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Playing in the Mud – Be a Champion

Let’s be blunt here. I am not a great obstacle course racer. I know what my many limitations are and they are numerous. I cannot do a rig, or rings, or get over walls 9 feet or more, I have hit a spear throw once in my life and I believe I have completed two monkey bars ever. I had to put a rope in my backyard to learn to climb it and have completed it on a wet course once.

What does this mean? This means that my jealous side hates most of you that can all of those things. Also, because of some restrictions in my life’s schedule I know I can never go to the US OCR Championships or the OCR World Championships. I can barely get to most races in the New York area where I live. I guess that makes it good that I will never qualify for the “World’s,” so I don’t feel too bad about myself. Oh, don’t tell me that I can go as a Journeyman. I know that, but I am talking getting that email that all of you post on Facebook saying “QUALIFIER”. (The following statement is mine only and should apply to anyone else) In my head, going to the World’s as a Journeyman instead of qualifying is like saying that you “ended” up at Denny’s as opposed to “going” to Denny’s. (For those not in the United States, do a Google search for Denny’s and you’ll understand). It is also like being that guy who gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame because you had a long career and not because he did deserve it. Maybe because I am sloth-like and I cannot complete obstacles, I feel this way. I want to go. I wish I could go. Even if I could just feel the camaraderie and atmosphere, I know it would be worth it. I could tell everyone about OCR Buddy. I could hang out. I can make new friends. I heard how amazing it is and although I wish I could go and I continue to hate all of you for going,

So, I have this defense mechanism so it never truly bothers me. It slides away and falls into the back of my brain like those dreams of winning the lottery.

It doesn’t really bother me because I know my limits and abilities. Races such as a Tough Mudder or a Spartan Beast are my World’s. Everyone needs to your own goals and aim for them. Just because you are not on a pro team, on television, at the World’s or on a podium you are no less of a person or a racer. I think it takes someone special to do the things that are hard as opposed to easy. What is hard to you? Finishing on the podium? Qualifying? Finishing at all? Whatever is hard to you will make each and every event worth it to YOU!

I see people post photos of their medals and I look at the few that I get every year and realize that I did accomplish a lot for my abilities. I am a 46-year-old, former 300 pounder, twenty-two years removed form heart surgery, with a bad back (multiple herniated discs) and a shoulder that I pray survives every workout. Awesome, huh? I get out there and I treat each and every race like my World’s, whether it is an inflatable race, a 5k, a 10 mile or a 17-mile race on a mountain in Vermont.

So tomorrow I will train in my way, alone with my iPod playing my KISS songs and other rock that has inspired me. I know that no matter what I do, I will see my friends in Killington and I will attack the Spartan Beast and know after I finish that race, that I am a champion.

I hope my thoughts haven’t offended anyone. Just know that my hate for you is just jealousy because I wish I could accomplish what you can. I wish I could run the races that you run. I wish I could have the physical abilities that you have. Instead, I am a Ginger, I can steal your soul if I please and I am damn proud of the person I am.

My hope for all of you reading this is that you realize that you are a champion no matter what course you attempt because you are a champion of life. You have accomplished amazing things. Your life and your story is epic and no matter what you do from here through eternity…you ARE A CHAMPION to me.

Ask yourself, am I a champion? If the answer is not yes, make a plan, attack it and train for it. Life will give you it’s own version of monkey bars, walls, spear throws and rigs and you will face these obstacles like you do the ones on a race course. The only difference is that once you succeed in life, there is no obstacle that can ever stop you or slow you down. Be a champion. Stay a champion. Qualify for your “World’s” and do not ever let anyone push you down, keep you down or get in your way.

 

Until we meet again, be epic and as always, keep playing in the mud.

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OCRWC, 2017 – Blue Mountains, Canada

It’s back.

October 13th through 15th – 2017.

The OCRWC team held a small Q&A, and several pending questions were answered – this is what we know:

  • This is intended to be the last North American venue for a few years.
  • Qualification standards will be announced – but you can register today without qualifying, and spend a year working on that.
  • Spartan Race Open waves will have their qualification standards adjusted (not removed entirely), but not every region and country has a Competitive wave – how to qualify can be found right here http://ocrworldchampionships.com/how-to-qualify/.
  • Every finisher will get a medal – even if you stand on a podium (no more socks for Age Group winners!).
  • The race options (3k, 15k, Team and Charity) will remain, as will the format of Elites going last on the 3k!
  • New band colors for all four options.

The New England Spahtens were well represented in 2016 – lets make an even bigger impact on the international stage in 2017!

OCRWC team photo

The 2017 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships will return to Blue Mountain Resort, one of the largest mountain resorts in Ontario, Canada for a second year of international competition. In its fourth year, the OCRWC has grown significantly since its inaugural race in 2014 with the 2016 event attractive over 3,000 athletes spanning 44 countries. The 2017 competition will be held October 13-15 and will again be produced by Adventurey, LLC in partnership with Canadian-based event sports production company, 365 Sports.

Press Release:

“We are thrilled to be back at Blue where we hope to build off the success of the 2016 event,” said OCRWC CEO & Founder Adrian Bijanada. “Our team is particularly excited to deliver and even more athlete-focused experience, while taking our courses and obstacles to the next level. This the perfect North American send off for the event as we look to bring it overseas in future years.”

“We are excited about the return of the OCR World Championships to Blue Mountain, and proud to be the production partner again for this amazing event,” said Jess Fulton, President and Founder 365 Sports Inc. “The friends we have garnered over the last year and the OCR community is hands down one of the best sports and industries we have worked within. We are just getting warmed up here and are committed to always improving the athlete experience and quality of our events year after year.”

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The NE Spahtens Show – Episode 20 – The OCR World Championship special

nespahtensshowsquare2In this very special recording – Paul, Josh and Sandy record in one place at the same time, and talk about the OCR World Championships. We’re recording together on Sunday evening after 4 races over 3 days – and we’re happily interrupted by Rachelanne, the athlete co-ordinator (and best hugger) of the weekend!

We talk about why OCRWC is a MUST do event for any OCR enthusiast – and why you should be there in 2017.

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The NE Spahtens Show – Episode Nineteen

Take a listen as Paul, Josh and Sandy cover the past couple of weeks of New England OCR – talking about Rugged Maniacs return to Southwick, MA for the *7th* year in a row – why O2X is more than “just a trail race” and a special long segment discussing the upcoming OCR World Championships in Canada!

We also take listener questions from Chris, Greg and Rob – thanks guys!

Don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher, and leave us a review so others can find the show later! We also launched a dedicated Facebook page for the show, to track everything in one place – hit Like!

https://www.facebook.com/thenespahtensshow/

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Episode 17: Adrian Bijanada

In this episode, Paul talks to Adrian, the man behind both OCR Gear and OCR World Championships. We discuss what kind of mindset you have to have to launch a world championship event with literally no experience, and all the fun and games associated with it.

We also get some sneak peaks into the course they’re building in Toronto for us in a few weeks, and what happens next.
If you enjoyed this show, please subscribe to the New England Spahtens podcast – you can find us in iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean – or over on nespahtens.com. Drop us a comment or leave us a review so we know you’re out there, and if oyu have any questions for The NE Spahtens Show, let myself, Josh or Sandy know!

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The NE Spahtens Show – Episode 4

In our fourth episode of the NE Spahtens Show – Paul, Josh and Sandy talk about the recent 2016 Citi Field and it’s success, Battlefrog and their lack of success, new Worlds Toughest Mudder rules and dig into the OCR World Championship Journeyman division.

We also answer a couple of excellent listener questions!

Subscribe to NE Spahtens on iTunes or Stitcher to get podcasts delivered right to your mobile device!

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OCR World Championship – 2016 venue and date!

You may have heard of this little event, the OCR World Championships.

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Check out our reviews of 2014 and 2015 here … take your time, read them all.

Now, get your passport application in – because in 2016, they’re moving to Canada and in pretty awesome news for the New England Spahten community, it’ll be even closer than in previous years.

2016, the OCR World Championships will be at the Blue Mountain Resort, Ottowa, Canada – about 90 minutes north of Toronto, and roughly a ten hour drive from Boston!

The date – October 15th and 16th again.

Check it out

http://ocrworldchampionships.com/blue-mountain-resort-selected-as-site-of-the-2016-obstacle-course-racing-world-championships

Why is this awesome?

The venue is an easy drive for us. Even easier than the past two years!

Unlike 2014 and 2015, there will be plenty of things to do in the region for families, and during down time. This is a huge resort, with shopping, restaurants and more!

This event is, in my view, *the* World Championship event. If you qualify, you should be there. If you want to experience and international OCR scene like no other, you should be there. If you consider yourself an OCR enthusiast, you should be there. How do you qualify?

I’ll be there, with Beth and mini in tow 🙂

http://ocrworldchampionships.com/travel

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Featured Review: OCR World Championships 2015

Here we go again. This is another post where I tell you all about another awesome race, that you should go to, and spend a lot of money on, and you can all yell at me for it later.

Except, this one is different.

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For the unaware – OCR World Championship is a “brand independent” world championship event. This was it’s second year, and it was held in Ohio – although rumor points to it moving for 2016. Brand independent means simply, it’s not held by Spartan, or Warrior Dash, or any other event organizer – OCR World Championships exists for one reason – to hold this annual meeting of the best of the OCR pros, elites and enthusiasts in one fantastic course, and one blur of a weekend.

And man, they kill it.

IMG_9992The venue for their second year was back at Kings Domain – it was the smart choice. They have infrastructure for lodging, a permanent (and good) course, amazing terrain, parking close by – everything a new world championship series needs to start out. In 2014, there were roughly 700 athletes. For 2015, that grew to 1700 athletes – and the venue is now stretched to capacity. With some traffic issues, lodging issues, even some backlog issues on the course for the busy waves – Kings Domain isn’t rumored to be the next venue. Where it’ll be, who knows. International is a real option. It’ll need to be bigger, and have more infrastructure. I’ve gotten in on the limited run pre-registration, and will try to make it work. This race is that good.

Where do you start?

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Friday.

Registration is handled for the majority on Friday. After some long lines, you get a bag, with bib, chip, some bracelets, a plastic beer mug and your finisher shirt.

IMG_9918The venue is open, active and bustling. I chose to check out the Dragons Back obstacle from Toughest and the Destroyer wall from ABF Mud Run. I added our team flag to the popup Sandy had brought out and headed over to the Sinergy Sports setup. For the rest of the day, I soaked up the atmosphere. I watched people try out Band Cutter. I chatted with Brits and Swedes. I watched a few minutes of the OCR Warrior filming before a quick trip off site to check into my hotel for the weekend, then back for the gala dinner (Thanks to Joel of Inside Obstacle News for the ticket!), where we saw some awards, watched the preview of the trailer for Rise of the Sufferfest (and finally got to meet Scott), and enjoyed some pasta and several slices of cake.

IMG_9916I really appreciate that registration is encouraged on Friday, and that the venue is so bustling and busy – this forces people to turn the race into an event, a full weekend – which in turn makes it way more special than simply showing up, racing, then going home. While it’s not something every every event can (or should) do, it helps add to the special feel of OCRWC, which reducing a TON of race day complexity.

After dinner, I headed back for a good nights sleep.

Saturday.

I showed up around 10am, to hear that the Elites suffered due to the cold, 12088331_10207860233770302_2129536605808399064_nincluding a DNF for Pak – but running in the Journeyman entry meant I didn’t have to worry about things until 2pm – so I stayed warm, and watched people on the Band Cutter, hung with Sinergy Sports, and watched the age groupers freeze as they tried (and re-tried) the Skull Alley and Platinum Rig obstacles. The vibe of the festival at this event is incredible – people gather, cheer, celebrate and groan as athletes move through, fall off and ultimately give up their bands, or continue on through the obstacles – it’s electric, and nothing like you see at a big box event series – especially because the athletes are lycra clad swedes, or Mudstacle logo’d Brits, or a whole host of international’s – this is TRULY the World Championships.
Finally, we left at 2pm. I don’t do race recaps – courses change, obstacles are rebuilt. The highlights and lowlights are many. This course chewed me up, then spat me out. I lost my band very early – mostly due to simple frustration – when we hit the first set of monkey bars (the FIRST set, not the sawtooth set), I fell two runs before the end, and when it came to some retries – I just couldn’t get my grip back – with two way more capable battle buddies waiting, and the knowledge that I’d simply lose my band later regardless, I gave it up and took the penalty. I was beating myself up mentally for a while for that one. As the course continued, I found that this was not a good day for my grip strength – failing pretty much everything that involved hanging – from monkey bars, to Savage Race’s pipe dreams, to the “simple” wet rope climb. Lots of work needs to be done, it seems.

12080176_871013249660634_690519187907811820_oI did very much like the Dragons Back obstacle from Europe’s Toughest – this head f*ck of a leap caused many athletes to stop dead in their tracks, and freeze up. The first table was busy when I got there, so rather than psyching myself out, I waited at ground level before climbing up – then quickly got the two jumps done, before I could over think it. This is also where I strained my left ankle – again – and gave me more crap to whine about for the rest of the course.

12074550_10207860259970957_5702258546380561810_nI loved the river crossing that was new for us this year – nice and cold, it felt great on my ankle and went on a nice length of time. This years big surprise was the Sternum Check obstacle – known as Gut Check to Shale Hill fans – despite being no bigger or more complicated than previous years, it seems to wipe out considerably more of the field than before – I suspect the cold made this harder than it needed to be – and in Age Group and other waves, it was backed up a bit, causing people to over think it and retry. If memories serves, in previous years if you failed it once, you could use the side support to make it – not an option this time around. Kudos to Sandy who kept her band to this point, and tried this thing dozens of times before finally giving it up – rightly choosing to lose the wrist band, and not cracking a rib, or her head! This one chewed my arm up good, and having already lost my band, I simply took the penalty and the walk of shame.

IMG_9972The use of two Platinum Rigs seems a bit … excessive. The rig setup in 2014 was just way too hard, so they dialed it back this year- thankfully (still way too much for me) – but to then put two in? I long for the day complex rigs are no longer “the thing” in OCR. Dragons Back and the Destroyer wall were challenging, provided massive senses of accomplishment, and were much more fun.

By the time we hit mile 8 or so, it was dark, I was getting worried about finishing in the 6 hour cut off, and more worried that despite the cold, I was no longer really feeling it – plus, we’d picked up some fellow athletes who were also up against the time, but hadn’t packed headlamps – while New England Spahtens are always happy to help – especially when Momma Hen is your battle buddy – it didn’t make me warm up any quicker. By this point, I wasn’t being particularly productive in the obstacle department – doing what I needed to do to keep moving, without mentally getting in my own way. It seemed to take forever to get to the Pinnacle Hill – and in the pitch dark, with just a headlamp, we made short order of it. Then, the damn slide. Last year, I jammed my ankle at the bottom – and knowing I’d been limping for ten miles, I may have been the only person of the entire event to walk down the side. I was cold, limping, up against time hacks and frankly, didn’t particularly care. So yes, I walked down the hill.

12108264_578988058263_5338780481925192912_nNow we were in flood lamp – ten or so minutes before the cut, and I took off. Icebug’s and my body weight made short order of the big walls, getting great traction and running right up them. Tip of the Spear wasn’t too bad, until my cold hands failed me, and skull alley was failed pretty quickly. I got right up the warped wall, rolled the cargo net, and limped up to the finish line, in the dark, to a quiet finish. The medal was placed over my neck, I grabbed water and complained more than was needed about no banana’s, and slunk off to watch Momma Hen cross.

This makes the event sound horrible – but frankly, I entered this way below any peak I’ve ever had before. I wasn’t ready, and it showed me all my weaknesses. As it should – this is the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. I know I could show up to a Spartan event and make it through well – heck, I did the Killington Beast recently, with only a few penalties – this event is another class, and it SHOULD be hard. There are things I’d love to see tweaked or changed or adapted – but this should be a challenge.

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Sunday.

IMG_0020If you come to this event you owe it to yourself to stay on Sunday. Team racing made me green with envy. They split into teams of three – leaving early in the morning with a runner, who switched to an obstacle expert, who switched to the strength guy – then all three finished together. The course was adapted to incorporate them all, and the team finish times were super quick – and watching teams of three men, or three women cross that finish line all day made me wish I was out there, gimpy ankle and all. Stay around to watch these guys. Late in the morning, Operation Enduring Warrior crossed the line, flag flying, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. Awesome job.

IMG_0093I limped around all over the place – watched the Sinergy Sports competition on Band Cutter, caught up with my friends at Wreck Bag, finally enjoyed a few free beers, before heading out to dinner later in the day and one last nights sleep before traveling home.

So, whats the big deal. It’s just another race, right? OCRs are all the same, so really, why fly somewhere just to run some event I’ll probably not win, right?

The vibe here is electric. The crowds of athletes, spectators, supporters, sponsors and vendors are amazing. The support from other race brands is unique in the sport. Even if you’re getting chewed up and spat out by the course, you’re smiling at every single athlete who achieves something they didn’t think they could do – and proud for every single person around you who still has their black band on. You *FEEL* for everyone who doesn’t have theirs. You care about the outcome in a way no other brand has touched.

IMG_9952Last year, I made a throw away comment in my review “this race reminded me why I loved OCR” – and was honored when they led their intro video with that quote – but even in 2015, when I came in less prepared, less capable and was beat up hard – I still jumped on the chance to register for the 2016 event, despite not knowing where, or when – because this race reminded why I loved OCR *again*.

OCR World Championships is a shining example of community, co-operation, co-branding. Each year, they’ve adapted and changed and developed, and that’ll never stop. Agree with everything they do or not, they care about the sport, the athlete (even the journeyman division) and the outcome.

See you in 2016, somewhere in the world.

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Featured Review: OCR World Championship

I think it was January this year, when I first heard about OCR World Championship. I wasn’t really impressed, and thought we had a company setup to do nothing but grab a chunk of the market … they claimed they would be independent, and would work with other races in a productive manner. I thought they were crazy, and suspected their motives lay more in making money than in furthering the sport.

I’m so happy to report I was wrong.

This will be a long one. Take a pee break and get a cup of coffee.

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First – who was this race for?

If you are an OCR enthusiast. Someone who considers OCR “their sport” – regardless of how you place at it. This race was for you. If you just do one Spartan a year, and road run the rest, or Crossfit, or whatever – this event wasn’t for you. This was truly a race for the enthusiast.

OCRWC was held at Kings Domain in Ohio. Also the venue of fixed location event series, Mud Guts and Glory. I hadn’t really travelled this far for an OCR before, but with a work trip right afterwards, and a loving and supportive wife, I was able to make the logistics work and participate in the first event of it’s kind.

IMG_7819What makes a world championship *the* world championship? Prior to this weekend, we didn’t know. Spartan have their own, of course. We’re all familiar with the brutal slogfest that is Killington. Tough Mudder has their 24 hour World Toughest Mudder – another crazy endurance event. Neither of these are really OCR though. They are both endurance events with obstacles – no doubt – but the elite level of athlete podiuming these is a special breed, and they don’t really represent the thing we do every weekend. Even friendly Warrior Dash just put big money on the line to crown their own world championship – with the winners having very little OCR experience, they put on a true runners course and OCR elites faired relatively poorly.

Enter OCRWC. They turned the venue into an 8.8 mile course and they put on a TRUE obstacle course. One that featured pretty much everything we love about the sport. From technical and challenging terrain, to unique obstacles, to strength based challenges and fear based challenges. Crossing the finish line of this event reminded me why I love this sport, in a way I’ve not felt in a while. I fear it may have spoiled me …

Before I talk about my personal experience, lets talk about what this was and why it worked.

Athlete registration was taken care of on Friday night. Picking up our bib, our “completion” bracelet and our timing chip. Athlete briefing was being run on the hour, and explained the rules and regulations for the course and obstacles.

IMG_7835The venue provided ample spectator viewing. They got in for free, and could see tons of things – from saw tooth monkey bars, to 30′ ladder walls, the Platinum Rig and the 220′ water slide. Of course, the start and finish, and several more obstacles from the beginning and end of the course – all easy to see, easy to hang out at. Popup tents were welcome and vendors not charged a penny to be there.

They had plenty of vendors too – good, healthy food options from local food trucks, tents from visiting international teams and local communities, the ORM tent, and a well stocked merchandise tent, with X-Racewear and Icebug gear, and a Wreck Bag tent next to the beer tent.

Icebug played a major sponsorship roll, with banners and co-branded shirts, shoes being vended – and it was nice to catch up with the man from behind the company and get some insight into what they see for OCR. It was also nice to see OCR companies getting behind OCRWC, cementing it’s viewpoint that it was an independent race series – BattleFrog had a huge presence, with New England favorite BoneFrog proving their own obstacle, and ABF MudRun providing some obstacle challenges too. With Shale Hill and Atlas Race putting some teams and athletes together – representation from the community was good – but should have been better.

IMG_7833Shame on any OCR series offered space that didn’t take it! The OCR industry is only hurt by fragmentation and in fighting, and with Spartan Race choosing to hold their triple crown series the same weekend, it left the door wide open for “the little guys” to get in there, work together, and show them how it’s done. As it stands, this was left to a much smaller number of races than it should, and everyone who was there this weekend knows who represented – and who did not. Missed opportunity.

For once, the elite competition was taken seriously. Athlete briefing explained the rules and regulations.

To win prize money, you had to finish with your bracelet. Obstacle completion was mandatory, and if you failed out, you had your bracelet removed by a trained official – who then radio’d your bib number down to base camp. Well handled, well organized. Every failed obstacle also levied a 4min time penalty – meaning it always worth trying, even if you didn’t think you would make it. I saw athletes try obstacles for tens of minutes – in one case, completing the obstacle on her 12th attempt. She almost podiumed. Tenacity was key!

IMG_7826The briefing also covered another huge point – this was a “carry in, carry out” rule. Dumping your gu’s or packets on the trails was ground for DQ. Thank you! Outside of aid stations, when cups were spilling out of the trash bags, but contained to a small zone – the course was clean and beautiful.

It’s hard to understate how huge this ruling and time penalty was for the elite game – it turned what could have been a straight forward run from start to finish into an obstacle challenge. It wasn’t enough to run fast – there were lots of fast runners who didn’t place – you also had to be able to do saw tooth monkey bars, Platinum Rigs, gut checks, weavers, walls, crawls and lots lots more … lose that band on an obstacle failure and you weren’t winning any cash. With enforcement of the rules being strong, random drug testing and dummy runners on the course to look out for mid-race cheating (intentional or otherwise) – this truly was given the respect it needed.

Waves were sent out well spaced and kept small in numbers – there wasn’t a single report of bottle necking or backlogging on the course. Elites first, then age groupers based on expected speed – fasted sent out first.

Everything was professionally handled, well explained and clear. There was no room for confusion, no “poor form” penalties to debate about, and it was great to hear so many international accents from the UK, Oz, Sweden (who were amazing!) and more. Truly, a WORLD Championship.

10348380_713898325366486_3020511741123719527_nSo, how about my race?

IMG_7839I was entered in the Journeyman category – qualifying by right of running a bucket load of participating races in 2014. From Shale Hill to CMC to Viking Challenge. The journeyman category was the last wave at 12:50pm. I buddied up with Rachelleanne of Team Sisu, figuring that between her 5’1″ stature and my 6′ stature, we could take on the world. I’m not even going to TRY and do an obstacle break down – I’ll let the GoPro’s and course map do that for me later – instead:

We were launched by Coach Pain Dewayne – we’ve met him before at Spartan’s and BattleFrogs and he knows how to work and pump a crowd. After a few minutes with him, a canon blast launched our wave.

Crawls were over technical terrain, but never gratuitously rocky and unbearable – thank you! My knees are sick to death of being sliced open because someone thought rocks were a better option than grass or sand. We had long crawls, short crawls, barbed wire crawls, crawls under tires, tunnel crawls and a normandy jack crawl from BoneFrog.

IMG_7830Walls were plentiful, ranging from 4′ hoppers to 10′ with step boards. Inverted walls from ABF Mud Run and traverse walls (“Tip of the Spear”) from BattleFrog. One of the biggest ladder walls (easily 30′) I’ve ever seen!

The terrain was challenging, with plenty of creek bed running, grassy trail running and steep hill running. Some of the uphills and downhills NEEDED the ropes they provided, one in particular being incredibly hairy – genuinely giving me a “what if I slip?” moment!

There were plenty of hanging obstacles too – a regular, straight monkey bar that I nailed. A huge inverted V monkey bar that cost me my bracelet, the Platinum Rig that had a massive failure rate – especially in the female crowd – and had to be dialed down for Sunday’s team racing. Two tyrolean’s – one over two lengths of rope, another on a pipe. A rope climb that I nailed – but still got penalized for because the bell didn’t ring – I touched it! I swear! Judges decision is final and I was welcome to go back up and do it again … I took the 4 minutes 🙂

IMG_7820Unique obstacles – the high wire traverse was hairy! Crossing a deep deep gorge over a wire (one to stand, one to hold) was pretty nerve wracking. Two Sternum Checks (known as Gut Check to the Shale Hill crew) that I was able to nail and a Weaver (known as The Loom – -minus the rope part) that took me out. A MASSIVE slide. 220′ massive. This was truly the one obstacle I was scared of – ever since SHS 2013, slides have genuinely given me cause for concern.

We carried a bunch too – two Wreck Bag carries at 50lbs each, a pre-filled, sealed and weighed 60lb bucket carry with no handles, a double tire carry over some technical ground – this never felt gratuitous or over the top, and the terrain was always respectable, but not crazy.

IMG_7817We started the race at one end of the festival and coursed through the grounds more than a few times – before a final loop back in the festival with people cheering us on and the finish line MC, Brett Stewart announcing each finisher by name for an amazing and personal touch.

Crossing the line saw Adrian, the man behind the whole thing with a huge beam on his face, putting that medal on my neck and immediately asking for feedback (my immediate feedback was “is the beer tent still open?”). It took me a long time to get through that course, and it left me scraped up and bruised up and PROUD that I was able to be at the first.

It’s tough to nail down that sense of pride in a blog post. I’m proud to say I was at the second ever Spartan Race. I’m proud to say I was at the first Polar Bear Challenge. I’m proud to say I’ve helped the New England Spahtens grow to the unbelievable community it is today, and in the middle of those pivotal moments have been races I’ve done. Some good, some great, some less than that – now, adding to the *special* moments I’ve had in OCR, I’m proud to say I completed the first *true* OCR World Championships.

Some bad. No race is 100% smooth of course.
IMG_7829The Platinum Rig was too hard on Saturday, simply put. This was acknowledged and adjusted quickly, but leaving the Rig crew to setup their own obstacle with no guidance was a slip up.
By the time I crossed the line, there were no more XL mens finishers shirts, and that blew. The crew has committed to getting them out to us early next week.
Running in the last wave of the day, I don’t believe I saw a single professional photographer on the course – and I’m usually pretty good (read: camera whore) at spotting them. I haven’t seen the final photos yet, so hopefully I’m wrong on that!

But, if these are my only complaints – they are minor complains indeed, and fairly common to first time races. Easily fixed and immediately handled.IMG_7845

I regret not being able to stick around for the team competition (which was free), but even if I hadn’t had to hop on a flight, I’d have likely skipped going back out again!

We had a lot of expectations for OCRWC, and I believe the crew behind the weekend exceeded them, and then some. My hat is off to them. I hope they have as much success in 2015.

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Crowning a World Champion?

The Spartan Race World Championship is well established, having being held for three years now, and this past year in Killington VT, held during the Sprint, two day Beast and Ultra Beast events – with Reebok and NBC – it was an epic event that was the highlight of the Spartan Race calendar, and many believe that with Hobie Call winning it, the best OCR athlete today won the most prestigious prize out there.

Who wouldn’t want a piece of it?

Superhero Scramble is trying to get their own “year end championship” off the ground this year, and OCR World Championship was recently announced, trying to get a piece of the pie – claiming to be a race vendor independent, and piggy backing off the other series own events to “qualify” people.

Seems even little old Warrior Dash wants in on the action, and they want in on it big. Held in California, with $100,000 on the line, this is easily the biggest prize purse on the market today in OCR.

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Oh, and check that date out – same date as the OCR World Championship – they may claim to be event independent, but those events are certainly not interested in being thought of as “qualifiers” and letting their brand name be used in such a way.

So, assuming you aren’t a sponsored athlete, or live locally to the Mud Guts and Glory venue – why wouldn’t you travel to this event on October 18th?

Good move, Warrior Dash. Good move.