Running Trails With Lucy Bartholomew
Hey Lucy, thanks so much for agreeing to share some thoughts with us today. To start things off, can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?
My name is Lucy Bartholomew I am 20 years old and sponsored by Salomon, Suunto and CLIF bar. My passions include spending hours outside moving; whether that be running, hiking, surfing or simply be still; sitting and admiring. I spend half the year (spring/summer) in Australia where I live in Melbourne and the other half (the other spring/summer) in Europe with my mum in UK and in the French alps. Away from running I love to cook healthy nutritious meals and run camps to get people out into nature and finding what they are really capable of.
Can you tell us about how you started to get into running?
I started running when I was 15. First it was to spend time with my Dad, he was training for a 100km race at the time (UTA100, formally known as the TNF100) and between training for that and work I barely saw him so I started running. I did most of the training with him and came up to the blue mountains to crew him and ended up running the course myself, falling in love with the beautiful landscapes, good people and the challenges that some with this sort of race.
Matterhorn Ultraks Race
What’s your main motivation for what you do, what are you seeking? Fitness, adrenaline, freedom…?
I think my motivation has changed a lot. At first it was to be with my Dad, then it was because I wanted to be fit and healthy, then I wanted to push the limits and see how far I can go and now I am just in a good place where I feel confident in my ability but am still finding races that scare me and take me away from my comfort which is always motivating. Also now I find motivation from the people that follow my journey; when I get recognised at races, people ask for a picture or comment on something on social media I want to do them proud too and I feed off this as motivation.
What’s your “essentials” list—the gear that comes with you on the longer endurance races. Anything you pack we wouldn’t expect?
I will always carry another pair of Salomon shoes and CLIF bars to use for pre, during or post-race. Other than that it’s the normal kit; with a change of clothes (especially sports bra) and baby wipes- nothing like a good carpark babywipe shower post race!
What’s your favourite race distance. Why?
It’s hard to say a distance because the terrain can make any distance seem hard. I prefer to speak in hours, I feel really good for 6-8 hours racing, how far I travel in that time I don’t know but before 6 and I never push with the extra gas that is needed and after 8 I get a bit tired and just want to finish, in between is the sweet spot for me.
Do you listen to music when you run? Any favourite songs?
Sometimes I need some tunes to get me going in training. In racing I don’t because I am renowned for getting lost and so I need to pay attention and also there is so much energy at races I don’t need the motivation. Some days in training I love it, it always makes me so happy! Favourite songs at the moment would be “It was always you” by Maroon 5 and “fast car” by tracey chapman. I don’t like fast songs when I run because I feel like I can’t keep up so I like to listen to mellow tunes!
Can you tell us about your training regimen? Where do you train most?
Where I live in Melbourne isn’t very hilly nor a lot of trails so train a lot on flat road, this is good for me as it forces me to do the intervals and small hill reps that are needed to become faster, then when I head to the mountains I spend longer days building my endurance and getting stronger. I like this balance because it teaches me to appreciate where I am and it keeps variety in my training. Weekly, I try to do 90-120km or 12-16hours a week depending on where I am with 2 long runs, 2 intense flat sessions, 1 hill session, 3 easy runs for recovery. Along with this I do Body Balance (a mix of tai-chi, Pilates and yoga) 3-4 times a week!
What’s your favourite trail in the Blue Mountains? How do we get there?
I love everywhere in the Blue Mountains it is so wonderful however I think my favourite is running up to mount solitary. To get there you run down from the Queen Vic hospital down Kadumba Pass until a left hand turnoff and then it super technical and steep, but the view at the top is beautiful!!
What’s the most unique race you’ve ever run?
Probably the race I just finished! It was in the Gobi Desert in China called the Devils Ridge 70km and it took 2 days to get there but when we did there was a massive stage and little tents set up in the middle of nowhere with a bit bonfire and Chinese dragons dancing around. The race itself had so much variety from sand stone canyons to dry desert gibber plains, and then to big snow-capped mountains, it was nothing I had ever experienced and something I will never forget!
What’s your favourite race/destination our Women Want Adventure trail runners must visit?
So far I have loved Norway! I went there to run Tromso Skyrace and I was blown away by the beauty of the sea surrounded by snow topped mountains! Also, when I was there it was the time of the midnight sun so it was never dark- you could run forever!
Proudest achievement so far?
If in general, it’s believing in myself and taking risks to find rewards. It’s not a common thing to run so far so young and I had a lot of people tell me that I was destroying my body but I knew I was listening to my body and being careful. It was hard for me to accept the other opinions and continue to believe and follow my heart... I’m glad I did though!
In racing it would have been winning the Mont Blanc junior marathon in 2014 where I became junior world skyrunning champion. I funded the trip myself and I was so proud to represent the Australia and New Zealand team.
Any tips for overcoming mental challenges in a race?
I think that ultra distance racing is more mental than it is physical. It’s never going to be easy, if it were everyone would be doing it. I think that when things get tough physically and mentally it’s important to take a step back (not literally) and remember why you are doing this, where you are and how lucky you are to have a body that carries you forward. I have a tattoo on my wrist for the symbol “hakuna matata” which means “no worries”, sometimes in races I will look at it when it gets tough and it reminds me to relax and that it’s not going to be easy but it is going to be worth it, just keep moving forward.
How important is nutrition and your diet to you? Do you have a recommendation for a good pre-race food?
Ahh Food! My second favourite thing! I am a massive foodie and my diet plays such a big part in how I feel, how I train, race and recover. I am a vegetarian who eats vegan more often than not but with all the traveling sometimes I have to listen to my body and it’s good to be flexible. Pre-race food for me is either 2 pieces of sprouted toast with almond butter, banana and cinnamon or oats with cinnamon and banana. I try to eat these 3 hours before race start!
Ben Read Photography
Something most people don’t know about you?
I HAVE to shave my legs before race. It makes me feel very uncomfortable and I think I will run bad otherwise!!
What race are you currently training for?
Next weekend I am running in the Yurrebilla 56km Ultra Marathon in Adelaide. It’s my third time running and I just love the course, the people and the after party ;) . Now that I am back in Australia it’s been a long season so I will just listen to what races my body feels ready to do. The ultimate goal for 2107 however is UTMB (ultra trail Mont Blanc) 170km through France, Italy and Switzerland. I watched my Dad compete 2 years ago, and this year I was out there to support and next year I am finally 21 and it’s my turn. I feel like I have been training for it my whole life!!
Where can we get in contact with you?
My facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/lucybartholomew17
My Instagram is: https://www.instagram.com/lucy_bartholomew/
Or my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org