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Sault gym to host ninja obstacle course event (3 photos)

Winners in different age categories can go to world championship in Las Vegas

Sault Ste. Marie’s Rebel Gym says it will be hosting the first ever local Ultimate OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) event for several age groups at Queen Elizabeth Park Saturday, June 11.

Though not a display of typical, full-blown ninja martial arts fighting skills, Rebel Gym’s Tyler Belanger said “there’ll be some ninja obstacles and some ninja training elements in there but it is a running obstacle course event.”

The UOCR will combine;

  • Ninja obstacles (monkey bars and grips)
  • OCR obstacles  (wall climbs and rope climbs) 
  • Tests of strength (sandbag carries)
  • A three kilometre run

Such obstacle course races are a new type of competitive event that’s starting to catch on, Belanger said.

“We just finished a ninja competition two weeks ago where we had 80 competitors, lots of them coming from Sudbury. Our ninja competitive program’s growing. We’re growing our events schedule for obstacle course racing. This will be our first obstacle course race we hold in the Sault.”

Belanger, who with wife Dawn owns and operates Rebel Gym - formerly known as 17 Barbells Gym as reported earlier by SooToday - is encouraging people to get outside and get active after pandemic lockdowns and restrictions.

The June 11 event will include over 25 obstacles for participants to contend with and it will be challenging, but Belanger chuckled “we don’t want to scare people away.” 

"This is going to be the first one of many. We’ll run this annually. Sault College and Algoma University are promoting the event and we’re also looking to open up an elementary and high school city championship with this race, so the more kids that can come out and give it a try, then we can start looking at it as a sport like track and field and cross country and put it in the school calendar year.”

“The Elite age group for this event is 18 and over and someone who wants to do this competitively,” Belanger said, encouraging people from that age group to register.

“We have 15 people registered right now from other age groups but we know there are going to be more. We’ll have some people from Sudbury coming as well,” Belanger said.

Belanger anticipates many contestants in the 15 years of age and under age group will register, mirroring the age group of many Rebel Gym regular customers.

Rebel Gym is affiliated with three ninja leagues, including the Canadian Ninja League and the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association (UNAA).

There are world championships for contestants in ninja obstacle course events.

The top three males and females from the Elite category and each age group category will qualify for a spot to race in the UOCR World Championship held at The Orleans Hotel and Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, July 24, 2022. 

The June 11 event at Queen Elizabeth Park, beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing until past 4 p.m., is the only qualifying race being hosted in Canada for Season 1.

Trip accommodations, travel, and the entry fee are not covered by qualification.

Information on age groups participating, start times for each group, fees and how to register for the local June 11 event can be found on the event’s website.

As a gym owner, Belanger said it feels good to have Rebel Gym open again after a tough two years of lockdowns and restrictions, cutting expenses and staff and handing out refunds to customers.

Tyler and Dawn Belanger started up their gym in January 2019 and operated for a year before being locked down due to COVID-19.

“We’re back and ready to go,” Tyler said.