As Obstacle Course Racing and Mud Runs get bigger and bigger more and more events are entering the market. There is no doubt that who the “Big 3” are when you talking about the burgeoning sport, Reebok Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash, however a whole other group of races are quickly looking to earn their way into this group. Though this growth and expansion another trend has begun, welcome the female only obstacle course race or mud run.
It is true that at the beginning of the sport when I began in 2010 the races were dominated with men. However, over the years the numbers are getting closer and closer together. However for many women a stigma still exists that obstacle racing and mud runs are full of testosterone filled men beating each others chests. It can be an intimidating scene for many women to want to enter, especially alone. After doing so many races I can honestly say there is always going to be an element of testosterone, chest thumping at races, but that is quickly turning into the minority not the majority. With that said it can still be a scary thing to walk into a race, alone and without a team or other support for your first race as a woman. Welcome again to the world of the female only race.
After consulting with a few women who have taken on several obstacle course races and mud runs, many taking on most if not all of the big three seemed to have similar comments when it referred to the all women’s races. A common theme was that the female only events were great “entry ways” into the sport of OCR and mud runs. Mostof the events are a very manageable 5K distance, suitable for all athletic levels. The majority of the women felt the obstacles were not as challenging as many of the other race series, but offered women who were not looking to be competitive but simply finish a great opportunity to do it with other women. These less challenging obstacles got mixed reviews from the women we asked. Some thought it was great to let women who are more intimidated get into the sport, while others felt it was all “dumbed down”.
Most of the events are purely for fun and are untimed and some of the more competitive woman made note of the fact, most female only OCR/Mud Runs are really just mud runs, with the exception of Diva Dash which has a competitive heat. It seems however, the majority of women who are out participating are happy with just getting out there and getting a little dirty while trying something new, so for these women it seems the all female events and the non-competitive nature is a great fit. For those looking to really race it seems that staying with some of the most established co-ed races is the route you may want to take.
One of the women who talked about her experience was not as positive about the all women’s race. She felt that why should women need their own race, we as women have worked hard for equality in all aspects of life and she also commented if there was an all male race most women would probably be upset. Interesting point. Would we, as women, be upset if there was an all male race?
Whether you love or hate the all women’s event, one thing can be said is they are popping up everywhere. There just might be one near you to try out and make your own decision on. It seems overall that most women spoke favorably about the single gender event series and would do one again. All said the vibe of the women on course was great and that a female only race definitely has it’s own feel.
FEMALE ONLY EVENTS
What’s your opinion on the female only events? Is it sometimes more fun not to play with the guys?