By: Jessica “Hurricane” Wray
The world of OCR events are becoming more popular every year and more and more events have thrown their proverbial hat in the in ring to bring us something which is not Spartan Race or Tough Mudder. I did set a goal this year to try as many new events as possible to challenge myself. The newest event to do so is the Atlas Race. Fresh off their first event of the year in California, they came to Texas to show us what they had. I have broken down my review into three sections, the venue, the course and after the run. So here we go…
Arriving at the venue before sunrise, there was plenty of room to park. No long walk or shuttle to the race area. Since Atlas Race used a motocross park the amenities were great! Real potties and showers are a major plus over the porto-john and pressure washing. Atlas was well organized at the registration and volunteer tents- another big plus in my book. There was a nice covered pavilion where everything you needed was centrally located. It was close to the starting line, finish line and restrooms. The pavilion had plenty of picnic tables and housed the registration area, merchandise, bag-check and food sales. Plus, it was close to the awesome OCR Warrior setup. Atlas Race was very welcoming to both OCR Warrior and The OCR World Championship Race crew, promoting the growth of OCR as a sport. It seemed to be well planned and executed.
The course was challenging without being brutal. At the starting line, they did a “hole shot” where you sprint for cash and they did that for each heat. Prizes varied, a nice feature for those fast sprinters. There were several spots where you had to wait for obstacles, the over under walls and Tyrolean traverse. When you’re there to race elite, it is no fun getting caught in a bottleneck when you’re out there trying to do your best. The obstacles themselves were well built and challenging. I feel like there could have been a few more obstacles and less burpees. I didn’t feel like the burpee-broadjump “obstacle” was a true obstacle. There were some of the typical obstacles, over-unders, 8ft walls, a warped wall, a sloped wall, a cargo net crawl as well as 2 cargo net traverses, Tyrolean traverse and a couple others. The monkey bars were the ones that roll, really challenging your grip. The incorporation of the wreck bag was awesome, but at one point I felt like there was a little bit of over use. I’ve never run on a motocross track, and I would have to say it’s not my favorite. There were hills, dips, and challenges, but nothing beats Mother Nature as far as terrain goes. The course had some water but not much. Where there was water, it was a muddy sludge that tried to suck you in. All in all I would say it was a good course that could’ve been great.
After the Run:
The medals are awesome! They specify which distance and whether you were in an elite heat or not. They are heavy and seem to be of good quality. The t-shirts are also very nice, they specify the distance you ran and whether you were in an elite heat or not. They have the ladies fit and regular, as a chick in the sport it’s always nice to get a shirt that you actually want to wear after the race.
Again, the pavilion came into play and made a great atmosphere for friends to come together after the race and take pictures, eat, and hang out. There were plenty of smiles and lots of laughs to be had. Also, the amenities were valuable when a warm-ish shower was available to wash away the mud and dust. I didn’t personally try the food, but I heard it was good. The Merchandise tent was well organized and staffed. I hope to see Atlas grow the merchandise line and give a bigger variety of items. One of the best parts, in my opinion, was having OCR Warrior and OCR World Championships there. When people qualify for OCR Worlds it’s nice to get that recognition on the spot, with another sweet t-shirt. Paying to try out for OCR Warrior was also a blast. (It was worth every penny!) It was another chance for friends to come together and do what they love, more obstacles! OCR Warrior was time consuming, but very rewarding to participate in. When it came to awards Atlas usually pays out cash, but there was some confusion in San Antonio due to teams signing up that morning and some teams missing members. Atlas did pay out the #1 teams and individual awards, and promised to contact the remaining teams. I think they did the best they could on that front. Atlas Race is one of the only races that pay out in cash and awards teams and individuals (even if they were on a team), it’s still a big win in my eyes.
Overall Atlas is a good race with great potential for growth and a little room for improvement. I would definitely register again, and I look forward to seeing what the next Atlas Race has to offer!
Who is Jessica Wray? Jessica first found Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) in 2011, and was immediately hooked. 2014 was the first year all the work that she had been putting in started paying off. That year she earned a top 15 ranking in the world open points series for Spartan Race. She was top 3 in age group a few times throughout the year, and finally took the leap into racing the elite waves. At the end of the 2014 season, she qualified for OCR World Championships in her first elite wave. Outside of OCR, she works full time in the ICU and is a nursing student. Her other true joy in life is her amazing kiddo, who also enjoys OCR. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, swimming, hiking, snowboarding, camping and pretty much anything outdoors.