If you have been following my journey for a little while, you may have noticed that I have been campaigning for more inclusion within competitive Obstacle Course Races (OCRs). This blog aims to give you an update of what’s happening in the world of para/adaptive inclusion within obstacle racing.

The History

Adaptive athletes have frequently been acknowledged in the racing circuit and used in marketing materials but previously, there was no capacity for para athletes to complete against one another, as well as qualify for various races. You may remember my blog about para inclusion, where I discussed the challenges of OCR qualification for World and European races. Despite working tirelessly with World obstacle federations, very few changes were evident until the Spartan Para Chapionship in Zandvoort in May 2022.

Spartan Para Update

In October, a very exciting announcement was made, whereby Joe De Sena (Spartan’s founder) offered to provide every worldwide para athlete (with the exception of Europe for now) a free of charge Unbreakable Pass. An Unbreakable Pass, providing that an athlete has a classifiable disability and that they have already completed a Spartan-branded race, offers unlimited access to any brand within the Spartan umbrella for at least 3 years.

Not only is this an incredible and very generous opportunity for more para inclusion, it’s also a wonderful way of bringing together the worldwide para community. So if you’re an adaptive athlete outside of Europe, you’ve already completed a Spartan-branded race and haven’t heard the announcement already, please get in touch with me and I can send you through the details.

So why not Europe? What’s happening in Europe?

Well…….I’ll tell you what I’m able to say but I’ll keep you on your toes for more to come….

From my experience, the European and worldwide Spartans are somewhat different, especially when it comes to Para races. The US market has a much wider database of adaptive athletes, where racers frequently run together or with organisations that support wounded veterans or adaptive indiduals. In Europe, it’s a much smaller adaptive market with racers dotted around the continent.

In terms of Spartan Europe, there are some exciting projects that are underway. There is a race in Zandvoort again in May 2023, which aims to be much bigger than last year’s race. Additionally, the classification processes, race rules and logistics are all being worked on to them be picked up by the rest of the world. Essentially, Europe is being used as a pilot before then worldwide domination! (Did that sound a bit too extreme)?

As well as Zandvoort, there are also additional plans for some exciting races next year but as it’s not set in stone yet, I can’t yet disclose. However, keep your eyes peeled!!

My hope for the future is to see these Spartan-branded Para races: European Championship, World Championship, various Sprint/Super/Beast races, Europe’s and World’s Toughest Mudder para categories and prizes as well as various adaptive Tough Mudder waves….The timescale for this is still unknown.

How about other brands/races?
I’m in touch with many other race organisers to look at organising adaptive waves or races but please do get in touch if you have a race and would like adaptive athlete attendance. Through these various processes, I have access to a wide network of para athletes who are keen for any opportunities.

I have been in several talks with the European and World OCR Championships, helping them with classification, practical steps, inclusion and other aspects - we are just waiting for the final sign-off.


Now while this blog is very exciting about the Unbreakable Pass, i’m concious that there has been a lot of ‘watch and wait.’ While it has felt like that for quite a few years, I am pleased to see that organisers are now conciously making an effort to have adaptive athletes compete, rather than me feeling as though I am bothering them with my several emails and proposals.

There are some really exciting opportunities coming up so please do keep your eyes peeled and stay positive, because positive change is coming!!

written by

Jamie Gane

Teacher of Mathematics from Basingstoke

Age group: 25-29

track & field trail obstacle race