GB Paraclimber Martin Heald talks teddies, pizza and the new climbing season

The new climbing season starts in earnest for members of the GB Paraclimbing Team this month. Before they hop over to Imst in Austria for the first IFSC international competition of the season (July 8-9), we grabbed five minutes with members of the team to talk about the season ahead.

Martin Heald from Preston started climbing about four years ago after his work colleague, Mark asked him to go. He has been hooked ever since.


How has your training gone over the summer? Did you have any particular training focus for the coming season (e.g. strength, stamina, technique)?

Training this year has seen me spending a lot of time bouldering and having fun climbing outside with my friends, which has resulted in me having lots of strength and technique but little endurance (oops!). So over the past 6-8 weeks in the run up to the comps I have been focusing more on my diet and endurance with help from the GB coaches Robin and Be. I have started to see improvements!

What are you hoping to achieve by the end of this para-climbing season?

My main aim is to just enjoy it and gain some more competition experience. I’m still fairly new to the team and still learning. Obviously, it would be nice to come away with a few medals but I’m not putting any added pressure on myself – not just yet anyway!

Which particular events, climbs or competitions are you looking forward to this season?

I always look forward to going to France. Last year, me and Phil managed to eat pizza once a day for a week!

What is going to be the hardest part of the season?

For me it’s my nerves! That will be the hardest part. I’m slowly learning to manage them better and starting to enjoy the comp environment.

What music will you be listening too while warming up or relaxing during competitions?

Usually a little bit of everything. Something I can have a little boogie to before I climb!

Do you have any superstitions, rituals or lucky underpants you have to go through before a climbing competition?

I won a little toy teddy monster thing in one of those grabby machines (I know… I’m a wizard) on the way to one of the competitions. He’s been in my bag ever since! He’s called Kevin. I guess he’s my lucky underpants?

You can follow Martin’s progress throughout the season on Facebook @martinhealdparaclimber, Twitter @MartinHeald1 and Instagram @martinhealdclimbing.

Birchall Blackburn Law is proud to sponsor the GB Paraclimbing Team, which means the team can compete in a number of international competitions this season, including the all-important World Championships.