This weeks athlete is an amazing guy I got to know in England in september 2015. Suddenly a boy came up to us, asked if we were Norwegian, and if we needed a lift for the airport. That is just what this sport is about, nobody is afraid to talk to eachother, everybody helping eachother - and just beeing one big Family. Aaron showed up to be an amazingly cool guy, and are now a good friend of Ours. Funny how People just become a good friend, when almost never seeing eachother. Raceing With Aaron in England, and later that fall in both Gothenburg and Malmø, I am proud of having him as this weeks athlete - he is an up-and-coming star, and I cannot wait to follow him this season to see where the Journey takes him! You can follow him on facebook HERE.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your fitness background?
My name is Aaron Selfe, I come from Bolton, UK. I am 23 years old and I have been living in Halmstad, Sweden for 2 years and I work as a full time Arborist. I have always been interested in sports, outdoors and adventure from an early age. I would often spend weekends camping and hiking with my family in Northern Wales or the Lake District. At 11 years old I started to play field hockey, at first for my school, then for my local team Bolton Hockey Club. I always worked hard and by 15 I was playing in the adult leagues.
When I was 19 I moved to Australia and played for PowerHouse St Kilda, a high caliber State league team. It was then when I stared to take fitness seriously.
How did you get into OCR and how was your first OCR experience?
My first OCR experience was 2012 in Australia and it was an event called ‘The Warrior Challenge’ A 15K event. A friend Kyle Creek, who I played hockey with runs on the circuit down there, he had mentioned it to me. So on a whim, some work friends and I entered a team of 4. We all dressed in white tees and entered into the final wave of the day, we really had no idea what to expect. After about the first 4k it was safe to say we were no longer a team, myself and Dave has sped off, leaving Chris behind and Andy even further behind. However, when I crossed the finish line for the first time, I had to fight back the tears, the shear accomplishment of what I had just done was so overwhelming and although no one ever said it out loud that day, I think everyone else shared the same feeling. Certainly a moment I will never forget.
Which event and obstacle has been the most challenging?
This is a tough question to answer, all OCRs bring a different flavor to the table and each with equally challenging obstacles.
So I’ll go with a 2 parter, I think the most challenging obstacle for me was at the end of the UK Spartan Beast 2015 at Ashburnham Place. The atlas stone. I was pushing hard on that race, it was a 20K race but I had only ever run 18k prior to that day. Towards the end I was cramping up, my grip was shot and I wanted to catch the few guys who were just ahead of me. I hit the spear throw and ran right over to the atlas stone carry but I just could not pick it up. Every way I tried I couldn’t get a grip. After what felt like an eternity I somehow managed to position the stone so I could just about woddle with it. Every step I took I could feel it slipping away. I popped it down and did my 5 mandatory burpees. Then I checked the field to see if anyone else was close to catching me, thankfully not. I regained my breath and then woddled it back over to the other side, finally crossing the line in 15th overall.
The most challenging event as a whole defiantly had to be McToughGuy 2016. Held on the 3rd of Januray. With it being my first Winter race I was humbled by the cold. Regular 2XU pants, a baggy Helly Hanson underlayer with just a tee on top. No hat, No gloves. Oh, did I suffer that race. The water, sure it was cold, the thing that undid me however was the wind exposure. Out on Knockhill Race Course where the wind was just unforgiving. After about 3k of the 15k course I was already in a bad way. I think If it wasn’t for having my best mate and OCR virgin Jack with me It would have been my first DNF.
What has been your most memorable OCR moment?
Again, hard question. You never forget your first, right?
But seriously though, I think this has to be when I took part in the team event ‘Toughest 24xtreme’. If you aren’t familiar with the event, it was a superb but painful day-night-day put on by Toughest in Summer last year where you had 24 hours to complete as many laps as possible of a 1km loop with 1 obstacle every 100m but only a single team member could run the loop at a time. I captained the team ‘Meihem Wokout’ which was only assembled 2 weeks before the event. We had an injury early on which I hadn’t really calculated for in my strategy so that quickly turned to jelly. Regardless we still got 156 laps in which placed us bang in the middle 15th out 30. For me though that event was not really about winning, losing or how many laps we could get. It was a journey of self-discovery. I would encourage most people to do an event like this whatever your fitness level because most of the challenges you face during the race are not physical, they are mental. You can learn so much about yourself during those 24hours. It was also a great event for meeting new people and hanging out with some like-minded crazy folk.
What are your thoughts about the OCR community and sport?
It’s hard not use all the clichés in the book when talking about the OCR community. ‘OCR Spirit, camaraderie, team work and selflessness’ are all words that are thrown around when talking about OCR. All for good reason though, I don’t know many other sports where you can sign up for an event and come straight off the sofa, not be judged for who you are, whether you are big, small, tall, petite under trained or over stressed. It’s a wonderful thing. There are also not many other sports where you can come straight off the sofa as a beginner and rub shoulder to shoulder with the best of the best in the sport. I think this one of the reasons the sport is become increasing popular, because so many people feel involved and welcome no matter what.
What are your tips for the first-timers, beginners?
So if you have never done an OCR before, start small. Chose a 5-10k race and just have fun with it. I would say if you are a first timer and slightly untrained its always best to do it part of a team or just a buddy – that will make it so much easier and more fun. I think people worry too much about the first event. You are always going to get around the course, someone is always going to help you out, most definately people are going to cheer you on and really, who cares if you are last around, you still did it! Plus, you gained most value for money.
Regarding training tips, you just have to know yourself. If you like to lift weights at the gym, then you probably need to go for a run. If you love to run and that’s all you do, then maybe go do a few pull ups and pushups and if you don’t do anything, just start small. Make it your goal to go for a walk every day and do 5 pushups every 1km. Then just build from there. Most people jump into training from doing 0 hours a week to 4-6 hours a week then wonder why they are tired all the time or get injured.
How does your training regime look like?
Now seen as we are building up into the season I have a lot of volume and intensity. At the moment I am focusing a lot on my running so I can keep up with some of the top runners in the scene. My grip and upper body strength tends to be better than average, being a full time tree climber helps a lot with that.
So a typical week would consist of 2-3 speed sessions on track and/or trail. 2-3 longer aerobic runs, 1-2 CrossFit style sessions, 1-2 OCR specific sessions and 1 climbing/bouldering session.
I also do some sessions of mobility and yoga to keep nimble and I am a big advocate of mental training, which involves reading books and meditation.
What is your favorite piece of OCR kit and why?
This award has to go to my IceBug Zeals and my Garmin Fenix 3.
I just don’t think I could live without them. Sometimes when I go for a workout I feel like I am missing something, then I look down at my Zeals and then my Garmin and I am like ‘Nope, I got everything’
So my Zeals because in my opinion they are the best shoes, I have tried some other brands but none of them seem to give me the level of comfort, grip and general stability. I think I have probably clocked well over 400km in them and they are still going strong. The grip on the sole is wearing but everywhere else is still solid.
I have never owned a sports watch before I owned my Fenix 3 and it completely changed my way of training and approach to training. All the different apps, from trail running to indoor cycling. It really helps keep track of all my metrics. I also love the interval settings, I use that in almost all my training sessions, from 50m sprints to 1mile repeats. 100% worth the investment.
What is your inspiration and motivation?
So I want to be one of the best OCR athletes in the world. I want to be up there with the Legends of the sport. Guys like, Hobie Call, Jon Albon, Ryan Atkins, Conor Hancock and Hunter McIntyre. These are all guys I draw inspiration and motivation from. I follow their social media outlets and try to emulate what they do in their training and put it into mine. It’s not just big names that help motivate me though, all my team mates from Team Bright Hammer, friends and family on a daily basis keep me motivated.