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Extreme Nation with Hobie Call

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Hobie1aToday Hobie Call answers a few questions in regards to his long awaited race series Extreme Nation. After participating in numerous races he feels his experience will create a race like none other. He has high hopes for obstacle course racing in the future. Today he breaks down the format of Extreme Nation, and how this series will play a significant role in the sport of obstacle course racing.


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~So Hobie, how did the concept of Extreme Nation form? Was it strictly something you created, or did you have input and the help of others?

Well, obviously the 47 races I have participated in, listening to what people like and don’t like, and seeing firsthand what the industry is offering and what is isn’t, has played a very large role in the ideas that I have come up with.  But no, I do not have a partner in crime, so to speak.  The vision is mine.

~What are your thoughts on the current state of obstacle course racing? Where do you see it in 5 to 10 years, and how will Extreme Nation play a role in this?

A lot of great things are going on.  There are a lot of events offering a wide variety of options to choose from.  From short to long, easy to hard, and differing themes.  The biggest issue I have is that for how remarkable this industry/sport is, it’s a shame that 70% of the population still doesn’t know it exists, and due to the extreme way that it tends to be marketed, 20% have a misconception of what it really is.  That leaves us with only 1 out of 10 people really knowing what obstacle racing is really about.

I fully expect that 5 years from now, obstacle racing will be well on its way to becoming the 4th largest sport in the US.  Extreme Nation will bring the sport to television in a format that could be televised live, with standardization of obstacles, etc…  Basically a format that you could actually expect to see in the Olympics some day.  But, probably the best thing about this sport compared to others is that it’s designed to turn spectators into doers.

~Hobie how would you explain the race format of Extreme Nation? What sets it apart from other OCRs?

EN3(1) All of the obstacles can be viewed from one location
(2) It has a 50/50 balance between obstacles and running.
(3) It’s just short enough that most current “endurance” based obstacle racers wish it were longer, and just long enough that most of your Parkour/American Ninja Warrior/CrossFit types of athletes wish it were shorter, which tells me that the distance is perfect. 🙂
(4) As far as the “race” goes, it is 100% focused on teams. 

~What are the specific advantages Extreme Nation has compared to other OCR’s? What are the disadvantages?

Advantage: Television/spectators are finally get what they’ve been waiting for.  All the obstacles with just enough running to  create a balance, no excess endurance running required.

Disadvantage: none as far as I’m concerned.  Obviously you can’t please everyone, so why try.  It doesn’t matter how long, short, easy, or hard something is, somebody won’t like it, so you can’t think of that as a bad thing.  I find that when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. 

~How will the races be scored? How will they be judged? Will there be penalties for obstacles that aren’t completed or failed? What will the penalties be?

For the “race”, 4 person teams, top 3 people score.  If more than 10 teams sign up, then we will have preliminary heats and the top 3 times will be added together for your teams score.  In the championship heat, the scoring will be XC style for speed and simplicity.  I want someone sitting in the bleachers to know results as they happen.  Successful completion of obstacles is mandatory.  Judging will be very simple since everyone can see everything, and you either complete the obstacle or you don’t.

~Will these be individual races, team based, or both?

For the “race”, it is teams only.  In the open heats, you can sign up individually, or with a team.

~Will there be any qualifying factors to enter the races Hobie?

No, anyone can make a team, but you will have to qualify for the championship heat if more than 10 teams sign up.

~What type of athlete will excel in an Extreme Nation race?

EN2I intend to create a new breed of athlete.  I am willing to bet that a current sub 14 minute 5k runner nor any of the top 5 guys from the CrossFit games can win my race.  An ideal athlete will be prepared to handle 15 minutes of very high cardiovascular intensity with all of his muscle groups.  Whether running, climbing, crawling, jumping, or lifting.  You need to have 15 minutes worth of high intensity cardio/stamina for all of those things.

Part of the greatness is that in all other 5k+ distance obstacle races, upper body stamina is almost irrelevant in ones success.  Yes, you might need the strength to get up a rope, but all of the running you do beforehand and afterward, gives your arms plenty of time to recover.  In my race, you’ll need actual stamina because your arms aren’t going to have time to recover from one obstacle to the next.  People who have never struggled to get up a rope will in my race. 🙂

~What’s the best way someone could train for an Extreme Nation race?

High intensity everything.  If your heart rate isn’t up while you’re doing an exercise, then it won’t simulate what you are going to feel in the race.

~How were the venues chosen and why? What are some other potential locations in the future (other than the ones already listed)?

I do not choose the venues.  I just let my team know what kind of space and amenities I need, and they do the work.

~Will Extreme Nation be able to be televised? How will the race format make it advantageous for television?

The obstacles are all viewable from one area that is approximately the same size as a football field.  The race will be high intensity, fast paced, and action packed.

Teams will be more exciting to watch than just individuals, easier to sponsor, and they promote longevity.  Perfect for television if you ask me.

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~Will there be a charge for spectators? Why or why not?

Right now, no.  We want everyone to encourage everyone to show up and enjoy the awesomeness that EN will be. 🙂 Until a very large amount of money is spent catering to spectators, they should enjoy the events for free.

~It seems like more and more OCR’s are canceling races for numerous reasons. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any plans to prevent this from happening to Extreme Nation?

There are some criminals out there just looking to make a quick buck in a growing industry.  But the truth is, many companies truly want to be a part of something big and have their hearts in what they are doing.  It saddens me to see how unforgiving the industry is when everything doesn’t go right.

Truth is, I don’t make exit strategies or spend time and energy worrying about things I can’t control.  I have a vision for the sport that I believe in 100%.  Go big or go home, that’s my motto.  If it doesn’t work out how I hope it will, so be it, no regrets here. 🙂

~Do you have any closing thoughts for the readers Hobie?

As much as I focus on the “race” side of EN, the truth is, this is every bit as much designed for anyone looking to make fitness fun.  Just long and hard enough to be challenging, yet as exciting and fun as fitness is going to get.  So if you’re looking for an excuse to become fit and active, come find out why obstacle racing is so popular.

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