To say that the COVID19 pandemic has taken a toll on the world of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) would be an understatement. With the majority of the 2020 race season cancelled or postponed, companies have struggled to stay afloat and athletes are holding onto their sponsorships for dear life. Luckily, social media has given weekend warriors and athletes the ability to connect through virtual events, workouts and challenges. Now, Hunter McIntyre is taking the physical challenge to a whole new level by launching: OCR STARS.
The HYROX World Record Holder, 4x OCR National Champion and 6x OCR World Champion, Hunter is a fitness superstar in his own right and a househould name in the OCR universe. Together, with a business & operating team who is just as passionate about the sport, Hunter is hosting the first OCR specific virtual event to financially give back to the community that supports the niche sport genre.
This is the only virtual event to qualify Elite and Age Group winners for the 2021 OCRWC (Obstacle Course Racing World Championships). Sign up is now open (see below for details) and the OCR STARS family is working hard to spread the word.
Hunter and OCR Stars COO, John Burkle sat down to talk about the one-of-a-kind event that is sure to lift up the OCR community.
LATF: The pandemic changed the course of the OCR world for 2020 and possibly 2021. With OCR being a relatively new sport compared to others; still making a name for itself, this was an unfortunate challenge. What do you believe the future is for OCR?
John: OCR is not going away anytime soon. This style of training has been around way longer than what people see today. Even if the biggest brands disappear, this style of event has a very bright future.
LATF: How have you overcome the challenges/obstacles (pun intended) of not competing and getting creative with your training/workout motivation during this time?
Hunter: I lost everything within a week of COVID hitting. As weeks went on I tried to pivot my goals, but more kept get shutting down as time went on. At first I start chasing world records that I could do from home like the murph workout, which we did and accomplished in May. After that I tried to travel to make use of the free time but Europe closed its borders to the US. Eventually, I said enough of this nonsense, I can do something with all of this time... that I would love and the people would love. Next thing you know, OCR STARS is born.
LATF: How did the concept for OCR Stars come about?
Hunter: I was riding my bike one day when my phone rang. My business partner Beni Gifford (CTO) suggested that we do an event because all events were currently falling apart in front of our eyes. So we made moves, I called all the people I trusted the most, ran ideas by them and there was an overwhelmingly good response. Within weeks the company was a real thing.
Hunter McIntyre & John Burkle
LATF: It's not easy to start a venture like this, much less get financial backing and partners. Tell me about your journey in collaborating with companies such as STRAVA, etc.
Hunter: This company is a family business. The first contributor was my brother, the next was me. I thought about reaching out to all of my contacts to raise money but I realized that If I wanted this to work I needed to be the one with skin in the game. I have been on the phone with over 20 sponsors and all have agreed to help with money or product. We all love this sport, together we will make a lasting impact.
John: OCR has given me so much and helped me refocus my athletic roots and passion for the mountains, the mud, and pushing my absolute limits. My little brother was the reason I did my first OCR event in 2015. It only took that one event to fall in love with the community, their passion, their zest for life and the sport. Everyone who's ever raced an OCR event knows that the community is what makes it so special. When Hunter told me he wanted to do something that would support that community during this pandemic I felt I had finally found a way I could give back to something that has given so very much to me.
LATF: With a good amount of purse money on the line, is OCR Stars open to athletes worldwide or strictly in the US?
Hunter: This is a global event, the more the merrier! The more people who sign up, the more money we can give back to the community.
LATF: What is the future of OCR Stars? Is the plan to continue the venture annually?
Hunter: The event is just for 2020, if it grows to be something we all want to continue I am open minded to the idea. Currently, I want to win year one first.
LATF: Will either of you be competing as well?
Hunter: Yes we will be competing but not for prizes, we are just there to support and motivate.
John: I will absolutely be competing in this. I wholeheartedly believe in what we're doing at OCR Stars and I'll support it in every way I can. We have a saying at OCR Stars; "Sign Up, Show Up, show us what you're made of". I wouldn't miss it for the world.
As John said, "Sign Up... Show up!"
How does OCR STARS work?
Workouts are released November 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd.
- 2 Running Events will be tracked using the STRAVA App (a partner of the event)
- 2 Gym Workouts will be tracked using video submission
Each Monday there will be a "Pro Show" on Instagram where they will release workouts and announce event sponsor partnerships.
Cash Prizes go from $5,000 for 1st place to $500 for 5th place with 4 tiers. A $1,000 prize will be given out weekly to male and female winners.
Partners include: OCRWC, Strava, Competition Corner, Haos Training and more.
Sign up at: https://www.ocrstars.com/