Pretty much everyone has heard of Parkrun whether they get out of bed for it on a Saturday morning or not. The principal of getting a community together to go outside in the fresh air and run a free 5k is genius. If that is your goal then fine, but if you can run 5k, you can set your horizon a bit higher. I am a great believer that your body is capable of much more than your mind lets you think it is.
As you will soon gather if you haven’t done so already, OCR is a passion of mine and I have given myself a mission to make as many people aware of and want to try is as possible. I want to keep people in that fresh air but put them in an environment that promotes a reversion to that unbridled sense of joy and adventure that you experienced in your childhood.
OCR loves to think of itself as a renegade sport outside of the “mainstream”, and to a certain extent it is. However, by doing so it has allowed myths to build up and be perpetuated to the cost that potential first-timers don’t want to give it a go. So, before we go any further, I’m going to bust some of those myths.
Myth Number One – you have to be some kind of elite athlete to take part. As the computer on Family Fortunes Mr Babbage used to say, “Urr, Urrrrrr”. Everyone who does an OCR does exactly the same course as everyone one else – there is no separation by sex, size, shape, ability or fitness level. Consequently, there is a massive amount of mutual respect for everyone that crosses a finishing line no matter how long it takes to do so. And it really doesn’t matter how long it takes you to do so.
OCR gives you natural running breaks between obstacles which after all are the reason for you being there. So, you don’t have to be able to run 10k to complete a 10k OCR. There is no judgement if you don’t run all the way or complete every obstacle, just a knowing smile from your peers that recognises what you have achieved, and more often than not how covered in mud you are.
Myth Number Two – its all about how long it takes you to cross the finish line. Nope, sorry wrong again. PBs are frowned upon in OCR. We measure success in OCR by volume of fun and laughter. Yes, you can push yourself to be competitive if you want to, but the older you get the less likely you are to run faster than you have ever done before. New obstacles always present new challenges and new skills to learn, so you will absolutely never get bored or stale.