RUNNER – A Short Story about a Long Run : Lizzy Hawker

Lizzy Hawker

RUNNER tells a story, it uncovers a journey of the physical, mental and emotional challenges that runners go through at the edge of human endurance. From a school girl running on the streets of London to breaking records on the worlds mountains and toughest races, Lizzy Hawker is an inspiration to anyone who would like to see how far they can go, running or not.

“Lizzy never ceases to enthuse, inspire and amaze! She knows what it truly means to live life to the absolute fullest, step out of your comfort zone and truly test your limits. So much more than a book about running, this memoir is about an enthralling life journey replete with peaks and troughs, highs and lows and many twists and turns. Most importantly, Lizzy reminds all of us to never stop exploring, discovering and challenging ourselves to do more than we think possible.” – Chrissie Wellington MBE

Runner - Lizzy HawkerLizzy Hawker needs no introduction. Often called the Queen of UTMB, her running has inspired many… me included. Her ability to run tough, relentless mountain trail races has also been matched with road running.

100km Women’s World Champion,  five times winner of the UTMB, record holder for the 24-hour and the first woman to stand on the overall winners’ podium at the iconic Spartathlon; Lizzy is a formidable force irrespective of the distance or terrain.

Lizzy’s remarkable spirit was recognised in 2013 when she was awarded National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award for running 320km in the Himalayas from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu.

RUNNER provides an insight into the mind of one of the most inspiring ladies in the ultra world, Lizzy Hawker.

Order the book HERE

*****

We will have an exclusive interview with Lizzy in the coming weeks so please watch this space.

RUNNER will be published on April 2nd 2015 £12.99 Paperback by Aurum Press

We have two editions to give away as prizes.

Please answer the following question on post your answer on this website:

“How many times has Lizzy won UTMB and what was the fastest time?”

Two winners will be announced after April 18th

Lizzy Hawker website HERE

Aurum Publishing HERE

 

Lizzy Hawker announces Ultra Tour Monte Rosa #UTMR

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

I was fortunate to meet up with TNF athlete, Lizzy Hawker earlier this year in Zermatt. I was curious as to the health of Lizzy and also how she had been filling her time whilst away from the sport.

From an injury perspective, it is slowly does it. One step at a time in the hope that Lizzie’s injury woes are behind her. Lizzy said, ‘but I just need to be careful.’

Ironically, our chat in Zermatt was just days before the TNFUTMB, a race Lizzy has dominated in the past. Lizzy would be at the 2014 UTMB but in a role as an ambassador and not racing.

So, what has Lizzy been up to?

Well, to put it quite simply, Lizzy has been working hard to create a race of epic proportions, the ULTRA TOUR MONTE ROSA (UTMR).

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‘I have been working hard to develop a beautiful trail race around Monte Rosa on the Swiss / Italian border. We will hold a zero edition 4 day stage race in August 2015, and the full inaugural 150km ultra marathon in 2016,’ said Lizzy.

The website: www.ultratourmonterosa.com

all images ©alextreadway

©alextreadway_UTMR_3

‘I first went to Zermatt at the age of 6, and that is where my love of the mountains started. The opportunity to create a race here and to share this love means a lot to me. Having explored the trails in this region extensively, I am convinced they are some of the most magnificent in the alps.’ As we all know, Lizzy has very much pioneered the way for trail and mountain running, particularly for women, so, to have this passion reflected back as a race director can only be a good thing. ‘My intention in founding this race is simply to give people an opportunity to explore these trails, and to experience the value of challenging themselves within the context of an ultra distance race. Running and racing has, over the years, given me so much, and this is what I would like to share with others now.’

©alextreadway_UTMR_5

Crossing six high passes, this race will be a very tough event! Passing through Zermatt, the iconic Matterhorn will provide a backdrop as the race heads away accumulating over 10,000 m of ascent/ descent with an average altitude of 2000m.

‘It is a circumnambulation around the huge and imposing massif of the Monte Rosa. On often technical trails. It is firmly in the “hard” category. It is tough, beautiful and alluring!’

Lizzy is certainly in a reflective period of her career, summed up in her comments, ‘As race director, I would really like to encourage more women to participate and we will work towards achieving this in various ways. It will also be really important to us to support all our runners in their journey to reach the start line, and beyond, so that as many as possible can finish and enjoy their experience.’

Entry criteria for the ultra marathon will be tough, but Lizzy and her team will encourage participation and greater access through our stage race and provision of training camps.

More information will follow in due course and I will be looking to provide a full and in-depth interview with Lizzy in the coming days/ weeks.

Entry opens January 1st 2015

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2015 Race Route & Details:

RACE DATE20 – 23 August 2015 

©alextreadway_UTMR_1

  • TOTAL DISTANCE: 150km
  • TOTAL ASCENT: +10,000m
  • AVERAGE ALTITUDE: +2,000m
  • COUNTRIES: Switzerland and Italy

 

STAGE I:  Grächen to Zermatt 

  • Date: Thursday 20 August
  • Start: Grächen (CH)
  • Finish: Zermatt (CH)
  • Distance: 33 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2200m / -2000m
  • Time Limit: 12 hours

 

STAGE II:  Zermatt to Stafal 

  • Date: Friday 21 August
  • Start: Zermatt (CH)
  • Finish: Stafal (IT)
  • Distance: 38 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2700m / -2500m
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

 

STAGE III: Stafal – Macugnaga

  • Date: Saturday 22 August
  • Start: Stafal (IT)
  • Finish: Macugnaga (IT)
  • Distance: 36.5 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2700m / -3200m
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

 

STAGE IV: Macugnaga – Grächen

  • Date: Sunday 23 August
  • Start: Macugnaga (IT)
  • Finish: Grächen (CH)
  • Distance: 40 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2600m / -2250
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

*PLEASE NOTE: 2016 will be the first edition and single stage!

©alextreadway_UTMR_2

IMAGE GALLERY HERE all images ©alextreadway

LINKS

For more information, follow on Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE and via the website, HERE

You can sign up to the mailing list, HERE

2015 Registration is available HERE

Everest Trail Race – Fernanda Maciel Interview

LOGO ETR

Everest! Do you really need any other description? Later this year, the third edition of the Everest Trail Race (ETR) will take place. Starting on the 3rd November and finishing on the 15th November, runners from around the world will join together for one of the toughest high altitude ultra marathons.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©

Set against one of the most awe inspiring backdrops, the race will last for six days covering a total distance of 160km. Daily distances are on the face of it relatively easy at; 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22km, however, daily altitude difference goes from 3000m to almost 6000m.

It is a demanding race and although each participant is required to be self-sufficient during each day, food, water and an evening camp are provided by the race organization.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©

Daily temperatures can vary from -10c to +18c and the terrain will offer incredible variety; frozen earth, snow and rocks of varying color. Without doubt, the ETR is a challenge, why else would you do it? But it is a challenge all can undertake with some specific training. It is ideal for runners or hikers who want to push the limit.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©jordivila

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©jordivila

Created in 2011 by Jordi Abad, a Spanish extreme ultra runner, the ETR is staged at the beginning of the dry season. Why? Well, the air is clean after the monsoons, visibility is impeccable and the surroundings are resplendent.

In order to get a greater understanding of what the ETR may offer, I caught up with Brazilian, Fernanda Maciel. Fernanda is currently preparing for the ‘CCC’ in Chamonix at the end of August and will make the journey to Nepal in November to take part in the 3rd edition of the ETR.

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IC – Fernanda, welcome, how are you, I believe you are currently at your home in Spain?

FM – I am great thanks Ian. Yes, I am in Spain.

IC – I presume you are training in the mountains?

FM – Yes sure, one month ago I damaged my foot so I have been recovering and training. I live in the Pyrenees. It’s a great place to be. It is a great background for training and to prepare for the CCC and other races.

IC – Let’s hope they get good weather at the CCC this year…

FM – I Hope so!

IC – I guess coming from Brazil you would prefer hot weather.

FM – Yes, but I live in the Pyrenees so I am used to the cold and snow but hot weather would be nice for the race.

IC – I often think of you as an ultra runner but you are a much more diverse person than that. Can you take me back to what got you into sport and what made you realize that you had a passion for all things connected to running, cycling and swimming. You have done so many sports with such variety.

FM – From the age of 8 I was training as an Olympic gymnast. At 10yrs old I was in the US doing competitions and training every day for four hours. So, my background in sport was established when I was a child. This helped a great deal. For me the sports I have done in my life I have really enjoyed. I couldn’t separate sport from my life; it is my life. I also did martial arts. My father was a master and my grandfather was also a master in jujitsu. So I was always fighting too…

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IC – So a gymnast and fighter, the message is, don’t mess around with Fernanda!

FM – Yes, it was so funny. My grandfather’s house had a fighting ring.

IC – Like a dojo?

FM – Yes a fighting ring. So my cousin and I would fight all the time. It was so funny. I loved this time. When I was 15/16 years old I started to run, 5k on the road and then 10k. When I was 20 years old I started doing half-marathons. The changing point came at 23 years old. I was invited to do some adventure racing. I purchased a bike and started to do mountain biking. I was running before but not MTB. So I progressed to adventure racing at 23. I became an endurance runner through adventure racing. The races are always long, you don’t stop, you don’t sleep so it was perfect preparation for ultra running and ultra trail. It was easy for me to progress to long distance.

IC – Do you think with ultra and trail you have found ‘your’ sport?

FM – I feel complete when I do trail and ultra. I am not sure if I can try another sport and be better but I love running. I cannot be without one day of running. I love it. Of all the sports I have done, running gives me movement, style and great experiences during and after. To be on the trails, mountains, sand or whatever; it is what I really enjoy. Currently I love the mountains. It provides great views, fresh air; I love it. It completes me. I also love flowers and animals so it’s great. Very interesting. When you go above the clouds the sensations are so amazing. It’s a great feeling.

IC – I’d like to talk about your professional life. I think of you as a professional sports person, which of course you are. But you practiced as an environmental lawyer and a sports nutritionist. Do you still practice law?

FM – I have a company in Brazil. I am a businesswoman. I also work in sport nutrition. I can do all my work remotely, so, I just need a computer. I have people in Brazil who help me. In the past I was a lawyer but when I came to Spain I needed five more years study because the law was different. Lawyers need to be in a city, I chose sport instead. Sport nutrition allows me more flexibility. It fits in with my life. I breathe sport. It’s better. I love law, I love to study and read but I didn’t want to be in an office all day. I didn’t have much contact with nature. I also became an outdoor bound instructor in addition to everything else.

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IC – If we look back over your run career, it starts in 2006 and you have had some great results. You won at Transgrancanaria, you won Andorra Ultra Trail, you were fourth at UTMB, recently you had success at Lavaredo, TNF Mt Fuji but the one thing that sticks out is Camino of Santiago de Compostela, 860km and you did this as a personal challenge in ten days. What was that like?

FM – It was the hardest run of my life. I knew the Camino. I thought maybe if I run the Camino I could help children with Cancer. When I was in Brazil as Lawyer, I also helped children with cancer. So, I made this project with charity in mind and it was really tough. I was running 90-100km per day without a support team. I carried everything and slept in huts along the route. It was super tough. It think it’s a great way to do the Camino… I am writing a book now about the experience to encourage others to maybe run the Camino instead of hiking.

IC – I remember when we spoke at Haria Extreme race you told me of the difficulty on getting approval. They wouldn’t stamp your card because you moved along the trail too quickly.

FM – Yes, the church think that the runners move too fast so they don’t have time to think and reflect… I told them I had plenty of time! I was running ten or eleven hours a day. I had plenty of time to think. I hope that running will be an option for others in the future.

IC – Other races in your career, what would you pinpoint?

FM – I love the UTMB, CCC and TDS. I did the TDS in 2009 and for me it is an amazing race. It is so technical and beautiful. It is so different to the UTMB. The views are amazing. It is a really great race and one I would recommend. I have run in many races around the world, but I prefer races in Europe because they have more elevation. I prefer high mountains. I would like to try Hardrock 100. Hopefully I can get a place next year? I am going to Patagonia soon, this will give me high mountains and altitude.

IC – You have mentioned the high mountains and both of us will be in the high mountains in November. We are going to Everest Trail Race. I will be along as a journalist and photographer, very exciting for me. You will be participating. An exciting place to race…

(Laughter)

FM – Yeeesssss!

(Laughter)

IC – I can hear the excitement.

FM – Yes, I am so excited. We have support but we also need be self-sufficient too. I prefer this. It is wilder. I like this aspect of racing; it makes things more interesting. The race will provide the best views ever. It will be hard and it will be technical. It is my first stage race. It will be interesting; I can share my feelings and thoughts with other runners. We will all learn so much. The mountains will also teach us. We will be one week in this environment.

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IC – It takes place in the Solukhumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal. It has an altitude gain of more than 25,000m (ouch). It has long hard trails of frozen earth, snow, rocks it is 160km in total over 6-days broken down into 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22km‘s per day. The distances don’t sound too much but when you look at elevation per day of 3000 to 6000m per day that will be extremely tough. It will be a different experience. Have you been doing anything specific in preparation?

FM – I am already preparing as I climb and spend time at elevation. It will be like a climb/run because of the elevation. The race has short distances but high elevation and that will make it tough. I go into the mountains to adapt, in the last two weeks for example I did a 60km race and I did 4500m in elevation. This is good preparation. I need altitude and high elevation. Sometimes I prefer to climb, it is good cross training and it is also good for my mind. It’s good to be in open areas.

IC – In terms of the race, snacks, meals and water are provided both along the route and at camp at the end of each day. During the race you need to be self sufficient in terms of safety kit. You need technical kit, sleeping bag, warm clothes, and mandatory kit. You have already said that this is something that excites you. Do you have any specific things that you will take?

FM – No. I will have what I need and what is specified in the rules. I will want my kit to be light, so, I will use the lightest products possible. I won’t have special drinks or food. I don’t eat cheese or meat but I have made sure that vegetarian food will be available. Apparently we need to be careful with water but apparently we will be supplied good water.

IC – You are sponsored by TNF (The North Face), are they producing any products for you specifically or will you use what is available in the consumer range

FM – I will use normal product. I may have some prototypes to test in the coming weeks, so, I may take some of this with me but I will need to test. But I think for Everest, the pack, sleeping bag, jacket and so on will be normal product in the TNF range.

IC – One thing that has always impressed me is that you like to raise money for charity. You get involved. Are you doing anything in particular for the Everest trip.

FM – Yes, at the Everest trip I have one day free after the race. I have a friend who asked if I could help children for Fundació Muntanyencs per l’Himàlaia. So, the Everest trip was perfect. Last week I had a meeting with the foundation in Spain. They need children’s clothes. In the race, we will pass through the villages of the children, where they were born. So I will hopefully bring clothes and resources to Nepal and provide them for the foundation. In the coming weeks I will start to collect everything and then I can take it with me.

IC – Great, something really incredible to help the local communities.

FM – We will need to run to the Village to help them, so if you can help me that would be great. Also, I hope Lizzy Hawker will help us too.

IC – Absolutely, I would love to get involved. It’s a great thing! Finally, many people will read this and look at your achievements and the experience you have. If you had to give advice to someone who was maybe thinking about going to Nepal, what advice would you give to help him or her?

FM – Have an open mind and open heart. The mountains will talk with you. This is the best experience for everyone. It will be incredible to be in this place. Yes, for sure, you need to train but this is only one aspect. Train the mind and the heart, the rest will follow.

IC – Perfect. Of course, the Everest Trail Race is about experience. Due to the nature of the terrain and altitude it will not be a full on running race, you will also need to be a good hiker…

FM – Yeeesss. For sure! I think if you have confidence and a good mind then it won’t be a problem. Yes we will walk, we will also run but we will also take photographs. It’s about being in the mountains. After all, it is Everest! It is another world.

IC – Fernanda, than you so much for your time. I am looking forward to catching up at CCC and of course later in the year in Nepal.

FM – Great. Here are the details of the foundation:

The children (5 to 18 years old) that we can help…

Mountaineers for Himalayas Foundation

Fundació Muntanyencs per l’Himàlaia

info@mount4him.org

www.mount4him.org

Finally, a word from Jordi Abad, ETR director.

” If this was only a pure and hard competition, it would be a nonsense; environment gives its hardness but not the competitiveness itself. We are here to share and to help each other. It is possible to make the effort running any city marathon in the world, but the sensations, the environment and the feelings are to share them with friends, to know new people with whom laughing and weeping. This is what remains in the end and what makes it an unique experience for all”.

LINKS:

  • Website for ETR – HERE
  • Fernanda Maciel – HERE
  • The North Face – HERE 

INTERESTED? in participating in the 2013 Everest Trail Race? It is not too late… some places are still available. Please use the contact form below and obtain a discount, only available through this contact form:

*Note, I will attend the 2013 ETR at the invite of the race organisation.

Lizzy Hawker to tame the Mustang

Lizzy Hawker fresh from breaking her own (read HERE) 3-day record for running 319km from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu today is returning to Nepal to take part in the Mustang Mountain Trail Race.

Lizzy Hawker 2012 TNFUTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker 2012 TNFUTMB copyright Ian Corless

The Mustang Trail race is a multistage trail running challenge through the wild, spiritually rich landscapes of Upper Mustang in Nepal. It is race of eight stages of 20 to 40km totaling at least 277 km at altitudes between 3-4000m.

In an email to me she said, “Literally leaving now for Mustang – so will be out of internet / mobile reception until Thursday 9th”.

For centuries this has been the safest trading route between Nepal and Tibet. The well worn trails make the yaks smile, and are thus perfect for trail runners too. Trails undulate over successions of dry hills between oasis-like villages. Scroll way down the page to see the background images.

Mustang with its fairytale landscape is one of the few places in the world to retain an air of mystery. Only opened to tourism in 1992, it is an enclave of pure Tibetan Buddhist culture whose conserved monasteries, and caves alike, house priceless historical treasures.

The Stages

Kagbeni to Chele (31km)

Chele to Ghemi (38km)

Ghemi to Lo Manthang (40km)

Lo Manthang – rest

Lo Manthang to Konchok Ling (31km)

Lo Manthang to Yara (37km)

Yara to Tanggye (32km)

Tanggye to Muktinath (45km)

Muktinath to Jomsom (23km)

Links and Information