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Featured Review: OCR World Championships 2016

Big thanks to Josh Chace, co-host of The NE Spahtens Show, for our 2016 Featured Review of the OCR World Championships!

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It would be incredibly difficult to cover every aspect of the OCR World Championships in one review. I’m going to give it my best shot but I can almost guarantee I am going to miss something. If you can’t get enough of this event like me, or you want to hear more reasons about why you should go in 2017, here’s a few shows you can listen to all with great content:

NE Spahtens Show Podcast:
Episode 17: Adrian Bijanada intro
Episode 19: OCRWC Preview Show
Episode 20: OCRWC Post Event Review
Episode 21: Adrian Bijanada Post OCRWC Interview

This is now the 3rd year that Adrian Bijanada and team have hosted the OCRCW and their first year doing an event outside the US. After two years in rural Ohio, the OCR Worlds headed north. This year’s event was held in the Blue Mountains in Ontario, which was a spectacular location for a prestigious event such as this.

Venue:
The Blue Mountains had everything this event needs to be successful. Amazing accommodations in the form of on-site hotel rooms, chalets for teams to rent, AirBnB’s, and plentiful on-site parking. Restaurants, shops, and more all within the venue made for a great atmosphere before during and after the races. You were constantly running into athletes that you were lined up next to earlier in the day. I can’t say enough good things about where this event was hosted.

Race Options:
Unique to this year’s event, Adrian and team offered FOUR different races you could choose from:

3K Short Course – a fast and fun sprint style course packed with over a dozen amazing obstacles which allowed runners to test their speed and agility while spectators got to catch them at almost every turn.

15K Full Course – The one for all the marbles. A 9+ mile races that carefully balanced challenging climbs with fast runnable terrain, while challenging racers with almost 50 unique obstacles, built in partnership with races like Savage Race, Dead End Race, Indian Mud Run, Warrior Dash and more. This event is like no other and that’s proven year after year by the legions of international athletes that show up.

Team Relay – a 3-person team event broken into sections including: Speed, Strength and Agility. Having never done a relay event before I really enjoyed the camaraderie and challenge of this event. Running not only for yourself but for your teammates adds a whole new dynamic to obstacle course racing. I’ll be sure to do this one again.

Make-A-Wish Charity Run – Not to exclude anyone, Adrian and team offered an “open course” to anyone who participated in the Make-A-Wish wave. This was a “fun run” where we took back out to the Relay course and had the pleasure to race alongside Ryan Atkins and Suunto, Lindsay Webster and other elite athletes all while having fun on the obstacles and enjoying some great international conversation, as opposed to suffering through the event.

All in all it was a grand slam selection of races put on by the OCRWC team. Four totally different events over the course of three days and they went off with only a few small hiccups. An amazing feat if you think about what goes in to changing these courses overnight.

Swag:
It doesn’t get any better than this, folks. There isn’t a race out there that gives you swag like the OCRWC. The medals are amazing. And they had a unique one for each event you did. You got finisher shirts for each event, and a Make-A-Wish exclusive shirt that I absolutely love.

One thing that I really loved that Adrian and team did that I loved and can’t speak highly enough about – each competing athlete got an Athlete Badge, which gave you exclusive access to a private staging area where you could get ready for your race. Think of those Olympics athletes you see before their competitions, hanging out together before being artfully paraded to their starting corral. It truly made each athlete feel like they were on the world’s stage. It also gave you unfettered access to the gondola should you want to preview what was in store for you in the races ahead. We were also given bands that you only got to keep if you conquered all the obstacles on the course that day. To hear more about these, a huge topic of conversation, check out the podcasts linked earlier in the article.

The purchasable swag for OCRWC is amazing as well. They have some great shirts, hoodies, and more. I grabbed an OCRWC buff, a poster (which includes the names of EVERY racer on it) and some Mud Gear socks, which stood up well to all four events last weekend.

Summary:
There’s nothing like this event. It’s an amazing experience all around ‘ I can’t say that enough. As a fan of the sport, I love that I get to see some of my favorite athletes at their best. And as a competitor, I get to experience the challenge of obstacles that you don’t see anywhere else. This truly is the OBSTACLE course racing world championships. You do not want to miss any part of this event. If you’re a runner, you owe it to yourself to be here. If you’re just a spectator or a fan of the sport, there is no better way to experience it.

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