This will be the first of multiple updates in the next few days as I wind down my race season, but keep looking back at this past weekend. So, consider this Part One.
My life in fitness, health, obstacle racing, training–really these past 20 months–have been leading up to this moment. This weekend I participated in something amazing. Something unique. Something, well, wonderful. It was the inaugural Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC), hosted in Oregonia, Ohio at a permanent obstacle course at King’s Domain and run by Mud Guts & Glory (another OCR series). It was an international event, which meant seeing lots of cool flags from around the country all weekend long–some on people, some tattoos, some on shirts, and some actual flags (worn as capes, even). I’m not sure of the final count, but unofficially, by my estimations, there were somewhere in the range of nearly 20 different countries represented. That even includes lovely Ireland, by way of Sweden (here’s looking at you, Fred Moran!)
Ugh, but where to actually start? Chronologically? Provide some background, first…?
I JUST WANT YOU TO GET INSIDE OF MY HEAD AND FEEL THE AWESOMENESS THAT WAS THIS WEEKEND’S ULTIMATE OCR EVENT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, breathe. In. Out. Calm.
Here goes, with some background on this event first. The OCRWC is the brainchild of one amazing Adrian Bijanada. He envisioned a united OCR event. One that, in essence, takes the best of the race series, puts them all in a blender, adds in a little unique spice, cranks up the heat, and spits out one of the most amazing, grueling, fun, exciting, and anticipated events in obstacle racing history. What did he (and company) come up with? Something even more awesome than that! But, let me not digress just yet.
The OCRWC is intended to be the Championships of Championships. Spartan Race has the Vermont Beast/World Championships, but that’s a Spartan Race event. The Warrior Dash folks now have their own Warrior Dash World Championships, too. Of course, there’s the World’s Toughest Mudder from Tough Mudder. And so on. Many of the OCR series have their own “championship” that, essentially, caters to their own crowd. And that’s not even to speak of any such events outside of the USA — I’ve no real clue how many different OCRs are out there, but I know of a few such as Toughest, Gladiator Run, Getting Tough, and Run Mucker Run. With so many OCRs out there, who’s “championship” do you go to? One? Two? All? And, what makes it a “world championship” anyway? (This has been discussed via interview with top OCR mates Ryan Atkins, Hobie Call, and Spartan Race founder Joe Desena here, so I won’t get into any of that.)
Meanwhile, the OCRWC seeks to unite all of those disparate race series, unify the sport & her athletes, and truly bring a depth of meaning to the term “world championships”. Instead of being the best Spartan in the world, or the best Mudder in the world, or the best Warrior (Dasher?) in the world, or whatever, why not present the “best obstacle racer(s)” in the world, overall? That’s the general idea here.
Leading up to the OCRWC, one must first qualify. The qualifications are detailed for us all here. After qualifying, you would then apply for acceptance (basically a review of your qualifying event[s]) and then register for the division in which you intend to compete (more about divisions here). There’s an impetus to qualify early, if possible: OCRWC, in order to maintain quality and efficiency, puts a cap on the registrations. For this inaugural race, that wasn’t a problem since it was still an unknown. The coming years may present an issue for those who think they can qualify later and still signup. Why? Keep reading.
PACKET PICKUP & PRE-RACE FRIDAY
Let the excitement begin! Actually, for me, the excitement began the day before when I packed up most of my family (wife and six of seven kids — my twenty year old had obligations) and began the long trip to Ohio from Virginia. Heheh. Seriously, though, my children are excellent travelers and they seemed to do very well overall. Once we got to our hotel, they were ecstatic — GREAT hotel accommodations in Mason, Ohio. Thanks, Homewood Suites!!!!
So, now we’re up to Friday. I wake up, almost as excited and nervous as if it were the actual race day, and start getting ready to head out to the venue for packet pick-up, safety instructions, and a brief tour of the festival area — this is special, it’s different, it’s new. Cue the stomach! 🙂
After getting my packet, I ran across a couple of my buddies including Paul Dulin — one of the nicest guys in OCR — this helped ease the nerves a little. Honestly, I hadn’t felt this anxious/nervous/excited for a race since my very first one (Spartan Race Sprint in Palmerton, PA — 2013). THIS IS GONNA BE GREAT!! I walk around a little with my family, check out a couple of things, meet a few new faces, and then decide I need to eat, sleep, and get ready. Time for dinner…!
Already I know that this is something special. New. Exciting. Different. Unique. Pick your word, but make sure it describes one of the most awesome things you’ve ever done.
Yeah, it’s like that.[End Part One]