Jon Albon Spartan Training

There's a lot of hype surrounding the upcoming Spartan Beast event, with many of the countries leading obstacle course racers planning to go head to head. Over the next few weeks, in our series of "Contender" articles, we'll be catching up with all of the elite racers who are setting their sites on the top three places.

First up we have one of the most successful obstacle course racers in the UK; Jonathan Albon. Considering how impressive his trophy cabinet is, Jonathan is an extremely down to earth guy. He's definitely not your typical 21st century athlete. After a recent Spartan Training camp, when everyone else was filling up on protein shakes and chicken, Jonathan was offering around a tube of Pringles and biscuits. Then on the way over to the notorious Spartan Death Race, he posted a picture of his dinner of burger and chips. 😀 You've got to love his no-nonsense approach and it's clearly working out well for him...

Name: Jonathan Albon

Age: 24

Height: 179cm (5'10")

Weight: 65kg (10.2 stone)

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Occupation: Building Surveyor

Home town: Great Dunmow, Essex

On a scale of 1 to 10, how competitive would you say you are? 8

Hardest challenge to date: Spartan Death Race

Trophy cabinet:

2013
Red Bull Steeplechase - 2nd
Warrior Adrenaline Race – 1st
TelemarkHelten / HelteLøpet (running) - 1st
The Nuts Challenge (Summer) - 1st
Viking Race - 1st
Spartan Death Race - DNF
On Trial - Finisher
Rat Race Dirty Weekend - 1st
Virgin London Marathon - 282nd
Major Series South - 2nd
The Nuts Challenge (Winter) - DNF
TelemarkHelten / HelteRennet (cross-country skiing) - 9th

2012
Spartan Beast - 1st
Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest (London NIGHT) - 1st
Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest (London DAY) - 1st
The Major Series South - 1st
The London Duathlon - 17th
The Nuts Challenge (Summer) - 1st
The Grim Challenge - 1st
The Major Series South - 1st

2011
Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest (London) - 8th
Spartan Sprint - 2nd
The Wolf Run - 1st

2010
Tough Guy - 76th

Jonathan Albon at NutsJonathan making the Nuts Challenge course look easy (Photo: Joanne Wadsworth)

What other sports were you into before you discovered obstacle racing?

Skater Hockey, Running, Cycling, Orienteering, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Cross-Country Skiing & Surfing.

Have you always strived so hard to win?

Yes… I have always strived to be the best I can be but training is more a way of life for me than just something I do to win.

Getting second at Red Bull Steeple Chase this weekend was a great result. How was it competing against all those hardcore fell runners?

Really fun, The Peak District was beautiful and Red Bull really knows how to do a post race feast.

Jon Albon Redbul SteeplechaseJonathan at the Red Bull Steeple Chase (read about his experiences here)

There’s no doubt that you are emerging as a one of the front runners in the growing obstacle racing scene, how does it feel to be considered one of the best in the country at what you do?

It’s great… but I am fully aware that with OCR growing as a sport there will soon be athletes much better than I competing, especially with prizes becoming bigger.

What’s your typical training schedule when you're preparing for an obstacle course race?

I make exercise a form of transport as well as trying to vary my activities as best I can, completing a variety of exercise and disciplines/sports.

You are the reigning Spartan Beast and Survival of the Fittest London champion. Are you confident that you can retain your titles this year?

I am feeling confident for The Beast. I haven’t competed in any Spartan races yet this season but this one is 25km and endurance is proving to be one of my best qualities.

I can see there being some fast runners at The Survival of the Fittest, this race often attracts a different kind of athlete, as well as some that wouldn't usually take part in OCRs… it wouldn't surprise me if we see someone new scaling the Wall of Fame first this year.

I will always give my all and whatever happens I'm glad these races aren't on the same weekend, as they were last year, and I'm and looking forward to them both.

Nuts tyre wallNo messin' over Nut's slippery tyre wall (Photo: Joanne Wadsworth)

Who do you think will be your biggest competition for both events?

Ross McDonald has had a cracking year with some extremely fast running times as well as a sub 10 hour Iron man. On the road I wouldn’t be able to touch him but OCR levels the playing field so we will see. Fortunately in previous meetings I have had the better of him but this is definitely likely to change soon. He was only two minutes behind me at the Dirty Weekend.

Thomas Blanc has had more practice at Spartan obstacles this year and I have never raced him before. It will be interesting to see how he fares at the longer distance (25km) Beast and whether he can complete his Spartan clean sweep.

I’m sure there will also be many other OC Racers that I haven’t met before going for the title so it should be a good race.

What has been your highlight of 2013 so far?

Running over Tower Bridge in the London Marathon stands out as a highlight.

I've had a lot of success racing this year but travelling to the USA to take part in the Spartan Death Race was wicked experience and one I would love to repeat next year.

Jonathan at the Spartan Death RaceJonathan doing his chores at On Trial.

Looking forward, what are your plans for 2014? 

So far I am only booked into The Fan Dance and Judgment Day, which is looking to be a wicked event. There is also a famous 80km ice skating race in Sweden I have got my eye on.

I think I may have to defend my title at The Dirty Weekend, as well as returning to the Red Bull Steeple Chase to try and better my second place.

I’d love to travel to the USA for the Spartan World Championships and to take part in The Worlds Toughest Mudder.

Aside from OCR I am also applying for a place in the Norsman Triathlon in Norway and will be keeping an eye out for a good 100km Ultra Marathon.

Nice one! Best of luck for your upcoming races.

Check out the Contender profiles for Ross Phelan, Ross Macdonald and Sam Cherry.

Top picture courtesy of Epic Action Imagery.

Stay tuned for more news , tips and info about obstacle course races and mud runs. Follow Mudstacle on: Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

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Mudstacle's Founder, Publisher, Editor and Chief Tea Maker. A complete obstacle race obsessive who'll be chest deep in mud most weekends of the year.

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