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Savage Race CEO Spotlight

Savage Race CEO Spotlight


You are standing atop an enormous 43-foot-tall obstacle. You have climbed your way up the 16-foot quarter pipe ramp and are about to descend by way of a free fall water slide. The warm Florida sunshine beams down on you as you hold your breath, throw your hands up, and plunge into the cool water below. This is Colossus – one of the most iconic, challenging, and epic obstacles at the Florida Savage Race. Here, you have run, crawled through mud, and are in the midst of conquering the world’s best obstacles. You are here to push your limits and have fun doing it. You are here to realize your own strength and bond with your community, to inspire and be inspired. You are here to create a lifelong memory. This is Savage Race.

Savage Race is a nationwide obstacle course race series founded in central Florida and now headquartered in Gainesville. The series hosts over a dozen events annually, two of which are held in nearby Pasco County.

Sam Abbitt, a Gainesville native and Buchholtz High School graduate, and Lloyd Parker, a 10- year Gainesville resident, founded Savage Race in 2011. Together, with Sam’s University of Florida MBA and education in Building Construction, he and Lloyd have created and grown Savage Race to become one of the largest players in the obstacle course racing industry.

In 2019, Savage Race produced 14 events throughout the country and hosted over 100,000 runners and spectators. And while Savage Race is impressive in its immense size and national reach, what is equally if not more notable is that each Savage event has an individual feeling of community engagement. As the birthplace of Savage Race, the two annual Florida events especially, hold a prized place in Savage hearts and a feeling of “home” for those who attend.

“Savage Race events happen all over the country”, says Abbitt, “though we all work from home offices when we aren’t at events, so all Savage Race employees can really live anywhere in the United States. My wife and I chose to relocate back to Gainesville three years ago so that we could raise our children closer to where their grandparents are.”

These Gainesville roots and community focused values are just one of the many things that set Savage Race apart. In addition to the core value of community, Savage Race founders prove that teamwork is also an integral part of hosting and participating in any Savage Race. Participants can attest that when you go to a race, you will undoubtedly see founders Sam and Lloyd there getting their hands dirty working on the course with smiling faces, greeting attendees.

“We are very customer centered”, says Abbitt. “More than anything, we want to ensure that everyone who shows up to our events creates a memory that they will cherish forever, and we try to exceed expectations every time. The focus is to create an environment where our customers have fun with their friends, use teamwork, and challenge themselves while out on the course.”

Abbitt and his team also lead by example by frequently taking on their own courses. “There is no better feeling than to conquer an obstacle for the first time”, says Abbitt. “Last year I completed Sawtooth, a giant set of ascending and descending monkey bars over a water pit. I have attempted this obstacle many times over the past ten years, but I always failed and splashed down into the water. Finally getting over that obstacle was a huge rush.”

To further demonstrate their commitment to excellence, Savage Race has continued to conquer obstacles on and off their race course, even in these unprecedented times.

Abbitt shares, “We were on track to have our best year ever back in February 2020, but then the pandemic came along and forced us to postpone nine events. We then spent several months designing a new way to safely operate events during the pandemic, which included offering an online challenge called Savage Anywhere. Most importantly, we were able to start our events back up, and had our first event of 2020 in Spring Grove, Illinois in July 2020. To make sure our events are safe, we had to change a lot of things about how we run events during the pandemic. Some of these changes include having less participants to allow for social distancing, screening tests at the front gate, a limit on the amount of people going out on the course every 5 minutes, and we had hand sanitizer available everywhere. Despite all of these changes, the feedback we’ve received from our customers let us know that the events we are doing now are just as fun as they were before and that the race course experience was not diminished at all.”

Ultimately, the mission of Savage Race is to enable you to have the most exciting day of your life – period. And from my years of racing experience, I can attest that Savage has proven time and time again to do just that before and during this pandemic.

See Also

Offering multiple race distances, Savage Race is an obstacle course race suitable for anyone and everyone looking to challenge themselves and have fun at the same time. Participants can test themselves on the 6 mile “Race” or the 3 mile “Blitz” course, and kids 12 and under can participate in a modified “Savage Junior” course. The Race and Blitz courses each feature obstacles designed to challenge participants mentally and physically, as well as create camaraderie amongst racers.

Are you ready to create a lifelong memory? Bring a friend, a team, or join individually and meet your race family on the course.

Here in Florida you can conquer a Savage Race yourself on Nov. 14 and 15, 2020, again in 2021 on March 13 and 14, and Nov. 13 and 14.

To register and find additional information, visit Savage Race’s website,

Savages, see you on the course!

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