The $1m trifecta challenge is the brainchild of Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena, who vowed to give away the prize if any OCR athlete wins all three Spartan World Championship races.
Jonathan Albon is the last man standing having already beaten off competition from thousands of other competitors to win the first two races of the series; the Spartan World Championship in North Lake Tahoe and the inaugural Spartan Trifecta World Championship, in Sparta, Greece. Now with the $1m on the line, the only thing standing between Albon and OCR history is the final gruelling 24-hour Ultra World Championship race, which takes place in Iceland on 8-9 December.
If he is to take home the prize, Albon will need to win the race and complete 100 miles within the 24-hour time limit. He will battle natural elements in the Land of Fire and Ice; a field of world-class athletes; and more than 60 unforgiving Spartan obstacles in what promises to be one of the most watched and anticipated OCR competition of the year.
How did you get into obstacle course racing?
I always took part in Skater Hockey, Ice Hockey but on wheels, when I was younger. When I stopped doing this, I turned to running to keep myself fit. It was in 2010 that I saw the first obstacle course race advertised and I decided to enter. Since then the sport has continued to grow and I’ve managed to stay ahead of the curve.
What’s the hardest event you have done?
To be honest it’s difficult to say which is the hardest race that I’ve ever done. It comes down to how much you push yourself on the day. Personally, I’ve pushed myself in so many events that it’s tricky to choose which one has been the hardest.
What advice would you give someone who has just taken up OCR?
My absolute number one piece of advice to anyone trying to get into obstacle course racing would be to try and make your training as fun as possible and do exercises that you enjoy. If you can make your training fun, then you are automatically going to want to do more of it and it will be sustainable. If your training is boring, then you will do the bare minimum and it will be hard to improve.
I try to stay happy and laugh at myself and the stupid position that I have got myself into
What is the best thing about being a trail runner?
I think the best thing is that it gives you all round fitness, you won’t just be a strong runner or be able to lift heavy weights. This is the type of fitness that humans should have I think that is incredibly rewarding.
What is the worst thing about being a trail runner?
During the event it can be tough, and this when you find out what you are made of. There can be a risk of hypothermia and it can generally be a pretty miserable experience! But it’s important to try and not let the whole thing overwhelm you and then you can come out the other end.
What do you think about during a 24-hour race?
It’s important to break everything down so the whole race seems more manageable. I also try as hard as I can to stay happy and laugh at myself and the stupid position that I have got myself into.
What happens when you need to go to the toilet during a race?
To be honest I’m not sure! I’m normally wearing a wetsuit but there isn’t any water on this course, so we will have to wait and see. I don’t want to spend too much time stopping though!
What is the longest distance/amount of time you have run previously?
Two years ago, I ran 105 miles in 24 hours. There wasn’t much carrying in that race and there were a lot more water obstacles so it’s a completely different type of race to what I’ll face in Iceland.
I love running in the Lake District, Madeira and the French Alps – all have their own beauty
Favourite place you’ve run?
It is hard to pick one. I love running in the Lake District in the UK, Madeira and the French Alps and they all have their own beauty. Running at home in Norway is great because I can sleep in my own bed and see my wife.
Ambitions for the future?
I never really had real ambitions and I think that is why I am where I am now. I’ve always gone with the flow and if I’d had a plan I might not have got here. I take each race as it comes, make sure I have good morals and I will see where I end up.
What would you do with the $1 million if you can complete the trifecta?
If I were to win the $1m I’m not sure if I would go out and buy something immediately. In the long-term I’d look into buying a cabin in the mountains so I could live up in the snow and make my winter training a lot easier.
Running is my job and I’m constantly having to weigh up which races I really want to run and which ones are going to make me enough money to continue living this lifestyle. Wining this amount of money would free me up so I didn’t have to worry so much and could choose races based on enjoyment and not the ones with the biggest prize money. I’m a simple guy so this amount of money would set me up for life.
For more information about Spartan and to register for 2019 events visit spartanrace.uk/en