As 2018 wraps up and we all start the search for our 2019 race schedules, the grumbling and griping of Spartan Race price increases and Tough Mudder over-used locations begins.
Gripe all you want, but if you hand them the cash, they will keep charging and placing those races in the same locations. That being said, here are 5 races across the country that are smaller, still have competitive heats, and donate proceeds to charities.
"The innovation of the smaller races pushes the big ones to be more innovative than they would be otherwise. You have to have each for OCR to thrive" - Bill Brumbach, BROCR
THOR (Texoma's Hellacious Obstacle Run)
Where: Wichita Falls, Texas
When: April 6th, 2019
Course: 5k (they claim 5"ish" k) for 13+, kids races for 4-12
Swag: Finisher's medal, t-shirt, bag check (using their provided bags), after party, vendor tents
Proceeds: T.H.O.R. claims nonprofit, benefiting the Wichita Falls Streams & Valleys and the Leadership Wichita Falls program.
Shasta Mud Run
Where: Redding, California
When: May 11th, 2019
Course: 5k, 10k, team, and team spirit awards, children over 5 may participate in the 5k (accompanied by an adult if they are under 14).
Swag: Live music, free bag check, t-shirts, Free mud pit for kids.
Proceeds: All proceeds benefit programs of the Youth Options, which provides multiple leadership and civic responsibility programs for youth and families in Shasta County.
Emerald Coast Mudrun for Orphans
Where: Niceville, Florida
When: May 19th, 2019
Course: 5k, 10k, Kids 1 miler, and a nighttime 5k course, 18-22 obstacles. Competative heats are timed, fun run waves are not.
Swag: Finisher's medal and t-shirt, 10k "elite" has age group awards, glowsticks for the night runners.
Proceeds: 100% of the proceeds from this race will go to Heart of the Bride in Niceville, which provides shelter, food, and education for hundreds of orphans and at-risk children around the world.
Indian Mud Run
Where: Coshocton, Ohio
When: June 22, 2019
Course: 6.6, multi-lap, 5k, teams, kids course (under 12). This is an OCRWC qualifying race that actually provides the floating walls for WCs.
Swag: Finisher's medal, draw-string bag, t-shirt, beer (21+).
Proceeds: All proceeds benefit the Coshocton County Park District.
Where: Colden, New York
When: August 24th, 2019
Course: 5 mile competitive and open, teams, ages 14+, 30 obstacles.
Swag: Finisher's medal, t-shirt, free parking, free for spectators, vendors, free downloadable photos, discount for military/law/first responders.
Proceeds: A portion of each registration goes to Compass House, which provides safe shelter and services to runaway and homeless teens in New York.
This just scratches the surface of the amazing obstacle races that exist, ran by locals, that give to charities, and are far less than the brutal price tags of the big box series.
Put your money where you'll feel better and try something new in 2019.