Obstacle Course Races For Beginners?

Best obstacle course races for beginners

I’ve seen this question asked more than a few ways…“What’s the best obstacle course for beginners?”

The answer varies. 

The short, simple answer might just be the obstacle course race that’s coming in the next few months in your area.

Another answer might be the race that your friends are doing.

I’m serious, it’s not worth waiting a year or two to get in shape and get ready for the perfect race. 

Seriously, even if you’re not in shape, go sign up for the next race in your area. It’ll get you off the couch and training. You may not be in the perfect shape, but you don’t have to be to have fun in OCR. This is especially true if you do a race with a group of friends.

You don’t have to be in-shape or experienced to do an obstacle course race. Start with the next race in your area, and then train from there.

With a couple of exceptions. Don’t start with something like a Spartan Beast (12-14 miles) or a World’s Toughest Mudder. Definitely hold off on the Spartan Death Race.

Why do I say this? I was the person that was trying to get in perfect shape before my first OCR. I thought I had to be able to run a certain number of miles and be able to lift a certain amount of weight. Or on the scale weigh a certain amount. It’s not true.

If I had waited until that happened, I probably would’ve never done a race.  Ever. Then my wife gifted me a Spartan Super (it ended up being close to 13 miles long) for father’s day in 2015.

It was my dream race, the A race that I thought I would have to work out a year before being ready for it. But I did it without training a year to get ready for it. I had fun. I didn’t die. Far from it. I couldn’t wait to do it again. I learned a lot about myself and learned what I needed to work on. It wasn’t perfect. I walked some. I couldn’t do all the obstacles. But I was hooked!

With all that being said, here’s some other answer. 


Foam Race – This is basically with a 5k, but with lots of bubbles. Sometimes there are inflatables. Always, it’s a family-friendly event that’s packed full of fun. See also a color run. It’s not the most serious or difficult race, but it’s a good starting point. 

Entry Level

Terrain Race – This could be the definition of an entry-level mud run. There will be a lot of mud, and the obstacles range from easy to slightly challenging. It’s a great race to start with. You can train for it if you want. But you don’t have to. It’s not that serious of a race. There are no times being kept. It’s just a mud-filled race with some obstacles. 

Muddy Dash – Similar to the above. They’re even run by the same company. I have one that I’m going to run with my son later this year. Once that happens, I’ll share a full review.


Spartan Sprint – If I had to choose the best obstacle course race for beginners, this would be it. It’s roughly a 5k. It will be a challenge, but not impossible. You can run or walk the course. The obstacles will push your limits and you might not be able to do all of them (I can’t either…yet), but you’ll have a good time and learn lots about yourself and your capabilities.

Other options include the Savage Blitz, which is Savage Race’s version of a Sprint and Rugged Maniac. I haven’t done either of these yet, but when I do, I’ll share the experience.

Also, look for local races near you. There could be the perfect entry-level or beginner race in your community. And even if it’s not perfect for where you are right now in your fitness journey, sign up today.