On July 10th, Slieve Gullion runner, Paddy Hamilton took on the Race to the Stones 100k in what is the start of a monumental fund-raising drive which will ultimately take him to the Marathon Des Sables in October. I’m sure many won’t be surprised by his first-place finish in this, his inaugural ultra-marathon, and another brilliant run it was. Finishing comfortably in a time of 8:21:46, and by over an hour ahead of the next competitor, Paddy stuck to his plan and paced it nicely.
Many would ask why take on such a challenge? Well I had an opportunity to put a few questions to Paddy and he was gracious enough to answer them.
First I asked if there was anything about the race he particularly enjoyed.
“The thing I really enjoyed was it was nice to see the countryside and landmarks on the course. With a race of 100k, you have the time to take in your surroundings. Although in the second half I wasn’t paying too much attention as I was fighting some inner demons. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and despite not many being on the course, anyone you did meet were very encouraging whether they were associated with the race or just members of the general public out on the Ridgeway.”
I asked Paddy if there was anything from his first Ultra Marathon that surprised him.
“I had myself pretty well schooled in what potentially lay ahead of me. I was waiting for that bonk moment, and I think I handled it well despite not replenishing many calories on route. I was also surprised with how I performed having not run further than 3 hours in training. You have to make best use of the time available to you.”
What did you find most difficult?
“The most difficult part was being on my own. It would have been great to have had support crew that could have met me on the course with nutrition that I was comfortable with. I wanted to travel light on course so I only took enough gels etc. to get me to about 40k and then rely on the aid stations. The aid station food selection was limited due to Covid and the gels/drinks didn’t sit particularly well. I kept the fluid intake up all race but very little to no solid foods, if you don’t count gels. Definitely something to work on.”
“All in all it went well and it was a positive experience both physically and mentally in preparation for the Marathon des Sables.”
Paddy and running mate Hugh Morgan are raising money for Northern Ireland Hospice and Ireland Hospice. With the Covid restrictions in place fundraising has been challenging. They pair have been prevented from putting on events and the other normal activities, but as restrictions ease, they will be making efforts before heading off to Morocco for the MDS at the start of October. The runners are self-funding the event so that all of the proceeds from the donations will go direct to the charities.
Take a few minutes to watch his video as he traversed the scenic course in Wiltshire, England.
All donations to the charity can be made through this link:
A huge congratulations to Paddy and best of luck to both he and Hugh in the MDS!