2024 marks a monumental milestone for the OCR World Championships as we proudly celebrate our tenth edition! Since our inception, we’ve been at the forefront of the obstacle course racing (OCR) community, bringing together athletes from around the globe to test their limits and embrace the spirit of camaraderie.
As we gear up for this historic occasion, excitement is at an all-time high. With California once again hosting this extraordinary event, anticipation is building for an unforgettable experience. From the rugged terrain to the electrifying atmosphere, OCRWC 2024 promises to be nothing short of spectacular.
Join us as we embark on this journey of celebration and achievement. Here’s to a decade of pushing boundaries, forging friendships, and inspiring greatness. Get ready to write the next chapter in OCR history—see you in California!
Nearly 600 athletes arrived at daybreak in their team jerseys, representing 10 countries. The athletes milled about, getting to know each other, excitedly talking in various accents, sporting the kit and enjoying the conversation from like minded people around the world.
This was an atmosphere they had never previously experienced. Two days prior, at packet pick up, the merchandise tent had been filled to capacity with everyone wanting a souvenir of things to come. Come Saturday, there was almost nothing left in the store. Even before it happened, these athletes knew they were about to be a part of history.
The format in 2014 was simple: A standard course with Pro, Age group and Journeyman divisions of around 8.5 miles on Saturday, followed by a Team event consisting of 2 to 4-person Pro or Open teams (men, women or co-ed) on Sunday. This was the first OCR event of its kind, using the band system and mandatory obstacle completion to dictate who would be eligible for the podium. The concept excited obstacle enthusiasts and piqued the interest of athletes around the globe who wanted to know how they would place when true obstacle proficiency was put to the test. With 3,500 feet of climbing and approximately 60 obstacles, they were very much about to find out.
While the entire course was built to excite, a few obstacles stood out above the others. The mentally imposing Castle Wall, Tension, and the jaw-dropping water slide, the grip and strength taxing Sawtooth and Battlefrog’s Tip of the Spear, the height-challenging Sternum Checker, and the leg-sapping, seemingly truly vertical Pinnacle. If you know, you definitely know. But nothing truly lasts in the memory more than the introduction of the Platinum Rig. Most athletes had never seen anything quite like it, and with almost half of the 55.8% percent overall failure rate coming directly from the rig, it was clear that this was the start of something huge. Notably, the seven South African athletes present crossed the finish line having successfully completed every obstacle on the course.
Winners that weekend included some athletes that are very much present today, and some whose presence are very much missed. First place went to the awe-inspiring Jon Albon (UK) and Siri Englund (SWE) while the impressive second place spots went to Ryan Atkins (CAN) and Cassidy Watton (USA). The podium was rounded out by the incredible efforts of Hobie Call (USA) and Amy Pajcic (USA). With current race director Brett Stewart tirelessly calling every single athlete’s name as they crossed the finish line, it was an intimate and exciting affair. At its conclusion on Sunday afternoon, highlighted by the emotional finish of the Operation Enduring Warrior adaptive team crossing the finish line, it was clear to all in attendance this was the start of something truly remarkable.
2015 brought us back to King’s Domain. Word had spread with non-stop excited chatter over the previous year. The excitement of all in attendance was clear to see on packet pick up day. Participating athletes more than doubled, and with 25 countries making themselves heard, there was no question that this was an upstart Championship event that was not going to sit down. Athletes donned the new silicone bands, an upgrade to the paper bands of 2014 that athletes wore with honor until they finally disintegrated.
The conditions were an obstacle unto themselves that Friday. Unseasonable cold meant the frost on the grass crunched underfoot, and the thin ice layer over the puddles showed the team that some last-minute adjustments would be needed to ensure the safety of the athletes. The morale around the field was high as we introduced a new event, the precursor to the 3k, the OCR Warrior short course. The “Pre-race Race Championship,” as it was called by many, was fast, fun, and gave the participating athletes a taste of what to expect the next day.
Saturday brought the main event, a ten mile race with many of the noteworthy obstacles from 2014, including the addition of a second Platinum Rig up on the hill, which athletes were better prepared for now as they’d had a year to practice. Changes in configurations still made them excellent adversaries. Who there could forget watching a then new-to-the-sport Robert Killian fighting valiantly at the first rig while everyone cheered him on? Then there was the appearance of several new behemoths, such as Dragon’s Back from Toughest in Sweden, making athletes knock-kneed with acrophobia. OCR Warrior’s own Skull Valley took out 40% of the field just before the finish line and still became the new most beloved obstacle of the OCRWC, even by those who could not complete it.
The team event on Sunday was modified to what we know it as now, with three person teams, and became the most joyfully talked about element of the entire weekend, bringing people together from around the globe to rub shoulders with their counterparts and heroes.
Male podium finishers were once again Jon Albon (UK) and Ryan Atkins (CAN) in the first two spots, and Cody Moat (USA) taking the coveted third place position. The women gave us three new remarkable contenders with Lindsay Webster (CAN), Claude Godbout (CAN) and KK Stewart-Paul (US).
Our collaboration with For Those Who Would to introduce the OCR Humanitarian of the year award was celebrated for the first time this year. We honored the amazing efforts of Jesse Bruce in an emotional ceremony befitting this exceptional human.
How would we grow, moving forward? How else, but to pick up roots – and move.
Word had spread like wildfire, and a whopping 42 countries showed their pride that weekend. This was also the year two new formats were introduced. That Friday began with the short course, a competitive fast and technical 3K race, and the weekend ended with the Charity Open, raising thousands of dollars for Make-a-Wish Canada. The open allowed friends and family to join their athletes in a fun and non-competitive atmosphere. The rain that Sunday began a new inside joke to all who experienced, but did nothing to dampen the spirits of the athletes who were having the time of their lives.
The mountain proved a worthy opponent and with the introduction of the Wreck Bag carry, many people questioned their life choices at the same time as they grinned ear-to-ear. 2016 also featured the debut of Conquer The Gauntlet’s Stairway to Heaven, Force 5’s Skyline and Indian Mud Run’s Floating Walls – all of which were seen as wildly daunting to many that weekend and were the excited topic of future training plans for just as many afterwards.
The For Those Who Would OCR Humanitarian Award crown was handed over from Jesse Bruce to the wonderful Alan Ajoy, in an emotional ceremony that brought athletes together to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments over the weekend.
Winners of the 3K included the podium flip of Ryan Atkins (CAN) and Jon Albon (UK), with Canada’s Viktor Alexy in third. For the women, we saw the incredible Lindsay Webster (CAN) joined by Sweden’s Karin Karlsson and South Africa’s Hanneke Dannhauser.
For the 15K, it was back to the seemingly unstoppable Albon, who completed the first three-peat in OCRWC history. Ryan, and the UK’s Conor Hancock rounded out the men’s podium. On the women’s side, Webster again reigned supreme, to cap her third title in three attempts. She was joined by the rising star of Nicole Mericle (USA) and Sweden’s superheroine Karin Karlsson.
67 nations ran, walked, crawled or slid up and down those mountains that year, some riding a Wreck Bag down the muddy slopes with them. The format comfortably settled in, again offering the 3K, 15K, Team event and Charity Open to benefit Make-A-Wish Canada.
Northman Race’s La Gaffe Du Draveur was the standout obstacle that year, harnessing the perfect ratio of challenge and fun. It was included in the spectator-friendly village area that drew thousands of spectators from near and far to watch more than 3,000 athletes compete that year. Sandstorm Race from the UAE, Mud Hero in Canada, and Green Beret Challenge also brought new and exciting obstacles in 2017, giving everyone a taste of what the world of Obstacle Course Racing had to offer.
2016’s For Those Who Would OCR Humanitarian Award winner Alan Ajoy, happily passed the baton to the beloved Matty Gregg for 2017 keeping us aware of how incredible the OCR community is.
The 3K gave us the dynamic duo of Jon Albon (UK) and Ryan Atkins (CAN) again, with the US’s Ben Kinsinger taking third place. Nicole Mericle (USA), Lindsay Webster (CAN) and Karin Karlsson (SWE) once again showed how bright they could shine.
In the 15k, the ubiquitous Albon and Atkins were joined by fan favorite Hunter McIntyre (USA), and Webster, Mericle and Karlsson moved around a bit to mix things up.
So now we had the big question – if OCRWC kept the tradition of moving locations every two years, where next?
More than 60 nations and 3,200 athletes met up to compete on the beautiful farmland that houses the permanent course for Nuclear Races. This was to be a contrast to Blue Mountain’s course with its lack of elevation, so the plan was to make up for that in mud. The unseasonably gorgeous weather just would not stop, so we had to find another way to slow everyone down…by equipping the 15K standard race with ONE HUNDRED OBSTACLES.
With the new venue came new awe-inspiring guest obstacles, such as Strong Viking’s Varjagensaga, gorgeous rigs by Urban Sky, and all of the amazing obstacles Nuclear brought to the table, including the undeniably photo-worthy Deathslide.
A colossal tent was the centerpoint of the vibrant festival area and housed several rig-style obstacles, perfect for spectators and athletes alike. The event was filmed for television, and the result was an amazing 60-minute recap of the action that was broadcast globally.
Continuing with the format from the previous two years, the 3K event brought to the podium the familiar team of Jon Albon (UK) and Ryan Atkins (CAN) and was rounded out by Russia’s Sergei Perelygin. The women featured Nicole Mericle (USA), Rebecca Hammond (USA) and Lindsay Webster (CAN).
The 15K featured Albon sweeping the weekend in his home country, and with two new podium neighbors, Sergei Silin (RUS) and Thibault Debusschere (BEL). The women brought Webster back in first place, with newcomer to the OCRWC podium, Denmark’s Ida Mathilde Steensgaard and familiar face Karin Karlsson (SWE).
Over 70 nations were treated to unrelenting rain, and the mud that naturally follows suit. The Wreck Bag carry was unlike anything we had ever seen, and people emerged from the ditches more mud monster than human. Knowing in advance that the skies were potentially going to open up for us, we placed the two most technical obstacles, Force5’s Gibbons and Valkyrie, under the epic tent. It made for amazing cheers for the exhausted athletes throughout the weekend, giving them that burst of energy they needed.
The weekend wrapped up with the requisite and wonderful Team and Charity Open race (benefiting 1% for the Planet) and with that, we put things to bed in the UK for the OCRWC.
A new sensational addition to the event, the 100-meter sponsored by Urban Sky, was not sheltered from the storm and added a layer of additional technical prowess to the event. Thomas Van Tonder (SA) finished the course in a blistering 1 minute and 37 seconds, and Karin Karlsson (SWE) in an awe-inspiring 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
In the 3K we saw Jon Albon (UK) joined by Van Tonder, fresh off his 100m win, and Sergei Perelygin (RUS) taking third place. Nicole Mericle (USA), Ida Mathilde Steensgaard (DEN) and Rebecca Hammond (USA) stepped up for the women.
In the 15K the seemingly unbreakable Albon and Ryan Atkins (CAN) were back joined by Thomas Buyle from Belgium and for the women we saw Karin Karlsson, taking her second first place podium of the weekend, including her first 15K title. She was joined by Katja Christensen (DENMARK) and Steensgaard.
When we could not produce a 2020 event, no one was more devastated than we were. The excitement of bringing all of the athletes from around the globe to the stunning mountains at Stratton, Vermont was going to have to wait, and instead we used the time we were given to plan the most exciting OCRWC to date.
But we hit another roadblock. Many countries were not allowed into the US, and athletes struggled to find creative travel routes to make it across the border, but our passionate athletes surpassed all expectations. Nearly 1700 participants made their way to us, representing an unbelievable 34 countries, proudly showing their colors for the world to see.
Since our athletes worked so hard to make it there, we wanted to be sure we made it well worth their while. 2021’s course brought three new technical, fun and challenging obstacles to the course. Ricochet, the “fun one” allowing athletes to propel themselves off panels as they swing hand over hand to the bell, Pendulum, the one that caters to all strengths, made the athletes decide how to best use their abilities to either leap, swing or slowly and methodically make their way across to the end, and of course Canyon – the one that had so many strong, agile, skilled athletes digging deep to find out how to balance the needs of arms, core and momentum to make it both down… and back up again out of the canyon’s band-hungry maw.
The weekend consisted of the 3k, 15k, Team and Charity event (raising money for both 1% For The Planet and The Stratton Foundation) and all weekend, we held our new, faster, and even more fierce (and hugely spectator attracting) 100 metre course made its succeeding appearance, and the Ninja crew came out in force to show their stuff. Ninja superstar Joe Moravsky took the coveted top spot for the men, while OCR favorites Beni Gifford and Veejay Jones grabbed the second and third place wins. For the women, it was Jaleesa Himka, Yaris Cruz and Melia Ochsner topping the podium, with jaw-dropping skill.
With many of our usual suspects off the course due to their inability to enter the country, it opened up the field for an incredibly exciting race with the Pros fighting for the podium spots like never before.
The 3k course saw the USA’s Veejay Jones and Ryan Kempson taking the top two spots for men followed extremely closely by Russian competitor Igor Belousov. For the women we saw the power triumvirate of Canada’s Lindsay Webster, Denmark’s Ida Mathilde Steensgaard, and the USA’s Rose Wetzel in an emotional comeback performance.
The 15k, our “main event” as it has come to be referred to, shook it up a bit, with Ryan Kempson taking the top spot, followed again by Igor Belousov, and the USA’s Logan Broadbent rounding out the Men’s Race. The Women’s Race started out looking familiar, with Lindsay Webster and Ida Mathilde Steensgaard again grabbing the gold and silver, while USA’s Kris Rugloski artfully grabbed the bronze and proving how exciting and unpredictable OCR truly is.
2022 marked the triumphant return of the OCR World Championships to its pre-pandemic glory. The world, once again a playground for adventure, lured athletes from 65 countries to converge at the 8th edition of the OCR World Championships.
Back at the familiar stomping grounds of Stratton Vermont, both athletes and crew felt right at home. But don’t let the familiarity fool you; this long weekend was an absolute rollercoaster of excitement.
Imagine a 100m course weaving through a festival village, overseen by the base lodge’s viewing deck – pure adrenaline!
Races unfolded all weekend, building up to a heart-pounding final on Sunday afternoon.
The festival village was the epicenter of the action, housing the finish line, podium, and a medley of thrilling obstacles, including the buzzworthy new addition for 2023: dropzone. Adventurey, always a trailblazer, unleashed the grip-based obstacle dropzone right in the heart of the festival village.
The 3k kicked off the weekend with a splash of unpredictable weather, but our athletes weren’t deterred. Veejay Jones and Ryan Kempson claimed the top spots on the male podium, closely pursued by Canadian sensation Ryan Atkins. In the women’s 3k, Dane Ida Mathilde Steensgaard claimed victory, trailed by Canadian powerhouse Lindsay Webster and American Kris Rugloski securing the third spot.
Friday night set the stage for our annual athlete dinner and jersey swap, featuring inspiring talks by Olympian Jess O’Connell and OCR Athlete Faye Stenning, founders of Grit Coaching.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny as athletes ascended Stratton Mountain for the 15k “classic” event. With 40 obstacles and 1200m elevation gain over 15k, this course separated the contenders from the pretenders.
Tyler Veerman triumphed in the men’s event, with Atkins and Kempson close behind. On the women’s podium, familiar names dominated: Webster claimed the top spot, Rugloski secured second, and American Annie Dube snagged third.
Saturday night took a playful turn with our inaugural trivia night—an OCR-themed brain workout for the community, proving that our guests could flex their mental muscles as much as their physical ones.
As tired legs faced the final day, Sunday unfolded with the team event, the charity 5k, and the nail-biting 100m semis and finals. And let’s not forget the legendary after-party – the perfect finale to an unforgettable weekend!
With the team event offering not one, not two, but three pro podiums (co-ed, female, and male), our athletes were doubling and tripling down on the fun!
Stealing the show were the dynamic Team Danish Sandwich, a powerhouse trio featuring Jones, Rylan Schadegg (USA), and Leon Kofoed (DEN) in the men’s category. Team USA rocked the co-ed podium with the winning combo of Schadegg, Rugloski, and Veerman. And let’s not forget the fierce Team Colorado Krushers, comprising Rugloski, Rose Wetzel (USA), and Hannah Holmes (USA), who dominated the women’s podium with style and grit.
After a joyous afternoon tackling the charity 5k for the noble cause of the Stratton Community Foundation, it was time to shift gears into the speedy and electrifying 100m dash; a challenging course turned into a rain-slicked adventure, setting the stage for an epic showdown. Battling through the elements, our athletes faced a formidable challenge.
In the aftermath of thrilling heats, the podium emerged as a battleground of champions. Joe Moravsky, Lurii Prokudin, and Anthony Eardley claimed their well-deserved spots for the men, while Jaleesa Himka, Melia Ocshner, and Allyssa Beird stood tall atop the women’s podium.
Rain or shine, our closing party lit up the night, with breathtaking fireworks painting the sky over Stratton Mountain. As we bid tearful goodbyes to our incredible community for yet another year, we couldn’t help but wonder where the 9th OCR World Championships might take us all next… The adventure continues!
In 2023, the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships underwent a transformative evolution with a strategic partnership with Spartan, bringing about a multitude of possibilities for the event, and attracting participation from over 55 countries.
Venturing to the West Coast of the USA for the first time not only exposed the event to a new audience but also introduced the challenge of conquering the highest altitude the championships had ever witnessed. Set against the majestic backdrop of Mammoth Mountain, California, day one of the 9th OCR World Championships unfolded with great excitement.
Age Group athletes kicked off the action, conquering the brisk 3k course, paving the way for Pro athletes who commenced their journey at midday. In a gripping time trial format, groups of 7 Pro athletes raced with intervals, adding an extra layer of suspense to the event.
The men’s Pro group, featuring the likes of one-time champ Ryan Atkins (CAN), tackled uphill terrains at high elevations, overcoming obstacles like Rope Traverse and Skull Valley. In a thrilling showdown, American Rylan Schadegg emerged victorious, making a stunning comeback after a year-long hiatus due to an Achilles injury. Ian Hosek (USA) secured second place, while Swiss athlete Manuel Dufaux achieved a dream podium finish in third.
The women’s field was similarly stacked, with two historic podium toppers Nicole Mericle (USA) and Lindsay Webster (CAN). Mericle, like Schadegg, was also returning from injury.
Out of the gates, Webster quickly took the lead and ran a strong race without faltering. Mericle was constantly on her tail but showed no sign of being able to snatch the lead.
At the barbed wire, Webster was leading by ten seconds with a downhill and three obstacles to go, she looked certain to be in first.
Just meters from the finish line the two women were neck and neck on top of the A-frame. A furious scramble followed as both athletes fought for first place. In the final seconds, Mericle was victorious and stole first place in front of a screaming crowd. Webster came in just behind, with Annie Dube (USA) taking third place for the women.
Day one was marked by remarkable achievements, with athletes conquering fears on obstacles like Triumph. A particularly emotional moment unfolded as an athlete, after a grueling hour, rang the bell, eliciting cheers from the crowd, and completed the race with band intact.
Day two dawned with a stark contrast as Pro athletes commenced their endeavors at first light, taking on the challenging 15k course. Athletes from countries including the USA, Canada, Ecuador, Chile, Norway, and Denmark tackled a course with an elevation gain of 2223 ft, reaching a height of 9849 ft on Mammoth Mountain.
The men surged ahead, and shortly after, the women joined the race.
With a close call for both Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster in the previous day’s competition, they were determined to settle the score.
Tyler Veerman, last year’s 15k champion, displayed strength as he led the pack, conquering obstacles like Rope Climb and Confidence Climb. Ecuadorian athlete Fernando Valenzuela kept pace, remaining hot on his trail.
Ryan Atkins charged ahead at Cargo Crawl, closely followed by the 3k second-place athlete, Ian Hosek. This dynamic duo maintained their positions until the finish line. A surprise unfolded as Danish athlete Leon Kofoed, initially in twelfth place at Confidence Climb, showcased a remarkable surge, overtaking competitors to claim an impressive third place—his first OCRWC individual podium spot, a significant achievement for a short course athlete.
The pro-women’s event mirrored the excitement. After the intense finish line battle the previous day, Nicole Mericle and Lindsay Webster engaged in a neck-and-neck battle, with Webster trailing by just one second after the rope climb. Despite this, Webster, a formidable mountain runner, widened the gap as they traversed the mountains. At Cargo Crawl, she appeared unstoppable, securing a six-minute lead over Mericle. Webster’s dominance was evident as she not only claimed first place in the pro women’s event but also secured fifth place overall, outpacing last year’s first-place male finisher by thirteen seconds.
Mericle showcased resilience, facing a minor setback on Triumph but regrouping and crossing the finish line successfully. Annie Dube secured third place, resulting in a women’s podium almost identical to the previous day, with only Mericle and Webster swapping places.
The day continued with age group and journeyman athletes, each battling for their positions. The perfect weather and the breathtaking views of Mammoth Mountain created an atmosphere of pure joy, making it one of the most memorable days in the history of the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships.
Saturday night became a vibrant hub of excitement as athletes and supporters gathered at Mammoth Village for the now-annual trivia night, expertly hosted by the beloved startline personality, Dustin Dorough. Laughter echoed, new friendships blossomed, and a spirited atmosphere set the stage for fresh competitions and camaraderie.
Day three unfolded as the busiest day, featuring the team relay, a charity event for Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, and the 100m semi-finals and finals. Athletes, running in various categories, competed multiple times, adding to the event’s vibrancy.
The Pro men’s event saw a remarkable performance by “Kings of Leon,” comprising Leon Kofoed, Ryan Atkins, and Ian Hosek, securing a runaway victory with a three-minute margin. In the co-ed teams, Team USA triumphed over Team Europe in a riveting battle.
All eyes were fixed on the formidable female team “They Are Fierce,” made up of podium champions Nicole Mericle, Lindsay Webster, and the young Brit, Libbie Joyce. As they fiercely competed against formidable rivals like Mammoth Muscle and Hustle, the team dominated, securing a commanding lead in the technical leg and sealing the victory with a triumphant home run.
The charity wave in aid of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra painted the course with smiles as friends and family joyfully tackled the 5k, basking in the warmth of the glorious fall sun.
As the day concluded, the 100m finals took center stage. The open male and female categories went head-to-head, followed by the male and female pro athletes.
Reigning 100m female champion Jaleesa faced tough competition but finished in fourth. Norwegian dynamo Signy Karoline Kolstoe, after securing second place in the co-ed team relay, displayed unwavering strength to claim first place. Tiana Webberley secured second, with Leah Duhon securing a well-deserved third position.
In the men’s 100m, Lurii Prokudin emerged victorious, with Ethan Brown securing second place and Xzavian Ochoa clinching third.
The weekend concluded with the vibrant Red Bull after-party, offering the perfect backdrop for all attendees to unwind, share laughter, and plan their eagerly anticipated return for the next year.
With industry leaders Spartan now at the helm, steering the course of the event, the realm of possibilities for its future development appears boundless.
And so here we are – staring year ten in the face, ready to head to the gorgeous mountains of California, USA. Looking down memory lane at what we have done helps us look forward to see what we have to accomplish in order to keep being the event you love and the one we are proud of. We are so honored to call you all family, and cannot wait to have you all back again. Until then!