As a personal note, I get more excited with each woman that agrees to chat with me for this series. It is an honor to get to know a bit more about the fierce women that make the OCR sport amazing.
With that being said, Ashley Samples is nothing but ordinary. She won her age group at OCR World Championships in 2015, came in first place in 9 races this year (and accomplishing this while pregnant). Ashley was nominated in the Best Female OCR Racer category in the Mud Run Guide Best of OCR Awards. This season (January-August) she competed in 20 races in 9 states and won a race on 3 different continents. (Wadi Adventure race-UAE-Asia, Strong Viking-Netherlands- Europe, Many-North America) While pregnant she was able to top the podium with a first place finish at six events to include a half marathon, 3 Conquer the Gauntlets, a Strong Viking and a Savage Race.
What is your proudest achievement to date in your sport?
In 2015 I was the OCR World Champion for the 30-34 age group for women.
It was an amazing experience to compete with athletes from different countries.
When someone says to you Obstacle Race or Obstacle Course race, what does this bring to mind for you?
Adrenaline rush! Even hearing the words gets my adrenaline pumping and brings out my competitive side. I never liked running. Having the obstacles to look forward to is almost like a bribe to keep going. It is so exciting to not know what to expect next. It is the ultimate opportunity to go outside of your comfort zone and find out what you are truly capable of.
Out of everyone you have met in your industry, who inspires you and why?
I am going to get all mushy gushy on you. I met my boyfriend through obstacle course racing. He is an inspiration to me because he is very dedicated. He runs every day whether he wants to or not. He also helps get me up and moving on the days when I don't want to train. When we race together, he is always right there to meet me at the finish line- or if I end up “stuck” somewhere on the course he comes and helps to coach me through the obstacle. He is everything an obstacle racer inspires to be and on top of that he's the best friend anyone could ask for.
We all have our strengths and our own personal challenges. Please tell us about one strength that speaks to who you are, and one challenge that you are working to overcome (can be professional or personal)
I would say my strength is that I am very strong willed. Sometimes it can be a challenge also. When I set my mind to something, I do it. This helps have a never give up attitude that has helped pull me out of failure type situations and allowed me to persevere.
My own personal challenge that I currently undertaking is that I recently had a baby (December).
I have a very long road to travel to get back to racing the way I was when I found out I was expecting. One thing that does motivate me during this is my son. He had a LONG NICU stay – 41 days. That was really rough on me and it put many things into perspective. I have a new outlook on pain- both physical and emotional pain. The good thing is I found comfort in running and that has helped propel me forward.
If you could be any flavor of ice cream what would it be and why?
I would be coffee ice cream with chocolate chips- lets make that chocolate chunks. I mean coffee is life these days with a newborn and well- you can’t go wrong with chocolate. Dark chocolate probably- because I am not that sweet.
What was your first competitive event? Tell us about that
My first event when I raced competitively was Mud Endeavor. It is a local 5k OCR. I actually hadn't set out to “race” I was just running with my sister. She said go ahead without me…so I did. Little did I know that I was about to win my first race.
Is there an event/competition that you would never do? Why is that?
There are a few- for different reasons. Civilian Military Combine– I don't do CrossFit/weightlifting
Muderella or any other all women's events- I just think it is weird to single out just one gender. I would be annoyed if there was an all male event I wasn't allowed to attend.
What quote inspires you?
“Train until your idols become your rivals”
What is one little-known fact about you?
I have worn the same sports bra for every race for the past couple years. I've gotten pretty superstitious about it.
I know we all have our own training plans/schedules/goals – tell us a bit about yours
One ongoing training goal I like to maintain is 100 miles a month.
I like to change up my training to include rock climbing, Ninja gyms, orangetheory fitness, bootcamps, playing soccer.
Do you feel like you are a “minor” celebrity with what you have accomplished? if yes does that feel weird to you at all?
I definitely wouldn't say celebrity, but there's this weird thing where people know you…and you don't know them. One time that stands out to me is when a woman wanted a picture with me and said “My son loves you! He will think this is so cool!” Times like that make me think maybe it is just a case of mistaken identity. But at the same time I am a “fan girl” too. I look up to other women in the sport. Two who really stand out to me are Corinna Coffin and Rose Wetzel.
Please name one guilty pleasure you have?
I love dark chocolate covered pretzels and reality tv especially Survivor and Project Runway.
If someone wants to reach out to you on social media, how do they find you?
on facebook: .facebook.com/ajsamples