At nine years old, Flynn has accomplished so much within the OCR community. Through his training and dedication, he has managed to hit many goals relating to his own fitness and wellness. Flynn's dad inspired him to get involved within the OCR community, and he proves to himself and to others if you want something you work for it. Please allow me to introduce Flynn Stewart, our newest Bad Ass Kid of OCR.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Flynn Stewart and I am from the UK. I am 9 years old, run for and represent The OCR Boys and support Liverpool FC.
What first sparked your interest in running OCR races?
Watching my Dad doing Spartan Races, they looked fun and the medal was AMAZING.
Please tell us about your first OCR race?
My first race was a Junior Spartan at Ashburnham Place when I was 4. It was so much fun.
As a younger participant in the sport, what do you find your biggest struggles are?
There is nothing I really struggle with as I put in a huge amount of training every week. I always aim to be the best prepared I can be when it comes to race day.
Do you prefer to run in the competitive waves or in open heats?
My Dad likes to use the term “ferocious competitor”…when I am racing I am totally focused on running as fast as I can and chasing down the win. But it is not always about winning I like to have fun and help other racers especially my teammates from the OCR Juniors.
How do you train for your obstacle course races?
I have Personal Training every Saturday which is centered on OCR. We work on my running speed and obstacle completion. My PT Keith Lawrance sets up mock obstacle races which are always harder than I will face during a race. My dad videos all my training sessions and we will then review them to look for areas to improve. We also record all my training runs on my Garmin so we can compare my running pace. Keith’s focus for me is to complete every obstacle as efficiently as possible and then exit the obstacle at pace. We also record other runners in the current competitive wave and target their pace in preparation for Junior Spartan Competitive Wave in 2020.
I am also a part of the OCR Junior Development Programme coached by Dave Peters and Robin French which focuses on juniors looking to progress in the world of OCR. I also attend various training facilities: Wild Forrest Gym, Rumble Fitness, Cliff Lakes, Fit 4 OCR , BC Revolution and Obstacle Training Ground. I am always looking to improve my skills.
I also have a Rig set up in my garden which my parents bought my brother, Dylan and I. It is amazing! It is set up with monkey bars, rings, rope climb, hoist, ninja rings and nunchucks. I am on it every day of the week. I also have a pull-up bar in my living room.
What is the biggest obstacle that you are working to overcome?
I have recently started running 5k Park runs again to improve my running speed and overall fitness and have reduced my PB to 23:35. I have a target of breaking into the low 22 minutes in time for Competitive Wave next year.
Do you play or participate in any other sports? If yes do you find this helps with your obstacle course racing?
I love being active. I play football for my school team and enjoy playing futsal after school; swim for my local swimming club, Ware Swimming Club twice a week and train with Hoddesdon Triathlon Club twice a week. These varied sports have already had a huge impact on my fitness in the last 12 months. I am always looking for the next obstacle……….If there is a chance to climb or swing on anything I am all over it.
As a younger athlete, who inspires you and why?
My biggest inspiration is my friend Hughie Pringle who sadly passed away two years ago. On the back of my OCR Boys Jersey, I have a pair of red spectacles which Hughie used to wear. That way when I am racing Hughie is always there running with me.
What has been your proudest OCR moment to date?
Being invited to join the OCR Boys was a very proud moment especially as my brother, Dylan is also in the team. But my proudest moment was at Spartan Marston Lodge last year. I won my race by over 2 minutes and then went straight back out on the course to support my older sister Milly who was running with my older brother Dylan. Milly has Down Syndrome and the Spartan Races are very tough for her…..especially as she is not a fan of getting her feet wet or her hands muddy! But Dylan and I encouraged her to finish as a team. On that day our family came first and dead last but it was a very proud moment for me.
What big race goal are you working towards?
Everything I do is focused on qualifying for the Junior Spartan World Championships next year when I will be 10. I can’t wait to race in the Competitive Wave next season.
The OCR community is a family.
Do you find that when you are racing you see people helping each other out on course?
All the time, it’s one of the reasons I love the sport. Although I am very competitive I will stop and help other races if they are hurt. At Nuclear Races last year I noticed a little girl fall over and hurt herself so I stopped to help even though I was going for the win. At Mini Military Mud Run I was racing with another girl, she took the wrong route so I called her back and waited for her. I may race hard but I will always race fair.
Have you ever done an obstacle course race with a parent or sibling? If so tell us about it?
When I first started I used to run a lot with my Dad but unfortunately, he is getting slower and I am getting faster. My favorite race is Mini Military Mud Run as we normally run as a family which is always lots of fun.
Do you see yourself participating in OCR 5 years from now? If yes tell us why.
Yes, I love OCR pure and simple. My short term goals are to qualify for the Junior Spartan World Championships in 2020 and long term the OCR World Championships in 2023.
From your perspective, what can race directors / OCR companies do more of to entice kids to run the course?
I would love to see more OCR going into schools to encourage kids to enter. Very few of my friends know what OCR is which is sad because it is so much fun. In the UK there are some fantastic OCRs: Spartan, Nuclear, Mini Military Mud Run, Uventure and Elements to name but a few. For the kids, like myself that are competitive we are always looking for harder obstacles: rings, rigs, monkey bars. We want to be challenged and pushed to our limits….we can handle it.
What is one takeaway you have learned from running OCR races?
Do not underestimate me just because I am 9 years old.
Is there anything else you wish to share with us?
Thank you very much for the interview please check out my Instagram Page @ocrboyflynn and my amazing race team The OCR Boys on Facebook.