With all the excitement of the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships, there’s one event that’s often overlooked, and that’s Sunday’s 5K Charity Open.
Rather than being an aside, this is a major part of the weekend and I’m here to tell you why we should all be taking part.
If you’re a racer
OK, yes, by Sunday you’re most likely exhausted, you’ve run anywhere from 1-5 races over the weekend (yep some people double up on the team event, and don’t forget about the 100m sprint) and after all of that, you want to put your feet up and soak your aching muscles in a delicious salts bath. Why would you do the 5K Charity Open?
How often do you run for fun anymore? When was the last time you took part in an event where you weren’t concerned about timings or placings, and you just played like the big kid we all are?
Think of it as an opportunity to run with your teammates or rivals, or even your family. Show them what OCR is all about. Take your mum ’round and let her be proud of you while you teach her about this sport you love.
If you’ve not qualified
I rarely run OCR anymore, and I’m not at a level where I would feel confident in taking on the OCRWC, but I would love to try the open event. I’m always there supporting my friends and let’s be honest, I get a bit jealous as I’m sure we all do. Rules are strict over race weekend, and understandably no one is allowed on course. But sometimes we all just want to have a play and see if the obstacles are really as hard as they seem.
The open event gives a chance to those of us – who like myself – haven’t been able to qualify, or want to test the water before we jump into competing. Or even if you have zero interest in competing. Yes, in normal years the journeyman wave exists, but the 5K Charity Open is there for those people who won’t complete 3+ races in a year, or don’t want to take on 15km. If there’s one event I would recommend people take part in who are not looking to compete, it would be the 5K Charity Open.
An event is worthy even without competition and here are the reasons why:
For the training
When else are you allowed free reign to play on a massive chunk of a World Championship course? (hint: never) Yes the courses change each year, in fact some elements like the Platinum Rig change each day, but it’s still an amazing opportunity to try out a course and obstacles without the pressure of failing/wearing yourself out.
You can give Force5 as many attempts as you like, without worrying about the outcome. You can do Skitch with others around you, sharing tips and having fun while you play. Think of it as the perfect training exercise!
For the experience
If you’ve been racing for a while, you’ll know the opportunity to try different races gets less with every year as more brands sadly disappear. This course is a beautiful combination of OCRWC obstacles from the past plus newcomers being seen for the first time ever. A mix of obstacles from carries, climbs, and technical, to some outright unusual ones you just won’t believe until you see.
At only 5K, it’s a great length whatever your fitness level, and perfect for you to do in a big group of friends. It’s a perfect taster of what Obstacle Course Racing is all about.
It could be your last chance
The location of subsequent Championships is kept under lock and key. Who knows how far away it will be next year? After the events of 2020 we can all appreciate there are never guarantees that “next year” will go as expected. It’s easy to say no to something when the option is there, but when it’s taken away we often regret it. Personally I’ll be finding a way to squeeze in the open event, and the 100m course this year!
The 5K Charity Open is there just to have fun, and get involved. It’s a great way to wind up what we all know is an epic weekend, to run with your friends and family who have supported you, to run with your team mates or community members, or to introduce OCR to total newbies, and of course, there’s always epic bling and a great finisher shirt.
No bands, no stress, no pressure.
Francesca is an avid obstacle course racer, TV host, and blogger at Mud Is My Makeup. Follow her Instagram at @MudIsMyMakeUp and @FranChiorando.