Profiles In Badassry - Jonathan Ronzio November 17 2016, 0 Comments
MudGear Profiles in Badassary 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?
I started going to an OCR training class on Thursday mornings at my local rock gym and for almost a year, this proved to be a really fun and effective cross-training to build strength and elevate my climbing game. That's how it all started. To help with my mountaineering pursuits. There was a pretty consistent crew that went to this class on a weekly basis and out of all of us, I was the only one that hadn't run a Spartan Race, or any other OCR circuit for that matter.
Having directed and produced an adventure doc, and done the whole film festival thing in the past, I get the occasional industry newsletter. One day I saw the casting call for the Spartan Race show on NBC and told my training mates about it. When they asked me to be a part of their team, I was psyched and of course said yes!
We ended up getting cast for show as the "Freedom Trail Runners" and the epic team course they built down in Atlanta was my first go at a Spartan Race. After the show, I was hooked and couldn't wait until the next time, when I could run a more traditional, less made-for-tv, race. And since, training harder and pushing myself to succeed within the OCR community has become a new passion of mine!
How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)
Everything I do, from my mountaineering and adventure travel pursuits to my obstacle racing, people see as crazy. And I love that! Attempting what most people won't kind of drives me. But I also try to show that while, yeah, I may have a few screw loose, I'm just someone who decided to act on the pursuit of his dreams. Everyone's got them—crazy dreams—but not everyone choses to chase them. and that's what I try to tell people. That I'm just chasing mine, and it's totally possible for them to do the same and be as crazy as the rest of us!
What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?
Definitely competing in Spartan's Ultimate Team Challenge on NBC. I'm more a fan of the obstacles than the running the races, and this was basically Ninja Warrior in the woods. Huge, complicated, insane obstacles, back-to-back, that it took a whole team to complete. I loved that!
What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?
"Do lots of burpees. I mean lots. And you'll be fine."
What inspires you?
Challenges inspire me. Whether that be a mountain, a race, a business, or person goal. I'm inspired by looking at seemingly impossible possible dreams, and breaking them down into obtainable and inspirational realities.
Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?
I'm just getting going! This year I'll be knocking off a Spartan Trifecta for sure. I'll also be doing a Tough Mudder or two. And my main goal is to cut down my running time between obstacles. In my last Sprint, I finished 10th out of 274 males in the 25-29 age group. I can totally climb that ladder if I shave my average mile times!
What's something about you that others might find surprising?
Outside of OCR, I've led expeditions backpacking and climbing through 4 continents and nearly 30 countries. I directed an award-winning documentary, am an international speaker, have singles on iTunes, and run a travel blog called Explore Inspired. I also founded a marketing startup called Content Jelly, and I'm marrying my amazing fianceé, Alexandria, in September! Lots going, and that's how I like it!
What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?
It's such an exciting time to be part of the OCR community! These races are absolutely blowing up and it's all of the sudden a well-known and respectable sport. Something more than just a crazy mud run you and your friends do to say you did and have a beer at the end. The caliber of athletes coming into the sport and taking it to the next level is just inspiring and I'm beyond psyched to be a part of that!
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