Lucy Bartholomew has been a popular figure on the Australian trail running scene for a few years now. Known for her positive outlook and constant smile, there’s no wonder Lucy is a favourite! But 2017 has seen her go from promising youngster to world class ultra runner, with victories and high placing finishes in several big events. So we took the time to get to know a bit about the year that was for a woman we’re calling ‘The Real Deal’.
You’re now well and truly world class, what do you think has changed in the last 12 months that might have influenced your significant development in the sport?
I think a big part of 2017 has been working with Majell Backhausen as my coach who has given my direction and also a reassurance mentally to race confidently and to bring out my best. I have also really focused on nutrition, strength, sleep and all the other things i can do improve my performance.
You’ve had a cracking year, of all the results which one is the sweetest?
I think there a lot of races that I value for different reasons. It was sweet to celebrate my 21st birthday at the Ultra Trail Australia 100km with what felt like the whole Australian community. It was sweet to finish in 5th and strong in the TDS 120km after a horrible start and a big mental battle, and recently it was sweet to win the Ultra Trail Cape Town 100km and be embraced by the community in every moment of that trip.
What result has been the most disappointing and what did you learn from it?
This year i have tried not to view races as disappointments but learning and character building. I raced a lot and especially in ultra running you might have disappointing patches but that doesn’t mean the race is a disappointment. I guess my performance at the TDS 120km could have been improved but i look back on it and have drawn upon in it to some of my biggest successes of my calendar so perhaps disappointing on paper and immediately after but now one of my proudest moments.
Of all the athletes you race against, who would you consider the fiercest competitor? Not necessarily the fastest, but the one you know always fights like hell!
I have so much respect for so many of the athletes that i have raced this year and in the past years. I really enjoy racing with/behind Mimmi Kotka we are good friends away from the race day but she gives me confidence, brings out my best and i think she is amazing
What’s the plan for 2018?
I actually haven’t finalised a calendar for the 2018 season. This season has been crazy and long with a lot of 100km events so i think i will try to get faster and race shorter. I hope to head to the United States too.
On the home front, got any tips for folks running Ultra-Trail Australia?
Ultra trail Australia is such a special event for me and i think my biggest tip for this event is to embrace the stairs- don’t fear them and get your nutrition sorted during your training runs before hand… having a strong body is good but without the energy you won’t go anywhere! And of course, keep it fun
Here’s what her coach Majell has to say:
What have you changed with her training and racing approach?
There were a few changes in her training such as changes to her weekly structure and quality sessions. But the main changes were discussing the many other variables which play important aspects in Ultra Trail Races. Nutrition, hydration, pacing, course-specific details, logistics, crewing, etc. Mental conditioning has also been a big part of the discussion without it being a ‘topic’.
Where do you see her improving in the years ahead?
Dave Byrne explained to me once that training and running are like building a phone book. Each day and session is a single page. No one session makes or breaks you as a runner. It’s all about the consistency of layering thin page upon thin page for years until an unbreakable phone book is made. Lucy is young and there are many thin pages to be laid. If she can consistently work towards her goals, many things are possible. But nothing comes easy.
What has it been like working with Lucy?
It’s certainly different. Not because of her profile or ability as an athlete but personality. You can advise people to do anything, but it’s getting their buy-in which makes the difference. Lucy has a rebel attitude towards getting things done and its been a great challenge to work with the rebel attitude of a 21-year-old Mountain goat.