It’s official – Jon Albon will be back on the Judgement Day course this November, we caught up with him earlier this week to see what he’s been up to since last month’s Spartan Race World Championship win.
So, it’s been an eventful couple of weeks. As the recently crowned Spartan Race World Champion, what’s next on the race agenda?
I have managed to fit in a trip to Italy this weekend to compete in the Limone Extreme Skyrace.
Before we ask you about the OCR World Champs can you tell us a little bit more about Skyrunning as it’s likely most people won’t have heard of it before?
I’m also still learning about it as I have never competed in one, but the simplest way to describe it is – it’s a running race set in mountainous terrain. The sport comprises a number of different disciplines from the short, steep Vertical Kilometer to the more popular SkyRace and SkyMarathon. There is a set criteria a race must meet in order to classify; the route must go to 2000m above sea level, be marked and have a gradient at some point of 30%.
When most people hear about Skyrunning the name Kilian Jornet usually follows who has been a dominating force since the sport took off. Some people would describe him as unstoppable so I really look forward to seeing him in action.
Wow, you’re getting to race Kilian Jornet one of my own personal idols and most influential mountain runners ever. How do you prepare to race someone like Kilian?
I’m not sure if I’ll be racing him even if we both start together, it is clear Kilian is in a league of his own. During the race, as always I’ll be trying to keep a cool head and staying relaxed working on the up and enjoying the down. As part of my training, I have been doing a lot more hill running so it will be interesting to see how I fare against the pros.
Back to OCR, how much do you know about the upcoming OCR World Championships, and do you feel more pressure since the recent Spartan Rac where I am going. I know the course will be far shortere win?
At the moment, I know very little about it apart from than the Spartan World’s and have a lot less heavy carries. I can therefore imagine it to be more like our races in the UK.
I’m not feeling much pressure to perform. I think many people understand the course can have a major part to play in how an athlete performs and anything can happen. All I can do is put 100% effort in on the day and see where I come. I will judge my own performance and as long as I am happy with how much I tried, I’ll be happy. I’ll be going to enjoy a good race first and foremost, If anyone wants to try and tell me I now have a duty to win I would be happy to tell him or her to put in as much effort into training as I do and represent the UK for me.
How did the race compare to your typical OCR and were there any obstacles you hadn’t encountered before or found particularly hard?
There were a few different obstacles but in all, I found the course fine. The two major factors were the hills and the heavy carries, in particular the double sandbag carry. If you took away these two the other obstacles would have been fine. Having now raced in the USA I am proud of the quality of our UK races and look forward to taking part in some again.
And who do you think your main threat will be to winning?
Hobie Call is an obstacle racing legend and was not present at the Spartan world championships, having a near professional marathon running background before dominating in OCR I would guess he is the favourite.
I’ve heard Junyong Pak is another main rival, he didn’t finish too high in the Spartan Beast but the course probably didn’t suit him. If Ryan Atkins is going he is extremely strong and fast as well as Cody Moat another inov-8 athlete from the States. With the nature of OCR and the relatively juvenile state of the sport, it wouldn’t surprise me if many come out of the woodwork to make things exciting (as I apparently did at Spartan).
What other races do you have on the calendar beyond the two we’ve mentioned and when can we expect to see you back competing in the UK?
I’ll next be back in the UK to hopefully compete in Survival London but definitely the next day at Judgement Day Bordon. Beyond that, I haven’t planned to come back until Christmas which will also allow me to join my inov-8 OCR teammates at the JD Team Challenge.
And finally, how’s your Norwegian coming along?
Min Norsk er ok men jeg må snakke mer Norsk til være bedre. Jeg vil start Norsk leksjoner snart.
(We believe that says: My Norwegian is OK, but I need to start speaking more for it to be better. I’ll be starting a Norwegian course soon.)
I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing Jon the best of luck in Italy this weekend, and for those of you that want to race against the best, you’d better get signed up to Bordon on 23rd November.