Teamwork, Determination, Courage. This is the foundation that Alpha Obstacle Training in Toronto, Ontario, is built on, and their event this past weekend did not disappoint. This was the first of three OCRWC qualifying events they will be hosting this season (the others being August 14th and Sept 18th).
On a day that began dreary and cold, the Alpha Team led a group warm-up session for all participants…..keeping spirits high and hungry for competition. Jesse Bruce, co-founder of Alpha, had the entire group fired up with his motivational speech to start the event. The 7km course was comprised of relatively flat terrain in and around the Toronto lakeshore with trails amongst the trees, open fields, walking paths, and sandy beach. They made use of what was available to them, but what would an OCR course be without obstacles? And there were several to be encountered here – plenty of carries ( stones, cinder blocks, water from Lake Ontario), walls ( traverse, inverted, warped), tire flip, cargo net, monkey bars, and more. With roughly 30+ obstacles to negotiate on the 7km course, most of which were in the last 2km of the race. You soon discovered if you had saved enough energy to successfully tackle them.
The great equalizer seemed to be “Sternum Buster”…a log you must jump to and then climb over. This seemed to be the one obstacle that had competitors scratching their heads. If at any point you failed or skipped an obstacle, you received a rubber band. Any bands cost you a penalty lap, which consisted of carrying a cinder block over a short distance at the end. The event concluded with participants gathering inside Alpha’s facility, eagerly awaiting final results.
But the race was only the beginning of our active weekend. Alpha hosted an OCR Training Camp for those seeking to learn, train, and improve. Jesse led an informative seminar on strength training and periodizatation. He works with each individual to create a custom workout program. From there, the in-class session moved to the running game. Led by Peter Dobos, “students” were taught the importance of cadence, stride-length, posture, and heart rate, but the classroom soon bid farewell to the team as they hit the gym for a hard strength-training OCR-specific workout. You read that right – a strenth-training OCR-specific workout AFTER the 7km race.
As an added bonus, Jesse and his crew treated the Training Camp recruits to dinner.
Day 2 (yes, I said day 2) convened at the site of this year’s OCR World Championships (OOCRWC), Blue Mountain in Collingwood, for some hill running/ training. Although the morning greeted us with snow flurries, all the recruits braved the elements to tackle uphill runs, downhill sprints, and lots of technical trail negotiating. Three hours later, the weekend was complete. All involved felt a sense of accomplishment and victory. OCR brings people together, and Alpha Obstacle Training is at the forefront. I highly recommend keeping an eye on the Alpha Army at future events. IT’S BIGGER THAN FITNESS!!!