Recently Saudi Arabia held the biggest prize purse race in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) history. I was fortunate enough to have room in my schedule to attend the event. At the event, they teased more possible events in the future including a possible series. Here’s a look at what it was like and if you should make the trip next year.

Landing in Saudi Arabia: After several connecting flights with most people having long layovers in either Doha, Qatar, or Dubai, United Arab Emirates most athletes made their way in. The long layovers were awesome as many of the athletes took the opportunity to either travel days ahead of time or take a couple of hours to explore another nice Middle Eastern country.

Arrival in Saudi Arabia was smooth. With AlUla’s small airport, we breezed through customs to be greeted by live music, free dates, and Arabic coffee all for free. A Tough Mudder employee met us at the airport immediately post-security ensuring we got on the bus back to camp. I would describe the arrival as convenient, easy, and stress-free especially considering most of the plane was OCR athletes.

Living Accommodations: You could choose to stay in town at a hotel, but it was very expensive. I recommend staying on-site in the camp for a better race experience. They offered two options glamping tents and cheaper camping tents. I highly recommend the larger glamping tents which had electricity and came with comfortable bedding. All that is worth the extra cost hands down. You already traveled to the other side of the world, there is no need to penny-pinch the night before an eight-hour race. 

The bathrooms were a short walk away and while there could have been more, the only time you had to wait for any substantial amount of time was post-race. The bathrooms had private stalls and a separate container housing unit with showers. 

The living accommodations came with breakfast and dinner. Every meal I ate was delicious with both meat and vegetarian options. They usually consisted of rice, chicken or fish, and sides of bread. The extra bread was nice because you could fill up on bread if you were still hungry. 

Day Before the Race: Rather than just sitting in your tent all day they gave the option of going into the town of AlUla to explore. The bus was free and provided drop off/pick up every two hours. It was cool to get to explore the old town and see structures from ~700 B.C., the gorgeous landscape, do some souvenir shopping, eat in town, and talk to some locals. I had a 40-minute conversation at a coffe shop with a Saudi citizen who had traveled to the USA. I love learning about the different cultures and the vast changes that Saudi Arabia has made in the last decade opening the country up to tourism.

If I had more time I would have explored some of their unique sites like the mirrored concert hall (a building completely covered in mirrors that looks like something out of a movie), elephant rock (a giant rock naturally structured like an elephant) and Hegra (buildings carved into the rock, very similar to the look of Petra in Jordan…or what you may know as the location of the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Given the opportunity again, I would travel there a day earlier to allow myself time to make it to both of these sites. 

The Race Itself: I’m not going to go into too many details on the race itself as I will cover that in an article on OCR Buddy (feel free to check it out at, but the Infinity event was 8 hours (with one hour buffer to finish your laps). The terrain was a mix of hard-packed and loose-packed sand. Some of the views were incredible when running through the desert of the large rock mountains. The event day was overcast making for perfect running weather. The competition was arguably the highest the sport has ever seen and the hospitality displayed by staff/workers was second to none. For American OCR athletes, the obstacles probably felt too easy, but remember Saudi Arabia is probably only about 10 races into their OCR event history so understand where they are in their journey.

Post-Race: After the race, we ate dinner on site (super convenient) and rolled right into a nighttime race results ceremony. The ceremony was quick and to the point which was nice since we were all exhausted. Athletes then either went back to their tents or spent the night socializing to the music playing in the main festival area.

Travel Back: Another a long layover in Dubai or Doha provided most people a second option to explore another country. Mine was in Doha and I and four other athletes visited the local markets, explored the town, and got to see all of the amazing new architecture of the town. For many, this was the 3rd unique country of the trip.

Concerns: I know a lot of my friends and families had concerns about safety traveling to Saudi Arabia. AlUla is a new tourist town and honestly, I felt more welcomed there than most of the other areas of the Middle East I traveled to. With tourism being relatively new in Saudi Arabia, I was surprised with the number of tourist friendly areas and people dressed in western style clothes. You’ll still see plenty of dishdasha (male formal Arabic dress) and hijab (females covered head to toe) but I also saw locals wearing t-shirts and shorts. Everyone I personally interacted with was nice.

Overall: The experience was one of a kind. I’ve traveled to the Middle East almost a dozen times between work and vacation but I had never been to Saudi Arabia. The landscape was unlike anything I had ever seen during my travels. The ancient history from ~700 B.C. structures, being in the areas where T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) spent his time, and the country that is home to Islam’s two holiest sites (Mecca & Medina) was really cool for me. Being in a race environment with the best OCR athletes in the world in a smaller crowd was also very special. 

I’m also going to release a podcast on my channel “Strength & Speed OCR” if you want to hear a longer rundown of all of the above. You can also find the podcast on your favorite podcast app on by searching from Strength & Speed OCR. For those looking to train for Ultra-OCR, I also recommend picking up a copy of my book, The Ultra-OCR Bible.  

The experience was one of a kind for me and something I will always cherish. I hope to make it to some of their future events because reliving that experience would be epic. If my schedule allows it, I hope to see some of you there in 2025!


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