An interview with ultrarunning champion: Lucy Bartholomew


Did you always love running/ how did you get started?

I’d be lying if I said that I loved running from the first step. I ran in sports class and at school athletics and cross country but only really to get the days off school. I wasn’t quick enough to do well in these events but I was able to do all the events back to back. I suppose looking back now I should have seen this as my endurance training. My Dad, Ash Bartholomew was always into running; marathons, run-commuting to work and being active so I was always surrounded by this movement. When he signed up for his first 100km I was more interested in the responses he got when he told people that he was going to run 100km through mountains and then when I got to see the sort of party food you get to eat at the aid stations and the amazing locations it seemed liked a perfect way to spend a day.

How do you motivate yourself to run such long distances?

I think my motivations have changed and will continue to adapt. Initially it was just something I wanted to do to make Dad proud and share this adventure with him (and eat yummy brunches), then I got competitive with myself and found improvements in my mood, mindset and an ability to live fearlessly. Now with a growing community surrounding me and following me on social media I draw a lot of inspiration from the people I am surrounded by and who share my journey. Also, I love what I do and it allows me to travel and see new places and meet new people. That’s all the motivation I need.

Being in top physical condition is crucial to you job, but how important is good health/mentally strong?

Ultra/ long distance running is a fun sport, it becomes less about how fit you are and more about how motivated and mentally strong you are. You are setting out for, sometimes, hours and hours of being uncomfortable and sometimes slight pain. For me my mindset is one of my biggest strengths, I have learnt to recognise and appreciate the feeling of running for such a long time. I have learnt to smile in the moments of doubt and I try to see the glass half full and remember that I chose to be doing what I am doing, and I know that at the end I do love it… and I will sign up again!

How has your relationship with your Dad impacted your life?

My Dad and I share a very special bond. From the age of 15 I ran side by side with him for 100km and from there we have both developed at our own speeds but still we get to come together at the end of the race / training run; we share, laugh, smile, and eat… and sometimes cry at the end of the journey we have endured. I feel very lucky to have him by my side and he always keeps me grounded, motivated and smiling.

How do you prepare for a race?

I run. A lot. Leading up into my last big race I broke down the training into 3 areas. There was the physical training; the running, the strength/gym work, stretching, eating, and sleeping. Then there was the mental side of things; running on the course or finding similar terrain for training, the visualisation of good moments and bad moments, the doubts and fears – recognising them and then working out ways to minimise these unknowns. And finally emotional side; this was more about handling the emotion that comes with running this far and knowing that I can only give my best and balancing life with other priorities; family and friends. There is so much you can plan and prepare for in a long running race in the mountains but from experience I have learnt that all these ideas go out the window once the gun goes off and you take that first step. The biggest thing you can do to prepare for a race is have fun and the rest will follow.

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