Paul Giblin is a household name in the British ultra running community. From inside this close-knit group of hardy trail runners there is a temptation to put him on a pedestal as a sponsored athlete designed for ultra running; loving life every minute on the trails he runs all over the world. A happy and care-free life.
Talking to Paul reminded me that these type of judgements are rarely true. They are images at home in the Instagram community, not the living, breathing reality of life in this world. Paul has had his own struggles, and being a sponsored athlete (Compressport, Nathan, Leki) and finishing in the top 10 of Western States doesn’t, unfortunately, bring the key to lifelong happiness and wellbeing.
We talk about the changes Paul has made in his life to become a pro runner, basing himself in mountain communities around the world, and the benefits and challenges this can bring, as well as his toughest racing experiences.
Recently Paul spearheaded an amazing awareness-raiser for speaking up about mental health issues. The Pyllon Endeavour was a 192-mile back to back relay along the West Highland Way run by a team of elite athletes, including himself. It wasn’t about the running or even solely the fundraising (although the team has raised an astonishing £21K so far, still open to anyone who can give) but the online and real-time conversations started about the stuff that goes on in our heads. Paul spoke to a number of athletes who have faced challenges with their mental health, sharing their stories on his blog. There was an incredible multiplier effect, with friends and community sharing experiences online.
It was clear to me that as well as pushing his own potential in the outdoors, and exploring what his body, mind and spirit can do, a big part of the purpose Paul has found through his transition to elite trail running has been wrapped up in the value of human connection. He has started a truly amazing community in Scotland and around the world connected to his Pyllon venture – which is now so much more than a coaching business.
Go show Paul your love on the socials and by good old-fashioned word of mouth. Enjoy series three and your weekend folks! Share with a friend for me!