Hugh Hunter

Nickname: Heff, after the great man himself Hugh Hefner (first name is where the similarities end – he had more money than me ☺)
Workplace: I change jobs more often than people change their running shoes. Currently the Director of Safety for the Independent Safety Assessment of the new Melbourne Tunnel Project
PB’s: 5k: Just under 15 minutes (more than 34 years ago), 10k: Round about 32 mins (again years ago), HM: 1:16, M: 3:08 (note that since 1984 and before joining the milers I had not run anything less than a marathon – including training runs (if I ever did any) which were at least 42 km)
Best Running Experience: Lots of these 1) Paris to London – Paris Marathon then keep running to get to London in time for the London Marathon. 2) Yukon Arctic Ultra (330 miles, temperature pushing down to -30, pulling a sled and sleeping outside by digging a grave and sleeping in it) 3) 3 Marathons in 3 Countries in 3 days (Berne, Frankfurt and Dublin) – interviewed by Irish TV, Radio and Newspapers and brought out just before the race started and introduced to the runners. Just to put me in my place, they then mentioned that an Irish Runner – Tony Mangan has just broken the 48 hour treadmill world record, had a fried Irish breakfast and was now starting the marathon along with me (puts your achievements into perspective) – I met Tony Manan again last year at the Coburg 24 hour race (it’s a small world)
Worst Running Experience: Badwater 135 Mile Race in Death Valley. Trained like a Kenyan, dropped about 15 kilograms and was flying – the problem was it was pushing 50 degrees and my support crew were non runners – my boss and his secretary (great planning). After taking the lead in the early group I was caught by the eventual winner who was trying for a course record in under 24 hours and I was trying for a sub 48 hours. Anyway we ran together for a bit. This guy ran through to dehydration, finished and jumped in an ambulance, was taken to the hospital rehydrated then back for the winners ceremony. I collapsed with dehydration about 80km then stopped for a couple of hours, did another 10km then collapsed again. Around 36 hours before I could go to the toilet as I was just soaking in water and sweating it out. Disappointed and drove to San Francisco and did the San Francisco Marathon (it was tough as I could barely walk) – just Dean Karnazes and myself did both – although he finished both
Racing Shoes: Anything with a sole – I have about 50 pairs in various stages of disarray – but you cannot ask a Scotsman to part with his shoes (or money to buy a new pair).
Years Running: I ran a lot at school – was quick in the mile. Post university I ran up to about 1984 and did some quick 5km, 10km, cross country races. Went freelance, chased money and gave up running and did not run or really exercise again until my 40th birthday in May 2000 and did an impressive 89 minute 10km in Barcelona. Disgusted with myself I entered a Swiss Mountain Marathon (Jungfrau Marathon) 3 month later and did 5:50, and I then just kept running. Since 2000 and until I joined the milers I threw in about 230 marathons/ultras – noting that before the Milers I have never trained (well my only training was a 4 hour Sunday run) – just run and hoped for the best and ignore the pain
Why Do You Run: I enjoy exercise – it is addictive
Favourite Training Session: If I am honest I hate training. Give me a race any day. The Milers is really the first time I have trained (since before the early 80s when I trained a lot for short distances) and I sort of enjoy it – not often that I would get to run with the class of runners in the Milers – and the support from the Milers makes it easy to train (trying to catch the rest of you). I sometimes do a training run with my friend who came around 8th in one of the first Melbourne Marathons with a 2:24 – and much to his frustration we now run at the same speed.
Hobbies: I have a boring life – I love work and when I don’t I change job until I love work (probably why I changed job 3 times last year). And I love exercise – anything from running, karate, badminton, yoga, etc. So apart from work and exercise I do nothing else.
Most Important Thing To Me: Wife (Janet) and Daughter (Holly)
Biggest Dislike: Arrogance and bullies (my biggest flaw in life is not being able to stop myself from bullying bullies)
Favourite Movie: Forest Gump – I just love the running part
Favourite Music: I love anything from Opera to Heavy Rock and everything in between
Favourite Food: Fish, rice or pasta – I don’t really eat anything else
Favourite Drink: Stop laughing – yes there is a Scotsman who does not drink alcohol and it is me. Favourite drink is water
Favourite Event: I love the Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland – used to be a big social event where my running group took over most of the hostels and had a good weekend (used to drink in those days).
Dream Occupation: I enjoy what I do – and when I don’t I change to some other aspect of engineering that I might enjoy (I change job more regularly than I should)
Most Admired Athlete: 1) Paula Radcliffe – I ran in London when she broke the world record and she passed me going in the other direction and was flying. 2) Heile Gebrselassie – I stood 1 metre behind this guy at the start line when he broke the world record in Berlin and I thought I would sprint to see if I could make up the metre and at least run with the lead group for 100m (I did this in Bonn and kept up with the lead group for 1 km – much to their shock to see a fat guy in a kilt in the leading group). Anyway I have never seen anyone as fast as Heile Gebrselassie in a Marathon
Little known fact about me: Aged 11 I played chess a lot to a quite high level (including playing in an ex-pupils chess club in another school. Highlight was at age 11 playing the Scottish Chess Champion – lowlight was that he wiped the floor with me.
Life Lowpoint: Being up for anything I turned up at the Scottish Highland games in a kilt and they were short of 1 person in the strongman competition. So I joined in and threw the caber (4.5m tree weighing 160kg), high jump throwing a rock over a bar and lots of strange things like that. In the atlas stones I lifted about 140kg and tried to lift it onto an oil drum and ripped 2 discs out of my back in front of the main stand full of people. Now that is pain and about 8 months of trying to stand upright.
Life Highlight: Have worked and lived in an awful lot of countries – North America, most of mainland Europe and Scandinavia, Australia, Middle East. Love travelling and have seen an awful lot of the world. Run marathons all over the world.
Three Things You Want To Do Before You Die: 1) Only 1 really which I still intend to do – which is to do a sub 3 hour marathon. Been ahead of schedule a number of times and just struggled in the last 10km – I have never really trained for this and with some training it should be doable 2) I wanted to climb Mount Everest – its not really climbing but it is a decent challenge – if I had a spare $25k I would probably have a go 3) I nearly entered the cross Atlantic rowing race. 3500 miles from the canary islands to the Caribbean, doing it as a solo (takes about 3 months). The cost (around $100k) and the fact that I can just about swim and the fact that the wife would kill me if I spent that amount of money on a race (with no income for 3 months) – so I dropped the idea
Favourite Quote: Pain is just weakness leaving the body – that just about says it all. You can push yourself through hell and back if you can ignore pain. I once did a 100 mile race from Glasgow to the Scottish highland and after 50 miles I had no skin left on the sole of 1 foot. Only time I took pain killers but just ignored the pain anyway and finished in 27 hours. When I got back home I was trying to walk to the shops the next day and a woman stopped to help me across the road. I could just about walk for the next 3 weeks. In saying that, after the arctic race myself and 2 other friends in the race were heading to the swimming pool for some recovery in the water and were overtaken walking to the swimming pool by a woman with a walking frame. Its amazing the punishment your body can take.