Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Melbourne Runner Profile: Gregor Hartnell

Gregor is a funny colourful character in the trail running community, and is one of my favourite people whom I first met at the 2013 Surf Coast Century 100KM. A few weeks ago during the Christmas break, he took a few of us scrambling up a rocky trail (which we have now named it as Gregor's Twist) and then some more.

He has graciously indulged me in this quick interview which means, I'll probably have to pay buy him a beer soon. ;D
Running along Mt Bogong in December 2013.

1. Have you always been a runner since your school days? Or were you more of a football/rugby/cricket kind of guy?

Never was a runner until recently – a footy cricket kinda guy!

2. You mentioned that you started running since 2009/2010. What made you decide to pick up running?

Like probably a lot of people, I started running to lose weight and slowly progressed from 1km to 2km to a 5km to a 10km and so on….. I guess I just caught the bug!

3. From there on, you jumped straight into the world of ultra running. Was it because you preferred the scenery which longer distances provided or you were inspired by someone/something? :)

After I finished my first marathon (Melbourne) in 2008 I just couldn’t believe I had run that far and didn’t collapse or die! I guess from there I thought…. I wonder how far I can push myself. I always felt I was mentally strong and not blessed with speed so that’s how it all started.

4. Congrats on completing your first event for 2014, the Bogong 2 Hotham 64KM on 12th January 2014! How was it?

Well unfortunately it's not congrats as I didn’t make it past the 35km checkpoint cutoff for B2H. I hadn’t really trained much in the last couple of months and wasn’t in the best condition but wowsers, that was a course and then some…. I’d love to go back next year and try again.

5. Are there any major events you're looking forward to for 2014?

Buffalo Stampede for sure – it's going to be an epic brutal race! Also my only DNF from last year was Surf Coast Century 100KM… 

6. What do you think is the hardest thing about ultra running?

I think the hardest thing about ultra running is getting through the mind games. When it's 9pm at night in the Blue Mountains and you’ve been running for 14 hours….. tired… cold… aching… you have to find a way to push through. 

Gregor running in TNF100 2013.
Photo credit: aurora images.
7. You've ran TNF100 Australia twice so far in 2012 and 2013. Do you have any advice to runners who will be doing it for the first time this year?

I love doing the TNF 100. I am not back this year but want to go back 2015 and get a silver belt buckle. A few things come to mind for advice:

1. Practice with full gear as you got a lot to carry and you need to get used to it. 
2. Practice running at night… unless you are sub 12 hours you are going to be running in the night in the middle of nowhere. 
3. Don’t get caught up in the excitement and go out too fast 
4. Have fun – it really is such a great race 
5. If you can get a support crew to cheer you on it really helps. I have had my wife, Alexa, come to Sydney both years and is always at the checkpoints to support me!

8. When you're not running on weekends, you can be found ...

Walking our dog Archie around Richmond, eating breakfast out and lots of coffee… or at the football in winter! 

The awesome Mr and Mrs Hartnell. :)
9. What's your favourite ice-cream flavour? Sorry, I thought I'd just throw in a random non-running related question. :D

Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food! 

10. Do you believe in carbo-loading before an event? What is your favourite meal?

Not really…..maybe middle of the week leading up to race, but I go for something fairly light like chicken and salad the day before. In saying that, a pizza is always good… but a small one. J

Thanks so much for your time, Gregor. All the best in Buffalo Stampede and other events, I'll be rooting for ya! Love and hugs to Alexa and Archie! :)

Other runner profiles:
The Wild Wombat Boys - Tim Kacprzak and Isaac Walker
Jon Lim
Dion and Liberty Milne
Caroline Bertrand
Kirsten Maplestone
Erin Vaughan and dad, Tony
Chris Roberts
Matt Hosking

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