More than Mud - Chris Wheeler
More than Mud 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 roped into OCR as a work function. I remember thinking "Who the hell pays 80 bucks to run through the mud?" Then about a 3rd of the way into it I remember thinking "crap where is the next one?" OCR took off from there for me.
How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)
This sound weird but I don't really talk about the events themselves when people ask me about it. I talk about what I get out of them, the amazing community, the uplifting nature to make yourself shatter your limitations, from mister six-pack to the person on a journey of transformation trying to help you reach your goal while going after theirs.
What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?
I've had a few but both came from persevering when the people around me were suggesting I call it a day for my own good. At BattleFrog Dallas I got stuck at the Bridge over the Cry, I got to the point I was hypothermic, my hands were bleeding all over because I kept trying and trying. I got to a point where I told myself I don't car how much it hurts I'm going to get the job done. I just dug down and BFTFU to get across that bloody thing. I was so pumped I grabbed the Course Marshall, Melissa Hall off the ground and gave her a big bear hug and possibly a heart attack.
The second was the Killington Ultra Beast. I did it on a whim 3 weeks out I signed up after thinking I wasn't going to do it all season. After taking it very easy on the first lap I decided to really take off because I was gaining on the other leaders, around Mile 3 I saw a Beaster doing something that would get her hurt and in a bit of irony by helping her I did to myself exactly what I helped her no do and smashed my knee into a boulder and tree root.
I had a medic suggesting I get carted down, I hadn't brought my glow sticks or headlamp because I was suppose to finish with plenty of daylight left. I had to dig deep down to focus on the goal at hand getting to finish line if it killed me. Along way I got great support from the famous HB and even walked some of the heavy carries with Roxie and her Mum. Really kept me starting at my goal and I finished right at sunset, it was a incredibly euphoric feeling. Now all I want to do is run Ultra Beast, WTMs, BFXs and want a crack at BFX24 in 2017.
What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?
Don't Embrace the Suck, Love it! When things feel like they are at the worst that is the time to be at your best because that is how you grow that is how you get stronger.
What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?
OCR gave my my athletic passion back, I credit it heavily in my 115 lbs weight loss.
What inspires you?
Anyone who uses what others view as a shortcoming or disability as their strength to succeed. We too easily look for excuses as to why something can't be done, there is something beautiful about someone be told "they can't do something" and the response being "watch me".
Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?
I've had a few top age finishes and top 10 overalls. My goals this year are to reach the podium in an Elite Heat and at least 1 BFX Trident
What's something about you that others might find surprising?
I am very go with the flow and can have an amazing time with people and not say 10 words, but I'm known as the Shenanigator in some circles so people are surprise to see how laid back I am.
What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?
I love it because while the industry and sport as a whole are in their infancy, the biggest component running is very mature. The way series are taking notice of all the different lengths of specialty is great and I'm curious on how that evolves. I am also curious on how the "Competitive Wave" will evolve because people want to compete for something beyond the bragging rights and the Elite wave should evolve to be earned not be used as a price upgrade to run a clean course. I could write War and Peace here but I'll hold myself back.
Photos courtesy of Spartan Race
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