Off Course (Hardcover)

Inside the Mad, Muddy World of Obstacle Course Racing

By Erin Beresini

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544055322, 256pp.

Publication Date: October 14, 2014

List Price: 25.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A fun, funny, fist-pumping romp through the thriving new fitness culture of obstacle course racing 

Obstacle course racing is the fastest-growing sport in U.S. history. Every week, thousands of marathoners, CrossFitters, and casual weekend warriors shell out money to run through mud and fire, crawl under barbed wire, scramble over ten-foot walls, and dodge baton-wielding gladiators. Some even sprint through electrically charged wires only to suffer muscle-seizing shocks and faceplant in the muck.

In Off Course, Outside journalist and endurance athlete Erin Beresini dives straight into this strange world to reveal a new subculture of military-inspired amateur competition and the industry that’s rapidly growing to support it. Having reached a crossroads in her own athletic pursuits, Beresini embarked on a journey to train and compete in several obstacle races herself, culminating in the world’s first marathon-length event, the grueling Spartan Ultra Beast. Along the way, she met a wild cast of characters, from frat boys to housewives, fitness buffs to financiers to fanatics, and uncovered the sport's biggest scandals, lawsuits, and rivalries. 

As Beresini inches ever closer to her goal — and gets pretty buff in the process — she also illuminates the history, psychology, science, and sociology of this new sport that’s taking the endurance world by storm.

About the Author

ERIN BERESINI’s sports journalism has appeared in the New York Times, Outside, Triathlete, Inside Triathlon, and espnW. She is the former senior editor of Competitor Magazine. She is a world champion triathlete.


Praise For Off Course: Inside the Mad, Muddy World of Obstacle Course Racing

“Beresini uncovers the growing sport's most compelling characters and provides the most authoritative insiders' guide to date.” --Outside Magazine

"Beresini chronicles her personal journey as she prepares for her race, detailing the regimen and questioning, in an engaging, self-deprecating style, what such a sadistic undertaking says about the participants’ sanity. A fascinating insider’s view of endurance racing’s latest craze." --Booklist

"Funny, fast-paced" --American Way Magazine

"Obstacle course racing has taken the endurance world by storm and in OFF COURSE Erin Beresini gives us an insider perspective into the conflict and appeal of these masochistic suffer-fests, culminating in her quest to complete the granddaddy of them all, the Spartan Ultra Beast. A must read for anyone currently competing in, or considering taking on, one of these newfangled racing events." --Dean Karnazes, bestselling author of Ultramarathon Man and 50/50

"Erin Beresini has gone gonzo. In OFF COURSE, she puts herself to the ultimate test in an obstacle racer’s world of alphas and ultras, and Tough Mudders. Her narrative has humor and heart, and a carnival of characters. Her sharp reporting puts the reader there. By the end of her riotous narrative, I had to wipe mud from my glasses at least twenty-six times." --Gary M. Pomerantz, author of Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now