Episode 181

Damian Hall: The mental side of ultra running

Damian Hall is a British Ultra Runner. He was winner of The Spine Race in 2023, has been on the podium at the Dragons Back and recorded a top 5 finish at UTMB. He didn't get into running until his 30s and did his first marathon dressed as a toilet. He coaches Jasmin Paris and made his debut at the Barkley Marathons in 2023. This is a fascinating conversation about the mental side of ultra running and why running makes him feel alive.

You'll hear:

06:00 Damian talks about doing his first marathon dressed as a toilet... It was for charity.

09:00 We talk about Damian being captivated by The Spine Race... Did he feel as captivated by Barkley Marathons?

12:00 We talk about the mindset of getting to a start line and why Damian doesn't get hung up about spreadsheets.

14:00 What's harder, preparing mentally or recovering mentally from a huge challenge/race. We talk about post-adventure blues and almost mourning once it's done. "I sometimes feel quite lost without it."

17:00 Damian explains what some of the side-effects are after doing something like The Spine Race (approx 3.5 days.) Including night sweats, swelling in the lower legs and feet, soreness and fatigue.

20:00 Did Damian get the post-event blues after The Barkley Marathons? Damian talks about what it's like being in the races, rather than tracking them.

25:00 How did it work out between Damian and Jasmin Paris, with Damian being Jasmin's coach... but Jasmin having previously done the Barkley Marathons and Damian not.

30:00 What has Damian learnt from Jasmin?

32:00 What has John Kelly taught Damian?

33:00 Damian gives some really interesting thoughts about whether he needs to be more angry to succeed.

35:00 Doing the media rounds the morning after winning The Spine Race. What's it really like doing that?

37:00 When Damian says 'Running makes me feel alive'. What does he mean? "Sometimes in Western Society, we are safe, life is predictable and it takes us away from our primal beings and for me I need 2-3 times a year to press those same buttons that make me feel human. There's a magnificent simplicity to it all. But that's one of the hard parts about the comedown afterwards."

43:00 What small things can we do within the endurance community to be more mindful about the planet?

45:00 Will Damian return to the Barkley Marathons?

Find out more about this week's guest:

Damian Hall Instagram

Damian Hall website

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About the Podcast

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Inside Tri Show
Helen Murray brings you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond

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Helen Murray

Helen has been working in triathlon for a decade as an athlete, coach and broadcaster.

Helen hosts the Inside Tri Show podcast bringing you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond