After having now completed a colour run, a mud run and an obstacle run - all considered "Fun Runs", I can now confirm my previously inexperienced hypothesis.
They are a bit of a sham. Huge moneymakers, marketing ploys, clever charity tie ins.
They promise (not all of them - and I'll get to that later) that everyone can do their courses. They post training tips. They give out cutesie tattoos and hair extensions. They sell their branded merchandise for 500x it's worth. They overcharge for everything.
They sell their product as an end of the line goal. Do this, and you are a WARRIOR!!
Problem is, what does the average participant in these events do the day after?
I have stood at many an obstacle in the last two weeks and watched people bravely get through them. So many (TOO many) of the participants in these events are not ready to participate. Even the easier course was full of rutted, muddy trails, rocks to climb over, hills to scale and more (this was just the terrain, not the obstacles).Couple this with heat, nerves, adrenaline, add unfit participants with little or no body or spacial awareness, dressed in unsuitable and often unsafe clothing, and you have a terrible accident waiting to happen.
I worry that too many people, inexperienced with moving themselves in this way, are set up for injury and/or a terrific amount of hurt following the event. This leads me to success. All we in the fitness industry want is for every single body to feel successful at everything they do.
Successful people keep going. Successful people build high self esteem. Successful people are confidant in their own abilities. You get the drift.
I worry that people come into these events without preparation, and the idea that completion is enough.
As a fitness professional the idea of these events appeals so much! A fun and exciting, all inclusive way to encourage EVERYONE to get outside and get moving.
So, my professional opinion is that they have a place in the world of movement. Some need to do a better job of emphasizing the need for training and general fitness. Some need to do a better job of ensuring safety measures are in place for the level of participant they are attracting. But, all in all, they are helpful in the quest to get people off the couch.
They are also unique, fun experiences - with a note to say that they are much more enjoyable if you do have a base level of fitness at least before you take part. They are an opportunity to join with a host of other athletes in a test of endurance, camaraderie and bravery.
Yesterday a large group of us went to the Warrior Dash, which turned out to be my favourite fun run experience thus far. Fairly priced, well organised, challenging and well prepared. Well, except for the shower situation. As nice as being hosed off by a fireman was, it wasn't really conducive to a proper clean up.
As I will detail further in a post later this week I am super proud of every single person who came out with us yesterday and last week to Mudderella. Amazing work. You all inspire me so much.
Every single person conquered something they had thought impossible.
And maybe that, in itself, is enough to make every step of these fun runs well worth the effort.
Find Your CORE