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F.I.T. Challenge OCR (Outdoor Course Race) Training Center set to debut in Cumberland

May 16, 2014

For those individuals into training for obstacle racing, then there’s a spot in Cumberland just for you: F.I.T. Challenge OCR (Outdoor Course Race) Training Center at Fore Court. The center will officially open for business next weekend.

CUMBERLAND --- For the past few years, the sand volleyball courts in the back of Fore Court Racquet & Fitness Club on Cray Street had been vacant and pretty much forgotten.

But when a club member approached Dave Morin, the president and general manager of Fore Court, about the possibility of transforming the big outdoor space into a training center for obstacle racing, the wheels went into motion.

“I got together with Robb McCoy, who is the founder and the race organizer of the F.I.T. Challenge in Attleboro,” said Morin. “We got approval from the proper authorities, and we decided to go forward to it.”

The result was a 19,000 square foot facility, complete with over 20 obstacles and everything an obstacle racing junkie could want in helping them prepare for an upcoming race or stay sharp in their sport.

“We’re the only outdoor training center of this size in this state, southeastern Massachusetts, and Connecticut,” Morin said proudly. “I’ve been here for 28 years and this certainly wasn’t something I thought I’d ever build. But this is great.”

The center, which is called the F.I.T. Challenge OCR (Outdoor Course Race) Training Center at Fore Court, will officially open its doors to the public on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25 with a free grand opening ceremony.

“We’re going to be showing people what our training center looks like,” said Morin. “We’ll have five lines of equipment set up so people can go through each line and work with our instructors.”

Obstacle racing, which has been made popular worldwide by organizations such as Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and the Spartan Race series, consists of a race (from your average 5K to a marathon) on a trail course that has its share of mud, ponds, rocks, tree roots, and small holes.

If that wasn’t enough, there are also several obstacles that participants must overcome, such as climbing up ropes and over large walls, crossing balance beams, leaping over fire pits, and crawling through pipes and under barbed wire.

“(Obstacle racing) has exploded,” Morin admitted, “and what we’re finding out is that it’s all for ages. There are teenagers and college students, as well as 50- and 60-year-old adults doing this.”

That’s where the facility comes into play, and to help those ranging from the wide-eyed beginner to the hardcore veteran, it features 10 climbing walls, a 40-foot crawl, monkey bars, a Hercules hoist, eight rope climbs, a cargo net climb, and a variety of other obstacles.

“It’s actually still in construction,” added Morin. “We will be finished next week, but basically, most of (the facility) was hand-built by [using] pictures, designs, and website information.”

While Morin and McCoy have been very hard at work putting the finishing touches on their masterpiece, they are also looking into scheduling classes for certain aspects of obstacle racing, such as climbing ropes and walls, and organizing a short course obstacle race in October.

“We’re going to have drop-in classes,” reported Morin. “We want to have a ratio of 10-to-1 or 15-to-1 in terms of students and instructors so people will get the proper instruction out there.

“Our prices will be out Monday, but the drop-in fees per day will probably be around $15. We’ll have class cards for anyone who wants to buy 10 or 20 classes, and we’re going to build this into our membership, so in addition to getting the outdoor training center, people will have access to our facility.”

For more information on the training facility, visit www.forecourtri.com and click on the ‘Obstacle Course Training’ link, and for more information about the F.I.T. Challenge, visit www.fitchallenge.org.

Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24

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