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My Pick of 2017 OCRs and How to Train For Them


With both feet now firmly in 2017, I’m getting that tingle to race again. I can almost smell the start of the new season! Or maybe it’s just memories of the fire-jump finish line…

Either way, here are the 2017 OCRs I want to complete. Including locations across Europe and US, as well as training advice I’ll be putting into practice to prepare for them.


April: Spartan Sprint Orte (Orte, Italy)

Probably my favourite race of 2016 (see my 5 hightlights here). Cheaper than UK Spartan Races, in a beautiful location wrapping around an old town built of stone and very VERY muddy, this race is worth travelling for. I still haven’t completed a race with a longer barb wire crawl – excruciating! Would love to go back this year.

How to train for it:

Race conditioning: running with burpees WOD

Climb walls faster in obstacle races

Core strength training for OCR pt 1


April: Warrior Run (UK)

Another familiar face. A 6k Warrior Run was my first ever OCR, back in 2015. What I loved about it: the neck-high cold water dip right after the start line, the insane amount of mud and water throughout the course and the obstacles. The only downside was that the course was too divided – it felt like you were either running for a long stretch of time or doing 10 obstacles at once. I’d love to go back to see if they’ve improved on this (and also for another cold dip!).

How to train for it:

Same as the race above +

Zigzag running WOD

No DOMS leg strengthening WOD


June: Toughest (London, UK)

This is the only race on the list that I’m actually terrified of doing for one reason: many of the obstacles are so unfamiliar to me. I mean, flying monkey bars?? Spider walk? Traverse rings? I will definitely need to do more technical, obstacle training to complete this one.

OCR is all about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable so I know I HAVE to do this race this year. And with two UK dates I have no excuse!

How to train for it:

Grip training: farmer’s carries and dead hangs WOD

3 Crossfit workouts perfect for OCRs

Plyometrics, footwork and burpees WOD


June: The Suffering: Rockingham Castle 10k (Midlands, UK)

Pain & Suffering is rumoured to be the toughest home-grown OCR in the UK so of course I have to try it out. The Rockingham Castle location in particular is known for hilly terrain, which I’m excited to train for. Other than that, I’m excited to see what will be the obstacle that almost breaks me. Reading finisher’s reviews, everyone’s got that one obstacle that made finishing 10x harder.

How to train for it:

Incline running and burpees WOD

LSD run on technical terrain

Hill intervals WOD


July: AT & T Stadium Spartan Sprint (San Francisco, US)

I’d love to try a real stadium race. Although I finished a Spartan Stadium race in the UK, the course wasn’t great. (Perhaps because the stadiums over here are quite small?) I expect that an American stadium race is a wholly different experience. I’m picking the SF one purely because I already travel there a few times a year so I should be able to make this date happen.

Do you know of a better stadium race in the US? Let me know in the comments!

How to train for it:

Prepare for Spartan Stadium races

Speed intervals for faster races WOD

Mastering monkey bars, high reach pull-ups and more


July: Lakeside Ram – Ram Run (UK)

Another heavily recommended UK-grown OCR. I’ve been meaning to try this one out! The Lakeside event is especially known for water (duh) and many natural obstacles in addition to the man-made obstacles we know so well. I expect the course is quite similar to Warrior Run above (but with deeper water),  which had over 50 obstacles in 6k of terrain and super-thick mud.

How to train for it:

Swimming: the OCR obstacle nobody talks about

Pyramid runs WOD

Burpees 2.0 WOD


August: Spartan Colorado Rockies Sprint (Breckenridge, US)

What nature lover doesn’t want to race in Colorado? Gorgeous scenery and terrain that ranges from sandy to snowy trails in one short Sprint. You bet I would be wearing a Go Pro during this one!

Unfortunately, altitude would be a problem for me as I live & train in the UK. (And no, elevation masks don’t work.)

How to train for it:

How to (re)build your endurance base to run faster

5 Strategies that boosted my running speed for OCR

Bouldering for OCR – coming soon! Subscribe to our weekly insider email to hear when it goes live.


Honourable non-OCR mention:

Maverick Race Buff X series

If you’re in the UK (or in reach of it), you have to try a Maverick Race! They’re trail races, with routes that are as challenging as they are beautiful. And dog-friendly! So you can run with your pooch.

This year Maverick Race are upping the ante with the new Buff X series, which will feature even tougher races at elevation but still in naturally-stunning locations.

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