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Elite KeyHealth OCR athletes compete at 24HR OCR World Championships – Sydney, Australia

OCR is pretty tough.

 

Athletes run at speed around a marked course (5km – 15km) whilst completing anything from 10 to 36 obstacles. It requires superb fitness, strength and endurance and mental toughness on another level.

 

Now imagine doing this, non-stop, for 24 hours? Complete madness or next level OCR racing?

 

For over 400 athletes this will be a true test of their physical and mental capabilities as they battle the course (and themselves) during this lapped based racing format which features 30 obstacles on a 11km course where competitors aim to complete as many laps as possible in the 24 hours..

 

Undoubtedly for South African based athletes and energetic father and son OCR duo, Alec and Greg Avierinos, this will be the ultimate test of their strength and endurance.

 

Alec has been pushing the limits for many and participates in a variety of endurance sports and is right off the back of the 560km Expedition Africa Adventure Race. He uses the platform to test his own capabilities but also encourages all athletes to get outdoors and challenge themselves.

 

Greg is an Elite OCR Champion and has earned many OCR podium titles. He is an all round outdoor semi professional athlete and is very keen to compete against the worlds best downunder.

 

The 24 hour event is the inaugural ultra endurance event for the world OCR championship in partnership with TrueGrit (http://truegrit.com.au/) and this is a competition they both can’t wait to tackle head on.


We managed to chat to Alec and Greg whilst they were preparing in Australia  – they share their thoughts about the event and the lead up to race day.


In preparation for the event, Alec and Greg went to scout the route on Thursday in order to get a good idea of what to expect. The course is set on a working farm nestled in a shallow river valley surrounded by steep cliffs and thick natural vegetation. The course has made use a number of natural obstacles – rope climbs up rock faces, river crossings and boulder climbs – which are sure to provide unique challenges. The 11km route weaves through great single track section and has an elevation gain of approximately 250m. There are even a few cattle on route and rumour has it even a couple of wild Australian animals. Kangaroos and Emus are wild?   


In preparation for the event both Alec and Greg have focussed their training on longer strength and endurance sessions – with particular emphasis on time on the legs.

 

Alec, who has been nursing an achilles injury, completed Expedition Africa two weeks before the event as part of his training. He feels that the 140 hours ultra-distance training is good preparation for the 24 hour format. “I feel well prepared and I’m trusting that my rest, recovery and revitalization plan has worked. We will see tomorrow if it has been enough” said a relaxed Alec.

 


Greg, who prefers the regular (shorter) OCR format, is looking forward to the challenge of pushing his boundaries in the 24 hour OCR format – “I’ve been focussing on more multistage trail running events leading up to this race and have also done one or two shorter adventure races in preparation for the longer time out there”

 

Although he admits he’s not in best shape for an endurance event and has a slight hip discomfort, he is confident that his muscle endurance and memory and professional OCR experience, will assist him come race day. “This is my first 24 hour OCR event and I’m interested to see how it all works out.” said Greg sounding relaxed in the comfort of his tent. “I’m just really keen to get to the start line now”


The 24 hour race definitely changes the way athletes would normally focus on an OCR race and two different strategies will be attempted by the two OCR athletes.

 

Alec is opting for a slower start and is hoping to find a reasonable pace to maintain for as long as possible during the race. “I’m also planning to spend as little as possible in transition.” said Alec and the idea with this strategy is to maximise distance covered on the course.


Greg’s plan is to go fairly hard for the first two laps in order to set a benchmark time for himself and to possibly gain a bit of a lead. “My plan is to push hard on route early on and then manage my hydration and food intake well. Although there is water and food available in transition I’m planning to use a race vest and possibly a waist belt to ensure I keep electrolytes available at all times.”


Their main challenges will be the climbing and water obstacles, and not to mention the weighted carries along route. They both are not sure about the levels of competition in their respective age groups and are focusing on their personal goals and expectations for the race.


Greg is feeling good about his race prep and is looking at getting into a good rhythm early on – he is sure that the field will be strong but his main goal is still a podium finish. “My realistic expectation would be to complete just over 100km to be competitive in the (18 – 29) year category, and judging by the course this can be achieved.”

 

In his previous 24 hour OCR, Alec was able to complete 80 km in distance an believes that with the obstacles this year being a little less taxing, his expectation of at least 8 laps (88km) is achievable.                   “Out on the course anything can happen but I’m prepared to remain focussed an push hard. My ultimate goal is to get a podium finish and some silverware for South Africa”


But as in many races there are always outside factors like the weather – they are both well prepared for the possible inclement weather but agree that if it does rain excessively it will get very muddy and will affect what is achievable. “It can turn into a mud bath very quickly” laughed Greg with a smile on his face (I think he secretly likes the mud)


Fortunately both athletes have appropriate First Ascent race gear and have a wide range of kit options to select in order to manage all weather. “We’ll be able to handle any weather and gear changes in transition, and I’m excited put the First Ascent gear to the test during the race” mentioned Greg.


A father and son competing at an event at this level is something special and very unique.


Said an emotional Alec – “It’s an absolute privilege to be able to travel and compete at my age with my son and I feel very fortunate and blessed and it’s been really great preparing for a race like this together and having the opportunity to travel and race in Australia”


“This is such a cool experience to share with my dad and very valuable race experience” said an excited Greg.

 

They are both looking forward to seeing each other on the course and this competitive father-son duo will certainly be battling each other out there. It will be very interesting to see how the different race strategies work out – Will the more experienced, slower approach or all round faster approach win? We wait in eager anticipation.


Regardless of the results, we know for certain that they will both give their absolute best and aim to be out on the course for as long as possible. They will be out there competing for themselves, each other and the rest of South Africa.


They have  been such an inspiration and have already made South Africa extremely proud.


Athletes enjoyed a hearty pre-race buffet dinner with newbies rubbing shoulders with die hard OCR fanatics and other OCR enthusiasts, race organisers and sponsors. “The New South Wales government has been superb and is the main sponsor for the event.” said Alec at the opening function. “They are particularly pleased with the internationally representation of athletes and countries such as Denmark, U.S.A, Spain and South Africa are competing. “It has been a wonderful welcome and the hospitality has been exceptional”


Race start is as 12:00pm Australia (GMT +10) or 04:00am South Africa (SAST).

 

Follow the live updates here https://events.com/r/en_US/registration/24-hour-enduro-ocr-championships-lower-portland-june-340672

 

Craig Giese is an Outdoor Adventure Photographer and Media content developer from the Eastern Cape

 

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