Obstacle racing attracts more than 4 million participants worldwide.
But where are they held?
Read on for more than 30 markets that host obstacle races, mud runs and similar endurance challenges.
The first three listed are in order of the leading markets: the U.S., UK, and Australia. Other markets are listed in alphabetical order by region.
1. United States
The U.S. is home to the top 3 global leaders in obstacle course racing: Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash.
You are probably familiar with the leaders: Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Rugged Maniac and GoRuck. MyExerciseCoach.net lists dozens of others in the U.S.
2. United Kingdom
Tough Guy, the pioneer of the modern mud and obstacle challenges, is based in the UK.
Muddy Race may be the best site to track obstacle course races and mud runs in the UK.
Tough Guy, the predecessor and pioneer of modern mud and obstacle challenges, originated in the UK. Now, there are easily dozens, maybe even scores, of native UK organizers: Dirty Dozen Races, Nuclear Races, The Nuts Challenge, Urban Attack, Born Survivor, Iron Run, and Total Warrior, just to name a few.
Obstacle Racers Australia lists more than 60 race series held in Australia.
OCRs in North & South America
Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Rugged Maniac, and GORUCK all hold events in Canada.
The Huffington Post devoted a blog post on Canada’s Top Themed Running Events in August 2013.
Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, and GORUCK have all held events in Mexico.
Spartan Race held their first event in Chile in April 2014.
In 2013, Parederos Mud Obstacle Race was held in Santiago. It’s not clear yet this race will happen again.
7. Puerto Rico
Home-grown Titans Challenge holds an annual obstacle event in Puerto Rico. Since 2012, Titans Challenge has held an annual obstacle challenge in PR.
The Zombie Mud Run, based in the U.S., held their first event in Puerto Rico in 2014.
In 2015, Spartan Race hosted the first ever OCR to the Bahamas as the destination for the first-ever Spartan Cruise. The island Spartan race was roughly 3 miles (5 kilometers) long with 15 obstacles.
In Ecuador, Iron Runner, an OCRWC qualifier, holds at least one event in the country each year.
Desafio de Guerreros / Warriors Challenge has at least six events planned in Colombia for 2016.
Austria is one of the nine European countries Strongman Run holds events in. The Strongman Run holds an annual OCR in this country.
13, 14, and 15. BENELUX: Belgium, Netherlands & Luxembourg
The Benelux region may be the fifth largest OCR market in the world.
Obstakels.com contains mud run and OCR event info in the BENELUX region.
The Strongman Run also holds an event in each country: Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
Legion Run, founded in 2013, holds obstacle racing events in Bulgaria.
Cyprus is one of seven European countries Legion Run holds an event in.
18. Czech Republic
Spartan Race has held events in the Czech Republic since 2014. Three Spartan events are planned for 2016.
Warrior Dash held two events in Denmark in 2014.
Based in Denmark, Dirty Trail is an off-road trail run with natural obstacles.
Spartan Race held four events in France in 2014, up from two in 2013. Four events are planned so far for 2016.
There are at least three OCR organizers based in France:
At least five OCR organizers hold events in Germany.
In 2014, Spartan Race held four races, two Sprints and two Supers, in Germany. Tough Mudder held their first event in the country in September 2014. Both organizers have continued to host events in this country since.
Legion Run holds an obstacle event in Greece each year.
Continuing their expansion in Europe, Spartan Race held their first OCR event in Hungary in 2014. More than 1,100 participated in the event.
According to earlier reports, 6,000 participated in the first Tough Mudder in Ireland in 2014. Tough Mudder continues to hold an annual event in Ireland.
Run-A-Muck Challenge has organized events in Ireland since 2011.
Looking to train for an obstacle challenge in Ireland? Assault Courses in Ireland offers OCR training facilities to get you in race-ready shape.
Italy is one of nine European countries in which the Strongman Run holds OCR events.
INFERNO Run also organizes an obstacle challenge in Italy.
The Viking Race, a home-grown OCR developer, held their first event in Norway in 2013. Since then, the Viking Race has continued to hold events each year in Norway.
Toughest Oslo, based in Sweden, also has a presence in Norway.
Other obstacle race organizers with events in Norway:
Nature’s Gym (can customize an outdoor obstacle course for birthdays, parties, and other celebratory events).
In August 2014, Spartan Race held a sprint event in Poland, their first in the country. Two Spartan events are planned for 2016 so far.
Continuing their expansion in Europe, Spartan Race held four events in Slovakia in 2014: 2 Sprints, 1 Super, and 1 Beast. Seven Spartan events are planned for 2016: 3 Sprints, 3 Beasts, and 1 Super.
Farinato race, an OCRWC qualifier based in Spain, hold events in Portugal.
In 2014, Spartan Race held several events in Spain: 2 Sprints, 2 Supers, and 1 Beast. More than 11,000 participated in the five events. Spartan Race has more events planned in Spain for 2016.
At least four organizers hold OCR events in Sweden.
Switzerland is one of the nine European markets Strongman Run serves with an OCR event.
Bison Race, a homegrown obstacle organizer and OCRWC qualifier, holds a few events each year in Belarus.
Gladiator Race, an OCRWC qualifier, held four events in Russia in 2015. The local organizer has two events planned so far for 2016.
OCRs in Asia-Pacific
Devil’s Circuit hosts annual events across several Indian cities. As many as 3,000 participated in a Devil’s Circuit race.
The Mud Rush also holds obstacle racing events in the country. The OCR market appears to be in a favorable position for growth in India.
The Warrior Dash held a few events in Japan in 2013.
Also in 2013, the home-grown Bushido Mud Run held their first OCR. More than 2,000 participated in one of their races in 2014. The local OCR has not held an event since 2014.
Malaysia is home to a few local obstacle race organizers, including REVRUN, Viper Challenge, and Heroes Battlefield. As part of their expansion into the Asia-Pacific, Spartan Race has an event planned in Malaysia for 2016.
38. New Zealand
Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder have held events in New Zealand.
Warrior Dash held their first event in New Zealand in 2013, while Tough Mudder debuted in 2014.
Wairua Warrior is a home-grown obstacle race that hosts a 6-km and 12-km challenge.
New Zealand is one of five international markets that GoRuck is interested in expanding into.
An OCRWC qualifier and local race, Tough X Rough holds several racing events of various lengths.
At least three OCR organizers have held events in Singapore:
Spartan Race, a Sprint and Super is planned for Singapore in 2016.
Commando Challenge, an annual locally-organized obstacle racing series.
Men’s Health Urbanathlon, a U.S.-based magazine that organizes a 14km-length event with 9 obstacles.
41. South Korea
Spartan Race has held events in South Korea since 2013. In 2014, more than 2,700 participated in the Spartan Sprint and Super held in October.
Spartan Race returned to South Korea in 2015 with a Sprint and Beast event and has the same combination planned for 2016.
AMA Events organized the Singha Obstacle Fun Run in Thailand in 2014.
43.United Arab Emirates
The Sand Pit Run is a 10-kilometer event, Rush-A-Way is an urban challenge, and Talise Sandstorm is a 4-kilometer course.
The Wadi Adventure Race has events of three lengths: 5km, 10km, and 15km. The Desert Warrior Challenge also has a few divisions: an event for children called Junior Warrior, a 5km+/12+ obstacle event called fearless warrior, a 10km+/20+ obstacle challenge called Desert Warrior, the timed Ultimate Warrior for elite competitors.
Mud Runs & OCRs in Africa
44. South Africa
The country also has a couple notable home-grown OCR businesses:
Easily, there are hundreds of organizers across the globe and a race for every fitness level and interest. It will be interesting to see how the number and variety of organizers grow and expand in the years to come!