After a too long break we will start up again with the Athlete of the week. And since we are close to the end of another awesome OCR year, I would like to end it with maybe one of my dearest OCRfriends. For me he is also the symbol of this sport itself. He is a normal person fighting himself, trying to get better every race, and beat his own obstacles. For many people the focus of the sport has now started to be very competativ, and I would with this weeks athlete remind us all what this sport is really about - camaraderie, courage and competition. I give you my very dear friend, and proud member of team OCR Norway, the Welsh division - Mr Alex Clesham!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your fitness background?
I work for an energy firm, training new and existing staff. Its an office job meaning im stuck inside all day. But I am lucky as
A: love my job
B: i dont stop running around!
Fitness has only really peaked this year. As I'm not very good on my own, I have a personal trainer who has been a massive help over the year.
How did you get into OCR and how was your first OCR experience?
I wasn't happy with how I looked and felt. I was overweight and had no goals. I forget how, but I came across spartan and it changed my life. Loved the way it looked and what was involved. Signed up in december 2013, first race was april 2014. 4 months is loads of time to prepare right?! Hardest part was getting to the event. It was in north London but not near any landmarks.
Booked the hotel, train from home to London, tube to somewhere and then bus to hotel. Then a 2 mile walk to the event. It was at Allianz stadium. Seeing all of these fit, eager and chanting racers, I knew I had done the right thing. The race itself was tough, only 5k but it was hard. I had leg cramp near the end and staggered over the finish line. Next up was a long walk back to the bus stop and then a wander around London. Next day I couldn't walk at all!! Talk about being unfit! Same day I bought the season pass and the rest as they say is history.
Which event and obstacle has been the most challenging?
There have been plently of obstacles where I have muttered 'eat a dick' or 'screw this'. The event I said this most at, was Toughest London March 2016. 8k, in march, freezing cold, raining. Knees hurt like hell, usual leg cramp and with each rain drop, it felt that it sucked my energy and stanima. The only thing that got me through that race was a bunch of friends I randomly met there from home and my brand new Dry robe. Had looks from non-OCR folk (or muggles as I call them) when I was wearing it on my way home, but totally worth it.
What has been your most memorable OCR moment?
Hate these type of questions when you have too many to chose from... September 2015, post sprint race. Talking around a table eating pringles, there's whiskey, prosecco, random nibbles etc. Conversation is all OCR related. People round the table are talking about last races, gear, future events and making plans for next year. These guys are my OCR family and all changed my life for the better. OCR is all about making friends, wether it's just for the race or after. Either way they all stay with you and keep you going every step of the way.
What has been the most challenging obstacle that you have faced?
Does getting to the events themselves count?! Hmm if I had to pick one obstacle, it would be the rope climb. I keep thinking I will conqure it, but the 30 burpess I do at each race says other wise. One day I will beat the bastard!
What are your thoughts about the OCR community and sport?
It should be an olympic sport. Football bores me and has far too much focus and yet it's in the olympics. There's events which I have never seen nor heard of and yet they have a place there. We have the World champs, and recently Tough mudder did their 100 mile race, I think something similar would be brilliant in the olympics and be just as inspirational for children as any other sport. It's also the easiest to get into as you dont really need any special training and its open to anyone. There's no tryouts or audtions to be the best, just hard work and it's only as competative as you make it.
Its a very close community and I find that I have made a lot of friends from it. In fact I have more OCR friends than any other type!
What are your tips for the first-timers, beginners?
Take the plunge and sign up to a race. Run at least a kilometer each day, work on upper body strength. Get onto the OCR facebook page to read everyones hints and tips for a race. Don't worry too much about wearing the right gear first time, just get a feel for the race first before you upgrade everything. Only now have I invested in decent shoes and compression gear. Though do wear shoes with decent grip, you'll thank me for it.
How does your training regime look like?
I work with my pt 3 times a week. I'll let him know what obstacles I'll be facing and we prep for it as much as we can. It's a bog standard gym and I wish I could practice rope climbs and traverse walls there but no option for that. There are monkey bars which I go on before each session to help build up grip strength. When I'm not exhausted from work I'll run 5k on the days I'm not with the pt, days I am I will do interval runs for 30 minutes. Its no where near enough and I know I need to run more. Beauty of OCR, you'll soon find out if you have trained enough or not.
What is your favorite piece of OCR kit and why?
My fallout bobble head which gives me +1 endurance. It's really come in handy on the hills of Scotland. My icebugs have also been a massive help, excellent grip and I feel that I can conqure any terrain. You can wrap up warm, have perfect gloves for grip, but if you have rubbish shoes you won't be getting very far. My first pair were very good (reebok spartan allterrain), and got me through most of the races last year and this year. At last they finally started to fall apart so an upgrade was in order. Get the perfect shoe and you're off to a fantastic start.
What is your inspiration and motivation?
You. The person reading this. The people who get my behind over the walls. The people who are struggling to go a step further but manage it with sheer deterimination. We inspire each other and help one another across that finish line. If I can do it, you can do it. As for motivation, the medals and post race whiskey. Being fit enough to run up a mountain in Oslo and be able to run for the bus without getting out of breath also helps.