Thoughts on Obstacle Racers NZ, Obstacle Industry in NZ, plus more

Long time no posting. But today I’d like to bring you some thoughts.

 

This blog was setup largely as an experiment while I was studying Sports Business – a place for me to play around with training, my interest in obstacle competitions such as OCR, parkour, mud running, and etc. It gave me freedom to experiment with ideas while a student. In no particular order, here’re some thoughts (after a lot of progression in my life, I think, from when I look back at what I was doing during previous posts to this blog):

Obstacle Racers NZ

Obstacle Racers NZ has been going for 7 months now – and there’s been some major learning curves personally as I relaunch the venture, but it’s very invigorating and exciting work. The community around it is steadily growing, and I believe it will even more so as regular content is produced on a sustainable, long-term basis. Acceptance from event organisers in the obstacle racing industry in NZ has been below what I would’ve liked but, again, I believe there will be more partnerships as Obstacle Racers establishes itself as a player on a long-term basis, not a fan-driven project that will burn out quickly – we are dealing with the industry of physical activity and sport after all, where passion and volunteering drive much of it (and because of this, many projects do not last long-term).

Trail Running

Talking to people about Obstacle Racers NZ, the topic often comes up of “Hey, have you heard of the Wild Things?” and the conversation inevitably drifts towards comparisons between Obstacle Racers and how this Wild Things group has managed to do amazing work in the NZ trail running industry. The growth of the Wild Things Trail Running Club has been remarkable and they seem to be doing everything right – from getting people engaged, and getting the trail running community trusting the brand, to getting business partners onboard. From my outsiders, not-so-informed perspective, trail running in NZ seems to be growing steadily: Kiwi Trail Runner magazine started up and has recently changed editorial hands, and the Wild Things trail running club has grown amazingly (…when’re we going to see an OCR magazine in NZ?). Trail running and the wider event industry of other running events (trails, road, ultras, cross country, adventure racing, etc) is something I’m educating myself on (…how do participants keep focused while running kilometers on flat ground when there’re no obstacles coming up to conquer? Their arms are just swinging there… can’t there be some crawls, or carries, or climbs during the run to challenge the while body..? Beyond these questions which’ll probably keep me from personally ever running in a marathon lol, the wider industry of running-based events is well established and fascinating and something I want to learn more about).

ORNZ-website-screenshot

The Obstacle Racers NZ website

The Growth of Obstacle Events

The industry and market for obstacle events in New Zealand is slowly growing also. This year sees the international brand of Tough Mudder come to NZ, and Mudtopia launch as a world-class festival including a mud run (notably, there’s major government funding behind Mudtopia, so it’ll be interesting to see how it launches… and if they place importance on the mud run or not). This year also saw NZ’s first OCR World Championships qualifier event. Last year saw NZ’s first parkour competition, and interest in ninja warrior may explode this year with the Australian version of the Ninja Warrior tv show due to be screened in NZ. Next year will see major developments too: Spartan Race is potentially coming to NZ, and there’re potential plans to level up the sport of OCR in NZ through avenues such as a national championship.

Jobs?

The only issue is jobs in the NZ OCR industry. As someone passionate and knowledgeable about the activity in NZ, I’m still looking for that job. Having completed a Sports Business degree last year and since having worked as an Assistant to an Event Manager and Promoter in the motorsport industry, I’m looking for somewhere to apply my skills within the emerging field of OCR in NZ. Obstacle Racers NZ is a startup with plans to establish itself as a player in the scene, but the level of income thus far has been outweighed by the level of personal funds I’ve introduced out of my own pocket. The same goes for the previous owners of Obstacle Racers before I took it on. (And this is a hilarious fact when I consider that I’ve been accused of running Obstacle Racers purely for personal profit ahead of interests of the sport.) I’m very much searching for that opportunity to work in a related field to OCR while continuing to develop Obstacle Racers as a side job. In other words, call me. I have an event work portfolio ready to show you. OCR in NZ is still in its infancy, however, and becoming an expert in it is not very lucrative yet… so I’ve been finding out.

Obstacle Racers NZ To do List:

  • Combine domain names. Due to communication issues, the old url for Obstacle Racers is still active and still gets about the same level of traffic as the current url. Will traffic double when the sites are combined? That would be amazing. This hand over of assets has been in the works for months, and this technical issues needs to be rushed along.
  • Launch ORNZ event. A run for charity has been in the pipeline behind the scenes. This needs to launch soon!
  • Bring contributors onboard. Two people are on-ramping as contributors, and I’d love to see more people writing for the website, sharing their views, knowledge, news, etc. I’d love to hear from more people!
  • Business partners onboard. With the past 7 months after launch having been focused on content and learning how to operate a website, the next stage is to establish win-win partnerships with businesses in the running industries. There’s potentially some announcements coming soon on this front, as approval has been received but logistics need to be worked out.
  • Eventually, get boots on the ground at events around NZ. Where the Obstacle Racers booth at races? Some awesome people around NZ have repped their Obstalce Racers NZ tshirts on-site at races, and photos have been shared on the Obstacle Racers Facebook page (thanks again, you guys are awesome). There was discussion with a race regarding Obstacle Racers sponsoring the cost of an obstacle build, permanently installed on site, with Obstacle Racers NZ logos attached. But it looks like this won’t go ahead. However I’m open to other opportunities from events if anyone would like to get in touch.

More?

With young kids, my partner transitioning back into the workforce, myself aiming to get into a career after earning a degree, and various financial issues… life has been hectic. Working on projects in the world of obstacle competitions has been amazing! More to come, because it’s the greatest, most functional sport the world has seen.

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