There are thousands of people working hard every day to deliver and revolutionize the obstacle race experience and industry. We’d like to give a shout out to those that come to mind who are currently making things happen. These are people you may or may not have heard of but are definitely leaving their mark on the sport.
editor’s note: This is a (very) subjective list. Of course I had to put myself on the list. If you didn’t make this list it is because I took your spot. Stay tuned for the 50 hottest bodies in obstacle racing (I’ll probably take someone’s spot on that one too). – PB
Joe De Sena
Joe De Sena founded the Spartan Race, the industry leader among obstacle races. In 2015, more than 100 races will be held in over a dozen countries. Spartan also sponsors several elite athletes, supporting those serious about earning a living from obstacle racing.
Will Dean is CEO & co-founder of Tough Mudder, the leader in obstacle endurance challenges. Tough Mudder has won several awards, including ranking 65th among the Inc. 500 list, top 5 on Crain’s Fast 50 list, and Outside Magazines “Best Places to Work.” More than 50 events will be held in 2015.
Jason McCarthy is Founder/CEO of GORUCK, an event series that organizes team-building challenges and promotes rucking. Developed to form a bridge between Special Forces and civilians, GORUCK holds
(thousands?) of events each year.
Leopoldo Fernández Pujals (aka “Leo”)
Leo Fernandez is the billionaire angel investor of the Battlefrog series. Fernandez is is a key supporter of Battlefrog’s aggressive growth plans in 2015 and beyond. His son Carlos Centurion is listed as the CEO / Chariman in coporate filings.
Adrian created the first succesful OCR specific gear website aptly titled OCRGear.com. Adrian has gone on to create the well received OCR World Championships, the first event to introduce drug testing and more importantly bring athletes and companies from all over the world together #OCRunited
Sam is CEO and cofounder of Savage Race. Savage Race has been delivering well received race events to the masses relatively under the radar but might have trouble staying unnoticed as it quite possibly could be the first real contender to the big three (Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash).
CEO of VAVI, Inc producer of the WIPEOUT RUN which brings obstacles from the hit TV show WIPEOUT to the masses.
Mark Barber is the Managing Director of Battlefrog Series, the OCR series poised to take claim the place of the 4th (if not 3rd) largest race series in the U.S. At least a dozen events are planned in 2015. Prior to BattleFrog Mark was a cofounder, The Hooyah!, a Navy SEAL themed and partnered race that tried to get off the ground. One can assume Mark played a big part in connecting the dots of BattleFrog’s current organizational structure.
Lorraine Naude is the founder and CEO of Obstacle Course Racing Association UK, a governing body that supports OCRs in the UK. In 2015, OCRA will host a UK OCR Championship.
Rina Quistadio is co-chair of the Obstacle Course Racing Association of Australia, a non-profit organization that supports the growth of obstacle racing down under. She developed the world’s first bipartisan event competitive league qualifying system for inclusion in the OCR World Championships.
Cai Denny is the founder and publisher of OCR Europe, an online lifestyle and news magazine devoted to virtually all things obstacle racing, including Europe’s only race directory.
Along with Brad Scudder, Rob Dickens founded the Rugged Maniac, one of the most successful obstacle racing series. Rugged Maniac features a higher ratio of obstacles in comparison with other 5k series and attracted investment from Mark Cuban last year on Shark Tank.
Michael Epstein is co-founder of Down & Dirty Obstacle Race, a veteran OCR series with a strong following. Orignally branded under shoemaker Merrell, the series is now presented by Subaru.
Sean Rogers is co-founder and VP of Sales of Civilian Military Combine, a series that combines obstacle racing with CrossFit-type challenges.
Dan “Nitro” Clark is founder and race developer of Gladiator Rock n Run, one of the top OCRs in the country.
Scott Gephart is the owner and event director of Atlas Race, a highly touted obstacle racing series where elite athletes have competed. Launced in 2014, several events are planned for 2015.
As VP of Brand for Tough Mudder, Patterson is responsible for maintaining the Tough Mudder brand and orchestrating marketing efforts. With his leadership, T.M. has appread on LIVE with Kelly and Michael, Fox Business, NBC Today Show, and ABC Nightline. Patterson is also a registered attorney in NY state.
Arguably the first face of obstacle racing, Hobie Call is a multiple obstacle course race winner and strong advocate of the sport. He’s won multiple Spartan and Superhero Scramble events as well as the 2013 Spartan Race World Championship. Call has raised the awareness of obstacle racing as a competitive sport and the visibility of race series, including Spartan, Battlefrog, Superhero Scramble, Atlas Race, and the former Extreme Nation.
Bert Kuntz, formerly a renowned cadre (instructor) for GORUCK, went on to create Med Training Group. Kuntz is both feared and loved for his ability to dish out the “Good Living” and his passion for maintaining the “standards” when it comes to Selection.
Norm Koch is a well-known Spartan course developer and designer. As the brains behind course design for Spartan races, including the annual World Championship event, if you struggle with any Spartan OCR, thank and curse Norm.
Johnny Waite is a Death Race veteran, director of international quality control for Spartan Race, and founder of Life Adventure Company.
CEO & President of Stewart Media Ventures, Brett Stewart has also recently developed OCR Warrior, the world’s first obstacle racing reality competition show (if you don’t count American Ninja Warrior). He is also the co-founder/developer of Mud Run Guide, a leading online resource for mud runs, obstacle races, and similar adventures.
The Jerry West of obstacle racing. As the founder of Mud and Adventure, Paul Buijs was the first to compile a directory of all obstacle race and extreme endurance events happening across the globe. M+A has grown into the internet’s leading obstacle race resource with the most comprehensive race calendar dedicated to mud runs and obstacle races. Event and gear discounts, training tips, and industry news are also featured on the site. Paul also created the Mud and Adventure obstacle race team, a group of the sport’s most humble athlete ambassadors, who benefit from the team’s relationship with race organizers and emerging product companies.
Matt B. Davis
As the founder of Obstacle Racing Media, Matt Davis maintains the most extensive source of obstacle racing and mud run industry news. ORM’s website, social media, and podcast have a significant following. The podcast has more than 100 episodes and counting.
Death race winner and elite obstacle athlete, Joe Decker also hosts a number of obstacle racing events with The Suck series. He’s also founder and operator of Gut Check Fitness.
Paul Jones is the head organizer of New England Spahtens, a regional OCR group with more than 3,500 Facebook members. Jones works with race directors for all local and national race series bringing an event to New England to co-ordinate the NE Spahten participation, discounts and cross promotion.
Kevin Jones is the founder of Crazy Mudder Muckers, an OCR group with more than 1,500 members. Crazymuddermuckers.com also lists events, discount codes, and obstacle racing groups nationwide by region.
Billy Wilson “Mr. Mouse”
Thanks to Mr. Mouse, we can enjoy the amazing sport of obstacle racing. Bill Wilson organizes the event that inspired the modern obstacle race with his original Tough Guy challenge, first held in 1987. Tough Guy continues to attract a significant following in the UK.
Alex Nicholas is an elite obstacle race athlete, Spartan Race points leader, and owner of the EPIC Hybrid Training Center chain of gyms in New York City (and now, Providence Rhode Island), where obstacle athletes can train and be a part of the EPIC Training Team for OCR events. Through Alex’s training numerous athletes have been introduced to the sport and even ascended high into the elite rankings. Alex has also been tapped to consult for the International Obstacle Racing Federation and the first ever Spartan Gym in conjunction with 1 Hotels.
Founder & CEO of Playout, Eddie Kovel revolutionized the way we can work out and train. Playout is a card game that makes exercise fun with an unlimited combination of bodyweight exercises (no equipment required). An obstacle race training edition is also available.
Daniel Luu is the head organizer of Team Luu, an OCR group based in Colorado representing athletes throughout the U.S. Team Luu athletes represent their collection of sponsors in races across the country.
Margaret Schlachter is founder and developer of Dirt In Your Skirt and Editor-in-Chief of MudRunGuide.com as well as host of Obstacle and Adventure Weekly. Schlachter is also the author of “Obstacle Race Training
How to Beat Any Course, Compete Like a Champion and Change Your Life.”
A Navy SEAL, Brian Carney developed Bone Frog Challenge, a well-respected 9-12 mile obstacle challenge with more than 30 obstacles.
Rob & Jill Butler
Rob and Jill Butler own and operate Shale Hill Adventure Farm, a year-round obstacle race training center in VT. Each year, they host the Polar Bear Challenge, a 7-mile winter obstacle event. They consult with several venues on the creation of permanent obstacle sites.
Josue Stephens is the director of Fuego y Agua Events, which includes Fuego y Agua Survival Race, the annual sustainable obstacle event in Nicaragua known for being among the world’s toughest multi hour events.
Scott Keneally authored the first expose on obstacle racing in “Outside” magazine. As investigative journalist, Keneally is also the director of “Rise of the Sufferfests,” a highly hyped and anticipated forthcoming documentary on the history and sociology of obstacle racing.
Pete Rees is founder of Mudstacle, an independent news, reviews and community website for mud runs, obstacle courses and endurance races focused on the UK.
Damion Trumbley is the founder and CEO of Mud Run Fun, a site with an obstacle race and mud run finder, racing tips, discount codes, and giveaways. Mud Run Fun’s Facebook community has a strong and active following and is known for it’s vibrant team participation at events throughout Florida and into the South East.
As CEO of Sweatworks, Mohammed Iqbal provides timing, scoring, photos and other technology solutions for numerous OCR companies. If you did an event in the past three years, you were probably timed, scored or photgraphed with technology created by SweatWorks.
A unversity professor at Fitchburg State University in Masssachusetts, Jeff Godin is also one of the developers of the Spartan Coaching program.
Erin Beresini is author of “Off Course,” the first-ever print book on the emergence of obstacle racing, including the scandals, lawsuits, and major players.
Anthony Matessi is the driving force behind the Spartan blog and magazine. He is also at the helm of the Spartan Hurricane Heat.
An elite athlete and Spartan Pro Team member, Andi Hardy helps lead the Spartan 300 Workout Tour which introduces and prepares thousands of soon to be participants for the sport of obstacle racing.
Winner of the 2014 Spartan World Championship, the first ever OCR World Championship, and Tough Guy 2015. Jon Albon represents British racers worldwide!
Garfield Griffiths has founded and put on multiple mud runs, including The Fearless Challenge and Mud Mingle. His role as race director was instrumental in BatteFrog’s well received debut and first year’s growth. He’s a frequently sought after consultant to race organizers and now works in race operations for Savage Race and the OCR World Championships.
Jeff Suffolk is the president of Human Movement Management, an event production company that hosts several mass participatory events, including Dirty Girl and The Zombie Run.
Noted elsewhere as one of the 50 most influential people in fitness, Ben a triathlete and well known trainer is introducing people to obstacle racing through the Obstacle Dominator podcast which he cohosts with Hunter McIntyre
You can blame Yancy for seeing all those Beet Elite tattoos in pictures of your favorite top competitors. He is the OCR team manager for team Beet Elite (a product we think actually works) and trains some of the best in the sport – like Isaiah Vidal.
Carl created Obstacle Race Magazine, the only OCR specific print magazine that is still standing – without backing from huge publishing companies. He is also behind Muddy Kit, an online gear retailer, several marquee events in the UK and the sport’s first expo.
Joe Di Stefano
Joe is the director of Spartan Training at Spartan Race. He leads the SGX training program and offers Spartan training to the masses through an ever growing network of Spartan Group X certified coaches.
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