Mikes Gym Marbella
A gym where you will challenge your personal limits


Maria Lång and Laura Summers are traveling to Spain to attend Mikes gym, a facility specially adapted for OCR (Obstacle Course Racing). They will take part in a training camp that will challenge them both mentally and physically. The ultimate test of their inner and outer strength.

Thursday: Two aircrafts, one from Sweden and one from England arrives at Malaga Airport on the 20th of January 2022. Maria Lång, a girl from Sweden, arrives on one of the planes. She works for a bank and has come to kick-start her training season. Her friend and exercise partner cancelled at the last minute but Maria was set to go. She is convinced that the camp would be a challenging experience and is eager to make new friends on site.

Laura Summers, a nurse specializing in plastic surgery, arrives from England. She is on her way to Mikes gym to regain energy escaping from the chaotic situation back home. Exercise is her greatest interest and she can not think of any better way to spend a vacation.

Michael “Mike” Ritchie, the gym owner who was born in England, picks them up at the airport. The transfer is included, it is camp policy to meet and greet the participants to give them a good start on their journey.

Upon arrival they first spot a swimming pool with a multitude of equipment above like ropes and rings used for various hanging exercises. Two dogs are barking and approach the new arrivals. The facility is much larger than expected and it is hard to imagine the vast course extending up and down the mountain. The gym is adapted for OCR, Obstacle Course Racing, and has been appointed as one of the best gyms in the world by Men’s Health Magazine.

Five girls have signed up for the camp and only two of them are previous acquaintances. They move into their assigned cabins and after they have settled it is time to get to know the course. Maria feels it is more of a workout than an introduction just walking through the obstacles and its terrain.

Later in the evening supper is served. All meals are prepared by Stacey Richmond. Laura finds the food both healthy and well balanced which suits her well, being exhausted after a long day.

After the dinner, it is time for some technical and grip training with Lukas ”Luke” Grön who just moved here from Sweden. The class is for getting an idea of the basics of OCR.

Friday: Like all the following days this morning starts with a mobility workout, to wake the body. Today is the class conducted by Christian Cardona who is originally from Colombia. After breakfast, the focus is directed to the upper part of the course. Laura, being an ultramarathon runner, has no problems with this type of terrain and she is virtually flying up and down the hills.


After a short water break, the group continues to the highest part of the course. Laura, who is afraid of heights, is challenged through this section but manages to overcome the highest obstacle aided by the coaches. She is greeted with applause and cheers from the group after her achievement.

A hike is scheduled after lunch. They are walking through a forest area and up a mountain. Laura’s fear of heights is not noticeable and she is the first to reach the top. Maria stays at the back of the group. She looks over the surrounding mountains and catches sight of a mountain goat in the far distance. It is a powerful sight and she draws the attention of the others by pointing it out.

When they return to the camp there is a discussion about the variation and scope of the facility. Everybody agrees that in this gym there is something for all levels of fitness. Even if your form is not great the coaches can adapt the course and teach techniques how to approach and overcome it.

Saturday: The participants awake with sore muscles and bruises. They are anxious for the next day when it is time to run the entire course. According to the coaches, the race will last between two and six hours. After a soft workout, the group sets out to explore the city of Marbella.

Sunday: The race is about to begin at 9.30 am. Laura and Maria beat their knuckles together. Mike starts them off and sees them disappear down the first hill. Mike and the other coaches are following behind. They split up between the participants to stay close to all of them. Both Laura and Maria start slowly as they have been instructed by Mike. It is essential to save energy and be able to endure the whole course.

When Laura approaches the problematic obstacle on the height she handles it rapidly and unaided. Luke lights up when he sees it and cheers her on.

Maria does her best and tries to overcome all obstacles. When you fail there are penalties, often burpees, and Maria does 225 of them during the race.

When Laura reaches the finish line after three and a half hours she is soaked from the obstacles overhanging the pool. She shows a red mark on her arm but still claims that she had a really good time.

At this point, Maria is still on the course trying to carry a wooden log of 20 kg up the last hill - an obstacle that did not worry her the previous day. She stops momentarily a few times and looks out over the mountains. After crossing the finish line, a little bit over four hours, she sits down by the pool holding on to her legs. She looks up, smiles and declare that she feels great.

Laura and Maria end their evening together with the other participants and the coaches.

They share a toast and exclaim:

– We didn't fuck about.


Mia Isaksson