Il 25\26 ottobre del 2014, mentre noi eravamo a spingere i nostri cuori oltre ogni ostacolo della Tough Mudder sulle colline del Berkshire qualcosa di nuovo si verificava in OHIO. La OCR World Championship.
Per la prima volta una MudRun o OCR ambiva a proclamare il campione del mondo. Siamo sempre vicini al concetto di World Series del Baseball (si chiamano cosi ma ci sono solo squadre statunitensi).
Stavolta però era diverso.
Innanzitutto la OCR World Championship era aperta a concorrenti da tutto il mondo. Davvero. Ci si poteva qualificare, ovvero avere diritto a partecipare solo correndo nelle corse selezionate e arrivando nei primi posti. Nessuna corsa italiana o tenuta in Italia qualificava a parte la Spartan Race che però ha tenuto in quello stesso weekend un suo evento. (Qui si apre un discorso sulla unità delle corse e dei loro organizzatori che ci porterebbe lontano ma di cui riparleremo…) Le corse che qualificavano erano americane (US), inglesi (UK), australiane, svedesi o olandesi.
The Spartan World Championship is the Vermont Beast held in September. It does bring together many of the world’s best. The problem is, it brings those athletes to an obstacle race that is unlike 99% of the rest of the races we all do, all year long. The race covers a distance of 15-17 miles. There are four to six thousand difficult feet of gain and descent. It’s an awesome test to show us how we do against each other, and how we do against ourselves and that mountain. I consider it the Spartan Championship race, not the obstacle racing championship race. It is an experience I have enjoyed being a part of the last 3 years and will continue to do so in the future. However , it should NOT decide the world’s best obstacle racer.
The Warrior Dash World Championship is also not a predictor of who is the best in our sport. Warrior Dash is widely known as the gate-way drug for obstacle racing. Many of you reading this did a Warrior Dash as your first mud run or obstacle event. Red Frog events do an outstanding job and provide an extremely well produced all day experience. It’s a fantastic first time out and the best post race party anywhere. The vibe of Warrior Dash, is not “Let’s crush this race!”, but rather “Let’s have a great time!”. The obstacles are easy enough for almost anyone to complete and the distance is often 3.2 miles or less.
La OCRWC è una organizzazione quindi indipendente che è riuscita a mettere insieme su uno stesso percorso i migliori atleti (e che avevano i fondi per volare negli US a correre nel fango). Probabilmente è un passo necessario a far crescere questa disciplina che ancora oscilla tra il goliardico (cfr Fisherman di Rovereto), la non competitività e l’aiuto reciproco (Tough Mudder su tutti, si corre senza tempo o in Italia la Inferno) e l’agonismo spinto (Spartan Race).
Gli ostacoli si snodavano su un percorso di 8 miglia
MGG, the name of the venue that was home to the OCRWC, was already known as fantastic race experience. The first event was well documented by several pre-eminent blogs including ORM. Subsequent events had similar feedback of awesome terrain, challenging obstacles, cash prizes for elite racers, and world class volunteers. For the Championships last weekend, OCRWC and MGG decided to improve upon an already awesome experience.
The course was extended to 8 plus miles and several obstacles were added and/or improved upon. Many of these additional obstacles were easily seen in an extremely expansive viewing area and festival location. These included a second Sternum Checker, Battlefrog’s Tip Of The Spear, a “Wreck Bag” carry which included two “under wire” crawls. In addition, there wasThe Platinum Rig making only its 2nd USA appearance ever, and a huge slide made even bigger and out of control. I also found the event producers extremely creative in their use of course design and obstacles. They found some of the steepest grade hills to go up and down, many which made you use ropes for assistance. They also added a high wire obstacle that tested your fear and balance. The photo below shows a very basic obstacle of going under some tires. However, the mud made participants use muscles rarely used in an obstacle race, plus, if you were claustrophobic, you wanted to get out from under this thing real quick. (fonte http://obstacleracingmedia.com/review/ocr-world-championships-review-the-real-ocr-world-championship/)
E la corsa era assolutamente competitiva. Le regole come riportato da qui erano chiare. Tutti gli ostacoli devono essere superati. Chi non supera l’ostacolo ha una penalità di 4 minuti, il che ha spinto molti a ripetere i tentativi.
For once, the elite competition was taken seriously. Athlete briefing explained the rules and regulations.
To win prize money, you had to finish with your bracelet. Obstacle completion was mandatory, and if you failed out, you had your bracelet removed by a trained official – who then radio’d your bib number down to base camp. Well handled, well organized. Every failed obstacle also levied a 4min time penalty – meaning it always worth trying, even if you didn’t think you would make it. I saw athletes try obstacles for tens of minutes – in one case, completing the obstacle on her 12th attempt. She almost podiumed. Tenacity was key!
It’s hard to understate how huge this ruling and time penalty was for the elite game – it turned what could have been a straight forward run from start to finish into an obstacle challenge. It wasn’t enough to run fast – there were lots of fast runners who didn’t place – you also had to be able to do saw tooth monkey bars, Platinum Rigs, gut checks, weavers, walls, crawls and lots lots more … lose that band on an obstacle failure and you weren’t winning any cash. With enforcement of the rules being strong, random drug testing and dummy runners on the course to look out for mid-race cheating (intentional or otherwise) – this truly was given the respect it needed.
Waves were sent out well spaced and kept small in numbers – there wasn’t a single report of bottle necking or backlogging on the course. Elites first, then age groupers based on expected speed – fasted sent out first. (fonte newenglandspahtens)
Altro aspetto interessante era che il pubblico aveva accesso gratuitamente a molti degli ostacoli. Se vedete il percorso ve ne rendete conto.
Allora viene da chiedersi perché non provare a organizzare una cosa del genere anche in Italia?
Ci potrebbe essere spazio e interesse per un evento del genere?
Forse a livello europeo?
le foto della OCR World Championship