USA Obstacle Course Racing (USAOCR) has announced an official application process for joining their “Team USA”. But as someone who has raced OCR at a world level since 2018 and has never heard of “USA OCR” in any capacity. I was interested in finding out more about this group claiming to be a “governing body” without (as of the time of writing this) being affiliated with any major race series . So what is USA OCR, what is their “Team USA”, and what does this all really mean? And most importantly, how will this benefit OCR athletes and you going forward? Let’s find out.
What is USA Obstacle Course Racing (USAOCR)
According to their website:
“USA Obstacle Course Racing (USAOCR) is the National Governing Body for Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) and events in the United States of America.”
As far as I can tell, this statement seems to be false. USAOCR does not appear to be affiliated with any major OCR race series. They have no input on OCR events outside of their own. And they are not involved with only recognized “OCR Championship ”.
In fact, they claim to be the governing body of OCR, while not even having their committees filled to create these rules. Pushing for signup and “team members” by using false claims like USAOCR “is the governing body” rather than getting the foundation of a true community built correctly. And honestly, their whole website has my spidey senses tingling .
What has me Worried:
The site includes links to a national championship page with no info about future races. Showing that the “USAOCR” didn’t have any championships in 2020, 2021, and 2022. And will not have a championship for 2023. Oh and should I mention they have no sanctioned races for 2023.
So the governing body of OCR shut down for 4 years while the rest of the industry struggled to survive during Covid? They also make no mention of recognizing the well known OCR World Championships events, which didn’t abandon OCR athletes during Covid, and has become recognized as the sports unquestioned championship. Even Spartan Race has partnered with them.
More so, their world championship links to another random organization (World Obstacle) that isn’t affiliated with any major US OCR events. And is claiming their own, “new” world championship out of no where. While also seeming to recognize Spartan Race as the international championship events. Even though Spartan Race has recognized and partnered with another race brand as the official OCR World Championships. This whole thing is incredibly confusing, convoluted, and feels counter productive to everything that has been a accomplished over the past few years in OCR.
Spartan Race has officially recognized and partnered with the recognized OCR world championship event after years of battling event dates. Then this site comes out of no where and has the audacity to make a claim like their goal is to unite OCR while blatantly disrespecting the hard work that other organizations have put in is utterly mind blowing to me.
So What is the USA Obstacle Course Racing “Team USA” and How to Apply?
In short, this is a private team with no affiliation to any OCR events, league, country, or recognized authority in the sport. The name “Team USA” is being used to attract people in. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be on Team USA. But the fact is there are a lot of these teams around the country like this already. They just don’t claim to be something they are not, as appears to be the case here. In reality, it seems as though the team serves more to promote the USAOCR brand more than creating a unified team of the best OCR runners in the USA.
Brands often use the fact that amateur athletes want to be “sponsored” by putting together “teams”. In which they offer some discounts in exchange for the athletes to promote their brand everywhere they go and on social media. This is done to drive sales for the brand and less to help athletes. This is exactly what I see happening here. And while I hope I’m wrong… if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and looks like a duck?
So don’t be surprised once you sign up if you start getting emails for race jerseys, training programs, certifications, fitness products, and race entries. They will be making a commission every time anyone clicks and purchases one of those offers.
Update: Their site already talks about “Coach training and certification”, I wonder how much that certificate will cost? And that one of their main goals is to become financially stable enough to hire themselves and be payed employees. Remember, it’s a business and you will be their target customer.
As you can tell, I’m not a fan of this whole thing. But for those of you still interested in finding out more about joining “team USA’, you can see all of this for yourself on their official website here.
And for those looking for the real OCR World Championship website, you can find that by clicking here.
I know this piece is going to come off as harsh. But honestly, if a group of people is going to start calling themselves the “governing body” of an entire sport with no basis to the claim. There should be some serious questions being asked. And if the group has been created with the best of intentions, they should be inviting criticism. Using it to improve their overall brand and message. Because from the outside looking in, as someone who has been involved and covering the sport for a long time now, this whole thing has a lot of big red flags.
What we do know is this. The group is making claims they can not support. Is not recognized by any reputable brand in OCR. Are pushing for sign ups before even having rules or regulations outlined. Have zero sanctioned events for 2023. Are not giving credit to any other OCR races or Orgs that do have recognized authority. And are already talking about selling “coaching training and certification programs”. Hmmmm.
My suggestion, don’t give them any money until they show that they are actually doing something, anything for the OCR community. Feel free to sign up, but once the product offers start showing up in your email, know they are making money off of that. It’s a business. And if you really want to sign up for something and help the OCR community, look into “OCR Gives back”, a charity that has been doing a lot of good for a long time. And / or volunteering at one of your local OCR events. This is how the community grows as a whole!