Hands up. Who’s felt things are a little bit… lacking lately? There’s something missing isn’t there? I know Spring is coming and we have that to look forward to, but for me it’s just not cutting it.
The annual event of the OCR World Championships also coincides – for many of us- with a brief respite in the OCR season, an ending before the winter races start in earnest, or even longer if we are fair weather runners.
With the high of the 5th OCR World Championships dwindling, I’ve found myself reminiscing on the things that I really miss about the event.
Like Christmas we eagerly await this favorite of our events. Like children we can’t stop talking about it, will it rain? Will it be cold? What do I wear? PANIC BUY KIT! What are the obstacles? Why isn’t there more information for us to consume?
We’re addicted, and every single drip that is fed to us we jump upon like starving creatures. We spend our whole day on Facebook talking, debating, winding up the ever patient Rachelanne with tags and comments. This is all part of the game, and the event wouldn’t be the same without it. We get our fix from those around us in the same frenzy and we cannot get enough. This build up is unlike any other event we know, and we just can’t wait to get there.
But when it’s over…Sure the first few weeks are great, pictures, videos, stories, triumphs, tears. And then the athletes page starts to go into hibernation. And we miss it. You can’t make up that kind of excitement, and so it slumbers away, put away until next year when we can dig it out acting like giddy little children all over again.
For so many of us, the OCRWC gives us an opportunity to travel to places we have never been, and would probably never think of going. Each location has something that’s remembered, laughed, and reminisced about; Blue Mountains gave us Poutine and Bear Claws, and Essex gave us… well, the roads.
For so many the thought of driving in a foreign country, possibly even using a stick was terrifying. Add in these roundabouts -what are roundabouts? You do what?!- But no one warned us about the intricacies of the local roads, in particular, that lane.
How many of you wished you’d taken out extra insurance when you saw those beaten bollards? How many closed your eyes when a car passed? Used to wide American roads, this tiny, winding footpath left many with driving related trauma.
It’s these kind of silly things that OCR gives us, these unexpected findings and jokes, the shared experiences that you laugh about with others who are similar to you, the discovery of things so different to home, as much as you hate it at the time, you look back and laugh.
For each one of us the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships provides its own unique challenge. To podium, to keep your band, to conquer a certain obstacle (Stairway to Heaven, Skull Valley anyone?) or to get around the course.
It doesn’t matter, whatever your goal, it’s yours. Your effort and achievement is just as worthy as the next person’s and nobody is looked down upon or can aim too small.
From watching those at Skull Valley who had been trying for hours: a man who had stripped down to his underwear and made it through, to those who worked together to climb the final wall, OCRWC offers a challenge to everyone.
The charity event gives a great opportunity to those who are unsure of their capability and want a play, and watching those on that event go through on the final day was one of my best moments of the weekend.
Yes we test ourselves at many races over the year, but there’s something special about doing it at the World Championships, and when even the 5 time reigning champ has a stumble, you know it’s a worthy course.
From the offers of car sharing between strangers from different continents, to the non stop chatter about the ins and outs of traveling to a foreign country, the community explodes in the time leading up to, and just after the event.
Think about it, people from so many walks of life who would never get a chance to meet, you become friends with. You share stories, and theories with. I met so many people, from pro-athletes I followed online, to the effervescent team Jamaica. How many events can you take part in with athletes from over 60 countries? I’ll say this, the incredible Team Puerto Rico certainly taught me a few things about representing your country.
Even after the event, we get to excitedly discuss how we got on, what broke us, what we triumphed on, people doing preliminary breakdowns of band retention percentages, the positivity that thrives from those who loved the event and can’t wait for it next year. The community is always there if you need it, but without the chatter, it doesn’t quite feel the same.
You wouldn’t think that in just 3 or 4 days a place could feel so like home. The beauty of the 2018 OCR World Championships was it gave the team a blank canvas to build their own village. And once the athletes and supporters started rolling in, it came alive.
Whilst I loved the Blue Mountains and the ease of the resort, there was something about the village at OCRWC ’18 that was so special. The community was truly together, spending the whole day at the site, sitting in the sun, cheering on the athletes as they practically somersaulted through the big top.
Meeting people you had got to know online, new friends, catching up with old friends. The site was thriving last year, and I loved it.
Just a few days turning up to the event, and I can picture it perfectly, it may be schmaltzy, but I miss it. The beauty and sadness of a temporary event is that it was a perfect moment in time, it happened and it won’t happen exactly the same again, but guess what? Next year we have the whole thing to look forward to, and I can’t wait to see what the team pull out of the bag.
Is it too soon to start getting excited?