Lindsay Webster came out of nowhere placing 4th at the 2014 Spartan Race World Championship in her first competitive OCR and following-up with two consecutive victories in the first two BattleFrog races of the 2015 season. Similarly to her fiancé Ryan Atkins, Lindsay has a strong background in a variety of endurance sports before stepping up to the big stage, recently placing 3rd female in the Canadian Cross Country Championships (individual). We sat down with Lindsay to gain some insight into her past, her breakout performance at the Spartan World Champs and to see what she has planned for the future.
What is your athletic background?
I’ve been involved in athletics and racing for as long as I can remember. Until highschool I competed in figure skating, and then switched to cross country skiing. Unfortunately when I started University, my school didn’t have a ski team, but I took a few years off competitive racing and ran with my university cross-country running team. I would still compete recreationally occasionally, and discovered my love for trail and mountain running, as well as endurance races. After graduation I fell in love with mountain biking and raced the Canadian mountain bike circuit competitively for a few years. This year I’ll be concentrating on OCR!
How did it feel to battle it out for 3rd place at the 2014 Spartan Race World Championships with April Dee?
The 2014 Spartan World Champs were my introduction and what made me fall in love with OCR! Up until that point, I’d only done a few short OCR runs with friends. Admitedly, I had no idea how the sport had developed to involve such a high calliber of athletes. I went into the race hoping for a top-ten finish, but was completely unprepared for how incredibly fit the girls I was racing were, and what a challenge I was in for. Athletically, it was the hardest thing I’d ever done. My competitive drive was what made me fight for that top-five finish and my battle for 3rd with April pulled me through to the finish.
What did you think about the level of competition among females?
Right from the start, I was blown away by the high caliber of athletic fitness that those elite girls brought to the table. I remember running much faster off the start than I had expected and thinking, “don’t worry Lindsay, they’ll settle in and slow down after a few kilometres.” They never did!
How many burpees did you do that day?
I’m estimating about 300! I was prepared for the running and endurance portions of that race, having just finished my mountain bike race season and being in the middle of my cross-country running season at college. On the down side, I had done absolutely no upper body conditioning. I had also only had about two hours of sleep the night before, and was averaging about four hours of sleep a night the rest of the time from trying to juggle working full time, a full time course load at college, and training/athletics. I was really run down. My entire body started cramping about halfway through that race from being unaccustomed to the physical challenges of the obstacles, and I just had to push through it.
Did you notice anything strange about April’s “burpees”?
I don’t think that anyone’s burpees will be perfect four hours into a race that grueling, but I did call her out a few times on the fact that her feet didn’t look like they were leaving the ground. I didn’t get a response out of her. As far as Spartan Race goes, at any other world class event, whether it’s in cross-country skiing or ping-pong, there are set rules for what compeditors can and can’t do, and officials are extremely adamant about making sure the athletes follow those rules. If they don’t, the consequences are severe. I think if Spartan is going to call their event a “world championship”, they need to ensure that the rules they set are followed so that issues like this aren’t brought up and questioned down the road.
What are your race plans for 2015?
OCR’s! Lots of them! My long-term goal is to make a name for myself in the sport and become heavily involved in it. I really love it, and want to represent Canada as a female ambassador for OCR. Short-term goals are to compete and podium in at least four BattleFrog events, so that I can participate in their Championship series this season. I’m also training like crazy towards a top-three finish at Spartan and OCR World’s!
What did your training consist of in 2014 and how has it changed as you now focus on OCR?
In 2014 my training was focused around mountain biking. Mountain bikers do very little upper body training since that muscle is just more weight to carry around on the bike. Needless to say, after jumping into competing at Spartan Worlds last year, I’ve never been more stiff in my life! I still bike as cross training, but most of my training now includes running and several strength workouts a week. I also love rock climbing as it’s a great fun way to build my grip strength.
I do still work in marketing for Mud Hero! I’m looking forward to the event season since I’ll be able to run the course and practice obstacles after the work day is over.
How often do you train with Ryan and what kind of workouts do you do together?
Ryan and I actually don’t train together as often anymore, since I’m usually out of the house during the day. He’s great at giving me ideas for workouts though, and right now he’s helping me work on my forefoot running. Lately when I head out for a run, he’s been riding along beside me on his bike and critiquing my technique. We usually get to train together on weekends with our two previous roommates, Kelsey and Matt. We’ll go rock climbing together, or for long bike rides and runs. I’m usually completely gassed after from trying to keep up to them from hours on end, but it’s a great way to push myself and have fun while doing it!
Photo Credit: Cover: Jon Hart, Tough Mudder: Ashley Wiley, Last: Battle Frog