Ricardo Rebelo

Obstacle course racing athlete

Last year Ricardo Rebelo visited the OCT South obstacle course training centre in Johannesburg and decided this was something he had to try. “The idea of testing my mental and physical fitness and equipping myself to overcome obstacles in life was very alluring,” he recalls. Rebelo was a quick learner. Shortly thereafter he qualified for the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Championships, which took place in Canada in October. Rebelo finished in a time of 30:04:30 in the 3km sprint, placing him 18th in his age category. He was placed 81st out of 126 in the main 15km event for men aged 18 to 24.

Rebelo was in matric at the time, and prepared for his final examinations while travelling (he passed successfully). He has finished in the top five in all the races in The Toyota Warriors series this year. The Warrior Race is South Africa’s largest obstacle course race series, and in his last race Rebelo attained a second overall place and a first place in his age group, putting him second in the series so far.

Rebelo works part time at the OCT South centre, devoting the rest of his time to competing and training. He runs five days a week, goes to gym three times a week, and trains obstacles twice a week. Rebelo’s races generally span a 10km distance featuring about 22 obstacles. “The trail running tests my endurance and the obstacles my upper body,” he explains. He is currently trying to improve and attain more podiums in preparation for the 2017 OCR World Championships for which he has qualified.

Rebelo credits OCR with strengthening his character: “Each race I participate in, takes me on a new adventure. I get to challenge my body with the physical obstacles, and challenge my mind with the mental obstacles I am overcoming.” In fact, he would like to see it become part of the South African school curriculum. “We often get thrown curveballs in life — how we deal with it is how it matters,” he says. “OCR has opened a new world for me — a world where it doesn’t matter how big the obstacle is, I can, with hard work overcome it. I hope many more young people will have this opportunity.”

— Fatima Asmal

Facebook: facebook.com/RicardoSAOCR