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Interview with Lucy Bartholomew

‘Giving It Everything while Keeping it Fun along the way’ – An Interview with Lucy Bartholomew

Diamond Creek, Victoria, Australia

Hi Lucy, how are you?

Always well thank you. Happy to be filling in these answers to you!

Congratulations on your victory at the Buffalo Stampede Ultra! How’s your 2018 going so far?

2018 has been a super interesting year. At the end of 2017, I had some nice plans to follow the shorter sky running series after running a lot of long races I thought it would be a cool change. I then found out that I got into the Western States 100 mile through the Ultra-Trail World Tour and suddenly I made new plans, booked new flights and changed how I would spend the preceding months. Since then it has been a mix of more runnable, faster races and mountain adventures to get the speed I need and the endurance too.

What’s next on your race calendar?

I will run the Pace 22km at the Ultra Trail Australia in May before flying to the USA for the Western States 100mile in June.

Let’s talk about the Western States 100. You received a surprise entry for 2018’s edition of the race: your first 100 mile race. What a way to step up the distance! How are you feeling about the race and this summer leading up to it?

I am feeling super nervous and excited. I think it’s a good mix; it shows the respect I have for this distance and this historical race and also how passionate I am about adventuring into this new distance. I think the summer is going to be a lot of fun with new challenges and big rewards.

Interview with Lucy Bartholomew - Trail & Kale
photo credit: Nick Muzik

What has been your biggest running/adventure challenge to date?

I think the TDS 120km last year was a real challenge. I had trained really hard and well towards it but when the start gun went off I instantly knew my stomach was unhappy. I was unable to eat or drink with severe cramps for the first 9 hours. I went from 2nd place to 33rd and I felt like such a failure; telling my crew and film team to leave me alone. I contemplated stopping, waiting for my Dad and it was a really hard decision. When I stopped being so down on myself and thinking that I was worthless I was able to eat..then I was able to run…and suddenly I was able to compete. In the remaining time, I finished in 5th place. It was a real lesson of: “it is never over”.

We both ran the Matterhorn Ultraks 42km in 2016 – such a fantastic race, one of my favourites to date! Do you have any plans to return to the Alps (or the UK!) for some more European running?

Oh yes! I just booked my flights for the summer and I will go to the UTMB weekend and depending on how my body is I will race there or do something around then; maybe the sky running World Champs in Scotland? But I will wait and see how my body feels after 100miles. I have no rush or commitments so I can really focus on this dream.

RELATED: Matterhorn Ultraks 46K – Skyrunning in the Swiss Alps

You’ve raced a range of distances and terrains since starting ultrarunning in your teens – from deserts to mountains, and places in between. Which race is the one that you remember the most, and why?

I will always remember my first 100km at 15years old with my Dad along the Victorian Coastline. It was super special to share these footsteps and moments with him and to achieve something that a lot of people said wasn’t achievable.

What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan? We noticed on Strava that you’ve been spending some time in the pool as well as on the trails…

I like to mix it up! I go through times when I really want to get fast, then times when all I want is long mountain days and even sometimes I just want to take on a new sport! I think it makes it sustainable to listen to these feelings and act how you feel. I don’t care for numbers of kilometres, meters or hours. I just do what makes me happy…and sometimes ill try and act like an athlete and do something serious, haha.

Interview with Lucy Bartholomew - Trail & Kale

How do you get out the door for a training run when you’re not feeling ‘it’?

MUSIC! I am a big music person. I love a good tune or watching the comments on my social media from people who are sharing their story with me, showing their support..then I head out for them.

Tell us about your greatest running fail, everyone has had one, at some point.

At the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix at the Mont Blanc Marathon, I trained for 2 weeks prior on the course in the wrong direction. I literally stood on the start line facing the opposite way and looking so confused. It was then fun to race as the downhill became challenging uphills but the uphills became even more fun downhills!

Interview with Lucy Bartholomew - Trail & Kale

We love seeing the tasty-looking plant-based meals you share on Instagram. What is your current favourite go-to feast when you’re hungry?

A smoothie bowl! I am known for blending a lot of frozen bananas with green vegetables (spinach, cucumber, kale) and then topping with nuts and seeds and fruit. I love this!

RELATED: The Best Real Food for Trail Running

How do you find eating on your long runs? What do you take with you, especially when you’re running in hot weather?

I am pretty well known for not eating a whole lot during races because I honestly fall into a state of meditation and time just goes by! But I have been working on this as I know I need to for the 100-mile distance and so I have been taking CLIF shot bloks, fruit, real foods and a nice mix to keep it exciting!

I will always remember my first 100km at 15years old with my Dad along the Victorian Coastline. It was super special to share these footsteps and moments with him and to achieve something that a lot of people said wasn’t achievable.

Interview with Lucy Bartholomew - Trail & Kale

What advice would you give to a new trail runner?

Keep it fun! Share the journey with someone and don’t make it about the act of running, make it about catching up, visiting a new area or finding your potential. No numbers, no worries!

What’s your must-have bit of trail running gear that you never leave behind?

I love a BUFF. They are so handy! As a head wrap, a neck warmer, a snot wiper (haha) or even a glove! They do so many things and they come in lots of pretty designs haha.

What do you eat to keep your energy levels up on long days out in the mountains?

I love dried fruits, nuts and seeds, cacao and coconut oil. Mixing some of these ingredients and a pinch of salt and It’s ready to go!

RELATED: Energy Gels & Alternatives for a Long Run

What is the secret to a good running selfie?!

A big smile. There is no bad running selfie! I think its so empowering to be proud to share yourself in a vulnerable state, sweaty, exhausted and out in nature!

Interview with Lucy Bartholomew - Trail & Kale

Social media links:

Thank you!

Thank you, for taking the time to answer our questions. We can’t wait to see how well you do in the 2018 racing season, we are especially excited about your Western States 100 debut. Hopefully, we will be there to cheer you on!

Happy Trails!

If you enjoyed this Interview with Lucy Bartholomew, why not read these related articles

As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.


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