Local woman competed in North American championship event

Mary Koester, after completing the 15K event

On Aug. 10-12, the inaugural North American Obstacle Course Racing Championships (NorAm) was held at the Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont.

Hundreds of obstacle course racers from the United States, Canada and other countries across North America came to the event to run the multiple world class courses designed by some of the best race directors in the business. Among those racers was Mary Koester of Red Bud.

Obstacle course racing, also known as OCR, has dramatically increased in popularity over the last decade. There have been world championship OCR races held since 2014. Starting last year, as the sport continues to become more popular and gains traction towards possibly becoming an Olympic event, regional championships have been held.

Koester’s first championship race experience was last year as she attended the United States Championships in Texas. This year, NorAm replaced the United States Championship.

The sport is simple in concept, with racers completing a course, of varying distance, filled with obstacles. These obstacles can be anything from climbing walls or carrying heavy objects, to completing a “rig” that requires traversing multiple challenges like ropes, rings and climbing holds, in order to reach the other side. Some courses feature mud, water or fire obstacles. All of the obstacles not only test physical strength and endurance, but also mental.

For more on Koester, please see this week’s print edition.