Meet Tom Hilton
November 17, 2014
Tom Hilton, an ElliptiGO rider from Preston, Lancashire, recently shared the fact that he is a distance runner who does all of his training on the ElliptiGO – and still runs in road races on the weekends. 68-Year-Old Tom Hilton Explains his ‘ElliptiGO-Only’ Running-Training Experiment, below:
“33 years ago, in 1981, I was sucked into the running boom when a work colleague ran the Bolton Marathon. He was not an elite athlete or even a member of an athletics club and, although he played park football, he was just a ‘normal’ person. So, although I was a long way from being an athlete, he was not so far removed from me! That was it: I would train to be a runner.”
From 1981 Tom ran many road races and centred his life around his running. But after getting married at the age of 39 he realised that his participation in running events dwindled away, as he lost focus on his health and fitness priorities and got buried in work and family life. But after his retirement he re-joined a running club and started doing road races again.
“To celebrate my 65th year in 2011, I wanted to complete 65 races – but got carried away and did 95! In 2012 I decided to do my 12th marathon (my first marathon for 22 years)! However, in June 2013, an assessment by my physiotherapist showed: “Lumbar vertebrae L3 loose, left iliac slightly tilted; Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, with the imbalance of compensating muscles producing lower back pain and defensive locking of the hip flexors and hamstrings.”
“This lower back injury was probably brought about by bad posture and all the long-slow-distance ‘plodding’ I had done in an extensive build up to my marathon. This didn’t just affect my running: getting out of my seat after a 30 minute bus journey – or even sneezing or coughing – produced severe pain!
I had seen the feature on the ElliptiGO in Runners’ World magazine and had determined that I would take the hire-to-buy option once I was ready to increase my training and use it in place of my long runs. However, I saw Shane Cliffe riding an ElliptiGO at a local race, I had a ride round the car park on Shane’s ElliptiGO and decided to buy one from ElliptiGO Preston. I also have a road bike, but I’ve never been a cyclist.
“The ElliptiGO was easy to ride and, after a couple of short outings, I took it round Preston’s Guild Wheel (21-mile) cycling circuit where I found that, although it was not as fast as my road bike, it made mincemeat of some of the gradients I had struggled with on the road bike! Pretty soon, riding the ElliptiGO had taken over from all my training runs as I continued to improve in successive running races – with the occasional 5k parkrun PB as well.
“Of course, I can’t categorically say that the ElliptiGO has made a major contribution to the recovery from my back problem. What cannot be disputed is the effect it has had building my strength, endurance and fitness. I can now midfoot strike again, when I remember to do so (I still fall into the habit of the ‘shuffling’ I had developed in order to save my back when I was injured)!
I have now lost more than 14 pounds in weight and my blood pressure has dropped into the “safe zone.” No more long slow runs as I look to the ElliptiGO for all my training – as I strive towards my goal of overwriting my fastest times for all distances set this millennium…”
We would like to wish Tom all the best with his continued training and his general health. We still recommend that runners who use the ElliptiGO do so in conjunction with conventional distance running training, in order to get the best results and to reduce the likelihood of injury.