Jonathan Albon - Racing for the $1 million Spartan prize in Iceland
Back in July, Spartan Race founder and CEO Joe De Sena offered a million dollars to any athlete who could win all three Spartan World Championship events in 2018. By taking first place at the Spartan World Championships in Lake Tahoe back in September, Jon put himself in contention for a pot of money that would eclipse prizes won by better known British athletes, such as Mo Farah or Jessica Ennis-Hill.
In November Jon travelled to Sparta to take on Spartan Trifecta World Championships and came first overall after three gruelling races. The question then was would he be eligible to compete in Iceland? In order to qualify for the Spartan Ultra World Championship, you needed to have won a Spartan Ultra event in 2018, which Jon hadn’t at that point. Many were unsure whether he’d have time to take part in one the few qualifying events that remained.
Last weekend, Jon flew out to Malaysia and took gold in the last remaining Spartan Ultra event before the World Championships in Iceland, setting himself up to race for the huge prize on offer.
Winning the $1 million is going to be anything but easy though. Not only does Jon have to come first in the 24-hour endurance race - taking on a 6-mile course that features about 24 brutal obstacles per lap - he also needs to complete 100 miles during the event to earn for the prize. For some context, the winner of last years event in Iceland managed 71 miles inside the 24 hours.
He will also face tough competition from American Ryan Atkins, who is considered one of the world’s best Ultra OCR racers and is a four-time winner of the World’s Toughest Mudder event. They're good friends, but Jon shouldn’t expect any favours, as Ryan told Spartan:
Jon seems unfazed by all this though. He is incredibly down to earth and has been taking this all in his stride. He told the Telegraph recently:
“I don’t see ‘working together’ as being very effective,” Atkins says. “As soon as someone fails an obstacle, the others will have to continue. If Jon and I are able to stay together, morally, that will make things easier, but I don’t see it as being very effective or possible. It’s still a race, though, and I won’t ‘throw it’ to let him win.”
“I don’t need $1 million. It would obviously be very nice if I did win it, but I can’t be too bummed if it doesn’t happen.
“I think it’s best to go, try and have fun, have a smile on my face and see what happens.”
We’ll be covering the event from Iceland, so keep an eye on our social channels to find out how Jon gets on. We can't wait!