BOX international runner Damian Hall is already looking to the future after almost completing the perfect race in one of the most prestigious events on the ultra trail world tour in France, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

Hall, who is a member of Corsham Running Club, admitted that he ticked off four of his five goals in the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc Hall as he completed the single-stage 166k race, incorporating almost 10,000m of climbing – higher than climbing Mt Everest – in a time of 22hours 32seconds.

“I finished first Brit, first veteran over 40, effectively improved my time by two hours and finished in my highest ever position of 12th overall,” said Hall.

“But coming 12th has left me frustrated because my other ultimate goal was to make the top 10.

"In fact I was 10th about three-quarters into the race but I just ran out of steam, whether because I didn’t get in enough calories or I had just run a bit too hard I am not sure.

“But you know I achieved four out of my goals so I am still very, very happy with the way I ran and before the race I would have taken 12th definitely.”

Almost all the runners ahead of Hall were younger, single, full-time trail runners who live and train in the mountains whereas in contrast Hall has to juggle family and work commitments in his daily life.

That makes his 12th place even more amazing from a field of 2,537 starters, who braved wet, cold and misty conditions.

“To be honest the conditions suited me better than the hot weather of recent years because they are exactly what I have been running in while training in the Brecon Beacons,” added Hall.

“I was also an outsider this year as I was only ranked 84th and being the underdog suits me. Of course it will be different next year if I decide to run it again.

“It is nagging me that I didn’t quite have the perfect race by not finishing in the top ten but maybe that perfect race just isn’t possible and may never happen so we’ll have to see about 2018.”

Hall wasn’t the only Wiltshire runner to enjoy his weekend in the Alps. Trowbridge-based Anna-Marie Watson, who is forging quite a reputation in the ultra distance world, enjoyed a startling debut in the event by finishing seventh woman in 90th place overall.

“I trained along the route a few times as I have an apartment in Chamonix but never thought the time would come when I would race the UTMB and do so well,” said Watson.

“I cannot believe it. I am feeling on cloud nine!”

Watson completed the event in a time of 28hours 37mins 16secs to finish fifth British runner.