Muddy Brute Challenge Obstacles To Critical Thinking

Profiles In Badassary: PJ MagpantayFebruary 23 2017, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

First race was Savage and fell in love ever since.  I got into it as a means to stay focused on training and keeping healthy.  I got some fellow gym members involved and had a blast.  As a result, we even started a special OCR training class at our gym.  

Its helped gain some more interest in the sport.  I find that OCR is a great way to get everyone together.  What I find helps open the door to those who are interested is letting them know how close and supportive the OCR community is. On race day, the comments I get from most of the beginners in our group are how fun it was to help each other.  

They knew we'd help each other in the group, but they didn't know how random strangers would help you out too!  Wish it wasn't just an aspect of the "OCR community". That should be illustrated in just "community" in general!

What Are Some Challenges OCR Has Helped You Overcome?

All my life I loved to play sports and be active.  I was never the best shooter in basketball and never the best hitter in volleyball (2 sports I always loved), but I was always the person willing to give it my all.  

I was short (literally, I'm 5'6" on a good day) on talent, but long in heart.  As such, I loved competing and testing my limits athletically as a high schooler and in college, but only with friends and in intramural sports.  

Fast forward to 2013 - I am very fortunate to have a loving family, wife and 2 kids, and gainful employment as a dentist!  In April of that same year, my father passed away after a steady decline is his health for years.  He died at 67, but I can remember when I was a teenager how he was not the most active person and ate pretty much whatever he wanted.  

That never changed and unfortunately his body started to decline, first with knee pain, diabetic neuropathy, then with failing kidneys and Parkinsonian-like symptoms.  As hard as it was on him, it was just as hard on my mother and the rest of the family to see his body slowly shut down.  Keeping up with his medical care and his increasing needs was challenging to say the least.   


With the passing of my father, it forced me to take a good look at where I was physically.  As a new dad, my health took a backseat and I slid HEAVILY.  The following year, I had so many health problems - from gout to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, debilitating back and knee pain, everything!  Basically, my body was telling me it had enough. Finally at 5'6" and at over 196 lbs in Feb 2015, I knew something had to change - not just for me, but for the well-being of my family.  

I didn't want to just be alive (like my father unfortunately was for his remaining years).  I wanted to LIVE!! I started to take my health seriously, joined a gym, ate right, and a year later, I was finding myself happy with the best possible version of myself I have ever been.  During this fitness journey, I found the world of OCR.  I loved how it gave me a way to be competitive again and achieve things I never would've even thought of before.  


I feel like training for OCR gives me the motivation to be at my best, and not just physically.  Now I find that training for a OCR races is something that guides me in my daily routine, whether it be my choice to wake up everyday at 5 am to train, or my choice to drop the pizza slice and pick up the roasted veggies, or my choice to face fears in my professional life that have, until now, held me back.  

And finally, like any other parent out there, everything I do, I do for my kids.  That means being there for them now, being there for them when they grow up, and being there for my grandchildren.  I want my grandchildren to know me...not just know OF me.  In short, OCR has been instrumental in helping me overcome obstacles in my personal life (with the passing of my father), my physical well-being (by becoming functionally fit and having lost 40 lbs in the process), and my professional life (as I embark on opening my first dental practice as sole owner).


Any Goals Or Race Stats To Share?

I have high hopes for 2017.  I plan on completing my first trifecta!  Really only bad timing for not being able to do it this pass year.  I plan on competing in the most races than I have ever done in the past - about 11 races, including but not limited to Spartan, Savage, CMC, Goliathon, Tough Mudder, and OCRWC.  Finally, I am really excited to participate in the Philly Toughest Mudder!  

Although I mostly like to race competitively, its mostly just to force to push myself to my personal best.  I'm REALLY not within striking distance to make a podium... although this year, I DID get 4th place in a smaller OCR called Muddy Brute (2nd in my age group) :)  

Other than that, my only race "stat" that I was super proud of this year was surviving the NJ Super - Saturday in Vernon New Jersey.  Wearing the MudGear compression socks definitely helped me through that one!


For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Photos courtesy of Spartan Race, Savage Race, Muddy Brute, and BattleFrog


Profiles In Badassary: Joseph MinutellaFebruary 16 2017, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

Three years ago, my neighbor told me I had to do a Spartan Race with him. He told me it would change my life and it did. I trained for 6 months to be able to complete the Spartan Beast as my first OCR. It was one of the toughest things I had ever done. But I fell in love with it right away.

That year, and every year since I completed the Spartan Trifecta and ran other races as well which include Terrain Race, Battlefrog, and Tough Mudder. I will be competing in my first World's Toughest Mudder in 2016. OCR is something that I always talk about, passionate about and really all I wear everyday. It's something that I will do until my body physically won't let me. But its going to take a lot to do that!

What Are Some Challenges OCR Has Helped You Overcome?

Like I said before, OCR has changed my life in a tremendous way. It gives me the will to test myself physically but more importantly mentally. After my first race I decided to eat healthier and try new work outs. I lost 25lbs and felt better about myself each day since. I talk about it a lot of Facebook which has gotten a lot of attention from other people. I love being asked about how i can help others and what I did to overcome my first race or even just signing up for one. Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.


What Does The OCR Community Mean To You?

In 2009, I graduated from Penn State University. It was my dream to go there since I was 7 years old. I met a lot of great people over my time there.  People always say Penn State is a cult. That we love each other so much and what Penn State has to offer to us!

I always said we were just one big family, a community, and a group of students who work together towards the same goal. We all shared the same beliefs and helped each other through good time and bad times. Till this day i can always count on my Penn State family.

My Penn State community to help me through any challenges I may face in my personal or work life. That's the same spark I feel each and every time I attend a OCR. The OCR community is something special. Maybe not everyone will understand. I know for sure I didn't until I did my first race.

Now I'm in love with what I do and what I can do for my OCR community. By helping each other accomplish the same goals. Whether that's crossing the finish line or competing to win the top prize. We are a family, We are....OCR!

What’s Your Most Memorable Moment In OCR?

My most memorable OCR was defiantly my first race. It was the New Jersey Spartan Beast. I wanted to give up over and over again but my family, girlfriend and everyone I talked to about this race was waiting at the finish line.

I thought to myself, "Why in the world would I sign up for this?" Just as I was about to give up, My neighbor pushed me the last 3 miles and I completed the race. I remember the great Michael Jordan once saying. "Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen and others make it happen."

On that day I made it happen and I fell in love with OCR from that day on. I remember crying on my family shoulder, not because of the pain or my knee gushing blood because of a rock stuck in it. But because I pushed myself through a lot in my life and this was one obstacle that pushed me harder than anything before and I was so happy to overcome it.


Any Goals Or Race Stats To Share?

My goal each and every race is to not only cross the finish line. But to compete at a high level and push myself to be the best to my ability. I may not be the fastest or strongest person on the course. But I will make sure if you pass me on the course you better bring your best because I'm giving hell!

When I completed my first NJ Spartan Beast i was 1,677 out of 3072. But this past year I finished 407 out of 2,296 and I will only get better. I finished a sprint earlier this year coming in 34th out of 1544 competitors on Sunday. I also came in 26th out of 934 competitors during a Sunday Spartan Super.

In less than a week I'll be competing at WTM. I plan on achieving 50 plus miles. During a Spartan Race I was asked "Why I race". I race for those who can't. I always dedicate my race to someone so its not always about me. Each and every race I been getting better and I plan on getting a top 10 finish next year!



For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Photos courtesy of World's Toughest Mudder, Spartan Race, and BattleFrog.


Profiles In Badassary: Mike WeaverFebruary 09 2017, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

Back in 2011, I started doing Warrior Dashes.  I hated running with a passion and the idea of being able to do a 5k with obstacles was intriguing to me.  After the first one, I was hooked and continued to do them for the next several years.  There came a point were I wanted more and wanted to push myself further.  

In 2014, I did my first Tough Mudder.  I had so many emotions hit me during that event, from wanting to quit to realizing this was the best thing I had done in my life.  Once I crossed that finish line, I knew my life wasn't going to be the same.  To this date, I have done 13 Tough Mudders with a total of 20 laps.  


What Are Some Challenges OCR Has Helped You Overcome?

I suffer from chronic depression.  OCR has given me an outlet to help overcome the depressed states that I would seemingly fall into for no reason.  Even if I don't have a race coming up, OCR gives my mind something to focus on.  It is a battle that I have fought my whole life and will continue to fight.  However, OCR has made it so much easier.  


What Does The OCR Community Mean To You?

It's family. Plain and simple. Over the last few years I have met so many people, most of which have become very close friends and other's who I know consider part of the family.  OCR isn't just about the race or the venue to me.  It's an experience and a chance to spend the day with people who share your type of crazy.


What’s Your Most Memorable Moment In OCR?

At this point in my racing career, I would have to say when I earned my Savage Syndicate medal by walking the Ohio and Pennsylvania Savage Races in a walking boot this past summer. I had broke my left foot at the Chicago Tough Mudder during my first lap and actually went on to complete a 2nd lap.  

A few weeks later I found out that my foot was broken and had to be in a walking boot for 6 weeks.  During that 6 weeks, I had 2 Savage Races that I already signed up for and I didn't want to miss out on getting that awesome Syndicate medal.  I went out and completed every obstacle that didn't involve mud or water with my walking boot on.  It was an amazing feeling crossing the finish line and getting my medals.  


Any Goals Or Race Stats To Share?

In 2017, I have already signed up for the new Toughest Mudder in the Northwest and will be aiming to hit 40 miles in the 8 hour time frame.  I will also be trying to qualify for my first OCRWC through a few different races in 2017.  

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Profiles In Badassary: Shan KhanFebruary 02 2017, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

My New Year's Resolution goal this year was to complete a Spartan trifecta as my previous experience comes from Mixed Martial Arts, where I achieved an orange belt in Krav Maga. Wanting to challenge myself on a further level, obstacle racing seemed like the perfect vehicle to do that. It has been my best life-decision to date as it's hard to imagine my life without obstacle racing as I pretty much eat-sleep-repeat obstacle racing outside my normal work day.


What Are Some Challenges OCR Has Helped You Overcome?

Getting a full understanding of gratitude and really getting over my mental thoughts of comparing myself to others. As I've grown physically throughout the year, mental growth has mirrored the physical gains, and that has really helped my performance as well as my day-to-day happiness.

It's been a struggle as high hopes are held for myself and not having the races expected out of the gates had me take a great self-reflection of myself and understand that this is a step in the journey that will only make me stronger.

OCR has given me a much better grip (literally) on handling the obstacles that come whether it come to work, family, or racing, and really has taught me to appreciate every moment and think of the glass half-full, rather than half-empty.

What Does The OCR Community Mean To You?

It's a true blessing to be a part of it. It's hard to describe with words but it's a network of individuals that want to strengthen themselves while doing the same for one another. The positive energy is outstanding whether it be a training session or on race day.

The best part about it is seeing the struggles people have gone or currently going through, whether that be physical or mental, and how they not only survive through it, but thrive through it. The different backgrounds of people and the stories of how they get into OCR are truly outstanding and really give you a true appreciation for the sport and life in general.


What’s Your Most Memorable Moment In OCR?

By far, the Dallas Savage Race, where I raced in the Pro Wave and had a great start. Feeling very confident, being in the top 20 for most of the race, I got tripped up by Kiss My Walls (a horizontal rock climbing wall) and it took me about 15 tries and a lot of willpower to find a way through it.

My goal then changed from being a top finisher to finishing with my pro band. Gliding through every obstacle after, my nightmare was in the form of Savage Rig before the finish line. Trying method after method, nothing would click as my grip strength died after every attempt. However, OCR has instilled in me the no-quit attitude.

After about 3+ hours on the Rig, I finally conquered the rig and crossed the finish line with my Pro Band...in last place. A great lesson about grit and determination which helped fuel me to my best finish the next race after, the Dallas Beast.


Any Goals Or Race Stats To Share?

BattleFrog Dallas (Open Heat): 2nd in my Age Group, 8th Overall!
Spartan AT&T Stadium Sprint (Elite): Overall: 202, 27th Age Group (I was two days out of antibiotics, so really just wanted to finish)
Spartan Utah Super (Elite): Overall: 149, 16th Age Group
Spartan Dallas Beast (Elite): Overall: 90, 9th Age Group (Best finish to date, and definitely one race I was able to perform to what I thought I was capable)

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Photos courtesy of Spartan Race and Savage Race


Profiles In Badassary: Dylin MoranJanuary 19 2017, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

In high school, I was a Cross Country and Track athlete. I planned to go run in college, but I ended up going to Baylor, which is a big school and super competitive. I had the opportunity to walk on there but initially chose to focus on academics. I regretted this though. I missed competing, so I tried to walk on again my second year, but I had just lost too much of my endurance. I moved on to the Baylor Triathlon team because I missed competing so much.

However, I thought about doing OCR races all the time. I signed up for a Spartan a time or two but every time the people I was supposed to go with, backed out. Finally, after college, and meeting some more like minded people, I did my first OCR event with some people from my local gym in 2015. It was the Caveman Crawl in Dallas. I was stoked.

Unsure of what to wear, I ended up with some Nike shoes, regular Nike socks, and some running shorts. The shoes and socks were by far the worst decision. I took 3rd in that race and that instantly made me believe I had found my calling. Now, I cannot stop doing them and would love to do them every weekend if I could. There is just something about it still being an endurance event, but on steroids.


What Are Some Challenges OCR Has Helped You Overcome?

OCR fills that void where I feel like I can't be competitive or athletic anymore. It gives me an outlet to get away from work and other stress. It just makes me feel more alive.

What Does The OCR Community Mean To You?

Pushing yourself past your limits not matter what that may be for you. We all have different goals but I think OCR allows everyone to meet those goals in someway. Personally, it means being able to be competitive and feel accomplished in my own right. During an OCR, I just feel grateful to be able to do things like that and then the people around you are just so encouraging and help you meet those goals. They want you to do well just as much you want yourself to.


What’s Your Most Memorable Moment In OCR?

The first time I really felt like I was competing in a race was BattleFrog Dallas 2016. The first Battlefrog I had done in Austin 2015 was a rude awakening. The platinum rigs took me forever. However, when I came back for Dallas 2016, I was much more prepared for the rigs, even though there were two per lap. The first lap I went straight through both rigs and I felt ecstatic. It was the best I had ever felt about almost anything.

Coming through on that second lap I had a lot of the race staff telling me I was close to the top guy. I was in 7th place at that point. It did fall a part a little bit on the second lap. I had to take multiple attempts at both rigs and it cost me my place but I still remember the feeling of being in that position and it drives me because it made me realize I was able to compete.

Any Goals Or Race Stats To Share?

In 2015, I only did 2 races. In 2016, I upped that number to 6 races. This next year I hope to be closer to 20. I did qualify for OCR World Championships as well this past year but I was unable to go. I do hope that I can find a way to go in 2017 though.

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Photos courtesy of Spartan Rance and Savage Race


Profiles In Badassary: Andrew HendricksonJanuary 12 2017, 0 Comments


MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I got into OCR in 2015 when my company, Thomson Reuters, set up a team to compete in a Tough Mudder.  It was a 10 mile, 20 obstacle race and one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  I was hooked instantly and went on to become my team's top competitor, one of 2 competing in the World's Toughest Mudder next weekend and the trainer for the expanded 100 person team we fielded in 2016.


What Are Some Challenges OCR Has Helped You Overcome?

At Fordham University, I competed on the Varsity Swim Team as one of the top long distance swimmers.  After college, I no longer had the team environment nor something to compete in.  Competition and the bond that comes from a team were a huge part of my life and they became something I sorely missed.

OCR changed all of that.  It gave me the opportunity to compete in something entirely new and enabled me to build a strong, competitive team.  OCR has taught me a huge amount about leadership and perseverance.  Training 100 people for 10 mile races while simultaneously training myself for WTM was no easy task.  I learned how to be a leader, how to manage my time and energy and how to motivate and energize those around me to feel the love and passion for OCR that I have.


What Does The OCR Community Mean To You?

Every day when I wake up, I strive to be smarter, faster and stronger than I was the day before. OCR, especially endurance races like World's Toughest Mudder, are some of the most challenging races in the world. It requires all three of those elements. You have to be strong enough to get over obstacles. Fast enough to complete the distance and smart enough to know how to pace yourself throughout the race.  Most people will never be able to complete an OCR.  Even fewer will compete at World's Toughest Mudder.  I race to prove I have the drive and dedication to be better than most people.  I am tough enough to be a Tough Mudder Legionnaire, Spartan, OCR Pro.


What’s Your Most Memorable Moment In OCR?

My most memorable moment came around mile 8 of my first OCR, the 2015 Tri-State Tough Mudder.  I remember turning to one of my teammates as we ran and saying I wished we weren't at mile 8 of 10 yet because I was having so much fun.  That was the spark that set of my passion for OCR.  Ever since that first race I have been a huge advocate of OCR's throughout my company and have made it so Thomson Reuters now fields teams in both the US and UK.

Any Goals Or Race Stats To Share?

At the 2016 Long Island Tough Mudder I placed second and qualified for the World's Toughest Mudder.  A team of 2, myself and one of my OCR teammates, will now be competing at WTM in 8 days with the goal of completing 75 miles in the 24-hours.

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Photos courtesy of World's Toughest Mudder and Tough Mudder


Profiles In Badassary: Danielle & Roy MunkJune 16 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

We've run marathons and ultramarathons for years and started to look for new challenges that would make us more well rounded athletes. Our first OCR's were Fuego y Agua (Nicaragua), Spartan Beast (Tahoe), and the Battlefrog BFX (Florida). Now our basement, garage, and car trunks are devoted to training for this sport.


How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)

Most see us running really far and carrying/pushing a lot of strange stuff around the neighborhood. They have a general idea of what we do but without actually seeing an event its tough to explain. Why do we do it? Its really not an option anymore. We are obsessive about it at this point and love it. It's in our families culture now. It's not unusual to randomly have all four of us (including our 3 and 8 year olds) doing a "Death By Burpee" session in the living room just for fun or go downstairs and play around on the pegboard for an evening!


What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?

Roy: Its tough to choose since all of them are great memories. The the Battlefrog BFX Championship was awesome. Fuego y Agua was amazing for so many reasons...the scenery, the people , and the challenge. Climbing up an active volcano is truly an amazing experience.

Danielle: In the Batttlefrog World Championship In Orlando this past December, during my first BFX, I just made the 3:30 cut off to start another lap.  Each volunteer I passed told me I was in 2nd place and then with 2 miles left I saw a woman in front of me.  As I passed her she said, "The paddle is all yours".   So I got to run the last 2 miles thinking, "Oh my gosh I could somehow win this thing."  Turns out in BFX, laying low and not telling people what lap you are on is a smart strategy.  The amazing woman that actually won and beat me by seven minutes, let me in on that very important lay low strategy.


What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?

Roy: Put in the time and be willing to do the long, boring hours that aren't the fun or flashy workouts. That's were the real gains are made.

Danielle:  Don't cheat the long runs.  If you want to race at your peak and be able to complete 26 or more miles, you need to train doing long runs.


What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

Danielle: When I just ran marathons, I could run forever but I never felt strong.  The idea of climbing a rope or scaling a wall was never even on my radar and now I don't feel like a weakling anymore.


What inspires you?

Roy: The other racers, whether its the guys and ladies out in the lead in the Elites or the first time finisher. Its cool to spend the day around a group that is pushing themselves to their absolute limits. And just when you think you have given everything you have, you see someone else that is working harder. That just makes us want to keep going.


Danielle: All the amazing people around me in races.  I have not even nearly mastered this yet and seeing all these strong women (and men) around me pushing themselves to their personal breaking points is perfection.



Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?

Roy: My goal is to do well in the Battlefrog Elite Masters Division. I have been working hard on upper body strength since thats where I needed to improve the most. We actually bought a Platinum Rig for home to train on. Also, I want our daughter, Haven, to continue in the sport and have fun this year.


Danielle:  I did 5 laps in the Battlefrog BFX Championship and came in 2nd.  If I could win a BFX, it would be the most amazing thing I have ever done (aside from giving birth to my 2 beautiful babies).


What's something about you that others might find surprising?

Danielle: No matter how much I work out, I always feel like I should have done more.  That being said after the BFX, I finally did not have that feeling.

Roy: We are vegetarians! I love to show people that you can not eat meat and still be healthy and have muscles.

What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?

Danielle: I wish it was around when I was younger but am so thrilled it will be around for my kids to be the next generation of champions.  It may seem like I'm calling this early but I think the future of this sport will include one or both of my kids as professional OCR racers.  I love this sport and am so glad (even at almost 41), I can still compete with the youngins in the long distance races.  


Roy: I think its the greatest sport in the world. Accessible to all people at all levels. And, it truly takes an all around athlete to excel. I love that the longer endurance events are becoming more common (ie: BFX, the 24 hour events for Tough Mudder and Battlefrog). That opens this sport up to a whole new group of people that may not have had an interest otherwise.

Photos courtesy of Spartan Race.

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Profiles in Badassary Presents Mimi SchectorApril 25 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How did you get into OCR racing?

I ran a marathon on a dare, and it was my first timed race, and my first race, of any kind. This was in 2011. I trained for 8 months and tore my meniscus at the 5th mile. I finished the race after 6 hours 20 minutes, limping and in tears. I'm incredibly stubborn, so quitting was not an option. From there, I ran a Merrell Down & Dirty 5k OCR the following year, and I was hooked. The past two years have been insane in a good way. I race pretty much every other weekend, including OCRs and endurance events.


How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)

I tell people that it makes me feel alive. There's nothing quite like the jolt of electricity that courses through my body as you walk from the parking lot to the venue and pick up your race packet. From there, it's test after test as to how well you do or don't complete the obstacles. I race for the pure enjoyment of the experience - whether good, bad or somewhere in-between. Every experience has value, and the most valuable ones are the ones that you've failed at. My first, and only, DNF (did not finish) to date was last year at the SISU Iron, a 30-hour endurance event where I let the cold get to me - physically and mentally - after 5 long hours of being perpetually cold despite the two hour PT workout I went through. Was it worth doing? Absolutely. It makes you stronger as an athlete, and as a person.


What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?

My most memorable moment/experience was at my third OCR ever, when I saw a woman who was alone, untrained, young, and out of shape.She was struggling at the first obstacle. I ran with her through the entire race (a Spartan Super). I'll always remember the smile on her face when we crossed the finish line. I occasionally race for time, which requires me to run solo. I'm a very social person, so it's a real challenge for me to not come across friends and finish the course with them. Taking the time to help her, and show her how to complete the obstacles, was absolutely the right decision. I've done this at a few races, including a Spartan Sprint last December, where I was racing for time as an Elite racer until a woman was going to walk around an 8' wall within the first 30 minutes of the event. I just had to stop, help, and finish the race with her. There will always be people who race for themselves, but more often than not there are people who take the time to help another racer. The sport is comprised of so many good people, which is what makes it a community. This is one of the reasons why I race.

What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?

The best training is to look at everything as a training opportunity. Do squats while you brush your teeth, calf raises while at the copier, etcetera. Pushups, planking, lunges, bear crawls - there's so much that can be done without equipment. Carry a bucket of rocks on a walk, hike often with a weighted pack. Get up every thirty minutes at most to walk/stretch, and invest in a FitBit or download an app to track your steps - and give yourself a mental reward for the days that you reach 10,000 steps.


What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

The biggest challenge that I've learned to overcome is confidence in myself as an athlete and as an obstacle course racer. I was always the last kid picked for a team in elementary school, and didn't participate in sports of any kind until I was an adult. The irony is that I was the jungle gym champ all through elementary school, so I suppose my OCR lifestyle was destiny. The word 'athlete' wasn't something I was comfortable for a very long time. I finally realized and accepted it recently. I eat clean (except for my pizza and chocolate habits), and I train hard. The confidence is one of the best takeaways from the sport, along with the friendships I've made along this journey.


What inspires you?

What inspires me is the community within OCR. I belong to many OCR communities nationwide, and there's something special about people who race. The whys are varied, from wanting to be in shape and losing large amounts of weight, to wanting to inspire others. I have so many incredible friends who share my passion, and I love my life. It really was a game-changer. I also started Team Dirty Girls, an OCR and fitness team with a friend in 2012 when I ran my first 'real' OCR with a friend who stopped racing soon after. It was a Tough Mudder. Another friend set up a Twitter account and said 'Here it is - start tweeting. I knew nothing about Twitter and now have over 4,500 followers there, along with accounts on Facebook and Instagram, as well. Huge thank you to Jeff for the push. 

https://www.facebook.com/TeamDirtyGirls/

https://twitter.com/TeamDirtyGirls

https://www.instagram.com/teamdirtygirlsocr/


Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?

Race stats? In my age group, I'm often in the top twenty and occasionally in the top ten. I'm actually not competitive when I race, except for the rare times when I want to race solo and run fast. I did participate in something that was absolutely amazing last summer. I answered a small, vague ad on Facebook about an adventure in Africa. Out of 6,000 applicants, I was one of twenty who were chosen. I can't discuss the details yet, but I can say that it was the most difficult, scary, uncomfortable and incredible thing I have ever done. Five weeks into the unknown was a huge leap of faith, and I was out of communication for the entire time. This taught me so much about inner strength, and about taking risks. Life really is short, and I'm approaching the rest of mine with a completely different mindset. Goal for this year? OCRWC - I qualified in October, and it will be the most challenging OCR yet. There's also a back-to-basics (think navigation by the stars, building a fire with no tools, etcetera) event on the east coast that I hope to get to as well (the Rynge).

I'm returning to the SISU Iron this weekend to face my demons and hopefully slay them after my DNF of last year. The SISU staff is incredible, and they're also friends. It's not an easy event in any aspect, and they're not your friends during the event. It's part of why the SISU Iron has the reputation of being such a tough and respected endurance event. The 30-hour Iron has an insane gear list and ridiculously difficult mental and physical challenges. Attendees come from all over the country to be put through such a rigorous event. People train hard - very hard - for this event, and sometimes it's the unexpected athletes who finish. I've upped my training and am in it to finish it. If it ends up being another DNF, I'll lick my wounds, learn from it, and register right away for the next one. Fear is temporary. Regret lasts forever.

What's something about you that other's might find surprising?

Honestly, I think my age is what people find surprising. I recently turned 54 and am in better shape and health than ever before. So many women approach me, whether at races or everywhere else to tell me that they could never do what I do. I decided to show them they can. I'm currently studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), which is the most respected trainer certification program out there. After that, I'm going for my Spartan SXG Trainer certification. I'm targeting women 40 and older, and can't wait to start this next chapter in my never-ending book.



What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?

This is a wonderful time for the future of OCR. It's growing every year, and now many race organizations have included kids races, so the next generation is already hooked. In addition, endurance events are attracting the OCR participants who want something more. My favorites are GORUCK and Team SISU, and you really discover what you're made of - mentally and physically. Shows such as American Ninja Warrior and the Amazing Race are helping, as well. Everyone's why is different. Mine is that I want to experience as much as possible and push myself as much as possible. We're dying from the moment we're born, so you need to start living your life your way.

Photo Credits to Spartan Race and Tough Mudder

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles in Badassary - Jason DupreeApril 14 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

Throughout college I had issues with shin splints which kept me from finding an easy exercise routine. In my late twenties, I found myself heavier than I had ever been in life. Once I finally decided to do something about it, I was lucky to have some work friends that also wanted to start working out.

We started with workouts in our office three times a week. As it progressed, I found myself being able to run without shin splints. My first OCR was at a local Play Dirty. While most people in the afternoon heat were taking their time and walking, I kept it slow and steady. Eventually I passed them up and finished 1st in my heat. While I didn't find out until later, it turns out I was 10th overall. Since that moment I was hooked.

How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)

I tell them it's a race (5K or more sometimes) with obstacles along the way. Walls to jump over, ropes to climb, etc. I run these races because I like how the obstacles break up the race. Just steady running for more than 3 miles to me isn't any fun.

What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?

The Spartan World Championships at Lake Tahoe in 2015. I had a 12pm start time which got pushed back to about 1. After doing the freezing swim and getting into the middle of the back to back wall and barbed-wire crawls, the weather got bad. The clouds rolled over, and it started to hail. I was literally crawling under the wire as it started. It got so cold that it was hard to do anything - crawl, jump over a wall, or even burpees. People were hopping in trucks and dropping out of the race. I was shaking terribly and considering dropping out. My friend caught up with me, and we decided to keep going. Once we got into a smooth run, our bodies started to warm up and it became bearable. While I was on the mountain, I asked myself why did I put myself in this situation. While the hail was pretty darn memorable, the best part came the next day while traveling home. All I could think about is how I wanted to be back on that mountain again, but maybe with a rain jacket instead. :)

What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?

Run. A lot.

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR gives me a reason to be the best I can every day. Knowing that I want to be in a good condition for racing makes me push through. Some days I don't want to be in the gym or out there putting in the miles. But I know that if I don't push through, the next race will be that much harder.

What inspires you?

People who have exceptional abilities but aren't cocky about it. In the OCR world I think of particular Elites that I like to follow. But also the every day people that still run. Some people aren't in super great shape, but they still push themselves. It's something that it doesn't matter what level you are on. From Elites to beginners, if you are pushing yourself everyone is going to be proud of you.

Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?

In my first full year of racing during 2014, I did a Spartan Trifecta along with a few other races. In 2015, a friend and I decided to do a double trifecta. Things got out of hand and we ended up doing a triple trifecta on top of some of the other races. During the last year I moved to Dallas where there are a lot more local races. So while I'm not traveling as much, I am doing one Spartan Trifecta. My goal for this year is to qualify for the OCR World Championships. I've scheduled races in different divisions to give myself the best chances. Some elite heats, some open, and now some competitive Spartan heats. I also am still highly considering trying World's Toughest Mudder this year.

What's something about you that others might find surprising?

I'm a hardcore gamer (video games), read comic books, skateboard, and used to be the singer in a hardcore band.

What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?

I think it's in a pretty good place. Making lots of money but very driven by the clients' desires. It's a sport where the hobbyists compete on the same playing field as elite paid athletes. I think this is extremely special. Not only does it make it cool yet normal when you see Ryan Atkins and just say, hey sweet. Ryan Atkins is running this race too. But more importantly, it gives us (the hobbyist) a reason to strive and believe in ourselves. Maybe we aren't doing it as fast, but we are literally doing the same thing as the Elites, right behind them. Even at the yearly Championships. The day that ends and the Elites compete while we sit in stands, that's the day I lose the drive to reach for goals that I may never be able to achieve, leaving me with nothing to strive for in racing.

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary - Lauren KruppaApril 07 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

My sweet boyfriend was the one who got me hooked. When we first met, he asked if I wanted to tag along and be a spectator. I'm actually more of a team player than bystander, so not knowing what I was getting into I agreed. I raced alongside him, and have been addicted ever since!

How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)

I tell them it's a test of what I'm really made of, and I push myself past the comfort zone. In the moment it may seem tough, but crossing that finish line makes everything second worth it. I've been an active person with sports and outdoor hobbies my whole life, but OCR takes that to a whole new level. It tests both my mental and physical strength.

What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?

It would definitely be my first race. Crossing that finish line with my boyfriend was just amazing. I had challenged myself and he was there to help me through it all. It really defined the teamwork that the OCR community has as well as the strength and support our relationship has. I knew that moment that I could count on him for anything.

What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?

Never give up. As simple as this concept was, it can be hard to maintain this mindset through training and racing. Sometimes there are tough training days, where I'd rather sit on my couch with a Playstation. But then I think about my goals and the person I want to be and push through it. No one has achieved greatness giving up, ever.

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

Being a mentally strong person. A few years back I was a victim of domestic violence. The process of building yourself back up is long and tiring. OCR helped me rebuild myself to the strong and confident person I was again. I learned to not listen to negativity and to believe in myself. Life handed me some sour lemons, but I made some pretty damn good lemonade from it!

What inspires you?

The ability to be able to participate in activities such as OCR. Not everyone is able to partake in such sports. I am fortunate to be blessed with a healthy body, a wonderful life, and a fantastic boyfriend/racing partner, so why not live life to the fullest. We are not here for long and life flies by quick, so I like to do all I can while I can.

Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?

My two goals for this year would be to cut minutes off my race times compared to last year and to complete 90% of my races penalty free. I might be crazy, but we'll see how it goes!

What's something about you that others might find surprising?

Before OCR, I was a pageant queen and a published model. One of my biggest modeling accomplishment was being published in the UFC magazine. Pageants and modeling are quite different from OCR, but the variety definitely adds spice to my life. I was also a dancer, starting when I was about 3 years old. I continued dance through college. It was a strong passion of mine and my longest running hobby yet. The balance I learned from dancing has definitely come in handy in OCR.

What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?

The sport is growing and I love it. The new trend to be fit and active is a fantastic trend. It's something the country really needs. I love the expansion that all race series are doing. Battlefrog going nationwide, Spartan going more global, it's fantastic! I love hearing that someone new has tried OCR. They were inspired and believed in themselves enough to sign up, and I can say that takes a lot of guts. I hope this trend keeps continuing!

Photo credits to Spartan Race and Rugged Maniac

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles in Badassary - Garfield GriffithsMarch 21 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

Garfield Griffiths is the kilt wearing race director of the OCRWC and will direct this year's highly anticipated re-release of Civilian Military Combine.  

How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)

I tell people I’m a producer of big and muddy obstacle races that crazy and fun people like to do. I do it because I absolutely love it. Being able to meet the participants, staff, and OCR community as a whole is incredible. Behind the scenes there’s always a rush of a million moving parts. One minute I’m setting up digital marketing campaigns, talking to China for materials, or vendors regarding merchandise orders. At the end of the day, I’m operating heavy machinery in the middle of nowhere building amazing obstacles. It’s really the ultimate job for anyone with ADHD. Oh look...a squirrel!

What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?

Too many to count. Seeing my obstacle design "Wheel World" (originally Spin Class) launched at Savage Race and being incredibly well received and also nominated for "Best New Obstacle In 2015".  Then to have it recreated at the UK's Nuclear Races was pretty great. Seeing the 2015 OCR World Championships go off without a (major) hitch and then winning the"Best Event Of 2015" award kinda made me tingly all over as well.

What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?

Do not go under my kilt when racing (not nice for people below me on obstacles).

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR gives me a way to channel my (slightly) overboard passion and hyperactivity levels into something I love.


What inspires you?

My family and friends.  My kids are my life. Also those inspiration quote pictures on Facebook with mountains and waterfalls in them.

What's something about you that others might find surprising?

I was bullied terribly as a child, and because of that I've been a martial artist for 30 years. Now I’m a certified Krav Maga instructor (Israeli special forces martial art). I also dealt poker to the heads of the Turkish mob in Istanbul during the Gulf War. I was a very successful club DJ back in the UK and here the US working with the biggest names in the industry (Tiesto, Oakenfold,Sasha, Van Dyk). I like long walks on the beach...wait, this isn't Eharmony.

What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?

I don't like to get into the whole "what does the future hold" debates. It’s f***ing amazing right now. Yes, maybe it has leveled out and we all know that - but I’m just thoroughly enjoying every second while it lasts. So in my best Forrest Gump voice "That's all i have got to say about thaaaaat...

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles in Badassary - Paul BuijsMarch 25 2015, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

What was your first obstacle race, and when did you get fully sucked into OCR? 
Excluding the confidence course (giant awesome obstacles) at Parris Island, my first organized obstacle race was the inaugural Men’s Health New York City Urbanathlon in 2006. Around the same time I was doing some regular local trail races down here in Florida that had a few obstacles thrown in. I went full fit-head (like deadheads but fit) in 2012 after running my first Spartan Race at the NJ Super. 

What made you decide to build the mudandadventure site?  What opportunity did you see? 
In 2010 + 2011 I had been running a race calendar for South Florida as a side business. After doing a couple of obstacle races in 2011, I figured I could run a similar site for obstacle races on a larger scale. I sold the local site to an acquaintance and started Mud and Adventure Christmas day 2011. I am still trying to add all of the obstacle races out there. In 2013 I quit my job and made Mud and Adventure my full time gig.

Any big projects or goals for the site you can share for 2015?
I am really good at biting off more than I can chew. Ultimately I see M+A being a one stop portal for all things OCR – events, training locations, gear, industry jobs and a friend / training partner finder #OCRUNITED. For the time being I am refocusing on the original mission of having every OCR event in the world listed on one handy site.

It’s been said that you have a slight pre-workout problem, what's that all about?
Ah – my self admitted caffeine problem. I have tried every single pre-workout drink or mix on the market. It got to point where I was taking it to wake up. I’ve managed to cut back where I can survive on a cup of coffee and save the pre-workout for actual workouts.

What are your passions/hobbies outside OCR? 
Seeing new places, and cities. Visiting art galleries. Hiking, SCUBA diving and body surfing.

Rapid fire questions:

What one obstacle would you most like to be better at?
Besides running? The damn spear.

Best pre-race pump up song?  
Anything Guns and Roses or Beastie Boys

What would be your ideal post race meal?
At the end of my second day of racing at the OCR World Championships I was shivering and didn’t have any cash on me. Someone bought me a grilled cheese sandwich. It was the best thing I have ever tasted. Adrian, if you are reading this I will come back to Ohio just for those sandwiches.

Your best race?
From a personal performance perspective: Spartan Race Hawaii where I came in fourth in the Beast. I was doing burpees (after missing the spear) as I watched my friend Richard make his spear and, unknowingly to him, pass me for the podium spot. It was bittersweet. Besides that I would say participating in the first ever Fuego y Agua Survival Race was pretty epic. It was quite the adventure and I got to meet many of the respected badasses of the sport and some cool people in the industry.

Your worst race?  
Hmm, that would be my last road bike race. 80 miles in the mountains. I stopped mid race to take a wiz on the side of the road and caught up to the pack (because I don’t have the coordination to pee while riding). In a rookie move I pulled the pack for the last 3 miles. In the final sprint I went from first to tenth in one second. It was the only time I’ve ever raced in any sport where I got tunnel vision and everything off to the peripheral seemed like I was launching into warp speed. I should be proud of that race but I know in my heart I had it in me to win that one. Besides the constant crashes in cycling I like that OCR is more of an individual sport. For me it is about racing against myself.

Most worthless obstacle on a course?
The burpee – people do them differently and with different standards (and counting abilities).

Best thing that ever happened to the sport of OCR?
If you ask me, competition. New event organizations have forced everyone to up their game, introduced new obstacles and race formats and introduced some decent cash purses to the sport. I bet if you asked the event organizers, they’d say Facebook – where the participants are basically doing the advertising for the race series.


Profiles in Badassary - Laura MessnerFebruary 27 2015, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

You have one of the most recognizable faces in OCR.  Tell us about your race look.  What inspired your signature pattern of war paint? 
My signature war paint actually came from a photo I found online. However, there is still a difference because mine holds meaning to it. I have two arrows on my right side to represent leading myself in the right direction and the three slashes on the other eye to represent viewing things/obstacles through my third eye (Outside the box- Mind over Matter). 

What is the origin of "the Messner" pose?  It seems to be a budding global phenomenon. Any best of the Messner highlights for you?
The Messner Pose #StrikeAMessner started after a couple races I did the pose and the photo ended up on the Spartan Race page. My friend, Amanda Ricciardi, at the PA event referred to it as my signature pose or the Messner Pose so it just stuck. Later on, when I could not make it to some of the races, I had great friends of mine in the OCR community #StrikeAMessner for me and post the pictures on my wall so I was there "in spirit". Now it wasn't just my pose, but something everyone could do. I love seeing posts of the pose over across the water (Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic….etc). It's inspiring to me to see so many people share with me their moments by Striking a Messner when they push themselves past what is comfortable. It's about bringing the best out of people - bringing out the positive over the negative and allowing ourselves to believe that we are capable of more!

Who are you outside of OCR? What are your other passions? 
Before getting involved in Obstacle Course Racing I was a singer and a freelance model. These passions are still there, but since OCR came into my life, those passions have become more of a hobby for fun instead of a full time job. In racing I found family, I found positive people who cared about me beyond just my look and talent- that alone has changed my life completely! Currently one of my passions is being an inspiration/role model to others. We have all been through a lot of things in life, but the important thing is to not allow those negative things define who we are. I like to involve myself in anyway I can with programs, seminars, etc. helping to strengthen self worth. I am also a big supporter in helping those with special needs.

Any personal goals for 2015?
For 2015 one of my goals is to relocate to California so I can train all year round for my races. This way there is no excuse not to get to the hills, tracks, fields, pools, gyms to complete the workouts that will strengthen my skills as an athlete.  Another goal I am looking forward to achieving is racing outside of the US! (Got to start saving my pennies! :P) I can't wait to experience all the obstacles other countries have to offer!

What is your favorite training day or workout?  
My favorite style of training is group training interval workouts. It's always beneficial when you have people to motivate you to keep you pushing outside of your comfort zone. 

Are there any particular races or events on your bucket list? 
Of course any race outside of the US is on my bucket list, but one which I have been SO EXCITED to try is the Hawaii Spartan Race Trifecta weekend. I saw so many amazing pictures from the event last year on all my news feeds and this year will be my year to get there! I couldn't feel any more blessed for the opportunities I have been given through OCR!


Profiles in Badassary - Scott KeneallyFebruary 19 2015, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

About Scott:
As both a journalist and participant, I’m entrenched in the muddy, masochistic world of obstacle racing. I’ve been reporting on the industry since the summer of 2011, when a Tough Mudder promo video scared me senseless. My adventures have taken me halfway across the world, and been featured in my local alt-weekly, national magazines and on Showtime. My investigative feature about the scandalous origins of Tough Mudder made the cover of Outside, and led to an assignment with 60 Minutes Sports. I’m currently working a feature documentary about the ’Rise of the Sufferfests.’

As a filmmaker and journalist, what do you find most captivating about obstacle racing? 
There’s always been a certain subset of the population that’s drawn to the kinds of physical or psychological extremes you encounter on an obstacle course.  But what I find interesting about this phenomenon is, the masses are paying for pain. Everyday people who never would have imagined themselves doing anything like this — let alone loving it — are.

As a participant, what draws you to OCR?
Initially, it was for the story. I love writing essays about awkward or uncomfortable experiences, and the story about a self-proclaimed Beta-male tackling a Tough Mudder seemed like a funny topic. But it didn’t take me long to realize that the event was tapping into something much deeper. From the atmosphere at the start line, to the feeling at the finish line — and everything in between and beyond — I felt hyper connected. To the strangers around me. To my six-year-old self. To “the moment.” And I've experienced this kind of connection at all kinds of different OCR events. Which brings me to another thing I love about the industry: variety. Though there’s obvious similarities with any OCR brand, each series strikes a different chord: fun, fitness, fear and such.

When did you decide to make the documentary, Rise of the Sufferfests, and why? 
I started working on the film in the spring of 2013. At the time, I’d been interviewing Mr. Mouse for 18 months, and found his life story so fascinating, I thought I might like to write his biography. But he’s the kind of character who is so unique and eccentric you have to see it to believe it. And since way more people watch movies than read, I figured the best way to champion his legacy was to make a film. The film is much bigger than Mr. Mouse at this point, but he’s the moral center. 

Why do you think we have seen the rise of the sufferfests?  Do you think they came around at the right time fill some sort of need of society?
Those answers —and more! — coming this fall. 

OCR has so many crazy and interesting characters.  If you could sit any 3 of them down together and roll cameras for an hour who would you pick?
I love the rivalry between certain athletes, like The Sheriff and The Bear. But for obvious reasons, I’m going to have to go with Will Dean, Mr. Mouse and Joe Desena. That would be something.

Who is the most incredible athlete you've been around?
Amelia Boone. I’m endlessly amazed by her ability to dominate this sport while working 60+ hours per week as a lawyer. It’s incredible

Has anyone blown your mind recently? 
Jonathan Albon from the UK. I’ve been hearing about him for a while from my friend James Appleton, a 3x Tough Guy champ. But I was pretty surprised when Albon came over and won both the Spartan and OCR World Championships. I was not, however, surprised to see Albon win Tough Guy this year. The kid is on a tear. 

What advice do you give aspiring writers and filmmakers?
Get ready to suffer. Making a creative living is not for the faint of heart. 

How did you develop a "marketable perspective" on the world? 
Let’s wait and see how the documentary does before I discuss my “marketable perspective.” :)

Tell us about your new commitment to STFU.  What are you doing differently? 
CrossFit! I took it up a couple months ago and much to my surprise, I’m punch drunk on the Kool-Aid. As you may have read, I’m not the kind of guy who easily embraces high-intensity interval training. So I’m psyched that I found something that motivates me day in and day out.

What are the biggest changes you've experienced since having your first kid?
I don’t spend nearly as much time dicking around on Facebook. I’m a hell of a lot more focused when I’m at the computer. Also, I know I want to be a highly active and engaged father, strengthening my commitment to STFU. 

Where do you see the sport of OCR in 5 years?
I expect it will continue to grow and evolve. I don’t see this phenomenon fading anytime soon. 

Where can people learn more about your projects and support your work?  
For now, they can follow the film on FB and Twitter, and sign up for our mailing list. But next month, when we release our first official trailer and launch a microsite, there will be more info on how to get involved. Also, I have a personal website which I irregularly update. :) 


Profiles in Badassary - Norm KochFebruary 12 2015, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.


Inside the world of OCR, you are feared and revered.  How do you describe your job to people outside the OCR world? 
I describe my job to outsiders with a description of Spartan and OCR world.  I get to help influence Spartan internationally and domestically.  My job is to help and design courses that are challenging and keep Spartan true to its roots. A Military style obstacle challenge that is timed and should force people to test their limits.  If everyone is completing the course without doing burpees, it’s not hard enough.  Then I have to explain what a burpee is and explain we penalize for failing an obstacle.  Many peoples' first reaction is "I’m not ready for one of those" or "I couldn't do one".  I tell everyone they need to do one, bring a friend and do it.  It’s a life changing experience. 

Where do you look for inspiration on new course elements?
Finding inspiration isn’t too hard.  I make a point to be active on FB and most importantly getting off my ass and visiting other OCR events.  Visiting fixed obstacle courses, and smaller regional races are helpful.  They help me see what Spartan Race does well or may help us become better.  Obstacles for Spartan is so difficult because of the Spartan hordes.  With the popularity and demand, the size of Obstacles or through put is a major concern.  So, at home I mock stuff up, build and tweak cool stuff I come across.

What are you most and least favorite terrains for course building? 
Flat and flat sucks, boring. My favorite is Ski Resorts and Mountains. Give me rocky, forests, and water.

Which hazards are the most critical for a race director to manage for health and safety? Are there certain elements that are the most dangerous to get wrong (water, obstacle height, hydration on the course)? 
Questions like this can get me in trouble because we are a sue happy culture.  Most people need to realize danger is everywhere, if we don’t feel some type of inherent fear we would just play shuffleboard.  Safety is a major concern.

You are known as a huge supporter of the Spartan adaptive athletes.  How did you get involved and what does that mean to you?
I love supporting my adaptive athlete friends.  Overcoming personal hardships/obstacles is really what OCR is about.  Far too many people are lazy or let hardship get them down.  These athletes are amazing; they push past hardship and roll with the punches.  We can never know what tomorrow holds for us, but a true athlete, Spartan will rise above any hurdle.  I enjoy spending time with the people who understand we are all equals.  Elites, open Class racers, adaptive Athletes I don’t care what time your heat is do you have grit, honor, integrity? Those are the people I like to spend my free time with and support in anyway I can.

Tell us a bit about yourself - who are you outside of OCR? and what are you passionate about?
Well I enjoy building obstacles and working out, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking and camping. I’m a huge advocate for the 2nd amendment and avid Hunter and Trapper. I am a mountain man, with a BS in Recreation and Ski Resort Management and Resource Management.  I have two-step sons, a boy and a girl.  So Four kids is enough to drive anyone crazy.  I met the love of my life at a race.  Debbie Moreau now Debbie Koch. We went to France together and I proposed to her on top of the Eiffel Tower, then she won the first Super in France.  We train together and raise our family in Maine. We are both in to being healthy and don’t drink, I’m super boring, no caffeine or sugar.

What's one thing most of the OCR community wouldn't know about you? 
Well I grew up in Alaska, Vermont, Short stay in Park City Utah, now Maine. I drive a Spartan Branded F150.  I am one of 70 people who got there trifecta in 2011.  I am one of the founding members of the StormChasers, many who work for Spartan Race. I have finished two death races.  2012 winter I took second, the summer I finished in 65 hours, many didn’t think I would do it I had a broken toe going into the event, but I’m stubborn.  I have so many stories from past jobs, I worked in so many industries.  Entertainment, Recreation, Promotions and Marketing, some names are Playstation2, Lego, Johnson & Johnson, Nascar, Sundance Film festival, Ski Resorts and Rec Centers.  It goes on and on, I have been a drive individual and have choose cool exciting jobs.

Any personal goals for 2015?

It’s quite an experience arriving at an OCR venue alone. This is the first race I’ve run without a buddy or two along for the ride and while that always makes for a great time, running solo did help me focus not only on my performance on the course but also the purpose of this particular event. This past Saturday, I took part in my first HESCO BoneFrog Challenge at Highland Park Resort in Cedartown, Georgia west of Atlanta. Proceeds from BoneFrog benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation which, in their own words, “provides immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare Community and its families”. Their goal was on my mind from the moment I woke that day and proved to be all the motivation I needed to finish strong.

My latest OCR adventure began with parking at the venue. I paid and was directed through a fairly wooded area already pretty thick with makeshift rows of parked cars. I got the impression this was unplanned overflow because the attendant to whom I spoke told me, “Just find a spot where you won’t block anybody in. It’s going to be tight today.” I was certain I would end up being the one blocked in when I returned to my car after the race. After pushing that fear out of my head, I headed toward the starting area. Because I wasn’t in the designated parking area, there wasn’t any signage pointing the way, so I just followed the sound of the music and P.A. announcements and ended up crossing part of the course to get there. Whoops.

The starting area for BoneFrog was excellent; one of the best setups I’ve seen. There were large signs everywhere indicating the ever present stops at any OCR event: registration tent, bag check, beer taps, etc. I didn’t have to wait in line for anything (with the exception of the hoses for washing off afterward.) Everything was in close proximity to everything else and well laid out overall. Probably the coolest aspect though was there was a fantastic view of most of the sprint course.

The venue itself is primarily used for motorsports like racing dirt bikes and ATVs. Because of this, the majority of the entire sprint route could be viewed from the starting area. Running it was unique in comparison to other obstacle courses because of the constant switchbacks and hairpin turns. Despite all the running, it never felt like I was making progress from a distance standpoint. Even the shorter sections of the course that did go through the surrounding woods off the track remained in earshot of the music, which was strange because I think most people who run OCR associate hearing the D.J. with being near the end of the run. Additionally, it was dry, hard-packed dirt so running it felt more like a road race than a trail run. Finally, this place must have had other designated trails still open for motocross because the high-pitched growl of motorcycle engines was constant along the wood line and I saw more than a few riders fly by on trails adjacent to ours. It was all a bit disorienting and outside the lines of what I’d describe as the typical OCR experience, but those elements did bring some uniqueness and even what I’d consider new challenges to BoneFrog which I appreciated.

As far as the obstacles go, they were solid. Every structure was well-built and challenging though I didn’t see much I hadn’t seen before at other races in some form or another which a few exceptions. (Please note, I ran the shorter sprint course which was about four miles. The nine-mile challenge course ventured much further from the starting area, went deeper into the surrounding forest, and certainly offered more obstacles I didn’t even see. I’m looking forward to checking out the event photos to see what else was there and more importantly what to train for next time BoneFrog comes to Georgia.)

One of those exceptions was a beast referred to as the “Dirty Name”. I have no doubt it got this name due to all the cursing and swearing it generates from those who attempt it. I made it up to the second tier and thought long and hard about going for the third one before jumping to the ground instead. Without mincing words, I’m a short man and that top log was incredibly muddy and slick by the time I got there. I saw a good number of racers hang on for dear life, exhaust themselves, and ultimately fall before I made the decision to abandon it. I’m no elite competitor, just a weekend warrior out for fun, so no obstacle is worth injury to me. It was a good one and I truly hope I have the opportunity to attempt it again sooner than later.

Another cool obstacle I’d never seen before was called “Rolling Thunder”. It consisted of a long horizontal barrier with tires running the length of it. To successfully negotiate it, all I had to do was haul myself over it to the other side just like any other static barrier on any other obstacle course. At first glance, it didn’t look difficult at all. It only looked about six feet high and I knew I’d gone over taller walls without help. However, it didn’t occur to me that once I hit the tires they’d start rolling. Very deceptive…that little motion made the obstacle exponentially more difficult. It took me a couple of attempts but I managed to get over it.

When thinking about most of the other more common obstacles I encountered, I’ve come to the conclusion that my OCR performance is a lot like my golf game. I’ve done this enough times now to know exactly what’s going to give me trouble and cause bouts of frustration before I even get on the course. Further, nothing about that observation is going to change until I find time to practice specific skills more than I already do.

I’m a three quarter monkey bar man. It seems no matter how long the set is, I make it about three-quarters of the way across before I slip off. Neither Black Ops nor either of the other hanging obstacles at BoneFrog was an exception.

For some reason, I can’t seem to climb a rope to save my life either. I managed to do it once at BattleFrog (RIP), but that seems to have been an adrenaline-fueled fluke. I guarantee there’s a rope climb going in my backyard very soon as I can no longer handle walking away from a rope climb without hitting a bell.

There are some really tall walls out there on some of these runs. I can get over six and eight-foot walls on my own without too much trouble but these ten and twelve-foot monsters drive me nuts. Like I said, I’m not the tallest guy in the world by a long shot and regardless of the teamwork attitude nearly every participant maintains during a race it always feels a little awkward to ask a stranger if I can step on their thigh or even their shoulder. I might just have to learn to get used to it.

If I were forced to call out BoneFrog on any shortcomings, it would be a big stretch. There’s very little to criticise at all. Here are the relatively minor things I saw that could be improved for next time:

  • I found that my interactions with volunteers at each obstacle varied wildly. At the first wall, there was a kid chastising racers LOUDLY for using the wall support to get a boost. On the other hand, there were other obstacles where volunteers were very friendly and helpful. And, then there were those volunteers that said little or nothing motivational, critical or otherwise. So, the entire volunteer experience was inconsistent and kind of all over the map.
  • The wooded sections of the sprint course were well marked for the most part but they became extremely narrow in some areas and I don’t think any brush had been cut from the path in preparation for race day. I ran into a lot of tree branches and all sorts of other vegetation consistently.
  • In regards to broken trail marking lines, they really only became an issue at a small section of the course near the parking areas. It was hard to tell, but it seemed like part of the course crossed a dirt road very close to the lot and as a result, there were a couple of cars leaving the venue while runners were on the road at the same time. It was an extremely small section relatively speaking, but it could have been a potential safety issue.
  • While climbing up Black Ops near the finish line, I did hear a participant alert someone with the event staff that Dirty Name was unattended and needed to be for safety reasons. There was a volunteer at that obstacle earlier in the day when I reached it.

It’s my understanding that these last two items were being addressed immediately upon being reported. Nice response BoneFrog!

(Memorial Wall Photo Courtesy of BoneFrog’s Facebook Account)

Minor complaints aside, this was an excellent event and one of my best OCR experiences to date. My favorite parts of BoneFrog were the two obstacles included for the sole purpose of memorializing the SEALs and other military members who had lost their lives in battle in service to our country. Roughly half way through the run, every racer ascended a long incline referred to as the “Stairway to Valhalla”. At the peak was a Memorial Wall where anyone was welcome to pay tribute to any fallen member of the military close to them or to whom they held in high regard. The view from here was amazing.

As if that weren’t touching enough, near the very end of the course, a large wooden sign was posted listing the names of 31 heroes who died in combat. Before proceeding, every racer was directed to read a name aloud, do a burpee, and then repeat. I completed all thirty-one burpees but frankly those last few likely didn’t meet the Navy’s standards. Still, that obstacle and the entire race was humbling and one I’ll be feeling long after the soreness subsides. I could not be more pleased or feel more honored to participate in such an event.

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