We think it's valuable to know about some of the awesome athletes in OCR that aren't the "top 20" names. As such, we've been interviewing a lot of awesome athletes in the sport of Obstacle Course Racing, and the athlete in today's article is no exception.
Without further ado, Xavier Thompson!
How many OCR's have you done to date?
I’ve done 12 OCRs so far (and too many road races to count).
Which race venue has been your favorite to date, and why? If you can't choose an absolute favorite, just choose one of your favorites.
I think my favorite venue has been Nationals Stadium in DC. The stadium format is spectator friendly and there is a triumphant feeling of coming out onto the field at the end of a race.
If someone paid for you and your family to take an entire year off of work so you could travel and race all year long in either the USA, or Europe, which place would you choose and why?
I would choose Europe. I haven’t done a race over there, but from what I’ve seen they have more technical obstacles and a very different style of racing.
What types of workouts do you enjoy doing most?
I like race simulations where I’m out in nature. I’ll bring my own carry implements, maybe a spear and make sure there is something I can hang from. Sometimes it’s important to see how all the pieces of your training are fitting together outside of competition.
Historically, which obstacle has given you the most trouble at any OCR?
The spear throw, hands down. I’ve only hit one in a race.
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If you started your own OCR event company tomorrow, what would the distance of your event be, and how many obstacles would you have?
I’d go with 5k (not counting carries) and probably 25-30 obstacles. It’s friendly to beginners, but can still challenge the best.
How much time do you normally spend training during an average week?
It varies based on what race I’m preparing for, but 8-15 hours a week. I’m probably closest to 10 hours a week for most of the year.
The hardest race you ever completed was? And why?
The West Virginia beast. It was my first race on any sort of technical trail and I did not have trail shoes. I sprained my ankle 5 miles in and was out on the course way longer than I expected.
What motivates you to continue racing in OCR?
My biggest motivation is my son. I stopped training seriously after my freshman year of college and a series of injuries. I’d been going through the motions in the gym, but I always wanted to be a physically active father.
What is the VERY LAST location on this planet where you would want to run an OCR?
Alaska, or really anywhere snowy and mountainous.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new OCR participant, what would it be?
Play the long game and give yourself time to improve. It’s really easy to get swept up and go all out and crush your workouts for a week or two and then fall off. Consistency is way more important and will get you through your highs and lows of training and racing.
You just ran the coldest, most miserable race of your entire life. The temperature was in the 40's, and it was misting and windy the entire time. What is the first food or drink you would want at the finish line?
Fitaid, but that’s probably because it’s what I’m used to being handed to me right after a miserable race.
Which do you think is easier for you: strength training or endurance training?
I would say strength training, because for the most part it seems like the results always seem to become apparent much faster in relation to a training block.
If you had the option of running OCRs at the age of 80, would you still do it?
I’ve always wanted to be 80+ setting age group records, so if my body holds up I’ll definitely still be competing in something!
Finally, if you could sum up your mental approach during a race in a few words, what would it be?
Run through the pain. If I’m not experiencing some level of discomfort I’m probably not really pushing myself.
Thanks very much, Xavier, for sharing a little bit about your life in OCR with us! If you'd like to follow Xavier on Instagram and have another great OCR personality in your feed, his handle is:
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