DAMIAN Hall opens his 2019 racing programme tonight – and is happy to be starting the Transgrancanaria Ultra beneath the radar.
While the Bath international trail star (pictured above) enjoyed the best year of his career in 2019, rising to seventh in the World Trail Rankings, he is not listed among the favourites for the race that starts at 11pm (Friday) – and barely makes the also-rans!
“Looking at the entry list I am only ranked 26th on current points and that suits me fine,” said Hall, who is a member of Corsham Running Club.
“I recently saw a press release from the organisers talking about the favourites for the race and I wasn’t mentioned. In fact, I wasn’t even mention among the second favourites!
“No-one is paying me any attention at all and to be honest that suits me just fine.
“I will wear my under-dog hat which fits me nicely. I don’t mind being ignored at all!”
As the name suggests the Transgranaria event crosses the entire island of Gran Canaria including seven mountains totalling 24,000 feet of ascent in 79 miles.
It is the first major event in Europe of the 2019 Ultra Trail World Tour and as such has attracted a top class entry for the start on Las Palmas beach.
“Bonus points are being offered to runners doing well in this race so it has attracted a classy field, including top runners from America and Spain,” added Hall.
“No-one knows who is in really good shape at the moment so it will be interesting to see how the event goes. My C target is just to finish, my B target is a the top 10 and my A target is to finish as high as possible in the top ten.
“I feel I am in in good shape and I am very excited about the race as I think it will suit me even though it is looks t be quite rocky underfoot.
“But I like racing through the night when it will be quiet and cool although I hear that the local islanders come out in force to cheer on the runners through the night which should be nice.
“All being well I should finish some time on Saturday afternoon.”