GREG HAMERTON / ROBIN HOUGHTON
"My dream is to fly all the way to the Med"
|Pilot: Greg Hamerton
Birth Date: 09.20.1973
City: Crawley (England)
Job: Marketing Manager
Glider: ADVANCE Omega Xalps 3.22
Harness: SUPAIR Strike
Helmet: SUPAIR School
|Assistant: Robin Houghton
Birth Date: 06.04.1971
City: Alresford (England)
What is your greatest sporting success?
Setting a regional distance record while preparing for the X-Pyr in 2016. I flew 214km in the Western Cape mountains (South Africa) linking up the whole XC region with the freedom of a volbiv pilot.
When and why did you start paragliding?
1992, because I saw a paragliding school poster and the idea of flying captured my imagination. In the beginning, my paragliding flights did not last very long, but I've been working on improving that ever since.
What is your mountaineering experience?
Years of hiking and flying in the mountains of South Africa. Various solo volbivs in the Alps and Pyrenees. But I'm no climber: if it gets steep enough, I'll fly off it!
What does your typical training week consist of?
2h per day: morning jog or stairs (1h), lunch aerobic (15 min), evening gym (45 min), weekend jog with race backpack (2h). I work standing at my PC using a stepper, which gets me about another 500m of daily ascent. For the rest of the day I try to avoid eating everything in the house. There's usually some carnage. On the weekends my training programme gets hijacked by the good life. As for flying, I take whatever I can get, usually a day or two a week.
What are your best and worst sporting memories?
Worst: doing a half-marathon last year to test my fitness level. It's scary how fast an office-worker goes out of shape without a training programme.
Best: flying to goal in the Bornes To Fly race (2016). It was an intense, tough race for me. I wasn't in the top 10 but I didn't have to walk the last section so I felt epic!
Why did you choose X-Pyr?
It's a great challenge!
Have you participated on X-Pyr before?
2016. Hot and windy. I ended in #15 place. I wasn't fast enough to join the elite lead group who got the weather window, so it was a tough ground race for most of the course.
Have you flown in the Pyrenees before?
Yes during the X-Pyr 2016 (Hondarribia-Pena Montanesa), Solo volbiv 2015 (Hondarribia-Jaca) and Luchon (2018)
What will your strategy be during the race?
Sleep well. Eat well. Limit the groundwork, and catch every opportunity to fly.
What excites you most about X-Pyr?
Flying far over dramatic mountains, all day, every day = Heaven.
What scares you the most about the event?
Hell on the ground. Heatstroke is hard to combat. The start day can be brutal, but speed is essential
Why will he/she make a good assistant?
Robin competes in Hike-and-Fly, so he understands the demands. He's also a very good trail runner, so his advice can help me get an advantage.
Anything else you like to comment?
Watch out for some preparation videos and the race documentary on the Flybubble Channel (youtube.com/flybubbleparagliding)