Next up in my Bad Ass Kids of OCR article series, meet Elliot Nickelson. She has accomplished so many goals, both on and off course, at such a young age. Elliot finds that her gymnastic conditioning training helps her stay strong and accomplish obstacles on course. Please take a moment to enjoy Elliot's story and learn more about her “Run for You” program.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Elliot Nickelson. I am in 4th grade, a Junior Girl Scout, and a level 3 gymnast. I love to run and do Spartan races.

What first sparked your interest in running OCR races?

I would see my mom do it all the time and when I saw that I wanted to do it too!

Please tell us about your first OCR race?

3 years ago in Seattle. It was also my mom’s first race. I had a lot of fun and after that, I was inspired to do more.

As a younger participant in the sport, what do you find your biggest struggles are?

2 years in a row, I have lost both shoes and the mud was scary. That was not fun. Also sometimes other than Spartan Race, the other races don’t take kids seriously and make good courses.

Do you prefer to run in the competitive waves or in open heats?

Open heats. Because everyone helps and it is nice seeing kids work together and it is a lot of fun!

How do you train for your obstacle course races?

In gymnastics, we would do conditioning and it was not easy. This is all the training I do for obstacle course races or GoRuck.

What is the biggest obstacle that you are working to overcome?

I need to get people to join my program “Run for You,” which is where kids run for other kids with disabilities.

Do you play or participate in any other sports? If yes do you find this helps with your obstacle course racing?

Yes, I am a gymnast and conditioning is not easy. We train all year long and compete almost every weekend between January and April.

As a younger athlete, who inspires you and why?

My mom did a 50mile ruck with 10 lb and that inspired me.
Now she is training for something even crazier and I think it's pretty awesome, but still very crazy.

What has been your proudest OCR moment to date?

When I got my kids trifecta in a day last year.

What has been your scariest OCR moment to date?

When I got stuck in the mud in Seattle last year!

What big race goal are you working towards?

Doing my trifecta in a day next month and helping with Special Spartans in August.

The OCR community is a family. Do you find that when you are racing you see people helping each other out on course?

Yes. One of my favorite things is helping other kids on the course and encouraging other kids to do the same.

Have you ever done an obstacle course race with a parent or sibling? If so tell us about it?

Yes. I got to do Warrior Dash with my dad and brother last year. It was my first time doing an adult course and it was amazing!

Do you see yourself participating in OCR 5 years from now? If yes tell us why.

Yes. I want to do an adult Spartan course with my mom like my big sister did and in 5 years I’ll finally be old enough.

From your perspective, what can race directors / OCR companies do more of to entice kids to run the course?

For races other than Spartan make a real kids course. Spartan is the only one that has a kids course that is a challenge.

What is one takeaway you have learned from running OCR races?

Getting muddy is far more fun than most of my friends think and the friends you make at races are fun.

Is there anything else you wish to share with us?

I am working to make my website and program “Run for you” kick off this year. This program is where kids run for other kids with disability and send them the medals. I have a friend Julia that I run for and she is such a good friend. I want more kids my age to see how much fun this can be. I learned something from gymnastics at the little gym that I want to share with other kids that think they can’t run an OCR. My teacher Mrs. Britt always told us, “you don’t have to be the best just try your best.” If kids come out to a Spartan Kids race or GoRuck family event they will see this is true.

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