Last summer, I had the chance to take part in my first ever Spartan Race. For those who aren’t familiar with the Spartan Race, it’s basically a run and a big obstacle course for adults. I love playing, working out and having fun, so this was the coolest race to take part in.
Since the summer, I’ve been looking at training and improving some of the skills necessary to succeed in the Spartan Race. There were a few obstacles that I didn’t do so well in, so I was looking to see how I could do better for next year. A few months ago, I heard of Pursuit OCR, 10 000 square foot gym and the first official fully functional indoor obstacle course in Canada. The bonus, the gym opened up right around the corner from where I live.
The opening of Pursuit OCR generated a lot of buzz and media attention in the city so I was thrilled to finally have the chance to meet some of the guys behind the project and try the gym out myself a few weeks ago.
Pursuit OCR is not only an indoor obstacle course but also a gym that offers personal training, fitness classes and more. Will and Mikey, two of the guys behind the space shared with me why they wanted to open up Pursuit OCR:
What inspired you guys to open up the space?
Mikey: It’s Will’s brainchild, he wanted to do this for a while but I think our common denominator, we all come from a place where play is important. It’s important for your mental health, physical health and overall happiness. To be able to provide a facility where you can play, that’s what it is. Kids get playgrounds, kids get recess and we get offices and cubicles.
What is your main goal with this space?
Will: We haven’t thought about it long term. Of course, we’d like to have more facilities but at the end of the day, when people come through and they’re smiling and having fun, that’s the primary thing. They’re here to explore movement and in exploring, you should feel happy and find joy out of that. If someone’s not having a good time, then maybe we failed but if someone’s having a good time, they’re learning to move again and they’re developing or relearning skills, whether or not they come back to the gym, that transfers onto a real world application. Whether they’re playing with their kids at the playground or they end up playing more themselves, then that’s mission accomplished.
What are some of the things you offer at Pursuit OCR?
Will: Our program director Mikey has put together a fantastic team of coaches and instructors that all also love to play. It’s basically based on movement.
Mikey: I conducted the group simply because I wanted to create a space where there would be a platform where people could meet. We’re not an elitist facility, we never say we’re the best, I always give the example that you get a rock climber who meets a ballroom dancer, they both share their passion for what they do, the next thing you know, the rock climber is ballroom dancing and the ballroom dancer is rock climbing. The beauty of it is that we live in a city that has that. I think it allows for people to understand and realize that they can do all of these amazing things in Toronto. Toronto is one of the few cities that is open to this concept and is very appreciative of the fact that there is an adult playground.
What are some of the classes people can come take?
Mikey: We have a hand balancing class. Our coach Chris is the U of T gymnastics coach, I love him because he’s a hippie who just loves to play music and go upside down, he’s a free spirit. We also have a small bar training class. Joanne is an accomplished circus performer. We also have a rope aerials class. The stuff that you do in our classes, have some sort of thing that will help you improve your experience on the course, in the playground. Those three coaches, because of their background in circus, they know how to play, they’re very creative and energetic. When they first started doing what they did, they were clueless but they are now able to enhance and transfer that passion to other people as well.
As you can see from the photos above, I had the best time monkeying around the space. I also worked on a few things that will hopefully help me when summer and the Spartan Race comes back around.
For more information on Pursuit OCR or to go try out their indoor obstacle course, go here.