Sam Cherry: a Marine making waves – Winner of Dirty Dozen 19 October 2013


Sam Cherry: a Marine making waves – Winner of Dirty Dozen 19 October 2013

Currently serving with the Royal Marines, Sam Cherry is ‘one to watch’ amongst the obstacle racing elite. At only 20 he’s already made a big impact at some serious races, and indeed won our first Dirty Dozen London South in October.

How do you combine life in the Marines with serious obstacle racing?
“They are complementary, but each requires a different type of fitness. As you know Commandos do a lot of long treks carrying heavy packs, often 35 pounds. Running around an obstacle course is easy compared to that, believe me!
“We also do a lot of weights and upper body strength training in the Marines, all good for general fitness. What we do in the Marines is primarily focussed on stamina and endurance. I need to hone my running much more. I’ve started a conversation with the Marines’ hierarchy to ask whether I can work on an alternative type of fitness, one more suited to obstacle racing.”

Does the military support your OCR activity?
“The Marines are very keen to have top level athletes in all sorts of sports. Sometimes the army will sponsor people for a year, perhaps to become an olympic boxer, climber or explorer. There is talk of obstacle racing becoming an olympic sport at some point — although that may be some years away — and I’d like to be part of that.”

Who are the best runners around you? What are their qualities?
“Jonathan Albon, Ross Macdonald, Ross Phelan and Thomas Blanc spring to mind. Triathletes do well at obstacle racing in my view. There are many others, and I might not remember them now, but they know who they are.

How does the Dirty Dozen compare with other obstacle races?
Course-wise, the obstacles are very well-built. And they were tough, make no mistake. The way the event in October (2013) was second to none. The course was easy to follow. I’ve actually gone the wrong way several times at other races. I’m a trainer at RP Combat Conditioning and I’m bringing my whole class to next year’s event at Hop Farm in April.

Sam Cherry
Sam negotiating the ‘Sheep Dip’

We’ve actually started an obstacle course training group at RPCC. The way we run it is similar to some Marines training. We go out to Firehills (Hastings) and clamber over the rocks and through tunnels. There are a lot of heavy rocks to pick up and carry. It’s not unlike the commando endurance tests.

What are your own racing aims for 2014?
Next year’s aim is simply to win as many races as possible. This year I’d done very little training, yet I did OK. Next year, I will know what’s coming, and I am going to be prepared. I’m looking forward to the battles.

Sam Cherry Pull up - downSam Cherry Pull up - up
Sam working hard on his upper body strength

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