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Katja Christensen - Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real - Interview

Zaktualizowano: 30 gru 2020

Only in 2019 she won the gold medal at the OCR World Championships, 2 gold and 2 silver medals at the European OCR Championships. All in the Pro / Elite category. This modest and friendly Dane dominated European OCR. The real champion. Interview with her was my dream... so here it is a record of a conversation with the absolute champion of women's OCR in 2019. Ladies and gentlemen, before you - Katja Christensen.

- Hi Katja.

- Hi Jacek.

- Thank you very much that you've agreed for this interview :) Your fans will be very happy 😊

- Of course! Anything for the fans <3

- Let’s start from… your eye, what happened? Is everything OK now?

- It all started with I was seeing waves on in my sight on the right eye. So I went to an eye doctor one day. I didn’t think it was bad, but maybe something they could fix easily. I was bad. Really bad. The doctor told me to cancel everything because I needed to go to hospital immediately. So I was hospitalized urgently and got surgery the next morning. I had retinal detachment and without surgery I would lose my sight completely. It was a very complicated surgery but everything went well. The doctors think that it is humming from a trauma, maybe 6 years ago when I was brutally assault. (That’s a whole other story). Over time the small damage in the eye is getting more and more loose. Then the retinal detachment happens. My sight is getting better and better at the moment, but it will take up til 5 month before I will be able to see the full recover of it. It is almost 5 weeks since the surgery, and I’m slowly getting back to training (I was not allowed to do anything the first 4 weeks). I hope to be able to train more in few weeks. I’m staying positive – so I know everything will be all right 😊

- We keep finger crossed, for your very, very soon full recovery. O’right before we move to main questions, tell me what is your first thought when you hear Poland or Pole?

- I’m always thinking about the European Championship now! The big stadium and the beautiful area In Gdynia. In Poland I had one of the best weekends in my life. Before that I did not know much about Poland except that you have a popular beer called Piwo.

- Do you know any names of polish ocr athletes male and female ?

- Yes; Jakub Zawistowski, Rafal Kasza, Malgorzata Szaruga, Kacper Kakol and yourself Jacek 😉

- Good, warm-up is done :) I need to start the first set of questions, of course, about OCR EC in Gdynia 2019. Tell us, how do you remember it, what was your general impression?

- It was one of the best events I have participated in. Not just because I did it well, but the whole set up was so cool and mindblowing. I loved it. The big stadium was so cool and the weather was amazing. The atmosphere was just so amazing. Loved it!

- What was really, really super and should be part of other big events like Euro or World Champs in your opinion? (if there was anything worth to spread around the world ;))

- The weather 😉 The amazing obstacles and lots of them, The speakers and the stadium setup 😊

- In my opinion you are absolute winner, even dominator of this event. Four starts, four medals: short – silver, standard – gold, ninja – gold, team – silver. Which of these medals has the biggest value for you (you need to pick one, I don’t accept answer all of them 😊) ?

- The main course! (standard) It have been a BIG dream since I won my age group back in 2016. That time I didn’t thought it would be possible to win the Pro but I learned one important thing on my journey. Everything is possible! It is not easy, but put the time in it, put the work in it and you will get it.

- And which start was the hardest one for you?.

- Ninja was very tough because I was soooo tired and smashed from the 3 other races. But the hardest race certainly was the Main course. To me the obstacle was not that hard and my arms was still good at the last obstacle. BUT my legs. My legs died. I was only halfway when I got cramps. I was so happy every time I got to an obstacle where I could use my arms instead of my legs, so they could rest. I started to use a song in my head to keep pushing on “there is no pain, there is no pain, there is no pain”. That helped me 😉

- Ok, now let's go to something more serious - Danish OCR. How does it look now and how 5 years ago? To give you some background, in Poland in 2018 we had 2 or even 3 events called as National OCR Championships. Did you also had such issues?

- There are more organizers now and they are doing a really good job. Actually, I became an organizer myself last year with my own race called Tough Trails. In Denmark we are very good to cooperate, so we only have one National Championship. The organizers want to help and lift each other which I’m really happy about.

- How this happened that Denmark, which is relatively small country, is so good in OCR? You have collected 4 gold medals on EC 2019? in total 7. It's a knockout for other countries. It's matter of …? natural skills or money or infrastructure?

- Some of my biggest competitors is from Denmark. I think we are really good to push each other because everyone of us wants to be number one. You need to keep up even if you just win in Denmark. The only natural skills I believe in is the ability to work hard.

- I have questions about prizes in Danish OCR? Are prizes for men and women equal or rather proportional to how many men and women start? By the way what are sex proportions in Danish Elite athletes?

- The prizes is equal. I think if you do it different people will be very angry. I think it is around 65 % men and 35 % women but depends on the race. You can win between 2.500 and 10.000 DKK (350 -1.500 $)for the victory.

- Talking about Danish OCR events, which of them do you recommend, let's say that I'm able to run in only one, which should I choose?

- My race 😉 Kidding. I really do love Reborn. They have the best races in Denmark.

- You've mentioned your race called “Tough Trails”, tell us more about it, why did you decided to organize it, how is it different from other races in Denmark?

- It has been a dream for many years to make a race. I’m form north Denmark. We do not have many races here. Actually we don’t have OCR events at all. So.. I wanted to create it for my area. We are making some whole new type of obstacles and I have racers to help me create the event (so it’s basically created as the racers want it).

- Events aren't existing without athletes, you have many great Danish OCR stars, any recommendation who is worth to follow on Instagram or Facebook?

- Yea! @Ulrikke_Evensen; She is one of my biggest competitor, but we are at the same time really good friends. Go follow @fuckslankekuren: I have been training her some time now, I’m calling her my old racehorse. She is really funny and a great athlete. You should also check my new (young racehorse) out @freja_heuckendorff. People says that she reminds them of me. She is only 18 years old and my goal is to make her even better than me.

- O'right, set of questions about OCR in Denmark is beyond us, now it will be more personal :) Are you ok with this?

- Of course 😊

- Can you tell us how it all started in your case with OCR? What did you do before you started running in OCR and why are you doing OCR at all? :)

- Remember the assault I short mentioned? I was lucky that I have the ability to fight back and I escaped the man. But.. The time after was very hard and I broke down completely. Training help me back on track again. Before the assault I was strength training and I got slowly back at it. Then I started with crossfit. Almost a year after the assault I tried out an OCR. I didn’t know anything about it that time (2014). I loved it. Not only was it fun, but the feeling it gave me was so helpful to in my process about getting my life back. It made me feel like I could do anything. A wall couldn’t stop me. Monkeybars, heavy rocks NOTHING couldn’t stop me. So why let anything else stop me. That day I truly started to conquer my life back.

- What an inspiring story, thank you for sharing it. You've come a long way, can we call you now a professional OCR athlete? In the sense that you make money for a living from OCR?.

- I am making money on it. Prize money and sponsorships. But I am also a personal trainer and OCR organizer. But everything I do is about OCR. The bigger the sport gets the bigger the sponsorships gets.

- Will you reveal how your preparation for the season looks like, how many strength training a week, how many technical, grip, obstacles? and how many kilometers do you run?

- Around 5 days with strength or crossfit

- Around 65 km at week

- Around 3 days with grips specific training

- Any special diet?

- I just try to get enough food and lots of protein. I’m trying to get more protein from vegetables

- Do you allow yourself some small sins like beer in the evening, pizza once a week?

- YES! If I want an ice cream I’ll eat that ice cream without even thinking about it.

- In Poland we have a very fast growing popularity of Ninja Warrior style races, so I would like to ask what do you think about such races? What do you prefer: short OCR or Ninja and why?

- That’s a hard question. I love both. I have done more and more ninja stuff my self and I would actually like to do more of it.

- Have you tried your chances in Ninja Warrior TV show? How it went?

- Yes in the beginning of my OCR carrier I participated in Ninja Warrior Team. It went okay, it was back in 2016.

- Ok, great, just for the end a few very short questions.

- Personal best on 5 km?

- My best 5 km is when I was doing a 10 km – 20:29 min

- Best 10 km is 41:19

- How many pull-ups in one series?

- 22 strict

- Your OCR dream?

- I already achieved my dream by getting European and world champion titels. Now I want to inspire other people around the world.

- Your not OCR dream?

- The not OCR dream must be to make my own business bigger and bigger, and then get a big house and have my own family.

- Your motto?

- Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real

- Katja, Thank you so much for this interview, I’m so happy that you have found time for answering to so many questions and let’s hope that soon we will meet at race in Poland, as we did in 2019 on Barbarian Race. One more time let me wish you, and I’m also sure that on behalf of whole Polish OCR society, full recovery and fast comeback to training and racing and additionally that Tough Trails will become the biggest and the best OCR event in Denmark.

-Thank you too and best regards to all OCR fans.


All photos are from Katja's Instagram:

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