance so I could enjoy the day more.

Slowly the OCR Snob started to drift away and instead I saw the industry for what it really is. Instead of being in the 5% or so I was hanging with the 95%. Trust me the 95%, in general, is having way more fun on the course than the 5% on race day.

Don’t get me wrong if I wanted to race I would and would put in 100% but that is only a slice of the industry. I do love a good well-designed obstacle but as a recovering OCR Snob, I now see the place for the inflatable obstacles, the silly obstacles, and just plain fun obstacles. Not everything has to be about suffering sometimes it can be about fun.

Safety is still a priority for me but if an obstacle is well built and fun, even better. If the obstacle looks cool and you get some fun pictures from it, even better. Suffering can have its place in OCR but a race full of suffering will after a while only attract the 5%.

So from one recovering OCR Snob to the industry, I throw off my timing chip (most of the time), raise a finish line pint, and say let’s go have some fun out on course and help a racer or two in the process. Always remembering that the goal for the 95% of the industry is fun and maybe to challenge yourself to do something new.

If you find yourself in the position I was in a few years ago, maybe you too are an OCR Snob it’s okay. I think we all go through the stage, then one day you crest the mountain and see their is a whole other world on the other side. Conversely if all your want to do it race, that’s cool. Just remember not everyone wants to suffer for hours and that’s cool too. The beauty of OCR is there is room for us all.

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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