“93% Harry Potter and 7% Bear Grylls”. That’s how Paul Watkins’ website describes him.
There are lots of other labels that could be applied too; Pharmacist, mountaineer, full-time dad, ultramarathon runner, motivational speaker and property developer.
However, the one label that doesn’t sit comfortably with Paul is “athlete”, which is difficult to appreciate when you consider his list of achievements.
Paul has climbed major peaks on all 7 continents and competed in some of toughest ultramarathon runners in Australia and the world.
Most recently, Paul competed in the 6633 Arctic Ultra; a 614km/380mi self-supported race in the Arctic Circle in temperatures ranging from -20˚ to -40˚ celsius (-4˚ to -4˚F) with an 80% drop-out rate.
And not only did he finish the race, he won!
There’s an interesting theme reoccurring through much of Paul’s story; he’s often “failed” on the first go.
He ‘failed’ on his first attempt to summit Denali (the highest mountain in North America).
I first met Paul in Argentina when we were on the same expedition to climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America - and also his second attempt to do so.
And his victorious race at the 6633 Arctic Ultra in 2019 was his second attempt after he DNF’d 250km into this first attempt in 2017.
And we discuss how on earth a self-confessed nerd won one of the toughest, longest, windiest and coldest ultramarathons in the world.
Paul is a great storyteller and someone who has thought deeply about what it takes to bring the best out of yourself, and others.