Interview with Paul Brunger
The Winter Wipeout race of 2018 was a bit of a classic as local racers battled it out to see who got back to Ingram cafe first. The conditions were very wet underfoot and it would take patience, experience and determination to win the day. We’re taking a look back at the event with eventual winner Paul Brunger and how the race panned out. To win at all was a major achievement given the top five had some of the regions best trail runners amongst them: Gary Jones, Matthew Briggs, Andrew Dancer and Jamie Arkle. Let’s see what Paul had to say in response to our questions.
What was your training leading up to the event?
My training prior to the Winter Wipeout was a speed cycle. Lots of short fast powerful sessions and plenty of sprints. This was also accompanied by strength and conditioning work to compliment my running and help improve my core and leg strength.
Did you target this as a race to win?
This race fitted perfectly at the end of a training cycle as part of training for an ultra. I entered simply because I love to race and had been told about Barry’s races previously never tried once, so this was good timing. I had not targeted to win the race but knew that if all went to plan I would give myself a chance to be competitive at the very least.
I felt really good on the line and pumped for the race. I didn’t know anyone on the line apart from friends from my club. My plan was the see who takes the front and stick to their heals, wait and see how the first couple of miles pans out. I knew we were going through muddy/boggy farmers fields on our way up to Cunyan Crags so it was just about conserving the legs and not giving anymore than was need to stay in contention. By the time we got to Cunyan Crags there was me and the lad that finished eventually 3rd. We carefully navigated the rocky bit and cracked on up to Dunmoor Hill. Once past the check point there is a slight downhill before big bogs which were knee deep and you just had to wade through. The last part before summiting we entered to snow and ice where the wind chill started to hit us (it was like -7 up the top on the day). As we climbed to the flag the snow was ankle and even knee deep in places and now I was thinking about the decent as we had used each other to get to the top, now for the fun part.
This was always going to be a race of two halves, work hard to get to the top whilst trying to reserve as much energy for the race him. I tried to do this, for me the race didn’t start until we got to the summit and as soon as that happened I was off to back down to the bogs as quick as I could to see what the other lad had left in his legs early, as I knew we still had a little climb back up to Dunmore Hill. I actually went off too fast and slipped on the ice before landing in a snowy bog, getting up and back to eyeballs out. Luckily for me I managed to keep my break away from the summit and maintained a good lead until the finish, and the lovely 3 times wading through the river, thanks for that haha.
Have you been able to maintain this form since then?
I was able to maintain my form as this was part of a bigger training plan whilst training for the Hardmoors 55 a couple of months later which I managed a 2nd place finish in my first race of that length.
Paul’s winning time for the 13 mile race was 1:47 followed by Gary Jones who was just under 2 minutes behind. A great win for Paul and we look forward to welcoming him back in Jan for the 2021 Winter Wipeout.