As Spartan Race continues to grow, we are excited to announce the arrival of another new Pro Team member, Orla Walsh. Never actually believing she would be rubbing shoulders with established names like Amelia Boone and Rose Wetzell-Sinnett, Orla is a racer to be taken very seriously. A remarkable achievement when one considers the past year is her first in OCR.
Of the signing onto the Pro Team she said, “To be on the Pro Team can mean many different things to a variety of people. Soon after I started OCR – less than a year ago – I figured out who was who and what athletes were on the Pro Team. I never thought my name would be on the team roster. In the past year I decided to commit my training and workouts towards OCR. The hard work and dedication I have put in the last year is being slowly showcased in my performances in the races I have competed in.”
“Being a part of the Pro Team makes me want to work harder, train harder, be stronger. I feel so honored to be a part of an amazing group of athletes and hope to continue to grow as an athlete. Making the Pro Team is surely an honor and I will work hard to prove to the team, to Spartan, and all the obstacle racers out there I belong on the team for a long time.”
But she’s not assuming that she’s “made it.” Like a true professional, she’s taking this as a reason to step up the training and not rest on her laurels. With her training background one of being a sprinter, she’s adapting her training, looking at nutrition, adding weights and transitioning her skills into Spartan Races.
Bringing this skill set with her to the races has helped Orla podium at a 50% success rate. This incredible stat of landing a podium position in at least one of every two races she puts down to her strengths at short Sprints.
“I believe my strengths are the short sprints, downhill running and I am pretty quick on the obstacles. To be honest, I am still learning techniques to get over obstacles quicker, but that will come with time. I couldn’t even climb a rope or do Monkey Bars my first race! My weaknesses are definitely hills and long endurance as I have a 5k background. Even fueling and hydrating during races is all fairly new to me. It has been a great education learning about all these training additions I was never aware of as a short distance runner! I am willing to push myself and get the miles under me I need to race in the future.”
Looking ahead, Orla is hoping to strike up some banter and fun with the other female elites. While competition is clearly the most important factor, the bond of the team makes the whole thing so much more fun. “I’d have to say we are all friendly rivalries!”, laughs the Vermont-born runner. “The women’s elite is an amazing group of talented and super athletic women! Not too long ago, I never thought I would be able to run and hang with these women. I may not be in the lead yet, but I am closing the gap between us.”
What advice does she have for those starting out in Spartan Race? To not listen to the word “quit.”
“For newbies out there…DONT GIVE UP! I went out for my first race with my friends, I had no idea how to climb a rope, monkey bars or rings. I did my 90 Burpees and vowed I would hit the gym and learn how to conquer them. Be strong mentally, love what you are doing, train for the goals you set in front of you. You can achieve your dreams and goals by believing in yourself and getting after it!”
We are excited to have Orla Walsh on the Spartan Pro Team, keep your eyes on her, she’s making big moves and fast.
See you at the finish line, Orla!