Spartan has a lot going on. In recent years they've added Trail races, launched Spartan Edge, will soon launch City races and the Deka Fit series, and they've acquired a bike race. And as previously discussed, they might acquire Tough Mudder. Needless to say, they've been busy.
Which leads one to wonder--are they too busy? I assume the intended goal of this diversification is to expand the Spartan brand and come up with more ways to expose people to an active lifestyle, and ideally obstacle course racing. Which is great. After all, Spartan's mission is to "rip 100 million people off the couch."
If Spartan Builds "It", Will "They" Come?
However, I can't help but wonder if these new offerings will actually lead to introducing new people to obstacle course racing, or if it merely provides additional activities to people that already participate in obstacle course racing or are active in some other way. How many new people will get off of their couch as a result of one of these events?
Without data that quantifies this, it's hard to say. But when I put my behavior change hat on, I think of the barriers that are keeping people on their couch and not running. I've heard anecdotally through interviews with Spartan leadership that the Stadion series was created for those that don't like mud. Likewise, the City series was created for those that don't like to do the stairs in the stadiums. Okay, fine. But sometimes I hear these rationalizations and they seem more like excuses than actual reasons to not do a race. The mud thing--okay. But saying you don't want run in a stadium because you don't like stairs sounds more like an evasive, "It's not you, it's me." Still, I appreciate Spartan's attempts to address the objections they're hearing and continue to provide alternatives to the typical mud run.
So what ARE the real reasons people don't get off of their couch?
Behavior change is complicated and in order to initiate change you need to understand the barriers that are preventing people from getting active and what will motivate them to do a race. In the next post I talk about these barriers and how obstacle course race directors could address those barriers. Stay tuned!