Published by
Houghton (2014-10-14)
Current material
Original language
Sports & Active outdoor recreation


How the Muddy, Zany Obstacle Course Took Over Endurance Sports

by Beresini, Erin

A fun, funny, fist-pumping romp through the thriving new fitness culture of obstacle course racing.

Obstacle course racing is the fastest-growing sport in U.S. history. Every week, thousands of marathoners, CrossFitters, and casual weekend warriors shell out money to run through mud and fire, crawl under barbed wire, scramble over ten-foot walls, and dodge baton-wielding gladiators. Some even sprint through electrically charged wires only to suffer muscle-seizing shocks and faceplant in the muck.

In Off Course, Outside journalist and endurance athlete Erin Beresini dives straight into this strange world to reveal a new subculture of military-inspired amateur competition and the industry that’s rapidly growing to support it. Having reached a crossroads in her own athletic pursuits, Beresini embarked on a journey to train and compete in several obstacle races herself, culminating in the world’s first marathon-length event, the grueling Spartan Ultra Beast. Along the way, she met a wild cast of characters, from frat boys to housewives, fitness buffs to financiers to fanatics, and uncovered the sport's biggest scandals, lawsuits, and rivalries.

As Beresini inches ever closer to her goal — and gets pretty buff in the process — she also illuminates the history, psychology, science, and sociology of this new sport that’s taking the endurance world by storm.

Erin Beresini's sports journalism has appeared in The New York Times, Outside Magazine, Triathlete Magazine, Inside Triathlon, and espnW. She is the former Senior Editor of Competitor Magazine. She currently writes Outside Magazine’s "Fitness Coach" column. She is a world champion triathlete.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Ronit Zafran

Available View on Rightsdesk


Beresini adopts a lighthearted, conversational tone as she compellingly portrays the unusual cast of characters who have driven this unorthodox sport’s rapid growth and embraced its no-excuses military- inspired ethos. Best suited to endurance athletes, CrossFit fans, or other fitness devotees who may also like the more serious Born To Run by Chris McDougall.

Review: Library Journal

Obstacle course racing has taken the endurance world by storm and in OFF COURSE Erin Beresini gives us an insider perspective into the conflict and appeal of these masochistic suffer-fests, culminating in her quest to complete the granddaddy of them all, the Spartan Ultra Beast. A must read for anyone currently competing in, or considering taking on, one of these newfangled racing events.

Quote: Dean Karnazes

I type this with my fingernails residually stained with mud. It’s Erin Beresini’s fault. Her book about the obstacle course racing (OCR) craze had me so intrigued that I signed up for a 5K race and spent a Saturday morning belly-crawling through mud, navigating precipices and plunging through a finish-line chute pumped chest-high with soap bubbles

Review: Wall Street Journal

Erin Beresini has gone gonzo. In OFF COURSE, she puts herself to the ultimate test in an obstacle racer’s world of alphas and ultras, and Tough Mudders. Her narrative has humor and heart, and a carnival of characters. Her sharp reporting puts the reader there. By the end of her riotous narrative, I had to wipe mud from my glasses at least twenty-six times.

Quote: Gary M. Pomerantz

A fascinating insider’s view of endurance racing’s latest craze.

Review: Booklist

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