Paul decided to jump straight in at the deep end with his running, entering his first half marathon only months after starting running and now tackling tough ultra marathons. He talks to Sundried about life as a plant-based runner.
Have you always been into sport?
Not really! I played a lot of football, rugby, cricket and enjoyed running and athletics as a youngster but running has only come back into my life in the past 2 and a half years. It has helped me so much with my health, both physically and mentally.
What made you decide to enter the world of ultra running?
My “toe-dipper” is on November 11th 2018. It is a 30-mile race in the South Wales valleys and Brecon Beacons – you can imagine the hills!
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
The Cardiff Half will always be a special race for me. It was the first event I ever entered, skipping 5k and 10k events and going straight for it in October 2016 after only starting running 3 months earlier. I ran it again 4 days ago and smashed my PB, coming in at 1:33. The crowds and atmosphere there are just amazing.
And your proudest achievement?
Becoming a Sundried Brand Ambassador! Other than that, completing my first marathon. Running my first ultra marathon is going to be a catalyst for me to run more challenging races.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
No disasters as yet, but the Merthyr Tydfil marathon in October 2017 was definitely my toughest race. It was my first marathon and I finished in 3:39, a week after achieving a personal best at the Cardiff Half. As I crossed the line, I had nothing left in the tank and was a slight shade of green!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I got injured earlier this year whilst training for the Newport Marathon. I was gutted at the time as I ended up missing 3 races in total. But I started to focus more on diet, switching to plant-based, and rebuilding my fitness. Once I was fit again, I booked the ultra and was feeling stronger and fitter than ever.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
“Listen to your body”. You know when you’re injured, don’t force it because of a particular race you have booked. If you do, you wont be on the start line! Rest when rest is needed.
What are your goals for 2019?
I have no events booked as yet, but there are a few ultra marathons that I have my eye on starting with the RunWalkCrawl Brecon to Cardiff 43 miler in February. Last year it was -4 degrees Celsius and snowing at the start – challenge accepted! It’ll also keep me focused through the dark, wet and cold winter months
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I love Instagram. People’s journeys inspire me, whether it's weight-loss, mental health transformation, or the sheer mileage some people put in. It definitely keeps me grounded and focused that there is definitely more this body can do than I’m doing currently
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
Having switched to a plant-based diet early in 2018, purely for health reasons, I started to look more into the ethical and environmental side of veganism too. When I came across Sundried, I just had to work with you guys. The Grande Casse Running Jacket is made from recycled bottles, how cool is that! I also love the Grand Casse training hoodie.