Carolina Beast 2017-SPARTAnburg STRIKES BACK

South Carolina- Spartan Beast November 2017

Spartan-Race-Beast-Logo

 

You mud lovers asked for it, and Spartan Race delivered. A brand new venue for your dirty adventures in South Carolina. Spartanburg hosted their first Beast and Sprint for those last minute trifecta chasers. The new venue had every racing fanatic wondering what Spartan Race was going to bring. Spartanburg held the races at the University of South Carolina campus. The Beast tapped out around 13 miles and the sprint boasted 5 miles.

Spartanburg-Beast-Map

Spartan Race Beast/Sprint Course Map
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Photo Credit: Spartan Race

Obstacle Changes

Although the OCR season is still active until the end of the year, Spartan is using this time to try out new changes that may be implemented next season. One of the changes that was noted in Atlanta at the Lake Lanier Super was a penalty loop added next to twister and the rope climb. Instead of the traditional 30 burpee penalty for obstacle failure, the athlete is required to crawl under an additional barbed wire, or go for a small jog around a loop. Spartanburg did not have any penalty loops and just required the 30 burpees for obstacle failure.

Twister

A well known obstacle for failures, Twister, earned more failures in Spartanburg than ever before. Spartan added velcro grips to the handles for extra hold on the difficult obstacle. Whether or not Spartan did this in preparation for rain, or to make it easier is unknown. However what is known, is that 90% of the athletes did NOT like the changes implemented to twister. Team Southern Spartans athletes joined in to say that the grips made it very difficult to grab the bars because they were slipping and moving. Perhaps Spartan Race could modify this change and put the grips on half of the bars instead of all of them.

Twister-Grips

Unfavorable Grips Added To Twister

 

Elites and Scratchy Terrain

Tiffany Palmer won first place for the elite woman with a time of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 34 seconds for the beast ! Tiffany recaps her experience at South Carolina on her Instagram by saying “(the) Beast was definitely a race to remember. As in…it will most likely leave scars on me from all the briars! Beautiful clean race besides gashing my knee open at mile 1!! The terrain was the worst obstacle, and there was a LOT of screaming every time a Briar wrapped itself around me.” Although it took me double time to run the beast, I did experience the same terrain issues as Tiffany. The terrain reminded me of a post Hurricane Irma scene with all of the knocked over trees, branches and pinecones. There were thorns that would come out of NO WHERE and literally reach out and wrap around your legs causing nasty scratches. Racer, Troy King states “The course was hell! 13 miles of thick woods – running through miles of briars and hurdling waist high thorns. I was constantly watching the ground for hidden holes. It was literally miles of uncomfortable aggressive terrain.”

Tiffany-Palmer-Elite

Top Three Elite Women (Beast)
Photo Credit: Tiffany Palmer

Troy King Scratches

Troy King- Scratches from Spartanburg
Photo Credit: Troy King

 

       I spotted this CUTE handmade tank top made from a finisher t-shirt and two spartan headbands !! 

Spartan-Tank

“Blondie” and her handmade Spartan Tank

 

Trifecta-Tribe-SC
MY FIRST EVER TRIFECTA, Y’ALL !!

Overall, for my first Beast, I found Spartanburg to be a challenge and a great time. I certainly recommend this course for those seeking to test their limits and get that green beast medal to complete their trifectas. Spartan is scheduled to bring this venue back next season, but will hopefully take into consideration some mild parking lot issues and the scratchy terrain. Can’t wait for next year!

 

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Photo Credit: Jessika Poppe, unless otherwise stated.

 

North American OCR Championship Reveals 2018 Venue

North American Obstacle Course Racing Championships to Debut at Stratton Mountain, Vermont

Adventurey LLC, organizers of the independent Obstacle Course Racing World Championships, announced today the launch of the first North American Obstacle Course Racing Championships (#NorAmChamps) to be held August 10-12, 2018, at Stratton Mountain, in Stratton, Vermont.

The three-day event will consist of a 3K short course championship on Friday, August 10, followed by a 15K standard course championship on Saturday, August 11, and conclude on Sunday, August 12 with the Team Relay event. All distances will feature Pro Division and Age Group Divisions for qualified competitors. Limited Journeymen entries are available for which there are no results criteria (athletes need only participate in any three obstacle course races to qualify).

Additionally, qualifying spots for the OCR World Championships will be awarded for top Pro and Age Group division finishers with the winner of each division receiving free entry into the 2018 event.

“The sport of obstacle course racing continues to grow at an amazing pace with the support of many like-minded companies and individuals looking to bring it to the next level through the creation of the first independent North American Championships,” said Adventurey CEO Adrian Bijanada. “With enthusiastic community support, strong partnerships with fellow race organizations, and a deep bench of professionals willing to work together for the betterment of the sport, the #NorAmChamps is poised to be another incredible experience for obstacle course racers from all over North America.”

In an effort to serve the growing community, the previous 2017 US OCR Championships has been transformed into the North American OCR Championships for 2018 featuring obstacles from many North American-based partners, including Green Beret Challenge, City Challenge Race, BoneFrog Challenge, Terrain Racing, Conquer the Gauntlet, Northman Race, Wreck Bag, Indian Mud Run and more.

About Adventurey, LLC

Founded in 2013, Adventurey, LLC is a New York City-based company whose focus is on creating and producing life-enhancing endurance events and experiences. Media inquiries may be sent to Margaret Schlachter, Media Director – Margaret@ocrwc.com.

 

Photo Credits: USOCR Facebook Page

OCRWC Announces 2018 Venue!

Obstacle Course Racing World Championships Announces 2018 Location in the United Kingdom

New York, NY (November 6, 2017) – Adventurey, the parent company of the world’s first and only independent obstacle racing world championship today, announced details for 2018 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in London, England October 19 – 21, 2018. The premiere event of the obstacle course racing (OCR) season will bring a truly global obstacle racing experience to the English countryside. The fifth year of the event will celebrate the best professional and age group competitors from around the world with athletes from over sixty-five nations expected to participate.

Race weekend will feature a 3K Short Course Championships on Friday, 15K Standard Distance on Saturday, and Team Relay Competition on Sunday, each showcasing the best racers from around the world. The event will build upon an already spectacular permanent obstacle course in Essex to create an international village, a diverse course, and an unparalleled experience for athletes, their supporters, and spectators. ͞

“After four years in North America, we knew that to truly be a global championship we would need to move outside the continent. Our team spent more than a year vetting various venues around the world and found this venue offered a unique opportunity to build something distinctly international, while bringing obstacle course racing back home to the UK,” said Adventurey CEO, Adrian Bijanada. “Athletes and their families should expect a world-class course showcasing global obstacle course racing brands, a diverse international village, and contributions from partners that are a reflection of the worldwide obstacle racing industry.”

“We’re honored & excited to be chosen to host the OCR World Championships in 2018. Obstacle racing originated in the UK so we’re very proud to be the showcase venue for this world-class event. Our multi-award winning courses & obstacles will allow the World’s team to create a truly epic athlete experience. We’re looking forward to working together & welcoming everyone,” said James Parrish Race Director at Nuclear Races, which will host the 2018 event.

Full details on how to qualify can be found on the OCR World Championships website. This year over seventy-five race series are set as qualifiers representing over forty countries. Additionally, for the first-time since its inception, athletes will have the ability to purchase “entry protection” insurance for the event. This will provide athletes the opportunity to receive a refund of their entry fee in the event of injury or other significant life events which may prevent them from attending the world championships.

“We recognize that events often happen in life and athletes plan the entire season around the OCR World Championships. The new registration insurance adds a level of protection for athletes when making the critical decision to register for our races. We hope this helps to set an industry standard moving forward” said Rachelanne Gladden, Director of Athlete Services.

The new location and new venue for OCR World Championships are set to create a fresh and vibrant OCR World Championship experience for returning athletes and open the door for a new contingent of global athletes with the move.

About the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships

Created by Adventurey, LLC, the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships is the first and only independent championship event in Obstacle Course Racing and requires athletes to qualify for a limited number of spots through a network of qualifying events. Designed to celebrate the athletes within the sport, the 2017 competition drew over 4,000 athletes from over 67 nations to compete for cash prizes in individual Elite, Age Group, and Team competitions, making it one of the broadest and most diverse races in obstacle course racing history. For more information, visit www.ocrworldchampionships.com.

About Nuclear Races

Nuclear Races are award-winning obstacle races on permanent farmland nestled just outside London in the county of Essex, UK. Founder & Race Director of Nuclear Races James Parrish is the fourth generation landowner of the 2,000-acre farm. Nuclear’s first race was in 2011 utilizing the natural terrain, obstacle build expertise & highly organized logistics needed to deliver obstacle races. The mission was to make fitness fun, achievable & while enjoying the outdoors at it’s best. Nuclear has an established & growing community who enjoy race-days & training throughout the year.

Media inquiries may be sent to Margaret Schlachter, Media Director – Margaret@ocrwc.com.

 

OCR World Championships 2017 Part I


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Just back from Blue Mountain, Canada. We have tons of interviews from the finish line of this year’s OCR World Championships.

From the 3K, it’s the top 3 women Nicole Mericle, Lindsay Webster, and Karin Karlsson. Followed by Justin Mathews and Scott Hyland. We then talk to the top 3 men Jon Albon, Ryan Atkins, and Ben Kinsinger.

The next day was the 15k and we talk to Albon, Atkins, and Woodsy. We then snagged a very excited Jesse Bruce. (Sorry Jesse, we told you the wrong finish position). We then talked to Marco Bedard, Lindsay Webster, Jamie Rahn (Captain NBC), and Nicole Mericle.

Hunter McIntyre was next followed by Mudstacle’s Phil Harris and LeEarl Rugland. We chatted with James Appleton for an extended period of time to catch up with him and talk a little about Tough Guy.

Wrapping up the episode are chats with Jamie Styles, who we have talked to at many Georgia finish lines and Kelly Sullivan from NorEaster OCR.

Part 2 will be the finish line from the Sunday team relay, and a long conversation post event with Adrian Bijanada.

Todays Podcast is sponsored by:

Wetsuit Wearhouse – Save 15% using coupon code ORM on all purchases.

Show Notes:

2018 OCR World Championship Results

Listen using the player below or the iTunes/Stitcher links at the top of this page. 

OCR World Championship 2017 Results

OCR World Championships Crowns Jonathan Albon and Nicole Mericle as 3K Short Course Champions Each claiming the $10,000 First Prize Purse

MEN’S PRO DIVISION

  1. Jonathan Albon- UK 17:23.6
  2. Ryan Atkins – CANADA 18:00.3
  3. Ben Kinsinger – USA 19:47.2

WOMEN’S PRO DIVISION

  1. Nicole Mericle – USA 20:24.1
  2. Lindsay Webster – CANADA 20:59.1
  3. Karin Karlsson – SWEDEN 22:21.7

Blue Mountains, Ontario – The world’s best obstacle racing athletes from sixty-seven nations converged on Blue Mountain Resort for the 3K Short Course Championships as part of the OCR Championships Weekend. For the second year, athletes made their way to the picturesque Blue Mountain for one of the most challenging and exciting short courses in the world.

The OCR World Championships Short Course featured nearly 3,000 athletes from sixty-seven nations and total prize purses over $43,500 disbursed among age group and pro divisions. The Friday event featured a 3-Kilometer course with fourteen obstacles from races and builders around the world. The athletes battled a challenging Farmer Carry from Green Beret Challenge and show-stopping Hanging Walls from Indian Mud Run. The Platinum Rig obstacle continued to test the athlete’s strength and perseverance.

With rain coming in right before the start of the Pro Division it meant that the already grip based obstacles were even more challenging when wet. Many athletes struggled at the new Northman Race obstacle and Platinum Rig. Both requiring grip strength and determination.

Athletes qualified to race from all over the world and this international race showcased the best in both the Pro Division and also the best Age Group racers in the world.

In addition to claiming the 3K Short Course World Title Jonathan Albon took home $10,000 in prize money. Joining Jonathan Albon on the podium was Ryan Atkins and Ben Kinsinger. On the women’s side, Nicole Mericle finished in the top place followed by Lindsay Webster and Karin Karlsson.

OCR World Championships Crowns Jonathan Albon and Lindsay Webster as 15K Classic Course Champions

MEN’S PRO DIVISION

  1. Jonathan Albon – UK 1:33:48
  2. Ryan Atkins – Canada 1:37:30
  3. Ryan Woods – USA 1:40:41

WOMEN’S PRO DIVISION

  1. Lindsay Webster – Canada 2:01:43
  2. Nicole Mericle – USA 2:09:33 3
  3. Karin Karlsson – Sweden 2:14:58

The Saturday event featured a 15-Kilometer course with over forty-seven obstacles from obstacle races and obstacle builders around the world. With obstacles coming from as far as Sandstorm Race in the United Arab Emirates and as close as Mud Hero in Ontario and Northman Race in Quebec as well as eleven other race series from around the world. The race showcased some of the most unique and exciting obstacles in the industry. Athletes qualified to race from all over the world and this unique race showcased the best in both the Pro Division and also the best Age Group racers in the world.

Jonathan Albon continued to prove he is the top athlete in the world continuing his streak as undefeated at the OCR World Championships against the best in the world. Lindsay Webster won her third straight OCR World Championships.

Jonathan Albon took the lead early in the race and never looked back. Besting the rest of the men’s field by nearly four minutes. Ryan Atkins finished second for the fourth time in the four years of the event. Ryan Woods bested Hunter McIntyre for the third spot on the podium.

In the women’s pro division Lindsay Webster earned her third OCR World Championship title
winning 2015, 2016, and now 2017 15K Classic Distance. Nicole Mericle led most of the race but had difficulties at Skull Valley one of the final obstacles which opened the door for Webster to pass Mericle. Karin Karlsson ran a solid race pacing herself along the way to claim the third spot on the podium for the second time this weekend.

In addition to claiming the 15K Classic Distance World Title Jonathan Albon took home $10,000 in prize money. Joining Albon on the podium was Ryan Atkins and Ryan Wood. On the women’s side, Lindsay Webster earned her $10,000 prize for first followed by Nicole Mericle and Karin Karlsson.

In just four years, OCR World Championships has become the premier championship for athletes globally in the obstacle course racing industry and continues to set standards for excellence. Bringing together not only athletes but also race organizers in a truly OCR United effort.CR World

OCRWC 2017 Team Results

Pro Men’s Team Division

  1. Ryan Atkins, Ryan Wood, Hunter McIntyre 46:10
  2. Jonathan Albon, Conor Hancock, James Appleton 46:15
  3. Nickolaj Dam, Renaldas Bugys, Leon Kofoed 47:14

Pro Women’s Team Division Pro

  1. Nicole Mericle, Lindsay Webster, Rea Kolbl 57:55
  2. Linnea Ivarsson, Anna Svensson, Karin Karlsson 58:43
  3. Ashley Samples, Jacqueline Krekow, Jamie Stiles 1:13:44

Co-ed Team Division

  1. Tiffany Palmer Brakken Kraker, Brian Gowiski 52:04
  2. Wojciech Sobierajski, Piotr Lobodzinski, Malgorzata Szaruga 54:33  Thomas Van Tonder, Trish Bahlman, Bradley Chaase 54:56
  3. Thomas Van Tonder, Trish Bahlman, Bradley Chaase 54:56

Complete OCR World Championship 2017 Results 3K

Complete OCR World Championship 2017 Results 15K

Complete OCR World Championship 2017 Results Team 7K

 

 

Photo Credits: OCRWC Press Release/Social Media Sites, ORM Instagram
Press Release: Margaret Schlachter, OCRWC

I Ran the OCRWC: I Got a Medal. And an Asterisk.

Of all the possible endings I had envisioned for my race, riding shotgun in a volunteer’s pickup truck and bypassing obstacles en route to the finish line wasn’t one of them. And of all the adjectives I could use to describe my experience at the 2017 OCR World Championships, I can’t believe the first one that comes to mind is “anticlimactic.”

I Had A Goal

This was my first time at OCRWC. I’m still fairly new to the sport, and I’m certainly on the “enthusiast” end of the spectrum. My 2016 OCR goal had been to complete the Spartan Trifecta, something that seemed crazy when I first seriously considered it. But then, last October, balled up on a South Carolina hotel bed, clutching my new three-piece medal, after eight hours-plus of the hardest thing I’d ever done, I decided out of nowhere to go for Worlds in 2017.

Winning a qualifier or nabbing a podium for an automatic entry wasn’t going to happen. The Journeyman class would be my way in. I picked my qualifying races for the front half of the year. I included one race more than I would need, just in case. I pre-registered for the 15k in December, a full ten months early. I booked accommodations at Blue Mountain in February. I lined up travel to Toronto in April. (Yeah, I like having a big red X to shoot for.) This was going to happen. After I completed my fourth and final qualifier, I badgered the OCRWC office staff via email to make sure I was really in. It all seemed like there must be some catch. I mean, surely they don’t let guys like me run in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, RIGHT???

And truth be told, I was nervous right up until the moment they handed me a bib number in the Athletes’ Center on Thursday night. Right there in the shadow of the giant slip wall, it felt real. I was in. I would be included among the champions for one magical moment in time.

2017-OCRWC-race-bib

The Atmosphere Was Electric

OCRWC and Blue Mountain Resort put on a spectacular weekend. The atmosphere was electric. The obstacles, all larger than life and scattered around the Village. Coach Pain’s amplified pep talks floating through the nippy air. Huge crowds of people cheering for racers as they crossed the finish line. I felt like a rockstar walking around the grounds with my “Competitor” lanyard. I saw the giants of the sport up close and personal. Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster, right there for winners’ photos. Yuri Force floating up a warped wall like it wasn’t even there. I did the ‘sup-bro head-nod thing with Hunter McIntyre, who’s never seen me before in his life. I chatted up Kevin Gillotti in the pita restaurant and got obstacle tips. It was surreal.

Then it was my turn. The Journeymen (and Journeywomen) took off at 2:45 on Saturday afternoon. This had been a detail of no small concern to me from the moment the schedule had been released. That’s late in the day, certainly much later than the 9 am waves I prefer to sign myself up for. It seemed alarmingly late, even, given the 15km distance and the high number of obstacles.

2017-OCRWC-course-map

Even more nerve-wracking was the verbiage I remembered from the rulebook that specified a strict five-hour cutoff. Based on previous races, I knew five hours might not be enough time for a guy like me to make it 9.3 miles and navigate 43 obstacles. When I had looked up what time the sun goes down in Toronto in mid-October, I freaked out even harder. The race officials might give me until 7:45 pm, but Mother Nature would be shutting off the daylight at about 6:30.

In Life, We Are All Journeymen

But despite those sobering numbers, I figured that the OCRWC organizers must know what they’re doing. I couldn’t worry about the details now; I had the race of my life to run. I’ll freely admit I bawled my eyes out as Coach Pain reminded me and my fellow amateurs, the ones who wouldn’t be holding a big cardboard check at the end, the in-it-for-the-love-of-the-sport racers, the men and women who had struggled the most and worked the hardest to even be here, that “In life, we are all Journeymen.” With that, we attacked Blue Mountain.

The course was brutal. That familiar OCR gallows humor came out early on the first of several trips straight up the mountain. Yet spirits were high, encouragement was plentiful, and the weather was cooperating. The rain that had been forecast to have already started… hadn’t. We all forged onward. Up and down the mountain, over walls, under barbed wire, and through the mud. This is what we came for.

2017-OCRWC-warp-wall

As the race wore on, though, things changed. The rain started – first as a drizzle, then in earnest. Now, obstacles became more slippery. Footing became more challenging. The trips up the mountain got significantly slower and harder. The sky got progressively darker as afternoon turned to evening.

Urban Sky was the first obstacle where volunteers started shouting out time announcements. “You’re behind the 8-ball! You have got to pick up the pace! You are not going to make five hours!” Very soon after, we heard a whole new race strategy: “Forget the retry lane! Start skipping obstacles! Go around if you can! Just get to the finish line in five hours or you won’t get a medal!”

I May Have Nothing To Show For It

And for the first time, it occurred to me that I might not make it, that this whole trip – no, this whole year of racing and training – might leave me with nothing to show for it but a big fat DNF.

Just after the Low Rig, there was a very narrow passageway in the woods that we had to traverse. I can only describe it as a waterfall without the water. It was a sheer rock ravine no more than four feet wide. Enough for one person at a time. With one rope for assistance. And it was pitch black. The only sound was the occasional noise of a rock skittering away and sliding downhill under someone’s misplaced foot. This sound was always accompanied by one person’s sudden – and often NSFW – exclamation… and the concerned words of coaching from the dozen or so of us trying to navigate this patch of very technical mountain terrain. My overriding thought? “This had better be the last bit of this kind of trailwork or someone is going to break something. Or worse.”

A few minutes later, I was out of the ravine and on the Log Hop. I strained to see the vertical stumps, even though they were right in front of me. It was so foggy. It was so wet. It was so cold. It was so dark. And then, a voice from the volunteer tent in front of us. “Get off the obstacle! We’re shutting it down!”

Shutting it down?!? I knew it wasn’t 7:45 yet. What did they mean? Shutting what down? Just this obstacle?

No. Organizers had just halted the race, we were informed. It was too dark and too wet. The course had become unsafe. Volunteers held us at the tent and told us no one could proceed. Trucks were on the way to take us back. Several racers burst into tears that their day was over. Some were openly relieved at the same realization. One started swearing at the volunteers, demanding to be allowed to continue.

Would We Still Get Medals

But it was over. We stood shivering, swapping stories, laughing, all nervously wondering to ourselves to some degree what would happen next. My brother and another racer realized that they still had their wristbands, 33 obstacles in. They wouldn’t get the chance to go for a perfect 43. Would we still even get medals?

After that truck ride, we were allowed to climb the final slip wall and cross the finish line. Medals were draped over our necks, to the smattering of polite golf claps from the handful of spectators who had stayed, as crews and vendors hurriedly packed up their tents in the darkness. I don’t even think the emcees were still welcoming runners in over the microphone anymore. I was sore and exhausted, to be sure, but I knew I hadn’t run the full race. There were ten obstacles out there I never even got to see. It all felt empty. Hollow. Anticlimactic.

I don’t begrudge the OCRWC organizers for calling the race when they did. Conditions on top of the mountain were no longer safe for racing. That was obvious, even to the angry guy screaming that he’d promise not to hold anyone liable if he hurt himself by continuing on. There’s nothing anyone can do about the weather; that’s an inherent roll of the dice with any outdoor event.

It Feels Like A Hollow Victory

I guess my frustration/anger/bewilderment comes when I think about that schedule. That 2:45 pm start time. For the Journeymen wave, of all people, the runners that need the most time of anyone competing the entire weekend. Why wait until 2:45 to send the amateurs off on a 15k mountain run with 43 obstacles when the sun goes down at 6:45? A five-hour time limit for “the enthusiasts” seems awfully hardcore, but it adds to the challenge, fine. It’s Worlds; it should be tough. And if you have to call it at four hours because of weather, well, them’s the breaks.

But I was never going to get that five full hours. Even on a bone-dry course, I doubt I could have done that race in four. The full five would have still forced me to make decisions about skipping obstacles or bailing out on retries, both of which would seem to contradict the “for-the-love-of-the-sport” ethos that had inspired us, Journeymen, to be there in the first place. Coach Pain had pointed out at the start that our group was not the fastest, nor the strongest. True enough. But we were given the hardest obstacle of all, the one that couldn’t be overcome, the one I worried about when I saw the race-day schedule, the one that anyone with a free app on their phone could have foreseen simply by looking up sunset times.

There’s Too Much At Stake

How could OCRWC organizers not have seen that coming??? How do you justify starting the amateurs so late in the day? I understand that we can’t go first. That course has to be clean for the elite runners. There’s too much at stake for the sponsored racers to make them navigate a course full of obstacles AND a bunch of couch warriors getting in the way. I get it. Truly.

So give the Journeymen their own day. The 3k seemed to go off for all waves without a hitch on Friday, or at least I haven’t heard of any similar issues with darkness. Saturday is the right day for the elites, the semi-pros, the podium runners, the athletes who have a legitimate shot at prize money. And Sunday rightfully needs to be reserved for the team relay and charity runs. Totally agree. So extend the event one more day and let the Journeymen have the torn-up course all to themselves starting at 8 am Monday for as long as it takes them. I wouldn’t have minded. And I’m not the only one. But to allow the Journeymen to come from 67 countries to compete at the World Championships… only to yank them 75% of the way through the course because it’s too dark?!? That’s just terrible planning.

2017-OCRWC-finisher-medal

I See An Asterisk

I’ll always have the story of this weekend to tell. And I hope that one day when I tell it, it won’t include the words “empty” or “hollow” or “anticlimactic.” But right now, it sure as hell does. I competed in the OCR World Championships. For one magical weekend, I was included with the best on Earth. I played on some insane obstacles I’d never even seen before. I climbed a mountain… multiple times. I crossed the finish line. I got the T-shirt. I ran three-quarters of the hardest race of my life. Yes, I now have a World Championship medal. But honestly, when I look at it, I don’t see a neon green maple leaf in the middle of it. I see an asterisk.

Maybe someday I won’t.