The half marathon that
finishes at the crest of Hobart’s Mount Wellington (Kunanyi), the Point to
Pinnacle (P2P), is said to be the world’s hardest. If you’ve participated, you
have no reason to doubt the claim.
In either the run or walk
categories, it’s a huge achievement to
complete the formidable journey that starts at sea level and progresses through
Hobart’s suburbs and up to the iconic peak.
This Girl sat down with
this year’s winning walker, Laurence Hogue, and got his tips on participating
in Hobart’s most popular ordeal and a new perspective on motivation.
Hogue’s credentials are
sound. He completed this year’s competition in a staggering 2 hours 40 minutes
and 39 seconds. Moreover, this was Hogue’s eighth P2P which he’s now won three
times (2010, 2012 and 2015) and came second in, in 2011.
The mountaineer Edmund Hillary
famously said, ‘It’s not the mountain we
conquer, but ourselves’ but Hogue sees the journey and its motivations a
For Hogue the P2P is a
personal journey not a competition, one where you need to understand your
walking capabilities. That means you don’t walk against other people, you walk
Hogue says the challenge is
to maintain self-awareness and remember why you’re there. ‘You need to know yourself. I don’t look at other people, I look at the
mountain. This year’s P2P was on such a beautiful day, you’re surrounded by
nature and the beauty of the walk and the sun shining. It’s an opportunity to
be at one with nature and with yourself.’
While it’s a
personal journey he is single-minded on conquering the mountain.
|Source, Point to Pinnacle Facebook site.|
Last year’s P2P fell flat
for Hogue. ‘I had a virus and didn’t
enjoy the walk. This year was different. It’s like the Joan Armatrading song,’
he says, ‘Some days the bear will eat
you. Some days you'll eat the bear’.
His balanced approach is
pretty simple. Listening to him speak about it, it feels like a meditation.
‘I go for optimal walking. I focus on doing it as
well as I can’, he says.
As far as the actual walk
goes, his advice is as good as it gets. A couple of times during our conversation he reminded me that you must walk for yourself and
calibrate your walking to the conditions.
‘I’m always looking at how the gradient of the
mountain is changing and I don’t push myself too hard (where the mountain is
steepest). I ease off,’ says Hogue.
|Source, The Mercury, http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/mt-wellington-opens-for-development-under-new-management-plan/story-fnj4f7k1-1226794665284|
He approaches the journey
in stages and he has started to personalise each, like the most loathed Hell’s Stairway (his name for it), the route from the Springs to the
Chalet, the business end of town.
Hogue observes that this is
the place where you’re most likely to blow a gasket and warns not to ‘go into
As a past walker in the P2P
I know what he means. A decade ago as an inexperienced competitor, I put
everything in just to get to the Chalet. Thinking the worst must be over it was
demoralising to see the next 3 or 4 kilometres sweep around the side of the
mountain before me. It was only the constant encouragement of my companion that
kept me having a massive tanty and refusing to go on.
Hogue has only compliments
for the Knight Frank P2P organisers, the warm up, water stations, the Metro
buses and the comforting soup and beer back at the Casino, it is an
extraordinary effort and greatly appreciated by competitors.
He has a special tip of the
hat to the volunteer at the last water station two kilometers out, motivating
him with AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. The
music was a welcomed energizer and more than slightly ironic.
Here’s what works for Hogue
when he’s training:
- Start training at least 2-3
- The P2P takes three to four
hours to complete on average, so learn to walk at least three hours without
stopping. To begin with you can take breaks during the three hours, but work up
to not stopping.
- Build in a couple of walks
of the same distance.
- Walk uphill routes because
you use different muscles. Hobart has plenty of hills to practice on – Melifont
Street, Mount Stuart Road, Patrick Street and Lipscombe Avenue are a few that
come to mind.
- Walk the most challenging
leg from the Springs to the summit at least once to tune your body to the gradient.
- Go big on protein two days beforehand
– Hogue eats red meat; and there’s the obligatory carb-loading the night before.
- Look after your body –
Hogue has a massage about five days out to limber up but he’ll do another 2-3
hour walk a few days before the big event. Contrary to some advice on tapering,
Hogue does a short 45 minute speed walk the day prior too. He says it all gets
his muscles going.
- His warm up is his walk
from his Sandy Bay home to the Casino and while he’s not well disciplined in
such things, he understands the benefits of stretching.
If you want to achieve a
good time, he says you need to work your way to the front of the pack to get a
good start. You should also choose a time you’d like to complete the race in,
but don’t push too hard. Finally, keep hydrated –
there’s plenty of water stations on the P2P so use them.
|Source, Point to Pinnacle Facebook site.|
With an inspiring legacy
behind him, will Hogue do it again?
‘I always say I’ll never do it again. But the
memory of your last walk matters. Last year was a terrible walk and I had a bad
memory but this year is such a good memory. I guess, never say never.’
The P2P is held every year
in November. Find their webpage here.
They're also on Facebook here.
If you liked this post, you
might also like another post on achieving a physical exercise goal – From zeroto my own hero.