On Motivation and Race Tips

Conquering the Mountain
The half marathon that finishes at the crest of Hobart’s Mount Wellington (Kunanyi), the Point to Pinnacle (P2P), is said to be the world’s hardest. If you’ve participated, you have no reason to doubt the claim.
In either the run or walk categories, it’s a huge achievement to complete the formidable journey that starts at sea level and progresses through Hobart’s suburbs and up to the iconic peak.
This Girl sat down with this year’s winning walker, Laurence Hogue, and got his tips on participating in Hobart’s most popular ordeal and a new perspective on motivation.
Hogue’s credentials are sound. He completed this year’s competition in a staggering 2 hours 40 minutes and 39 seconds. Moreover, this was Hogue’s eighth P2P which he’s now won three
times (2010, 2012 and 2015) and came second in, in 2011.
The mountaineer Edmund Hillary famously said, ‘It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves’ but Hogue sees the journey and its motivations a little differently.
For Hogue the P2P is a personal journey not a competition, one where you need to understand your walking capabilities. That means you don’t walk against other people, you walk for yourself.
Hogue says the challenge is to maintain self-awareness and remember why you’re there. ‘You need to know yourself. I don’t look at other people, I look at the mountain. This year’s P2P was on such a beautiful day, you’re surrounded by nature and the beauty of the walk and the sun shining. It’s an opportunity to be at one with nature and with yourself.’
While it’s a personal journey he is single-minded on conquering the mountain.
Source, Point to Pinnacle Facebook site.
Last year’s P2P fell flat for Hogue. ‘I had a virus and didn’t enjoy the walk. This year was different. It’s like the Joan Armatrading song,’ he says, ‘Some days the bear will eat you. Some days you’ll eat the bear’.
His balanced approach is pretty simple. Listening to him speak about it, it feels like a meditation.
‘I go for optimal walking. I focus on doing it as well as I can’, he says.
As far as the actual walk goes, his advice is as good as it gets. A couple of times during our conversation he reminded me that you must walk for yourself and calibrate your walking to the conditions.
‘I’m always looking at how the gradient of the mountain is changing and I don’t push myself too hard (where the mountain is steepest). I ease off,’ says Hogue.
Source, The Mercury, http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/mt-wellington-opens-for-development-under-new-management-plan/story-fnj4f7k1-1226794665284
He approaches the journey in stages and he has started to personalise each, like the most loathed Hell’s Stairway (his name for it), the route from the Springs to the Chalet, the business end of town.
Hogue observes that this is the place where you’re most likely to blow a gasket and warns not to ‘go into the red’.
As a past walker in the P2P I know what he means. A decade ago as an inexperienced competitor, I put everything in just to get to the Chalet. Thinking the worst must be over it was demoralising to see the next 3 or 4 kilometres sweep around the side of the mountain before me. It was only the constant encouragement of my companion that kept me having a massive tanty and refusing to go on.
Hogue has only compliments for the Knight Frank P2P organisers, the warm up, water stations, the Metro buses and the comforting soup and beer back at the Casino, it is an extraordinary effort and greatly appreciated by competitors.
He has a special tip of the hat to the volunteer at the last water station two kilometers out, motivating him with AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. The music was a welcomed energizer and more than slightly ironic.
Source, http://kaikourawhalerun.co.nz/2012/08/01/treadmill-training-vs-outdoor-running/
Here’s what works for Hogue when he’s training:
  • Start training at least 2-3 months prior.
  • The P2P takes three to four hours to complete on average, so learn to walk at least three hours without stopping. To begin with you can take breaks during the three hours, but work up
    to not stopping.
  • Build in a couple of walks of the same distance.
  • Walk uphill routes because you use different muscles. Hobart has plenty of hills to practice on – Melifont Street, Mount Stuart Road, Patrick Street and Lipscombe Avenue are a few that
    come to mind.
  • Walk the most challenging leg from the Springs to the summit at least once to tune your body to the gradient.
  • Go big on protein two days beforehand – Hogue eats red meat; and there’s the obligatory carb-loading the night before.
  • Look after your body – Hogue has a massage about five days out to limber up but he’ll do another 2-3 hour walk a few days before the big event. Contrary to some advice on tapering,
    Hogue does a short 45 minute speed walk the day prior too. He says it all gets his muscles going.
  • His warm up is his walk from his Sandy Bay home to the Casino and while he’s not well disciplined in such things, he understands the benefits of stretching.


If you want to achieve a good time, he says you need to work your way to the front of the pack to get a good start. You should also choose a time you’d like to complete the race in, but don’t push too hard. Finally, keep hydrated – there’s plenty of water stations on the P2P so use them.
Source, Point to Pinnacle Facebook site.
With an inspiring legacy behind him, will Hogue do it again? ‘I always say I’ll never do it again. But the memory of your last walk matters. Last year was a terrible walk and I had a bad
memory but this year is such a good memory. I guess, never say never.’
The P2P is held every year in November. Find their webpage here.
They’re also on Facebook here.
If you liked this post, you might also like another post on achieving a physical exercise goal – From zero to my own hero.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.