DAMIAN Hall’s racing plans for 2020 might be on hold but at least the Bath international ultra runner has had some good news this week.
In a survey sponsored by Red Bull, the international energy drink manufacturer, 44-year-old Hall (pictured above in the 2018 UTMB) has been included in an elite list comprising the top ten of the best male ultra runners on the planet.
“It is just one guy’s opinion and, to be honest, most of the runners mentioned in the top ten are already sponsored by Red Bull,” said Hall.
“Obviously it is nice and flattering and I’m not going to complain about that but I know it is not the real thing.”
Hall made the list on the back of achievements which include record times for both the summer and winter categories of the Paddy Buckley Round in north Wales, the South West Coast Path and the Cape Wrath Trail.
He has also completed the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc four times, with a best finish of fifth which was the subject of a film called ‘Underdog’, won the Ice Ultra, the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa, RAT and Ultimate Trails 55k last year and was second in the Mozart 100 in 2018.
That’s a mighty impressive CV especially for a man who is the oldest in that top ten by five years and only man born in the seventies and while lateness to the sport means he will never emulate the deeds of legends like Spaniard Kilian Jornet, American Jim Walmsley or the French pair of Francois D’Haene or Xavier Thevenard he has earned his place in the list.
“Kilian was born and bred in the mountain and is not only one of the stars of four sport but also my hero,” added Hall.
“He is very inspiring and is also very aware and concerned about the environment as well. I have the greatest respect for him and all those other guys.”
Any hopes of burnishing that CV, which would have included his first trip to Japan next month for the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji, have now been put on the back-burner until the coronavirus pandemic has been beaten.
“Like most runners I am in limbo now,” said Hall.
“While there are no races I was thinking of attempting a few solo challenges but now even places like the Lake District are discouraging people from travelling there so I might have to try and find something more local.
“But in the meantime I can keep running and if there is a lockdown I might have to buy a treadmill – if I can find one!”