Race Report: Michael Joubert – OCR World Champs 2017

After a lot of hours in transit, I finally arrived at the Blue Mountain ski resort in Canada where 2017 OCR world championships would be held. We arrived rather late and it was already dark, so I only managed to see how beautiful the place is the next morning when I went for a run up one of the ski slopes and saw the big lake in the distance and ran to the lake as well.

The Friday was the start of the whole weekend of racing. This was my first time at OCR world championships and the first international race I had done and I didn’t really know what to expect. The obstacles were rather easy if you compare it to the South African races like Warrior and the Beast, but the terrain was a massive obstacle to overcome. I had never run up hills this steep and hadn’t have to deal with this number of slippery slopes before. Also, the standard of athletes was at a very high level. These guys live, eat and breathe OCR and it was great to see such a big community of people in this ever-developing sport.

It started with a 3km sprint event with a few obstacles. We set off in smaller batches so it was more of a time trial format. The race was immensely fast with our batch flying out of the startup the first hill. My heart rate was in the red from the start and I never felt like I could get into a rhythm, but at least it was only 20 odd minutes of intense racing.

As I crossed the finish line, I felt rather positive about my time, feeling like I “left everything on the course”. Perhaps I could have won a few seconds at stages when I had to wait for guys to complete the obstacle but I doubt it would have made a big difference. I ended in 11th place in the 20 to 29 age category.

The Saturday was the main event. The gruelling 15km race had an ascent of 1200m with a proper amount of obstacles along the way. I had a good start and I tried to get into a proper position before all the obstacles started so that I wouldn’t fall behind because of bottlenecks.

As we started to climb the first long slope, I slowly fell behind the leaders seeing that I definitely still need some training on these type of hills. I had a really great race and could definitely say this was one of my hardest races I have done in my life. I just kept going, winning back positions on the obstacles every time. Although the entire course could be considered as World class, the running was way out of my frame of reference. I definitely struggled with the long steep slopes, just to keep the pace until the top and then quickly getting back into a rhythm to keep on running. As I crossed the finish line I was so broken but proud to finish this race with people from all the different countries cheering for you crossing the line. I ended up in 7th place in the 25 to 30 age category.

The Sunday was the team event where you compete in a team of three with each person doing a specific part of the race. We entered the pro mixed team event. Greg did our running leg, Michelle did our strength leg and I did the technical leg that comprised of a bit of running and all the cool upper body obstacles. We had a great event but unfortunately missed out to the podium coming in at a 4th place after the other strong South African team, Thomas, Bradly and Trish.

I had a great time at the OCR world championships and got an eye-opener of how big the sport has grown internationally and how much harder I have to work to achieve podium finishes there. I learned a lot over that weekend and how to better prepare for one of these international races. I will definitely be back.

Thanks to my sponsors for making this trip a possibility Team Nevarest, Keyhealth, Toyota SA and Inov8.