Fit challenge X
On April 7th, F.I.T. Challenge hosted it's tenth OCR event, FITX, at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland, RI. If you're from the Northeast, and are into obstacle course racing, chances are you've at least heard of FIT Challenge. They won Mud Run Guide's "Best Small Race Series" award two years in a row (2016 & 2017), and it's well deserved. While this was my third race I attended by FIT, it was finally my first time actually running in one of their OCR events. And between the mix of fun & challenging obstacles, inspiring group of competitors, and a huge turnout from Team OCR BEAST, it was an unforgettable day!
"F.I.T." stands for "fortitude, integrity, toughness", and each of these is tested during FIT Challenge's events! There are four options when signing up, which are:
Elite - this is 1 lap of the course, and is mandatory obstacle completion
Open - 1 lap of the course, no rules on obstacles or penalties (run your own race!)
Multi Lap - run as many laps as you want/can for a period of 5 hours
Ultra F.I.T. - run as many laps as you want/can for a period of 12 hours!
I think the two biggest things that stand out to me in F.I.T. Challenge that make it so unique (and awesome!), are the actual obstacles themselves, and the level of integrity, the "I" in "FIT" that is tested.
They're the perfect mix of tough, and fun. There have been no obstacles I've faced in the last 3+ years, outside of maybe OCRWC, that were as challenging as The Destroyer in the middle of a race. The reason I like this obstacle so much, is that it isn't only a hanging obstacle. It requires one big "move", it requires body control, and hand eye coordination, and you can't fake your way over it.
When I approached this obstacle in the middle of the race (I ran just 1 lap elite), I was in 3rd place, and I knew the two guys ahead of me were much stronger runners. When I got there, the 2nd place guy had failed once at this move. I was like “shit, here’s my chance”.
Then I failed once. Then we’re both standing there shaking it out. Then he goes, and fails. Then I go, and fail. Then the 4th place guy reaches the obstacle and joins in. And we’re all “racing” at this one obstacle. Who can get over this thing first and get back to a run? It was awesome.
I made it on my 4th attempt, after switching up my strategy and reaching up with my right hand instead of my left. I made it over right after the 2nd place guy. But then at Destroyer 2.0 (an easier first move, but then with a hard balance obstacle attached), I found myself in the same kind of battle with him that I lost, (took both of us 2 tries) and it probably cost me a podium spot.
Hard obstacles are fun. It makes the obstacle training you put in (and not just running) actually matter. Battling it out on one challenging obstacle in the middle of a race, to me, is more fun than knowing you get one chance or you perform a penalty.
Here's "Destroyer 2.0" that I mentioned. Basically it's an easier first move, but then that balance obstacle it turns into is 😱💀.
To me, the integrity displayed by competitors at FIT Challenge are what makes it so unique. The rules when it comes to obstacles in MultiLap and Ultra, are that you must "attempt" each obstacle. So sure, after 11 hours, that attempt might be making it one monkey bar into the obstacle before your hands just can't hold on. BUT, it's up to you to actually try, to have integrity, and to know that you're actually giving it your all.
To me, it reminds me of the unspoken rules at Toughest Mudder to help your fellow competitors. People could cheat relatively easy, but as corny as it sounds, they'd really only cheating themselves!
Team OCR BEAST
When fellow OCR BEAST coach Luke Bosek said he wasn't able to run the Ultra FIT, but was still going to come to the race to support our athletes, I decided to run the elite race, so that I'd be available to help crew and hang out with Luke the rest of the day.
We set up a tent for our athletes, played some cornhole, took pictures, and stayed on top of our athlete's nutrition and needs. We had a huge showing, with 13 of us at the race, and 10 racing in the Ultra!
Words can't describe how awesome of a day it was, watching our athletes grit it out, and push themselves to accomplish the goals they set out for that day. Here's how it all played out:
Michele (@the.wiff) - 10 laps and 1ST PLACE FEMALE!! 🎉
Adam (@adam.believe) - 12 laps and 1st place male! (Adam wasn't really on the team until this race began, and Luke told him to bring his gear to the tent so we could crew for him).
James (@southjersey_ocr) - 11 laps and 2nd place male!
Kelly (@kgazzano) - 2nd place elite female (one lap) THEN 7 more laps in the Ultra!!
Kirk (@kirk_klane) - 10 laps (and 7 outfit changes 😜) and 7th place male
Chris (@0cr_champagne17) - 10 laps and 5th place male
Randy (@randy_bernard) - 8 laps
Tony (@tonymart40) - 8 laps
Christopher (@enjoythethrive) - 8 laps
Juan (@cabungcaljp) - 8 laps
Kelsey (@storm_the_spartan) - 8 laps
Nick (@sharpenthesword) - 3 laps (MultiLap wave)
Me - 4th place elite (1 lap)
Luke (@luke.sky.runner) - 100,000,000 alleged steps so says his watch (without running any laps)
A lot of people have reached out since, wondering what they have to do to qualify to be on the team. And the truth is, the team is made up of people we're coaching. It's not so much a "you have to pay us to be on the team", but more of a "look at the athletes we are building". it keeps the team relatively small, feeling like a family, and that's exactly what it felt like throughout the day.
I just want to thank Robb Mccoy for being the GOAT when it comes to putting on a local OCR. Thanks for letting us be a part of it. To anyone thinking about signing up, I recommend it! It's fun, challenging, and Robb hooks you up with tons of swag. Next race is Fall FIT 11, on November 17th. Hope to see you there!