I went for my first formal interview today since 2008 and my goodness I was nervous.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m comfortable in my job, I enjoy it and I find it very rewarding, however, this opportunity has presented itself and I thought ‘Why not?’ so as part of my being brave thing, I filled in the online application and hit send.

I’d had a preliminary interview a couple weeks back which was more of a chat over coffee but today was in a meeting room and I was asked to give a 15min presentation of which the first part was to answer the question, ‘What qualities can you bring to this role?’  I’d had a week’s notice of this presentation so plenty of time considering it didn’t require a significant amount of research but it wasn’t until last night that I actually sat down to write it because I really couldn’t think of how to deliver it.   15min is not a very long time for a presentation bearing in mind the second part was a more technical based question that I could easily spend a good couple of hours talking about.  It felt a bit wanky to have a PowerPoint presentation about me yet I felt it would look like I was underprepared or worse didn’t care if I just sat there and talked for 15min without anything else.  I consulted The Husband on what he would expect if he was interviewing for a similar standing role and going on his advice (‘…just don’t ramble on about pointless crap’), I decided to go for wanky and prepare a PowerPoint presentation.

I don’t know about you, but listing my positive qualities and ‘selling myself’ is about as comfortable as using stinging nettles for toilet paper.  When I suggested lover of glitter and ‘really good at making tea and choosing biscuits’ as contributing qualities (incidentally the latter worked at my last proper interview), I got the eye roll and sigh response from The Husband.  I know, I know, I needed to take it seriously.   I typed out the list of qualities and then spent a good couple of hours trying to work out how to present in a PowerPoint without it being just a generic list.  After accidentally posting this predicament on a group chat with fellow Okhane contributors, I thought screw it, I’m going to use pictures from OCR to help illustrate some qualities and make it at the very least, not just some other boring list.

Adaptability – OCR is the ultimate sport for displaying continuing adaptability.  Every single race is so gloriously different. Different course layout, use of terrain, the variety of obstacles that require different skills to complete them; running, jumping, rope climbing, scaling walls, rolling, crawling just to name a few. Even races at permanent courses like Nuts, Nuclear and the race formerly known as Tough Guy can be completely different from one day to the next thanks to Mother Nature and her mood.

Team Player – ‘Team Work Makes the Dream Work’ as the saying goes.   Every OCR runner from the Weekend Warrior to the Pro Elite Racers have at some point in their OCR sporting lives have been given a helping hand, knee, shoulder or leg by someone out on course.  There’s something about the brutality of some of the conditions of an OCR course that brings out that truly wonderful human instinct to club together.  I remember the very first time I was presented with a 6ft over-hang wall.  Having only done a couple of 5k inflatable obstacle courses beforehand, I looked at this wall wondering how the f**k am I going to get over it when a total stranger offered me a boost up and helped me safely over, he himself was not sure of how to tackle it so I returned the favour.  We then carried on around the rest of the course together working as a team.  We still talk to each other via Facebook and meet up at races, this is my favourite thing about OCR and the community.

Empathy – The anguish of seeing someone just missing that bell at the end of an otherwise perfectly executed rig traverse and then the roar of elation when they finally ring that sodding bell with a very defiant slap. It’s probably the memory of the rope burn from falling 15ft off a rope climb or the devastation of that DNF thanks to hypothermia that cause OCR runners to display empathy by the ice-filled skipload.

Enthusiasm – OCR runners are crazy about OCR.  Runners get protective about their ‘run days’ but to an OCR runner everywhere and everything is an opportunity to train.  Kid’s playground = low rig training, icy lake when on a Sunday walk = cold water training, Shopping = farmer carries, The Underground = jostling your way to the front line.  OCR runners will participate in a race NO MATTER WHAT.  Where else would you find people on crutches, with an arm cast on or even with a whacking great laceration in their head merrily making their way around a course?  It’s the enthusiasm and love of OCR that also compels many of us to wake up at the crack of dawn, drive for 3 hours all to stand in a muddy field for at least 6 hours, hand feeding runners’ from a 20kg supply of sweeties and home-make cake paid for out of our own pockets.  We clap, cheer, whoop, high-5 and dole out muddy hugs till our hands are sore and our voices have become croaky squeaks.

Tenacity – Tenacious is the more PC way of saying ‘pig-headed idiot’.  All of us like doing things that we find easy but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a ‘challenge’.  OCR runners are no exception.  The look of concentration and determination on faces is amazing to see and if truth be told, sometimes downright hilarious.  The bruises, falls, cracked ribs and shredded hands are testaments to the utter stubbornness that the OCR runner displays in pursuit of overcoming their nemesis obstacle (sternum checkers are w**kers).  The evolution of rig style obstacles and the endurance events bring out levels of tenacity that are beyond comprehension.   Crutches, a gaping hole in the head, a prosthetic leg or even a wheelchair do not stop OCR runners from achieving their goals.

An All Rounder – Run, Jump, Crawl, Swim, Climb and Carry: an OCR runner is able to do it all sometimes also wearing a pain in the arse costume that ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’.  The aim is to do all these with ‘flow’, that mythical state of being where each component of the race is completed in a seemingly effortless fashion.  Whilst we wait to get ‘flow’ we will huff, grunt and ooft our way over walls, sternum checkers, rigs, and through the seemingly never-ending supply of bitch ditches and cargo nets.   Granted most of us get to an obstacle semi praying for a teeny bit of a queue just to be able to have a little bit of a rest, then of course it’s necessary to slow down and strike either a badass or hilarious pose for the photographers and most importantly, stop for a chat and a muddy hug with those awesome volunteers who have been standing out in the muddy cold for hours.  It would be awfully rude to not to sample the sweeties and cake that they had so kindly hauled across the country just for us.  After all, good manners are also a very important quality.