The 2018 OCRWC was due to be like no other I have experienced before. Much was going to be different; for one I was going to be driving on the left hand side of the road to get there and another, it was going to be a fair deal muddier, wetter and flatter than before. OCR was ‘coming home’ with the OCRWC moving across the pond from the USA and Canada to Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, UK.
Funnily enough this new venue was just 15 minutes from where I was born and 30 minutes from where I grew up. Nuclear races, the host of OCRWC, would have been my local race if I had stayed put after school. Nuclear have a reputation of building hundreds of obstacles on their permanent site whilst still retaining the muddy wet English style of OCR. With OCRWC bringing other obstacles from around the world we were going to see a fusion of styles between the old and the new.
I had no idea how this was going to turn out but was as excited as ever to race my heart out in the hopes of winning this event for the 5th time.
Like previous years there would be a 3km ‘sprint’ on the Friday, 15km ‘classic course’ on the Saturday and team event on the Sunday.
Taking one race at a time all concentration was on pushing as hard as I could for 3km of running with obstacles and carries. This is the event I am usually most concerned about because it is rare for me to race over this short a distance and with this there is the added pressure that making just one mistake on an obstacle could be fatal.
The start was as fast as ever leaving me trailing in back in 7th place. The first obstacle was some simple ditches and mounds, there were quite a few and I found such a good rhythm leaping my way through that somehow, over less than 50 meters, I took the lead. On the wreckbag carry I opened up the lead, gaining about 15m on the others. From here I was head down trying to hold myself on the limit between burning out and not pushing enough. Swinging through the ninja style obstacles I was still in front but couldn’t afford any mistakes. Thankfully I didn’t make any, in true Nuclear style we took a muddy dip just before the OCRWC final wall, and once over that I managed to finish 30 seconds clear with a near perfect run.
I had won the 3km for the second year in a row but the main event was still to come. The original Tough guy was 15km, and it was with a 15km course that the OCRWC was born, for me this is the main event. Although this would be unlike any 15km I had done before! The organisers were boasting 100 obstacles but once you remove simpler obstacles like ditches, logs and pits it was probably more like 75. 75 obstacles though! That’s still a big number. On home turf and having won the day before I was confident that if I ran well I could win. I’ve had my fair share of experience winning cold, muddy, English races and figured that having done so with the likes of 4 laps of Winter Nuts, Tough Guy and Dirty Weekend, this would give me an advantage.
Without hills the margins were tight, and it was frustrating not being able to build a lead in the early stages of the race. I would push on the running sections where I would maybe pull out 5-10 seconds before hitting another obstacle. Once I figured out what I had to do everyone else would turn up, copy me and my lead would be halved. I realised that I had to get out of eye sight in order to build my lead. Somehow this happened on an obstacle dense section with a zip wire and the big slide. Into a forest section I was now out of site but still with 8 km to go.
I manage to build the lead to something like a minute. The hanging obstacles were covered in dew but I still got through everything first time… up until the second from last rig. I failed the first time and got flustered. Wasting 30 second on panicking I continued to fail. Ignoring everything else in the world I calmed myself down, focused and got through, ringing the bell. My lead was now down to the same as on the 3km, seconds! However I knew I could still win because I had done it the day before with the same obstacles and same time gap.
Crossing the line I was happy to have won, but I was annoyed that I didn’t have the focus first time on Skitch 2.0, the obstacle I screwed up. I also felt battered. This course was a war zone leaving me bruised, bloodied and in no mood for racing the next day. I took the decision to sit the team event out. I felt bad for Daniel Corner and Ross Brackley who would have formed the team with me but sometimes you have to listen to your body… especially with something like the OMM less than a week away, check back to read how that very different challenge goes.
Great photos by Jack Goras, Charlotte Visuals, dryrobe, and Mud/tt.