“I’m a competitor all around and I think both experiences filled a void in my soul.”
When I was in LA for the December Sprint I was chatting with the infamous Dustin Dorough when Hunter McIntyre walked up. I couldn’t help but ask him about the show that he had just gotten back from filming. NBC is the parent company that he is working with for this show. The air date is still up in the air, but it will be on the Esquire Channel. It is a reality show about a group of individuals that are traveling all over the world to compete in various endurance races. During Hunter McIntyre interview he told me this crazy story about when he was in Greenland and had to do a cross-country ski competition, but he had never even cross-country skied before. He was flying down the mountain and he was doing everything he could just to stay up and as long as he kept the skies in the tracks already in the snow, he was fine. Right as soon as he reached all the cameras filming him flying down the mountain; he tumbled head over heels and crashed. He broke both skies and because it was so cold out the only thing he could do was run as fast as he could down the mountain in order to prevent himself from freezing.
I can’t wait to see this show.
What has intrigued me the most is all the new shows coming out that involve obstacle course racing. There is the Spartan Race on NBCSN. The new show is being put on by the producers of America Ninja Warrior. The reality show Hunter just finished filming and then Battlefrog is piloting their own reality show that Ed Sanders is the host. Last but not least there is the Broken Skull Challenge. He was on this year’s season premiere. Not sure how all of this will affect obstacle racing, but, once television takes hold of anything, who knows what’s going to happen? The craziest part…. Hunter is in almost all of those shows. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes an appearance in the Battlefrog show at some point, if or when it’s picked up. Right now, they are just filming the pilot. If you didn’t already know Hunter you will soon enough. Will he be the first big mainstream star to come from obstacle racing? Highly likely.
WOR: You mentioned to me not too long ago that you need to show that you take obstacle racing seriously. How have you gone about doing that?
Hunter: Reality is, I took a year off so…when you don’t race or have a couple of good races people forget about you. I had to kind of get back to my roots and just throwdown hardcore. I was on a hiatus. I was taking a break and decided to host a home cooking television show and it just wasn’t working out.
WOR: So the television show that you just finished filming, the endurance races, what were some of the races you did?
Hunter: I did multiple day cross country ski races, biked across the French Alps, ran across the driest desert in the world, doing tons of multi-sport events that involved kayaking, swimming, running, and rock climbing. The whole show is about finding the hardest races in the world and testing men’s and women’s mental capabilities in these incredible events. It was an amazing experience. What really added to this was becoming an entirely different person in such a short period of time and reconfiguring who I was surviving these events. Not only did I have to survive them, but I had to compete. If you were on my team and then hosting a television show with world-class athletes so….it was definitely a ride but very challenging.
WOR: Were you involved with the new show NBC is working on with the Ninja Warrior producers? What was that show like in comparison with the other one?
Hunter: The other show is all about travel and extreme endurance. It’s the full package. I’m going to the most spectacular places in the world and we’re going to tell the story of that town and that race and what inspired the people to create this race and the whole history behind the event. The Spartan event was kind of more like a backyard throwdown. It’s just like what you see in American Ninja Warrior there is no real story to it. You just get out there and throw down and the best man wins.
WOR: That sounds incredible.
Hunter: I’m a competitor all around and I think both experiences filled a void in my soul.
WOR: I think obstacle racing has done that with many people.
This sport gives so much attention to the “average” person, per se, who wouldn’t normally be the focus of an athletic event. Do you think that these shows will change that?
Hunter: I think we all are average people. It’s just a point in your life when you decide to take yourself from being the average person in your own mind and make yourself a champion or something greater than what you think you are capable of. I think that should be portrayed in both of these shows because I think it’s really incredible what I accomplished. With having to transform my life even though I might be considered a champion in one circle, I’m a total nobody in another. Then in the Spartan Race t.v. show you are competing with people who have no real history of competition and they are having to overcome such great barriers in competition and such incredible obstacles in their past that are nearly impossible mentally and physically to achieve. You know, you just got to make that own step in your life before you get out there on the field.
I hope I answered that right.
WOR: That was a very poignant statement.
Can you tell us a little bit about the new training program that you have released?
Hunter: My friend Ben Greenfield and myself came up with a program called Obstacle Dominator. It’s a cheesy name but serves a purpose. What we do is focus on trying to create a base-level program that anybody can get off the couch and just try to go accomplish a race of any distance whether it be a 5k to a 15 miler. It’s exciting stuff.
WOR: How does it feel to have some of your toughest competitors in the Master’s division?
Hunter: I don’t think age is too much of a factor on our competition level. Honestly, you continue to get better and stronger and more efficient at the things you are doing and that experience comes through the years. I have only gotten better since I started and the reality is… there is eventually a tipping point, but I don’t think any of my competitors have really reached it yet. Matt Novakovich probably has another good couple of years before he kicks the bucket and then the rest of the guys have a good 5 to 8 years left in them. The other guys are in the middle of the pack and are in their thirties so….I’m looking forward to hitting that age because I will be ten times the athlete I am now and I respect them for what they do and what they have faced. They have kids and jobs and they are still going for the same things I am going after and I’m ten years younger than them. Pretty badass altogether.
WOR: I recently did a piece with Robert Coble about the rules and regulations of the sport. I have heard from a few people on the topic and would like to know what your thoughts are on the direction of obstacle racing in regard to the rules.
Hunter: I think the reality is our sport is very raw and I don’t think anyone treats our sport professionally. The guys talk about wanting to go to the Olympics, but there is nothing about our sport that would ever be able to make it into the Olympics and they know that. I think they talk about it because it gets talked about in the newspapers and gets them more sales. I’m a competitor and I see people cheating all the time. I realize that the pillar of the sport should be the competition side and having a really solid foundation of rules, but we don’t have that. The burpees are the biggest sham of the whole entire sport. If they are going to be there they should be done properly. There is just a very flawed system, but I am going to keep on running my ass off until we see those changes.
Hunter McIntyre could probably be a household name if he keeps doing what he is doing. From cooking shows to endurance racing to the world traveler. Most only dream of these opportunities, but he’s living them. Regardless of his perceived “ego”, this is a hard-working man and honestly, he should flaunt a bit. Filming, hosting, and racing all at once takes extreme stamina and determination. He told me that in one day of filming he would have to wake up, work out, film for 10-14 hours and repeat the next day. That’s impressive. I’d be crawling out of bed crying for coffee.