I am (relatively) old. I am slow. I have a surgically repaired broken ankle and a torn meniscus. I am also an OCR Athlete. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I tell people all the time, “Just try Obstacle Course Racing, it can change your life – It changed mine.”
Why Obstacle Course Racing?
I had just turned 50 years old in 2013 when a friend challenged me to put my newfound fitness to the test by getting out there and actually applying myself on a race course. Many people in their 50’s already act “Old”. I vowed never to fall into the trap of letting my activities limit my life. I had experienced a total transformation in fitness where I lost 135 pounds in 18 months, and was in the best shape of my life. OCRs seemed like the “over the top” way to see just how tough I really was. The first time I’d ever run more than a mile at any one time in my life was the 7k Badass Dash and it was the most fun I’d ever had. I learned that I had a long way to go to get to where I wanted to be physically, but the sport introduced me to a whole different peer group and circle of friends. The people and family are what make OCRs indispensible to my life now. I’ve now completed over 40 races and I plan to continue to race as long as humanly possible.
Without Obstacle Course Racing I wouldn’t have the friendship and love that I currently am blessed with. I earned the right to wear Dirtbags orange and my Team is my family. I am a member of the Georgia Obstacle Racers and Mud Runners (GORMR) and several other Teams that I get to see and run with at events all over the country. I am involved with More Heart Than Scars, Bert’s Big Adventure, and Operation Enduring Warrior as a Community Ambassador. We are dedicated to helping raising money and awareness, along with racing with adaptive athletes, wounded warriors, and children with illnesses. When your hobby can make a difference in someone else’s life, it just makes everything that much better. The OCR Community means so much to me that every race is like a Family Reunion, and I’m even going to be getting married at the BattleFrog Central Florida in March.
I’ve still never rung the bell at the top when I’ve attempted a rope climb, but I have sat at the top of a cargo net or A Frame and helped hundreds of people conquer their fear of heights. I cannot run at a 7 minute per mile pace, but I have placed highly enough in my Age Group to win awards and qualify for Championships (Being Old has its advantages). I will probably never cross the Finish Line in first place, but I have always crossed that Finish Line, and even earned my Double Trifecta this year. I shattered my ankle on a race course, but continued the final 3.5 miles and completed all obstacles. Having OCRs as my goal and my passion allowed me to focus on rehabilitation and getting back out on the race course as soon as possible.
Why Everyone Should Run OCRs
Those of us who have already been bitten by the bug know why we do these things and love them, but the vast majority of people have never given OCRs a shot. Traditional runners and even Triathaloners routinely look at us as their lunatic cousins. People who only go to the clean, air conditioned splendor of their gyms and fitness clubs might think that getting dirty is unimaginable. And the folks sitting on their couches and taking the path of least resistance probably need to be convinced to break a sweat. To anyone who hasn’t given Obstacle Course Racing a try I say this, “JUST DO IT!” Everyone can do these races! I’ve raced with athletes who are quadriplegics, paraplegics, people without limbs or with prosthetics, folks on crutches, and patients currently receiving chemotherapy. Extremely overweight people, young children, elderly great grandparents, and everyone in between have a place on an OCR course. Getting out there and doing something fun, challenging, and different could turn into the best thing you’ve ever done, but you won’t know until you try.