I ran my first race in 2013 and started running multiple events the following year. Although most of my racing career events take place in America, I have raced across the world including countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Lebanon, and Kuwait. With more than 100 races, I’ve seen my fair share of good and bad events. After racing Hannibal Race 2023 in Kuwait, here are a couple things I think they are doing better than other brands and a thing or two we can learn from the first Obstacle Course Racing World Championship (OCRWC) qualifying event in the Middle East.

Hannibal Race: “Find a way or make one”

Festival: Hannibal Race has arguably my favorite festival in OCR. Instead of a muddy mess or dirt in the festival area they put down fake grass. This means athletes could lie down, relax or change shoes in the festival without getting messy. The music was playing loud and the party atmosphere was in full effect. Instead of athletes finishing the race and going home, it looked like most stayed for the length of the race. Add in some pretty awesome sponsors giving away free stuff like protein bars, Red Bull, and Ahmad Tea (tea bags to go and cups made fresh), and the atmosphere was amazing. 

Hanging out in the festival area at Hannibal Race

Sponsors: Perhaps the biggest lesson race companies can learn from Hannibal Race is their partnerships with sponsors. Hannibal Race is partnered with major brands including companies like Ram Trucks, Red Bull, Holiday Inn and Born Primitive. Instead of just minor local sponsors, the sponsors on their website are major companies. They also had race sponsors from more local companies showing a willingness to work with local companies like DISC Kuwait, a therapy clinic for musculoskeletal disorders. 

RAM Trucks, a Hannibal Race sponsor

Race Results Display: I’ve only been at two races that showed race results as you crossed the finish line. The first was True Grit Australia Enduro (24 hour), which showed your lap time/placement on each lap on a small screen. The second was Hannibal Race Kuwait 2023.  When you crossed the finish, your name, country, and time appeared on a giant jumbotron. As other athletes finished your time slowly moved towards the bottom and then off the screen. Not a mandatory aspect that needs to be at every race, but if you are looking for something that takes your brand to the next level, this was pretty cool.

While Hannibal Race doesn’t do every aspect of OCR better, they are doing a great job maintaining their brand in the Middle East. They’ve been part of OCR since 2014 putting on events consistently including putting on an event in 2020. Hannibal Race is a long-standing consistent member of the OCR community and the history of successful events means we can learn a thing or two about putting on races from such an accomplished brand.


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