Sheffield athlete second ‘in largest assault course on earth’ and is out to be World No 1

Conor Hancock, right, with winner Jonathan Alban
Conor Hancock, right, with winner Jonathan Alban
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Eckington born Conor Hancock finished second in the largest assault course on earth challenge, in Stamford, Peterborough, last weekend.

And now has his sights firmly on becoming number one in the world, overtaking fellow Briton Jonathan Alban.

Hancock, a 21-year-old scaffolder, completed the challenging ‘Rat Race Dirty Weekend,’ race in an impressive 2h:56m:07s – fighting against 20 miles of gruelling terrain, icy cold water plunges and 200 intimidating man-made obstacles.

The Muddy Racer athlete was pleased with his overall placing but was disappointed to suffer “burn out,” around the 13-mile mark which cost him the title to rival Alban, who finished the course in an imposing 2h:46:15.

But Conor is confident he will continue to improve and eventually overtake his Norway-based ‘enemy,’ a sponsored athlete who is the current OCR World Champion and Spartan World Champion from Great Dunmow, in Essex.

“I felt very strong at the beginning of the race and was running alongside Jonathan for quite a long period which I’ve never been able to do in the past,” said the former Hallamshire Harriers runner.

“My strengths were definitely in the upper body challenges, like traverse ropes and bars and I’m pleased because there were loads of difficult water elements in the course which I managed to overcome quickly.

“I just wish I had kept up with Jonathan’s pace but he really is quick and just after half-way I felt I hit a wall and crashed. I hadn’t taken on enough energy gels in the race and I really suffered.

“I can definitely catch him though in future races and I think it will come down the speed in between obstacles so I just need to get my head down and work on running.

“It’s a friendly rivalry because he pushes me beyond my limits and I’ve become a better athlete. And he was great after the race and said how much I’ve come on in past few months.”

The former Thai boxer has had a particularly successful period of late with victory in the 28k Surrey Nuts Challenge in March breaking Alban’s course record.

He also finished first in April’s Tough Muddy Marathon in Wolverhampton, with an impressive course record of 4h58m with his closest competitor finishing almost an hour later.

Conor, a former Eckington School student, has also produced a string of previous top class performances including finishing eighth place in the world championships in Ohio last October, winning the UK 18k Dirty Dozen Destroyer race and the inaugural 2014 Tough Guy Challenge.

“I’m happy with the success I’ve had so far in my career but there is so much more to come from me,” said the determined athlete, who has to fit training in around his full-time job.

“It’s been so hard as I have to fit training in when I can because I’m not sponsored yet. Some days I come in from work and I’m absolutely shattered but I have the motivation and drive to just get on with it.

“I’m hoping this will all change soon because of recent performances. And then just imagine what I could potentially achieve!”

“I want to be number one in the world and I’m determined to do whatever it takes to get there. I have the ability to be the best in the world so I want to make this dream become a reality.”

Next up for Conor is the 5k Spartan Stadium Sprint in London this weekend, followed by Europe’s toughest and biggest obstacle challenge event in Sweden later in the year.

To sponsor Conor phone 07900 600975 or email conorlh@btinternet.com.