After inaugural OCRWC received rave reviews last year, I could not keep away. Long drive was made tolerable by great company.
Athlete check-in was (very conveniently) running on Friday ALL DAY (12pm – 9pm), so no race day panic and scrambling. We got our race packets, and spent the next little while walking around the festival area, and ogling the obstacles.
Holy shit. I almost want to leave it at that. But I feel like I should elaborate.
According to the race organizers, and OCRWC posters, athletes from over 22 countries are represented. Tonnes of Brits. Strong Swedish presence (and a defending female champion from Sweden). Fellow Canucks.
The overall vibe of the event is friendly, excited, and… serious. This ain’t no Warrior Dash Color Run, y’all. International flags are flying high, and the racers want blood. Or mud. Or both.
After monkeying around on one of the rigs, I got my blood one day early, slicing a fingertip open. Woot. Overachiever, no? [Those t-shaped hand holds were killer, but I think the solution was to pass the chain between your fingertips, so it does not have a chance to tip].
Distance/terrain: 10 miles (16.0 km) – ish. While there will be no mountain summit to conquer, the course promises to be anything, but flat. Think wooded trails and rolling hills. And foliage.
Organization/logistics: Someone (hi, Adrian!) clearly thought this through. There are no burpee penalties – elite/competitive racers receive a black band, and attempt to hold on to that band for dear life for the duration of the race. You have to complete every single obstacle. Multiple attempts are allowed, yet the first attempts hold “right-of-way”, while the furthest right lane of any obstacle is designated as “multiple attempt” lane. If you cannot complete an obstacle, the obstacle official cuts off your wristband, takes a note of your bib number AND radios the bib number to the staff, keeping track of the results. Kinda brilliant, no?
Drug testing. Those racers that are randomly selected to be drug tested will be notified at the finish line, then escorted directly to the sample station. You may want to start paying attention to the ingredients in your magic pre-workout powder.
Obstacles: over 50 (!!), including two sets of monkey bars, two rigs, one set of hanging pipes, and a bunch of others. And no, they are not counting a naturally occurring hill as an obstacle.
There will be water – no swims, but river crossings (some waist deep), and plenty of wet incorporated into obstacles (e.g. below monkey bars, integrated into over/under, etc).
We will see some classics – various walls, heavy carries, monkey bars.
OCRWC is taking place on a permanent obstacle course (Mud, Guts and Glory), so it has an advantage of using some pretty badass structures that are already set up.
The absolute wow factor are the obstacles. And I have not even seen half of them yet. These contraptions of metal, ropes, tubes and tunnels, wood and plastic look like modern devices of collective torture. Do you see why I am so excited???
I mean… when was the last time I looked at an obstacle, and did not even know what the heck I was supposed to do? Do I… climb this? Hang off of this? Run up it? Crawl under it?
[A friend did explain this one to me – you are supposed to jump, reaching for the slit between the wood panels, and then climb over. Ahhh… I anticipate bruises around knees and ankles.]
My favorite part? Seeing signature obstacles set up by the different race series – BattleFrog, Toughest and others. A bit of spice. A bit of international flavour. True spirit of World Championships.
Bagels are for breakfast. And Corn Flakes. And that other colored cereal. And waffles, bananas and apples. We must be at an American hotel. Did someone say carbs?
Meanwhile, if you see me on/around the course, gimme a hug, don’t be a stranger.