While OCR Gear started with an idea to get top quality gear, hand-picked by seasoned athletes, out to the masses, we knew that there was more we could do for the obstacle course racing (OCR) community at large. This is where the idea of OCR Gear Ambassadors came from.
We wanted to find some of the most inspiring people to bring the idea of accessibility to the OCR Gear community. Simply put: we wanted everyone to feel that they could join in the fun. Hundreds went through the application process and, with great difficulty, we whittled it down to about 50 Ambassadors who were chosen as our inaugural class. Our Ambassadors range from elite athletes to regular old Joes who have lost hundreds of pounds through OCR in their pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. All of their stories were inspiring to us.
Though we are only a few months into our inaugural OCR Gear Ambassadors Program, we couldn’t be more proud of our team. Through the help of our Ambassadors, we have been able to spread the word about obstacle course racing and have encouraged people from all walks of life to get in shape and bring the message of OCR Gear to the racing world. What’s next? Ambassador Diaries!
Ambassador Diaries are a way for us to share our Ambassadors’ stories with the OCR community. We want to let people know that OCR is inclusive and anyone, no matter their athletic background, can join us. We hope they inspire you as much as they have inspired us.
Our first Ambassador Diary entry comes from Jim Driscoll.
I grew up in South Florida as a typical Florida boy. I was into beach activities and staying in shape but, I did not play organized sports in school. After high school, I attended college for a year and decided to join the military. I spent 26 years in the US Air Force traveling the world and staying in shape, but never got serious about my physical training. After a full and wondrous career, I retired from the military in October 2011. After retirement, I spent the next 6 months looking for a job in a tough economy and started going experiencing depression; I gained weight, started getting very unhealthy and out of shape.
In the spring of 2012, my cousin mentioned doing a mud obstacle race and we chose the Colorado Spartan, just 20 minutes down the road at Fort Carson. Four of us did the race as a team. For my first race, not once prior to the event did I do one second of training. While we finished, my effort was extremely disappointing and embarrassing.
After the race, I started training on June 18, 2012 and have not looked back. Since I started I have dropped 20 pounds and cut my body fat in half. In addition, I no longer have high cholesterol and my wife is off all her high blood pressure medication. I have always loved helping motivate other people and, since moving to the Elite class with Spartan, I have been asked to participate in numerous web groups as a motivator for people to get fit and lose weight.
On December 24, 2012, I discovered an 8 year old hernia and was told to get surgery right away. This created huge anxiety for me as I feared my racing season was over. My doctor noticed I was in good shape (which made me feel good as I did not see or feel so) and scheduled me for surgery January 10th. Three weeks later surgery, I ran a 5K, another 5K the following weekend and my second Spartan seven weeks after surgery. Given the circumstances, I finished my second Spartan in a very respectable time. I was starting to gain unbelievable confidence and see how my training was affecting me and many of those around me, including my family.
In late March of 2013, I ran into Spartan Champion April Luu and we developed a wonderful friendship. She started a Spartan Boot Camp for over a dozen folks in our neighbor and I was asked to help run the camp to prepare these people for their first Spartan at Ft Carson in May. We had a blast and everyone had a great race. The following week April approached me and became my Official Coach for 2013! This was a blessing for me! We have worked hard and the efforts are paying off as I improve at every race.
Spartan races have now become a family affair! My wonderful wife, Rene’ ran her first Spartan in Colorado in May of 2013. We have a son, James, who graduated NC State with honors and another son, Hunter, still at home in school. My first four Spartan Races I had my cousin Dave racing with me, which was really special. In August of 2013, my brother Pat, Cousin Dave, nephew Corey and son James ran as a team at Spartan Mid-Atlantic in Virginia. Other than OCR, I love hunting big game, trail running and training/running for Spartan races.