What is Obstacle Course Racing? The new extreme sport

OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) is an exciting sport and outdoor activity in which a competitor overcomes various physical challenges in the form of obstacles.

The competitor should be on foot and can use physical techniques consisting of running, climbing, crawling, hanging, jumping, swinging, balancing and body co-ordination. We’re looking at you, Tarzan! He’s been doing some form of OCR since forever!

Two of the biggest names in the world of OCR are Tough Mudder and Spartan. These events have obstacle course races that cover distances between three and 30 kilometres with the addition of up to 35 obstacles along the way. These races include going through sand, mud, water, ice, and much more. In some of the most intense races, participants might be asked to army crawl under barbed wire or carry heavy sandbags up a slope in the middle of running a half marathon. Challenging? Sure, but super fun too.

We do have several obstacle course race events from time to time in the UAE, but where do you practice your passion if the next event is months away? At OCR Park on Hudayriyat Island in Abu Dhabi, of course! The largest permanent obstacle course in the UAE, consisting of 8 obstacles for adults, and 6 obstacles for kids.

Climbing wall obstacle on an obstacle course
Wooden climbing wall obstacle named: “10 Feet To Freedom” at OCR Park, Abu Dhabi

OCR Park provides a unique outdoor fitness activity, which can also be used to train for Tough Mudder and Spartan. The added challenge of an OCR (which may be a deterrent for some) is the thing that makes it appealing for others. Many people find obstacle course racing a strenuous challenge, but many OCR competitors are likely already highly competent exercisers looking for a push. Variety can help keep people motivated.

Obstacle course racing has several health benefits and can be even better than training at traditional gyms and running a marathon. Sure, lifting some weights and running a few kilometers are exciting activities but where do you go when you crave something a bit different?

Being outdoors in the sand is a refreshing change from your traditional crowded gyms with that typical distinct smell and the artificial, too-cold air. There is no need to wait for someone to finish with a particular machine so you can work on a specific set of muscles – because OCR works out nearly every muscle as it is a complete workout in itself! Obstacle courses challenge muscles that you may not be used to using, and test your endurance in ways that you haven’t been tested.

It also strengthens your bones, is good for your heart, helps with brain functions and boosts the immune system.

OCR helps in mental and emotional ways as well! You can complete an obstacle course as part of a team – this encourages teamwork, cooperation, support and friendship which are beneficial aspects of forming lasting relationships and friendships. This is why OCR can be a great, exhilarating choice for team building and group events.

Obstacle course racing participants finishing course

Beginners luck or beginner’s competence? OCR Park getting you ready for your next obstacle course race

Now if you’ve read this far and you’re wondering – sounds tough, I’ve never done this?! Well, fear not! Our park caters to people of all fitness levels. So, don’t worry if you have never done this before, we have our amazing, helpful trainers Aaron and Oussema on site to give you all the help you need.

We have fitness zones before each obstacle where our trainers have designed specific exercises to get you prepared to go up, down or through an obstacle. They say an expert in anything was also once a beginner.

We also provide our guests with the opportunity to host events, birthday parties, competitions and much more. OCR Park has a capacity to host around 100 people for events (after following COVID-19 SOPs and social distancing guidelines). Bring in a group of kids and we can hold timed competitions with special prizes for winners. Bring in a group of adults and we can get them to bond whilst helping each other climb a wall i.e., our obstacle Up and Over. Everyone has to work hard, because we follow one rule at OCR Park – whatever it takes!

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