Ultrarunner Lizzy Hawker Keeps Running — Uphill

Lizzy Hawker lives the life of an ultrarunner, but she doesn't always portray it. Photo: The Telegraph

British runner has an impressive ultra resume.

Most ultramarathon runners at the elite level — you know, the ones that win races — have a strict training schedule, a coach, and, often times, a nutritionist.

But that’s not the case for one British woman who has taken the sport by storm in recent years.

Lizzy Hawker, 37, ran her first 26.2-mile race in 2000, the London Marathon. And then she wanted more.

So she ran some mountain marathons. The result was a victory in the Snowdonia Marathon and a runner-up finish in the Welsh 1000m Peaks. From there, Hawker tried the Barry 40 Miles ultra-race.

Of course she won that too.

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Later that year in 2005, Hawker attempted her hardest feat yet: the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, a brutal, 165-kilometer trail race in the Alps with more than 31,000 feet of climbing. She was the first female to break the tape, clocking a time of 26:53:51.

Hawker has since won the epic off-road race five times, in addition to countless others.

The funny thing is, she trains alone, without a coach or a real nutrition plan.

“Flapjacks, bread, cheese, grapes, melon — whatever I can snaffle from the hotel breakfast buffet,” Hawker told The Telegraph when asked what her pre-race meal consists of. “And I like something simple, perhaps chocolate milk, when it’s all over.”

Hawker’s resume is deep, and National Geographic named her one of its 2013 Adventurers of the Year.

“It’s a strange feeling, because I feel there’s so much more I can achieve,” she said. “I don’t feel I’ve reached my best.”

So for now, she’ll keep running on pavement and on dirt, uphill and downhill — but mostly uphill. And it’s not always the competition that keeps her moving during those long races.

“Sometimes I’m running somewhere just beautiful and you want to sit down and enjoy it,” she said. “I have to kick myself into remembering that it’s actually a race and that I might have to come back later to enjoy the place. For now, there’s a destination to reach — and that’s the finish line.”

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