Jon Albon Wins Spartan Beast in 21km of Hell for Many

2,500 runners brave the rain to complete the most brutal event.

By Rob Foulkes
on 11th November 2013

Torrential rain and high winds caused tough conditions at this weekend’s toughest Spartan Race event. The climax of the 2013 Spartan Race obstacle racing season, the cross-country endurance challenge is called “The Beast” because of its fearsome, military-style course, which forces competitors to conquer over 50 obstacles over 21km.

These included 50-foot-long ‘monkey bar’ straddles, 25-foot-high rope climbs, clambering through 20-foot-long, semi-submerged ditches and drainage tunnels, and the notoriously tough ‘Atlas Stone Lift’. Featured in the hit television series “The World’s Strongest Man”, the Atlas Stone is a spherical, solid-granite boulder weighing over 30 kilos. Spartan racers had to pick it up and carry it 20 meters, staggering across a boggy field at the end of a gruelling race.

The weather and conditions took its toll with 113 participants completing in less than 3 hours, 529 sub 4 hours, 726 sub 5 hours, 253 over 5 hours and 207 did not finish. Jon Albon was the only participant to finish under 2 hours at 1.58 hrs. Remarkably many competitors were finishing in the dark.

With £10,000 prize money up for grabs and £1,501 for first place, the Elite heat was won, in under two hours, by the fastest man, building surveyor Jonathan Albon, aged 24, from Great Dunmow, Essex. The fastest woman racer was Katie Keeble, aged 31, a nurse from Ipswich. She took 2hrs 40mins. Second placed male and female were Ross MacDonald and Hannah RossTatam. Third place male and female was Conor Hancock and Roxanne Ting.

Jon battles with the Atlas Carry
Jon battles with the Atlas Carry

Albon who travelled to the US earlier this year for the Spartan Death Race is arguably the most successful obstacle racers in the UK. He also won last year’s “Beast” and completed The Nuts Challenge 4 lap course this year in 2 hours 51mins – 40 minutes ahead of second place. Keeble was the fastest woman in the Spartan Super, a 14kms race in the West Midlands in September but is yet to be seen across other Obstacle Race events in the UK.

Among those taking part was British Army hero James Simpson, who has made UK sporting history as the first British double amputee to attempt a Spartan Race. James, 27, from Rawdon, near Leeds, tragically lost both his legs in a blast in Afghanistan but spent seven hours on the course before being forced to pull out.

James, who was running “The Beast” to raise money for the national Armed Forces charity SSAFA that supports injured Servicemen and their families, said: “I completed 10 kms of the course but the weather and the conditions were just too bad. It was not doable.

“It was way too boggy. I was sinking into the mud up to my waist, which really slowed me down. If we had kept going, it would have taken till four in the morning to complete the course and we were worried about the dropping temperatures after nightfall.”


Richard Lee, the UK Director of Spartan Race, said today:The high winds and torrential rain both the day before our event and on race day itself made staging this Spartan Race a substantial challenge. It also added an extra dimension for the racers. Overall, people had a fantastic time and experienced a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.”

The full review of the event will be up online shorly. Well done to everyone involved. Full results can be viewed here.

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