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Fitness coach challenged by world obstacle tournament

Obstacle course racing is a rapidly growing sport and Haverhill’s own, Dan Heath, will be representing the town — and nation — at the World Championships next month.

The 26-year-old fitness coach has been selected by Team UK to compete against more than 50 other nations at the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Championships in Ontario, Canada, from October 12-15.

OBSTACLES: The course will be full of all sorts of barriers like this one
OBSTACLES: The course will be full of all sorts of barriers like this one

It will be the first time he has taken part, and only the fourth time the competition has been held — with the inaugural event in 2014.

Heath is registered to take part in the 3km course, which was only added as an event last year due to the growing participation in the sport, alongside his partner Cara Ainsworth.

“I’m really pleased we’ve both been selected,” he said.

“We’re training hard together and both have the same aim.

“For me, it developed from my love of running, I used to do that and cross country.

“It sort of naturally evolved to me doing jumps and things and then I was searching for events with more and more obstacles, I just really enjoy doing them.

“It’s grown more and more and I have a kind of addiction to it, there’s an obstacle course in my back garden even.

“I find it fun, and that’s definitely one of my motivations but it’s also about pushing yourself.

“It’s a challenge, both mentally and physically, and so it’s incredibly rewarding when you complete it.”

He added that a community of competitors had also developed and the social aspect was another reason the sport was on the increase.

“We help and push each other on and even help each other during a race,” he said.

“Winning is important, and it’s definitely competitive but it’s almost more about beating yourself than others.”

In preparation, Heath has been working on his upper body and core strength, as well as altitude and heat training.

“I would like to say I’ll be in contention but it’s going to take a lot of work,” he said.

“I’m confident with my running but there’s plenty I need to do right up until about a week before.

“Then I will rest to make sure I’m in the best shape possible.”

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