One of the true pioneers in the sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) and winner of countless community awards, the F.I.T. Challenge has announced that next year’s event will be its last. Making it to its 10th annual race, owner Robb McCoy is hoping to make this last event one to remember. Here is what we know about why they decided to shut it down, their plans, and what it might be signaling about the future of OCR.
F.I.T. Challenge OCR Announces Final Event Ever in 2023
Below is what F.I.T. Challenge OCR owner Robb McCoy posted on the races Facebook page:
Robb’s honesty about the future of the event and OCR as a whole is something that is going to be tough to hear for a lot of people. But it’s something people in the industry have been talking about for a few months now. And to hear one of the more respected independent race directors address it, is a breath of fresh air.
In a n interview with the OCR Report Podcast, Robb elaborated even more into what is driving up the costs of events. Inflation has doubled the costs for shirts, medals, and race day material. Combined with the decreasing attendance numbers across all races, and he just doesn’t feel he can put on a quality event. It should be noted that Robb has not increased the price in its 10 years, so it’s clear he is not in it for the money. And he plans on continuing to put on more ultra running events. Which have come by popular demand from the local community.
What does this say about the future of OCR?
In that same podcast they discuss the lack of bounce back from Covid and how this will start to impact other races as well. And I think we are already seeing the dominos start to fall with Tough Mudder losing their CEO and Spartan Race deciding to hold a world championship event on the same weekend as the OCR World Championship. It’s going to be a battle for the few racers that are left.
Will the numbers return back to pre covid levels? Unfortunately I don’t feel like this will to happen. While OCR has experienced dramatic drops in popularity, trail running and ultra running has seen an explosion. With numbers of ultra race finishers maintaining and even increasing through the pandemic. So why are people switching to trail running? OCR event entry fees can be close to $200 per person. And with a general lack of imagination in obstacles from the sports biggest brand. I understand why people want to pay that much to run once, let alone multiple times per year.
I’m bummed to hear that 2023 will be the last year for the F.I.T. Challenge OCR, as it’s been on my list to do for a few years now. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it up for the last run. I’d love to earn one of their multi lap trophies. And I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that this isn’t the first in line of dominos to fall in the industry.
What are your thoughts on the F.I.T. Challenge announcing its last event? Comment on the current state of OCR, let me know in the comments below!