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Featured Athlete: Paul Jones


  • Name:

Paul Jones

  • Your website:

  • What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:

During the day, I’m a sales engineer for a security software company. I also own a photography business to keep me busy at weekends – and I focus on the things I love there – shooting families, kids, athletes, OCR athletes and small road races.

I read a ton, and love reading fantasy novels – and have a young son and amazing, supportive wife who I love spending time with and playing /racing with too.

  • Age:


  • When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race.:

My first OCR was the 2010 Spartan Race in Amesbury MA. It was their second race ever, and back then we had no idea how big this would become. I got the bug and started looking for more races in the New England area, and did a bunch more in 2010 alone, hitting up the first Ruckus event, the first Rugged Maniac event among others.

The race kicked my ass. I was new to fitness – I had no clue where it would take me – but I knew I wanted more. I started signing up for 2011 races almost immediately, and started bugging my friends to join me …

  • What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?):

My 2012 Spartan Sprint weekend in Amesbury. I attended the Hurricane Heat, then ran a lap at 10:30am, then went back out with my wife on the Sunday.

By the end of her lap, my arms were shot. I had very little strength left in them for the walls. Still made it to the end and watched her finish her first Spartan Race – so, my first HH, her first Spartan Race, pushed to exhaustion – in one weekend. Epic.

I’ve finished races with injuries, from a broken toe in 2011, to a bad wrist sprain at Tough Mudder New England 2012.

  • What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?:

Obstacle course racing gives me the ability to go and participate in something physically active, mentally challenging and personally rewarding. I’ve met some of the nicest and most inspirational people through obstacle course racing. It’s shown me that I’m capable of more than I ever though. Plus, I’ve formed friendships with the folks who run them – it’s a way to hang out with, and catch up with friends.

I’ll keep running them until I’ve stopped learning about myself.

  • What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?:

I try to get to Crossfit three mornings a week. I try to run during my lunch breaks at work a couple or more times a week. I try to get out for a long run on Sundays.

It’s tough to stay on schedule when my wife is as active as I am, and my son is as active as we both are combined – and we have a 100 mile a day commute to the day job – we do our best, and try our hardest to motivate each other and support each others training routines – but we run a fine line with day care costs, gym costs, event entry costs (all multiplied by two – for both of us) – and actually having family time and doing things our son may enjoy.

  • Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?:

I wasn’t even slightly athletic and still struggle to describe myself as such. At my worst, I was close to 300lbs, and getting in the car in the summer would be enough to break a sweat. I was told I was running the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease when I was still in my 20’s. Moving to America, with your *ahem* generous *ahem* portions and car culture just made that worse. Not having an athletic life or background, I didn’t know where to start and tried all kinds of crash diets – before settling on “not giving a damn” – which didn’t really help much.

I started my weightloss and fitness journey at my local gym a year or two before I found obstacle course racing at my local gym – I got into boot camps and group fitness classes, with the help of my wife my food intake changed. After a while my lifestyle and interests changed, and I moved over to a Crossfit gym that I now hit up 3 or 4 times in a week, and I still love running – even though I don’t run far, I try and get a 5k or 4 to 5 mile run in on lunch breaks during the week, with some long run or road race on the weekends. I struggle with food still.

  • Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?:

Any one of my friends who *wants* to run, but thinks they can’t. I strongly believe that this kind of racing is accessible to pretty much anyone – as Chris Davis has proven through 2012. Even the largest, most out of shape person *who wants to do it* is going to make it to the finish line of a Spartan Sprint, or a Warrior Dash, or some other similar event. It will take you a while, and it will be uncomfortable along the way, and you will likely need help in spots – but you will make it, and it will change you from someone who says “I can’t” to someone who says “I did”.

At the Amesbury MA Spartan Sprint 2013 event, I will be running a race with a good friend who has just started her journey, and has just completed her first road 5k. We have a deal – she attempts every obstacle, and even if she doesn’t make it- we’ll split the penalty burpees. We may take a while – but we’re getting to that finish line and earning our medals. I’d love to be joined by other Spahtens who are running with a friend of their own.

  • Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!:

My family think I have an American accent.
My American friends think I have an English accent.
I think I have no accent.

I’m not Welsh.

  • What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?:

March 2013 I’ll be doing a GoRuck Challenge, which has been on my bucket list for a while, and shooting for a second trifecta. I’m putting serious consideration into doing the ultra beast, if it’s available and I’m selected. My 2013 calendar is looking pretty full already, and it’s looking like I’m going to be busy!

Onwards and upwards!

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