So you finally made the commitment to attend the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC) and you’ve convinced your friends to come too, thanks to 9 Reasons You Should Race the OCR World Championships. Now the question is…which race(s) should you sign up for? With a 100M, 3K, 15K, Team Relay and 5K Open, you can pack your weekend full of races if you want. Here’s a guide to help you make your decision, based on what type of athlete you are and starting with the easiest ones:
The Medal Addict
If you are the type of person who hangs all your medals on your wall or creates shadowboxes for major events, you’re going to want to race all the events. OCRWC’s medals are huge, heavy duty and each one is unique. These medals, combined with your custom athlete pass with your name on it, custom bibs also with your name, and course maps will make an excellent display on your trophy wall.
The Foreign Traveler
If you are flying from the other side of the world, you are probably going to want to race all the events. If you are taking the time and money to travel, you might as well pack the weekend full of events. International travel is not cheap and if this isn’t something you do regularly, you won’t want to miss out on any part of the experience.
If you are a short course athlete, you are definitely going to want to run the 100M and the 3K. The 100M is built on efficiency and speed so don’t expect ninja warrior type obstacles, but be prepared to go for glory by attempting to shave off a second or two on every obstacle if you want to do well. The 3K also has the most obstacles per kilometer (with around 8 per km). Compare that to the 15K which is usually close to 3 per kilometer. This means you are probably thinking “don’t run the 15K” right?
Well, not exactly…here’s the twist. The weather and obstacles can sometimes wildly alter the field. For example in 2014 only nine pro women made it across the Platinum Rig so ninjas/obstacle proficient athletes landed on/just off the overall podium in the 15K. A similar thing happened one year in Blue Mountain, Canada when the men’s pro 3K race was run in the rain, making obstacles exponentially harder and shaking up the men’s field. The point I’m making is you don’t know what the weather or obstacles will look like on event weekend.
The bottom line is you can’t do well if you don’t race, so with your primary races behind you (100M and 3K) you may still want to sign up for the 15K in the event of bad weather or new challenging obstacles. Don’t wait until the weekend of the event though, because the field will fill up blocking you from a race day registration. This is especially true for the age group races where the ability to successfully complete obstacles will often shake up the standings in the later waves of the day.
The 15K Podium Contender
Let’s say your goal is primarily to do well or place at the 15K, so you should sign up for just the 15K right? Actually…I would recommend doing both the 3K and the 15K. Instead of running the 3K at max effort I would just jog the 3K and get familiar with the obstacles. This will give you better proficiency and speed when doing the 15K. It will also serve as a final shakeout jog after traveling. The 3K isn’t long enough to tire out your legs if you are jogging, it doesn’t use the full height of the mountain and it uses many of the exciting obstacles you will see in the 15K. Having a “practice” run of part of the 15K course (aka, the 3K course), will make you faster the following day.
Racing for the Fun and the Experience
Crossing the finish line is what keeps me coming back to the sport. If you are coming to OCRWC for the experience or the fun you’ll want to race them all. With each event added to your weekend’s calendar, the cost per finish line crossing for the weekend drops a little bit more. Why not experience everything and use that to guide your decision for future OCRWC events?
If 2020 taught us anything, it is to not take racing for granted. We’ve got a chance to race again this September after most of us had little or no events for more than a year. OCRWC is a weekend full of amazing events. I’ve been to events when I did all the races in the weekend and other ones where I took time off to focus on specific events. After doing both, I’ll say that I don’t think the extra day off helped my placement very much. Instead I was left with a feeling of missing out (FOMO) from watching my friends cross the finish line, usually with their bands intact and proudly worn around their wrists.
As you pick which race(s) you will run, take an honest look at yourself and what your goals are for the weekend. Are you coming to make the podium or just do your best while having a great time? Personally, as an ultra-athlete, you would think I would be better at the 15K, but I happen to be above average at obstacles and mediocre at mountain running. This means I actually do better at the 3K instead of the 15K because the amount of time spent on obstacles is a higher percentage of the overall length of the race. Think it through before you sign up…but don’t think too long, registration spots are going fast.