Some Huge News from the OCR World Championships Committee this afternoon, after months of planning they have changed the format for OCRWC 2016 – checkout the official statement:

“In 2016, the OCR World Championships will continue it’s mission to help push the sport of obstacle racing to the next level. As the sport has grown, not only have the obstacles evolved, but the distances have as well. More and more athletes can now be considered specialists at certain distances throughout the season, yet when it comes to an end of season championship, they are all asked to run one distance – usually, the longest and most difficult.

In 2016, the OCR World Championships will change the model, moving our sport forward, allowing athletes to truly specialize and train appropriately, by offering 3 championship distances. In 2016, we’ll crown (3) World Champions at the same event: short, middle, and long distance.”

It’s All in the Details

We asked for some clarification on the exact distances, the location of the 2016 OCR World Championships, and any new details they could provide. OCRWC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kloha provided some details:

While the exact naming convention will be coming soon, the distances are relatively standardized ones that you can find around the sport of OCR, triathlon, and road running: (All distances are approximate and may be subject to change)

  • Short: 3-5 miles
  • Medium: 8-10 miles
  • Long: 12+

Regarding the 2016 location, we will be announcing that after the completion of this year’s OCR World Championships, in an unveiling video similar to what we did last year. Moving forward, that video will continue to be a thank you to all of that year’s athletes and also unveiling of the new venue. We will also be opening pre-registration at the same time, as many of the waves sold out early this year.

Our new qualification criteria will also be announced soon to more accurately represent the 2016 OCRWC model, as well as other previously planned changes.

3 Champions. 1 Day. 1 Sport

We asked Amelia Boone what she thought of the format change:

“I love the idea of multiple distance championships. I think it could be the next step forward in obstacle racing  and hopefully it  brings even a wider array of athletes to the sport.” – Amelia Boone

Earlier this week, Tim Sinnett penned part I of a series on What is Obstacle Course Racing as a Sport? where he made some very valid points, comparing OCR to other running events:

Who would win in a race between Justin Gatlin, Nick Symmonds, Galen Rupp, and Ryan Hall?

It’s not a question that can be answered unless you know how long the race is, right? All four of these guys are amazing runners with very different skills sets. Justin would easily win the 100m, Nick would clearly win in the 800m, Galen would most likely win the 10k, and Ryan would definitely win the marathon. You can’t really answer which one is the “fastest” or “best” in a race until you determine the length of the race. – Read more of Tim’s Article

“As I mentioned in my series of articles on OCR as a sport, obstacle course racing is a broad and varied spectrum, demanding different combinations of different skill sets. It’s exciting to see that the industry is recognizing these differences (and previous skill set biases), and is embracing a larger concept of “the sport of OCR.” This diversity will be the key to moving everything forward.” – Tim

OCR athlete and coach Yancy Culp shared his views earlier today on Facebook:

“The biggest step in the right direction will be any and all orgs putting on WC events with different distances just like in swimming and track & field. Right now every org has one distance at their WC’s and that’s like saying, okay LaShawn, you’ve been the best all year in the 400m but you have to run the 5k at the Olympics or Nick, you’ve rocked the 800m all year but you have to run the 10k at the Olympics. Michael, we know you own the 100 & 200m free but you have to swim the 1500m in the Olympics. BattleFrog and Spartan both have put more emphasis on longer is better and I’m confident we’ll see this change.”
– Yancy Culp, via Facebook

Rose Wetzel-Sinnett shared:

“I love seeing the sport progress from a solely endurance-based championship season to one that will give a wider variety of athletes a chance to shine. The short option will attract American Ninja Warrior and Crossfit athletes, creating a more competitive, high-profile sport. For those of us naturally built for and/or passionate about short courses, we can spend our time training for what we enjoy most, without trying to ‘fit a square peg into a round hole.'” – Rose Wetzel-Sinnett

A brief exclamation from Brakken Kraker came through on Facebook Messenger:

“Good lord. It’s like Christmas came early!”

Think Olympic

How many disciplines are there in track & field? Without Google, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with (27) running, jumping, and throwing events in summer olympics. OCR will benefit greatly from this more granular specialization at the 2016 OCR World Championships, especially if the long-term goal is more of a global organization, or even eventyal Olympic glory.

One Size Does Not Fit All

So, what do YOU think about this format change, sound off in the comments and of course share on Facebook!