Every person in this article series has their own perspective on the obstacle course racing world. Some take things super seriously and strive to make every race their “A” race, and others like to complete a race and take it away as a learning experience. There is nothing wrong with either method of racing noted above.
Then there is Jaclyn Pruett Ung. She is a woman that tries to do both. I started to get to know her a few months ago on Facebook, and when her friends nominated her for this article series, I was excited. To me, what makes Jaclyn a Badass Woman in the OCR community, is that not only does she strive to work on her own OCR game, and helps those women around her strengthen their skills and ability through a free facebook challenge group she hosts. When I think of Jaclyn, I hear the words “motivating”, “inspiring” and “caring”. I hope you enjoy getting to know her through this article.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a Personal trainer living in Airdrie, AB with my two girls and hubby. I fell in love with OCR in 2014 and have been helping women train and prepare for races ever since. Living near the Rocky Mountains I try to get out there when I can to hike or picnic with my family.
Did you always consider yourself athletic?
I never did growing up; I hated gym class and never played team sports. But in my 30’s I started weight training and fell in love with fitness and getting stronger.
How did you get into the sport of OCR?
A client at a Boot camp I was running told us about the Spartan race she’d signed up for with her husband’s work, the next year my best friend asked me if I wanted to try the same Spartan Race with her when her BIL signed up for a local race. At first, I said no, I wasn’t ready for something like that. Then I started researching it and was intrigued and we decided to sign up.
What was your first race like? Which one was it?
My first race was the Calgary Spartan Sprint in 2014. I had no idea what to expect and was petrified at the start line. It was really tough and I was pushed way outside of my comfort zone, I remember getting to the 8-foot wall and thinking how the heck two 5 ft 3 girls supposed to get over that??
But we did and I’ll always remember how amazing that felt to do something I thought I couldn’t do. Another thing I noticed was the teamwork and encouragement everyone gave on the race course, the OCR community is like no other, it’s full of the most supportive people I have ever met. After we finished I was so amazed that I completed it that I couldn’t wait to do it again. I’ll never forget how good it felt to cross that finish line!
Tell us about the races you have done so far.
I’ve run multiple Spartan races including the Sprint, Super, and Beast completing my first Trifecta in 2016 and again in 2017. My favorite race was probably the Montana Beast, I’ve run it twice and it’s one of my proudest accomplishments, you really have to dig deep physically and mentally to complete the grueling 21 km and elevation gain. I’ve also run Mud Hero, Rugged Maniac, X Warrior and I run 5k Foam Fest with my oldest daughter every year which is so much fun. I love that my kids are starting to show an interest in OCR now that they’re getting older.
What initially drew you into the world of OCR?
Initially, I signed up to try something new; little did I know that the first race would change my life. I was looking for something I could do just for me, not as a mom or wife but as a strong woman that would allow me to push myself out of my comfort zone. What I found was a sport that not only pushes me past my limits but also a community of people who love to race and are so supportive.
Do you feel that due to strong women like yourself, that others are more willing to push their own limits?
Yes, absolutely. I have people tell me all the time that they are inspired by my races. And last year I ran the Calgary Spartan Sprint with a group of first-time racers who all realized they are stronger than they think.
On the course what has been your favorite obstacle and why?
My favorite obstacles are the ones that I can use my strength on – The Hercules Hoist and Sled Drag and Tire Flip. I love how strong they make me feel and they don’t involve heights so that is a bonus for me.
On the course what has been your least favorite obstacle and why?
This is a tie between the 8- or 10-foot wall and the Stairway to Sparta. I am afraid of heights and always get a bit nervous on these ones. Plus I’m still working on building up the strength in my upper body and flexibility in my hips to get up and over the walls by myself with no assist.
Is there is an OCR or endurance race that you will never do?
I don’t like to say never…I’m not sure if I will ever attempt an Ultra Beast but you never know. I said I would never run competitive but have signed up to do just that in 2018.
Are you someone that plans your race schedule in advance (to take advantage of things such as early bird pricing) or do you sign up for things on the fly?
I’m a planner; I’m already signed up for 6 OCRs in 2018. They’re expensive so I like to do early bird pricing when I can and I like having a plan in place for training, it gives me a goal to work towards.
If someone were to give you a plane ticket, and a paid race entry to any event in the world which one would you love to go and do?
I would go to Hawaii and do the Spartan Trifecta weekend that would be amazing. A runner-up would be to run a Spartan in Sparta, Greece.
With so many amazing women on course this year, do you find yourself becoming more competitive, inspired or both?
I find myself inspired, people like Allison Tai, Lindsay Webster, Amelia Boone and Faye Stenning are all so strong and gracious when they race, they not only kick butt but have fun and support other racers while doing it.
What type of training do you complete for OCR training?
I actually started doing CrossFit because of OCR, I knew that I needed to train differently and I love the community just like we have in OCR. I also coach at a local OCR gym and train on the obstacles and participate in classes that are focused on OCR training. I also do a lot of cross-training like running outside, hill training, I carry buckets and sandbags up hills, grip strength works like dead hangs and yoga for my mindset and flexibility and of course Burpees.
For someone that is newer to the OCR sport, what is one solid piece of advice that you wish to pass on?
Know that you are stronger than you think and don’t forget to include mental training in your training plan, that I can’t voice of self-doubt will creep in and you need to kick it aside and push on.
Who inspires you?
My clients inspire me to work harder on my own goals by working so hard on their own. Elite racers like Allison Tai and Rose Wentzel who have families and manage to kick butt on the race course while being amazing moms inspire me to be the best mom and athlete I can be.
What is one your one A race/bucket list race you want to do?
Probably a Trifecta weekend or the new Black Ops Endurance race that X Warrior just announced.
Is there anything else you want to share with us?
I always tell people who ask me if they can run an OCR that absolutely they can if they’re willing to train and prepare for one and never give up. I’m not an elite racer but I love the sport and will always push myself to do my best while encouraging others and having fun. Racing has helped me build self-confidence and has brought so many amazing people into my life and has also strengthened friendships, I’m so grateful that my best friend convinced me to run that first Spartan Race. Since then we’ve traveled and raced together and had so much fun but even if you have no one to race with the OCR community is so amazing that you will never be alone out on the race course.
What’s the best way to reach you on social media?