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Runner Interview: Lucja Leonard (@runningdutchie)

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Runner Interview: Lucja Leonard


  • Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Lucja at Skyline Scotland, Glencoe
Lucja at Skyline Scotland, Glencoe – Photo credit: www.yourepics.com

When and why did you start running?

I started running about 9 years ago to lose weight as I was a size 20, weighing 98kg!  I used to hate running or any physical activity and now love it, so never say never. Over the years this has progressed into running for the sheer enjoyment of it. I love travelling to new places and exploring amazing trails, meeting other amazing people and experiencing new adventures.  I have to admit I also have a competitive streak so the competition side is very exciting for me.

Describe your ideal race or adventure challenge

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There are so many amazing races I have done and so many more on my ever growing bucket list of races.  My ideal race is something similar to the Cappadocia ultra, 110km on stunningly beautiful trails with fairytale landscapes, a challenging route on hard packed trails with a mixture of running, climbing ladders, through ancient villages, combining culture, weather and nature to bring you a fantastic experience.  Or a multi day running event like the format of Marathon Des Sables where it is not just about the running but the entire experience and challenge over spending a week back to grass roots.

Marathon Des Sables
Marathon Des Sables

Tell us about your favourite trail

My favourite go to trail is Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, I am lucky to live a 5min jog away and am spoilt for choice with trails full of trees, mud and rocks with stunning views and so easily accessible I am in there most days.  I love any run with a view, so that always involves a hill!

My ideal race is something similar to the Cappadocia ultra, 110km on stunningly beautiful trails with fairy tale landscapes, a challenging route on hard packed trails with a mixture of running, climbing ladders, through ancient villages…

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

Running #500kin5days, my friend Marina Ranger & I ran the length of The Netherland via the Pieterpad wearing only our pink Runderwear to raise £8k for Pink Ribbon Foundation (breast cancer charity) so we ran 100k a day.  This was the most demanding challenge I have ever undertaken which took it out of me not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

Lucja & Marina Ranger running the length of The Netherland via the Pieterpad wearing only their pink Runderwear to raise £8k for Pink Ribbon Foundation
Lucja & Marina Ranger running the length of The Netherland via the Pieterpad wearing only their pink Runderwear to raise £8k for Pink Ribbon Foundation

Tell us about your greatest running fail, we’ve all had – or will have – them at some point!

My greatest running failure time and time again is not eating enough during a race, I am great at telling others to do it, but normally struggle myself even though I know I need to.

What advice would you give to a new trail runner?

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Be courageous and push your perceived boundaries, you are stronger and more capable than you imagine or give yourself credit for and once you get out there you will love every minute of it.

Transvulcania 2015
Transvulcania 2015

What is your favourite bit of running kit, and why?

I love my Suunto watch, it tracks all my runs and then puts them into amazing little videos.

What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?

I have got the Highland Fling a 53mile race on the West Highland Way, Scotland in April, Great Wall Marathon in China in May.  I am putting my name in the ballot for UTMB but if unsuccessful my back up race with be the Trail Verbier St-Bernard 111k in Switzerland and hopefully Grand Raid Reunion 100 mile in October.

Be courageous and push your perceived boundaries, you are stronger and more capable than you imagine…

Whats your favourite running/adventure book, and which songs keep you going when things get tough?

My favourite adventure book is ‘The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges’ as my husband, Dion bought this for me and started me on my adventuring experience.

My favourite songs of which there are many but I love Highway to Hell (AC/DC) as this gets played every day on the start line of MdS so it gives me goosebumps and gets me pumped, cheesy but true, I am a massive Rocky fan so I love Eye of the Tiger and Lose Yourself by Eminem really gets me pumped too especially with the line ‘If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment would you capture it or just let it slip? – I use that to keep me motivated as this is your once chances so do the best you can!

New and the old of Cappadocia
New and the old of Cappadocia

Finally, What do you get up to when you’re not running or adventuring?

Lately my life has been all encompassed by ‘Bring Gobi Home’ and the process of getting Gobi home to Scotland!  Normally I work a full time job managing a hotel, which I will be doing again in the new year at Village Hotel Edinburgh, spending lots of time with Dion, Gobi and Lara (husband, dog and cat) and if I’m not running or adventuring I’m planning more running and adventuring!

Thank you for taking the time to be Interviewed Lucja, happy trails!

Social media links:



Mentioned in this Interview and recommended by Trail & Kale:

Suunto Spartan Sport

The Worlds Toughest Endurance Challenges (BOOK)

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