Is Jon Albon the UK’s Spartan Death Race Warrior?

By Rob Foulkes
on 30th May 2013

On June 21st Spartan Race will create a 48hr+ event entitled the ‘Death Race’ which is held in Pittsfield Vermont, US. With 90% of people not making it through this is the ultimate obstacle race with swimming, mud, hours of wood chopping and anything extreme.

Competitors will not be told about the event before hand with obstacles kept a secret. This is a special race clearly, and we have managed to speak to the UK entrant Jonathan Albon who won the Spartan Beast last year in Birmingham.

Is he mad? Is he brave? Is he our UK Spartan Warrior carrying the flag for us Brits? We’ll let you decide!

But before we do check out the video below!

Tell us a bit about how you got into Obstacle Racing and when your first race was?

I read a small article about competitors taking part in the tough guy challenge, at the time I thought to myself I would love to do something like that. The next year I found out a friend had done it. So that was it, I signed up and completed.  About a year later I entered a new challenge called the Wolf Run which I won, with this success I entered another and another until there was always a race around the corner to train for.

Tough guy challenge was possibly the coldest I have ever been in a race. The race went well I think and I started way back in the field at 1500 but managed to finish a respectful 76th. Most of the gains I made were on the running section, I actually lost places once we hit the obstacles in the second half.

What made you go for the Death Race?

Last year (in one weekend) I won the Mens Health Survival of the Fittest 10km day race, the Mens Health Survival of the Fittest 5km Night Run and the next day the Spartan Beast Race which is 20km. For winning the beast I won entry into the Death Race and the flights to take me over there.

I am not one to turn down a challenge so yes was always going to be the answer to whether I would go!

Are you scared?

I go through periods of being scared and not. Lately I have come to the realisation that ‘what will be will be…’ I will give 100% and will find out whether this will be enough. As long as I have given everything when/if I quit I will be happy.

Have you thought about the World Toughest Mudder?

I would love to compete in the World’s Toughest Mudder.  I think this event would suit me better than the death race. I would have an idea of the challenge and be able to formulate a plan to suit, as well as pace myself accordingly.

What’s your usual weekly training regime?

My training is by no means regimented, I have never had a coach or specific training plan to stick to.  I try and do as much as possible and generally enjoy working out more than going out and drinking etc. Having a full time job means most of my training is done during the evenings and at the weekends. It mainly consists of attending BMF sessions and running/cycling.

During the last 8 months I have started to use Strava to log my exercise. This has helped motivate me further and added another dimension to my training. (To view my account or follow me see link: http://app.strava.com/athletes/437111)

Jonathan competiting in the 24 hour On Trial event

Have you trained any differently for this?

T o be honest not really. I have joined a gym which isn’t like me but I have only been a handful of times trying to improve my strength.

Other than that just try and do as much as possible. I have tried to do some bouldering as well which hardens your hands as well as improving upper body strength. I participated in a 24 hour endurance event last weekend called ‘On Trial’ which has boosted my confidence and I learnt a lot from the other participants and the organisers. Karl Alsop one of the organisers competed in the Death Race last year who gave me some tips.

Lately I have entered so many events I have had less time to train however competing in events such as the London marathon (time achieved 2hr 43 min), Dirty weekend and On Trial have all been beneficial in one way or another.

How have you prepared for 24 hours plus of constant exercise? Do you get cramp?

Having now taken part in ‘On Trial’ where we were going for 29 and a half hours I found the time aspect not to be as much as an issue as I thought. I found myself working in a robotic state taking each challenge one at a time as if it was the first challenge of the event. Cramp wasn’t a problem either, this may have been due to me moving at a lesser speed than I am used to and keeping on top of hydration & salt levels etc.

What’s your plans for fuelling?

Eat as much as I can as often as possible (without going overboard). I felt nutrition and hydration I had at ‘On trial’ worked well… I ate beef jerkey, mixed nuts/fruit, energy bars, peanut M&M’s, jelly, peanut butter decanted into a bag and a couple of flapjack type bars. I drank mainly water or water with Nuun electrolyte tablets in.

Do you intend to sleep?

I will sleep if they tell me to.. if they don’t I won’t if I can help it.

What’s your position aim?

If I finish this race the happiness/sense of achievement I will feel will be phenomenal.

Have you had any info on the course at all or what to expect?

I need to undertake a lot more research about this year’s event before I leave. I am told the theme to this year’s race is gambling, but other than that chopping wood is normally a task… I really have no idea!

What’s your tips to get ready for these types of long events and improve endurance?

Train as much as possible…! I haven’t got any qualifications to advise people but if I feel really tired I think I am doing something right. When I feel tired I will keep on training when I feel that way, as it can only prepare me more for how I will feel during the event (within reason).

When you have done some exercise don’t reward yourself too much, just think it would be better if I did some more. The harder you train the easier the race is so the more you can enjoy it.

Do people think you’re a bit mad? On a mad rating of 1-10 with 10 being the most crazy where would you put yourself?

I think people think I am mad in some respects but you only live once and I am determined to find my limits of what I can do… To complete the Death Race I will definitely have to surpass these. I would leave it to others to judge how if/how mad I am. Entering into events has slowly become normal for me so I couldn’t judge.

What obstacles do you hate the most?

I hate being cold. So water obstacles are fine but the running afterwards when the wind chills get to you really affects me.