Interview with the amazing Andy Hall: winner of the 100km Gold Peak District Challenge 2018 in 17 hours 22 minutes.

Andy Hall, last year’s Peak District Challenge Gold winner, is an experienced road and trail runner. He was kind enough to share his tips and experiences so that all potential Peak District Challengers could be inspired!

First, a little about yourself – tell me about your past history with running:

I was originally a road runner, and have been running marathons for 28 years. My greatest time was the London marathon, where I finished just shy of 3 hours, at 3:09. I developed a passion for running through being a road runner but found for such high-intensity training, road marathons can actually be quite boring and monotonous! This led to me getting involved in more trail runs, where I ran the Derby Nomad 50-mile trail in 8 hours 47 minutes, and then the Lakeland 50-mile trail run in 10 hours.

Trail runs were just so much more exciting- much of the time, you were exploring through untouched nature, without another runner hot on your toes! There’s less pressure to speed up and slow down; you simply go at your own pace. The adventure and uncertainty of trail running also makes it a much more enjoyable experience.

Building on this, why did you take on the mighty 100km Gold Peak District Challenge?

After stopping on the 67th mile of the 100-mile Lakeland run, I wanted to get straight back to it and get on with another trail. The Peak District Challenge seemed to be a great run to enjoy the mystery of the off-road, and to test myself again!

Did you expect to win the Gold Challenge?

I looked at the previous years’ times and thought: “Let’s give it a go, my current times aren’t a million miles away!” I actually didn’t even know the route until the week before, which sure made the run a lot more interesting!

It was great though; people would be running nearby and you would have absolutely no idea who’s doing which challenge. I just went for it and was pleasantly surprised with the result.

Tell me about your training methods, how do you stay motivated?

I just love running! I’m always looking for new trails to run, and find that knowing there’s a goal coming up is all the motivation I need. I would recommend you always ask yourself “why am I doing this?”, as it will motivate you to achieve your end goal.

I trained on the weekends for the Peak District Challenge, with a long run on Saturday, and an even longer run on Sunday, always keeping my aim of completing the Challenge in mind.

Have you got tips for while people are doing the Gold Challenge?

I would offer a few pieces of advice for this- firstly, think about the kit you bring. Ensure you are as lightweight as possible, as being weighed down by too much in a backpack is no help in completing a tough trail!

Secondly, I would advise you to eat as much “proper” food as you can- something substantive to keep you going. When this isn’t possible, make sure to be stocked up on any kind of nutritional source – energy bars, powdered energy, whatever you have room to bring.

Finally, as the adventure is a big part of running through the peaks, make sure you have proper navigation gear and skills. Make sure you know how to use a map, and don’t forget your glasses!

Are you planning on coming back to defend your title at the Peak District Challenge this year?

I plan on taking on the Lakeland 100 mile run this summer, and am looking to conquer it this time!

After this, I’ll be ready for the Gold Peak District Challenge again this year!