Alpha Warrior – A Different Twist on OCR
This past weekend marked the second event for Alpha Warrior. From videos it looked like a combination America Ninja Warrior and more traditional Obstacle Course Race. Prior to attending the race, I had heard people complain their was not enough running, or that it looked just like something on TV and wouldn’t be fun. When I hear lots of differing opinions it makes me want to try it out even more. So Thursday I packed up the Dirt in Your Skirt car and headed to San Diego, California to race on Saturday in the elite (cash prize) heat of Alpha Warrior.
The event was held at the Qualcomm Stadium, well a section of the parking area, which made parking for those competing and watching extremely easy and slipping to your car to drop gear effortless. I arrived in the morning and chatted with a few of the Camp Rhino (an excellent OCR training center in Las Vegas) athletes and we waited to register first thing in the morning. Upon registration we had a few wrist bands put on us and handed a timing chip to go on your ankle. Then it was time to check out the course, before running it. One of the nice things about Alpha Warrior is the spectator can follow their favorite athlete the whole course, with it’s barely mile distance and about 30 obstacles it is very spectator friendly.
Obstacles seemed to be the same and in relatively the same order as the first race held in Texas last month, a plus to those who want to see a more standardized race in the OCR world. Obstacles were unique and did not have the copycat feel many new races often have as they pop up. These obstacles were new, interesting, and offered something different, and a chance to feel a bit like your favorite America Ninja Warrior with the rope swing to the cargo net. The whole thing felt fresh and new (a great change in the midst of more and more copycat events).
All the staff and volunteers were inviting and as the start time approached I was happy to have met up with two friends and fantastic racers, Corinne Kohlen (look for a full profile this week) and Julie Johnson, owner of Camp Rhino. With in the elite heat waves of six were being sent off at forty second intervals to avoid bottlenecks. Corinne (she won the first Alpha Warrior), Julie and I lined up to run together. As we took off going over the large barrels, Corinne darted ahead, she is not only an obstacle specialist but also has had some practice on these obstacles. Julie and I were close behind. We entered into the cargo net you climb not over but across, Julie and I right next to each other and Corinne darting ahead. Then up a reverse inverted cargo net (harder than it looked) into swinging ropes with discs for your feet at the bottom you swung rope to rope. Corinne distanced herself from Julie and I, Julie passed me on this obstacle. I felt my inexperience with these new obstacles kicking in. I was making up ground on the next obstacle which for short people has you completely laid out across two pipes.
We approached the next obstacle and one I had been looking forward to a set of platforms you jump to via trampoline (I love jumping!). The first couple were easy and the final platform was higher than the other ones and I had to do a double jump, as I prepared to make the jump onto the platform, I jumped up and landed wrong on my left foot and felt a crunch in the ankle. I had been trying to make up time and had just handed wrong, I went into a corner sat down thinking it was a minor roll, jumped and out of out the pit completing the obstacle. I tried to walk, each step hurt, as I climbed and tried the next obstacle the swing to cargo net, I couldn’t hook my legs on the net and wasn’t able to complete it, as I started to do my 20 burpee penalty, I found myself doing one-legged burpees and knew continuing was not going to happen. Luckily, I was right by first-aid initially thinking I would rest it then finish. After a few minutes the swelling kicked in and finishing was not going to happen. I told a volunteer my number, my first OCR DNF in 4 years of racing and well over 40 races. I hobbled to the finish line to hand in my timing chip and find out who won. Corinne would dominate the women’s field once again by over a minute. Alpha Warrior is her race! She took home the $1000 paycheck as second and third took home $500 and $250. Not a bad payout for such a new race!
Although my race experience ended quickly, I got to watch for a while before making the trek home. Alpha Warrior is not just a race for the elite but for everyone. I watched people of all shapes and sizes take on the course while family members cheered them on. For those looking for a spectator friendly event for the family to watch, this one is it. And although my day ended quickly, as I handed my timing chip in, they handed me a medal and t-shirt, although I will be adding a DNF on the back of it, it’s joining the collection as inspiration to go back and get it next time! Definitely a race worth checking out no matter your fitness level you can find challenge in it!
Alpha Warrior I will definitely be back and this time finish it and who knows, maybe take home a check as well!