Red Rush: How did you get into Obstacle Course Racing? Did you have any prior athletic experience?
Richard Smith: I have always been pretty active and athletic. I played several sports growing up, and I enjoy competing. I heard about Obstacle Course Racing from my workout buddy Bob. He showed me some YouTube videos of this guy Hobie Call dominating all these Spartan Races. The races looked like a great challenge, and we both wanted to do it. When Spartan Race came to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi in the fall of 2012, we were stoked. I did a few Warrior Dashes a month before my first Spartan Sprint in Mississippi. I found doing a race with obstacles to be a great challenge and a ton of fun. After completing the Founders Spartan Sprint I was hooked on the grueling Spartan Race experience.
RR: You train by doing CrossFit, correct? How does that help you with obstacle course racing?
RS: Yes. I am a CrossFit Level One Trainer, and I train and coach at CrossFit WMD in Angleton, TX – the home of Janet Black who just won the title of Fittest Masters Woman (40-44) at the CrossFit Games this year. CrossFit is all about functional movement and keeping things varied in the workouts. It covers every domain of fitness and the high intensity that most workouts require help prepare me for any OCR race day.
RR: What has been the most grueling obstacle course race moment? And why?
RS: It would have to be the Vermont Beast in 2013. About halfway through the race there was the water crossing obstacle which involved two swims. In the middle of the first was a rope ladder climb and in the middle of the second was the Tarzan Swing. I failed the Tarzan Swing and had to do the 30 burpee penalty when I exited the water. Cold wet and tired, I started my burpees. While doing the burpees, my legs started to cramp. It was so bad I thought about just quitting right there. It must have taken me 20 minutes to finish the burpees and get back to racing. I was cold, tired and completely unmotivated to continue.
I was just walking for a while until my friend Bob who made the trip with me from Mississippi caught up to me. His encouragement to keep going helped me get my mind back on the race and I determined to finish. I crossed the finish line in just under 6 hours. That race taught me that I could keep going when I thought I had hit a wall and helped me realize I needed to train harder to avoid a similar situation in the future.
RR: I recently saw that you proposed to your fiancé at an Obstacle Course Race. How did that come about?
RS: Yes! I proposed to my fiancé at the finish line of the AT&T Stadium Spartan Race in Dallas, TX on June 20th. I have to give a big shout out to my mom for helping me pull it off that day! Love you, mom! I wanted to do something memorable for the proposal and thought ‘hey, you don’t get many opportunities to ask the love of your life to marry you in the end zone of one of the most impressive stadiums in the world.’ My fiancé had no idea it was going to happen and was totally surprised!
RR: What is your favorite or greatest athletic achievement?
RS: I would have to say winning the Georgia USA kids state championship in wrestling when I was 14. I made it to the state tournament the two previous years but was eliminated quickly. With the help of my dad, I wrote down a list of goals – the top one being to win the state title. I spent all summer training towards the start of the next season. I went and practiced with the high school team during the season and had my butt kicked everyday. It was a lot of hard work and dedication but it all paid off when I had my hand raised as the winner in the state finals match.
RR: What are your future plans in regards to Spartan racing/Obstacle Course racing?
RS: My next race will be the Trifecta weekend in Hawaii! My soon to be bride and I will be spending our honeymoon in Hawaii. What better way to cap a Spartan Race proposal then to have a Spartan Race honeymoon! Right? Haha.
My goal is to finish in the top 50 of the Spartan Race Elite points standings again. It gets more competitive each year. I recently moved to Texas so that will actually put me closer to more obstacle course races. Getting married will change things, but we both want to keep OCRs as part of our future.
RR: How does Red Rush help you?
RS: As an athlete, I’m always looking to maximize my performance. I started adding beets to my diet and felt an improvement in my endurance. When I found Red Rush, I was excited because now I could get those same benefits but in an even more concentrated dose. The Red Rush shots are convenient to use and save me time. Whether it’s pre-workout or pre-race, I keep it simple. I drink a Red Rush shot a few hours before and push myself to the limit!
Follow Richard Smith here:
Link to proposal on YouTube. https://youtu.be/DYDjw5rh9mA
Instagram account: https://instagram.com/dirtdiver22/
Twitter account: https://twitter.com/DirtDiver_22
Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/rich.smith22
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