I was supposed to be here in Oregonia, Ohio to help with THE race (you know that race – the first ever OCR World Championships). I arrived Thursday night only to realize that I had gotten soft. After moving to Florida six months ago I found myself freezing in the night temps in the 30’s here (close to zero for your foreign folk). My throat started getting itchy (in line with my go to race excuse – I’m sick). I spent Friday in bed when I should have been doing my share of helping. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to do the race on Saturday. Boy, am I sure glad I did!!!
I found myself feeling down about myself cause I was fighting the onset of a bug and not really feeling the passion for the sport or my business anymore. It didn’t help seeing banners for my competitor, who’s been killing it lately, plastered everywhere.
My mood started to change at the athlete press conference and the dinner that followed. I had gone into this thinking my friend’s race was just another race set up to capitalize on the popularity sport. But he had made it happen. He brought the best racers of the world in our relatively new sport to compete in one event to define a true champion.
The OCR World Championships also got various races series working together to feed the athlete pool (through qualifying races) and by supplying various signature obstacles. This cooperation has been for the most part unheard of until now.
There they were, a room full of hundreds of the best obstacle course racers from around the whole world sitting next to each other in one room.
Before dinner I finally ran into my Mud and Adventure Dutch counterpart who I had talked to on Facebook but never met (he runs a similar site for OCR fanatics in Holland).
Someone came up to me at dinner, “hey man can I speak to you for a second.” What I had I done now I thought? “I just want to thank you. If it wasn’t for you [Mud and Adventure], I wouldn’t be here.” I still doubt that but it wasn’t until I was retelling this exchange today after the race to Chad Mason, a fellow Marine and director of ABF Mud Run, did it really hit me and my eyes may have gotten a little soggy.
The weekend, the general atmosphere of the event, it was like a reunion of the who’s who of best in OCR as well as the sport’s biggest fans – all in one random town in Ohio.
My heat / age group was set to go off at 9:20. At 8:54 after being awake for only 20 minutes (and 54 minutes after the elites had already started) I decided I would regret not running this race. Best decision ever. Pinned my bib to my shirt, and made it from the onsite cabin to race start by 9:19.
Friggin loved it! It was all up or down – with lots of steep climbs and descents – my favorite kind of course. Nothing seemed over the top dangerous. Never got lost. Tons of obstacles (57) – many of which were very taxing (i.e. the Weaver and the Platinum Rig) but ultimately doable. I now understand the high praise everyone has always doles out the Mud Guts and Glory course upon which the OCR World Championships course is built on top of (and added to).
I did receive a boost from a guy on the sternum checker. This dude took the time to turn back on the course and help me. That would have never happened in a competitive heat in a Spartan Race.
I only saw one gel wrapper on the ground throughout the entire nine mile course.
Obstacles were mandatory completion. No burpee obstacle penalties. F@#k Burpees. You got as many tries as you wanted. If you couldn’t complete an obstacle you could choose to have your bracelet cut off and removed and continue on the course for a medal but not be in contention for prize money or standings. As many people got caught up in the Rig or Weaver obstacles I am equally as proud of my intact green bracelet still on my wrist as I am of my finisher’s medal.
Separate heats for elites, age groupers and journey men with results displayed for each wave and overall. I came in 22nd in my age group and had the 74th fasted time overall.
Teams go off as two by two relays. The first two team members do a lap of the 9 mile course. When the first two finish the second two teammates can go and do their lap. The lowest combined time for each four person squad wins. Looking forward to doing this all over again and finally representing Mud and Adventure as part of a team.
The volunteers were all super friendly, knowledgeable of the rules and supportive. They stayed cheerful and motivating as the day progressed. Really impressed there.
The number of water stations was just right. There was only one stretch where the intervals could have been spaced a little closer. It would have been nice to see some kind of gel or carb packs offered at the stations.
The Venue Area
While I wish there would have been a lot more vendors, you really couldn’t ask for much more than what was provided. You had a nice clean lawn with close access to viewing of the finish, the start and many of the obstacles (including the 200ft slide) and a an ideal, and much to my delight, warmer, sunny afternoon. The sense of community was strong as everyone stuck around to wait for their favorite countrymen to receive their awards or cheer on the journeymen division finishers as they trickled in through the finish. There could have been more porto potties on hand.
Parking was reasonably close (1/4 mile away) with shuttle service and was $10 per car (which went to the venue).
The medal is well thought out and has a nice size weight to it. This one won’t end up on Ebay. Finishers also received a nice green colored finisher’s shirt. While the shirt looks great a tech shirt of the same design to train in would have been perfect.
Walking back up the to cottages after the race I spotted a car with a Mud and Adventure sticker on the back window. Totally made for the cherry on top of the cake for the day. Turns out the car belongs to my teammate Heather Cammarata who happened to have won her age division today. No surprise there.
I am excited to give it my all tomorrow and run along side my teammates in the team competition. Obviously I have found joy in obstacle racing again.
Overal Rating 4.5 stars
All in all, my hats off to the race organizer, Adrian Bijanada, for pulling this inaugural event off! I would have liked to have seen the OCR World Championships on a bigger scale – bigger festival area, more on site accommodations (thinking athlete village) but that can come as the sport grows and those of us that made it out here can look back on this historic event and say remember when.. In the end, everyone that should have been here was here, making this a true championship event. The race, course, obstacles and competition was pulled off flawlessly. While I would love to see this event somewhere else (just thinking internationally), I will gladly come back next year.