Hills of the North Umpqua

Down and Dirty in the Name of Competition

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Coach Bowden working out with athletes

UCC brings together first scholarship collegiate obstacle course racing team in the country.

ROSEBURG, Oregon – Could the next Olympian be training at Umpqua Community College (UCC)? If the fastest-growing sport in history has its way, the answer could very well be ‘yes.’ UCC recently stepped up its game by establishing Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) as a sanctioned, competitive sport.

For the past two months, 10 athletes have been meeting at the UCC track—prepping to get down and dirty in the name of competition. Under Coach Andrea Bowden’s watchful eye, the team has been undergoing physical transformation through rigorous, repetitive workouts. Bowden, who huffs and puffs right along with them, says each day’s workout is different.

“We’ve been getting to know each other and work out,” Bowden, an elite-level obstacle course racer, said.

The team’s goal is to run while doing something that gets their heart rate up, and then take off again running. This day’s workout consisted of pushups, pull-ups, sit ups, squats, bear crawls, planks, and more squats while holding a bag that weighs 40 pounds. It’s enough to make a person sweat just watching.

“It’s low key now, but we are building up,” Bowden said. “We’re getting ready to run… a lot. They don’t know that yet, but it is coming.”

In OCR, a competitor must overcome various physical challenges that are obstacles while running. Some of the better-known OCR events are called Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, Dirty Dash, and Tough Mudder. These athletes trudge through mud, scale barbed wire, leap through flames, and essentially compete to a finish line like warriors.

While the sport may be perceived as a cult phenomenon, this warrior-like training has been around since the beginning of time. The military has also used obstacle courses for decades to test physical and mental fitness to prep for combat. Now, as some four million people a year join the revolution, there’s even a push to bring OCR to the Olympic Games.

“I think this is absolutely awesome,” William Turner, one of UCC’s first OCR athletes, said. “I love coming out here every week. There is nothing else like this around here.”

UCC’s team, which will consist of at least eight men and eight women, will be the first scholarship collegiate team in the country. For more information, call Coach Bowden at (541) 440-7916 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Ready to join the team? Submit your information.

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.

Contact

Andrea Bowden
Coach, Obstacle Course Racing
541-440-7916

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