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Playing in the Mud – Achieve Your Championship

This year, it was announced that there would be a United States OCR Championship to go along with a World Championship, two European Championships and countless other championships around the world. With these championships announced, people are starting to make plans. If you look around Facebook, particularly in the United States, people have started to post about plans. People are posting their OCRWC qualifying emails and all of their hotel and travel plans. What about the rest of us?

Most of us are not championship material.   Writers note: I know that a qualification for the US OCR Championships this year is a pulse and breathing, but you all understand what my point is overall. Most of us will never podium at a race or be in the first few that get the “Congratulations” email. So, what about the rest of us?

Goals. Let’s look at goals for a moment. Some people have the goal of winning, placing on the podium or qualifying for other races and championships. Others have the goal of time and beating past times. Then there are some like me and many others who have the goal of finishing. All are valid goals and from the people I know and talk to, more people have the goals that I have…finishing. So what are we to do?

We quit racing. No. That’s not serious. In fact, we push on and push forward and achieve our goals no matter what they are. As I have said repeatedly in the past, I am a sloth. I am not fast on any course, whether flat, mud, mountains, stadium. My goals are to finish any race I have started. I know what my limitations are and I know what I am capable of. Do you?

Goals are important to each and every one of us. We need something to look forward to and something to achieve. It is one of the reasons why we race. We go out there to test ourselves and see what we are capable of. We make ourselves uncomfortable to test our inner will. We want to overcome what we think cannot be done and we imagine the feeling we have when we have overcome the obstacles in front of us.

What is your goal? We all have them? Is it a 5k mud run? Is it a Tough Mudder? Savage Race? Endurance Run? Whatever it is, achieve it. My OCRWC is the Killington Beast in September. All along the way I have other races and even a tower climb mixed in. The Beast at Killington is my championship. That is my goal for the year. That is what I build to throughout the year. I start with a Beast in Jersey and race all along the way until I get to my championship. My goal is to get to that race, overcome it and collect a few medals and shirts along the way.

What are yours? Is your goal to finish a 5k, a 5-mile mud run, 10 mile race, a win, a podium or a championship. Go for them. Your goals start from within and they start with a statement. “I want to (fill in the blank)”. Once you announce your goal, it is out there for everyone to see and most importantly, for you to achieve.

After you announce it, live it. Spend your days and your time achieving your goal. Every time you set on a course, go into a gym, train on a trail, look toward your goal and achieve it. Believe in yourself and set a goal, overcome all obstacles and get to your championship. Whether your championship is finishing a race or the actual championship, achieve it.

Thanks for continuing to be the ones who want me to overcome, to achieve my goals and to wanting me to achieve my own championship. I hope I can help you push to achieve your goals and overcome any obstacles to achieve your championships. Until next time my friends, be epic and keep playing in the mud.

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US Obstacle Course Racing Championships is coming.

Labor Day weekend. Save the date.

Texas. Save the travel budget.

The same people behind OCR World Championships are holding their first ever regional event – and for their last year on the North American continent for the World Championships, they’re starting a US only series, right here in the States.

The weekend will take the form of a 3k short course on the Saturday, Sept 2nd, and a 15k full course on the 3rd, Sunday.

Both races will offer a Pro division and an Age Group series – with full qualification information coming to their new website,

(note: there is no Journeyman division – Age Group will be open to all)

The biggest piece that makes this different to OCRWC – a requirement that you are a US Citizen or legal resident to compete with a focus on US events to populate the obstacle list – this is for the US.

Full press release below:




New York, NY, January 12, 2017 – Adventurey LLC, organizers of the independent Obstacle Course Racing World Championships, announced today the launch of the first United States Obstacle Course Racing Championships (USOCRC) to be held on Labor Day weekend, September 2 & 3, at Y.O. Ranch Headquarters, Mountain Home, Texas.

The two day event will consist of a 3k short course competition on Saturday, September 2, followed by a 15k long course championship on Sunday, September 3. Both distances will feature a Pro Division for qualified athletes as well as Open Divisions for Age Group competitors. Qualifying criteria will be available at in the coming days. Additionally, qualifying spots for the 2017 OCR World Championships will be awarded for top Pro and Age Group division finishers.

“The sport of obstacle course racing continues grow at an amazing pace with the support of many like-minded companies and individuals looking to take it to the next level,” said Adventurey CEO Adrian Bijanada. “With enthusiastic community support, strong partnerships, and a deep bench of professionals willing to work together for the betterment of the sport, the U.S. Obstacle Course Racing Championships is poised to be another incredible experience for obstacle course racers from all over the country.”

In an effort to serve the growing community, the 2017 USOCRC will feature obstacles from many United States-based partners, including: Green Beret Challenge, Savage Race, BoneFrog Challenge, Warrior Dash, Terrain Racing, Conquer the Gauntlet, Indian Mud Run and more. Additional details will be available shortly on

About Adventurey, LLC

Founded in 2013, Adventurey, LLC is a New York City based company whose holdings include eCommerce, Event Production, and Marketing companies specialized in the endurance sports industry.

Media inquiries may be sent to

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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
  • 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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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!


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.

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.

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.

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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OCRWC: Bands, medals, time hacks and DNF’s … what does it all mean for me?

Once again – I can’t extol the virtues of OCR World Championship for any and every OCR enthusiast enough.

And, as is suitable for an event of this caliber – things operate differently to your average Mom and Pop OCR, or big box mud run. I wanted to explain what those things are, and hopefully shed some clarity on the whole experience for future athletes!

Firstly, it’s worth a reminder – this is the m*therf*ckin’ World Championships. Elites, age groupers and Journeymen alike compete on the same course, for the same band, the same medal and the same honor. If you finish in 2 hours or 5 hours – you are treated equally here.

Lets talk about what this means.

14633515_10154680154904468_5880789726880568459_oMedals – these are the best, most gorgeous medals in the OCR industry. Hands down. If you cross that finish line, you have earned your medal – hands down, end of story. It doesn’t matter what you went through to get there, or what penalty count you have – if you cross the line, you bring home the bling. With four races available, they offered four different medals too – all amazing.







14695399_10101240947154096_4476918343613101191_nBands – At the start of each event, you are given a silicon wrist band. At the first obstacle you decide to quit, that band is cut, and you never see it again. As an obstacle official, we were compassionate in cutting bands, but to never give the cut band back to the athlete. Urban Sky, the final significant obstacle was where I spent 17h on Friday and Saturday – I cut 2 bands on Friday and 7 on Saturday.

There was some confusion with bands been given out on the much more casual Make a Wish race, and some reports of confusion around when or why bands were cut on course, but these are minor, and the immense pride you should feel for finishing with a band is real.



This is what a pack of New England Spahtens racing to the finish line looks like ...
This is what a pack of New England Spahtens racing to the finish line looks like …

Time Hacks – In 2016, they advertised a 5 hour time hack. 5 is 5, no matter what wave you ran in. If you listened to my podcast interview with Adrian, he made it very clear that slower runners should expect to have to make decisions about hwich obstacles they would fight for completion at, and which they would have to cut the band, take the penalty and move on. Lets be clear – this is the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – not the place for casual hiking through a course. Those in the final waves of the day needed to get a move on or face course closures. Those in earlier waves of the day had their finish time nulled out, if it exceeded 5 hours, pre-penalties.






Penalties – Every obstacle has a time penalty you are assessed if you chose to not complete it. While the intent was for these to be different for some obstacles (like, 20 minutes for the Wreck Bag carry), in the end they were set at 4 minutes across the board, due to logistical problems in tracking. There is no “burpee penalty” – and you CHOOSE to take the time penalty rather than get forced into it.

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OCRWC: Facebook Live videos

fbliveDuring OCR World Championships, Paul and Josh were live streaming any chance we had – and rather than let them vanish into the depths of Facebook’s archives, I wanted to grab them, and put them somewhere you can view them in order to relive, or simply experience the 2016 OCR World Championships.

Enjoy the moments.

Thursday (Road trips)-

The #NESOCRWC road trip is approaching the Canadian border – let's chat about what we're looking forward to this weekend with Josh, Kevin and Sandy

Posted by New England Spahtens on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Just got our first look at the OCR World Championships festival area and finish line. You are NOT going to want to miss this event!

Posted by New England Spahtens on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Walking around the festival area and exploring some of the obstacles nearby – jump in and check it out

Posted by New England Spahtens on Thursday, October 13, 2016

Josh has worn his OCRWC Band since the 2015 and hasn't taken the thing off since. That ends tonight…

Posted by New England Spahtens on Thursday, October 13, 2016

Friday (Short course)-

Urban sky

Posted by New England Spahtens on Friday, October 14, 2016

End …

Posted by New England Spahtens on Friday, October 14, 2016

Muddy Highlander is back at the finish line.

Posted by New England Spahtens on Friday, October 14, 2016

Finishing up

Posted by New England Spahtens on Friday, October 14, 2016

Pasta dinner

Posted by New England Spahtens on Friday, October 14, 2016

Saturday (15k course)-


Posted by New England Spahtens on Saturday, October 15, 2016

First female coming tgroug

Posted by New England Spahtens on Saturday, October 15, 2016

First female for real

Posted by New England Spahtens on Saturday, October 15, 2016

2nd place female

Posted by New England Spahtens on Saturday, October 15, 2016

Posted by New England Spahtens on Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sunday (Team course)-

OCRWC venue

Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016

And then this happened

Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016


Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016

Team wall

Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016

Team wave with NES

Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016


Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016

Flux on agility

Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016

Josh back on the rig

Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016

Live from the wreck bag carry – momma hen!

Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sandy wrapping up the wreck bag carry

Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016

NES team coming through

Posted by New England Spahtens on Sunday, October 16, 2016

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OCR World Championship – 2016 preview

Once a year, the true world championships of OCR happens.

OCR_WC_DISPLAY500-01 copy

It’s a fairly bold claim to say that – but after two incredibly successful years – it’s a bold claim that many – if not most – in the world of OCR can comfortably make.

In 2016 OCR World Championships will be held in the Blue Mountains of Canada – north of Toronto – and we have 15k of hills, trails and approximately 50 obstacles that have been constructed solely for this event. Many of those obstacles are “donors” from supporting race series, like Europe’s Toughest, Civilian Military Combine, Savage Race, Canada’s own Dead End Race and more.

2016 also see’s the first time *four* separate evens have been held. A 3k short course on Friday. The full 15k event on Saturday. A team competition on Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon see’s a charity, open event raising funds for Canada’s Make a Wish Foundation. Each event has it’s own medals – which are about the nicest medals in the industry.

The New England Spahtens will be well represented with 30 or so athletes and spectators heading north. The convoys start heading north on Wednesday, and returning Sunday or Monday.

We’ve had the opportunity to talk directly with Adrian, the guy behind the whole thing – if you’ve not had chance to listen to this, you really should.

Josh, Sandy and myself also sat down for a good 30, 40 minute chat about the event – as veterans of OCRWC, we’ve already been there – and we talk about what we’re looking forward too.

And race weekend is quickly approaching. We’ll have athletes participating, people spectating, and people acting as officials on the course through the weekend. Josh and Paul will be live streaming as much as possible directly on the New England Spahtens Facebook page, and posting to Twitter all weekend – follow along for the fun and games!

To conclude, this is an event worth supporting. Without an event like this – without a local OCR scene – without variation, and high quality variation at that – the OCR space will die. Support these independent brands – because they make the OCR world spin round.


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Rucksgiving 2015

12188059_10153780441448338_5711236888514502062_oBack in Boston, our second annual Rucksgiving, and it was raining. 2015 saw lots more people, lugging lots more stuff – but we were seriously worried about being able to get that much stuff out to the right people.

Rucksgiving has one goal – bring whatever you can, and ruck it around the streets, and get it out to the homeless. Warm coats, blankets, socks and gloves. Food, toiletries, gift cards. We had tried to do our homework and reach out to shelters before hand – and received pushback from them – you see, shelters don’t really want to deal with large groups of people, handing out unvetted and unsolicited items to their population – which is pretty much exactly what we need to do.

12311107_784581248334028_7680134773197024658_nFortunately, someone way more prepared than I had stepped up to take the lead – Shaina, one of our long time members and NES ambassadors, had offered to take point and co-ordinate with the Team RWB Boston community to plan out a route, call some venues and shelters and keep the ducks in a row (I’ve said it about ten times in the last 24 hours, but I’ll say it again – THANK YOU SHAINA!). With way more people joining us this year (despite the drizzling rain), this was no small task – but between them they planned to split us into five groups of about 15 to 20 people (plus kids), and head off in different directions to see what we could do.

This year, we were better prepared with our gear – I had a ruck stuffed full of new fleece blankets – and my son’s cub scouts had provided us with bags of warm coats and childrens wear. Others had pre-packed baggies full of toiletries and personal care products, and more than a couple of people had to bring wagons, piled up with totes full of warm clothing that had been collected. It was a pretty awesome, and more than a little overwhelming at times! I have no clue how much stuff we brought, but it can never be enough.

The plan of splitting the group up into smaller teams, each with their own leader, worked perfectly. My team was able to stay together, be more co-ordinated, and after a sweep of the Boston Commons (empty, the rains driving everyone into shelter or under cover), we took a route, followed our leader, and hit two separate shelters.

In both cases, the shelter staff and security asked us to move on and not crowd their front entrances – but in both cases word got out quickly to the residents, and we setup a few hundred yards down the street – I was able to get my blankets handed out very quickly – and we started to get our socks, coats, gloves and hats distributed as quickly as possible. Like last year, food items seem to move slowly, in favor of getting warmth before the winter period hits.

The community was welcoming, thankful – and in some cases simply wishing them a happy holidays and a quick “stay warm” was more important to them than the gloves or socks it came with – like we saw last year, this is stuff they need, find hard to get, and the simple act of someone showing them some kindness is rare and special for them – and such a pleasure and reward for us. We can’t change the world or their situation, but we can remind them we’re all human and they are being thought of.

It was easy at the beginning to be a little glum – the weather was poor, all the planning and calling ahead of the shelters was discouraging, and the volume of gear and people overwhelming – but our community leaders had a plan, and we were able to get much of everything we brought delivered to the people who needed it most – it seems a better bet to simply show up at shelters, and let the residents get the word out, than work through the shelters themselves – not an ideal situation, for sure, but at least in Boston it was effective.

Thank you to everyone who came out, who helped supply gear, especially our team leaders and Shaina for keeping the cats herded.

Also – thank you to OCR World Championship for the inspiration – a chance phone call from Adrian in 2014 “do you think this is something people would be into?” has turned into an annual tradition for the New England Spahtens, and from the photos flying around yesterday, many other regions and OCR communities are also getting involved and making a difference. It may never change the world – but if it changes just one persons holiday weekend, then thats enough for now.

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OCR World Championship – 2016 venue and date!

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

OCR_WC_DISPLAY500-01 copy
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

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 🙂


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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.


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?



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.


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.



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.