More than Mud - Amber Headrick July 21 2016
More than Mud is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.
How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?
In 2012, I was tricked into running a half marathon with friends and then completed the Original Mud run 2 weeks after that. I loved it and immediately signed up for another OCR a few months later; Mud Ninja in South Salem Ohio. I was in love instantly, it was the perfect balance of endurance and strength.
Since I despise running it was just what I needed to make me run but still allow me to maintain my muscularity and strength. I did a few more sporadic races over the years and in 2014 really started my journey into the OCR world.
How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)
When I tell people I OCR they often think I mean horse racing; not sure why. I explain that I do trail races with obstacles, similar to what our military members would do in basic training. I scale tall walls, crawl through mud under barb wire, throw spears and jump over fire while running between obstacles. Once I say that most people think I'm completely off my rocker. I'm ok with that though.
What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?
My most memorable moment thus far was earning my Spartan Coin and qualifying for Spartan World Championships. I was racing in Toronto Canada at the Spartan Sprint; my son, sister, brother in law and nephew were there cheering me on. I was a few weeks post a severe ankle sprain and nervous about the race because I didn't feel I was ready to qualify due to lack of training and that was my goal.
Throughout the whole race I was cursing myself out and questioning why I put myself through this because I didn't think I was going to qualify and thought I was racing like crap. I came across the finish line to the cheers of my family rooting me along. I was pretty upset coming across the finish line because I didn't think I met my expectations.
As I'm dying and reaching for water and a banana one of the young volunteers comes up to me and asks if I had just finished. I look at my muddy self, look at her and say yes bewildered. She then tells me I came in 7th overall and earned my coin qualifying for worlds. I was shocked, I was beside myself and almost hugged her.
I apologized for being a little sarcastic at first and had to have her write down my info because I couldn't hold the pen. After that I see my son waiting at the exit of the finish line and I run over to him and pick him up and swing him around. He starts yelling mom you're getting me dirty and I said I didn't care and told him and my family the great news. After a few pictures it was time to go take my son over for his race.
What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?
OCR has helped me become a better person, friend and most importantly mother. I've always been a very confident, outgoing, active, competitive person and I lost that for a period of time. No matter what you are going through the type of people who obstacle race will be there to support you and pick you up again and again; sometimes literally. I've never met so many people who are as supportive and willing to help others even if they barely know you just because you are on the same team. I have met some of the most amazing people in the OCR world and I couldn't be happier to not only call them friends but my family. I love all you Crazy Mudder Muckers and Corn Fed Spartans!
What inspires you?
My Son. This was the easiest question yet! Being a single mother hasn't been easy. At 18 I gave up a collegiate athletic scholarship to stay in my hometown, attend college and have my son. I have spent the majority of his life as a single parent and we have had plenty of ups and downs. My goal was to bust my ass, finish college, start a career and provide him an amazing life despite the struggles we've had; most importantly teaching him that no matter what curve balls life throws at you anything is possible if you want it bad enough! He's my mini me, biggest supporter, travel and scuba diving partner and best friend. I love you Kota bear!
Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?
I ended the 2015 year with big goals for 2016. I wanted to join a professional racing team and gain a few sponsors. By February I had not only achieved both of those goals but I was also asked to join an OCR web series. I'm very honored to be the first and only female so far on the Machete Madness pro team as well as the only female on the BROCR Review web series. And I'm very proud to represent Vita Coco, PepPod and Organic Valley Protein.
- Savage Race Pro - Ohio - 4th place Age Group - 7th Overall
- Spartan Sprint Elite - Toronto - 5th place Age Group - 7th Overall
- Spartan Race World Championships - Lake Tahoe - 26th place Age Group - 112th Elite Overall Finish (suffered a major ankle sprain 2.5 miles from finish)
- OCRWC - Ohio - Penalty Elite Heat - 1st place age group - 3rd place overall (I was very disappointed in missing the rig and will be more prepared this year with my attire and fuel to ensure this doesn't happen again)
What's something about you that others might find surprising?
I love scuba diving which most people know; however there is a specific part of diving I love most. I love diving with Sharks! They are the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen, the way they move so gracefully through the water is breath taking. My goal for 2017 is to do a great white dive in the Guadalupe Islands. I'm also a huge nerd...growing up I wanted to be an Archaeologist; more specifically an Egyptologist and still plan to join an excavation in Egypt some day.
What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?
When I'm not doing OCR things I have a part time job as a hockey referee. I've been refereeing for 7 years, and I have moved up the ranks to officiate Junior A in the Eastern Ontario and have worked 2 AAA provincial championship tournaments. This past season I started working for the referee association in a teaching role focusing on the development of first year officials (often 14-16 years old)
Photos courtesy of Spartan Race
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