It has been a sweat and friend filled weekend here at Stratton
. Since Friday, athletes from over 10 countries, 45 states and eight Canadian provinces have been conquering southern Vermont’s highest peak for the North American Obstacle Racing (OCR) Championships.
For Margaret Schlachter, OCR Worlds Championship media director, she’s returning to a familiar place.
“Its beautiful, I love being back here,” the Stratton Mountain School graduate and former coach muses. “I ran up yesterday morning to just above the mid-mountain lodge and over to Standard and saw the fog rolling in over the mountains and it’s iconic. The Green Mountains of Vermont are some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Even living in Utah, there’s something about the Greens where no where else is like.”
The Saratoga native started ski racing when she was 10 years old and has always had a soft spot for Stratton. With over 18 years of interacting at Stratton, she’s back on mountain for an entirely different sport.
In 2011, Margaret participated in the first every Spartan Race, and eventually became ranked fifth in the world for obstacle course racing. Since then, she’s moved to the communications side of the OCR world as the editor in chief of Mud Run Guide and the CEO of her company and podcast, Dirt in your Skirt.
Although she’s traded in slalom turns for crazy ropes courses, she credits her time as a SMS athlete for where she is today.
“I credit a lot of successful obstacle racing early on and going into that pro-realm due to my time at SMS and learning how to train and be an athlete at a really young age,” she said. “It’s not just on the course but how you present yourself off the course. Even though it’s a different sport we’re doing a lot of the same things.”
Obstacles this weekend forced athletes to balance their cardio capabilities with challenging features that focus on grip strength and upper body. For the first ever North American Obstacle Course Racing Championship at Stratton, husband and wife Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster claimed first in both the men’s pro and women’s pro divisions in the 3K short race. The Canadian couple also took first in the 15K.
The pair will hold the titles of North American Obstacle Course Racing Champions until next year, when they’ll be vying for the title once again on the slopes of Stratton Mountain.
“To come to Stratton , the mountain here has had one non-competitive mud run in the past and this is the first time that there is a seriously competitive race,” said Margaret. “To come to this mountain, it makes it virgin territory.”