You run, you crawl through the mud, and you scale walls. No, it's not basic training for the military. It's a new trend in foot races. Obstacle course racing has exploded in popularity in the last two years.
They go by names like Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash. They are trail races with additional obstacles along the route.
Arnel Banawa trains people for these obstacle course races, or OCRs. He says it is the adventurer or risk-taker who tackles these races compared to the typical road race.
"These companies have found a brilliant way to make fitness fun. People don't want to work out, but if it's fun they're going to do it," said Banawa.
Banawa's first race of this kind was a year and a half ago. "There wasn't a lot of races at that point, and I traveled to North Carolina for a Warrior Dash." Now, there is an OCR in the state of Florida almost every weekend.
Crawling through mud pits, scaling 8-foot walls, and shimming through tunnels sounds tough because it is. Many obstacle course racers are addicted to this relatively new sport because of the camaraderie.
"Some of the obstacles are difficult, almost impossible to complete. You need the assistance of a friend, a partner, teammate or even a complete stranger," said Banawa.
In his training sessions Banawa puts people through the paces with speed and agility skills. He says from couch potato to elite athlete, these races are for everyone."All the people I have introduced to obstacle races have thanked me."
Banawa's training classes are free every Tuesday at 6:30pm. His 813 Fit Club meets at the downtown Tampa Howard Johnson, 111 W. Fortune St.
200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606
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