Late last month, four athletes represented the Mariana region at the 2nd Asian Obstacle Course Race Championships in Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines. 

The AOCRC is sanctioned by the World OCR Federation.

“It was a lot of fun participating in the race and running alongside Jeff (Rios),” said Tom Akigami, Trench Challenge race director. “The conditioning I’ve been doing is really paying off.”

The event served as preparation for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and the 2020 ASEAN Para Games. Those events, both in the Philippines, will take place in December 2019 and January 2020, respectively.  

Over eight days, athletes participated in four races and four certification courses.

At the championships, James Lee, of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and James Sardea, Akigami and Jeff Rios, all from Guam, competed in their respective divisions.  

“It was a quick, tiring, but eventful trip,” Lee said. “I’m looking forward to growing this sport in the Marianas and getting it more competitive.”

Lee described the event as “a humbling experience.”

“It gave me a good idea on what I need to work on for future races,” he said.

Apart from the competition, Akigami and Rios completed the World OCR technical officials certifications course. As officials, the athletes were tested at the 100-meter and 5-kilometer races.

The following day, all four participants completed the World OCR Level 1 coaches certification. 

“It is exciting to know the sport is growing and obstacles are evolving,” Sardea said. “I’ll be applying some of the techniques learned to develop (an) OCR training course at my gym.” 

“I can’t wait till Trench Challenge on Guam, so I can qualify again for the OCR World Championships,” said Sardea, owner of Urban Fitness Guam.

For Rios, competing and learning were both humbling and educational. 

“My inability to complete some of the obstacles made me realize I need to change my training,” Rios said. “I will not fail those obstacles again.” 

“As for the coaching class, it really shed a lot of light on the do's and don’ts of running,” he said. “I learned a lot about how to prevent injuries and how to increase mobility. I didn’t realize how important this was.”

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