The Preview

With a mix of excitement and nostalgia, I prepare for what might be my last OCR European Championships. This year, the stakes are higher than ever as I aim to become the first athlete to clinch three gold medals in the short course distance (2018, 2019 + 2024?). The thrill of competition, the challenge of new obstacles, and the chance to make history are all converging in Folgaria, Italy, in just a few days – I’m both nervous and excited.

Eleven days ago, I arrived in the picturesque Carezza, nestled in the Italian Dolomites. My homies for this adventure include fellow Dane Gustav Cordua and Norwegian superstar Signy Karoline. And soon also Ida Mathilde! The breathtaking landscapes, delicious Italian cuisine, and perfect weather have provided the ideal backdrop for our training sessions. Have you seen the views on my Instagram stories?!

To prepare for this event, I’ve been following my running and strength plan, but also my own Get A Grip training program. This helps me get ready to tackle the new, untested obstacles that await us in Folgaria. The program’s focus on grip and pull power is designed to give me the upper hand in the most challenging sections of the course.

This year’s OCR European Championships promise to be the most competitive yet. Top athletes like Thibault Debuscherre, Stijn Lagrand, Martin Backström, and Gian Maria Savani have all dialed in their training to peak for this event have arrived early. The field is stacked with talent, and every competitor is bringing their A-game. While live coverage might be sparse (read: Non-existing), I’ll be sharing updates and highlights on my Instagram, so stay tuned! Would you have tuned in if there was live coverage?

The countdown is on, and in just a few days, it will be time to step onto the course and give it my all. Whether this is my last OCREC or just another chapter in my OCR journey, one thing is certain: I’m ready to leave everything on the course and chase that third gold medal with all the heart and grit I’ve got. And let me emphasise – winning is important, but I will celebrate my effort leading into the event no matter how the race unfolds. The true winner is the one who makes the most of life and follows through with effort and love. I’ve done so, and I will continue to do so. Whether or not my little legs are faster than the others won’t take anything away from the big picture! 🙂

The 3k

I’ll write this after the race. Or wait, should we write it now?! “The gun went off, I ran smoothly up every hill, flew through the forest, levitated through the obstacles and kissed every bell and competitor. The finish line didn’t even see me coming and somehow FISO decided to have great live coverage, pay athletes and we all had a party by the lake. Great music, dancing half undressed and with Aperol Sprits in our hands. What an adventure.” 

Okay – that’s not what happened. Would’ve been a good time tho, right?! Here’s the real recap:

I started in the first heat alongside Gian Maria Savani, Jesse De Heer, Kryukov Nikita, Ruben Garcia, Dimitri Houles, Wojciech Wojtyszyn and Morgan Maxwell. I decided to apply the Jakob Ingebrigtsen method and went out dead last. I had been running a lot in this terrain the past weeks, and flying up the first 2 hills never had any good results. This bought me a good overview of the course and space on the obstacles – and a solid last place in the heat. This changed quickly though, as I moved through the rope climb, herc hoist, Samurai (a traverse) and the spinning wheels obstacle with ease. After the next uphill we had the first carry, and Jesse was almost a full carry ahead of me – did I start too slowly?!

The pace settled in and I started to advance leading into the obstacle gauntlet with the key obstacles of this race. A tarzan swing (should’ve jumped out in it, didn’t…) and then the Italian diet. The grips were shaped as pasta (nun-chucks), pizza slices and coffee beans. I had a good plan and swung through relatively easily, and here came the one most people feared: Spaghetti. It’s a 4,5 meter semi-low rig with a lot of this ropes hung up closely. I went for the no-feet-technique, which I don’t recommend anyone to do, and nailed it. Grip training on POINT, baby! I was right behind Gian Maria and Ruben, and could see Jesse at the atlas carry. This was still a race I was in! But oh boy, those steep uphills were no friends of mine… And the next one was the steepest!

Managed to stick with the boys as we ran through the forest trails and I again increased my effort. I think I timed it really well, and hit the super steep downhill with intention. My intention was to let baby Jesus take the wheel and hammered it, luckily with no injuries. I also came down feeling strong-ish and could race into the last kilometer. Continue reading this after the Patreon pitch!

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We finally hit something flat and I felt like home. Only a bit of running and some cool obstacles ahead of me – bring it, boys! Ruben and Gian Maria managed to still be ever so slightly ahead of me, but the frustrating part was seeing Jesse and Nikita much further ahead. I knew I had failed a winning performance, which hurt all the annoying placed (read: Heart), but I’m not one to back off from a good battle. We flipped the easiest tire flip ever made and then I went ahead and threw away 10 seconds failing the slackline not once, but twice! 

Fera Tenaci was the next obstacle, which had athletes using big swings to reach each grip. It was fundamentally quite easy, but the last grip was a hexagon donut which made many athletes nervous and confused. Smacking the bell I landed and went into the low-to-high-to-low rig from Toroz. I really like this, as it takes both strength and technique to master – and good training = good obstacle speed. 

Not much left to do; a dip walk, a ramp, tyrolean traverse and some laser shooting. I was with Gian Maria and Ruben as I picked up the pew-pew-laser, but they had a bit of extra time on me and finished just ahead of me. Gian Maria finished 6 seconds ahead in 8th place, Goncalo Prudencio snuck in between us and Ruben had to do a penalty loop before finishing the race. Here’s your men’s and women’s top 3:

1 – Stijn Lagrand
2- Jesse De Heer
3 – Thibault Debuscherre

1 – Alisa Petrova 
2 – Helena Schuster
3 – Henriette Bardrum

Can’t believe Alisa pulled almost 3 minutes on 2nd place! That’s like 12 guys from the top field right in there, she CRUSHED IT. Unfortunately Ida Mathilde was disqualified… So if you wanna make her and I feel a lil better and haven’t gotten our new OCR Program yet – now is a good time <3

Special thanks to Jack Goras from The OCR Report for the photos, to the Italian Federation for putting on a good event and to all of you who cheered/race on the course today, watched from home and read this blog!

The 15k

Okay, I’ll take you guys truly behind the curtains on this one. I wrote this text to my coach after the 3k:

1) I’m not talented enough to compete with these guys on a course this mountainous. I know I don’t have hills available often, but it was pretty evident. I’ve done good prep, and I simply couldn’t race with them.
2) My Ingebrigtsen tactic wasn’t bad. I felt like I could push consistently and, dude, I am so good at these obstacles.
3) We’ve been slacking on strength work and I felt it today. In the future, I believe we need a more advanced plyometric session, a regular uphill athlete-style lifting session, and either an uphill carry or HYROX-style workout with increased HR and strength elements.
4) I wasn’t all that excited about racing. Didn’t feel very good during the taper. It was a dull-ish feeling, to be honest. I did love meeting people and the event was much better than expected, but yeah.
5) I think that was it.

Then I spoke to Signy, Ida, and myself about what to do next. The obvious thought for me was to find out if it was the course or myself that created the above feelings from the 3k. Therefore, I paid 195 EUR (we agree this is expensive, right?) for a last-minute ticket for the Standard Course. I strapped on my shoes and got ready to chase people, as I started in heat 3.

And that’s what I did. I was smart on the uphills, watched my HR, had gels, and crushed the obstacles and runnable parts. Only to find myself in 12th, 9 minutes behind the winner. I averaged 172 in HR, which was perfect for a 1:22 hour race, but yeah, I just couldn’t run with the gang. It’s down to the same problem I have had since I did my first OCR in 2012: I’m not fast enough.

And that’s OK, by the way. The progress I’ve made shouldn’t be diminished by the amazing athleticism and skills of my competitors. I am proud and will finish this year in style!

The Team Race

Can we also agree THIS is the BEST race of the weekend at any championship?! I was beyond excited to race with the boys. There was only one caveat: Jonas arrived at the race site at 2 AM after a long day of racing Nordic Race and traveling. It was unlikely he could pull out a top performance under such conditions, but we started with the intent of winning! Heat 1 was us, the Dutch, Italians, and Czech Republic. I went out in front, as the plan was for the others to catch me on the long uphills (they’re both stronger than me there). We quickly found ourselves in 3rd, close to the Dutch who conservatively ran behind the Italians. It was somewhat moist, which made the obstacles just a tad bit more difficult—or at least interesting.

When we ran out of the forest after 2.5k, it was apparent Jonas had forgotten his mountain legs. No big deal, we worked to get him up to speed, and Gustav gave him all the support. On the downhills, I had an advantage and arrived strongly at the obstacles—but it all went to shit at Firefighters. Both Jonas and Gustav got cut within one second for overstepping, something I’m 99% sure they didn’t do. The judge ended up cutting a ridiculous number of bands here, ruining the race for loads of teams. I’m all about good rules, but for fuck’s sake, this has nothing to do with failing obstacles or gaining an advantage. A classic FISO situation, unfortunately.

Morale was a little low after this incident, but we kept on running and did well on the rest of the mountain part of the course. I struggled a little with balance obstacles but felt like I had amazing running legs for the next 4km. Once we got to the finish area of the race, Jonas unfortunately missed the bell. We also saw the ropes on the quarter pipe wall were gone, but after a few tries, we got the team up and over. Communications were great, we just didn’t run a good race, and with three penalty loops, we went from 3rd to 5th. I’ve never placed so poorly in a team race. Actually, the entire weekend had results I’ve never experienced at the OCREC. Sucks… But yeah, you get what you get. Life goes on, and I’ll give it another try in Costa Rica and Mammoth. And Croatia. And yeah, at some other races, because running OCR events is fundamentally fun and awesome!

 

 

Read my other blogs posts right here!

The Grip- & Pull power program

Read about the 8-week grip- & pull power program, the 4-week strength preparation program and get insights into the program, into why I made it and what you can expect from it!

The OCR program

Discover the perfect blend of flexibility and structure with our OCR training program, crafted by World Champions Leon Kofoed and Ida Mathilde. Designed for recreational OCR athletes, this program offers expert tips and a balanced approach to running, strength, and grip training. Join our 8-week program to elevate your OCR performance and tackle your next obstacle race with confidence!

Gov Games 2024

Discover how Team Copenhagen defended their title at the Gov Games, tackling grueling obstacles from the Burj Khalifa stair climb to the intense final showdown. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at our strategies, the hurdles we overcame, and the exhilarating moments of victory.

The Czech OCR Championships

Dive into my journey at the Czech OCR Championships—a weekend where process triumphed over perfection. From navigating tricky new obstacles to tackling a strategic 12k with a smile, discover how embracing the true spirit of OCR led to unexpected victories.