Head to Head Format

Head to head competitions feature two or more athletes competing side by side. These competitions often leave fans on the edge of their seats! The winner of head to head competitions is athlete who made it the furthest the fastest before their time ran out or the competition failed to complete an obstacle.

Let’s take a look at some the rules set in place to ensure head to head competitions are fair for all athletes.

Head to head competitions are considered tournaments. At head to head tournaments athletes will be seeded by power score or a seeding event.

These tournaments will put athletes against each other on two or more identical courses. A single race between athletes in a tournament is called a match. Additionally, each athlete’s course is known as a lane.

The term round is used to describe all the matches needed to pair all the remaining athletes in the competition against an opponent.

When there is an odd number of athletes the athlete with the top seed will receive a bye for that round.

In a head to head competition, each lane must feature identical obstacles. This means the obstacles must be the same distance apart, same height off the floor and from the same manufacturer.

Head to head races must feature linear courses. The course must not have any turns or bends. Having any turns in the course could provide an unfair advantage to the athlete running on an inside lane.

Head to head competitions will be scored using the Flow Course Format. The athlete who makes it the furthest the fastest before time expires or their opponent fails to complete an obstacle will be considered a match and eligible to move on to the next round of competition.

All matches are single elimination. The only exception is a run off match to determine 3rd place.

Head to Head Strategies

Head to head competitions can be as much about knowing your opponent as it is about knowing the course. Additionally, endurance plays a big part in a head to head tournament. Athletes will compete in multiple matches and need to conserve energy to stay fresh. We recommend evaluating the competition and determining if you are able to pace during any of your matches. For example: If it is unlikely the competition will clear the course but you feel confident you can. It may be best to pace for a clear then exhaust all energy racing to the crux. This strategy can back fire if your opponent is able to clear though so be careful!


This concludes our training on head to head tournaments. After this section you should know the following material:

  • What lanes, matches, and rounds refer to.
  • What rules dictate the course design.
  • How athletes advance in a head to head tournament.