Crowd control With the rise of functional fitness classes like CrossFit, Virgin Active’s The Grid and X Training at Planet Fitness, more people are hitting the obstacle circuit to put their fitness to the test. From humble beginnings with just a couple of hundred participants on a Winelands farm in 2009, Impi Challenge now sells out thousands of entries for race weekends across three provinces. Similarly, Warrior Race added events in KZN and the Western Cape to the six Gauteng races in the series and fields around 9 000 participants at each.
Problem is, with more people come more potential injuries. Risk is inherent in any sport, but the same bit-of-everything factor that makes obstacle races such fun means they also come with a comprehensive set of risks – including sprains, broken bones, sunburn and heat stroke. If there’s fire involved, you can add burns to the mix back in 2010, a competitor in the US suffered serious burns after losing her footing and sliding head first into flames.
And if there’s mud and water (almost always), there’s the risk of drowning (as happened to an elite US competitor) and illness reports have surfaced in the UK and US of participants falling ill with nasties such as E.coli after ingesting mud contaminated with farm-animal faeces. Gross. So do you rather just stick to the beaten track? Even Patricia Woolridge, the US racer whose race tragically ended in flames, said she’d enter another one. But, she added, with these particular races, you have to be extra careful. Use these tips to prep for a safe race – then go out there and get dirty!
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