We tend to reflect on big race events by remembering who won, who they beat, and by how much. The answers usually only affect the people involved and maybe their closest friends, family, and trainers. Fortunately, participants of the recent Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC) left Stratton Mountain, Vermont, with a lot more than a new list of champions to celebrate. We limped away with inspiring, heartfelt memories that have renewed our love for the sport and OCR community for years to come. HERE ARE SOME OF OUR FAVORITE FEEL GOOD MOMENTS FROM OCRWC 2021!
OCRWC’s 3k and 15k courses both sprinkle obstacles around the mountain and through Stratton Village (downtown); but the main gauntlet of back-to-back obstacles are front and center of the main festival. That’s where we discovered CANYON, a V-frame obstacle with descending and ascending elements for athletes to traverse. The concept seems simple. Execution? Well, that’s another story.
The problem is at the lowest point of the V. There, athletes with long torsos are so low that it’s almost impossible to stay off the ground. They find themselves having to lock their arms, engage their abs, and keep their knees up all while shifting from descending to ascending rings. Yeah, it was hard! However, that made completion that much sweeter!
BTW. You don’t have to wait until next year’s OCRWC to take on Canyon. Trace it back to its roots, Battle of the Lions, under its original alias - Reverse Valkyrie.
Standing in for Ryan
We’ve seen a preview of OCR’s future, and it stars the name Tucker. Brother and sister powerhouse, Ethan and Cameron Tucker, claimed their places on OCRWC’s teen podiums both for the 3k and 15 races. That alone makes for an unforgettable weekend. However, as the winner of Saturday’s youngest 15k race, Ethan Tucker was asked to serve an unexpected role.
“@ryan.kempson who won the 15k had to leave, so he gave me the opportunity to stand up on the podium for him! It is a moment I will always remember and gave me a sense of where I want to be soon. So big thanks to the amazing Ryan Kempson.” - @ncwarrior_ethan/
Imagine being an up-and-coming junior champ and filling in for the elite champ while taking your place next to OCR legend Lyndsay Webster and a podium full of the sport’s top athletes. BEST DAY EVER!
She said, “Yes!”... sorta.
The perfect setting and opportunity are never lost on Obstacle Running Adventure’s Mike Stefano. That’s why he’s always where he needs to be to snag the must-have interview or report can’t miss finish line action. However, instead of simply capturing a moment, Mike saw the opportunity to make a lasting memory with the love of his life. Here’s the thing. He didn’t put the ring on her finger, and she didn’t just say, “Yes.” Here’s how it went down.
Inspired by SHADES 😎
There’s a moment during suffering when we hear… the voice. You know the one. “You can’t do it. You’re not good enough. You don’t have what it takes.” It takes a special kind of inspiration to silence that voice. Enter Samuel Koehler, aka, Shades!
Despite living with Achromatopsia, a rare disorder that causes poor visual acuity, extreme light sensitivity and color-blindness, Shades completed every obstacle on the 3k course without giving up his band. NOT JUST THAT. Shades made it all the way to Ricochet (second to last obstacle) on the 15k before the course time limit ran out.
Check out this compilation of Samuel’s multiple attempts and eventual success on Urban Sky to get a sense of how much heart this kid has.
We can’t talk about Samuel without mentioning his incredible OCR family. Josh (dad), Debbie (mom), and Rachel (sis) are awesome ambassadors for the sport and their faith. They represent our community’s best qualities!
Side note: Rachel can be seen in the above video. She too is an accomplished member of The OCR Girls.