More than Mud - Adam Schutze

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 Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I ran my first race in October of 2012 at a local raceway.  I was interested in losing weight and finding a purpose to train.  A friend at work was the race director for the YMCA and told me about it.  I had the worst gear possible for the race and ended up almost puking on a barely 5k, weak obstacle local race.  At that moment I was hooked and quickly signed up for a Spartan Race.

How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)

People ask me all the time about racing in general and obstacle racing.  I have since in the last year discovered trail running in addition to OCR.  I always tell friends and co-workers that it is an interesting thing, the human capacity for engaging in challenges and overcoming them.  You never really find out what you are capable of until you actually try to find that limit.  

I tell people that originally I got into it to motivate myself to be healthier. My triglycerides when I began this journey were over 500 and my weight was around 280.  Last October my annual health check showed my triglycerides in the 80's and my weight at 231.  A drastic improvement, and I loved every minute of it.  I always tell people my "why", is to find something you enjoy and love doing, the rest will take care of itself.

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

My most memorable OCR moment had to be my first Spartan Race.  Anyone who raced Charlotte in 2013 remembers the weather that weekend.  It poured rain the whole weekend and was barely above freezing.  My gear choices weren't bad but my conditioning definitely wasn't where its at today.  I choose to do Sunday to save money and by that time the course was ruined and everything was muddy water and rocks.  

I remember standing there waiting to go and people were literally walking off the starting line and leaving because it was so cold and miserable.  About 2 hours later, 120 burpees, and a mild case of hypothermia, I finished my first Spartan.  I stood around a makeshift firepit after eating a muddy banana until I stopped shivering enough to drive my car.  I'll never forget it.

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

My best training advice I got from another racer was in my first year of racing.  I had always avoided running because it hurt my knees and I always figured since my days in the Marine Corp, my running career was over.  I always saved my knees for race day and iced them for days after.  He told me to start running, slowly, and eventually my knees loosen up and the soreness wouldn't be as bad.  Since then I have run a couple trail half marathons and consistently finished under 2 hours.

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

Personally OCR has motivated me to bring my weight down and take my health more seriously.  I am not a fan of medications and my triglycerides and cholesterol were pushing me down a road to that eventuality.  With proper nutrition and exercise I have all that under normal limits and am cleared by my doctor to not need any medications.

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from a myriad of places.  My military background inspires me to be what I once was, a jolly green giant crushing the earth and feeling invincible.  My wife and kids inspire me to take care of myself, as their main provider I know that it rests on my shoulders to make sure they are provided for.  

Most recently I lost my father in December, I found out that he had passed on my birthday of all days.  He and I were making plans to move him up to NC so he could be closer and spend more time with us.  He didn't get to make that move and was only 63.  He always told me to work for what I wanted and I think of that often.

Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?

I just started running competitively last year and really felt good running with the upper level of OCR athletes.  I'm a bigger runner but managed an 8th place finish in the competitive wave in Rugged Maniac NC 2015, I finished in 3rd at Legend Race in Oxford NC in 2015, I have also consistently been in the top 15 of the masters division in Spartan Races at Charlotte, Asheville, and SC.  I am looking to improve on those finishes this year.

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

Most people meet me and I am a large, imposing looking guy at 6'4" and over 230 lbs.  I am clearly a Marine Corp veteran, but most don't realize that I do computers for a living, and work for a large company on their infrastructure team dealing with large scale projects and scaling new technologies.  Most people are surprised that I am a technical person and not construction or something like that.  You can be big and smart!

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

OCR currently seem to be still in a flux of certain companies getting bigger, others trying to keep up, and yet more falling by the wayside as costs increase or attendance wanes.  Currently you have a ton of people that enjoy the social aspect of OCR and its a muddy party for them to enjoy with people and use a an excuse to get out and be healthier.  Others obviously are taking it a lot more seriously and are working out the ground floor of competitiveness.  

I think its interesting that as the sport becomes more legitimized you are getting more serious athletes involved and a lot of the "original" badasses in the sport are getting passed by a much stronger class of athlete that may have not really taken the sport seriously before.  I think OCR's future will lie in its ability to keep the audiences happy.   Everyone talk about legitimizing it as a sport to get more coverage, etc.  

Really I could see it being involved in the X Games or something like that, but as far as Olympics are concerned you would have a hard time getting enough countries to represent to make it a serious contender even if it was standardized in some way.  I think people really enjoy being on the fringe in general, and once the sport is too mainstreamed they move on, not to mention the sponsors and money involved relies on the masses paying for entries, and getting their medals.


Photos courtesy of Spartan Race

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

1 comment

  • Michael Kilpatrick

    I’ve known Adam for almost 20 yrs and my wife has known him for almost 30 yrs. he has always been a true Badass with hands of steel and a heart of gold. He is one of few I consider to be a brother, one I can always rely on to be there. He loves these races and we are all so very proud of his accomplishments (health and racing success). Keep up the good work brotha! One day we will race together!

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