My Journal



Episode 16: Prof. Hugh Montgomery: ‘The Ultra Professor’

A deep interview with Hugh Montgomery, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine and Director of the Centre of Human Health and Performance at UCL in London. We speak about trying & achieving to do it all, what makes us creative and successful but also what can abruptly stop us in our tracks.

My next guest is anything but predictable and even though I have never really had the honour of speaking to him before, I suspect he refuses to be defined by only one characteristic, job, profession or project.  Seemingly Prof Hugh Montgomery has taken it upon himself to excel on many levels. As an inventor, climate activist, author of thrillers & children’s books, as an ultra marathon runner, a naked sky-diver, a normal deep sea diver, an avid visitor of very high mountain tops in the Alps, Andes and the Himalayas including Mount Everest. And – here is the one that impressed me most- as a world record holder in underwater piano playing. Yes – you heard that right!

All of the above activities should however be qualified as “hobbies” because in his day job Hugh is an English Professor of Intensive Care Medicine and the Director of the Centre of Human Health and Performance at University College London.

Hugh discovered the first gene for human physical performance, has authored nearly 500 research papers in the world’s most famous academic journals and has received over 11 national and international awards.

In trying to find out what kind of a person my next guest is, I loved Hugh’s answer to the question what drives him  to over-perform in all his activities in a 2019 Guardian article written about him typically entitled: “Physician, ultrarunner, thriller writer….meet the man who lives life to the full.

“I’ve got this frustrating, peculiar awareness of my mortality. I know I’m going to die unfulfilled, because I don’t think there’s anything I can ever do that will make me feel as if my life’s been worthwhile.”

Quite a statement that raises a lot of curiosity about this Uomo Universalis.