Obstacle races aren’t just for kids.
In fact, in the United States and increasingly around the world, it is becoming a serious sport.
There are TV shows, podcasts, specific clothing lines, books and annual professional championships, and even plans by devotees for it to become an official Olympic sport.
And in April Nelson folk get the chance to try it out when the first organised obstacle course race is held in Happy Valley near Hira.
Dubbed the Wairua Warrior, it will consist of a 6km race for beginners and a 12km tougher version for more serious competitors.
The course over undulating terrain with a range of natural and man-made obstacles involving mud, water, walls, ropes and barbed wire is designed to be challenging but achievable.
Entries, including some from rugby clubs and local colleges, are already starting to roll in for the April 11 event, which is being organised by the Stoke-based Wairua Mud Rookies Obstacle Racing Club with help from Sport Tasman.
The race is open to anyone over 16 and can be done as an individual or part of a team. All proceeds go to the Life Education Trust.
Club president Greg Witika said the event was a great way for people doing any sort of sports training to measure their fitness as it required strength, speed, balance and endurance.
“It will be a good test for everyone from runners to gym goers because it covers all types of fitness and it’s for a really good cause.’’
It was also a good way to have some fun and was an ideal team building exercise because it fostered camaraderie and cooperation, he said.
He said similar races in Australia and a recent one in Auckland had drawn several thousand entrants as obstacle racing became more recognised as a mainstream sport, and he was hopeful of getting a good response here.
Interest was starting to build, with a strong contingent expected to attend from outside Nelson, including a team from Australia.
A two-day workshop on how to train for an obstacle race was held earlier this month, while work on constructing the course would begin shortly, Mr Witika said.
2 Sport Tasman is a registered charity (CC11102) that exists to get More People, More
Active, More Often through the Top of the South Island.
“Sport Tasman is delighted to be helping out with this exciting event. This is going to be a fun and adventurous challenge for many in our community.” Says Sport Tasman CEO, Nigel Muir.
Sport Tasman are accepting race registrations at www.wairuawarrior.co.nz. For more information contact Sharron Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.