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Obstacle Course Racer Ben Pina: Pain and Recovery at 27


27-year-old Marine veteran Ben Pina trains two plus hours a day – sometimes more – for obstacle course racing. His full-time job is physically demanding – involving climbing ladders all day – and his body takes a beating. He’s focused, disciplined, and passionate – here’s his story in his own words.

I have always been active and fit – being in the Marines for four years fed this hobby. Once out of the Marines, I needed something new. My brother mentioned Spartan Racing to me – and I was off to the races in 2012. Nowadays, we have Olympic athletes who compete in OCR – but in my first race that wasn’t the case. Above average fitness would put you in a top spot. I was racing with a guy in an Army shirt and it was just good fun. Turns out he finished 11th – and I scored a 10th place finish in my first race. I was hooked.

Now in 2016, I was recently ranked 5th nationally for the BattleFrog OCR series. But I never would have tried BattleFrog without my girlfriend, Alexandra Walker – who’s currently ranked second in the world. Alex and I fell in love with the BattleFrog series because of the difficulty level offered. You’re lucky to finish an elite BattleFrog race with complete obstacle completion – it’s known as, “keeping your band.” The obstacles are much more trying, and involve skills that involve every part of your body. At the end of the day – whether you do good or bad – the community is always with you. The camaraderie is awesome.

When I was in the Marines, I dislocated my shoulder in a helicopter accident. And once you dislocate your shoulder, it tends to keep popping out. The injuries that dogged me the most during OCR were that shoulder, along with elbow pain and grip strength. That’s because I spend a lot of time hanging from overhead obstacles and swinging my full body weight.

Alex and I train and compete year-round with David Yarter at Power Park Fitness – and he introduced us to Play Again Now. My elbows and shoulder felt a lot better after we started taking Play Again Now – and I haven’t felt that way in a long time. Play Again Now is also taking care of the plantar fasciitis I developed when I started competing – and I really notice a big difference when I stop taking it. Sometimes when I’m hurting during a race – I barely notice it. It’s after the race and during training that injuries really bother me – and this is when Play Again Now plays a key role.

Bottom line: My goals are to keep building my points in the BattleFrog series – but the biggest event I’m preparing for is the OCR World Championship at Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario Canada this October. OCR athletes from Australia, Canada and all over the world come together to compete. Last year I managed to finish around 50th. This year I aim to do better. Right now, Play Again Now is the one stable supplement in my regimen. I haven’t found anything else that has such a noticeable impact on my pain and recovery after races.

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