As we reflect on a year at OCRA UK it’s hard to know where to start, This time last year we were just coming of the back of a successful National OCR Championship and the hype and excitement was there to host yet another Championship in 2016, As we thought to ourselves can this be done? and can we do this? More on that later.
In the latter part of 2015 we held an AGM where it was decided amongst other things that the current constitution was not fit for purpose and had to be changed, we also welcomed Eugene Minogue onto the team as Independent Chair who’s advise and support has been second to none in establishing the requirements needed to meet stringent protocols from any National Governing Body. Eugene now leaves us as his support as Independent Chair comes to an end and he returns to his busy job with ParkourUK & Sport England So a big Thank you from everyone at OCRA UK.
Structure & Policies
One of our main aims was to be more supportive and show a presence at not only our member races but also at shows and expos not necessarily related to OCR, for example we teamed up with our member race The Muscleacre and attended the Surrey Country Show which has almost 90k members of the public through its gates over the show period.
We brought awareness of OCR to people who have never heard or participated in the sport and directed them to member races in their area, with even, at least 2 people who had never participated in OCR before taking part at the OCR Championship. We also attended the Telegraph outdoor show and will be there again this year with our OCR Championship sponsor at Kitbrix.
During the early months of 2016 systems were established that in future would support the foundation of a credible sporting body such as…
- Creating Health Safety and Environmental policies.
- Child protection measures at events.
- Diversity & Equality policies.
- Course requirements and training for Marshals.
- Establish KPIs
- Identify financial and material support.
- Support member races.
- Safety Auditing of Member Races
- Establishment of a Medical & H&S Advisory group
This is on top of the systems already in place since our establishment in 2014. Many other systems and policies are required and this will form part of the main effort in 2017.
European Alliance of OCRAs
Whilst all this was going on we also broadened our awareness to International interests and communication was established with other OCR entities around the World, the most notable success of this was the formation of the European Alliance of OCRAs which led to the first Independent European OCR Championship held in the Netherlands and where the OCRA UK team were present with support to all our UK athletes.
Out with of Europe we established affiliations with Australia, Asia, The Middle East & South Africa as well as the independent OCR World Championships. Together we continue to promote and nurture the growth of OCR in our respective communities and support those Countries who are yet to establish a Governing Body for OCR.
Part of our mission is also to recognise a not for profit organisation that would be established to represent all the National Governing bodies/Federations and I can say that at this stage, signs are looking very encouraging for the affiliation to a World Governing body by the end of 2017.
OCR Championship 2016/17
The date was set, 19th Nov at Pippingford Park which was well known as an unforgiving landscape of terrain to the OCR fraternity. The team at OCRA UK then began a herculean effort to juggle home life with work to bring an event that was truly worth the title of a Championship
It is worth mentioning at this stage that the thought of even holding a Championship would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors at Active Network, High5 Energy, Kitbrix and many others who supplied goods and materials to facilitate the success of the Championship.
This was our second National Championship and to date is still the only Independent OCR competition in the UK. The aim of the competition was to bring the best OCR athletes in their category from all over the UK to compete head to head against each other over demanding obstacles and terrain and on this point the competition was a success.
We acknowledge the feedback that was given and we are already working to ensure that the 2018 event will have a new and fresh structure.
Our Member Races
Every year we depend on the support of our Member races who sign up to safety standards that are recognised by safety bodies and Insurers, this also means that when you attend an OCRA UK Member race you can be assured of the following:
- A safe race
- Its Insured
- A Value for money race
- Continual development to bring a differing experience race on race.
- Medical onsite support over and above the standard
- Experienced Staff and Build crews
2017 will be an exciting year for OCRA UK and if 2016 was anything to go by then we feel things are going in the right direction, some of the things you will see are:
- The launch of individual memberships that will come with all the support you would expect from a Sporting Governing Body. This will be supported and powered by Active Network.
- New affiliations are on the horizon that will bring more exposure and financial support which is vital to support the races, individuals and the sport of OCR in the UK.
- Establish closer links with other sporting bodies and knowledge share to lobby for recognition of OCR.
- Recruitment of suitably qualified board with the necessary Sporting links and qualifications.
- A Nationwide monitoring and checking system that will provide OCR participants with information about races, safety culture and integrity.
- Working with Nationally Recognised Training bodies to provide accredited training for marshals, Race Directors, Build crews.
So, another busy time ahead of us but it’s the passion for the sport that drives us, we are a small group of people just like you that wants to see the sport of OCR given the recognition it deserves so that it can best serve you the racer and our race organisers.
We are now entering our 3rd year and I feel we have accomplished so much in that time, the road hasn’t been always smooth but the organisation, like any new entity is “work in progress” and we have no other established entity to emulate or copy as OCR is such a unique discipline.
OCR is still in its infancy and the waters are still stormy with new races popping up and others, (some well-established) ceasing to trade, the long and short of it is that the status quo is not sustainable and this trend will continue until World & National Associations, Federations, Unions, Alliances are formed that can make it a level playing ground for everyone, by doing this will help prevent rouge races from starting and support and nurture the established races we all love but more importantly OCRA UK will continue to support you wherever and whenever we can both at home or abroad.
On behalf of the entire team at OCRA UK
“Race safe, Have fun”
CEO OCRA UK