Leek runner Jason Burgess is a real muddy marvel
RUNNER Jason Burgess is to represent Great Britain in one of the world's toughest – and messiest – races.
The 36-year-old joiner has qualified for the World Mud Running Championship in the U.S. after winning the JCB Mud Run.
He will take on 400 other competitors from across the globe on the all-expenses-paid trip.
Jason, a member of the Staffordshire Moorlands Athletics Club, said: "I'm really looking forward to it. I'll continue with my athletics training and add in some weights and resistance.
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"I trained as a boxer for years so I think that sets me in good stead for this kind of event.
"I know the competition will be fierce but I'm ready to get stuck in and give it a good go.
"I'm not flying over there just to take part – I want to win."
The five-mile JCB Mud Run around the company's Rocester headquarters was held in November and raised £30,000 for the NSPCC.
Jason, from Leek, overcame obstacles including monkey bars, tunnels and river-wading to win in a time of just 39 minutes.
He said the race was unlike anything he had attempted before.
He added: "People thought I was a bit mad for entering it to be honest but I wanted to do something different that would challenge me in a new way.
"The race is more than just running. You need a lot of upper body strength and agility as well as speed. There were probably faster runners than me in the race but some couldn't deal with the monkey bars or water."
Organisers of the Mud Running World Championship are footing the bill for Jason's flights and he will receive a Great Britain track suit to wear during the race.
His coach David Owen, who has worked with Jason for five years, is in the process of designing a new training schedule for in the lead up to the event in June.
David, of Leek, said: "Jason is a very determined runner.
"He will train six days a week, and that's on top of a full time job."
He added: "Jason sustained some injuries before the JCB Mud Run.
"He shouldn't have been able to win the race after taking six weeks to recover but he proved us all wrong.
"It just goes to show how physically and mentally strong he is.
"The mud run is a tough and crazy challenge, but I think Jason is just crazy and tough enough to do it."