OCR World Championships 2023 - Film, Photos and Race Report
Earlier this month, the world’s best Obstacle Course Racers hit Mammoth Mountain in California, for the 9th edition of the OCR World Championships (OCRWC) and the action was as spectacular as the location!
Since 2014, OCRWC has been at the heart of the global OCR community, showcasing not only the very best in elite obstacle course racing, but also demonstrating the camaraderie of everyone involved with this unique sport.
After two years in Stratton Mountain, Vermont, the event switched to the west coast of the US for the first time, taking place in Mammoth Lakes, California. One of the most popular ski resorts in North America, during the off-season packed slopes are replaced with mountain bikers and trail runners enjoying this stunning location. The spectacular views across the Sierra peaks come at a price though. At 9,000ft above sea level athletes would have to acclimatise to the altitude to perform at their best.
We were stoked to be able to return to the event again, producing the official OCRWC changing robe, helping to keep athletes protected from the elements before and after racing.
The week before the event had seen Mammoth get its first snowfall of the season. The course was being marked out and obstacles were constructed in freezing conditions! By the time competitors arrived, the temperature had risen to an unseasonably warm 22ºC.
The racing kicked off on Friday with the 3k race. The women’s pro race saw an incredible battle between two multiple world champions: Lindsay Webster and Nicole Mericle. These two legends of the sport spent the race almost neck-and-neck, but going into the final sequence of obstacles Lindsay had a short lead over her friend and rival. As the finish line got nearer though Nicole was rapidly closing in on Lindsay. As they both descended the final A Frame obstacle, Nicole took the lead thanks to her speed getting down the netting, finishing just 3 seconds ahead and claiming another OCRWC World Title. Annie Dube, came in third for her first podium in this event.
In the Men’s pro race, American Rylan Schadegg took first place, coming home 16 seconds ahead of compatriot Ian Hosek, with Swiss racer Manuel Dufaux taking the final podium spot.
Across the rest of the field in various age group categories, competitors who had traveled from across the world were out on Mammoth Mountain taking on what many had described as the the most spectacular venue for an OCRWC course yet.
One of the biggest challenges competitors face is keeping hold of their wristbands. If you can’t complete an obstacle you can still finish the course but your OCRWC wristband gets cut off. In order to keep hold of it many will keep persistent on an obstacle until they can complete it, or give up. This is one of the areas where the spirit of the OCR really shines. Other racers and spectators will offer encouragement and advice to those stuck on obstacles, even if they don't know them. It’s heartwarming to witness the OCR community spontaneously come together and support each other.
Another way that the community comes together is through the OCR Gives Back organization, run by Steve McCollum, which supports charities across the world helping to provide holistic and sustainable care to orphaned and vulnerable children. At the prize giving on Friday the top 3 fundraisers were rewarded on their own special podium.
Saturday saw the 15km, which many consider the main event of the competition. This long course featured over 40 obstacles, including the much-discussed dunk wall, and featured a brutal elevation gain of 2223ft. The uphills were worth it though as the breathtaking views across the mountains really set this race apart from previous events.
In the men’s race, Candian OCR legend Ryan Atkins was first across the line to claim his first-ever 15km OCRWC gold adding to his illustrious list of achievements that include Spartan and Tough Mudder World Titles. Ian Hoesk came in a minute behind Ryan to pick up his second Silver medal of the event, and Danish racer Leon Kofoed came in third.
The start of the women’s pro race mirrored Friday’s 3k, with Lindsay Webster and Nicole Mericle going side-by-side through the first section of the course. As the race went on Lindsay pulled ahead to a commanding lead, eventually winning by an 11-minute margin. This victory meant that Lindsay and her husband Ryan would both be standing on top of the podium as 15k world champions.
Nicole brought home second place and was welcomed across the line by good friend Lindsay, Annie Dube was close behind to claim her second bronze of the championships.
Sunday, the last day of the event, sees racers work together in teams in the relay championship and the finals of the 100m competition. The 6K Team Relay sees three racers take one of three legs each (speed, strength and technique) before taking on a final leg together and crossing the line as a team.
In the Women’s event, Lindsay and Nicole teamed up with 15-year-old British girl Libbie Joyce competing as ‘They are Fierce’. On Friday Libbie came 2nd in her age group in 3K and was leading the 15K on Saturday, before fatigue hit and she was unable to complete an obstacle, which meant she couldn’t be placed. Libbie’s disappointment was soon put to one side though when she was asked to race with two of her heroes!
Libbie took on the first speed section, was quickest off the line against experienced racers and was 2nd going into the first transition zone. The experience of Lindsay and Nicole helped drive the team in the next two legs and the team crossed the line together nearly 13 mins ahead of closet rivals ‘Triple Threat’.
In the men’s event, Ryan Atkins teamed up with friends and fellow 15k podium finishers, Ian Hosek and Leon Kofoed and took 1st place. Both Ian and Leon then went on to race in the Co-ed relay immediately after the men's race, with Ian’s ‘Team USA’, edging it over Leon’s, ‘’The Europeans’.
Throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday, heats for the 100m championships were taking place with competitors having two attempts to set their best time on the short obstacle-packed course. Sunday afternoon saw the fastest racers face off in one-on-one battles to claim the medals
In the Men’s pro race Urii Prokudion, the European Ninja Warrior Champion, dominated the event and took home gold in convincing fashion. In the Women’s race, Signy Kolstoe won a close-fought battle against Tiana ‘Sweet T’ Webberley. Signy only decided that morning to qualify for the event, a decision that definitely paid off!
We’re still buzzing after an incredible few days in California, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and a community of incredible athletes. Our favourite event on the obstacle racing calendar continues to get better and better, bring on the 2024 OCR World Champs!
3K Pro Race Male
1. Rylan Schadegg (USA) - 19:13
2. Ian Hosek (USA) - 19:29
3. Manuel Dufaux (SWI) - 19:42
3K Pro Race Female
1. Nicole Mericle (USA) - 21:00
2. Lindsay Webster (CAN) - 21:03
3. Annie Dube (USA) - 23:33
15K Pro Race Male
1. Ryan Atkins (CAN) - 1:32:28
2. Ian Hosek (USA) - 1:33:26
3. Leon Kofoed (DAN) - 1:39:26
15K Pro Race Female
1. Lindsay Webster (CAN) -1:41:02
2. Nicole Mericle (USA) - 1:52:44
3. Annie Dube (USA) - 1:56:45
Team Relay Pro Race Male
1. Kings of Leon (Kofoed, Hosek, Atkins) - 44:35
2. Mexican American Team (Lin, Fragoso Garcia, Gates) - 47:43
3. WD Dream Team (Keaton, Brown, Ochoa) - 50:03
Team Relay Pro Race Female
1. They are Fierce (Webster, Mericle, Joyce) - 54:05
2. Triple Threat (Swofford, McClintic, Gollnick) - 1:06:51
3. Flatliners (Scher, Bridge, Meyers) - 1:12:08
Team Relay Pro Race Co-Ed
1. Team USA (Veerman, Heller, Hosek) - 45:10
2. The Europeans (Kofoed, Kolstone, Dufaux) - 46:21
3. Results Strong (Webberley, Phillips, Mendoza) - 59:31
Follow OCR World Championships:
YouTube: OCR World Championships
The Official OCR World Championship dryrobe® Advance is available to purchase online here.