The 15K classic distance at the OCR World Championships is set to take place on Saturday. For many athletes, this is the race they spend the whole year training for, whether they are in the pro or age group divisions. This year over sixty-seven nations will be represented and competition is getting more intense each year.
Today, we take a look at the men's pro race. The age group athletes will be part of the OCR World Championships Facebook Live nightly shows. The question on many spectators mind is can anyone beat Jon Albon at the 15K Classic Distance course. Last year Albon won the race by over eight minutes ahead of the rest of the pro division. He has only gotten stronger as an athlete in the last year. Or will this be the year Ryan Atkins claims the title on his home turf before moving outside the United States? Hunter McIntyre has also made several public statements about his intentions on winning the event this year. We take a look at some of the men to watch.
Men to Watch
Jon Albon – UK/Norway
Jon Albon is an athlete that needs no real introduction in the sport of obstacle racing. He is the winningest athlete in Europe of all time. He has never been beaten in a Toughest Series since his first Toughest in 2015. This year he claimed the Extreme Skyrunning series title in trail running. He is coming off a second-place finish at Spartan Race World Championships in Lake Tahoe, then followed it up last weekend winning the Toughest Series finals in Oslo, Norway. He is coming into OCR World Championships looking to claim the World Championship Classic Distance title for the fourth time.
Ryan Atkins – Canada
Ryan Atkins comes into OCR World Championships prepped and ready to do battle on Blue Mountain. Atkins claimed the 3K title last year but the 15K title has eluded him every year. Atkins has placed second in this race every year behind Albon. Atkins recently finished fourth in the Spartan Race World Championships on Saturday then followed it up with a win in the Ultra Beast on Sunday. Atkins has spent much of the year focused on distance this year running the Toughest Mudder Series but look for Atkins to driving to the finish wanting to claim the title for himself.
Conor Hancock – UK
Conor Hancock comes to the OCR World Championships again this year after finishing third last year. Hancock has been one of the most competitive men on the pro circuit in the United Kingdom. Hancock constantly finds his way onto the podium at nearly every race he enters. Hancock comes into OCR World Championships ready to find his way back onto the podium again this year.
Hunter McIntyre – United States
Hunter McIntyre is coming into the OCR World Championships after dominating the United States OCR Championships. McIntyre has mostly focused on the shorter courses this year as the reigning champion on Broken Skull Challenge and winning the short course at Tough Mudder X. While he has focused on the short courses this year. He will be looking for a spot on the podium and comes into the race ready to not only race but also win. Watch for McIntyre to possibly be an upset on the podium.
Tomáš Tvrdík – Czech Republic
Tomáš Tvrdík returns to the OCR World Championships again this year. Tvrdík is one of the strongest men on the eastern European obstacle racing circuit. With numerous podiums to his name in a variety of obstacle racing and trail races. Tvrdík was recently part of the Czech Republic team which finished second at the Spartan Race World Championships Team race two weekends ago.
Other athletes to look to possibly crack into the top ten and possibly top five include Krister Sellman from Sweden a solid performer on the Toughest Series circuit. Look for James Appleton from the United Kingdom to find himself in the hunt. Appleton was part of the winning team at the OCR World Championships last year with Albon and Hancock. Thibault Debusschere from Belgium enters the race after a successful season and strong performances in the OCR Series in the Netherlands this year. Finally, Canadian Austin Azar found his way onto into the top 10 just weeks ago at the Spartan Race World Championships. Look for him to possibly sneak into the top ten again this weekend at OCR World Championships. With so many athletes from all over the world, there is always a chance for an upset from a complete dark horse.