Featured Obstacle Course Race (OCR): BADASS DASH Race

A memorable adventure and obstacle course challenge, BADASS Dash is making waves in the US and Canada. This OCR series has eight events planned so far for 2015, and averages between 2,000 to 3,000 participants per race.

The masterminds behind BADASS Dash are Grant Reeves, the CEO, and Brian Sharenow, the Race Director. Both Reeves and Sharenow have extensive experience of managing live events for several race-related companies of over 15 years, and were interested in doing something on their own, which led to the founding of the BADASS Dash in 2012.

Obstacle Race World is thankful to have had a few minutes of Brian Sharenow’s time. What follows is based on our conversation.

Brian Sharenow, BADASS Dash Race Director

Brian Sharenow, BADASS Dash Race Director

BADASS Dash Basics

All racers are timed and may compete individually in a BADASS Dash or as a part of a team. Participants may choose from any one of 4 divisions.

The ELITE division is designed for the fittest race participants, such as athletes, firefighters, armed forces and police personnel. It’s for those who are looking for a challenging obstacle course race that offers prizes and bragging rights.

The RECREATION division is slightly easier, and can be done by anyone looking for a challenge or simply to shake up a fitness routine. Participants in this division may not have much experience with obstacle course races, but that’s okay! The objective is to complete all obstacles and get to the finish line.

The K9 COMPANION division is very interesting and unique among all obstacle course races, because it allows dogs and their owners to participate in them as a team. This is a lot of fun for pet owners as they get to do something exciting with their canine companions.

The KIDS DASH division is for kids between 4 ­to 13 years. For children between the ages of 4 to 6 years, there is a 200-­yard dash with fun and safe obstacles. Kids between the ages of 7 to 13 years have a more challenging one-mile course, with several fun obstacles as well.

The Australian Back Crawl is one of the more popular obstacles in BADASS Dash.

The Australian Back Crawl is one of the most popular obstacles in BADASS Dash.

BADASS Dash Distinction: Obstacles, Course Length, and Venue

BADASS Dash races have a lot of obstacles in them, and not as much running, unlike many other Obstacle Course Races (OCRs). BADASS Dash events may have anywhere from 30 obstacles at the low-end to 40 obstacles at the high-end, with varying difficulty levels. About a handful to a half dozen are easy for most, 20 are middle of the road, and another 5-6 are usually a challenge for even the elite racers.

BADASS Dash courses are approximately 7 km (4.3 miles) long, which sets them apart from the more common 5k or 10k-length obstacle course race. BADASS founders Brian Sharenow and Grant Reeves decided on 7 km as they were keen on having something that challenged people more than a 5k course would, but didn’t leave them to exhausted to celebrate afterwards (as a 10k race might).

BADASS Dash courses are hosted at various sites, including casinos, stadiums and arenas, motorsport complexes, urban downtown settings, national and state parks. A time-consuming and labor-intensive task, planning a unique and memorable course is something the BADASS Dash team takes pride in.

“As the race director, I spend A LOT of time first figuring out how the course should be laid out, then making sure everything lays out the way I want it to when making the transition from paper to actuality,” said Sharenow. “I then go to each venue at least 2-3 times prior to each race physically running the course and making whatever adjustments necessary to ensure the quality and integrity of the course before making the final map and then showing up on-site to build it. We take a great deal of pride in our courses and there’s a lot that goes into making a good, quality course – much more than many people would ever know.”

BADASS Dash's Claustrophobic Crawl tests participant core integrity and mental psyche to get through tight, enclosed quarters.

BADASS Dash’s Claustrophobic Crawl tests participant core integrity and mental psyche to get through narrow, enclosed quarters.

BADASS Dash: Leaving a Mark in North America

BADASS Dash races are popular both in the United States and Canada. However, organizers have observed that there is more excitement for OCRs in Canada than in the US. “The U.S. is definitely a little more saturated in terms of these types of events so we have felt a touch more excitement in the markets in Canada we currently go to than in some of the heavily populated OCR markets in the US because they don’t come around as often,” said Sharenow. “That in no way is taking away from the excitement of our US races though!”

Another interesting distinction: BADASS Dash participants are slightly more likely to be female than male, considering an estimated 53% female / 47% male split. “More females do OCRs than most people think,” added Sharenow.

BADASS Dash: A Praiseworthy Goal

BADASS Dash founders, Sharenow and Reeves are both very passionate about autism and intent on doing their part for those suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). BADASS Dash has picked Autism Speaks as their charity partner and the most important goal of the BADASS Dash races is to raise money for those suffering from ASD.

“We feel this charitable organization is very distinct from what other race organizers select. Knowing how prevalent autism is in today’s society, it was important for us to raise money for this incredible organization,” said Sharenow. “The overall goal of these races, above anything else, is to raise money to hopefully one day get those who suffer from ASD to their finish line… to find a way to that these incredible people get a chance to face their final obstacles and come out the other side.”

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