For this year’s charity event I decided I was going to climb the height of Everest, 29,032 feet and do obstacles to raise money for Infinite Hero Foundation (PLEASE DONATE HERE and watch the full 10 min professionally produced documentary here). Mountain running is not my forte but Ultra-Obstacle Course Racing (ultra-OCR) is, so this presented some new challenges that I was concerned about it. Here’s some of the prep work, lessons learned and solutions from the event.
Having The Right Gear Is Important: I won’t get into this too much because I wrote a full article on it, but when you are suffering you don’t want to be worried about things like: “Will I have chaffing on my groin? Will my stomach become upset? Do I have item the right clothing if the weather changes?” These are questions that should be answered ahead of time through training and experience and thanks to some questionable life choices, I’ve already answered them all pretty good. For a full rundown of gear choices read this article “OCR Everest: Gear Choices”.
Having The Right Crew is Important: When it comes to pacers for this event I dropped the ball. I had several people tell me they were coming to the event and knew of several more from the larger Tough Mudder community that would be there. I assumed like my 48 hour multi-lap we would have a good supplier of pacers. I had one during the day, Ray, the only 2x Infinite Hero Honor Challenge finisher. When night fell, pacing was left to Bobby Ross the filmmaker working the event for me, Daniel Leonard a pre-planned designated pacer and my dad, who is 75.
The three of them did more than what anyone should ask of a pit crew. Unlike pacing a normal event, going uphill is always uncomfortable. This event wasn’t just painful for me, it was painful for the whole crew. Over the last seven years, I’ve never seen a crew do so much in a single event, this includes my 8 day OCR America 2 event. I thank them because they didn’t know what they were getting into when they agreed to attend but rose to the occasion. For more details listen to the Strength & Speed podcast post episode OCR Everest: Dirty Mike and the Boys.
Be Flexible: In the military we say “no plan survives first contact” and this was true as has been the case with many of my other events. We didn’t have a clear plan for night time between the hours of 4pm and 6am. The plan we had, adjusted multiple times based off pacing, safety and pit crew. While it would have been easy to give up citing safety concerns or some other excuse we found a way to preserve and make it to 29,032 feet without putting myself in serious danger while finishing when the festival was still crowded to get more donations. If you want more details check out the Strength & Speed podcast episode OCR Everest: Dirty Mike and the Boys or listen to Obstacle Running Adventure’s episode on OCR Everest.
Mindset Matters Most: I normally chunk races into manageable sections, as described in my newest book On Endurance (as well as my biography Ultra-OCR Man and the Ultra-OCR Bible). When you are counting down elevation by 1000 feet increments this felt harder than ever. Mindset is so complicated and nuanced I literally wrote a book on it (On Endurance) that’s packed full of personal tips as well as tips from some amazing endurance athletes as interviewed on the Strength & Speed podcast.
Thanks for following along on my Ultra-OCR charity events over the last seven years. It’s the support of the community and donations that kept me motivated to keep coming up with new challenges. This marks a conclusion to the journey but not an end to my involvement in OCR or charity fundraising. That day will come but I’ll be around of a couple more years. I hope you can take some inspiration from this year and use it for your own charity events. You don’t have to set out to do something no one has ever done before, you just need to get outside your comfort zone, put in some work to fundraise and ask some family/friends to help out donating to a worthy cause. After seven years I can tell you this, that I feel like mentally I’ve gained more from these events than I can possibly repay, so thank you.
Photos and video taken, edited and produced by Bobby Ross, look to hire him for you next big film project whether it be music video, commercial, social media advertisement or event. (of note, photo quality was reduced for upload of this article)