OCR EC 2018 – Forearmmassacre, Ninjawarrior extrem or how to destroy most athletes on the first day.
This is going to be my first english article, because this is a european discussion and I want all athletes to participate in this debate about the future of OCR. First of all the event was huge! In every way. And I can imagine the massive effort the organizers put in this. And before every critique I have, I have to thank the Danish OCRA for hosting it. We had a wonderful weekend and we appreciate all the work they put in there, especially the work of all the helping hands who put their time and effort into organizing such a big thing! Nevertheless some things went wrong and we need to talk about what and how we go on about this.
Welcome to the home of the Vikings… Vikings Kill…
The first impression of everyone was, this is going to be a massacre. And it was. But no one expected it to be this cruel. Basically what they did was an Knockoutninjawarriorcourse. They just took all the massive comboobstacles of the different european races and put all the finishers in one race. On the first day I was just supporting the other athletes and I am really proud of Jens who made it through the course.
I don‘t know how many times he had to wait till his forearms work again or retry and give his best. He made it through, but did not make the cut off time which was ridiculously low. I really wonder if any of the organizers tried the course beforehand. It was insane! People trained for this throughout the whole year and were expecting trouble and a tough Course. But no one expected this. Jon Albon quit after half the race, to spare Energie for the next day. Viola made it through the short course with bleeding hands after more then 4 hours. As the 4 women who managed to make it after the cut off.
Then there was irritation about the cut off, as some people realized, that the cut off time was ridiculous the moderaters said the cut off time was not there anymore. But then some athletes handed in their band tactically because they realized they couldn’t make it until the cutoff. Others fought through this cruel battle because they thought the cutoff was gone. Either way it was unfair.
More and more Changes…
Realizing that this monster they created was impossible to do on a long distance they took out some obstacles and made nearly all the comboobstacles easier. Still only 50% of the elite males could not make it. I was able to start in the last wave a start. And went off well, the first obstacles were easy and I felt good until I reached „the pit“ where the forearmmassacre was about to start. I made it until the my hands would just refuse to grip … The big ropes at the „Northpole“ just sucked out the last bit of grip strength. I still tried it a couple of times. But when I realized that it’s not only my hands but my also my shoulder I gave up. I knew from the beginning that this race is my personal nemesis. But I was suprised how many crazy obstacles I did with relative ease, until my hands refused to listen to my brain.
I know my friends at the SIdeline wanted me to continue.
They have all been fighting till the end. Which ment get through or die trying. I know you all wanted me to succeed. I watched all of you struggle and tried to push you through cheering up. I’ve seen the despair in your eyes and I suffered with you and I know giving up was no option for you. That’s why this event was so awesome. Noone could bring these emotions up like this if it wasn’t for shredding his personal limits.
But for me giving up this moment didn‘t feel like a failure. I was quite satisfied with the man who nearly failed a simple monkeybar when he did his first OCR and couldn’t do a single pull-up after his first halfmarathon in 2014. I just felt bad for all the other people who went way over there limits. Over and over again. At every one of this insane obstacles and just refused to give up but still could not make it. On my point of view our sport is about testing your limits and surpassing them.
It has to be tough and challenging for the whole body and for the mind. It involves conquering obstacles.
But this thing was just insanity and it crushed to many dreams. For my part I was happy, I knew i tested my body, I got to know my weaknesses again and I learned my lessons. I had my real challenge in Sydney. From now on it was fun. I caught up with Nicole and we jumped through the rest of the course, happily failing all the gripstrenght obstacles while the others went ridicoulosly easy. When i reached the final struggle my legs where totally fine so I started joking around and putting up a little show for the others that already finished and waited for others to push us trough. I passed by some other athletes that still struggled to keep their wristband and we cheered them on, we fought together and this was what made the weeked a once in a lifetime experience. I was happy when I made it through the finishline. After the finish was before the start of the Teamrelay. And just behind the finishline Matthias Graute was searching for someone who jumps in for the Relay. So I did! I told him, that I suck at any gripstrenght obstacle but I will try and give my best. So Pia Wagner and I jumped in for Viola and Tobias.
The Team Relay was a real improvisation. Like most of the Teams we where not the original team. A lot of Athletes hat to withdraw from the teamrelay because of injury. Most of them because their hands were just a bloody mess. So going throug th teamrelay was a fight for its own. Maren told me she failed the Barbarian Race Obstacle because the rings were to bloody and she slipped.
But for me i finally got my competition. I was the first athlete to go on course and then Matthias would go for the running part and Pia would have the last part with the technical stuff. So i had to speed up my running and try to give Matthias a good starting position.
I went crazy with my Sandbag
When I reached the last Sandbagcarry I was at place 10. When i handed over to Matthias I was 5th. Now this was a race and we were in a good position. Matthias managed to run to first place but lost it shortly before the handover to Pia because he slipped in the Cliffhanger. Pia ran off like hell but lost a shoe and struggled in the low-rig but she fought her way back into the race and managed to get through all the technical obstacles. The Stairway to Heaven which was the last obstacle before the transition then was the gamechanger. She couldn’t manage to make the transition at first and fell. Matthias and I were dying, we saw her struggle screamed and cheered, massaged talked and did everything to help her but we couldn’t. There is nothing worse than to watch and stand by while your can’t help. But Pia fought her way back into the competion.
Motivated by Nicole, Ludmilla and Carina the german womens relay who caught up with us and were still on podium course. So Pia did it Matthias and I were relieved as we could re-enter the competition. From now on we had to be tactical. So I did the strenght stuff Matthias did the swings and jumps and we tried to go through the obstacles all together. It is really insane how quick three strangers can become a real team. So thanks to those to i could leave the OCREC2018 with a wristband. It is the wristband for teamspirit not for my individual achieved. But it was the Teamspirit that made this EC a once in a lifetime experience. I am proud to be a Member of the German OCR Family! Thanks to all of you guys for an awesome weekend.
But now we have to talk OCR World…
Where do we want our Sport to go? Which direction shall it take? Is it to be a forearmmassaker like this? Are bloody Hands a standard? If so should the volunteers not have tape at every obstacle, so safety is guarantied? Or should we stick to the no help allowed rule even if we seriously endanger the health of the athletes? I think fairness and teamspirit even though it is an individual sport are one of the core values of our sport! And the health of people competing is at first place. I am very thankful, that the organizers made the change in the rulebook so that handing in water to the athletes was allowed. It was really warm and the was not enough watersupply for a 4-5 hour course. Even if you plan that the best guy could make it in 35 min. There are a lot of Non-Elite Athletes that qualified through the Agegroups and where overwhelmed by this course. A course should be a race for the Elite and a real challenge for others. But not a close to impossible challenge for the Elite and impossible for all the others. Maybe a little less Ninjawarrior for the next time and a little more OCR. Which involves more then just your forearms! That is my opinion, whats yours???