Years ago runners were considered masocistic lunatics who put themselves through senseless torture for reasons the mainstream simply could not understand.
I think obstacle course racing now occupies that realm… ad well, let’s just call it misunderstood.
In the 70s, all runners were hardcore. They ran through otherwise quiet, normal neighbourhoods in very short shorts doing something most people had never seen: running for the sake of it. It just wasn’t something people did. No one’s boss ran 10k for charity, no kids held signs for their moms tenth marathon finish. Nobody jogged to loose that last ten pounds.
And of course, no one really even knew how to train to run long distances… they were just out there gutting it out day after day. Every run.
Flash forward to the era of OCR. “You what? Electrocute yourself? Dive into icy water? Crawl in the mud and rocks under barb wire?”
Let’s face it. No one would do it for fitness or camaraderie alone. There is something else in us. Something most people don’t understand. The same thing those pioneer runners had in their blood: love of a kick-ass challenge and a unwavering desire to push their minds and body through hell.
Most elite races could easily be likened to a modern day Frank Shorter or Bill Rogers. I’m sure most of our neighbors have said similar things (or at very least given similar looks) about our training-induced behaviour… like running around the block at 5 am dragging a tire in very tight shorts.
And just like running in the 70s, there’s no “one” training plan. Mostly, we’re not even sure what we’re training for. Nowadays you can google a training plan to run 100 miles. You’ll get some variety, but the same guts in terms of periodized well-tested training.
Most OCR training plans involve bear crawls, pull-ups, burpees and other general strength exercises. But we also know strength alone isn’t going to cut it when it comes to making it over Everest alone, crossing Funky Monkey sans ice bath or traversing a balance beam without a burpee chaser. So we end up doing wacky arse stuff. And usually in the streets… in plain site of awestruck onlookers. Just like the good ol’ days of marathoning, eh?
I love being involved in a sport growing so strongly on the fringes of what people assumed humans were capable of. I have to say, when I first heard about this crazy new sport, my initial reaction was typical.
Is that even legal?