With a hiking background from Everest Base Camp to New Zealand, Damian Hall has run ultra-marathon’s in the mountains, the desert, and the Arctic. More recently, Damian has achieved the Fastest Known Time of the Pennine Way.
A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of virtually sitting with him and exploring his background and experience further.
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Damian had exposure to running in quite the traditional way; school. Although at this stage he didn’t pursue it, he was clearly skilled in the sport.
Mixing this with the outdoor holidays his parents would take him on has given him a brilliant foundation for this love of ultra trail running.
Thinking Of Others
As we explored Damian’s achievements, something quite subtle about him struck me: he really cares about the people around him.
Damian’s first ultra-race came from a publisher. After convincing them to let him write about his experience with marathon’s, they came back and said yes, but on one condition: he had to run an ultra-marathon and document it.
For some reason unbeknownst to Damian, he had it in his head that the other staff wouldn’t be paid if he didn’t complete the event. This became a good ‘why’ for pushing him through the task.
But, in addition, he mentions about giving back to those who have helped him with his races and working to do so. Damian is clearly grateful for the support around him, and the environment too as he continues to take on carbon-negative approaches, reduce wastage, and litter pick on runs.
Always Have Your Whys
Something we talk about in the interview with TJ David is having your ‘why’s. It is so incredibly important when diving into personal growth and uncomfortable environments to know why you are doing something.
At the time of writing this, Nims Purja and his Nepalese have just made the first winter ascent of K2. In -50 degrees Celsius, it is reported that a few people wanted to turn back. But, their common goal of a Nepalese team achieving the last great mountaineering challenge kept them together. Waiting 10m below the summit to group up and reach the top as one kept them going.
Whether running your very first 5km, or pushing a fastest known time, it is important to have your reasons greater than yourself to keep pushing you.
We explore this further, but one key takeaway I took from Damian was also doing this to set an example for his kids. Something for them to look up to and know that anything they want they can achieve. Perhaps that will resonate with a lot of you reading.
“It’s not the size of your muscles, it’s the size of your will power”
Damian has achieved so much, from mountains to the desert to the arctic and to record breaking times. He is an incredibly down-to-Earth guy whilst brilliantly inspiring.
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