Next up in my Bad Ass Kids of OCR article series, meet Rachel and Samuel Koehler. This is a brother and sister racing duo who currently reside in Georgia with their parents and older brother (a total racing family). Rachel is an avid OCR racer and helps to guide her visually impaired brother on course. There is nothing stopping these two from hitting their goals and I am excited to share their story with you.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Rachel (@heart4ocr ) and Samuel live in Georgia with their parents and older brother who all love to race. Rachel is in middle school and is a part of “The OCR girls” team.
Samuel was born with a rare eye condition called Achromatopsia, which is a visual disorder that causes poor visual acuity, extreme light sensitivity and color-blindness.
What first sparked your interest in running OCR races?
Samuel: Saw spartan on tv and asked my parents if I could run a kid obstacle course race.
Rachel: Saw it on tv and thought it looked fun.
Please tell us about your first OCR race?
Samuel: My first OCR was in the spring of 2018. I loved the mud and the carries.
Rachel: My first OCR race was in the spring of 2018. It was the open 2-mile race and my favorite thing was the rope climb. I had an absolute blast and decided from then on I would compete in the girls' competitive wave.
As a younger participant in the sport, what do you find your biggest struggles are?
Samuel: My biggest struggle is seeing what is on the ground and what is in front of me.
Rachel: Keeping a steady pace and learning how to push myself harder.
Do you prefer to run in the competitive waves or in open heats?
Samuel: I love open heats because I can run with my sister and help each other.
However this past weekend I ran my first two competitive races and It has become my favorite. I like the competitive races because it challenges me to go fast and strong.
Rachel: I love competitive because it’s a challenge and I like the competition. After I run competitive I like to run open with my brother and help others. When I can I also like to volunteer and give back to the sport.
How do you train for your obstacle course races?
Samuel: I love to train at the king compound, throwing spears in my back yard, running in my neighborhood and playing the Warrior game.
Rachel: I love to train at the OCR King Compound, running at home, throwing spears in the backyard.
What is the biggest obstacle that you are working to overcome?
Samuel: Increasing my cardio so I can become a better runner.
Rachel: Become a faster runner and to do burpees faster.
Do you play or participate in any other sports? If yes do you find this helps with your obstacle course racing?
Samuel: I swim and I think it helps with my running.
Rachel: I swim and track and field. It helps me with endurance and keeps me fit.
As a younger athlete, who inspires you and why?
Samuel: My inspiration is Blind Pete. He races without any vision and makes no excuses. I hope to inspire others to race too just like blind Pete inspires me.
Rachel: Rea Kolbl because she always has a positive attitude and is an amazing athlete. She has had many obstacles in her life and even in the last season, but she didn’t quit. She kept her head up and kept pushing!
What has been your proudest OCR moment to date?
Samuel: Last weekend when I ran competitively in Alabama and got 1st place.
Rachel: When I got first place in Spartanburg after not placing the day before. I learned that you shouldn’t drink a ton of milk before running a race. Went back out and pushed myself and came out with a win.
What has been your scariest OCR moment to date?
Samuel: Last weekend and running without a guide for the first time.
Rachel: When I fell and cut myself… I don’t like blood at all!
What big race goal are you working towards?
Samuel: Qualify for Spartan kids worlds championship and compete in the championships.
Rachel: Qualify for Spartan kids worlds championship and compete in the championships, compete at NorAm and finish with 100% obstacle completion.
The OCR community is a family. Do you find that when you are racing you see people helping each other out on course?
Samuel: Yes, I have met many awesome people this past year that have been willing to help each other.
Rachel: When I run open yes and I LOVE to help others as well.
Have you ever done an obstacle course race with a parent or sibling? If so tell us about it?
Samuel: Yes, My sister runs as my guide when I am not running competitively and then we have done several races as a family and it’s a lot of fun.
Rachel: Yes, I run with my little brother a lot as his guide. I also ran Terrain race with my whole family which is a lot of fun. Finally, I ran Rugged Maniac with my dad and we did 4 laps together in one day. It was a blast!
Do you see yourself participating in OCR 5 years from now? If yes tell us why.
Samuel: Yes, I love the sport and it keeps me healthy.
Rachel: Yes because I love the sport and I want to become an Elite athlete.
From your perspective, what can race directors / OCR companies do more of to entice kids to run the course?
Samuel: I would love to see them add more obstacles like monkey bars and rings. There always can be more mud and better snacks at the end.
Rachel: Make the courses more challenging and add more trust obstacles. My favorite kids' course right now is Spartan because they make it challenging for us bigger kids but then still have shorter distances for the little kids.
What is one takeaway you have learned from running OCR races?
Samuel: I can accomplish many things in life if I try and never give up.
Rachel: Never give up and don’t drink milk before you run.