Lizzzy Hawker, British Ultrarunning legend, made an impressive comeback to the ultrarunning scene by covering an impressive distance of 125 miles through the surrounding hills of the Kathmandu valley in 35 hours, 39 minutes and 22 seconds.
The 40 year old is five times winner of the 104-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and has a career spanning 11 years. She also established her own trail race, Ultra Tour Monte Rosa in Switzerland. That she is a champion runner, there is no doubt. However, ultra-running is not kind on its takers, and often the careers are cut short by brutal injuries. When she got her first stress fracture in 37, many thought it to be the beginning of the end of a glorious and proud career.
Never one to quit easily though, Hawker saw it as a challenge instead and through slow, patient and rigorous hard-work, successfully built up her stamina to complete the Valley Rim run on her 40th Birthday.
Hawker spoke in length to Sarah Barker of Fittish.deadspin.com, describing her long journey to recovery and why she increasingly spends more and more time in Nepal.
Some excerpts below:
“About six weeks before I ran the whole thing, I remember sitting on the roof of a bus I’d taken across the valley. I left home at 7 a.m. and it took me ‘til half-past 10 to get to the other side of the valley. I was out running late and a really poor family took me in because there was no place to stay. This journey of learning the trails took me out for long, long days: I met people and really got to know this place where I’m living. I really enjoyed it.”
“Later this year, I’d like to make a crossing of Nepal from east to west in one push. Before [she attempted the Great Himalayan Trail in 2011] I was set on making the fastest time possible. At the moment, it’s about making the journey, making connections with people along the way, having time to talk and discover villages. Different cultures, different landscapes, different people—there’s too much to ignore. The whole point of that journey is to be part of it.”
Photo Credit: North Face