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Longer Is Better: Are All Obstacle Racers Size Queens?


A slang term for an obstacle racer who is attracted to longer than average races. A size queen may use race distance/duration as a major or single factor in determining which races to pursue.

Legs. Eyelashes. Penises. And now, obstacle races.

The longer, the better. RIGHT?

Perhaps, to a point.

But, there comes a time, when the legs are so long, you can’t walk. When the eyelashes interfere with vision.

When the penises… [I’ll let you fill in this one].

Can there ever be too much of a good thing?

I have written about the distance creep elsewhere, and have cautioned against this becoming a pattern. Vermont Beast invariably gets longer from year to year. OCRWC 2015 course was almost two miles longer than the 2014 course. Instead of completing the race once, we get to run around in circles.

We favor the sensational. Yet, at this point, a 24 hour race is not going to surprise us. Or a 48-hour event. Or more.

Spartan Agoge. Sixty hours of fun. The Spartan Race Hurricane Heat usually lasts 4-6 hours. But wait! There is now HH12HR – now you can suffer longer.

But what about all the “shorter” events, you may wonder?

GORUCK brought Light. But wait! A six hour event is considered a LIGHT version, as compared to the “regular” one.

TM brought Half TM – i can only assume that you get half a headband at the finish?

OCRWC created a short course. Yet SHORT course is held on a Friday, compared to the standard championship held on Saturday – still the ugly sister of the long course – invited to the party because everyone felt bad.

What would be truly sensational is if a 400m sprint, heavy with obstacles became the OCR world championship. Now, THAT would blow me away.

The longer the better mentality does not apply just to obstacle racing. The number of ultra marathons has doubled in the last ten years.


The CrossFit Games are getting progressively closer to Hunger Games every year, as the HQ continues to up the ante, and create a bigger and better spectacle (running in the heat with weight vest, anyone?).

Let me reminisce for a moment.

When I ran the inaugural Ultra Beast (back when we had no electricity, and kids had to walk ten miles to school, barefoot in the snow), it was by application only.

The distance (26 miles) was preposterous.

Between 2012 and 2013, there were only 19 women walking around with a glow in the dark medal.

With WTM, Spartan Agoge, Endurance Society’s 88k, and 888k (yep, you read that right), 80k+ Survival Run and now BattleFrog’s 24 hour run-around-in-circles event, the Ultra Beast seems like the mid-distance of obstacle racing.

It’s “better value for the money”.

It is as if we assume a linear relationship between race distance, and race value. Does each additional hour result in a proportionate increase in pleasure? Does each additional mile lead to a corresponding boost in sense of accomplishment?

In “Black Swan”, Nassim Nicholas Taleb reminds us that such linearities are rare in our very nonlinear world.

[quote]Take the relationship between pleasure and drinking water. If you are in a state of painful thirst, then a bottle of water increases your well-being significantly. More water means more pleasure. But what if I gave you a cistern of water? Clearly your well-being becomes rapidly insensitive to further quantities. As a matter of fact, if I gave you the choice between a bottle or a cistern you would prefer the bottle – so your enjoyment declines with additional quantities.[/quote]

What is obstacle racing, if not, a smaller model of universe? And so, the old adage of “it’s not the length, it’s what you do with it” holds as true as ever.

P.S. Speaking of penis size, I simply HAVE to include this little gem of a graph. [Try not to get too caught up in the size differences between Canada and US.]


Hugs, SOLO


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