UPDATE (Sep. 2023): Unfortunately, the OCR portion of Bell Bank Park has shut down. While Bell Bank Park still operates other sports, the OCR course is no longer offered.
Here at ocrracers.com, we love to see the OCR community expanding!
It means many wonderful things are happening to a sport that has brought us so much joy. With that, we recently had the opportunity to check out the new low ropes and obstacle course by Legacy Sports USA out in Mesa, AZ at Bell Bank Park.
WHAT IS BELL BANK PARK?
Bell Bank Park is a 320-acre family sports and entertainment park. You name it, they’ve got it: OCR competitions, obstacle practice, low ropes course, soccer, pickle ball, baseball tournaments and more, or even good ole beer festivals and concerts are all realities at this enormous family-oriented facility. The latest is, of course, Bell Bank Park becoming the new location for the Spartan Arizona venue this February.
(Not to worry — you won’t be running around through the developed park over soccer and pickle ball fields or even through the actual OCR course at the park. There is lots of undeveloped land owned by Bell Bank Park for Spartan to send you stomping around.)
This is a first of its kind facility, and hopefully many more to follow. The exciting takeaway? An obstacle course and a low ropes course are included! Talk about our sport continuing to grow! I personally think it’s pretty exciting that OCR found its way as a permanent fixture in this world class facility.
OCR AND LOW ROPES:
The obstacle course consists of an out-and-back 1/4 mile course with more than 16 “Spartan-style” obstacles and is suitable for ages 12 and up. Here you’ll find walls, monkey bars, a rope climb, rope swing, hurdles and more to test your obstacle proficiency and speed.
The low ropes course contains more than 20 elements you can hang, swing, crawl, or traverse across safely a couple of feet off the ground and the minimum age is 8. There are tubes to crawl through, ropes and tires to balance on, and even a set of moving vertical logs to traverse across.
The idea was to make a course that racers from beginner to experienced can enjoy alike. Not impossible, but a good challenge to conquer. The hope is that more people will discover and experience OCR and our sport will continue to advance and grow. They also have the ability to add on more as they go, or even swap obstacles out from time to time.
WHAT’S THE COST?
While it’s beneficial and a time-saver to register an account with Legacy before you go (you only ever have to create it once), you can then purchase a drop-in hourly rate upon arrival ($9.99 OCR or low ropes) or $15.99 (both) or an all day unlimited pass ($24.99). Note: you don’t need to register for an account at Bell Bank Park/Legacy to run the Spartan Race being held there. They’re separate.
Eventually, the goal is to bring a SEAL-inspired military O-course, 5k Obstacle Course, Low Rope Course, and Junior OCR Course, where they’ll offer:
- OCR World Championships 3k Qualifiers
- Legacy 5k OCR events
- 10-week OCR & Trail Running Leagues
- Low Ropes Course
- Corporate Team Building
WHO SHOULD WE THANK?
If you’ve been in the OCR Community for any length of time, you may have heard of Brett Stewart. He has contributed immensely to OCR’s growth since the beginning in numerous ways, and is not only the Director of Endurance Training for this OCR and Low Ropes course, but he helped make this OCR playground a reality. He brought his vision for the course to life by enlisting some of the industry’s best obstacle engineers (such as Race Ready Obstacles & Obstacle Builders) to help build the dang thing!
Of course, the dedicated and OCR-enthusiast staff help make it all happen as well. In addition to Brett, you’ll likely find Jason and/or Curt out there helping train racers on the obstacles and running them through the course when you visit.
If you’re coming in to Phoenix for the Spartan race, plan some time to visit before race weekend.
You can stop by for an hour or two and get in some obstacle practice before race day — I’m sure you won’t regret it! We had so much fun trying out both the OCR and Low Ropes courses, and can’t wait to get back out there.
Have the obstacle-specific practice down but looking for custom running programs or OCR Strength Training programs to help you crush the course come race day? We’ve got those.