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Being new to the sport is no obstacle to Elmira runner

Elmira runner Brad Shantz will be competing at OCR World Championships for chance at $30,000 grand prize

A local man will be competing on the world stage this weekend, ducking, diving and dodging through a 15-kilometre course rife with obstacles.

In Blue Mountain this weekend, Elmira’s Brad Shantz will be competing for the title of world champion at the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships on Saturday, trying for the best time and a chance at a $30,000 grand prize.

Shantz was an avid runner when he was younger and when a group of his friends decided to kick it up a notch with an obstacle course race, he decided to join in.

“A bunch of us friends decided to do a Warrior Dash, which is a kind of obstacle course race. That took place in Milton at the end of May and I qualified to participate in this OCR World Championships. There are a bunch of races like that you can do like the Spartan Races or the Bad Ass Dash, those kinds of things,” he said.

He had never done an obstacle course race, so he wasn’t sure what to expect.

“The Warrior Dash that we qualified in, is a five-kilometre race with a bunch of obstacles in it, this one is a 15-kilometre race with more obstacles in it like climbing through things, crawling under barbed wire in the mud, and stuff like that,” he said. “So I am pretty new to this and I don’t really know what to expect, but I figured I would give it a shot and see what happens.”

The event, and others like it, is giving Shantz a chance to expand on his previous experience in long-distance running.

“Running is good, but it almost gets boring after a while, so having those obstacles in there is kind of cool. It challenges your body in a different way and mixes up the running,” he said. “I also grew up on a farm, so we were always climbing things and whatever, so I am used to that stuff, and then to have the two together is something that is a bit unique.”

There is plenty of training involved to get ready for the grueling competition, getting Shantz back to running, while adding plenty of other physical activities to his routine.

“I have been doing quite a bit of running. My boss has a cottage up at Conestoga Lake, and he has some bars and climbing stuff there, so I have been doing that along with a bunch of running,” he said.“Things like pull-ups and working the upper body. I have been part of the CrossFit gym in town that I have been going to regularly and all that with the running. Basically just doing a lot more and staying active.”

Joining him in Blue Mountain is his own personal cheering section. He says it is amazing how much outside support can help when it comes to final results.

“It is always nice to know that people are supporting you and I have some friends that will be coming up with me to support me too. I know that with some of the half marathons that I have done how much of a difference it can make when you are incredibly tired, but you get to that point where you can hear people cheering and things like that. It is amazing how much energy it can give you to keep going. I haven’t been super vocal about it, telling everybody and things like that, but I have told some friends and we will see how it goes.”

The weekend-long competition starts bright and early on Oct. 14, and runs all weekend until Oct. 16. Shantz will be competing on Oct. 15.

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