OCR is at a pivotal point; stay a friendly competition or become a professional "paid" environment. There is a possibility for both, but it seems that during this transformation, financial stability becomes challenging.
As OCR or Obstacle Course Racing continues to grow on a global scale, payment for competition is inevitable. In the U.S. sports industry, worth over $67.29 billion, athletes have become the driving force for revenue. Athletes have not only brought rise to entertainment and the latest social trends, but they generate merchandise and ticket sales that do more than support your home town professional team. Athletes have become a staple in our society.
*Image and information found on www.forbes.com/athletes/#9c7030355ae5
Where does that leave OCR? This question is pondered by OCRM and many in the OCR community. In our opinion, OCR is at a pivotal point; stay a friendly competition or become a professional "paid" environment. There is a possibility for both, but it seems that during this transformation, financial stability is challenging.
On Thursday, December 27th, 2019, OCRM received an image from one of our staff, stating the cancellation of Tough Mudder X or "TMX". *It should be noted that the post had been from several days before. Unfortunately, due to the traffic of "tagging" OCRM receives, we have become numb to the information provided through this delivery method. Leading up to our staff member's discovery, OCRM heard rumors of Tough Mudder's financial dismay. The rumors had more precedent after an article was written in USA Today about Tough Mudder's future as a divided company.
For reference, please read the article titled: "Tough Mudder, facing 'tricky' obstacles of its own, will split into two companies" written by USA Today. Link provided below.
December 28th, 2018:
However, this was not the end of the debacle. Following the post on OCRM's social media pages about Tough Mudder's TMX "cancellation," OCRM received more information about a lack of payment athletes have received. On many occasions, athlete's had voiced their concerns to OCRM staff about the lack of financial fulfillment promised by Tough Mudder in recent months. After one athlete's check was finally received, our staff posted the picture along with the post from this athlete explaining the situation and his frustration with the company. Lo and behold, this post began a rather large discussion. Tough Mudder was not the only company holding payment from many athlete's....
Among the conversation, was a group individuals frustrated by their lack of payment, but this time, Tough Mudder was not to blame. No, this had become a common theme for another company looking to make its mark and reward athletes for their accomplishments. Terrain Race founded in 2010 and now offering "FREE" races had yet to pay their athletes. Eric, a common Terrain Race participant and victor of a total $50 had yet to receive any payment after his September race. Eric goes on to say:
"I've only won twice, so I'm not the best example of a paid athlete, but people deserve to know the truth. Terrain Race has yet to pay me for a September Race. And as you can see, I'm not the only one."
With this knowledge in mind, OCRM's public relations department reached out to both Tough Mudder and Terrain Race or Cool Events LLC (Terrain Race's parent company) for more information. At this time, no reply has been received and no form of contact has been made. The only response to the information posted was a reply email to Matthew Best, the individual who received the email from Tough Mudder, stating the cancellation of TMX. Joanie from TMHQ had personally sent an email to Matthew, in it wrote:
"I apologize for this mis information, we are in fact doing TMX in 2019, however we do not have a list of those just yet."
When asking Matthew about this email, he told us:
"Ya, well they messed up and gave wrong info and they are doing what they can to make it right. I'm surprised they tracked down little me to send me this email letting me know. Shows a commitment to make things right, even if it does make them look very disorganized."
We agree with Matthew, the fact that they took the time to source the problem and apologize for their mistakes shows a commitment to integrity, something lost in the minds of many corporations these days. But, there is a larger theme at play here... MONEY. What is happening in this market? Whether it is from the lack payments to athlete's, a viewer friendly event potentially cancelled, a divided company, Spartan producing "trail running" or events becoming free... What is the future of OCR?