I have started obstacle racing in 2011. Or 2010? I forget. It was a freaking long time ago. Even longer in OCR years, which are kinda like dog years – one to seven or so.
And I cannot recall this much excitement surrounding a race location/date announcement. Nope, not even when the Spartan Race first moved their championships from Killington, and we were itching to find out where we are headed next.
The excitement around where the Champs will take place next year has been growing by leaps and bounds on social media. We could barely stand the tension. In fact, I even had to write a strongly worded letter to the organizers, urging them to hurry up.
Well… IT WORKED.
This, of course, means that my announcement from last year very much applies! Don’t forget – Tim Hortons, Scandinave Spa, passport, smiling and apologizing. Head here to see the location of the venue in relation to Toronto, the airport, and, of course, few KEY things to check out while you are in Collingwood.
Oh, and Adrian Bijanada dropped a little bomb, saying that:
“our intention that this will be the last time the event is held in North America for some time”.
Soooo… if you are averse to travelling outside of North America, 2017 is your chance.
THINGS WE CAN EXPECT: The same distances. The same race format. Medals for all participants. Different bands for each race. Same order of waves (elites to go last in the short course, and in order of estimated completion time for the long course). Expanded rule book and obstacle manual will be published as early as January with obstacles added every month. Stricter qualification criteria.
Perhaps, the biggest changes are coming to the qualification criteria. See the details here.
It will be significantly more difficult to qualify for the pro wave, as the placement requirements have been slashed in half compared to last year.
If you needed to place in the top 10 overall last year, you will need to be in the top 5 or even top 3 to compete in the pro wave in 2017.
Good call on the part of the organizers. I am hoping this will result in a smaller pro wave, ideally no more than 75 men and 75 women or so. I also see the qualifications getting even tougher in the next few years, resulting in a group of no more than 40 or so athletes per gender, similar to other sports.
The age group criteria will be a bit more forgiving, however, you will still need to haul ass, and place in the top 5 to 10 in your age group, and focus on timed events (e.g. only timed waves at Rugged Maniac, for example, will yield a qualification).
OCWRC is also rolling out a specific set of criteria for events that are interested in becoming qualifiers.
This will further streamline the process and cement OCRWC’s position as THE event to qualify for. Although I still do not understand why covering 50 miles in WTM would qualify you for a World Championship (but hey, you can do Agoge to qualify for Spartan Champs, so… if you do end up getting a coin, of course. Har har?).
Right now, the qualifying races in Canada include Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Badass Dash, Mud Hero, Polar Hero, XMAN, Alpha Obstacle and more. Fellow Canucks, living in Ontario – one of the qualifiers coming up is Polar Hero in Ottawa on February 4th.
And the Bison Race in Belarus sounds pretty awesome. I mean… what???