OCR – Obstacle Course Racing – Meet The Clarks
Most of us know this in some shape or another – think TOUGH MUDDER, SPARTAN, TRUE GRIT etc. There are those however that take this concept to a whole extreme level. In cross country events, mud and trail runs are often combined and the races are designed to result in mental and physical collapse. Obstacles may include climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, traversing bodies of water, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping through fire. Many obstacles are similar to those used in military training, while others are unique to obstacle racing and are employed throughout the course to test endurance, strength, speed and, dexterity. OCR is an international competitive event that requires athletes to have incredible all-rounded fitness in both stamina, power and strength. Rules vary from event to event but last weekend, 16th and 17th of June, was the OCR Enduro (24hrs) World Championships.
Paul and Kate Clark, two Sunshine Coast residents are two such specimens that take this fitness to a whole new level. We here at Assume Its Possible have the pleasure of assisting Paul with his training out of Local Facility “Ezyfit Health & Fitness Clubs”, whilst Kate trains with another Sunshine Coast facility, “Jamie Milne Training”. Over the weekend Paul was part of a 4 person mixed team (two male, two female) and Kate participated in the solo female event. 24 hours of hard effort was about to come forward.
So What’s This 24 Hour Business?
The course is broken into laps, roughly 11.5km long each, with each lap also punctuated with 30 Obstacles to overcome. These obstacles can vary between climbs, carries and balances, all of which are in addition to the simple fact that you’re running on variable trail terrain (think hills, creeks, mud, grass), ensuring that athletes need to focus on finding rhythms and pacing over and over again. Racers then proceed to spend the next 24 hrs doing as many laps as possible. Oh yes, and because it takes place over a 24 hour period – you run in the dark. With a headlamp. In the cold.
There are so many factors in these events that make it interesting to analyse. Athletes must have intense mental strength as well as the physical. The ability to push through pain, cold, and the mental battle of trying to be faster than everyone else. Do you come out of the gate hard and try to build an insurmountable lead? Or perhaps conserve some strength and finish the last 6-8 hrs steam-rolling home? Or a thousand shades of in-between? All the while fatigue, cold and hunger is taking a toll and telling you to stop. Its a true test of the human condition.
How Did They Do? Tell Me Already!
So glad you asked.
Paul’s Team name was ‘Unsung Enduros’ finishing with 17 laps, a total of 197 kms and 510 obstacles. With 4 laps each under their belts, they had to make the decision to run the 17th lap to ensure they finished 1st, as 2nd were hot on their tail……..there were 7 other teams in that division.
Kate finished 2nd with a total of 9 laps, 104.4 kms and 270 obstacles with 23 other athletes in her division.
So this power couple – Nay, the DREAM TEAM of Paul and Kate Clark, are two of the best Obstacle Racers that the World has to offer – which is no throw-away line with results like this.
Well from Paul’s camp – that’s a hell of a cap on the first half of the year. The next step is the 15km Solo Championships held in London, late October this year. Some solid reset time, 24 hours of hard running and obstacles takes a big toll on the body (not to mention your poor feet!), and then easing back in to build up to peak point for that. Events on the way, like Gold Coast Spartan, will keep the training focus strong – and we can’t wait to join them in that particular event.
We here at Assume Its Possible take our hats off to both Paul and Kate and offer the most heart-felt of congratulations to the incredible success that these two have achieved!