Fire, Water and Barbed Wire

obstacle course

Jumping through fire, climbing under barb wires, crawling through mud and scaling walls are just a few of the things you may be expected to do in a typical obstacle race. Obstacle course races, like the Tough Mudder and Spartan Race, have risen in popularity in recent years, attracting everyone from a race rookie to professional athlete.

Julie Johnston, the owner and founder of Camp Rhino, which houses Rhino CrossFit, dedicates an entire section of the Box to training athletes for obstacle courses. Coming from a background of obstacle course racing herself, Johnston understood the appeal of incorporating a fun and unique aspect to an ordinary workout.

“I had my first obstacle course built in 2004, mainly because I wanted to have fun working out and I didn’t like running,” said Johnston. “Running through an obstacle course is so much more fun than just running. The technique classes teach our members how to do the obstacles and our obstacle course classes let them practice racing through the obstacles. We have Spartan and Tough Mudder classes, as well as Ninja Warrior classes.”

At Camp Rhino, they have developed the Rhino Rig to ensure they have the space needed for different obstacles and challenges. It also allows members to also tackle WODs and programming when obstacle course training isn’t taking place.

“We’ve been slowly building over the years to get to where we are at currently,” explained Johnston. “At first we built wood obstacles, but quickly realized that we needed something stronger to withstand the wear and tear. We have an engineer on staff, Anthony Peressini, who designed the Rhino Rig with us. It’s a CrossFit rack that has everything we need for CrossFit, as well as obstacle attachments that can be put on and taken off. You can have CrossFit and obstacles without taking up more space.”

Including obstacle course training in your Box could seem like a large task, but it can be just the type of class your Box could benefit from to set itself apart from the competition. Plus, by accomplishing the different obstacles, members can see results in a whole new way and be encouraged their CrossFit training is working.

“Obstacles are an exciting goal for our members,” said Johnston. “CrossFit gives them confidence and they want to see what else they can do with their new muscles. I definitely recommend at least getting a couple obstacles in your Box and advertising a technique class.”

Kaitlyn is a staff writer for Peake Media. Contact her at