As the sport of obstacle racing grows, more niche events are offered. I’m sure you noticed... You can run in a costume, you can run naked. You can run in an LGBT-friendly run, or a women’s only run.
Victory vacations presents a new-ish concept - obstacle racing vacation - with a tagline “OCRs have conquered our weekends; we’re bringing the challenge on vacation.”
Now travelling for a race is not new. For example, in 2013 Spartan Race offers events in Australia, UK, Mexico, and other countries for those willing to hop on a plane. There is even talk of the Travelling Death Race with undisclosed location somewhere overseas.
However, the race organizers bring a new flavour to the event, by modelling it after the TV series, “Survivor”, where a group of strangers must compete in challenges to earn rewards, and contestants are eliminated by a group vote.
Think Survivor meets Warrior Dash.
Victory Vacations will attempt to raise $47,476 in 30 days, using the Indiegogo crowdsourcing platform, in order to fund their first event, Alpha Ranger “Endure”.
Let's consider the pros and cons...
While travelling and obstacle racing are plenty cool by themselves, put them together and you have a double whammy of excitement. Just ask anyone who has done the 2013 Survival Run in Nicaragua.
You will not get the jungle and the volcanoes in a regular Tough Mudder. Local terrain and unique topography can be used by an experienced race director to create an unforgettable racing experience.
At least in theory.
An obstacle race vacation definitely beats a typical 7-day all-inclusive getaway. The details and the logistics are still taken care of, if you are not much into rogue solo travelling.
You get mud AND cocktails with little umbrellas. Jackpot!
According to the race organizers, Victory Vacations plans to appeal to “a broader customer base: for people seeking a challenge, yet not in the physical condition to handle even a 5k”.
This suggests that you do not have to embark on a 16-week training program before your vacation, but rather you can buy and fly.
Mud lovers of all abilities can enjoy an active vacation. Awesome!
All is tentative. However, the organizers promise a price tag that is comparable to other week-long stays that include meals.
There are certain things that this event seems to lack…
The first Alpha Ranger “Endure” event is scheduled to take place (at a resort) in Florida. State known for its balmy weather, thriving retiree community and golf does not exactly tickle the nerves of the travel adrenaline junkies.
In contrast, the TV series “Survivor” which this particular event has been modelled after, has been shot in Kenya, Malaysia, Samoa, Fiji and Guatemala.
The Ultra Beast and Death Race enthusiasts will probably be disappointed. As the events have to appeal to a wider audiences in order to break even and make a profit, Victory Vacations promise to “scale it down and open it up so more people can get a chance to play”.
Also, given that the players are eliminated by a majority vote of other players, this is not exactly an athletic event. How long do you think Hobie Call would last in an event like this before being eliminated? :)
Motivation to win.
The players are on the clock 24-7. They sleep outside and experience “a scheduled hunger diet”. I swear I’m not making that up.
“Meals are smaller and timed to make you irritable only during key game components.” Ha! Yes, this would definitely work on me. Do not feed me regularly, and I will, indeed, be very irritable. I guess as a race organizer you can also save on included meals that way.
Let me contrast this with Survivor, once again…
Survivor - participants are isolated in the wilderness, vying for a large cash prize.
Alpha Ranger - participants are at a resort in Florida, waiting to be eliminated so they can go to their hotel room.
Survivor - rewards for winning challenges include food, other amenities and getaways from the camp, as well as a large cash prize at the end.
Alpha Ranger - “after a player is eliminated - they are out of the game, so they have a lot more freedom. If they want to sleep in or party all night, they can.” They also receive a room and catered meals for the rest of the week
Hmmm… Well, if during the game, the participants are kept outside and fed occasionally, I can see how the motivation to win may not be very high.
This is probably the biggest deterrent for racers right now. If the race does not hit the target funding goal, the event will not take place (all the pledges will, however, be returned).
Given the history of similar projects, an increasing number of racers is adopting “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude. And after new and exciting initiatives such as Epic Racing Arena and Extreme Nation fell through, who can blame them?
Alpha Ranger “Endure” obstacle racing vacation seems to offer a novel alternative to a typical run-of-the-mill 7-day vacation. It may be a great way to combine active rest and your favorite sport.
While I wish the race organizers success, I am leaning towards healthy skepticism when encountering yet another event.
Despite the recent boom in the sport, the crowdsourcing of the obstacle races has not been successful in the past. In this case, time will show whether Alpha Ranger will be different.
If you would like to contribute to the Alpha Ranger “Endure” inaugural event, here is the link to their Indiegogo site.
Would you contribute to this crowdsourcing project? Why? Why not? Would you participate? Do you think the idea of a 7-day obstacle racing getaway has potential?
*Disclaimer: The race organizers contacted me and expressed interest in being featured on my site. I have not been paid nor did I receive any incentives in order to write a positive review. Anything you read here is my independent opinion. Signing off, Solo