After claiming a top 10 finish in his first Obstacle Course Race (OCR) World Championships, Alf Powell is hoping to fully realise his potential after being snapped up by one of the country’s most ambitious teams, writes Russell Claydon.
Having previously played football for AFC Sudbury youth sides and his school, Ormiston Academy, the 15-year-old only took up obstacle course racing after one of his mum’s friends pulled out of a race two years ago.
But the Sudbury resident soon became hooked on Spartan races, culminating in his talent leading him to qualify for the OCR World Championships in Ontario, Canada in October.
He competed in three races over three days, but it was in the longer distance of 15k where he excelled, coming seventh in the male under-17 category in a time of two hours 17 minutes and 37 seconds.
It led to Team Nuclear Phoenix, who are based in Brentwood, Essex and have an aim of becoming one of the UK’s top OCR teams.
“It is quite a big deal,” said Powell, who has also been boosted by sponsorship from an American sports clothing company as well as Sudbury-based Professional Smile Clinic.
“I can get free race entries and guidance on which events to enter.”
The top 10 place in Canada was a welcome surprise, though.
“In the race before I came 20-something, so I was not expecting to come in the top 10,” he said.
“I was training every day for it and really enjoying it.
“I am now hoping to get some podiums this year.”
Powell’s ultimate target in 2018 will come in October when his home course, at Team Nuclear Phoenix’s base at Wild Forest, near Brentwood, hosts the next OCR World Championships.
But before that his new team are hosting the Nuclear Surge event on April 29, where he hopes to impress further.
His training regime covers five to six days a week and combines honing his techniques on local courses, such as The Playground in Barrow, and at a site near Colchester, as well as in the gym at Kingfisher Leisure Centre, where his mum said the personal trainers have been very supportive.
Powell would also encourage people who have not tried the thrill of obstacle course racing to give it a go.
“Anyone can do it. It is great fun,” he said.
“I have always played a lot of sport but I only really found this two years ago.
“I was always into football but I would not have seen myself doing this.