It was great to see so much positivity after yesterday's post about the launch of two new UK obstacle racing teams. Every development like this seems to be giving the top level of obstacle racing more kudos and is taking us a step further towards being recognised and respected as a sport... even though, at heart, we're just a bunch of big kids playing around with mud and climbing frames. 😉
Today our focus is on the launch of Team Inov-8 OCR, which we have been dying to talk about ever since it hit the rumour mill. Not only because it's lead by Inov-8, the brand that has taken the off-road footwear market by storm, it has brought together the UK's most decorated obstacle racing athletes. In one foul swoop, Team Inov-8 OCR have become the team to beat. In their ranks they currently have:
Jonathan Albon - 1st place at Nuts Challenge (multiple), Survival of the Fittest (multiple), Dirty Dozen Backyard Jam, Fandance Race, Rat Race Dirty Weekend, etc, etc.
Ross MacDonald - 1st place at Brutal 10 Windmill Hill, 2nd at Dirty Weekend and Survival of the fittest London, World Duathlon Champion 2012 (20-24 age group) and current Mudstacle League leader.
David Hellard - Fastest time at Rat Race Dirty Weekend, 1st at Soldiers Challenge, 2nd at UK Challenge, 1st at Great Urban Race
Adam Teske - 1st place at Para 10, British Military Fitness 10k and Nuclear Trials.
Claire Miller - 1st place at Brutal 10 Windmill Hill, Mudman 2013, Winter Ballbuster and Ottawa ITU World Duathlon Champion.
Thankfully these guys aren't taking themselves too seriously, I think they'd be scary if they did! Here's what they had to say about the formation of their team...
Unlike the other teams that have launched, you’re not building yours around a club of any kind. So how did you get to meet each other and decide who you wanted to include?
We all knew each other through racing and training over the past three years. Ross and Jon developed a fun rivalry that has blossomed into something a bit too friendly. David and Ross used to be team mates for For Goodness Shakes. Adam and Jon trained together and Claire runs with David. Everything has moved quickly since we first started planning the team and we are keen to develop and grow in the future. Whilst we are all doing fairly well in the OCR scene, what we do not want to be called is an ‘elite’ team!
Oops, sorry, I must stop doing that! 😉 So what are your main goals?
Although we want to do well at the races we enter, we also plan on having a LOT of fun along the way. We want the team to be approachable, friendly and informative which is why we have the contact us tab on our website.
You’re already starting to dominate the top of the Mudstacle League table. Are you confident that you can keep hold of those top spots?
It has been a great start but there are still many more races to come. Claire found the Brutal race far too easy so is looking forward to racing some of the faster ladies on the really tough courses.
I think we should all be worried if Claire found those Windmill Hills easy! [Ed: We're hoping that's a joke by the way]
Where do you think your biggest competition is coming from in the UK?
As OCR grows there will be a greater number of people racing at the front, including faster runners that just need to learn the correct technique for obstacles. Existing racers such as Thomas Blanc, Ross Phelan, Richard Crewe and Sam Cherry will undoubtedly challenge us at most races.
Do you think you’ll be expanding the team to include more athletes?
As the sport of OCR grows, we hope that Inov-8OCR will grow too. Future plans would include making the team more of a club, with free structured training sessions. Whichever way we expand in the future, we would encourage people to come and say hello at races and introduce themselves.
Will you be working with a coach?
We will be training together as a team and as our sessions become more structured we will invite others to join us. We’ll all be coaching each other, as we all have strengths and weaknesses and can learn a lot from one another. We all generally run and cycle everywhere, so when we train together it will mostly be technique and strength.
You’ve got a great selection of sponsors together for your team. Was it hard work getting them on board?
The sponsors we contacted were chosen because we were either already using their kit, or had decided that their kit would be most beneficial to helping us throughout the season. Thankfully, the majority of those which we contacted were enthusiastic and keen to be a part of the team. We believe that we are using the best kit and nutrition available and we are looking forward to racing!
Is Jonathan gutted to be wearing a sponsored t-shirt instead of his lucky Ramones shirt?
Gutted is an understatement. We are yet to see how Jon fairs without the luck of the shirt. This could be interesting!
We’ve harvested a few facts from your website… which of the following are true?
1) Jonathan has two joined up toes like Kevin Costner in Waterworld.
True - which makes the fact he is a useless swimmer completely illogical.
2) Adam narrowly missed out on being the Milky Bar kid.
True - it was decided that Adam was both TOO strong and TOO tough.
3) Clare’s parents are second cousins.
True - this explains a lot.
4) Ross is releasing the fragrance “Eau du Macdonalds”.
False - McDonalds have already been in contact and threatened court action.
5) David has played a young Harold Shipman on TV and a superhero called the Urinator.
David refuses to confirm or deny this FACT.
Are you feeling confident about Nuts Challenge this weekend?
Given that so few finished the four-lap race last year, including Jon [Ed: which might have something to do with that Ramones t-shirt made of COTTON, or “material of death” as it’s otherwise know], we have prepared well. We have all been on the course and have bought some extra merino-wool layers to get us through the race. Providing the cold doesn’t get to us, we are confident of finishing in the top few positions.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Come and say hello to us!
Watch out now, you don’t want the changing tent at Nuts Challenge to end up like the stage door of a Beatles concert.
Thanks loads for your time. We look forward to seeing how your non-elite crew develop!
Find out more and get in contact with Team Inov-8 OCR here: www.inov-8ocr.com
[Top photo of Jonathan and Ross courtesy of Epic Action Imagery]