The North America Elite Series took place in the Poconos this past weekend, and it was packed with action. The new format made the race fun to watch and spectate. 

This was the third stop in the series, with only one more event taking place in Mexico on October 13th. The Pan-America Championships will take place in two weeks with 3k and 15k course championships.

Within the first 100 meters, there were over 150 feet of elevation gain. The first obstacle was Irish tables. Then the athletes ran to sandbags, followed by z-wall. 

The athletes descended to the mountain’s base for rope climb and monkey bars. After monkey bars, athletes had to do a barbed wire crawl that lasted halfway up the mountain.

At the top, there was the multi-rig, laser pistols, and inverted wall. There were nine obstacles; some would say there were ten because the heat and humidity were brutal. My clothes were soaked in sweat. 

Overall, I think this was the best race in the series so far. The course and obstacles were perfect and challenging. The competition at this event is some of the best we’ve seen. We still had some notable absences, like Veejay Jones and Nicole Mericle. 

The women’s qualifying road was tight; the time gap between the first and fifth was less than a minute. Kris Rugloski had the fastest time of 8:35. The top fifteen men finished within a minute of each other. The qualifying round is a 1k, and every second counts. 

In the semi-final round, Ryan Kempson had the fastest lap of 7:12, and Kris Rugloski was the fastest woman at 8:28. Only fourteen men would move forward, and John Howard III was eliminated but only five seconds, and Matt Gill by seven seconds. Seven men were under thirty seconds of fourteenth place. 

Manuel Dufaux and Ryan Atkins finished second and third in the semi-finals with times of 7:27 and 7:36. 

The women’s top eight moved forward from the semi-finals. They finished their 1k under ninety seconds of each other. The top three women were Kris Rugloski (8:28), Lindsay Webster (8:33), and Alex Walker (8:48).

Athletes would compete in three laps in the finals, totaling a 3k. It started out a very tight race. Ryan Kempson kept the lead most, if not all, of the 3k. He finished fifty seconds ahead of Ryan Atkins. Kempson had a time of 23:12. 

In third place, Manuel Dufaux from Switzerland, also finished third at the Big Bear and Palm Beaches 3k events. He is definitely the most consistent so far. 

We saw the top three women take it away in the women’s field. Lindsay Webster making her first appearance of the 3k, showed up and dominated. Kris Rugloski kept up with her a majority of the 3k. In the final lap, Lindsay built her lead to a minute and twenty seconds at the finish.  Third place Ida Steensgaard from Denmark was fourteen seconds behind Kris. The two battled it out most of the event. 

Ryan Atkins, who finished second, had an infection in his leg, and it was a surprise for him to finish second. Kempson said, “I felt great through the 1k qualifiers and the 3k final.  Racing the Savage series seems to have paid off.  There was definitely benefit to strategically attacking certain sections, and getting out in front of the log jam at carry and barbed wire was a major advantage.”

3k was very exciting and Kempson made a very good point that the 1k’s are enjoyable to watch, but with the 3k at the end, gaps increase significantly. I think it would be really cool if each round were a 1k. It would be super challenging, and the race would be super tight. Then it would be a true “3k,” versus having athletes run a 5k. Atkins also noted that there was a lack of fans and sponsors.

Ida Steensgaard and Ryan Kempson both mentioned how you need to think more tactically about obstacles and how to distribute your energy—every second counts in the 1k’s and the 3k. 

One of the controversial things was the barbed wire crawl; using actual barbed wire harms the athletes, tingles the athlete’s hair, and ruins clothes. Personally, I think it’s okay, and if it’s an issue, then crawl lower, but I understand both sides of the argument. I think the issue was that there were deep holes in the ground and athletes were forced to kinda stand up, and not consistently crawl. So this constant motion of kinda standing and getting really low caused athletes hit the barbed wire more often.

This was the best 3k yet, the competition was tight, and the course was very challenging. This series is building up to something epic. 

Manuel Dufaux is currently in the standings lead with 708 points. Tyler Veerman is in second with 557. Janka Pepova has 684 points for the women, with Kris Rugloski in second with 564.

The next 3k is the Pan-America Championships in Mexico City. There will also be a 15k championship the following day. The last race of the series is on October 13th in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. 

You can watch these live on our YouTube Channel and follow the @TheOCRReport on Instagram for the best news coverage in OCR.

Article and photos by Jack Goras, follow me on Instagram!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here