Ian Adamson Adventure & Obstacle Sports Expert

Ian Adamson, Adventure & Obstacle Sports Expert

Ian Adamson is an expert in sports and recreation, specializing in zip lines, obstacle courses, obstacle races, and adventure sport events, including those produced for television. He is President of World Obstacle, the Fédération Internationale de Sports d'Obstacles (FISO), the world governing body for Ninja Competitions, Obstacle Course Racing (OCR), and Adventure Racing. Ian has been active in international sport since 1989, including as a professional athlete from 1995 to 2007 with Salomon and Nike.

As a Mechanical Engineer with a master's degree in Sports Medicine, Ian has applied his technical expertise to develop the standards and best practices relevant to obstacle courses and events worldwide. This includes safety standards and medical guidelines as a member of the Land Based Obstacles working group and the Aerial Adventure Courses working group of ASTM International Committee F24 Amusement Rides and Devices. He also authored and leads the global program for OCR Coach Certification and is an advisor on event formats and obstacles for international multi-sport competitions.

In addition to his work with FISO governing and guiding the policies of member federations in 105 countries, Ian has been designing and building zip line systems around the world since 1999 for sporting events and commercial parks. This includes engineering design, operational standards, operator training, and oversight of the Margarita Adventures Zip Line system, the first facility of its kind to be certified under California State Regulations.

Ian has worked as an advisor, producer, and director on athletic competitions and adventure television shows including The Raft, Million Dollar Mile, Primal Quest, Outdoor Quest Multisport World Championships, American Tarzan, World Adventure Rafting Championships, OCR European Championships, OCR Asian Championships, and the South East Asia Games (under the Olympic Council of Asia and the IOC).

Ian has competed in hundreds of events around the world in cycling, sailing, triathlon, canoe, kayak, and rafting. He is a seven time adventure race world champion and age group world champion in Biathle and Triathle (Olympic Pentathlon events) and Ninja OCR world record holder. Ian also has Guinness World Records for Endurance Kayaking, fitness, and obstacle course racing from 1997 to 2022; and won Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals at the ESPN X-Games. He holds patents for running shoes and medical devices.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc.


2019 to present

Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony toward the resolution of commercial and personal injury litigation involving zip lines, zip line parks, ropes courses, obstacle courses, obstacle course races, athletic events and failure analysis.

World Obstacle, the Federation Internationale de Sports d’Obstacles


2014 to present

International governing body for Obstacle Sports including Ninja Warrior, Obstacle Course Racing and Adventure Racing: National member federations representing 105 countries and 30M people. Executive management of national, continental and world level events including races at international multi-sport games.

Healthy Running, Inc.

President and CEO

2014 to 2016

Continuing education credit provider for physicians, medical and fitness professionals worldwide.

Newton Running Company

Director of Product, Medical and Education

2007 to 2014

Director of research, development, medical and education, including mechanical testing and clinical studies. Created a continuing education program addressing running efficiency and injury prevention across 26 countries.

International Management Group (IMG)


1999 to 2011

Race direction, course design, technical director of multi-day multi-sport events in Asia and Pacific regions.

Consultant at Nike, Salomon, GoLite

Professional Athlete

1997 to 2007

Product tester and design consultant for athletic and outdoor equipment including running shoes, apparel, back packs, tents, sleeping bags; paddling, climbing, mountaineering, desert and winter wear.

Racing the Planet Limited

Race Director

2003 to 2005

7-day desert foot races in Chile, China and Egypt. Supervising producer coordinating television documentaries.

Corporate Adventure Training

COO, VP Training

1998 to 2003

Operation responsibilities plus design and direct corporate speaking and training events for businesses including Microsoft, Starbucks, Lucent Technologies, Young Presidents Organization, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and BMW.

Reflex Medical Products, Inc.

COO, VP Engineering

1994 to 1998

Design, manufacture and sales of CPR training products and systems.

Telectronics Pacing Systems, Inc.

Project Manager

1998 to 1997

Engineering designer, product line manager, senior project manager. Implantable cardiac pacemaker leads division project manager.


M.S., Sports Medicine, Chapman University, 1997
B.S., Mechanical Engineer, Honors, University of Sydney, Australia, 1989

Professional Memberships

  • Association for Challenge Course Technology
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • ASTM International, member
    • Committee F24.61 Working Group on Standard Practice for Aerial Adventure Courses
    • Committee F24.61 Task Group on Land Based Obstacle Courses
  • Professional Ropes Course Association
  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • National Ninja Association, Chairman


  • CPR Training Manikin, patent date issued Jun 13, 1995, US5423685A
  • Shoe sole, patent date Issued Jan 28, 2014, USD698134S1
  • Self-locking implantable stimulating lead connector, patent date issued October 12, 1993, US5252090A


Runner’s World Guide to Adventure Racing: How to Become a Successful Racer and Adventure Athlete, ISBN 1-57954-836-9

v. 06/13/24

Related Resources

See All of Ian's Published Content

Zip Line Injuries, Risks, and Safety

By Ian Adamson
Expert Article

In this article, Adventure & Obstacle Sports Expert, Ian Adamson, details the design, construction, operations, inspection, and maintenance of zip lines and their components, as well as common…

Obstacle Course Design, Construction, and Maintenance

By Ian Adamson
Expert Article

Recent years have found an increased demand for obstacle course races and “ninja warrior” style training and events at gyms and athletic facilities. World OCR, the international governing…

Amusement Investigations: Trampolines, Zip Lines, Inflatables and Amusement Rides

Thursday, July 30, 2020
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Featuring Lance Miller, Ian Adamson
Video Webinar

In this webinar video, experts from our Amusement practice provide an overview of 4 types of amusement equipment that are frequently the subject of investigation. These specialized experts discuss the…