“You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit”
The OCR World Championship returned to Kelvedon Hatch just outside London in 2019 and athletes from all over the world were invited for dinner – the menu would consist of muddy running, heavy carries and badass obstacles. Flying from Copenhagen to London I could feel my hunger and like a lion, I surveyed my prey on a distance. The course was looking awesome with 24 obstacles spread out on a +3k course, plenty of rigs and just 1 carry.
With the map in front of me I could make a plan for the race. I wanted to figure out where I could push hard, which obstacles I could take a chance with and when I should take it easy. That said, then my primary and put-it-in-one-sentence plan for the weekend would be; take a chance! I would much rather end up 20th than 7th (like 2018) knowing that finishing 20th was because I took a chance that could have resulted in a top 3 finish. In other words – I was planning to risk it to get the biscuit, because I believed I had the capacity to make the podium on this course.
Great plan, right?!
A hectic start
12 athletes in stood impatiently waiting for the magic 3-2-1. The race had a 20 minute delay which had me stressing out a bit, but standing next to Team Canada, Ryan Atkins and Jesse Bruce, I get my head back together and focus on the calm before the storm. As the crowd yells the countdown I crunch the graphene on my Inov8’s into the ground and shoot off. I comfortably allow the big guns to get in front and focus on my pace. Onto the trenches I’m doing OK although my vertically challenged legs aren’t making the gaps any shorter. I come out around 7th place and head through the waterhole, over the tires and up to the over-over-over-over… obstacle. I knew this could easily be a cardio killer, so I stayed in control and find myself in 6th afterwards – what a joy!
Through the forest and into the first of many rigs all is OK. I didn’t expect to be with the faster guys just yet, so I’m scared I’m overdoing it – but what the heck, it’s the OCRWC and we’re here to go all out.
Rigs rigs and hey, rigs!
Cruising through the forest again I can hear a big Canadian bear catching up on me, as Atkins is showing muscle. Also Ludvig is looking strong next to Piotr and Perelygin. Together we’re chasing down Silin and Albon. First chance to close a gap is the Nuclear Rig. I jump into the obstacle and complete the first half without an issue – the next part I had a good plan for too, but Perelygin is still on it and I waste a couple of valuable seconds. Touching the ground I’m still 6th and we head into Valkyrie, which is basically Stairway to Heaven on crack! I get through and I’m now 5th, super close to the other guys (well, not Jon and Sergei). The monkey bars (Sabretooth) would be defining as I overtake the guys and now I’m 3rd! It’s exciting and I rush into Gibbons – failing hard!
This is the point where I definitely chose to risk it. I mess around and miss the grip 4 times before I finally get it – then I decide to lache from 3rd gibbon to the bell. I should’ve matched my grip, but I didn’t and I fell on my butt. I rush back to re-do the obstacle losing my advantage and coming out in 5th.
Chasing the top
Through the Dragon’s Back (Triumph) I overtake Ludvig and almost close the gap on Van Tonder. But I’m busted at this point.. I feel like there’s a heavy weight on my chest and breathing is nothing short of miserable. I know I’m slowing down a bit, but I still come out of Skitch in 4th and head down the field, chasing Thomas through Skull Valley and up the ramp wall. There’s no doubt he’s running a bit faster than me, but I’m not here to quit. Ninja Rings was a hurdle for my Russian friend, Perelygin. I overtake him and get back in 3rd place, only to have him race past me in the forest. He’s slowly building a small lead. I do my best to catch up through Snake Pit and on the next run where the crowd is back cheering me on. I’m pushing, pushing hard but I feel like my legs are hardly moving. I put the yoke on my back and want to walk, but keep the run going – drooling like a maniac and all!
Dropping the yoke I’m 3 obstacles from the finish line. I clear the balance beams with shaky legs and then there’s a slight smell of Sangria and Paella – Albert Soley just ran past me! I try and keep up, gaining a bit on the weaver and we’re neck-to-neck. We go through the muddy drains and sprint towards the huge Inov8 wall. I’m exchausted and grap the rope, pulling it like my life depended on it – only to have Albert make it slightly faster than me and securing the 4th place finish with 3 seconds. What a RACE!
I’m happy to wrap up this blog and to wrap up an amazing OCRWC 3k race. What an incredibly experience – now I’m ready to crush it at the 100m course and also the Team Relay with Nikolaj and Ida Mathilde!
Congratulations to all who conquered the course today and especially to the podium finishers:
1st Jonathan Albon
2nd Thomas Van Tonder
3rd Sergei Perelygin
1st Nicole Mericle
2nd Ida Mathilde
3rd Rebecca Hammond
Thanks for the cheering, guys – see you around this weekend!