OCR World Championships
29th October 2014

Categories: Obstacle Race

Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) has been developing as a sport for several years now. There are already a few world championships held by individual race brands but the OCRWC was a massive step forward in the form of an independent race to crown the world’s best obstacle racer.

The race was held in Cincinnati, USA, on an existing obstacle course that had modifications made to make it fit for this inaugural championship. The course was around 12km in length and included approximately 700m of elevation gain. A variety of obstacles and carries featured along the hilly and technical route, leaving very little time to settle into a running pace. In order to win you had to complete all obstacles, if you failed one multiple attempts were allowed.

To be a legitimate world championship it was key for the top racers to be there. At the pre race press conference I was therefore extremely happy to see Ryan Atkins (Canada) taking his seat; Ryan and I battled heavily in theSpartan World Championships just a month before and I knew he was an extremely strong athlete. Also present was the most successful obstacle racer of all time, Hobie Call (USA). I had a suspicion it would be between the three of us but there were also big names from the USA like Brakken & Pak as well as others that had flown in from all over the world.

I was hopeful I could make the podium but told myself I would be happy with top 10. The course looked to suite me much more than my previous trip to the states and reminded me much more of the courses in the UK – but you can never be sure in a sport that is always different.


Arriving a few days early it was great to walk sections of the course and soak up the atmosphere. A small contingent of racers from the UK had made the trip out and it was nice to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen since moving to Norway.

I had a look at the course and knew straight away that it suited me more than the one we had raced on at Spartan. Indeed it was a course that reminded me very much of courses back in the UK. There were a few obstacles I earmarked as ones to watch out for. These included the steep inverted monkey bars, platinum rig, sternum checker and the weaver.

Standing on the startline I had the familiar feeling of ‘here we go again.’ I knew this would be a shorter, sharper race than Spartan and that often these races turn out to be the most painful, usually requiring a high work rate throughout.

The start didn’t disappointment! The canon was fired and roughly 50 of the best in the world hurtled off the line ready to give there all to be crowned world champion. Working my way to the front, I nestled in behind Ryan who was flying through the woods taking the initial obstacles in his stride far quicker than the rest of the field.


We soon reached the monkey bars, wet with dew I took my time using my feet not wanting to make a mistake this early in the race. Ryan was still ahead but I wasn’t too worried as I knew this race would be won and lost on the hills we were yet to face. This became clear when we dived back into the woods and started some real ascents. Following closely behind Ryan I could keep a steady jog as he broke into some waking strides on the steepest sections.

Still in second but comfortably, we descended back to the arena for the platinum rig. Again Ryan was faster through the obstacle but I got it completed first time, which was good enough as a flat technical running section soon saw me back on his tail.

It really did feel like a two horse race now and it was clear our pace was stretching the field. Completing the rope traverse at the same time, we headed back into the woods for some more hills where I moved into and started to open a lead.



From here I settled into a comfortable gear working up the hills and enjoying the downs. Slowly my lead grew, switchbacks in the first sandbag carry allowed me to calculate I was nearly 30 seconds ahead and pulling away.

Taking my first gel, my legs still felt great but I felt something wasn’t right with my breathing. Shallow breaths replaced what should have been deep powerful ones leaving me with the feeling not enough oxygen was getting in. This didn’t seem to be affecting my speed though, which was still fast enough to keep me ahead and I started to feel like I was cruising. I was enjoying flying through the woods and couldn’t believe the ease of how I was crushing the course; taking each obstacle at a time I slowly ticked them off knowing the hardest were behind me.

I managed the weaver better than expected and was soon hurtling again downhill to the double tire carry and on to the last big descent and ascent before the final flurry of obstacles and the finish line.

Speeding down what must have been the biggest OCR slide ever made I was soon being cheered on by spectators waiting to find out who would cross the line first. Another sandbag carry including some crawls and the tip of the spear obstacle by Battle Frog done and I was on the finishing straight. A big smile on my face I crossed the line in 1:21:28 just over two minutes ahead of Ryan in second and four minutes ahead of Hobie in third.



It wasn’t long before the fanfare of congratulations was over and I was being led to a private location for my drug test… an experience that deserves a post of its own. But I will say Ryan did beat me in filling his cup to the red line first.

The race was amazing and I couldn’t help but tell the organiser Adrian Bijanada what a fantastic job he had done. The course was hailed as perfect to test the best in the world and crown a champion. I was fortunate the hilly technical nature of the route suited me but am immensely proud to have won all the same. This had felt very much like the races in the UK where I run primarily alone allowing me to take the obstacles at my own speed and relax into a running rhythm.


I definitely got my monies worth joining Ryan on team Apex Project for the relay race the next day. To run with him was an honour and I couldn’t describe the joy at running a course with such speed in the company of an amazing athlete.

This race topped off an intense 6 weeks where I have also raced the Spartan World Championshipsand the Limone Extreme Skyrace.  With the last major race of the year now out of the way I’m looking forward to some enjoyable training on the snow in Norway and a few obstacle races back home in the UK. I have many decisions to make about where I should take my 2015 sporting pursuits but I am sure that I will return to the OCR World Championships to defend my title.

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