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Off Course: Inside the Mad, Muddy World of Obstacle Course Racing Hardcover – October 14, 2014
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“Beresini uncovers the growing sport's most compelling characters and provides the most authoritative insiders' guide to date.” --Outside Magazine
"Beresini chronicles her personal journey as she prepares for her race, detailing the regimen and questioning, in an engaging, self-deprecating style, what such a sadistic undertaking says about the participants’ sanity. A fascinating insider’s view of endurance racing’s latest craze." --Booklist
"Funny, fast-paced" --American Way Magazine
"Obstacle course racing has taken the endurance world by storm and in OFF COURSE Erin Beresini gives us an insider perspective into the conflict and appeal of these masochistic suffer-fests, culminating in her quest to complete the granddaddy of them all, the Spartan Ultra Beast. A must read for anyone currently competing in, or considering taking on, one of these newfangled racing events." --Dean Karnazes, bestselling author of Ultramarathon Man and 50/50
"Erin Beresini has gone gonzo. In OFF COURSE, she puts herself to the ultimate test in an obstacle racer’s world of alphas and ultras, and Tough Mudders. Her narrative has humor and heart, and a carnival of characters. Her sharp reporting puts the reader there. By the end of her riotous narrative, I had to wipe mud from my glasses at least twenty-six times." --Gary M. Pomerantz, author of Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now
Top Customer Reviews
Beresini gives us an insight in this book, explaining how the emerging sport of OCR appealed to her, a triathalete and ultra-runner who found after injury that she couldn't put 4 hours+ on her feet anymore. Anyone who has trained for a marathon can tell you the time commitment is huge, Beresini notes that less time on the feet but more focus on strength training characterizes many of those who train for OCR events. At the same time, OCR was perfectly timed with the popularity of Cross-Fit. Cross-Fit trained up thousands of people who had no clue what "event" they were training to do - OCR gave them a target for training.
What makes Beresini's book stand out more than most is that she personalizes the sport. It reminded me of "Born to Run" in that it not only discussed the sport, but the people behind both running and participating in the sport. You'll meet the founder of Tough Mudder, Will Dean. You'll read about his conflicts with Tough Guy UK who alleges he stole the idea (yes, another HBS student steals million dollar idea story), and about the controversy regarding deaths at Tough Mudder events. You'll read about the competing Spartan Races.Read more ›
This book isn't just about a bunch of masochistic ultra-endurance athletes trying out a new game, it's about the tough characters and participants behind the origins, and rapid global development/popularity of obstacle course racing. Beresini has done a commendable job of bringing that world alive in a vividly descriptive, side-splittingly funny, and humble, self-deprecating firsthand account that most readers will enjoy.
Author Erin Beresini really gets into the guys who basically started the whole OCR craze, the founders of Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race. Neither is perfect, and she lays out the good and the bad so that you get a good sense of who they are. She also profiles a couple of the famous participants, including one guy who got his entire back tattooed with the Tough Mudder logo in exchange for a lifetime pass to Tough Mudder events. Beresini doesn't shy away from the high-profile wrongful death litigation over participants who died during OCR events, though she also puts the fatality risk in context by comparing the number of triathlon deaths over the same number of participants (triathlons are riskier?!?).
She's a charming writer, and also I never felt like I was being sold the "perfect" way to do something, unlike "Born to Run," which I think makes some implausible claims about the benefits of forefoot striking. (I run with a midfoot strike, not the dreaded heel strike, and I indeed don't have any knee or hip problems, but I have had minor lower leg/foot injuries which are consistent with the medical research about front/mid-foot striking.) I don't have the urge to do any Tough Mudder or Spartan Race events, though.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would add this to the lists of "Must Reads" for anyone looking to get into obstacle racing.Published 15 months ago by Renee Minutola
All you need to know about OCR racing, its history and the major players. Fun to read and you'll never take your Achilles tendons for granted again.Published 16 months ago by Raymond R Collins
I am an obstacle course racer with a history degree, so this book was perfect for me. Erin remarkably blends the thrills and spills of OCR with a detailed account of the relatively... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Ed
Good read. Great insight to the competitive world of playing in the mud.Published 19 months ago by ERIK MATSON
Erin dove head first into the obstacle racing world in 2012-2013. What she wrote was an awesome account of her personal journey to and through the Spartan Ultra Beast. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Matt B. Davis
If you're a competitive runner, whether you race 5Ks or go all out for the Ultra Ironman feats of endurance, I suspect you'll enjoy this book a lot more than I did. Read morePublished 21 months ago by S. McGee
Ordered the book out of curiosity and entertainment. And it is entertaining. Erin Beresini is one of the uber marathoners, and other sport enthusiasts who decides to do something... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Lynn Ellingwood
I have participated in a few "mud runs" and other obstacle races, but I don't consider myself to be an "Obstacle Racer. Read morePublished 21 months ago by D. Baer
I read it cover to cover in one sitting! Could not put it down! It's obviously intensely well researched. Very fun and informative!Published 21 months ago by Airsquid