The OCR World Championships is my biggest obstacle racing weekend of the year. As an independent race brand setup to act as the pinnacle of the obstacle racing calendar, the course is an amalgamation of many different obstacle races, many race brands even come to build obstacles at this event. This makes for an exciting course with different obstacles to try and the closest thing to deciding who is the best overall obstacle racer we have.
In the past four years the event has turned from a race, to a three-day racing festival starting with a 3km on the Friday, the 15km classic race on the Saturday and a fun team race to wrap things up on the Sunday.
I have always had success with the 15km but placed an annoying 2nd in last year’s 3km course. I was back again this year to once again compete in both distances and hopefully improve on my 3km position.
The effort required for this distance is a bit harsh. With the obstacles, hills and carries, the timings of the race turn into something like trying to pb a 5km, the day before doing the same on a half marathon.
I wasn’t much looking forward to the actual racing in this one. I like to build a good margin so I can flow through the obstacles without mistakes, a tall order with just 3km of running. There wouldn’t be much relaxing as we battle our way around.
I decided, unlike normal, the best tactic would be to hang back a little and save some breath, so I could hopefully execute the second half well. I wanted to be behind in the first kilometre and after that, only take the lead if it happened without me pushing it, I wanted it to happen naturally…like I would in a 6 hour skyrace, only here the margin for error would be far smaller.
The course would feature a few minor obstacles, like hurdles and a wall to begin with. Two carries, farmers walk and wreckbag. The rest of the obstacles would be rig style hanging obstacles – obstacles that would be far harder in the wet.
Almost as if it was planned the sky opened up as we stood on the start line.
Would wet obstacle affect the race results? Almost certainly. I tried not to think about how though. Ryan Atkins, my main competitor, has a crazy amount of strength and although the rain will make the obstacles a little more difficult, this would most likely not affect him. I on the other hand prefer a more swinging approach through the rigs which becomes riskier in the wet.
We started and as planned I was behind on the first hill. After three obstacles and sooner than expected I took the lead on a downhill. I would now have to try and hold at the front acting like a carrot for Ryan who was in second.
Slipping off a pole traverse obstacle I had a momentary panic. Jumping back on in the retry lane I managed to claw my way through. Ryan was the only other to get through unscathed. It was between me and him.
Putting my head down I started to grind. Carries done and rigs left I had built a 30 second lead.
Over gripping through the wet obstacles I started to get pumped in my forearms but only realised as I jumped up for the ropes on the final slip wall. Sliding down I jumped up again this time grabbing above the knot. Hauling myself over I smiled for the first time during the 17 minutes of racing. Ryan crossed under a minute later but there was no one in site after him. The wet obstacles had proved difficult for many in the intense racing, it was with some disbelief that I suddenly realised I had managed to win.
Short races are not my thing and this one had required masses of precision to get through without a major fuck up. I was pretty happy to win but reminded myself that what I considered to be the true World Championships was the next day and there was still much work to do. Check back to read how this race went.