Interview - Skyrunner Jonathan Albon closes in on $1million bonus

Briton heads to Iceland in search of the biggest-ever prize in obstacle course racing

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Top skyrunner Jonathan Albon is next month seeking to bag the sort of the prizemoney trail runners are far from used to.

If the Brit wins at obstacle course racing’s Spartan Ultra World Championships on December 8-9 and completes 100 miles in the allotted 24 hours, he stands to scoop a massive $1million bonus. The money was put up to be shared by any athletes who win all three races in this year’s Spartan Ultra Trifecta Series.

The 2017 Skyrunner World Series champion has already won the Spartan World Championship in North Lake Tahoe and the Spartan Trifecta World Championship in Greece.

Next up is the Spartan Ultra World Championship in Iceland, which is is a 24-hour race that will test competitors over a loop of approximately six miles, featuring energy-sapping obstacles such as rope-climb, A-frame, spear throw and monkey frame.

Albon has notched up an incredible series of achievements over widely varying forms of endurance sports. He is the 2018 world champion in skyrunning, which sees competitors run over extremely technical mountain terrain at 2000m altitude and above. He has been OCR world champion every year since 2014. He was also fourth at the World Trail Championships this year.

However, thanks to the bonus put up by Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena, a win in Iceland next month could be by far his most lucrative yet and the biggest prize in obstacle racing.

It’s a tall order, though. The 100-mile stipulation means he would have cover more than 400 obstacles.

Albon admits he has “no idea” how achievable it is. He told TR: “The winner did 71 last year. It’ll depend on the weather, I think. If we get good weather, and I don’t even know what good weather would be, it’s a possibility.

“I’ve run 100 miles before in [24-hour] obstacle races - 105 miles in one of them. But every obstacle race is different, different weathers, different obstacles, different everything.”

“It could happen, but I’m trying to focus on other things than the possibility of winning a million dollars and see if that gets me through better than concentrating on the big prize at the end. “

Despite being the undisputed best in the world, he had to qualify to run in Iceland. He left it until the last minute, completing an ultra in Malaysia last weekend. Regarding how much this might take out of him in Iceland, he said: “I didn’t run too fast, so I think it wasn’t too bad. It could have been a good last training session. I’m pretty sure after six or seven hours of running I’m going to be so destroyed anyway it won’t matter what I’ve done the week before.”

For more information about Spartan and to register for 2019 events visit www.spartanrace.uk/en