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SNB x Conquer The Gauntlet

SNB x Conquer The Gauntlet

Obstacle Course Racing, or OCR, is not a sport we hear about every day, and I’m almost certain that most people aren’t aware that there are professional OCR athletes among us. Well, it is a sport, these teams do exist, and we are partnering with one of the best in the world - the Conquer The Gauntlet Pro Team. As team captain Evan “Ultra-OCR Man” Perperis explains, “With a sport that heavily revolves around running in some of the worst conditions imaginable, keeping everything running smoothly is definitely key to success.” This is where Squirrel’s Nut Butter comes in. “As someone who races 6, 12, 24 and even 48 hours in length, chafing is simply not an option if you want to do your best…” 

The team is made up of 6 men and 6 women. Brenna “Red Beast” Calvert explains a bit about what goes into the team's training. It varies from person to person, as some specialize in distance, others in short course, and some in strength or technique. What they all have in common, though, is they all train about 1-2 hours/day “mixing it up, adding in running, lifting, rock climbing and other cross training methods.” Doug Snyder says the basics include “lots of running, strength training, and grip/technical movement with OCR and ninja-specific gear.” 

It’s seemingly impossible to have too much variation in training, as all the courses vary greatly. “The races range from one mile to 24+ hours in length,” Evan explains. “Some have easy obstacles that are not much harder than a Steeple Chase event and other ones have obstacles that look like they were pulled from American Ninja Warrior.” These races take place across the globe, and some are flat, while others are held on ski slopes. Luckily, many of the athletes come from a background of many sports, essentially having had OCR training for most of their lives. Brenna says, “I think most start with it as something fun with friends but for those that are athletic and like a challenge quickly realize that there are great opportunities for money, ways to become one of the best all-around athletes, and if you show up on race day and prove yourself, you are capable of being a professional obstacle course racer. 

It’s clear that OCR is a physically demanding sport, requiring athletes to be incredibly well-rounded and capable in just about every physical way. The team seems to agree across the board that the most challenging part of the sport is finding balance. It’s necessary to train your physical and mental strength, Brenna says, “to get through and overcome anything thrown at you, especially the unknown factors.” Nathan “NaPalm” Palmer further explains that it’s sometimes difficult to find adequate time to train in every way necessary. “With so many different aspects in the sport, it is a constant balance… if you spend too much time run/endurance training, you might fail an obstacle (thus knocking you out of prize money), but if you spend too much time obstacle training, you might not be fast enough to keep up.” 

It’s especially difficult for the athletes on this team to find the time to train, as they all work full-time jobs. Team member Ashley Samples, who is approaching 100 overall OCR podiums, says their team consists of “an IT specialist, a STEM ambassador, an active duty Special Forces officer, a financial analyst, a waitress, a veterinarian, a gymnastics coach, personal trainers, a gym owner, a teacher, and more.” Brenna Calvert recently started using her skills for Conquer Youth, a race series for 5-17 year old kids designed to inspire the next generation of OCR athletes. Many of the athletes on the team are parents, as well, so these folks essentially have 3 full-time jobs. Hardworking doesn’t begin to describe them. Ashley says they make it work by finding time for what’s important to them. 

One thing that Ashley explains is important within the sport, is the ability to keep moving. “We race in ever-changing elements - rain, sand, water, mud, swamps - which can make chafing and rubbing a major problem. SNB helps reduce potentially painful situations and keep going longer.” Evan agrees, saying, “Chafing would literally stop me in my tracks, so I’m always sure to apply plenty before any major event to keep me going. Squirrel’s is a leader in this industry with a full range of products to fit everyone’s needs and lifestyle, even my vegan friends.” 

Conquer the Gauntlet Pro Team is sure to continue conquering the scene this year, and we are thrilled to help them reach their goals! Read up on team captain Evan's words on who makes up this great team:

The latest addition to the team is 5x American Ninja Warrior finalist and 2x top five finisher at OCR World Championships, Michelle Warnky.  Although still heavily focused on ninja training/competing and her gym Movement Lab Ohio, Michelle has big plans for OCR in 2019.  As the female world champion of Master of The Rig at 2017’s OCR World Championship, she is right at home with the male winner, another CTG Pro Jay “Captain Puerto Rico” Flores.  Jay is as well known for his 50x OCR podiums as he is for inspiring the next generation regarding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

They aren’t the only ninjas on the team though, 5x American Ninja Warrior competitor Amy “Magic” Pajcic is back for a 5th year and is still the only women to stand on the individual podium at OCR World Championships and World’s Toughest Mudder.  Amy, along with CTG Pros Matt “The Mudder” Willis and Evan Perperis came in 2nd at the 2018 North American OCR Championships in the Pro Coed Division as the top all American team.  

At the opposite end of the spectrum of racing, half of the world championship team from World’s Toughest Mudder 2018, Team Atomik, Evan “Ultra-OCR Man” Perperis is back and is excited to work with Squirrel’s Nut Butter.  “As someone who races 6, 12, 24 and even 48 hours in length, chaffing is simply not an option if you want to do your best.  I’ve got a lot of Ultra-OCRs planned this year and this is going to help out immensely.”

Also returning to the team for the fourth year include TV regular’s Nathan “Napalm” Palmer (record for most consecutive CTG podiums 10x and Team Captain from 2017’s Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge: Saddle Up) and Brenna “Red Beast” Calvert (2xSteve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge and ESPN BattleFrog League Championships).  Plus, the record holders for the most CTG wins 7x Bryce Robinson and 10x Randi Lackey.  

For the team’s Master athletes, the two undefeated CTG Champions for Masters Men and Masters Women are both back.  For the men, 5xUndefeated CTG Master’s champion Doug Snyder, who has another 10x overall OCR podiums plus 20+ Masters podiums is back.  For the ladies, the former pro high diver Lisa Nondorf is back with her 5x CTG Master’s wins, 2017 Age Group US Championships and 2018 2nd place all female pro team at North American OCR Championships.  

Finally, rounding out the team is part of the 2018 North American Pro Female Championship team, Ashley Samples who is approaching 100 overall OCR podiums.  Nominated for Mud Run Guide’s Best Female athlete in 2015, 2016 and 2017, she is a force to be reckoned with, even when pregnant (where she was still winning races).  

Squirrel’s Nut Butter will ensure the Pro Team’s training runs smoothly.  With the team’s brand Conquer The Gauntlet adding the 5+ hour Continuum race this year, athletes are definitely going to want to stock up on Squirrel’s Nut Butter for racing and training.   The team, primarily living in the Midwest, will be racing nationwide with a couple of events internationally.  They hope to see you on the course running chaffing free.  

For more information about the team visit their website CTG Pro Team.

 

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