For the past 2 years Nikolaj, Ida Mathilde and I have won the national Team Relay at the OCREC. This year the organizers had decided to remove the mix category from the competition, so Nikolaj and I teamed up with fellow Reborn OCR athlete Andreas Stahl Olsen to kick some butt in Poland!
The team relay has 3 legs; a running, a strength and a technical leg. Nikolaj would start with some of the fastest European obstacle racers on a 4,8k route with 8 obstacle. Then Andreas would crush 2,5km in the forest with carries and also a few technical obstacles. Finally I would take my turn and run 3,2 km with 12 obstacles or so before the team would meet up and complete the last few kilometers and 6 obstacles side-by-side.
Nikolaj would go first, here’s his point-of-view action from the day: ” The running part was my part and the first part of the relay so I lined up with the top runners of the fields. The race started and we all fired of. Quickly I found myself in a 5 person group with Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium, Russia and me from Denmark. I know the most of the competitors and had and idea about their running level, so I knew it was going to be a close race.
We switched places throughout the 4.8km course and the terrain dictated how fast we could run. The obstacles were simple, but still tough to complete because of the full out effort. It felt like you had to fight for every meter against the other guys. But my legs felt okay so I stayed in the high intensity and with under 1 km to go, it was all about keeping up with the guys. Poland came in first with a 10sec lead followed by all the other guys including me. I give a high five to Andréas and he is off. I spend 30-60 sec just trying to catch my breath. I knew I couldn’t have run harder… “
Andreas continues the story: “I moved into the strength-changing-zone were Nikolaj would come rushing any minute. Standing there not knowing when and which runner you see first is a hard time, when all you hunger for, is to get the clap from your teammate and being set free. Czech republic is the first nationality who is being called out. In 5th position Nikolaj shows up and now it’s my turn, starting side by side with Belgium. Jumping from a bunch of tires and through a big monkeybar is the first and the easiest part of the course. From here it goes uphill and down again to a rig. Being lighter and faster than most of my competitors, this part suited me well and I was now in 2nd position – closing the gap on 1st. But from here on it was pure suffering starting with carrying an atlas stone ~200m. Here I was pushed back to 3rd, but I kept contact with 2nd trough the triceps killer and up the hill with a sandbag. This 600 meter carry was my mental finish line. From that part only some rings, poles and a pulling obstacles was left. So from the top of the hill I could give it all and hunt the 2 guys in front down. But to my surprise, another carry has been squeezed in – damn it! Before I can clap Leon’s hand, I have to take a run (walk..) uphill a stiff climb with a heavy metal chain. I was clearly not ready for that surprise and had only been hiking some few meters before my legs started burning.. Before I reach the top all the guys I outran in the start had caught up to me and now forced me back in a position as number 6. I somehow managed to hit my eyebrow with the chain witch left me with a bloody face when I finally reached the changing zone. I almost closed the gap to top 5 and Leon is sent out, still fighting for the podium. I’m sorry I hadn’t seen the extra carry, but happy I pushed hard all the way!”
Meanwhile Nikolaj and Andreas were fighting hard to give me the best possible start, I was working hard to get my little legs working. They were sore and tired, but I needed them to be fast and responsive! Luckily they felt good once Andreas was sent off and seeing him close in as 3rd guy was awesome! Well, except for the fact we had overseen an extra carry which sent him back to sixth!
3-2-1 and Andreas claps my hand. I start off somewhat conservative and run towards the first obstacle; North Pole by Biegun. I feel in control, overtake one guy and find something like my 5k race pace towards the stadium were the next couple of obtacles would be. I can clearly see at least 2 teams in front of me and I restrain myself from going all out just yet. I know the true battle will be the last 1,5km in the forest on the hills, since there wasn’t a lot of technical obstacles on this leg. So pushing hard and controlled I’m slowly closing the gap an Bison and once we’re at the Irish table I have contact with 4th place. I overtake him (Czhech Republic, Pavel Krejci) on the Barbarian Race rig in the forest and start chasing the Russians, Polish and Belgium athletes. I know Thibault had a decent lead and it was hard to imagine catching him – but that didn’t stop me from trying!
Racing like a madman through the forest and a few obstacles like some sliding ropes and a rope climb, I soon find myself ascending towards the changing zone not too far from 3rd and 2nd place. Just a few walls + balance and a weaver to go, then my suffering would be ever. Wait, no it wouldn’t! It would continue, but at least with the team! So I weaved all I could and with almost no energy left in my arms I suddenly had Andreas’ hand in my back and the chase continued!
The first 400m were the worst. The guys are full of energy again and I’m suffering. They’re literally pushing towards the balancing pipes in which we all had to go with the long yellow beam. We’re still a bit from 4th place and we keep chasing over the high wall with rope! Only sticking to one lane pr. team makes it to gain any ground, but as we got to the 3rd last obstacle (ramp) we’re close – very close!
Over the ramp and through the last two obstacles we’re pushing hard, but to no avail. We miss the podium with just 3 seconds to the Polish athletes. First place was Belgium and 2nd was Russia. We raced hard and had a great damn time, so no complaints and huge props to all teams who made an effort!
Special congratulations to Ida, Ulrikke, Maria, Katja, Annika and Mica for taking both 1st and 2nd in the womens National relay!