If I told you I was going to write an article on a group of people comprising predominantly middle class white men, I’m pretty sure you’d assume it wasn’t complimentary. Patriarchy! Glass ceiling! Sexism! Yes, those things all exist, and yes, a bunch of middle class white men are largely to blame for a lot of it. But this is about a rather different animal: the OCR man.
Your typical OCR man is a man’s man. He has a job, very often a wife and kids, and a circle of bloke mates that speak in lager and farts. That’s cool, so do lots of guys. The thing that sets the OCR man head and shoulders above the rest of mankind though, is their unfailing respect for their fellow runners.
Put simply; they’re the best.
It’s not often that you can put a man and a small-sized woman on a level playing field, and have the man gratefully accept a helping hand from the girl. It’s not often that you’ll have a guy put aside his need for speed and position to offer up a shoulder for other runners to step on, and believe me when I tell you it’s not common for a man to apologise for touching your bum. But this is an every day, nay-every minute occurrence in an OCR. And when you’re facing being catcalled, intimidated and feeling quite honestly preyed upon on a daily basis, this makes the atmosphere at races fairly alien, but relaxing. The promotion of a safe and inclusive space for female racers is something that’s very important, but rarely mentioned in OCR simply because – the blokes are already on the case. Never before have I stepped into male dominated environments with no need to have my guard up. It’s sort-of terrifying that this is the case in my ‘real world’, but fantastic that the sport already has the reputation for being welcoming to female competitors.
I have honestly met the most genuine, caring, kind, interesting and considerate men through OCR, and I know they would help me in a heartbeat. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have found this oasis of excellent chaps that have happily spilled into my friendship groups and daily life.
To put it bluntly – you want to meet a real man? Come do a race.