The 5th annual OCR World Championship would be the very first OCRWC to be held in Europe. The location is Kelvedon Hatch, which meant the setting would be different from the past 4 years – a flat and muddy course was on the menu. For starters: That’s preferred when you live in flat-as-a-pancake country!
The route map was looking amazing. 3k with 24 obstacles and about 10 of them were grip-based like rigs or traverses, not a bad fit for my style of racing. As always I was fearing the heavy carries, but with only 2-3 of those it would be manageable. This is the course map:
After a demanding Thursday with plenty of queuing, some obstacle-sightseeing and plenty of high-fives to fellow racers, I felt ready for the Short Course! Arriving early for the race I saw many Age Group athletes tackle the course, which gave an idea of how much time we would spend racing – best guess was about your 5k PB if obstacles were handled quickly.
On the short course it’s not a mass start, but athletes are sent off in waves of about 10. I wasn’t in the first wave so my plan of hatching on to Atkins fell short. I got in the 3rd wave with Sergei Perelygin, who’s consistently been beating me at World’s. A decision was made: Let’s beat the speedy Russian athlete!
5-4-3-2-1 and the gun blew. We launched out of the startbox like mad dogs as the first bit is (slightly) downhill. I keep my own pace, knowing most athletes go out much harder than I like. Over the muddy trenches, crossing the tires and through the crawl I caught most of the quick-starters and I’m next to Sergei. We swap places a few times during the wreckbag carry and speed on towards La Gaffe together. I felt good here, thinking I could somewhat easily pass Sergei on the obstacles – but I was mistaken! He kept up with my pace on the damn obstacle and even though I did OK on Platinum Rig and the Varjagan Saga, I only found myself with a little lead. I pushed the pace towards the Trapeze obstacle, in which I got a bit of a lead only using 4 bars on the go.
Photo by Jason Woods
The battle continued as I tried to stay fast towards Isotope and Dragon’s Back! I have no clue how Atkins, Albon, Beni, Albert, Ludwig or the other favourites were doing so I just pushed harder to keep Sergei at bay – the sweet taste of finally beating him kept me running. He ran past me just before the Weaver, but pushing hard here I passed him again and sped towards the Force5 Rig. Easily going through here and went to a Nuclear obstacle, dropping the bomb. It was a bit weird and felt more like an exercise than an obstacle, maybe because the athlete had to sit on his/hers bum and lift a rocket out the water. Well, over and out we raced towards Skitch 2.0 and at this point I started to feel fatiqued. Sergei overtook me on the running and I messed around on Skitch, losing enough seconds for him to race away from me…
Photo by Bjarne Rasmussen
The struggle was real at this point but thinking about making up time at Skulls, I raced towards the last carry. That one sucked! Carrying a heavy missile, but not on your shoulder, in your arms. It was wobbly and I didn’t manage to get a good rhythm. Blast it, I pushed through, did OK at the skulls and raced towards the last 2 obstacles!
2 muddy tubes stood in my way before the last obstacle and even though I couldn’t find Sergei in any of them (darn it) I went through and dived head first in the mud like a proper rookie. Only about a 100 meters to go I simply ran hard not to miss the last obstacle – the Inov8 slippy wall. My new X-talon 210’s did the job although they were muddy as hell and crossing the A-frame I raced to the finish line and crashed on the ground.
Photo by Michelle Christensen
The mission was simple, leave it all out there and prove to everyone (and myself) I had the capacity to do well in a race that didn’t rely primarily on super-grip and ninja-skills. This course was well balanced and rigs were manageable for most, the start line was PACKED with top-athletes and I’m very, very happy to finish 7th in the time of 16:42 (22 seconds from the podium) and being the fastest Scandinavian athlete. Mission accomplished and I’m nothing short of thrilled to have run this race. Thanks to everyone who cheered me on and congratulations to the top-3 men and women. A big shout-out to the winner, Jonathan Albon, who took the win in astounding 15:37 and picked me up after I crashed at the finish line.
Photo by Fabian Yeo
Special thanks to my main cheer-squad, Katrine and Nikolaj, to the race organizers and everyone involved and of course to my faithful and supportive sponsors. Now focus is turning to the Sunday Team Relay in which Team Inov8/Nutramino is going for gold. Teammates Ida Mathilde og Nikolaj Dam are also racing the 15k, so Katrine and I will cheer them on!
I hope you enjoyed this post, it’s one of my very first on my new website. Feel free to drop a comment on my Instagram post with your thoughts.
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// Leon Kofoed