More than Mud - Bobby Pierce

More than Mud is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing


How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community?

As a high school biology teacher and avid fitness enthusiast, I try to inspire people to be successful in whatever they choose. At my Camp Gladiator fitness group, I work extremely hard and take the sessions seriously to improve. As a result, people in my CG group have also expressed interest in trying out Spartan Sprint and Beast this year. This year, we will have almost thirty members from CG attending the Spartan Sprint race for the first time in Austin!

What’s been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?

Dallas Spartan Beast in October 2015. Before the race, the area had a huge rainfall. I had a 12:30PM wave time and arrived two hours before the race, only to be stuck in the biggest traffic jam. I was stuck in my car for almost five hours before I finally got to park and dash to get checked in.

I went off with the last wave of the day at 4:30PM and have never been in so much mud. I race solo, but met three other great guys at one of the obstacles where we helped each other. We ended up racing together due to the massive amount of mud. Luckily, I was prepared and packed a headlamp as the last 3-4 miles were in complete darkness.

Shortly after, we ran into a group of 25 people that had no lights and were just standing on the trail because they couldn’t see where to go. I went to the front and lead them all the way in. I felt like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer leading the pack to Santa.


Bobby Pierce - Profiles In Badassary by MudGear


What’s the best training or racing advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve made so many friends in the OCR world over the last two years. Veteran racers have helped me with the proper attire, training tips, and encouragement. The best advice I received was how to climb a rope. I paid $20 to attend a class and got personal help learning the J-hook method. Now I can climb a rope with no issues, and can’t wait to ring the bell when I complete my climb at the Spartan Sprint Austin in April 2016.


What personal challenges has OCR helped you overcome?

My biggest challenge was my lack of upper body strength. At the Savage and Spartan races I failed miserably at monkey bars, walls, and rope climbing due to poor technique and grip strength. I began to focus on those areas and boy, what a huge difference it made in six months. I used to be so weak that I could only hold on to a few monkey bars and fall off. There’s still a lot to improve on, but it’s motivating to see progress and overcoming those obstacles.


What inspires you?

The first is my wife. She has asthma and allergy problems but still trains with me even when her breathing is compromised. Watching her work out inspires me to go harder because I know how difficult it already is for her to push so hard. Coming back from a bad car wreck many years ago and dealing with her breathing problems, it really inspires me to push my limits. She’s also completing her first OCR at the Austin Spartan Sprint in April 2016 with me, and I can’t wait to be on the course with her.


Any race stats to share, and what are your goals for 2016?

I’m still new to OCR and have only completed five major races. I made the award podium twice in the competitive class at Dallas Savage, with a bronze in my first year and silver last year. I’m very competitive and can beat many people younger than myself.

Being a school teacher I’m very observant and have great hearing. I love racing by younger guys and hearing them say “Did we just get passed by an old dude?” I always turn my head back at them and smile.


What’s something about you that others might find surprising?

I’m an avid health and fitness person, but my profession is a public school teacher that has an award winning competition Science program. We’ve won six science team state championships in Texas over the past 7 years.


How did you get into OCR racing?

I started fairly late at the age of 52 with my first race in the summer of 2014. It was at a local church to support their summer vacation bible school program. The race was nothing big, just a two mile loop with five very small obstacles. Surprisingly with no training, I finished in 5th place and found out my strength and conditioning was not as good as I thought.

I put some work into my strength and endurance training in the following months. Three months later, I joined the Dallas Savage Race. After earning a bronze medal in the competitive class, I knew I had some skill in OCR that could be honed in more. With more training and work, I eventually moved into the Spartan and Savage races locally in 2015. My passion is now training and running OCRs and I’m improving quickly for a guy that’s almost 54!


What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?

In the two short years I’ve been competing in OCR, there’s been a huge growth from the local to national level. Some people say it’s just a “fad”, but I totally disagree. It’s going to continue to grow as Spartan races are televised by NBC and many top sponsors are supporting various events. I know I’m just beginning, and I plan to do OCR as long as my body will allow.


Here's also a video of Bobby conquering an 8-foot wall at the age of 54: 



For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.