OCR Turf Wars

ocr-turf-wars

Is there such a thing as an OCR turf war brewing?

Remember back in the good old days when obstacle racing first started gaining popularity?  Like-minded adrenaline junkies started forming groups so they could train together and conquer obstacle races together.  Those were simpler times.

Regional groups began to form like the New England Spahtens in the Northeast, Corn Fed Spartans in the Midwest and the Weeple Army in the West.  As the groups began to organically grow, they found a deeper meaning.  They began to take on a philanthropic path raising money for local nonprofits that ranged from animal rescues to helping fight childhood cancers.  Some members even found love.

OCR Proposal

OCR Proposal

These groups continued to grow and recruit new members.  They began branding themselves and selling merchandise.  Today it is almost impossible to be at a race and not see someone wearing one of the group’s shirts or sleeves.

In the past year, these groups have begun to creep out of their regions and recruit in other states to grow their brand.  We have seen the Weeple Army create groups throughout California, Arizona, Nevada and the east coast.  The Corn Fed Spartans have international chapters and just expanded into the west coast.

So, the questions at hand – Will these running groups become territorial?  Do they feel threatened by other groups encroaching into their territory?  Will we bear witness to a turf war that will rival the Sharks and Jets at the next Spartan Race?

We met up with the leaders of some of these groups to get their thoughts on these questions, and this is what they said…

The New England Spahtens have no plans for world domination.  As Paul Jones eloquently puts it, “We’re the New England Spahtens, not the New American Spahtens”. He sees no need to branch out, as they are quite proud and content just the way they are.  Any growth they have will stay in the Northeast.

New England Spahtens

New England Spahtens

 

In a recent interview with Corn Fed Spartans creator Jonathan Nolan, he said there are no hard feelings between Corn Fed and the Weeple Army leaders.  “There is a lot of camaraderie between us, and there won’t be any blatant attempts to steal team members. There may come a point and time when they (Weeples) may want to join,” Jonathan said, “then they can join and see what we’re all about.”

Corn Fed Spartans

 

Dave Huckle, founder of the Weeple Army had similar sentiments.  “I was very blessed to travel around the US and the world in 2013 and meet many of the other groups and their leaders. I have nothing but respect for them,”  Dave said. “Weeples will continue to reach out a helping hand to anyone at a race. The shirt you wear will never affect that. But competition will make us continue to improve and strive to be the best we can be.”

Weeple Army

Weeple Army

Dave also mentioned that they are focused on continuing to build their “Weeples Overcoming Challenges” group that includes blind & deaf athletes, athletes with spina bifida, prosthetics, and other various personal challenges.

We also spoke to Damion Trombley from the Florida based MunRunFun Magazine.  Although they do not claim to be the same as the other running groups, they do have a large presence at races representing their brand.  And a MudRunFun team tent has been seen recently at some Southern California events.  “The spread of all of our groups is important to me. It doesn’t matter the group you’re in,” Damion explained.  “I do team highlights in MudRunFun Magazine to grow other groups within our following. I hope people would always have growing the community in mind, not just the teams.”

MudRunFun Magazine

MudRunFun Magazine

At this point it appears that all the running groups appear to be happy with the growth of each other’s teams.  There appear to be no hard feelings.  I suppose only time will tell if this is really the case especially when most of these teams pride themselves on winning “The Biggest Team” title and get such perks as a team tent or discounts on future races.

If there really are no hard feelings and no intense team loyalty, who knows?  Maybe we will see a CornFedWeepleMRF-er team in the near future.  

Dylan Plante – Weeple Army/Team SISU &
Shawn Parsons – Corn Fed Spartans

If you are in a running group, I’d love to get your opinion on the growth of the teams, and if you think we may see competition between them in the future.

Comments

  1. I’m a member of the Blackshirt Spartans. I see it as a way to build even more camaraderie with those in the OCR community that are already building strong relationships around. It’s an awesome way to be a part of the OCR world that expands upon just a race, but across many races!

  2. I’m not sure how we were overlooked…. TEAM BREAVHEART, founded by Jen Rosant of New Jersey has over 700 members. We have been the “Biggest Team” at many an event.

    • Laurie Hale says:

      Hi Tara,
      There are lots of teams forming around the country, which is great for the sport. What has been your experience with other running groups? Has there been any competition?

  3. Tom Nastasi says:

    Good article, but lost some credability with no mention of Team Braveheart…..

  4. Cornfed here but I think there’s room for many more groups. The camaraderie that these races foster is built stronger by groups. It hopefully will encourage recruitment and retension of new racers.

  5. With a lack of OCR representation in south, our running group (Mississippi Mud Pirates) have gained a lot of interest. Team mudrunfun is overflowing in Florida but we don’t have much in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana or the panhandle. We just surpassed 400 members this week and had no intention of taking on this role. We are trying to get more folks interested in running trails, mud runs, OCRs, etc.

    #yoho

Speak Your Mind

*