And he is answering.
This is the third set of answers. They have only been edited for some grammar and punctuation or there has been context added by OCR Buddy founder Russ Blat
As a fan of Spartan I used to do 3 to 4 trifectas a year. Now with prices increasing in everything, it’s just not in the cards anymore to do one let alone four. What would need to happen for races to become more affordable again?
Our ultimate goal is to change lives. With that goal we would be happy to have the world race on us. No charge. The issue is we must pay our people, our insurance carriers, our venues etc. – many of which are fixed costs. Steady growth in racer numbers as we build back post COVID helps but the reality is our prices are too low for the value we provide. The best way to help keep costs down, is to help us grow our racers numbers further.
How do you plan to keep your events interesting to keep racers coming back? Standardized courses are understandable for many reasons but at the current cost of the events, it is discouraging for athletes to pay that amount to come to multiple events that are identical, get the same medal and same T-shirt.
Going forward we’ll be focusing on each event’s personality- giving Race Directors more freedom to lean into unique venue features. We’re also rebalancing Spartan Race obstacle menus to allow for great flexibility in the obstacles themselves. We do want to introduce more innovation and surprise, but we also want Spartans to be able to practice/ train on familiar elements
What checks will Spartan put in place around their future marketing and social media content? Do they have editors and external consultants for their social media strategy? (Russ edit – This comment was in direct response to the Mona Lisa post. I would personally add that I have emailed a contact at Spartan when I see social media posts that are an issue, i.e. Showing someone using an obstacle illegally)
It is tricky with 8 million photos being taken annually. There is a 50+ person marketing team globally – the goal is to get way ahead although something will always slip through the cracks. I am personally still baffled by the reaction to Mona. Such an Iconic piece of art.
When do you anticipate to be caught up on all prize money payouts?
We are planning for before end of March.
Will Spartan invest resource into developing an athlete pathway for junior racers transitioning into ‘adult’ distances?
Spartan provides an existing pathway with its Spartan Kids product, transitioning into its “adult” races. We’re also working closely with National Federations around the world to support them in creating independent pathways, encouraging a particular focus on youth development.
Will spartan ever start caring for the volunteers again? Taking care of volunteers includes listening to volunteers when they have an issue instead of blowing them off.
We care deeply for our volunteers and everyone else in our eco system. If you have experienced a particularly issue you can always shoot me an email?
Will Spartan ever bring back the Winter Race at Greek Peak or a different location in US?
Would love to, but the economics need to work. We’re being very careful as we grow the number of races back up to ensure we don’t take undue risk of overextend the team.
Will Spartan ensure more safety measures at all obstacles to either include a mat, hay or water under every obstacle, especially the swinging/hanging obstacles?
Spartan will always take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of its events.
Is there any plans to expand the 3k Series elsewhere in the world and possibly the Spartan World Championships?
We are exploring opportunities to run Spartan World Championships in each of the core Spartan products/ distances.
The different types of series gave racers either a chance to specialize or a chance to challenge themselves to a type of series (national, stadium, mountain) of events? What is the reasoning behind these types of series taken away?
As a business it’s been necessary to narrow our focus to navigate through COVID and tackle the rebuild. As we’re able, we will look to expand events/ locations/ series again.
When will Spartan make things hard again rather than just appealing to the masses. Courses keep getting watered down and it seems like the innovation for change is gone as they seek to make money and standardize? (Russ edit – This is a problem for you Joe. You have received the same question from the other side. How can you balance those that want innovation, those that want harder challenges on the course and those that feel the events should appeal to the masses more?)
Some want it easy, some want it hard. I believe a product and company need to have their vision and principles and stick to them. They will not satisfy everyone.
Joe, screw Tough Mudder. Where is the 24-hour Ultra WC for Spartan?
The Spartan Ultra World Championships (Morzine ’24) will now reflect the Spartan Ultra product. WTM is the event within our portfolio that challenges racers over 24hrs
Has focus shifted from Spartan to Tough Mudder thus potentially damaging the Spartan brand, and will you be continuing the brand cross over of obstacles?
We are focused on both. The main focus however is getting back to 12 cylinders running at full steam.
Why is Tough Mudder appearing to become a mirror image of Spartan?
It shouldn’t be. We do need efficiencies within the operation, but are being careful to ensure the two brand identities (and product experiences) remain distinct.
Is there a fear that the apparent focus shifting from Spartan to TM will damage the Spartan name and brand?
Our goal is to keep them separate. If anything, as the two brands have gained exposure to each other under the same umbrella, we feel that we more keenly understand what each needs to be the best version of itself. Unlike in the early days of OCR, we’re not trying to one-up each other by mimicking and outmaneuvering. We’re also seeing more racers cross over between the two brands – and enjoying both.
What do you say to the Pacific Northwest region who saw their Spartan/TM schedule get decimated in 2023? How do we get Spartan to see the passionate population here that is now down to one race weekend in Seattle?
Just need time to build it back.
Why are favorite venues canceled or moved?
They may raise prices on us or sell their land etc.
Why does Agoge only list an event only a few months before event day where others are much longer (up to a year)?
Agoge is meant to throw the community for a surprise.
Why are Hurricane Heats scheduled, if at all, during trifecta weekends and not at approachable times like 6pm on Friday night or 6pm Saturday night. They always seem to be during events.
They should not be. We agree.
What do you envision Spartan’s role if OCR is picked as an individual sport? What do you see as Spartan’s role if it stays with Modern Pentathlon?
I believe we will be a commercial extension of that sport.
Is Spartan considering a Ninja league like UNAA, FINA, WNL featuring the gyms around the word?
If you are so “pro burpees” why did you allow them to be removed from the event?
Our product team muscled the change on me. I accepted. This fight is not over however.