In this article you will read quite a lot of questions and the same number of answers. This time my target is Dainius Liutkus, Lithuanian OCR athlete who made quite a lot of buzz in Polish OCR this year thanks to impressive series of wins in Runmageddon.
Przeszkodowo.pl: Hi Dainius :) First of all many thanks for sharing your time to answer some questions I’ve prepared for you.
Dainius: Hi Przeszkodowo.pl :) Thanks for inviting me to answer your questions. It is a very high appreciation for me to be interviewed by the media not from my homeland :)
P: Let me start with a short introduction why I’ve asked you for an interview (maybe not everybody heard about you yet :)). You made a lot of buzz by winning in the first four starts in Runmageddon this year !!! This was very impressive. However your adventure with polish OCR races has started a bit earlier, right? Do you remember what was your first start in Poland?
D: In fact, my first OCR race in Poland was on 18 November 2017, Runmageddon Pabianice. Lots of water, lots lots of water :) I ran in third place until the finish, but I was too tired and too weak to overcome the last multirig obstacle, DNF.
Before the successful 2021, I had already participated in 4 Runmageddon (2 DNF), 1 Hero run (1 place), 1 Barbarian race (DNF)
P: Since we are talking about the beginnings, before this first race in Poland, did you know any Polish athletes?
D: Before the first competition in 2017, I did not know of any Polish or world OCR athlete. I was new in OCR :)
But before 2021 Runmageddon Wroclaw Classic, where I took first place, I already knew and followed on social networks Grzegorz Szczechla, Marcel Fabian, Tomasz Oślizło and Runmageddon star Mateusz Krawiecki.
I remember standing at the starting line next to OCR European Champion Tomasz and Mateusz, the photographers were taking pictures of them, and I thought I would do my best to know me as a good OCR athlete and a serious opponent. That was my motivation. I think I did it :)
P: What were the biggest surprises / differences between OCR here in Poland and those in Lithuania, your homeland ? Feel free to say both positives and negatives ;)
D: First of all, the obstacles in Poland are much harder than in Lithuania. Second of all, you have mountains. Lithuania is a land of plains. Third of all, you have a winter competition. And of course the mass, you have a lot more participants in the competition.
P: As we mentioned Lithuanian OCR, please say more about what races you have, what kind of (more mud or more technical obstacles)?
D: In Lithuania we have only 5 races in 2022. One of them is a mud run with a few easy obstacles. Other are poorly organized competition with easy obstacles. “OCR Lietuva” is a new race with semi-difficult obstacles. Most of the participants are in the “ALFA RUN” race (there were 3,000 participants in 2021), but their obstacles are adapted to the majority of participants - easy obstacles.
In 2023 our team "OCR Baltic Warriors" (I am co-funder) will organize 2 OCR races in Lithuania, we will try to ensure that these races will be of high quality and that the participants come from other countries.
P: Now, without any modesty, praise your titles and successes you have achieved.
D: D: I don't like to talk big about myself, but I will try :)
In total, I participated in 93 OCR competitions.
34 times- 1st places
9 times - 2nd places
3 times - 3rd places
The biggest win is second place AG 30-34 in the 2019 OCR World Championships (London).
Spartan trifecta World championship (Sparta) 1-st place in sprint and super distances ag 30-34.
Multiple time Spartan Beast, super and sprint age group winner.
5 x Runmageddon 1-st place, one time second place.
4x Alfa run 1-st place (Lithuania)
Barbarian race 2-nd place.
P: Coming back to Polish OCR, besides Runmageddon you have run also in Barbarian Race (different obstacles, different rules). Let me ask about your opinion, feelings - which race do you like more and why?
D: I took part in four Barbarian race: 2020 Wisła - 8th place; 2021 Wisła DNF; 2021 Ustroń -2nd place (first was Tomasz Oślizło); 2022 Ustroń - 6th place.
I like them both. But I feel better at Runmageddon. In Runmageddon I can push myself harder in the run because I know I will be able to repeat the obstacle in case of a failure. There are usually no mountains on the Runmageddon trails (mountains are not my strength).
The one-attempt rule in the Barbarian race creates psychological pressure not to make mistakes.
P: And I must ask about the last result - 6th place was in your opinion great, good, not enough. I’m asking because I feel you are a warrior and always when you stay on the start line you want to win, am I correct?
D: You are correct! I am a warrior, I always come to win. 6th place is bad for me. But on the other side it was a place that I deserved that day. When I climbed the mountain and started running downhill, I felt like my legs were not like my own. At the bottom of the hill on the lowrig obstacle my legs feel cramps. I was very surprised. Although it was not easy, I decided not to fight for the top places anymore. My new goal was to overcome obstacles. I slowed down and ran at a comfortable speed. So taking sixth place at a comfortable speed is good. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't :) I will come back to Barbarian Race and win this race.
P: If someone wants to be a top OCR athlete, he must be a very good runner, for this a lot of running training is required, will you share how do you train?
D: You're right. It is impossible to win a race if you run like a snail :)
Let’s talk about my running workout week. I usually run 6 times a week. I have two or three hard workouts, the other workouts are easy runs. I run 50-70km a week (220- 300km in month) depending on the preparation cycle.
P: As it’s clearly visible that running is your strong side I’m curious about your personal best for 5km, 10km, and maybe half marathon or even full? What do you prefer shorter or longer distances?
D: Running was not always my strong point. In 2017 when I started getting seriously involved in OCR I ran a lot worse. Realizing that this was my weakness, I started working on it.
My PB 5km- 16:41; 10km-34:31. Official marathon and half marathon last time I ran was in 2004, so it's not a good records :)
I prefer shorter distances because mostly OCR races are 5-15 km.
P: It was about running, now about obstacles. How often do you train them and how hard was to learn Polish obstacles (which was the hardest for you?)
D: I divide it into strength training and techniques. I do two strength workouts and one technique a week. The strength training base consists of pull-ups and core workouts.
Before taking part in an unknown, new competition, I did my homework. I'm looking for information on youtube or the internet. I analyze what techniques other athletes use to overcome obstacle. And I wonder if this technique is good or not for me.
My hardest obstacle was wariat :) Now I have 3 different techniques to overcome it. Few of my team members make wariat in their home yard, so lot time of training and now this obstacle is easy for me :)
P: As OCR is still a very young sport, for sure you had trained something else before. What was that, for how long long and with what results?
D: I was a professional football player. Member of youth nation teams. Futsal Lithuanian champion. I trained football from 8 years old, and stopped playing football in 2018 then I started preparing for the OCR European championship in Denmark.
OCR is a perfect sport for me, because you have to be a universal soldier. Be fast, strong coordinated, carry heavy weights.
P: You and your team OCR Baltic Warriors are very often in Poland this year, it requires a lot of travel, I wonder how do you manage it? By car, by plane, how do you handle this?
D: We always traveling to Poland by car. We can reach any side of Poland in 10 hours. And it’s faster and cheaper than flying a plane. If we arrive by plane, we should still rent a car. You have good roads :)
P: As we speak about travels - how did you enjoy the European Championships in Italy?
D: As for the mountains and rivers of Italy, it was impressive. As for the organization of the championship, it was very poor. Runmageddon and Barbarian race are much better organized than the European championship in Italy.
P: Championships are over, for many it was the main goal of this season, so what next? What are your plans for the second half of 2022, except winning the Runmageddon Super League, right?
D: I’m still hungry for victories, because I couldn’t show my best at the European Championships. Six hours before the start, I got a stomach virus, I felt very bad. What I showed in Italy was just my shadow.
I still don’t know if I will be able to go to the OCR World championship in the USA.
If I can’t travel to the USA, then the Spartan Trifecta Championship in Greece.
And of course winning the Runmageddon super League is the main goal!
P: I’ll keep my finger crossed, so your goals and dreams will come true. Good to have you and your team in Polish OCR, you have given a little “fresh blood” and extra pressure for our athletes. Thank you Dainius for your time. It was a real pleasure to talk with you. I assume that we will see each other next Sunday (or maybe Saturday also?) during Runmageddon Silesia. I feel it will be a spectacular “fight” between Marcel Fabian, Tomasz Oślizło and you (we will see who else will join this battle).
D: Thanks for the interview.
I will definitely run in Runmageddon this Saturday and Sunday, see you before the finish line. Your live video in Runmageddon facebook is my motivation to be first, because it’s very useful to have video of how I overcome obstacles and where I can be faster :)
I am waiting for this fight between me, Tomasz and Marcel.
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