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Obstacle Course Racing

Mark Bolton | United States


For the last 4 years I have been a sub-contract photographer for a couple of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) companies, Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. OCR is a sport where you run, or walk, around a forest setting, as well as in professional team stadiums courses. Racers are challenged along the way with multiple obstacles ranging from crawling in mud under barbed wire, to getting yourself up and over a 7ft wall, traversing ropes, and carrying 50lbs sandbags. These races can range from a short three-mile course, all the way up to marathon distances.

Being a career photojournalist and sports photographer, I wanted to try to take a deeper look into OCR to show what people endure, take on, the teamwork, the fun of this kind of racing. 

On another note regarding my OCR work, photographing the people and being inspired by them, I became involved in participating in these kinds of races, running my first Spartan Race in May 2018, and have ran a few OCRs since. 

All photos property of Spartan Race and Tough Mudder.

Mark Bolton a career photojournalist and sports photographer, working for New Hampshire newspapers in the United States. I also earned by MFA degree in 2010 through the formally known Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, now the College of Art and Design at Lesley University.

I teach old school photography (darkroom, film processing, 35mm cameras) at NHTI Concord’s Community College in Concord, NH, which has been tremendously rewarding.

Over the last few years, I have been photographing an amazing sport called Obstacle Course Racing. A mix of running through the woods, mountains, or in professional stadiums, racers try to get through a variety of obstacles such as mud tunnels, crawling under barbed wire, climbing ropes, or carrying sandbags over a distance.

My favorite and most personal work is documenting the life of my son.


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