Date of Birth: 9/24/1988
Born: Woodstock, Vermont
Lives: Cape Cod, Massachusettes
Short Distance (1-6 miles)
Mid Distance (6-12 miles)
Ryan is one half of the most talented sibling pair in Obstacle Racing. Along with his brother, Matt, they make-up the force known as the Kempson Brothers. Ryan comes from a strong sports background in Football and Lacrosse in high school and Basketball at Plymouth State University, and currently serves as a coach for athletes across several sports. After starting to make a run at the Elite ranks of OCR in 2015, Ryan suffered a torn labrum and was out for 2016. He returned to competitive racing in 2017, locking-in 4th in Spartan's U.S. Elite Points Series, and proving that he is ready to take his racing to the next level in 2018.
What was your first obstacle race and why did you do it?
My introduction to OCR was through my brother Matt at a UConn Team Adventure Race in 2012. It inspired me to do a few Spartan races for fun. It wasn’t until late in 2014 that I entered the Elite ranks, joining my brother at the Boston NBC Race.
What drives you to compete?
I grew up with a desire to compete, whether it be in sports or carrying the most groceries into the house. I had surgery in 2015 and needed to table competitive racing until I had fully recovered and could put time into training. When I returned in 2017, I wanted to prove I could race at an even higher level. Athletic competition brings out the best people and I never want look back on my life and wonder what I could have accomplished.
If you could run a World Championship obstacle race anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I grew up just 10 miles from Killington Ski Resort in Vermont and I don't think there is a better place for a World Championship than in the state of Vermont. The mountain has such a great mix of terrain, natural obstacles, weather patterns and ability to challenge the grit of an athlete. And, although Killington is rugged, it's also lush and welcoming.
What interesting fact do most fans of OCR not know about you?
I generally only run 15-25 miles a week and prefer to build my fitness through a variety of other sports.
Who is one of the OCR athletes you admire most and why?
My brother, Matt Kempson. He motivated me to compete in OCR. Watching him consistently contend in an endurance sport, without an endurance background is remarkable.
If you could design one workout that covers the most important skill areas in OCR, what would it look like?
Cut down a tree, lug it to the house, split the wood and stack it. The endurance required for OCR goes beyond the cardiovascular; it demands mental toughness to endure discomfort for extended periods of time. Manual labor is the best teaching tool.
If you hadn't found OCR, in what sport(s) would you be competing?
An action sport that keeps my adrenaline pumping.
What advice do you have for people who want to get better in OCR?
Reach out for advice from a variety of resources. Develop a plan that is tailored to your needs and weaknesses.