OCR World Championships

Greg, Michelle and Willem went to Canada for the OCR World Championships, sponsored by KeyHealth and Rockets regarding flights, accommodation and race kit. They had a great time as part of the SA OCR team racing for three days at different events. Friday the 14th was a three-kilometre short course, Saturday the 15th was the 15km long course and Sunday was the team event. Michelle came 6th in the short course and 4th in the 15km course. Greg was almost on the podium for the 15km course, but hit a wall because of energy loss! The mixed team, with Greg, Michelle and Tom Basson, also came 4th.

Here’s Greg’s report:

The dark side of the mountain

Today’s race was both awesome and horrible at times it felt like I was flying others like I was about to die…

The race started out well with the group making a very fast start. I settled into a comfortable top 20 position with the first massive climbs looming!! With a fairly large portion of them going over to a power walk I was able to get into a good rhythm and start taking a few places before I knew it I found myself in 2nd… The trails consisted mainly of muddy, grassy ski slopes and technical trail running along some awesome trails! I managed to get into a comfortable pace, power walking some of the steeper climbs and running the rest, having to bomb down the technical descents…

After about 4km one of the Italian runners overtook me giving me someone to pace myself on… Everything was feeling good and I was happy with how things were going so far, after heading back into the spectator zone and completing the rig we were now approaching the 6km mark and the start of the Wreck Bag carry. The Wreck bag carry is a 25kg sack that you have to carry, we had to carry it about 200m up the ski slope and back down, I managed to make up one place on the carry as well as lose one to a Canadian runner. It was then back up the mountain for a very long climb! I managed to overtake the Canadian just after the climbing started running back up in 2nd for most of the climb.

greg upside down

This is where things started to go a bit downhill not actually just in theory. My blood sugar started to drop, I started to feel like I was losing power, nothing too bad and I hardly realised until slightly later into the race… At this stage the Canadian overtook me again and a bit later on the barbed wire crawl I could see the Italian catching up.

At the top we had a few more rigs, Skull valley and the mini Platinum rig… The mini Platinum rig was rather challenging! It was 1m off the ground so we had to traverse it ensuring we don’t touch the floor! At one stage my shoe lace got hooked on one of the up rights, so I struggled to get that off and this was where the Italian got past. It was then a few more obstacles up top before we started to make our way down, I was still feeling ok and kept fairly close to the Italian. It was then our last water point. Looking back, I should have really checked if there was a banana or something to eat but I grabbed a cup of water and was off. The downhill was long and steep but taking long strides I was able to set a good pace, as we turned and started heading up that’s where it hit me!!

greg swinging

Suddenly it felt like I was a robot who’s batteries had been removed, I just couldn’t go anymore… People started catching me and it just felt like there was nothing I could do. The general term for this  is “bonking” or hitting the wall, and that’s exactly how it felt! No longer being able to run I tried to keep going but eventually there were stages where it felt like I was going to pass out. I managed to find someone’s leftover goo sachet lying on the floor and scavenged a little bit of that.

Ja it’s gross and what not but I was a bit desperate! The next 20 or so minutes I went into a survival type mode… I’ve never had so many people ask me if they should call the medic, not sure what I looked like but it couldn’t have been too good… I managed to get a few goo’s, some water and a protein bar from passing racers and that’s what saved me! I started shuffling along again, getting to the wall traverse I felt so fatigued I almost couldn’t keep myself on the wall… shortly after that I started feeling all of a sudden much better! I started feeling good again, but with just over 1km left it was a bit late… Running back down into the race village there were a few of the more challenging obstacles left but more exciting than difficult, but was awesome and never been so glad to cross that finish line on an OCR race before!!greg from behind


Ended up dropping from 4th to about 21st but these things happen, just a pity it had to be at the world championships…

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