Covid-19 has rocked the world in so many ways, from families being separated, jobs lost, and the strain on our mental and physical health. One of the big blows to the OCR community was the inevitable cancellation of races, with obstacle course racing not being the only sport affected.
The world has had to adapt like never seen before to so many issues, and in this case, sporting organizations have rallied together and answered spectators and sportsmen prayers by hosting virtual events. From a virtual Grand National to weekly driving sim-racing championship, our thirst for consumable sport is being quenched.
But what about OCR? Athletes can’t simulate a race digitally, nor are there any races for us to follow. Training plans have been abandoned and weekend after weekend has been cleared.
With many sports getting in on the virtual racing, it was only a matter of time before OCR got a slice of the action. Whilst OCR athletes can’t take part in a race via VR they can compete virtually in a variety of ways, and thanks to the World OCR League they can now compare their performance on a worldwide stage.
The World OCR League launched recently, after years of development. For the founder Nick Taylor-Komar, the timing couldn’t have been worse.
Designed as the world's first unbiased and totally inclusive OCR league, the concept is that all athletes across the world can record their performances at any OCR and be entered into leagues depending on whether they are “trophy hunters” or “fun runners”. Athletes are also asked to rank the events attended in terms of difficulty and obstacles to get an accurate level of events around the world, collecting data and reviews of races that have never been seen or attempted before.
Shortly after the concept launched, COVID-19 hit worldwide and race after race postponed or canceled, leaving racers at a loose end, with little to look forward to.
The OCR community quickly answered with races from Tough Guy to Spartan announcing “virtual” events. Quite simply, depending on the format athletes can take part from home, or running locally on their streets. Spartan is offering a virtual Trifecta, encouraging racers to cover the distance on the weekend of canceled events, whilst Tough Guy has options as crazy as their real events, with the opportunity to earn a coveted Horse Brass.
The World OCR League takes it a step further.
Responding rapidly to the changing scene, founder Nick recognized the two key issues of his service; cost and availability of events. So firstly, Nick is offering the platform as completely free to use, which gives everyone the chance to explore and start tracking races. Secondly, with no races happening, the void needed to be filled, and on World OCR League this can be done in two ways.
The platform has the capacity to record all your past races, so you can start by filling in past glories and building your profile. If you can not find your event, let the World OCR League know. More crucially, the site lists all available current and upcoming virtual races, allowing you to choose how and when you want to compete. Nick has approached several race brands to develop their own virtual events for the site, and even athletes themselves can create their own custom challenges and open them up to the wider community to compete. Imagine taking on a challenge set by your very own favorite OCR-superstar?
Racers must be a member of the World OCR League Strava group to record results, and for every event, you have the option of recording your effort as a “Trophy-Hunter” for the days you are competing or a “fun-runner” for the less serious events. Taking your top 3 competitive results enters you into the WOCRL Championship, and there’s even a community league where you can register alongside your club or community and enjoy some inter-community competition. The World OCR League also offers a wide range of filters including age-group, distance, weather conditions, gender, and many more.
In order to correctly judge the results, the system has a unique and sophisticated method of allocating points including taking into account your speed, and your “hero” rating which involves the number of obstacles (or in virtual rating, the exercises) tackled and achieved, and the difficulty of the event.
Virtual racing is by no means a perfect answer, however, in today's uncertain climate it offers us an opportunity to continue training, to tackle events, to keep the OCR spirit alive and the community talking. Many of us know how hard it can be to get motivation right now, how even sometimes getting the energy to do simple tasks can feel exhausting; if that option of a little bit of competition is what we need to keep us active, then sign me up!
Find out more about the WOCRL and sign up for free using code: WE-WILL-WIN-2020 at https://wocrl.org/