The OCR National Championships in Texas was an incredible weekend and we had a great time networking and racing with our OCR fam! This was my first 3k race by myself, not running with any friends or family. You can always expect the unexpected during these races and this event was no different. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had yet.
I got off to a great start and was doing better than I had at any other race. Even though it was very hot outside I tried to keep running at a good pace. I got to an obstacle called skull valley and found myself struggling with both grip strength and muscle fatigue. After several tries on this obstacle, I didn’t have any strength left in my arms so I let them cut off my band and walked past the obstacle. I was extremely sad and frustrated with myself because my main goal in this race was to not loose that band. As I was walking along the course thinking about how I had failed I saw a guy hoping on one leg. I stopped to ask him if he was okay and he told me he was pretty sure he had sprained his ankle. I offered to support and help him get to the nearest medic. After a lot of convincing he let me help him although he wasn’t crazy about the idea as he didn’t want me to “mess up my own race.” I told him about how I had been struggling on the obstacle and that I really wanted to help him. His name Mark and he was a trauma surgeon. We then got to an obstacle and since it only had to do with upper body, he decided that he would go for it. After completing it, he said that even though it might be crazy, he would really like to finish the race before seeing the medics. I of course, agreed to help.
Mark proceeded to complete every single obstacle and finished the race with his band intact. He even made it through a balance log, by jumping/balancing on one foot. Between each obstacle we would walk very slowly together, as I tried my best to support him so he could keep going without putting any additional stress on his ankle.
We crossed the finish line together and went directly to the medics tent, where they took one look at his ankle and called for an ambulance. His ankle was actually broken and he needed immediate surgery.
Later that evening Mark came back to the venue after having been to the hospital and joined us for the sponsor dinner. He had a cast on his leg and a scheduled surgery for the following Wednesday. I let him know that evening that being able to help him through the rest of race, had helped me as well. Getting to meet someone with that much endurance and determination and getting to help them, made me feel like a little less of a failure myself.
If you haven’t been able to experience one of these races and how great it makes you feel to help someone else during their race, I highly recommend it! Wishing you all a wonderful week and big shout out to Mark being my inspiration during the National Championships! Thank you!
Article by: Marie Smed