Challenge Course Format

The aim of Challenge Courses is to evaluate athletes based on the furthest progress in the least amount of time while allowing a small margin of error from athletes.

The format follows the same principals found in the Flow Course Format but allows athletes the opportunity to take multiple attempts on an obstacle they could not complete successfully.

On challenge courses, the athlete cannot progress to the next obstacle until they successfully complete the current obstacle.

Let’s take a look at the rules surrounding challenge courses.


Challenge courses will score athletes using the Flow Format. The athlete who completes the most obstacles in the least time will be the winner. Challenge courses differentiate by allowing multiple attempts on the course. The number of attempts athletes have is determined by the organization hosting and communicated during the rules. The number of attempts can be set by individual obstacle or for the entire course. If the number of attempts reach zero for the athlete their course run will be over.

All Challenge Courses must have a time limit. This helps ensure all athletes have equal time on the course. Additionally, a time limit will ensure the competition remains on time.

Challenge courses may have obstacles requiring reset if the organization hosting the competition is prepared to reset the obstacle in a timely manner ( 0 – 10 seconds ). Additionally, the obstacle reset time must be reasonably consistent for all athletes. The rulebook considers reset times to be consistent as long as the two times are within 5 seconds of each other.

Challenge courses cannot use linked obstacles. This restriction is in place to ensure the athlete is provide consistent place to start each obstacle via the start platform.


A few things happen when an athlete fails to complete an obstacle in a challenge course and has attempts remaining:

  1. The timer will continue to run.
  2. The athlete cannot progress further until they complete the failed obstacle.
  3. Athletes missed obstacle count will increase by 1.
  4. Athletes attempts will decrease by 1.
  5. Athlete must return to the start platform of the failed obstacle then wait for the obstacle to be reset and for a new countdown timer.

    Note: The timer continuing to run is considered the penalty for scoring. No additional penalty is applied to the athletes competition result. It is possible for an athlete who missed one obstacle to rank higher than athlete who did not miss any obstacles. In this scenario the athlete who failed to complete an obstacle would need to reach the same obstacle faster then the athlete who completed all obstacles successfully.


    This concludes our training on Challenge courses. At this point you should be familiar with the following concepts:

    • You should feel comfortable explaining the Challenge Course Format to others.
    • The differences between attempts per course or attempts per obstacle.
    • How timing is handled when an athlete fails to complete an obstacle during an attempt.