19-21 of October was the big weekend for the obstacle racers from all over the world. The world championship 2018 was arranged in London, moving over the pond, after two years in the Blue Mountain (Canada). Less mountains, more mud, lower temperature and a totally new type of race environment for three days of competition with the best athletes from all over the world.

For the second year in a row I have managed to qualify for the OCRWC in the pro-wave, that means I had the possibility to race with the best OCR athletes in the world on three distances 3K, 15K and team relay. Pretty much all the best runners were at the start line, so my focus was not on the final position but on doing my own race and see how far I could get, especially after have seen the race map. In fact that was not including any hilly running session but an infinite list of obstacles, namely 25 for the 3K and 100 for the 15K. I won't discuss here, but on a later post, my personal point of view on OCR, but I believe that build up a race with the double amount of obstacles than a regular race of the season might be fun, but simply wrong...anyhow there we go!
Wednesday evening my wife and I flew to London, and Thursday we visited the festival area in Brentwood at the Nuclear Race site which was hosting the event. The festival area was in the middle of a typical English countryside, with good parking facilities and great atmosphere, although pick up our bib and race package took about 2 hours. I still got the chance to checkout part of the course and meet a lot of friends and known faces ready to race the upcoming weekend. A world championship is always a world championship, great atmosphere created by people coming from 67 different countries full of energy and motivated to leave everything on the course. 

One of the new/last obstacles at OCRWC "Skitch 2.0"


Friday at 12.15 the 3K pro-wave was ready to go, while all the age groups had already run earlier in the day. To avoid traffic and queuing at the obstacles we started in heat of 10 people about 3 minutes apart between each heat. I have started in the 7th heat along with two well known Swedish friends, and it was very cool to push each other in the intense 3K race through the 25 obstacles. I think the short race was very well planned, with a good combination of strength, jumping, running and technical obstacles. Short races are not my strong side, the lack of any obstacles training facilities in Tromsø doesn't give me any opportunity to sharp my technique and quickness on the obstacles, but luckily my grip and strength helps on the long hail. Anyhow, the body felt good and explosive and I could smash pretty quickly all the obstacles until the last wall, where an unlucky choice of the muddy side made me loose about 50s and 20 position, but still concluding in 21:30 in 62th position. I was happy and ready for the big event on the following day.

Sharing the race with great athletes (Nils Jonnson after the 3K)

Relaxing and getting ready (at the hotel) for the 15K race , I suddenly got an aching pain in my left foot and even walk from the bed to the bathroom was a challenge...WTF!! I have no idea why, but maybe a too tight shoe or a too hard landing on the 3K race was suddenly making my participation in the next two days on a serious risk. Hot and cold baths, stretching, foam rolling and finger crossed were all I could try, hoping that the next morning the pain would be gone as quickly as it came.
At 5.30 I was up eating breakfast, my foot felt slightly better so I was willing to warm up and give it a try. A chilly beautiful morning with 5 degrees was welcoming over 200 pro-athlete at the start line. The first part of the race was filled with pretty easy obstacles, many carries, water crossing, mud (a lot of mud!!) and a few hanging obstacles that became pretty tricky given the cold temperature and the morning humidity. My feet was hurting a bit but I could still keep up the intensity getting more and more confident although the ridiculous amount of obstacles we were facing. Still, Saturday wasn't really my lucky day: at the rope swinging and in particular at a long tyrolean transverse (20m rope over the water) I got the wrong messages from the marshal. I won't go too in detail or discuss more now, a mistake or a misunderstanding can happen, but that made me loose about 10 minutes and use a lot of extra, not necessary, energy which costed me a few minutes at the following obstacles too. I was pretty disappointed and irritated, but I got myself back in the race beating the most technical obstacles and more mud (which were in the last part of the race), crossing the finish line in 70th place after 1 hour and 58 mins. Shortly, the result could have been better, but under the circumstances I was extremely happy with my effort, physical shape and my will to fight until the last meter. After all, after two days of racing, I was among the best 70 OCR athlete in the world, and I was good enough to fight for the top 40.

Crossing the finish line slightly muddy after the 15K!


Sunday the feet was better, and it was time for the last race of the championship: the team relay. The format is very cool with three individual section (speed, strength and technique) and a common session with obstacles to conquer together before the finish line. I was running the mixed relay in the pro-division with Kristin and Marius from OCR Norway and I was in charge of the first leg, namely the speed part with 4km of running and 12 obstacles. There was no special plan here, just run as quick as possible and give all I had left in my body to cover those 4km. 16.30 was my time, scoring the 14th best time in our division (of about 60 team), and probably reaching a new max pulse...loved it! :) Kristin run the strength part and Marius the technical, before meet again to face a few obstacles together including the big final wall. Everyone did a great job out on the course and we had really great fun, crossing the finish line in 24th place. 

Team race was just great fun!

The event area, the atmosphere, the people and the sunny weather made the weekend and the experience amazing. Looking back at the results, with a bit more luck, I could be higher in the list, but the performances were good and my body was definitely ready to tackle whatever type of course, so I am concluding this OCR season with a big smile.
It's amazing to see how OCR is growing as a sport and how many great athletes show up at the start line. I believe that, with some adjustments and some better written rules, obstacle course racing is going to be even bigger and more spectacular!

Big thanks to all the people that support me all the time, my family and my amazing wife.
Cheers from London!

All the pics are from the organizers of the OCRWC

skrevet av
portrait

Marco Anelli

Matematikk, naturfag og fitness lærer - Personlig trener fra TROMSO

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Klubb: OCR Norway
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