Jacob Bosecker’s relentless determination helps him overcome any obstacle on or off any Spartan racing course.
The 31-year-old Columbus resident and Cummins advanced systems designer is one of the top 150 athletes in the sport and one of its most passionate ambassadors of obstacle course racing because he has fully embraced the lifestyle of Spartan racing, the most popular type of obstacle course racing.
Obstacle course racing is so popular that it will possibly be a candidate to become a sport for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, and it has become as popular as running a marathon. Spartan racing is similar to track and field’s decathlon in distance and also involves completing obstacles, like a spear throw or a 50-pound tire flip, while racing on various terrain like hills, mountains or ski slopes.
Race courses can be a three-mile sprint or equal the distance of a 26.2-mile marathon. Athletes battle their body and the course at the same time during these races.
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The lure of the challenge is irresistible for Bosecker and his training partner, Bill Brumbach.
“It’s a fun sport,” Brumbach said. “It’s in its infancy as its sport throughout the world, but people involved in sports like cycling and steeplechase are trying to run races. It’s addicting because you’re doing things you didn’t think you could do, like crawling through barbed wire.”
Bosecker’s favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 9:27. In original Greek, the verse translates to, “I pummel my body and make it a slave.” This perfectly describes his training regimen.
Since running his initial race, Bosecker has been religious about his training, and it even goes beyond jump squats and burpees. The former college pole vaulter has been conditioning his body in all aspects, even taking colder showers to adapt his body to colder conditions and practicing deeper breathing techniques to train his lungs to take deeper breaths during races so he will have more oxygen in his bloodstream and help him deal with colder weather.
“My training methods may seem excessive to some people,” Bosecker said. “But I have to do these things if I want to reach my goal of being an elite obstacle course racing athlete.”
Bosecker couldn’t train for the sudden grief that he faced during a World Championship qualifier last June in Sparta, Illinois.
“I got a text that morning before I qualified from my father,” Bosecker said. “He told me to run my qualifying race for my grandmother, Lois Bosecker. She’d passed away overnight. I was shocked because nothing was wrong. She was my biggest fan.”
Bosecker was able to complete the race while grieving because he was so focused.
“I learned how to run with a purpose that day,” he said. “I had to focus on the obstacles in front of me and complete them. I didn’t want people to see that vulnerable side of me, but my heart was heavy.”
Bosecker was clearly weeping as he crossed the finish line of the event, three seconds over the time to qualify, collapsing into the arms of a friend. Bosecker was able to redeem himself and qualify for the 2017 OCR World Championships three months later in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Brumbach, Bosecker’s best friend, was concerned. After four years in the sport, he was worried about Bosecker losing his passion for it.
“He had a hard year in 2017,” Brumbach said. “Jacob and I encourage each other, and I told him he needed to change his mindset and race to have fun, which is why he got involved in the sport. He had to spend a few months training for his first UltraBeast in New Jersey. He’s going to relax more on the course in 2018 and try to compete well within the new age group classifications, instead of focusing on his overall finish.”
Brumbach and Bosecker have a perfect outlet for having fun — their BROCR podcast on Facebook. This video podcast is so engaging that it has gained more than 4,100 followers, doubling in size in each of its first three years.
Brumbach and Bosecker interview their fellow athletes and show tips and tricks to overcoming obstacles, which could be beneficial if viewers choose to compete in a 26.2-mile Ultra Beast race like Bosecker did last spring in New Jersey.
The UltraBeast event featured more than 60 obstacles, like a hay wall and a log carry. For the final obstacle, competitors had to carry buckets with them until they crossed the finish line.
When he reaches the starting line March 24 for the San Jose Spartan, Bosecker will compete in a high-quality compression material called Second Skin.
“It’s improved my comfort level during racing,” Bosecker said. “I don’t get these caught on barbed wire while I’m racing. “It’s made of breathable mesh and has lots of muscle support.”
Bosecker hopes his new approach to the sport will help support him as he continues to pursue his goal of being an elite OCR athlete.
“I’d love to take my wife Jessica to London if I ever run a race there. We’re starting to have more international OCR races. I’m trying to compete at new venues to keep things fresh for me so I can fall in love with the sport all over again.”
Name: Jacob Bosecker
High school: South Knox
Occupation: Advanced Systems Designer for Cummins