Obstacle Races used to be the bastion of macho men wanting to prove how macho they are. But now, more and more women are starting to see the light and that obstacle races be a great way to get fit and have fun at the same time. That's thanks in part to Sarah King, director of the Gauntlet Games, an obstacle race with a difference.
Hi Sarah. Conjuring up obstacle races is a pretty cool job – how did you get into it?
[related_articles]"I’ve worked in the industry for several years. My first role involved setting up a race for British Military Fitness, then I decided to branch out on my own.
"I saw a gap in the market and decided to try and exploit it. For me, a lot of the obstacle races were too intimidating. I felt like a lot of women would go on the websites, read stories of ice and electric shocks and words like ‘beast’, ‘pain’, ‘tough’, ‘suffering’, and then back out of signing up."
I wanted to create an event that was about making people feel nostalgic rather than nauseous
Really? The latest figures suggest that most obstacle races feature 40% women and 60% men.
"That’s true, but I still believed a lot of women would prefer an obstacle race that wasn’t trying to be the toughest, scariest, most gruesome thing anyone could ever do.
"I wanted to create an event that was about making people feel nostalgic rather than nauseous."
And the Gauntlet Games is that event?
We’ve got obstacles that feature inflatables and foam
"I think so! We’ve got obstacles that feature inflatables and foam; we’ve got gladiators wielding pugil sticks; we’ve got a 50-metre water slide. It’s all very tongue-in-cheek and silly, but it’s all about having fun.
"I see it as an alternative social activity for the weekend, rather than the hardest thing you’ve ever done."
But you still work up a sweat, right?
"Oh, definitely. You have to run either 5k or 10k and go over between 16 and 20 obstacles. It’s still a workout; it’s just also a laugh."
At present, 70% of our entrants are female
Has your event attracted as many women as you expected?
"To be honest, it’s attracted more than I expected. At present, 70% of our entrants are female."
What sort of feedback have you received from racers?
"The most common comments are probably: ‘Thank you for introducing me to a whole new type of fitness,’ and ‘I never knew fitness could be this much fun’!"
What’s your advice to women who are considering signing up?
Regardless of your fitness, the idea is that you have a laugh
It’s easy to come up with excuses not to do something, but don’t think about it, just sign up.
"If you bite the bullet, then the event will be in your mind and this will motivate you to train. Not that you need to train much for the Gauntlet Games.
"Regardless of your fitness, the idea is you come along and have a laugh."