In obstacle course racing there are always those big races we all hear about but once in a while, there comes along a small local race that does it just right and can compete against some of the bigger names. One of those is Eagles Nest Training, in Smith Falls, Ontario – Canada.
I had the chance to talk to my friend Matt Volk who is the man behind Eagles Nest success and to hear what he’s doing to bring Canadian obstacle course racers a challenge through his series that is now an OCRWC qualifier.
What is your OCR background and how did you get into OCR’s?
I decided to try Mud Hero, in 2013. After finishing in a decent position overall I set my sites on Spartan Race. Thinking it was much the same as Mud Hero I was quickly surprised. I fell in love immediately and went on to get a trifecta my first year. Two years later I gave myself the goal of 50 races and ended the season with 55 races.
How did you get involved with Eagles Nest?
I met the organizers the first year of the event. They asked me to come on as a consultant and help with the project. It started as a charity race for the hospital foundation and has grown with private investment what it is today.
I don’t think Ontario has another training facility like Eagle’s Nest, however, have you heard of Shale Hill? If so, how would you compare yourself to that venue and what set’s Eagles Nest from it?
We are the first permanent OCR course in Ontario. I have heard of Shale Hill and been told nothing but amazing things. I think the difference between us and them is simply that every obstacle that is created at Eagles Nest has an elite and a family option. I wanted to challenge the best and still be fun for the average person to get their feet wet in the sport.
You have several races taking place throughout the year that are now OCRWC Qualified; Ragnarok, Phoenix Extreme and Rise Above the Mud, can you explain what you had to apply to the races in order for them to qualify?
It basically came down to consistency in the obstacle’s, rules and be challenging enough to make the cut. OCR World Championships is a great organization and its great to be able to work with them. Chipped timing is also a must to be able to verify the results.
Eagles Nest 5+ & Phoenix Extreme came from the idea of BattleFrog and BF Extreme, however, you made some changes to it, can you explain that to me once again in further detail, please?
So Phoenix Extreme will start prior to the elite heat the day of the race. The athletes will be running continuous laps until the cutoff time. The elite heat is going to be a 2 lap race. Should an athlete choose to run the Phoenix Extreme the first 2 laps they run will count as an elite entry time.
You’ve been getting a bit of exposure with Coach Pain coming in on April 22nd as part of an event that Pure Strength Nutrition – Strong Bars is putting together, this is pretty big news! Can we expect to see more of these events throughout the year?
I am very excited about this event and we will be looking at some other events of this type threw out the year. There is a lot of room for creativity when it comes to a permanent course and new event ideas.
Ragnarok Race, as we discussed, currently is the only night time OCR in Ontario, when did the first Ragnarok race take place and how did you come up with this idea?
We ran the first race last winter and it will be an annual event. I had attended a night snowshoe race at the Mad Trapper Race Series and was so impressed with the idea that I wanted to try it out in OCR.
Eagles Nest also runs some races where all proceeds go towards charity, is there one particular charity or organization that you raise funds for and why?
The Smiths Falls Community Hospital Foundation receives all the proceeds from Rise Above the Mud. They came up with the original idea to do an event and now I have the pleasure of hosting it for them every year. As well as growing the course to give them a better race every season.
Are all the obstacles built by yourself?
There were a couple obstacles when I came on board. I have modified and changed thing around on the new property. I have added 12 or 13 new obstacles as well as repurposing a few of the original ones.
You mentioned you have a few new obstacles this year: Warped Wall, Walls, Rope Climb and 12×20 Cargo Net….is there one particular obstacle you would like to add eventually?
I have a surprise obstacle for Ragnarok that has not yet been seen in Canada. In the future, I would like to add Dragons Back and the hanging traverse walls.
The medals look pretty amazing, these will be handmade by yourself…..how did you come up with the idea for them and why not outsource them?
The medals were an idea my brother and I came up with. I wanted to have something different and a medal made of stone is different.
Since you are between Montreal and Toronto, is there any place for people to camp overnight as an incentive for them to make the trip?
For the summer races, I will be offering on-site camping. Ragnarok will be a little cold for camping but there are a few hotels in Smiths Falls that would love to have athletes.
What is your long-term goal for Eagles Nest?
My long-term goal is to grow the venue into a destination for OCR athletes to come and compete and train always improving and making it bigger and better.