All of the major OCR Championships are returning to the same location they did last year. Evan Perperis wonders whether that is good for the sport or not.
The answer to that is decided by the industry as a whole. As a “new” sport we have the ability to shape the sport as we see fit for the future. If the industry wants to move championships every year that might be great but it also might be a disaster. Not every venue is great and not every venue will deliver the same experience. For example, the Blue Mountains venue, due to the shops, hotels and surrounding area, was way better than Kings Domain in Ohio. I think anyone would have a hard time arguing the other way around based on surroundings, not the course. Furthermore, all of these companies are US based (OCRWC, Tough Mudder, and Spartan), even though they have some presence overseas due to races or partnerships they call the USA home. Organizing, getting sponsors, planning and then setting up a race at a location that requires a 12+ hour flight, adds a logistical change to the staff that most athletes don’t consider when they want race directors to switch locations.
While it is more convenient for our international OCR family overseas if we hold the event in the Eastern Hemisphere at some point or on a re-occurring basis, I would hardly say “it has to move.” As you can see from the above list, “World Championship” events occur in all sorts of ways from yearly to a four-year cycle and from one location to a new location every year. However, none of the other sports I looked had a schedule where they did a couple of years in a location before switching to a new one every 2-4 years. None of them have a rotation where they stay in the US one year and overseas the next, bouncing back and forth. Then again, OCR a sport like none other. Furthermore, OCR presents challenges from an athlete and a race director standpoint that is unlike anything else. The bottom line is a sport can thrive by having a rotating location or the same place that becomes an icon for our sport, and the future is what we, the OCR industry, make it.