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John Penland is one of the emerging athletes on the Elite Obstacle Course Racing scene and the youngest member worldwide of the Spartan Pro roster.. John won the OCR Junior World Championship (15k) in 2017 as well as the 2017 U.S. OCR Junior Championships at both the 3k and 15k distances and is poised to be a fixture on the podium in OCR for years to come. Prior to focusing on obstacle racing, John played 11 years of club soccer and ran Track and Cross-Country for one season. This fall, John will attend Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado to study International Studies & Spanish (Class of 2022), and train to take his racing to the next level.
Spartan Pro Team
Mid (5-12 miles / 8k-20k) Long (12-18 miles / 20k-30k)
2018: 10 Spartan Elite Top 10s; 3 Top 5s; 3 Podiums
2018 North American OCR Championships Pro Team, Stratton, VT - 3rd Place
2018 Spartan World Championships Elite, Lake Tahoe - 19th Place
2017 Spartan Age Group Championships – 1st Place (Age Group 19 & under)
2017 OCR World Championships 15k – 1st place (Age Group 17 & Under)
2019 San Antonio Sprint - 3rd Sprint
2019 The Battle of San Antonio
Strength & Speed
John Penland, the future of OCR, joins Evan to talk about his training, what it's like being an elite athlete as well as a high school student and how he plans on taking things to the next level. He shares some major goals with us and who we should keep an eye out for in the future of OCR.
If you were to look into the future of OCR you are certain to find these fine young athletes in the thick of Elite Competition at the Spartan World Championships. The Cast of athletes we fondly refer to as “The Young Guns” are made up of Cali Schweikhart, Veejay Jones, James Nair and John Penland. Richard Diaz asks them hard hitting questions
My first race was the Abominable Snow Race outside of Chicago in 2016. I had recently watched Robert Killian and Cody Moat on NBC on Christmas Day battling in the 2015 Spartan World Championship and decided that obstacle racing looked to combine my love of fitness and my love of the outdoors. My dad and I got on the internet and found the next obstacle race in our area, and the Abominable Snow Race was it.
It’s fun. I like to see what I am capable of, and I enjoy the pain.
Anywhere up a mountain. Could we do a race up Pike’s Peak? I really enjoy mountain races like Killington & Tahoe. Generally, the tougher the venue is, the more I like it.
I plan to change to my middle name to “Danger." My parents were going to name me John Danger Penland, but chickened out at the last minute and named me for my uncle, Christopher. Sorry Uncle Chris 🙂
Robert Killian because of his grit. At the World's Toughest Mudder last year, he had already run 100 miles and had locked-up 2nd place. He did not need to run another lap, but it wasn’t a question for him. He went back out and ran another 5 mile lap after 22+ hours on the course because he could. That exemplifies grit and toughness.
Running, soccer, and weight-lifting. I was primarily a soccer player growing up, but in the summer before high school I really got into fitness - both running and weightlifting. That made my transition to OCR two years later much easier.