Ultra runner Paul Giblin sets new West Highland Way record

Following his record-breaking win last year, Paul Giblin has won the 95-mile West Highland Way ultra marathon again in a new record time of 14 hours, 14 minutes and 44 seconds. RW's Rhalou caught up with him about how he prepared, what's next and how he celebrated.

You've set yet another amazing record at the West Highland Way Race, how does it feel?​

It feels good! Will probably take a few days to sink in, but I’m pretty happy with how it all went.

Did you do anything differently this year?

This year was totally different. The race was never in my schedule at all. I raced at the World Trail Champs in Annecy just three weeks before so I’d normally plan to have a little more time to recover before such a long race. I only made the decision to do it a few days before the start.

Was it harder or easier than last year?

In a lot of ways it was harder. From the first few steps I was on my own, whereas last year it was a close race for much of the day. It can be a lonely place leading the race and watching the clock for 95 miles. Takes a lot of concentration and focus.

Any challenging moments?

Last year I had a bad fall early in the race coming off the first descent, so I was determined not to repeat that (at least until later on!). The biggest challenge really came at the last main checkpoint where I was more than ten minutes down on my previous record, and I had 15 miles (and a few tough climbs) to turn it around.

You started running full time this year, how did this affect your training? Was it easier now you are more focused on your running?

It would have been easier had the race been in my schedule. I would have run my biggest weeks close to the race, completed race specific sessions and tapered for a week or so to ensure I was fresh and rested. But I had been racing instead, then trying to recover from that and before I knew it, I was on the startline in Milngavie at 1am. So I’ve been better prepared! Focus has never been an issue but being full time certainly has its benefits. I’ve also enjoyed the coaching and I’ve been inspired by the athletes I’ve been working with.

How did you celebrate your achievements?

Celebrate? Hahaha... are you joking? I had a couple of ice lollies after I finished,­ does that count? It’s pretty low­-key after the race. I had a bite to eat with my folks and then slept in my van in the sports centre car­ park. The prize-­giving happens on the Sunday where all finishers are presented with a crystal goblet in front of all the runners, support crews and organisers. It’s an emotional event and you can sense how much effort has gone into every single finish. Those goblets are earned!

What's next on the agenda?

I have UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc) in August, so I’m heading out to Chamonix soon to prepare for that. I’m also running for GB again at the World 100K Champs, this time in Holland. Two very different races.