It’s been six months now since we last met with Jon and over the weekend, he placed first in the 4 LAP 28K Nuts Challenge. With Judgement Day just around the corner and the start of the OCR season underway, we thought it was time for a much needed catch-up.
From his plans for 2014 to his thoughts on the rise of OCR teams and the inaugural OCR World Championships coming up in October, here’s what he had to say about prepping for this year’s events.
JD: The Nuts Challenge was your first OCR of the season, how did it go?
JA: It went really well, I felt like a shell of a man once I’d finished but am chuffed to bits with the result and to be able to warm up in my dryrobe!
JD: Prior to the Nuts Challenge, you’ve been pretty quiet these past few months, and it’s made a change to see a few other racers making the podium at events. What have you been up to?
JA: I started the year with the Fan Dance Challenge, a 24km race that sees competitors race up and over Pen Y Fan and back again carrying a 35lb Bergen. My attention then moved to the 80km ice skating race from Uppsala to Stockholm in Sweden. Scheduled for mid-February, I was feeling ready for the challenge and put in a great 50km roller skate to get a feel for what I was in for.
Unfortunately, due to warmer weather this race was cancelled, not wanting to waste the flights, I went anyway and enjoyed a weekend running around Stockholm and playing ice hockey with my sister.
JD: Which races are you most looking forward to, and do you have any specific goals for 2014?
JA: The next OCR races on the calendar include Rock Solid, Dirty Dozen and, of course Judgement Day. My main event of the year is looking to be the Fuegoyagua – Survival Run -The Celts in Wales.
During 2014, I would also like to run 100km and do an Iron Man distance triathlon…even if it’s not part of an organised race.
JD: We’re interested to see that there are OCR teams forming across the country, and you’ve recently announced you’ll be competing for the Inov-8 OCR team. Tell us a little more about the team.
JA: We currently have five members including Ross Macdonald, David Hellard, Adam Teszke, Clare Miller and myself. We are a relaxed bunch who have come together through our love of exercising and racing. Our sponsors include Cliff Bar, DryRobe, Inov-8, Camel-Tows, Algo gloves and GB Construction.
JD: Who are you most looking forward to racing against, and what are your plans for the team in 2014?
JA: Our initial goal is to command the top positions in the Mudstacle league and podium at other events within the UK. In addition to this, we will be travelling abroad to races like the RedBull 400 in Austria and The Viking Race in Norway. With other ‘Elite’ teams forming, we are all looking forward to the challenges ahead and the increased competitiveness of OCR.
JD: The inaugural OCR World Championships are taking place in the US this October. We presume you’ll qualify so what are your thoughts about taking part against some of the world’s top OCR athletes?
JA: October is a long way off, and I struggle planning what I am doing a week in advance! If I do qualify, I would love the opportunity to race against the best in the world and am sure I would thoroughly enjoy the experience.
JD: Looking further ahead, there are certain people in the industry flying the flag for OCR to be an Olympic Sport in years to come. Do you think we stand a chance?
JA: I’m not sure whether it would be possible for OCR to be an Olympic sport and if it could be, whether it would have to change into something else to meet the requirements.
OCR as a sport is still extremely young, but there are certainly exciting times ahead and I genuinely feel the required fitness for OCR is how we evolved to be and is a great fitness to strive towards.
JD: Finally, what are your favourite, and least favourite obstacles you’ve faced to date?
JA: Least favourite has to be full submersion in cold water…When you’re not out of breath it’s fine, but when you’re racing and already out of breath, forcing your head under in cold water is really crappy.
My favourite obstacles are usually the smaller, simpler ones that wear you down. Obstacles don’t need to be 100ft tall or 100m long to be good!
Jon will be running alongside lots of other talented OCR athletes in April’s event – including Katie Keeble, one of the top female competitors. We’ll be interviewing her in the next couple of weeks, so keep checking back.
And remember, if you haven’t signed up – do it HERE.
[Jonathan far right]