Last year Jesse Bruce, co-founder of Alpha Obstacle Training, launched a series of obstacle races, Alpha OCR Series, to help members of the gym and Toronto OCR enthusiasts prepare and train for races, unfortunately many of the races in the series coincided with the race schedule already in full swing so this year Jesse planned the series calendar around the very busy Canadian/US OCR schedule and holding the first race of the series before the season officially begins up here, rightfully naming it the Season Opener.
Weeks and days leading up to the race there was much anticipation with the daily release of sponsor details, special appearances, giveaways, prizes and hints about new obstacles being unveiled on race day. This season opener quickly became THE race to attend if you were in town that weekend.
Race day I arrived at Alpha early and ready to go. Registration tables and pre-race festivities were taking place inside the gym. There were two sign in tables to register or check in and to get your race numbers. It’s always a very casual relaxed race setting so it was nice to have time to say hello to everyone. Once it was time to get things going we were directed to the soccer dome where, like every Alpha race, we started with a team huddle where Jesse hyped us all up with the We are Alpha pep talk that led us into the approx. 30 minute warm up session. The session was led by Jesse but shared amongst some other Alpha trainers who took turns taking us through various heart pumping, leg warming, arm throbbing exercises. Once the warm up was finished we headed outside towards the Alpha parking lot where the starting line is and where the 100+ registered participants lined up and waited for the race to begin.
I stood there, at the back of the starting line crowd with my friend Pamela who had made a last minute decision to register for this race. We were both excited to start and Pamela, who is legally blind, didn’t know what to expect as it was her first time at any Alpha event (but not new to the OCR scene) and usually requires a running guide so I had decided at this point to run the race with her.
Within minutes we were off on the 6km+ run that took us on some scenic running by the lake and towards the short trail. The first obstacle we came across was a wooden block carry where we had to carry two blocks around a short distance and back. We dropped the wooden blocks and headed towards the rest of the trail where we came across a few more carrying obstacles which included a water bucket carry, a cinder block carry, a rock carry and onto some Equalizer Dip Parallette Bars, a short run and power jumps in the sand from one pylon to another on Cherry Beach, a smaller version of Jerry Can carry (different sizes for men and women) around a sand trail followed by more running, this time towards Alpha.
First obstacle outside Alpha territory was the traverse wall followed by a few obstacles provided by our friends at Polar Rush (http://polarrush.ca/), running around the corner and overlooking the waterfront and city skyline we came upon the newest and highly anticipated obstacles including the crazy Warp Wall provided by Platinum Rig (http://www.platinumrig.ca/), Tip of the Spear, reverse wall and a series of over unders, monkey bars, cargo net and rope climb. Around the corner we passed the tire drill that led to the sandbox (outside volleyball court) where we had to complete several obstacles in the sand. This included the sandbag carry, tire carry, barb wire crawl, cinder block pull and sledge hammer exercise leading us to the finally stretch of the race, a wall and crossing the finish line where you were high five’d by the Finish Line Course Marshall who took your # and marked your time down.
Once the race was over and the last racer crossed the finish line we gathered back inside Alpha where a Rig competition was taking place, Myodetox therapy had a line up of racers in need of a quick session to help relieve sore muscles and all the competitors were cleaning up and replenishing before heading out to the after party at Boston Pizza where awards to the top finishers would be handed out and prizes, raffles and food would be in abundance.
This race definitely held up to the hype. It kicked my butt and many others and left us looking forward to the next and second race of the series, April 25th, to get revenge on some obstacles and find redemption! All in all it was a great kick off to the season and a great race held by Alpha Obstacle Training staying true to their sense of community and “no matter what level you are at, you are part of something bigger than fitness” vision!
If you find yourself in the Toronto area make sure to check AlphaOT out and register for one of the Alpha OCR Series races.
Now get out there and get dirty!
The 2015 Alpha OCR Series is a series of 9, 6km+ races with over 35 obstacles, starting April 11, 2015 and ending with the Alpha OCR Series Championship on October 10th.
If at any point throughout the race you skipped or couldn’t complete an obstacle you were given a coloured elastic band which meant you had to perform a series of sled carries depending on how many bands you had before being able to complete the final wall climb and cross the finish line. I received 3 bands since I couldn’t complete certain obstacles due to my injury recovery.
FESTIVAL AREA: The festival area was held inside the gym with booths set up by Eastern Canada Spartan Race (http://spartanrace.ca/) who made the trip to Toronto and provided free Spartan shirts to each participant, KIND and KT Tape who were there giving away free sample products as well as The Element Games team (http://www.theelementgames.com/) providing information and discounts to their event and the Myodetox team (http://www.mvmtclinic.co/about/) who provided much needed therapy for all participants after the race, as well as Vega who helped fuel and replenish all athletes.
PRIZES AND GIVEAWAYS:
Provided by Lululemon Athletica, raffle for prizes such as Toronto Blue Jays home opener tickets were donated meanwhile Boston Pizza Beaches sponsored an obstacle and hosted our after party where prizes were awarded.
Provided by Patrick Moher at Redflixx
Alpha Obstacle Training is in the heart of downtown Toronto near the waterfront. This place has become the hub for Toronto obstacle racers where classes, training and races are run by Jesse Bruce and his team and where you can catch elite racers such Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster training on any given day.