Veejay Jones is here to take on the world through Obstacle Course Racing. The now 22-year-old, whose accolades are too long to list even at his age, remains the youngest Spartan Race winner ever at 16-years-old. Having earned the nickname “The Prodigy,” Jones has been making waves in OCR, including being featured in the TV series Million Dollar Mile that aired on CBS. Jones sat down with Virus to discuss his race day preparations, how he handles expectations, and the legacy he wants to leave behind in the sport.
Still just 22-years-old, Veejay Jones’ ambitions are aimed squarely at making history. His two goals are as simple as they are grand: to be the greatest OCR athlete ever while elevating the sport to a new level of professionalism for future generations.
“Ultimately, I want to be remembered as the best who ever did it,” says Jones.
Jones took a winding path to OCR, with BMX biking his first love growing up. He eventually found his way into cross country in high school, giving him the foundation for his endurance on the course. Encouraged by his dad to compete, he began his competitive career by winning smaller “mud runs” before challenging himself by entering his very first Spartan Race in December 2014.
He remembers getting “whooped” in his first race. But far from being discouraged, the setback only motivated him to train harder.
Jones’ dedication paid off immediately. He won the event the very next year, becoming the youngest Spartan Race winner in history at 16-years-old (a record he holds today). He recalls not even realizing his achievement at the time, but now understands that the record is a target for a future generation of racers.
“I want to be the next generation that leveled up what an obstacle racer could be and help elevate professionalism in the sport”
Jones’ success despite his youth is no fluke considering his meticulous preparation. Visualization plays a key role in the buildup to competitions. He runs through the course in his mind, visualizing all of the twists, turns, and pitfalls. The mental exercise also lets Jones work out his nerves so he can be calm and collected on race day.
“It’s easy to be confident on race day when you already run the course in your mind before you’ve even arrived,” says Jones about the role of visualization.
Otherwise, his training program is centered around building and maintaining energy throughout a race. He runs twice a day, six days a week to build his endurance, while adding in strength training every two days.
“It takes time to build fitness, especially championship winning level”
Jones is equally as careful about his diet. He preloads on carbs, salts, and electrolytes in the week leading up to a race to ensure his muscles are able to perform under stress. He then cuts back on his training as race day approaches to ensure he has an excess of energy when it matters.
This importance of getting the most out of his training is what initially drew Jones to Virus. Placing an emphasis on efficient running mechanics, he needed athletic gear that gave him a wide range of motion. Jones noted from experience that most compression fit gear restricted his movement and hindered his mobility. Yet Virus compression gear gave him the freedom while still providing the support he expected.
“I have put in a lot of work into my running mechanics and making sure I move as efficiently as possible, so I need clothing with great range of motion to allow me to move the way I want,” says Jones about how Virus helps him perform at his best.
“Most compression is restrictive and you end up working against the clothing that is supposed to help you perform”
His success has brought him extra attention from both brands and fans alike. He notes the importance of taking a step back from the pressure cooker of training, competition, and social media. Jones fulfills his artistic side by retreating to his drum set, an activity he also compares to meditating.
Otherwise, Jones likes to keep things simple, especially when it comes to social media. He builds a connection with his followers by sharing the behind the scenes process of training and preparation. And while his aim isn’t to convey a larger message, he still has cultivated a deep relationship with his audience throughout the years.
“I’ve received many messages over the years thanking me for inspiration, so that’s cool too,” adds Jones about his social media presence.
“I just like to share what I’m doing. Share the process”
That inspiration takes on another layer as Jones looks back at his young career. If he could give his younger self one piece of advice, he’d tell himself to be more patient and enjoy the long-term process of building his career. And as much success as he’s had thus far, he believes he could have been even better had he planned out his training two or three years in advance.
But there is little time for regrets, especially considering Jones’ ambitions. Individually, his goal is to be remembered as the greatest obstacle racer ever. On a grander scale, he wants to be part of the generation that revolutionizes the sport. With what he’s accomplished thus far, who can doubt him?