Kiaran McCormack OCR Athlete
Why Obstacle Course Racing (OCR)
Those of you who know me know that I like to live a healthy lifestyle, and competitive sports is an important part of it.
Growing up I chose Football (Soccer) as my sport of choice because it was my favorite sport, although looking back I think I was more in love with the potential for fame and fortune. I played with Dundalk FCs youth academy in Ireland and had several trials with big English clubs (if I had made it with one of these clubs perhaps I could have had that fame and fortune). I was an above average player at best, the reason I did well was I was a better athlete than I was Football player. As I finished HS I didn’t see any future in Ireland, and toyed with going to college in England and trying to find a club to play with. I made the decision to move to the US on a soccer scholarship and attended the University of Vermont for 2 years, then the University or Maine for 2 years. I graduated in 2008 and continued trying to play, having trials with some professional clubs and then playing with some semi-professional teams until 2014. It was not all plane sailing in fact i was constantly injured from the time I came to the US until when I finally stopped playing in 2014. I identified myself as a Footballer, even though I had spent 1/3 of my life injured or rehabbing from injury. Then along came OCR.
My first OCR race was the Amesbury, MA Spartan Sprint in the summer of 2013. It looked like something fun to do with Deanna and some friends. I ran in the open wave not really knowing what to expect. I failed and did burpees at the Traverse wall and Spear Throw. I finished cached in mud with a huge smile on my face placing 27th out of over 10,000 athletes that weekend. I immediately started looking for other races and signed up for the Sprint at Killington, VT later that Fall. After that race I made a decision that I wanted to race in the Elite waves so as to not get held up behind other racers on the course. The next year I completed my first Trifecta (races at Sprint, Super, and Beast distances). My performance was average at each race I kept failing the Traverse Wall but got better at all other obstacles. I also completed a Tough Mudder, and a couple of other local races. A chance meeting with a former UMO college alum Miles Bartlett at the NJ Super was forever to change my athletic career. Miles told me about the Spartan points system, and rankings. We spoke about Saturday and Sunday races, training, what to do to get on the podium, and about the Nor’easter OCR pro team. To that point I had still been playing semi-pro soccer for Seacoast Mariners ME, in Nov 2014 I made a decision to purchase an annual pass to compete in as many Spartan races as I could over the 2014-2015 season. My first race using my pass was the 2014 Fenway Stadium race. It was my first first burpee free (penalty free) race, I completed every obstacle. From that moment on I no longer identified myself as a soccer player, I now Identified myself as Kiaran McCormack OCR athlete.
Committing to the Elite level, taking the next step
My father fell ill just after the New Year in 2015, he passed away at the end of January. My father was my greatest mentor and was always very straight forward in his advice. During our last conversation he told me “no matter what you have to do what makes you happy”, that night at 10 or 11pm I put on my head lamp and started to run, I wasn’t really sure how far or where I was going I just started running. During that run I thought about my father and about what he had said. OCR racing was something that in recent months had made me happy and I knew that I wanted to make it a bigger part of my life. I decided that night to train to be the best I could possibly be. Since then I worked hard, set goals, surpassed them. I consistently finish Elite races in the top 5 and have won and podium finish on several occasions, along with finishing 2nd in the 2015 Elite Spartan Stadium Series.
Dealing with my Fathers passing is the hardest obstacle I have had to overcome. OCR has served as a metaphor for my life and for everyone who competes. We all have obstacles that we need to overcome, we may not succeed at the first attempt, maybe not even the second or third, however if you keep getting up and taking that step we all figure a way to be succeed.
Regardless of whether it is during an OCR race or in our lives "obstacles are put in our way to see if what we really want is worth fighting for" and this is why I compete in OCR.
Deanna McCormack OCR Athlete
To live and model a truly healthy lifestyle, as close to nature as possible in nutrition and fitness. To reach my fullest potential in all endeavors, always expanding that possibility, and inspire others to do the same.
I worked at a Northern Pines, a holistic health resort for two years when I was a teenager. Although I didn't realize it at the time, that is where I found the truth about nutrition, exercise in nature and spiritual awareness. I then promptly forgot all that I had experienced, became an X-ray tech, smoker and generally unhealthy eater for 10+ years. I suffered many afflictions in my twenties, including irritable bowel syndrome, depression, lack of energy, chronic abdominal pain and eventually a herniated disc in my lower back.
The herniated disc really slowed me down and forced upon me the realization that I needed to change my health, and my lifestyle so that I could continue working, and have the energy that I wanted to raise my then 5 year old son. I guess you could say this is when I woke back up. I began reciting an affirmation, I am happy, I am healthy, I am energetic, I am whole. I opened a wellness center and began to concentrate my efforts on my physical and spiritual awareness through exercise, yoga and meditation. Over the course of the next few years I studied to become an Exercise Physiologist and began working with clients to teach them fitness. Within a very short time I realized that the missing piece might be the most important, nutrition.
I completed my first cleanse and found that I did not have IBS and chronic abdominal pain, but am actually gluten intolerant. I began researching nutrition, superfood nutrition and the current state of the food industry. I started to think back at the things that I learned at the health resort. Even the thought of Northern Pines brought back the smells and tastes of real, organic, delicious foods, juice fasting and superfoods that I had not consumed or thought about in years. My research deepened and I delved into the benefits of superfoods like chia, turmeric, maca, chlorophyll and cacao. As my knowledge increased, I began sharing my knowledge and leading my clients through TL2 Reboot, a 28 day program to clean eating. I studied to become a clinical weight loss practitioner with several short courses in nutrition. I continue to learn every day. Part of my research now is
following the health of my clients as they get well, no longer consuming toxic foods, and using superfoods as their medicine.
At the same time that I was working on my nutritional wellness, I continued to work on my physical training. In 2010 I started competing in road races, first with 5K distance and building up to marathons and triathlons. Never having competed in my life, I had no idea what I was capable of. As a former two pack a day smoker, I was pleased that I could run competitively at all! In 2013 I competed in my first obstacle course race and realized that this was it, a perfect balance between nature and running that pushed my physical and emotional thresholds. At that moment, my mindset changed from “I can do this pretty well!” to “If I can do this, what else can I do?”. It has been the most life changing question. Leaving myself open to that question has changed not only how I look at my own potential, but everyone else's as well.
In 2015 I joined the Nor’Easter OCR Pro Team, (the team my husband Kiaran is also on) and competed in over 15 races at the Elite level, distances from 3-20 miles, including the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships. I hit the podium 9 times in 2015 for Elite Spartan Races, in both overall elite female, and several in the Masters Category. I ended 2015 ranked 4th in my age group in the US by obstaclemaniac.com and 35th Overall Elite Female Spartan in the US.
The utter change in my physical, nutritional, emotional and spiritual well being has led me to develop an even deeper relationship with my family, friends and clients, showing them that anything is possible and that lives can change with true knowledge of nutrition, dedication to a lifestyle of clean eating, clean living and exercise. The excitement for me comes when they realize that they too can change their lives, from the cellular level up:-)
Nor'Easter OCR Pro Team
We compete for the Nor'Easter Pro team based in Worcester MA. The team team is made up of 3 girls and 9 guys. As a team we strive to be the top team in the North East region, where we compete the most. Check out our website for more inofrmation on our Nor'Easter team.