OCR European Championships: the gold medal and the story of Elin Härkönen
And then, after 4 kilometers and 18 obstacles, in general surprise
She comes in
With an acrobatic wheel on the finish line, she closed her Short Course in 28 minutes to celebrate the victory of the highest podium stage at the OCR European Championships and those 23 years made just a few days before the Europeans.
Elin Härkönen, Swedish, floats on the obstacles, but to look at her in action, it’s immediately clear that her secret has much more origin than in hard work, which has roots in a fallen story (in the literal sense of the term) from which she has known to rise with a disruptive force.
A story from which to draw on example, just when you have come to think that life has already chosen for us by our destiny.
Elin, how did you start to run OCR? What’s your sports background?
“I started with OCR only 3 months ago. My friend who had a ticket for a race (ultimate OCR in Stockholm) got sick and he called me and asked if I could take his spot. I love challenges and said I could try. I had no idea of what to expect and I felt like a true beginner. But I did surprisingly well and ended up in 4th place in the Elite Female Class.
Everyone was shocked and asked ‘who are you?’. I am an elite gymnast in the background and have been training my entire life. It is my passion and I am working as a personal trainer and health coach with my own business BREAK IT and you will MAKE IT“.
At OCR European Championships Italians have got to know your story that we think can be an example for many people.
“I used to be an elite athlete doing gymnastics and gymnastics on horses (Equestrian Vaulting). I was the Swedish and Nordic Champion and was representing Sweden at European and World Championships.
My dream was to become the best in the world. But 4 years ago I got kicked off from a new horse during a practice and broke my neck. No one knew how my future looked like.
Would I be able to live an active life again? For me there was only one option. I would recover. It has not been easy. But thanks to my positive attitude and strong mindset I’m standing here stronger than ever as a personal trainer and I’m running my own training program to inspire and motivate people to live the best life they possibly can, which is something no one believed would be possible 4 years ago. And on top of that I’m now also the European Champion in OCR. It feels too good to be true!”
What do you like more about this sport?
“I fell in love with this challenging sport directly! We are all built to run, jump, climb, crawl and carry things and that is exactly what OCR is about. Life is not always easy and is full of obstacles that we have to overcome, just like any OCR race”.
What about your training plan?
“I am a personal trainer and exercise specialist and training is my passion, so I train quite a lot. Not even close to what I used to do when I was a gymnast. But I try to do something everyday. I am listening to my body and I’m doing what it tells me to do. I mostly do functional movements and body weight exercises, but some days I do crossfit-inspired workouts and some days yoga.
I believe the key to success is to find a balance that works for you and your body. And to have fun on the way!”
Your motivating factor during the races or your hard training?
“I am just so happy and thankful that I am able to do this! So I try to have fun on the way and enjoy the challenges and hard work!
I am having chronic pain and limited in my training/races after the surgery, but I just try to make the best out of each situation. Sometimes my body says stop, which can be frustrating sometimes, but I am just thankful I can move”.
What did you enjoy more and less about OCREC 2017?
“I did really enjoy all the challenging, technical obstacles. I like that there are no penalty runs at OCREC. It really shows which athletes who has the strong mindset and ability to complete the obstacles no matter what.
I didn’t enjoy the heavy carrying of sandbags, because of my neck-injury”.
Will you partecipate in OCR World Championships?
“Yes! I have bought tickets and super excited about it! But I hope I can get some support or sponsors to get there”.
Which tips would you give to competitive athletes?
“Have fun on the way to your success! Believe in yourself and work hard towards your goals. Never give up!
In Italy OCR is growing only in the last years. To motivate people to try it, what would you tell them?
“It is a fun and challenging sport which includes everything: strength, balance, cardio. I think everyone can do it after their own capability”.
Do you know an Italian OCR? Would you like to run one?
“No, I don’t actually, but yes, I would love to come and try it out! Hope it will happen!”
Photos Bestial Race