Biking across the country one of many challenges Hatch embraces


by Louise R. SHAW

lshaw@davisclipper.com

FARMINGTON—He might not have any super powers, but Paul Hatch says he has a super secret.

“Every day, amazing, outstanding and wonderful things are accomplished by average people,” said Hatch. “We all could do a lot more than we think we can.”

Hatch, 71, has been doing amazing, outstanding and wonderful things for some time now.

Though he says he’s “not a great physical specimen at all,” the father of five and grandfather to nine has set goals that may have seemed beyond his ability–and he has reached them.

Thirty-five years ago, despite “mediocre lungs” and “feet that gave me problems,” he set a goal to run three miles and swim one – and eventually reached it.

“It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty,” he said of the swim, “but I made it.”

Over three summers more recently, he set a goal to climb to the highest peak in every county in Utah–and did it.

Last year he set three challenging goals, and despite complications he reached each one.

The first was to ride his bicycle from the Arizona/Utah state line to the Idaho/Utah state line.

The second was to backpack above 10,000 feet over a week in the Uintah mountains with a son and son-in-law, including climbing to the top of King’s Peak.

The third accomplishment was for he and his wife, Rebecca, to hike from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River and back.

He did them all in his 70th year.

Hatch now has his eyes on an even bigger challenge – a bike ride across the United States, from Ocean Beach, Calif., to Ocean City, New Jersey.

The ride is a fundraiser for Fuller Center for Housing, which helps provide homes for those in need.

The group heads out on June 1 and will cover about 70 miles a day, camping in churches each evening. Except for one week, when he plans to attend a family reunion, Hatch will ride with the group until they reach their destination on Aug. 10, after some 3,700 miles.

He plans to raise $10,000 to support the housing charity and cover expenses, and will also participate in a building project.

In addition, he hopes to raise money to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of his father, who “often did not know who we were the last 10 years of his life,” he said. Any interested in supporting his fundraising efforts can reach him through paulthepedaler@gmail.com.

Hatch is looking forward to seeing the United States “up close and personal” during the ride. “It’s kind of the cheap way to cross America,” he joked.

When training, he said, exercise becomes “more fun and less work.”

“I’m a big fan of eating smart and exercising,” he said. “It’s the best thing that you can do for a healthy mind and body.”

And if you work toward a goal, he said, it might take a couple years, but you can do it.

While he admires the Edmund Hillarys and the Michael Phelps of the world for being “super dudes,” he said everyone can be successful if they “just keep doing it.”

“I can swim as far as Michael Phelps does,” he said. “It just takes a lot longer.”

“The Utah pioneers were just average people, but they drove cattle or walked and pulled a cart all the way here,” he said. “What a great victory.”

“The average person can do a lot,” he said. “It’s easy in a sense – just keep doing it.”

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