Earlier this year I set out to run my 7th and final Ultra-Obstacle Course Racing (Ultra-OCR) charity event. The plan was to run the height of Everest while doing obstacles on the course of Tough Mudder New England from June 4-5, 2022 in order to raise money for Infinite Hero Foundation. Infinite Hero is the same charity partner Tough Mudder is using for the Infinite Hero Honor Challenge (you can listen to World’s Toughest Podcast explaining the event). Infinite Hero provides mental and physical support to our military veterans. (You can Donate to the Infinite Hero Foundation HERE.)
Here is my recap of OCR Everest:
Phase I: Tough Mudder (0-6000 feet): I started with the normal Tough Mudder first wave at 8:15 AM multi-lapping the course by doing the 15k and then successive laps of the 5k. Based on my calculations, the 5k had slightly better elevation per mile than the 15k so I opted for the shorter laps, allowing me to pit/refuel more consistently. I kept this plan until the course closed around 4:00pm.
Phase II: Stratton Mountain (6000-13,000 feet): With the course closing and insurance/safety concerns I was required to get off the course but allowed to stay on the mountain. I changed into a dry pair of MudGear Socks and their new Men’s Compression Shorts to continue forward movement. We decided to ascend and descend on the far right trail (the one used on the final descent for OCRWC 2021 with Battle of the Lion’s Twist on Life obstacle). That worked well until it got dark. After seeing a bear on the mountain near the trail we were taking earlier in the day and getting scared by a raccoon in the middle of the night and realizing that the top 50% of the trail had no way for a medical vehicle to access me we adjusted the plan. I had considered this stuff going in, but actually being out there with no ambient light and seeing that bear near the trail made me reevaluate my plan.
Phase III: Stratton Mountain Roads (13,000-27,000 feet): Based on the above decisions and the fact that we had a nonexistent turnout on pacers, we moved to an adjacent road. This allowed the car to follow behind me when the pacers were exhausted, allowed for my pacers to get in/out of the car whenever they wanted, and provided a mobile pit (the car was filled with extra clothes/nutrition).
We knew we wanted to finish the event by mid-day Sunday and based on the pace we decided to remove the descents and focus on the ascents (as they do at the actual 29,029 event which takes place annually at Stratton). The 29,029 event athletes walk up the mountain and ride the Gondola down, we walked up and took the vehicle down to save time. This almost made things worse as you were no longer going with the flow of the terrain but instead perpetually walking uphill. The day after I did this the backside of my body was completely sore and the front half surprisingly fine.
Phase IV: Tough Mudder…Again (27000-29029 feet): After walking uphill all night, I headed back to the festival area, wrapped myself in my ORORO heated jacket and laid down briefly before the start. My filmmaker, Bobby Ross, walked with me for the final lap pushing us over the required elevation.
Overall: Like all my endurance charity events described in my book Ultra-OCR Man (7 days of OCR marathon in a row, 24 hour treadmill OCR, 48 hour multi-lap and all of the 24 hour OCRs in the USA) and upcoming documentary Ultra-OCR Man (Ultra-OCR at 21,000 feet and 8 days of OCR marathons in a row in winter), this was painful and a unique type of fun. However, that’s why I do them. It is a personally rewarding experience, it draws attention to our sport and most importantly, it raises money for a good cause. While this was not my most painful event, it was the hardest for my pacers and presented a brand new set of challenges.
You can donate to the Infinite Hero Foundation here.
If you want a longer recap check out The OCR Report’s Obstacle Running Adventures podcast to hear from me or the Strength & Speed podcast to hear from my pit/pacing crew after barely sleeping for two days.