Libbie Joyce took the 2021 Spartan World Championships by storm, placing second in her age category at the age group at the age of 13. That accomplishment was recently voted the Outstanding Achievement in the 2021 European OCR Community Choice Awards that OCR Buddy presented. Libbie is part of the Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine Race Team and has had other accomplishments/podiums in OCR.
After chatting with her, I asked her if she wouldn’t mind being our next guest on “10 Questions with…” Libbie is a teen at heart, and I can almost feel her enthusiasm coming through her words in my short interactions with her. Many people, when nominating Libbie for the 2021 Awards, had commented how inspirational she is.
I give credit to her mother, Katie, and I have become a fan of their family. I can’t wait to see where they all go from here.
I present to you 10 Questions with Libbie Joyce.
How old were you when you got started in doing OCR races? What led you to get involved?
I was about 7 when I started OCR. My mom started, and she had to take me training with her, so I played around on obstacles. Then we did some races for my school friend Violet to raise some money for her charity, but she sadly passed away. That’s why I always have a V on my vest and will never forget her. She helped me find the sport.
When did you realize, “Hey, I’m pretty good at this.”?
I would never say I’m pretty good because I have so much to still learn and have been so lucky to race in other countries. The athletes are amazing and so fast, but this has given me the motivation to work hard and hopefully be an elite athlete.
Looking back, what are your thoughts and memories of the Spartan WC?
Spartan WC meant so much because I was never doing that race because I was training for OCR World Championships, and I couldn’t run any adult Spartan races in the UK in 2021 because I was not old enough.
I was so gutted when America didn’t open the borders and was upset because I knew I had another year to wait. I turned 14 in November, and my mom and dad surprised me that I could go to Spartan WC.
Think all the excitement made me didn’t think about the race and how hard it was going to be, and I hadn’t trained for it; I was just so happy to race.
When I got to watch the elites, it was just magical, and they are all so nice; I love watching them and learning. Being with everyone from the UK was epic. They made me think this race is going to be mega-hard, and I knew I couldn’t race it but still wanted to give it a go.
I have so many favorite things about the race – On the morning of the race, Ryan Atkins came over to give me some advice. I still can’t believe it; running down the big sand dune at halfway into event village was amazing, and to see everyone from UK and cheering and I knew I was ok to carry on.
The course was hard, and think the hardest thing was running on my own and not being able to chat to anyone ( I get told off some times for talking too much if racing with my teammates or Dan )
I ask this while the Olympics are happening; explain the thoughts going through your head while holding up your country’s flag?
To be honest, I can’t remember what I was thinking when holding the flag on stage still feels like a dream; I just hope it will inspire more kids into OCR and to give the sport a go.
How often are you training, and about how many hours a week (or day) do you spend training?
My training is so mixed, and I train 6 times a week up to 3 hours a session and mostly after school. But I will train early in the morning when needed, like a run if I know I can’t fit it in at night time.
How do you balance that with school and school work?
I am really lucky with my school and be awarded with what’s called an Elite Performers Scheme where they help me put my sport first. But this still means I have to keep my school work up to date, so at lunch times I will try and get my homework done then and then on Friday is normally a rest day, so that night is home work.
What advice do you have for other teens starting to get involved with OCR?
Anyone can do OCR. My advice is try and run with someone or a group of people for your first time because that’s what OCR is fun. And having a laugh, but if you do on own, you will always meet someone no matter what, and people are there to help and so nice; marshals I love seeing, and they make a race.
What has been the best advice you have received from anyone in OCR?
This is hard because I am always given loads of brilliant advice, but I think it’s my mom’s advice that when a race isn’t going to plan or hard, try to never give up but just think about the races you have done and finished and how you felt when finished and will get you through it.
What is your favorite thing to do when not in OCR?
My favorite thing to do when not doing OCR is seeing my friends for food, I don’t see them much after school with training and racing at weekends, but they all understand.
What don’t we know about you? Who is Libbie?
I am a sport-loving crazy teenager, and it doesn’t matter what it is as long as I’m doing something.
I really find it hard and struggle with school work because I have dyslexia.