Interviewing Austrian flag-bearer of Winter Warrior Finland 2018

What is it about OCR that makes it so popular? And why would someone travel all the way to Lapland to run through ice and snow? Andreas Koch was one of the daring warriors of the first Winter Warrior Finland in April and he is traveling back next year to face the challenge again. We were curious to hear why, and asked him a few questions.

Austria flag-bearer Andreas
Austrian flag-bearer Andreas

A few words about you, how would you introduce yourself?

Basically, I am a person who always tries to challenge myself. Some years ago, I changed my life radically.
I have been a smoker for 20 years, and did nearly no sports the last 5 years . I studied 5 years beside a full time job, which was challenging as well, but all sports activities were left behind. After finishing my studies, I started with sports again, quit smoking and turned into a healthy lifestyle. Now I am 38, and feel 10 years younger.
I like to do things which the mainstream does not. I like to to special things, like the OCRs and the certainly the Winter Warrior

What motivates you in OCR?

OCR keeps me focussing on a targets. I have to start training months in advance, and have to focus on in order to finish. On the one hand OCRs keep me in my health lifestyle and on the other hand I train my personal mind in focussing on targets, even when I am sometimes not motivated. In sum, it is a personalty thing for me … linked with fun and meeting new people. Finnish people have a singe word for that.. „sisu“. From its activity itself OCR is much more fun than a simple city-half-marathon.

How did you hear about Winter Warrior Finland and decided to fly to take part in the first race 2018?

I did the British Tough Guy Race for two times. On facebook I saw an announcement for the Winter Warrior .. „an OCR above the arctic circle“. This was so new… and different to the typical „mud-races“ – and I think that is the USP of Winter Warrior. Very quickly I was so excited about that … and a few days later I registered. In addition I always wanted to travel to the very north of Europe.

What was your experience like?

The best registration for a race I ever did. Excellent organization, warm-hearted people, fun… freshest air I ever breathed. I have been so impressed by the landscape. The race was tough but in the end I loved every step… „the cleanest OCR“ is an other experience
After the race I had the impression that a Winter Warrior – community has been established. Especially the events before and after the race makes it so special in comparison to other OCR events.

Last year you came alone but you are coming back next April with some friends. How did you talk them into it?

Yes I have been the first Austrian and I was proud of it for sure. I shard my experience with friend and I could convince my brother and a working colleague to join for 2019. Obviously my unfiltered experience convinced them, that they can not wait for it.

What would you say to someone who is considering to take part but a bit scared if they can do it?

I would say… just do it. Start training, get in touch with your „sisu“, and have fun with nice and open people in a breath-taking landscape. For sure, it will an experience you’ll never regret and forget …Do something special you will remember your rest of a life. Do not be scared, and think of the feeling at the moment you finish and becoming a Winter Warrior above the arctic circle.

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