You have probably heard of Puerto Rico in the news recently. Extreme drought conditions, bad credit, government defaults, acquiring statehood; or not; or maybe a little; but not really. You thought you have heard it all but you have not. What you don’t know is that this little gem in the Caribbean offers a fine selection of challenging OCR events or Extreme Races as the locals call them. Within its 111 miles by 36 miles squared area, you can head to the mountains and find events located at elevations above 1200 meters, or drive 30 minutes to the coastline and participate on a beach event. Temperatures usually range from as high as 105 degrees in the coastline in the summer to high 50s in the mountains in winter. Add to all this awesomeness and humidity of 90% or higher and you got yourself a serious challenge that can only be quenched with coconut water and piña coladas.
Back in March 2015, I was invited by several local race directors to their obstacle races. Three events in a two week span, all within 50 miles from each other. This incredible weekend was the beginning of MudRunFun in Puerto Rico. Obstacle Racing has since exploded into one of the most popular fitness activities in Puerto Rico. Here are a brief description of the most attended events in la Isla del Encanto.
Be Active Sports
Be Active Sports is not an event but a company that produces a large range of events. Their flagship event is Survivor Race. Survivor Race is held twice a year, usually in March and September. The event incorporates approximately 4 miles of trail running with the biggest and baddest obstacles in Puerto Rico. They have the largest quarter pipe ramp as well as the two most complex monkey bars(“Crazy Monkey” and “La M”) in Puerto Rico. On the side, they have the 5k Beach Challenge , Bootcamp 5k, BeerFest 5k and OCR Camp. The 5k Beach Challenge is a 5k run in the beach with body weight exercise stations. The Bootcamp 5k is similar to the 5k Beach Challenge, however, the run is in trails an there are some obstacles in addition to the exercise stations. Finally, there is the Beerfest 5k, a road 5k through downtown Aguadilla. The event starts and ends at Punto Azul, a local establishment that serves the best mojitos in the island. As you can imagine, this event offers craft beers every mile and at the finish line. In addition to their 4 events, Be Active Sports has the OCR Camp, a new events for those obstacle racers who want to learn from the best in the fitness industry. This 8 hour training session includes hands on workouts as well as lectures on topics such as nutrition, training and strategies on how to overcome some of the most difficult obstacles in the industry. Finally, is important to mention that Be Active Sports is the main sponsor and provider of team uniforms for the Puerto Rican Team of Obstacle Racers that compete in the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships.
Known as the FIRST obstacle race in Puerto Rico, Titan Race always has one of the toughest courses on the island. Located in Orocovis, you can expect to run hills 105% of the time. Some of their obstacles, including the 16 ft vertical wall, a 120 ft Rig in the middle of the jungle and a pipe incline wall, are as intimidating as their terrain. Titans Race always experiments with the format of their events, which offers variety throughout their races. They offered a 10k event the first two times, then a 5k, now they offer the Kronos Challenge. The Kronos Challenge was held in 2016 over a 2 day span. Offering a 5k on Saturday and a 10k on Sunday gave everyone the chance to pick their race or do them both. For 2016, they intend to offer both 10k and 5k course on the same day, making it more of a challenge suited for titans. A fun fact about Titans Race is that until this article was written, Out of the 300+ obstacle races I have participated in, Titans Race is the only one that had me jump over a waterfall in the rain forest. I just gave you another excuse to come to Puerto Rico to do OCR.
Reflex Xtreme Challenge
Back when I did my first event in Puerto Rico, Reflex Xtreme Challenge was just beginning. They had had one event and it went really well for them but they where not as popular as the other events previously mentioned in this article. Fast forward 1.5 years into the future and Reflex Extreme Challenge is now part of the “Puerto Rican Big Three”. Their obstacles are great and are well built and although they might not be as intimidating like Survivor race and Titan Race, this makes this event appealing to all members of the family and attracts athletes of all skill level. They have two events a year plus their new Reflex Kids Challenge which was a huge success in 2016. Their ability and flexibility to quickly build their metal obstacles on the spot, wherever and whenever they want, makes them the most versatile obstacle racing company in the island and with that comes the ability to get better. They will only add to their obstacle count and I predict that in 2017, they will have the most obstacles in an event in Puerto Rico.
Clash of Warriors
Welcome to the family-friendly fun OCR, where times and competition don’t matter, only camaraderie and having fun. Clash of the Warriors is a 8k distanced event and the first ever event in Puerto Rico to offer the Electroshock Therapy obstacle. They combine the great rain forest mountainous terrain with river traverses, quarter pipes, walls, ice pits and lots and lots of clay mud. Like Tough Mudder, they exist in a special niche of OCR events, one were completion is more important than having a fast time or winning trophies. As the only event in this niche, this event will prosper in the island and will get better every year. Did you know that over 90% of participants go to mud runs/obstacle races go to have fun and do not care about how fast they completed the event?
Challenge Area 51
The baby of the list, Challenge Area 51 had their first event no more than 4 month ago. Although they had a few rookie mistakes, the event was awesome! Not only was this the first event in the southeast region of the island, it hosted the biggest obstacle RIG known to exist(160 ft long). It also has a tire pool, tetris wall and a tire climb over an abandoned house. Lot of new crazy obstacle ideas took shape at this event giving it a bit of a element of surprise to their participants. Oh and the finisher medal, it was pretty amazing. Keep an eye on their late 2017 event announcement, you won’t want to miss it.
OCR Beast Challenge
The newcomer of the list, The OCR Beast Challenge will take place in February of 2017. It already has the backing of multiple fitness organizations and have accumulated enough materials to build a bunch of cool obstacles. With the backing of the three largest OCR teams in Puerto Rico: Luxury Fitness, Warrior Fit and MudRunFun, this event will for sure attract the crazy OCR crowd.
King of the Hill
The name says it all. The course is pretty much all hill. King of the Hill will have you carry buckets, sand bags, traverse obstacles and do body weight exercises at several stations. The event is mostly on road therefore those who rather not get muddy might enjoy it. But you will get dirty! becuase they will make you burpee all over the place so do not expect to stay clean for long!
The Elite Challenge incorporates exercises with obstacle racing in a very touristy beach venue. Although they need to figure out some race day logistics, they have a unique event in their hands that could potentially develop into their own niche. Elite Challenge: Teams Battle was the first team event in the island for obstacle racing and they are the ONLY ones to incorporate stand up paddle boarding in their event. Their event is located in La Guancha, Ponce , a tourist-friendly venue that could potentially turn this event into the most spectator-friendly event in the island.
These are most of the OCR events in Puerto Rico and were mentioned on this article base on the voting results of Mudrunfun’s 2016 End of Year survey. If you feel your event should be included on this article please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org