Meet 3 OCR Rock Stars

June 03, 2016 - By: Sarah Hovis
The OCR (obstacle course race) lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and it takes a special breed of athlete to throw him or herself over a wall, swing from a rope, or tackle any myriad of obstacles. Here are just three of the sport’s rock stars Rachelanne Gladden of MudRunGuide.com uncovered during a series of recent interviews.

Mark Leinster
Originally from Inverness (in the Scottish Highlands), the now London-based Leinster is the Chief Executive Officer at the Obstacle Course Racing Association UK (OCRA UK). As a child he preferred running through dirt and water, so when Leinster heard of OCR-type races over 20 years ago he signed up… and stayed. What he loves about OCR is there are “no airs and graces when you are face down in a pool of stinking mud. Everyone helps each other.” In fact, after all these years he still enjoys the sense of excitement of traveling to event, that fluttery feeling he gets in his stomach, and spending the day or weekend with established OCR friends and making new ones.

Robert Tretsch
When he’s not immersed in the OCR world, you can find Tretsch at his day job: architect. His first OCR race was the BadAss Dash in Atlanta two years ago thanks to a BOGO Groupon his wife found. Despite not having run any sort of distance since high school, he “wheezed through it with the speed of a sedated slug and the grace of Eddie the Eagle.” But by the time Tretsch had crossed the finish line he was hooked and signed up for the Macon Mud Run on the ride home. From there he became part of the Georgia Obstacle Racers and Mud Runners (GORMR) where he met Scott Bennett who introduced him to Richie Taylor and Jae Lumley. Together, they created a team for the 2015 Atlanta Green Beret Challenge. Running under the name Grey Berets, the original band of four opened the group to include men aged 50 and up, and as a result Tretsch says he now has a spectacular band of brothers whom he’s honored to call friends. “There’s no leaving now. We’re like the mob,” he said.

Daniel Villarruel
During the week you’ll find Villarruel working as an Assistant Manager for CR Laurence Co. Inc. Back in 2008/2009 he signed up for the Warrior Dash even though he never participated in sports because of his asthma. It was during the race Villarruel learned that he had a desire to be athletic, compete, and challenge himself. What he loves about OCR is how it serves as a metaphor for real life struggles. “You can either choose to be defeated or choose to overcome. I typically find that the more I engage in Obstacle Racing, the better I am at handling difficult situations in life… and vice versa.” The other reason OCRs appeal to him is because they go against the norm and being part of the like-minded community allows him to be “someone who is instrumental to the growth and development of both the sport and society of OCR globally.”

Tell us in the comments if you have a favorite OCR rock star.