Together with his brother Charlie, Patrick Hill is one of the co-founders of Charles Marlow. As our Triathlon for Charity to support people in Mallorca and Ibiza struggling as a result of the pandemic gets underway, Patrick reflects on why he runs and how much he misses running in Mallorca.
Thanks to my Dad, a self-confessed sports nut, running and everything that goes along with it has always been a big part of my life.
We moved to California when I was about six and there was so much competitive sport going on, I was in heaven twice over. I was in basketball, baseball, roller hockey and soccer teams all at once and went to swimming/diving camps in the summer. I’m also one of those strange people who enjoyed cross country running at school.
I’m vividly reminded of this whenever I run on the Paseo Maritimo in Palma. The combination of bright sunshine, the sea, palm trees and roller bladers reminds me of Southern California where the weather was usually perfect – like here.
Running in the Tramuntana Mountains around Deià is a bit more challenging. Everywhere you turn there’s another hill and a steep bend, but the unbelievable scenery makes up for that. If I get the chance to run in Deià in the morning, it’s the most perfect start to the day I can think of.
My running really went up a gear when I met my partner Niki. She’d run a few marathons, something I’d always had in the back of my mind to do one day. We started doing longer runs together and around four years ago I entered the Rotterdam Marathon, my first. Since then, I’ve done the Manchester Marathon twice.
I’ve also run a half marathon in Mallorca in October 2017, which was a challenge as it was a hot day.
Mind you, the year before was even worse. I didn’t even make it to the start line. This has gone down in history for me and my friends as ‘Pollo Gate’.
The story of Pollo Gate
I was due to run with two friends from England. We were staying in an apartment in Santa Catalina, the especially hip, international area of Palma. The day before the race, we picked up a roast chicken from the market and had some for lunch on the roof terrace. We stayed on the terrace all day soaking up the rays with the chicken still on the table.
Early evening rolled around and one of my friends, a keen amateur chef, made dinner for us. This included chicken leftovers from lunch. Not a good idea.
Two of us who’d eaten the chicken spent all night tag-teaming into the toilet. The only one of us who ran in the half marathon was the guy who didn’t touch the chicken.
My running regime right now
Sadly, thanks to the virus and restrictions, I’m having to do my running and contribute to our Triathlon for Charity in the UK and not Mallorca.
Even though it meant investing in a chest torch so I could get up at six AM and keep to my regime, I’ve carried on running, rain or snow – something I never thought I’d do. I’ve even become one of those crazy people who loves those eerily quiet, beautiful early mornings when no-one’s around.
My running regime varies. Up until recently, I would go out three to four times a week for around five or six miles. But one of the goals I set myself at the start of the year was specifically to try and run a half marathon in under 90 minutes. I’d always liked the idea but never quite managed it. My other goal is to run my personal best at 10k.
Up until now, my training plan is to go out and run as fast as I can then try to beat that next time, which is not productive or sustainable.
Now, for the first time ever, I have an online coach. I told him my goal and when I wanted to achieve it and he’s reverse engineered a 14-week programme that I’m now following in blind faith.
We share a Google doc and every Sunday he drops in a plan for the next seven days. The thing I’ve enjoyed most about this is the variety. He mixes up the plan between longer slow runs, hill runs and interval sprints of various times and distance.
Stats about my runs like heart rate, speed and so on are saved in the cloud where my coach can check them and give me pointers based on what he sees. It’s a nice lockdown solution.
I’m definitely getting faster so, hopefully, I’ll complete the goal I set myself in seven to eight weeks and I’ll need to set myself a new challenge.
This will probably involve some longer, endurance running. I really like the idea of trail running, which Mallorca is perfect for. Swimming and running events in nature look very cool.
I’ve seen events where you’re tied to a fellow competitor and you run up and down mountains and swim across lakes together. I’m looking for a buddy to be tied to. Perhaps my brother Charlie…
Performance apps and soundtracks
Nowadays, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to monitoring our performance. I use a Garmin smartwatch which syncs to Garmin Online. I also use Strava, the activity tracker that has social media features. This is also what the team is using for our Triathlon for Charity.
For a soundtrack, I like to mix up what I’m listening to. It might be music – something uplifting like indie or house – or it might be a podcast. For longer, slower runs, I’ll often listen to an audio book. I’m currently listening to Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, founder of the Patagonia brand. It’s inspiring listening.
Some simple tips for anyone starting out
For me, the biggest mistake people make is seeing other people running, thinking ‘that looks good’, going to the park without any preparation and starting to run. They run too fast, get too tired in a couple of minutes and are completely put off by the whole idea.
The key thing is that you like running. If you enjoy your first training session, you’re more likely to want to train again.
I’d suggest starting with a slow jog, barely faster than a walk, that enables you to keep up a conversation with a running buddy. Do this for five or so minutes and go home. Keep on doing so regularly, every day if you can, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you progress to running a little faster and longer.
Please support our Triathlon for Charity
We feel we have a duty to Mallorca and Ibiza and are constantly looking at how we can give back to them.
Mallorca and Ibiza are home for the team and they’re where we have a business. They give us so much beauty, spiritual nourishment and fulfilment and we feel that, as with any relationship, living harmoniously means giving something back to these islands. Also, the more we help nourish and sustain them, the more we receive.
Right now, the pandemic is having a profound impact on the lives of many people on these islands, our friends and community. As a team, we felt it was important to do what we could to raise awareness and funds for those organisations helping out on the front line.
We chose a Triathlon for Charity because we all love different kinds of sport and it’s a pleasure to run, swim or cycle in the great Balearic outdoors. Or, in my case, to dream of it at six in the morning on a rainy London morning.
Once more, please do check out our Triathlon for Charity. Anything you can do to help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.