You know all of the top names. Amelia, Rose, Faye and Lindsay have been on top of the OCR world for years. Have you heard the name Alex? Maybe Alexandra? Unless you pay attention to the events in the southern part of the United States, you probably have not heard the name Alexandra Walker. She is the best obstacle course racer you have never heard of.
I started talking with Walker a few months ago. One thing I noticed right away about her was her demeanor. If you did not her, you would not know she was a racer (not that there is a definition). She is always happy. She always has a positive outlook on life and she never seems to be training. However, the truth is that she is always training. She regularly posts in the San Antonio Obstacle Course Racers Facebook group about her weekend training runs and once in awhile her grip strength videos find their way to Facebook. It seems as if she walks on air.
Our conversations are not always about racing and when I have my own races coming up, it is not uncommon to see a message on my phone from Walker wishing me luck or asking a question or two about my race. This unassuming personality is part of why she is not in the limelight of the OCR community. She doesn’t seek the spotlight or even want it. Her results demand the spotlight. In the future, Alexandra Walker will be known as one of the top female obstacle course racers in the world and no longer as the best racer that you have never heard of.
It seems that there are more and more articles and interviews with Walker being published and posted. However, she was gracious enough to give me a few minutes of her time. Through a few questions I hope to introduce you to Alex(andra) Walker, the best obstacle course racer you have never heard of.
OCR Buddy – How did you first hear about obstacle course racing and what was your first event?
Walker – I started getting bored with just running type races and decided to do a Tough Mudder in Houston and also signed up for the Dallas Beast 2013. Tough Mudder was fun but I disliked being shocked.
(OCR Buddy note – In her first Spartan Beast, Walker finished 413th overall. She was 47th female to cross the finish fine and placed 16th in her age category. Since 2015, Walker has never finished lower than 5th in her age group any Spartan Race she competed in. She has also been in the Top 100 in 16 straight Spartan races.)
OCR Buddy – Were you hooked right away or did you take time to “fall in love” with it?
Walker – I was hooked who doesn’t want to play on an adult playground!
OCR Buddy – When was it that you realized that you were good at OCR? Also, what was it that made you realize it?
Walker – I realized it when I didn’t die out on the course. Kidding. I’m very competitive so when I placed in the top 5 I knew I could do better. I realized I needed someone to help me. I was able to start working with Yancy Culp 2 years ago. I started to see the podium on a regular basis thanks to him and his awesome training.
OCR Buddy – At the USAOCR Qualifier at the Spartan Race on April 30, you qualified to represent the USA at the Pan Am Games in the 5k distance. What will that mean to represent your country and will you train any differently?
Walker – Who doesn’t want to represent Team USA!! It’s an awesome feeling and I’ll just keep training hard.
OCR Buddy – Do you ever get to see a course before you run it? If not, how do you prepare for a terrain you have never seen? How do you manage unexpected terrain on courses?
Walker – I don’t really get to see the course before I run it. Sometimes I’ll check out the terrain looking up videos of the venue. I’ll see it the morning of the race and just roll with the surprises. I do look at the course map to see obstacle placement and I try to play it out in my head.
I spend a lot of time trail running and chasing amazing athletes like Matt Willis, Spencer Rau and Hunter Russell on some fun technical terrain.
OCR Buddy – What is the hardest part of a race to you and what is your biggest challenge?
Walker – The first 2 miles of a race are always the hardest. Everyone is trying to find their pace and we are in each other’s bubbles.
OCR Buddy – You have a full time job, what is it?
Walker – I work full time as a Dental Hygienist. I just love Teeth!!!
OCR Buddy – Most people are scared of the dentist, why do you love teeth?
Walker – I love smiles!!! (OCR Buddy note – in her message to me regarding this, she had a huge smile emoji after the word smile.)
OCR Buddy – With working full-time, how do you find time to train and what is your regimen?
Walker – I normally run during my lunch and train in the evenings after my son has gone to bed. I’m lucky enough to have Yancy Culp as coach. On the weekends I go out to Power Park Fitness, which is an awesome OCR/ninja training facility.
OCR Buddy – What training exercises are the most important to you? What did you need to work on to help get you “over the top”? Also, what is your pre-race routine?
Walker – Running and grip work are always on the top of my list. Recently, I’ve been working on my mental game and recovery. The faster you get, the more things need to be fine-tuned.
I like to paint my nails the name of the color that normally matches my race mood or get my eyebrows waxed. You look good you feel good . Morning of the race, I eat the same things and I listen to music during my warm up.
OCR Buddy – From knowing you and our discussions, you do not travel much for events. Why do you stay relatively local?
Walker – I travel if I can, but I’m a mother first and I can’t just travel all the time so I pick and choose where and when I can.
OCR Buddy – What women do you look up to in the sport?
Walker – All the top girls inspire me each in their own way.
Amelia for working and also over coming her recent obstacles
Nicole M. is amazing runner but also incredible grip
Faye for having crazy mental game
Rose working hard and always smiling
Lindsey is so humble and talented
OCR Buddy – What are you most proud of so far in your OCR career?
Seeing all my work I put in come out when I race
(OCR Buddy note – Besides the results listed above, here is her accomplishments in 2017 so far:
#1 Terrian Race Houston, 2017
#1 Warrior Dash Austin, 2017
#1 Conquer The Gauntlet, 2017
#1 Spartan Sprint Houston, 2017
#1 Savage Race Atlanta, 2017
#3 USAOCR Miami, 2017
#1 Spartan Sprint Miami, 2017
#1 Spartan Sprint Austin, 2017
#1 Spartan Super Austin, 2017
OCR Buddy – What has been your favorite moment on an obstacle race course?
Walker – This past weekend (Spartan Race Austin, Texas) was one of my favorites. My good friend Leah Land works for Spartan Race and her adorable daughter lily was volunteering. Their job was to follow the top 3 females. I had them chasing me around the course. It made me smile to see them!
OCR Buddy – What are your future goals?
Ohhh good question! Continue to grow and see how much I can push. Whatever come with that is just a bonus
OCR Buddy – What is your favorite event that you participated in so far? What are your favorite moments?
Walker – Battle Frog was always a favorite of mine. Currently, Conquer The Gauntlet holds a place in my heart. I love seeing 100% obstacle completion and people over coming those obstacles. Going back out on course after I finish is something I love doing.
OCR Buddy – What is your future in OCR?
Walker – I don’t know. I guess we will see.
OCR Buddy – Lastly, what is something about you that no one knows?
Walker – I was born and raised in South America
Always smiling and always offering to lend a hand, Walker is exactly what she seems to be. She is happy. She is outgoing and she is always willing to lend a hand to anyone who asks. If she keeps this pace up, there is no stopping her for many years to come.
The Best Racer You Never Heard Of is the second of what I hope will be many “in their own words” columns on OCR Buddy. I continue to reach out to leaders in the community, elite racers, race directors and other known personalities to help us all learn about who they are, what makes them tick and get an idea of who they really are. If you, or someone you know, would like to write a piece for “in their own words”, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing your suggestions and thoughts.
OCR Buddy is the first-ever mobile phone calendar and database application for obstacle course racers. It is available for download at the App Store or Google Play and you can visit OCR Buddy on the internet at www.ocrbuddy.com.