Ultra-running, while viewed a little as the domain of the ‘older’ generation has seen a fair influx of younger runners in the last two to three years. Indeed, it could be argued that quite a bit of Ultra168’s focus has been on this shift and swing. However, we can’t ignore the fact that within our ranks, lies one of the fastest grand-poppies in Australia, and there’s a huge amount us younger guys can learn from characters like Darrel.
On a personal front, I attribute quite a large proportion of my recent change in fortunes in the 100 mile event to Darrel. From Vizey, I’ve learnt what it means to train hard and commit, from Darrel I’ve learnt just what it means to be mentally tough and to finish Australia’s toughest 100 miler. One of the reasons I wanted to pace him in GNW 2010 was to see what it took over those last 42kms of the course – how he pushed and drove himself to finish. I wanted to see what made this fella tick and thus, in some respects, earn my stripes.
Additionally, and in demand to calls from some of the readers to understand just what motivates him, we’ve turned the tables on Darrel and asked him a few questions about why he does what he does, and just how far he thinks he can go.
What inspired you to start running later in life?
My running came about from the necessity to get healthy again. Back in 2005 my weight grew to 112kg, which resulted into some minor health issues. After a discussion with a close friend, I decided to join a training camp. One session a week soon led to five sessions a week, until 18 months later I decided to run my first event. The B2B is an easy 12kms on the Central Coast, next step was the Sydney half Marathon and then it was the Great North Walk 100km’s. I ran the GNW 100km’s in 19 hours of soul-searching pain (102kg’s) and from there it has grown into something that is a big part of my life.
What keeps you motivated?
I find motivation fairly easy as I run and train with some close friends as well as getting out by myself. I love the solitude of running through the hills. Usually I don’t have time restrictions, so a weekend run could be 2 to 8 hours depending where I am up to with my training. It is easy to be motivated if you love what you are doing.
Do you think your training is different compared to some of the younger guys?
Wow I wish I knew, then I would know where I could make up time. Seriously, my training has changed a bit over the last 12 months. I have cut back a little on my overall monthly km’s, but try and do a bit more high intensity. Mostly my training is done with my Ultra168 buddies, so I train with relatively younger guys anyway. Not thinking about this to much, but I am sure this is one of the reasons it has been fairly easy to make some decent improvements over the last couple of years.
Is age a barrier for the ‘older guys’?
Well I don’t think so, I think we all can make excuses and find excuses in not achieving realistic goals. In some instances I find it easier as not having a young family, it does allow me a certain amount of freedom to get on the trail when I feel the need.
How long do you think you’ll keep running for?
Nice question. I have always said I will run until I don’t get that excitement that I have for the last 4 years. I still have some achievable goals which involve some longer trail multi-day runs so I don’t see I will be packing away the shoes just yet.
When do you think you’ll peak/have peaked?
I hope I haven’t peaked. I would like to improve in some of the areas of my running. A real benefit of running with younger guys is they are always modifying, improving and bring different training methods to the table. I will make some small changes to my training in 2012, so I would like to think I could do a little better but we will know this time next year.