Siri Englund and Swedish obstacle racers in Cincinnati
Photo by Anna-Lee Markstedt O’Dwyer

Siri Englund went to America and won a world championship.  What sounds like a tale from some story book fantasy actually came to life for this young Swedish female.  As with all good stories, fate played a role. If not for a chance meeting in the airport with Swedish obstacle racer, Anna-Lee Markstedt O’Dwyer, this story would have remained a mere fantasy.  Yet Anna-Lee was able to convince Siri to make the trip to the United States – what turned out to be a trip of a lifetime.  Siri finally relented, packed her beloved Icebug racing shoes and away she went on her 15-hour voyage to the U.S.  She landed in America, where everything is bigger….trucks, buildings, and food portions. It was almost overwhelming for someone not accustomed to America’s seemingly desire for excess.   She absorbed the entire experience, including new-to-her foods like waffles and pancakes, celery, and bacon-flavored chocolate (even sneaking a little bacon chocolate back home for the Swedes to experience).  She also discovered what so many health-conscious American athletes encounter every time they eat away from home- an overabundance of refined grains and sugary food-like substances.  To complete the Cincinnati experience, Siri and friends visited the Cincinnati Reds Museum, where perhaps unbeknownst to them all, they gazed upon memorabilia of one of baseball history’s greatest teams ever assembled – the Big Red Machine.

Photo by OCRWC
Photo by OCRWC

Winning the OCR World Championships was not her plan.  This trip had a single purpose and that purpose was simply to gain experience on what promises to be one of the world’s biggest stages for OCR.  But on that fateful Saturday in October, as the Platinum Rig obstacle unmercifully continued to take out the competition, Siri suddenly found herself in the lead.  With running being one of her self-admitted weaknesses, the terrain gradually began to take it’s toll, forcing a grueling hike up those steep hills.  Yet, this was not a hiking contest. It was an obstacle race and on this day she was the obstacle master.  As she dropped to her knees at the finish line in a show of overwhelming emotion, the queen of obstacle racing, Amelia Boone, was there to place the well-earned medal around her neck.

As with all stories this one also had to end.  That pesky schoolwork was calling and Siri had to resume her studies of engineering and physics at the University of Umea.

Siri Englund went to America as a competitor, but with a tear in her eye she parted ways with all the kind and friendly people who had treated her so well and returned to Sweden as a nicer person (her words, not mine) and most importantly, with the memory of a lifetime. The End. Or is it?

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