This week saw OCR legend, Margaret Schlachter hang up her gimbal as her life heads in a new and exciting direction.
To truly understand the significance of a moment like this, we are taking a look back at the woman behind the camera, the microphone and the words, as we proudly announce that Margaret will be our guest speaker at the 2018 Mudstacle Awards!
Outgoing Editor in Chief of Mud Run Guide, Margaret was first exposed to OCR after watching a program on the Discovery Channel that featured Tough Guy, though no fire was truly sparked until she discovered a promotion for Spartan Race on Facebook. A gifted athlete, Margaret competed in the first Spartan Race in 2010, making the top 10. Giving in to that familiar hunger for more, she clocked up the race miles.
2011 was to be the year where she set her sights on the podium in various different races, from the inaugural Spartan Beast to the Warrior Dash the very next weekend. Her well-known blog, Dirt In Your Skirt, began as a means of tracking her journey from her first Tough Mudder in 2011 to THE first World’s Toughest Mudder. Training her way through the year making various podiums, her competitive streak and talent pushed her through 21 hours at WTM in some seriously tricky conditions. With a steadily growing reputation as a formidable racer, she placed highly in the first Spartan World Championship in Texas, making 2011 an incredible year for this relative newcomer.
Sponsorships followed, the most exciting of which was an addition to the roster of Gaspari Nutrition, joining the likes of MMA Fighter Rhonda Rousey. Buoyed by this level of support, Margaret took a gamble and left her job in education to race OCR professionally and run Dirt in Your Skirt. Margaret was the first woman to do this, possibly in the world, but at least the first in North America.
A successful year was had,with podiums in 50% of her races, and a solid top 5 in most. Never leaving the top ten took its toll however, and Margaret sustained an injury in 2013 that changed the direction of her OCR career entirely.
Not one to wallow, Margaret took up writing for About.com and Outside Magazine while injured, keeping DIYS updated all the while. As its community grew, the first OCR training camp for women was held, and Margaret even spearheaded a short-lived, but nonetheless entertaining, news and entertainment show called Obstacle and adventure weekly, featuring some guy named Jon Albon, and another relative unknown who happens to be good behind the camera, Mr James Appleton.
In 2014, Margaret’s efforts were rewarded, as she took up the position of Editor in Chief at Mud Run Guide, again, again, the first woman to do so, and one of the very few who could genuinely call OCR journalism their job.
As media responsibilities took over, competition took somewhat of a backseat. 2014 and 2015 saw a handful of podiums, but Margaret was largely running for fun alongside journalistic commitments. You will have seen her work, whether that’s for the OCR World Championships, or for any number of races in the United States, Canada, Nicaragua, and of course, here in England. She’s a ubiquitous friendly face offering day and night updates from the world’s most hotly anticipated international events, and her presence and coverage will be sadly missed. After all, what is a start line that doesn’t have a Margaret Schlacter on it, or covering it?
Thankfully, this is not a ‘goodbye forever’, as we’re assured that the door has been left slightly ajar for potential guest coverage at Mud Run Guide and several race brands, but in terms of Margaret’s day-to-day, her time will be dominated by new endeavours as Alumni Director for Wasatch Academy, a private boarding school in Utah. There, she hopes to engage the far-flung Alumni and host events all over the world. Further to that, Margaret will be taking on private clients in the field of life alignment coaching. Dirt In Your Skirt, however, will still continue unhindered, perhaps with some OCR guests in the future!
As our honoured guest at the Mudstacle awards, we are hoping to take some pearls of wisdom from one of the most uplifting and inspirational women that this sport has brought to our attention. With her guest speech, Margaret hopes to teach us some of the lessons she has learned over an incredible nine seasons of obstacle racing, and her vision for the continued growth of our favourite hobby and industry at large.
Margaret, we salute and thank you, and we cannot wait to celebrate your incredible career later this week.
If you want to wish Margaret good luck in her new endeavours in person, there’s still time to nab a ticket! We’ll see you there.