Earlier this year, Spartan signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding with World Obstacle, the Fédération Internationale de Sports d’Obstacles (FISO), to include the sanctioning and hosting of elite-level races, cooperation on competition rules, officiating and training, anti-doping rules, and broadcast planning. Following the landmark agreement, it was extremely exciting to have World Obstacle President Ian Adamson and National Federation teams and athlete members attend the 2022 Spartan World Championship in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 4.
World Obstacle Making an Appearance at Spartan and Tough Mudder Events
At the extravagant World Championship amidst the glistening desert, World Obstacle was well represented throughout the weekend with branding flying high at the start and finish lines, and all around the festival area. More than 5,000 people from 85 countries attended the event, which was hosted by Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM), sanctioned by World Obstacle as the official 24-hour OCR World Championships, took place in Atmore, Alabama, USA on Nov. 12. The successful event simultaneously delivered world-class 24-hour competitive racing, a community gathering, and mass participation experience. There's truly nothing like seeing the sun rise over the horizon after a long night of running through the elements. In the end, first-place female winner Kris Rugloski showcased the pinnacle of 24-hour obstacle racing when she set the record for the first female athlete to ever complete 100 miles at WTM.
Spartan teams and National Federations have begun to communicate, and over the coming months, our collective vision is for every NF and Spartan country-level team to establish a positive relationship. The first phase of the plan phased communications rollout is underway, and involves introductions of key personnel at a national level between federations and Spartan teams. A database is being developed to facilitate smooth communications and provide contact details of personnel on each side while we continue to work on simple guidelines so that organizations at the national level know exactly what items they can work on together with Spartan, and vice versa.
Supporting Athletic Development
SRI and NFs will collaborate on athletic development within each country by fostering the growth of national representative teams of Obstacle Racing athletes, ranging from professional level to elite amateurs. The national OCR teams will remain under the oversight of each NF, while Spartan may contribute support with athletic development, sponsorship opportunities, athlete social media and public relations, and race and event opportunities. To support this aim, the Spartan Pro Team will be discontinued beginning in 2023, with efforts instead focused on expanding the representation of elite athletes in the sport via the respective National Federations.
Athlete selection criteria and national teams are already established in some countries, while in others no framework or team currently exists. We intend to work with all National Federations to give their athletes increased opportunities to compete and earn prize money, while also supporting athlete nomination, selection criteria advice, and events access for qualification as appropriate in the respective country. Additionally, we'll be exploring sponsorships and paid work opportunities for national team members.
Expanding Access to Competition
On the Spartan side, we intend — where National Federations are interested — to help FISO member organizations create “Age Group” national representatives aged from juniors to those aged 50 and up. In 2023, Spartan will provide all national teams with opportunities to represent at highly competitive events around the world, including Elite series and standalone championships. National Federations are encouraged to attend these events by sending teams and their entourage to compete at the Elite level, and all teams are encouraged to wear their national uniform, in the form mandated by FISO.
Future Membership Growth and Collaborative Events
Spartan is committed to working more closely with, and supporting the growth of, National Federations. Where practical, we will require athletes participating in Elite competition to be members of their National Federation, helping support membership growth and the value of membership. Spartan UK and British Obstacle Sports are leading the way on deeper collaboration (learn more about their efforts on their website), and as we open up lines of communication between our two organizations, we encourage NF’s and Spartan's partners to explore this model and implement it where beneficial to our sport and its participants.