Obstacle courses come in many forms. They range from the races at a school sports day, to something big like Total Wipeout on the TV. The military use assault courses to test the ability and endurance of personnel. These have gained notoriety with the public, and consequently events such as the Tough Mudder, and the Dirty Dash have become great events to tak epart in.
video of the Dirty Dash - A muddy but fun obstacle course race
An adventure course is a challenging outdoor personal development and team building activity which usually consists of high and or low elements. Low elements take place on the ground or only a few feet above the ground. And yes, you guessed it high elements are constructed in trees and require a belay for safety.
Adventure courses have derived from ropes and obstacle courses, it is unclear where and when the first ropes course was created. Although obstacle courses have been used by the military to train soldiers as far back as the ancient Greeks. These courses, however, were primarily used for the training of extremely fit individuals and not necessarily aimed at the development of the whole person as is common practice on adventure courses today. The use of belay and risk management systems on such courses was limited or often non-existent.
Many practitioners cite Georges Hébert as the originator of the "modern" ropes course. A French naval officer in the early 1900s, Hébert developed his own method of physical education, apparatus, and principles to train in what he called the “Natural Method,” which included the development of physical, moral, and “virile” qualities in an outdoor environment. Drawing from his naval background, Hébert patterned some of his obstacles on obstacles found on the decks of ships.
Modern adventure courses meet a number of educational, developmental, and recreational goals by focusing on personal achievements and ask participants to confront their personal fears and anxieties. Challenges are usually physical and or emotional - although not too emotional we hope!
Belay systems are used to secure climbers on the higher parts of the course as you move through the course. This means that you have to explore the fundamentals of trust, craftsmanship, and coaching. The lower parts of the course are most often designed to explore group interaction, problem-solving, and leadership.
So, still fancy zipling through a beautiful forest, surrounded by nature? Then why not pay a visit to one of the many outdoor obstacle courses around the world. you can find them at adventure camps, Go Ape, or for those who love a challenge, you can enter an obstacle course race like Tough Mudder.
There are several places you can now go to try outdoor obstacle courses and assault courses.