This entry is part 30 of 30 in the series Faces at the Races

almon-cox-1Name
Almon R. Cox

Age
37

Lives
Ellenboro, NC

Occupation
Arborist and daily practicer of “awesoming”

Favorite OCR series
Spartan Race

Favorite obstacle
Multi Rig

Least favorite obstacle
Bucket carry

Ideal race distance
5-8 miles

Favorite previous race venue
Squaw Valley, CA

2017 OCR goals
— Spartan Race World Championship qualifying Coin
— Qualify for the OCR World Championships
— Spartan Race podium

almon-cox-4Social media
Instagram — @828Runner

Why do you compete in OCR?

To see how far I can push my mind body and soul.

You said you were a substance abuser for 17 years. What caused you to go down this path in the first place?

I’m not sure there was any one cause. Growing up I had loving nurturing parents that were there for me, so I guess I owe it to my addictive personality. Sadly enough, it just became a way of life.

almon-cox-5What was it like being in prison for eight months?

I hit rock bottom, losing everything again. I knew I had to make some serious changes to come out of it with a fresh start and a positive outlook. I just had to teach myself that I could function daily as a human being without drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. To accomplish this, I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and eventually goals for when I was released. My number one goal upon my release was to be a better person than I was when I went in. By staying focused on goals that were attainable it turned out to be a very positive experience. I was in a minimum-security facility so it wasn’t at all like it’s depicted on TV. But you do still see some pretty crazy things in there.

Do you have any advice so at-risk people don’t make some of the same mistakes you did in your past?

I think that’s one of the saddest parts of addiction: there isn’t much advice to give so it’s tough to start in the first place. The most helpful advice and my opinion would be to the friends and family of the person suffering: don’t be an enabler, don’t give up on them, and don’t be afraid to hand out a healthy dose of tough love.

What was the turning point in your life when you decided to make a change for the better?

I had warrants issued on me for my arrest for probation violations. I was already at rock bottom because I thought the people that cared about me the most had finally given up on me. Then I had a close friend turn me in. So when I saw about six police cars and the news pull up, I actually just felt relieved that it was over and that I could hopefully start moving forward with my life.

Why did you sign up for your first obstacle course race?

Well a friend of a friend was looking for a fourth team member for Marine Challenge. After much pleading and begging, I was accepted as the fourth team member! I was looking for a challenge and something new.

Describe what went through your head once you crossed the finish line for the first time.

I felt exhilarated with a sense of accomplishment and also proud that I overcame my fear of some of the obstacles! It was just an awesome experience

I saw that you earned your Spartan Coin for the 2016 Tahoe World Championship. What did that Coin mean to you?

Earning my Coin was a little bit of a shock. I wasn’t expecting it. I learned that through hard work and dedication your efforts will pay off and that a lot of small changes add up to big difference. But even with all that, it really symbolizes where I’ve come from over the past six years.

almon-cox-11

What does a typical week of training look like for you? Do you have a training partner or a coach?

Typically, I like to have 3-4 weight training sessions 45-90 minutes each. I also do 4-5 days of running that includes speed work, interval, and distance training usually equaling about 5-7 hours per week. There’s also some low-impact training, such as cycling or swimming, to round out a full week of training 10-12 hours.

I have a couple different people who grace me with their presence over the course of a week. Training partners were great because they make the miles quick, especially on the track when we’re grinding out 8 miles at 5:00 a.m. I’m blessed with an amazing coach! She won’t take enough credit but I know not be where I’m at today without her knowledge and skill.

almon-cox-7How do you stay focused when you occasionally lose the motivation to train at various parts of the season?

I think that’s where discipline comes in: making myself go for the run or hit the gym when I don’t feel like it or I’m unmotivated. I find those are my best workout sessions with more of a sense of accomplishment after finishing them.

Do you think OCR companies do a good job advertising their events? If not, what would you improve?

Absolutely I think they do a great job advertising. However, I would like to see them reach out to an untapped audience.

Do you follow any of the top elite racers?

Ryan Woods and Hunter McIntyre.

Are you pursuing any achievement next year, like a Spartan Trifecta or running one race from each of the major series?

I think I’m going to try out some of the Savage Races and just go for some Spartan Sprints and Supers to see where it takes me.

How many medals do you own and what do you do with them after the race?

I’ve never counted my metals I guess it’s around 50 or 60. I have a small cabinet for my medals and trophies. They all mean something to me. I guess I’m just a sentimental guy.

Outside of obstacle course racing, what is your biggest passion?

I have to say gardening. It touches my soul, fills my heart with joy, and puts food on my table.

almon-cox-9

Give me a fact about yourself that would impress most people?

I have a deep love and connection with animals, so when I see an animal in distress or a turtle trying to cross the road, I have to stop and help.

Your job as an arborist sounds pretty interesting. Walk me through a typical day at work for you.

That’s what I love about my job: every day is different, every situation is unique, and my office scenery constantly change. It’s exciting, exhilarating, and challenging, and it helps me acclimate to the change of seasons.

You mentioned serving as a member of the board of directors at Alive^3, a local nonprofit organization. What is this group’s mission and what accomplishment are you most proud of with Alive^3?

Alive^3, pronounced “Alive Cubed,” is a non-profit set up to inspire, enrich, and fund life. When the mind, body, and soul are in balance, life is elevated. Our mission is to help people balance their lives and live them to the fullest. In other words, “own your today.” Through action, daily inspiration, tools, tips and a simple philosophy on life, we are helping people connect with their true purpose and living life as it is intended to be: awesome.

Here’s a link to our website:  https://alivecubed.org/

almon-cox-6We empower all things life. Encouraging all to break the cadence of everyday, to live in its full potential. Being in the moment, exploring yourself, the people around you, and the world around you. Rediscovering purpose and the authenticity of YOU.

We host adventures. We inspire. We live. We help. Here are some of our focus areas.

— Adventure: We host adventures to explore the beauty around us and within us
— Life: We host races that inspire possibility and movement, like the Bear Crawl Cub Crawl and Everesting.
— Heroes: Showing veterans love and funding bucket list experiences for heroes who need a little help to realize a dream.
— Hope: Hugs, singing and hand delivering gifts to kids in need during Christmas
— Inspire: Reaching over 35,000 followers weekly on Instagram and Facebook, we develop and share inspiration derived from real action. Here are some of our hashtags to look us up: #projectangel #bethehope #love22 #bucketsoflife.
— Action: We live it and we share it. Inspiration and motivational speaking engagements will be coming soon.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

In 10 years, I would love to have a small house on an acre of land out in the country with my garden, a few animals, an OCR course, and my beautiful partner.

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