Cirencester AC athlete Hindson comes through 40-hour epic
ANDY HINDSON admits to a ‘Steve Redgrave moment’ after completing the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, the world’s most prestigious and difficult foot race.
“I remember saying after I had finished that if anyone hears me considering anything similar again, they can shoot me,” said Cirencester AC athlete Hindson.
However, just days later and still nursing an extremely sore shin, he is considering ‘another itch to scratch’. But more of that later Andy set off along with 2,300 other intrepid souls on the 105-mile journey to circumnavigate Mont-Blanc in the Alps, starting at Chamonix in France and edging into both Italy and Switzerland, before ending back at Chamonix.
The anti-clockwise route includes an ascent of almost 32,000 feet, hence the need for ‘walking poles’.
Setting off at 4.30pm on Friday afternoon, he finished at 9.09 on Sunday morning in a time of 40hr 38min 39sec, which earned him 818th place.
During the 40 hours he went without a wink of sleep and was sustained mainly on a diet of salty noodle soup at the various well-organised checkpoints.
“I had been advised to take only a 20-minute catnap if it was necessary because if you go under for any longer you feel so rough when you come round and start to run again,” said Andy.
“In the end, I did it without any sleep but I can see how sleep deprivation is used in torture. I was having hallucinations and so many random, surreal thoughts.
“At one point, I looked down at the white lines in the road and thought I could see wonderful filigree patterns instead. Having pulled myself together, I took another peek down and saw the same patterns.”
Hindson had earned the right to take part in the UTMB by accumulating qualifying points at the 100-mile Lakeland in the Lake District and The Fellsman, a 61-mile endurance test in Yorkshire.
But his training basically took place around Cirencester Park and the less-than-Alpine hills around Sapperton.
“There were lots of uncomfortable moments on Mont-Blanc, one in the first 20km,” said Andy. “It was 30 degrees and my left leg did not feel good. Luckily, that seemed to correct itself.
“After 80km when I was confident of finishing, both my shins started to hurt but in the final five miles I seemed to get a real surge of adrenalin, passing lots of runners, and my finishing position was my best throughout the whole race.
“Of course, it was deeply satisfying to finish, although I did have my Redgrave moment at the end.”
Andy, who started a new job in marketing services with Cheltenham firm Blue Sheep the day after returning from his epic run, will be 50 next year – and he is already thinking of something special to mark the occasion and top his UTMB experience.
“There is the Lavaredo Trail in Italy’s Dolomites,” he said, “while I am also taken by the prospect of the Western States endurance run in Colorado, a high altitude event of about 100 miles – that’s if my wife will let me!”