I very rarely race with a “team”, and when I do, its only when my best friend from many miles away, can come visit. While there is no better entertainment than you and your best friend crawling through mud, throwing each other over walls, and saying “WTF?” about every little hiccup in the race, I do not mind going “Lone Wolf”, either…good thing, because travelling from Maryland to Florida or Florida to Maryland can get pricey.
I never have had problems doing things alone, maybe its because I’m an only child, or so introverted that I may be classified as “anti-social” at times, or maybe its due to being put in crappy school work groups, where one kid in the group never pulled their weight? Ha. Who knows. But one thing is for sure when it comes to racing, its not because I think someone would slow me down, or I couldn’t keep up with them. As mentioned before, my first OCR, I had a team. With all of us being newbies to the scene, we found many fellow racers helping us throughout the race. This was an introduction of how it goes out there, and it has continued throughout my journeys and races.
That’s what is hard to explain to others when you tell them you did the Spartan Beast in Spartanburg, SC, by yourself. I am never alone when running an OCR. The community within obstacle course racing is huge, and full of wonderful people. For example, from personal experience, I have had random racers come up to me and help me put my timing bracelet on before the race (which is hard to do without help!), I am always offered assistance at obstacles that I take a moment to analyze, and if you stumble, or begin to slow down, another racer is always asking if you are ok and yelling motivational lines like “You got this!” or “You’re almost there! Keep going!”
One of the best racer humanity moments I witnessed, was a terrible clothing malfunction no where near the end of a race. A fellow Spartan chick ripped the seat of her pants, from top to bottom on a climbing obstacle. You know, if you are out there on the course, there isn’t an easy way to deal with a full moon situation. While her bestie was lying to her, telling her “it’s ok, its not THAT bad,” and attempting to magically put seams back together, a random guy came up to them. He was shirtless, and had basketball shorts on. He said a few things to them, and before you knew it, he stripped down, giving the girl his shorts, and continued on the race in his compression boxer briefs. She strapped those shorts on, pulled the drawstrings tight, and yelled, “how will I get these back to you?” and he responded, “I’ll see you at the finish line,” and disappeared into the crowded trail path. It was honestly bad enough, I questioned if I could go on, if the same thing happened to me. My guess is NO, and I don’t think she would have either, unless that fellow racer offered his shorts.
I am definitely not the only Lone Wolf Racer out there, either. But it surely isn’t for everyone, especially if you start to get emotionally/mentally tired. I tend to shut the brain down when I feel that coming on, it seems to help. Sometimes, during race chit chat, some will say their friends stood them up, or no one else could get off work. I always say, its really something I love to do and will do what it takes to get here, if someone wants to do it with me, they are more than welcome, but if not, its ok, I will still do it.