Senior Conor McNulty has climbed over 12-foot walls, trudged through muddy water, and jumped over four-foot hurdles to become a world champion.
McNulty began competing in obstacle course races in June of 2015 and said each obstacle course varies depending on location and terrain.
“They can be hills, they can be trails, and there are a lot of water-crossings,” McNulty said. “There is a lot of forearm strength, like monkey bars, pull-ups, pipes, rings, all that fun stuff. They just vary from place to place.”
McNulty has been first in his age group at the three races he has competed in so far.
McNulty said one of his biggest accomplishments is that he placed third at the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC).
McNulty qualified for the championships by placing first in his age group and seventh overall at a Savage race. The OCRWC was at Kings Domain in Oregonia, Ohio on October 17 and featured teams from several different countries, including Sweden, France, and Norway.
“It was very cold that day, there was frost on all the obstacles,” McNulty said. “A lot of it was very forearm related, it was a lot of grip obstacles. There was a lot of running, there was a lot of crawling, a lot of mud and fun stuff like that.”
Kevin Jones, a mentor for McNulty, first introduced McNulty to obstacle course racing and said he had to work, both mentally and physically, for the World Championships.
“The World Championships was 9.5 miles, a bunch of obstacles, and it was very cold,” Jones said. “When you’re swimming through water, running through the woods in freezing weather and you’re wet and cold, you’re pushing yourself through that.”
Photos by Meghan Pottle
These obstacle courses have helped McNulty prepare for the Marines, which he plans to join.
“Obviously, there’s the physical aspect, which always helps you in anything that you do, you need to be physically fit to do it,” McNulty said. “A lot of combat scenarios are running, jumping, crawling under wire, jumping over a wall, running to cover, ducking, stuff like that. You doing what you can to survive.”
Jones said he believes McNulty will be ready for the Marines because of the conditions he has raced in at obstacle courses.
“He is going to be so physically ready for the Marines because of the training and the races, so he’ll get through his basics just fine,” Jones said. “The mental training is thinking that when all you want to do is quit, you just have to keep pushing through to get to the finish line.”