NEXT week marks a big obstacle in the life of Bega Valley woman Michelle Walker, an obstacle course that is.
The mother of four has gained a wild card entry in to Australia's premier obstacle racing event in South Australia.
The Obstacle Course Racing Association (OCRA) and True Grit-Military Inspired Obstacle Challenge are partnering together to hold the first ever Australian OCRA Championship race at Caudo Vineyards.
Walker said she was honoured to be selected to compete.
“As far as I am aware only 30 women and 90 men Australia-wide get the honour of running this race,” Walker said.
“I have been fortunate enough to have gained a wild card invitation,” she said.
Next week's event will be a stepping stone for Walker's next goal, the Australian national team.
“I have registered my interest in Team Australia,” Walker said.
“This is a team being created of four people from Australia to compete in Tough Mudder events around Australia.
“And then represent Australian Obstacle Racing in America at the World’s Toughest Mudder.
“It is a very gruelling 24-hour event and I would love to participate in this event either in this team or solo,” she said.
Preparing for these kind of events can be a gruelling challenge.
“The training for obstacle racing can be intense,” Walker said.
“You need to have an across the board training schedule.
“The events range from 5km to 42km in distance so I need to be prepared for everything.”
To ease the costs of travelling to compete, United Fitness Bega has given Walker a sponsorship and has been helping her train for the event.
“Shaun at United Fitness has really helped with tailoring a plan to maximise my training sessions and perform to the best of my ability,” Walker said.
“Shaun has given me so much support and help it is great that I can have not only a strong and focused trainer that has really put his faith in me through the sponsorship. “But I feel I have made a great friend that offers more than just training support.
“United Fitness is a team that is more like a family than just a training centre,” she said.
Walker said passing new challenges inspired her to keep going.
“It is the testing of my own strength and willpower that I love in these events.
“I love getting out there pushing myself to new limits, getting down and dirty and having fun all at the same time.
“Obstacle racing is an awesome and fulfilling sport to get into.
“I really encourage people to get out there, get dirty and give it a go.
“It is a very welcoming and supportive community that has no boundaries on the fun you can have,” she said.
Walker's first taste of the sport came after she signed on for a five kilometre event, the Warrior Dash in Sydney, last year with a friend.
Unfortunately her friend fell ill and she had to compete alone.
“At the first race, I was a little worried about how I would go doing it on my own,” Walker said.
“However, I found the atmosphere at the event was awesome, everyone was helpful and friendly
“If you needed a hand or a boost on an obstacle, nobody hesitated to help.
“The camaraderie within the group is inspiring,” she said.
The next event on the calendar for Walker will be to take her children to the Spartan Race event in Melbourne next month.
She wants to share her passion with her children, but also hopes to meet the ambassador for the event.
“The Commando off Biggest Loser is an ambassador and will be at that particular event, I'm so excited to hopefully meet him,” she said.
For more information on the sport visit www.obstaclerac-ers.com.au.