Sorrel Lewis

Mike’s Gym Camp host an OCR event to remember!


The annual Mike’s Gym Summer Slaughter loomed large, a gruelling obstacle race with the choice of two distances, 7km or 14 km. This year, due to an expansion of the Mikes gym course the race would be 8km or 16km. …or so we thought.

The early parts of 2017 had seen a lot of hard work behind the scenes from Mike, Keeley, Sorrel, Gary and myself, the result;

Mikes gym could proudly boast their event would be a qualifying race for the inaugural OCR World Championships.

To celebrate this The Camp announced they would host an OCR World Training Camp to accompany the race. There was now much to be done to prepare for this.

Whilst Mike, Gary and me ( a bit) would be busy in getting the course, trophies, markings and obstacles ready, Sorrel and me (a bit more) would busy ourselves in trying to make this Camp EPIC.

To begin with, they enlisted the help of 3 great guest coaches. Karin Karlson and Conor Hancock, 3rd fastest at last year’s world championships for women and men respectively, were quickly strong armed into joining the team. The mercurial Andreas Sjolin was next to be snapped up. Finally, Mark mud mad Turner would be added to the talented group, his job as budding video graphed was to document the training camp and race. We had our very own four musketeers!

With the week fast approaching and Mike and Gary hard at it applying the finishing touches, I pulled off another small coup enlisting the sponsorship of Ben Coomber’s Awesome supplements. They would supply The Camp with some great tasting products, the race with some prizes and Ben would be on hand to offer expert nutritional advice.

Before we knew it the day had arrived and the training Camp would commence. Myself, Sorrel and Gary would collect the Camp athletes from the airport and whisk them back to Mikes Gym. 13 keen and eager guests would meet for the first time and, for most of them would finally set eyes on The Mikes Gym Training Camp and meet the man himself; Mike!

Formalities out of the way, and Keeley organising them into their cabins Mike gave them a quick run down of Mikes gym do’s and don’t fuck abouts.

After that it was down to action and the first training session….The course induction. Wide eyed the group were taken round the course by myself and Sorrel.

This was no more than a gentle introduction as everyone was pretty tired from their travels.

After a beautiful and nutritious dinner followed by a chance to wind down and get to know each other Connor led a light bit of stretching before everyone retired to their rooms. Tomorrow, they knew, the real work began.

Late that night, Camp ambassador Karin Karlsson arrived. The camp, rising at 7th for breakfast were delighted to be greeted by this news. The delight was short lived however, Karin,  Connor and Sorrel would be leading the camp on their first training session proper…the monster that is scramble hill. If that wasn’t bad enough the camp would be taking this task on carrying wreck bags. 3 laps of the 1.8km loop ensued before the group jogged wearily back to base.

Once there and with time to reflect a wave of achievement  would engulf the camp as they realised what they had just achieved. A well deserved bit of R and R was to follow before lunch, two more sessions involving technical work and a session on course and day 1 was done.

Days 2 and 3 would follow similar patterns. The hard work was done early on followed by a technical session and a high energy assault course session.

A beach and kayaking session was thrown in as well as a jog up one of the Mijas mountains. This training camp got a full range of what we can offer.

Saturday was a chance of rest for the majority of the camp. Not so, however, for three of the coaches. Sorrel, myself and Connor not allowed to race the following day were to set their times on the official course. A few surprises lay in wait. The first, and most welcoming, was the race was only going to be an 8km event. This was decided with Rachelanne from the OCR World championship organisation in an effort to encourage more numbers and not split those who were to attend. The second, third, fourth and fifth surprise was in the forum obstacles. Mike had created new ways to test and punish his competitors!

The fact that the coaches, and a few marshalls were running the course meant that the camp members were able to get a sneak peek of the track and just what lay in weight for them. Connor went on to record a mind blowing 1 hr and 6 minutes some 19 minutes faster than me who was just a few minutes faster than Sorrel. Connors and Sorrel time would not be beaten by the respective men or women the next day. At some point, whilst these three were pushing themselves to the limit somewhere over scramble hill, Andreas having previously declined the chance to race decided to have a go after all. Not wanting to aggravate a recently healed injury, he stopped just after suicide hill….or so he says…..Andreas we’re still waiting for the photographic evidence!

After the mornings fun the Camp were enjoyed a relaxing day on the beach to wind down and prepare for the next day.
Sunday dawned. 200 plus people descended on Mikes gym for the event of all events! Without doubt this would scale heights unseen here before. (See blog on full race breakdown) Our Camp athletes were amongst the first waves out. Every ounce of effort was given by every one on the course. Don’t Fuck about was given a new meaning. Epic doesn’t do the day justice! 3 out of the 6 podium places were occupied by members of the Camp. Stephanie Johnstone took first place for the women while Frank Van Lieshout  and Gavin Hogarth were narrowly beaten to 2nd and 3rd place by our very own Gary.

What a day and what a finish to a wonderful week. After the dust had settled, the race day BBQ devoured and the trophies presented, Garth had the envious task of taking the camp back to the airport. Tears were shed (from Mark), farewells were made and these friendships would last a lifetime.

Mikes Gym Camps world championship training camp was over, but it would never be forgotten.


Sorrel Lewis
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