Exclusive Interview with Lizzy Hawker & Richard Bull
Today’s blog post is an Exclusive Interview with ultra-running legend and five times UTMB winner Lizzy Hawker and renowned race organiser Richard Bull about Ultra Tour Monte Rosa (UTMR) brought to you by Rebeca Enrooth on behalf of myRaceKit.
-How did Ultra Tour Monte Rosa come about as a race?
The Pennine Alps around Monte Rosa & the Matterhorn is where I fell in love with the mountains at the age of six. In the years while I was training for UTMB I would get tired of repeating that route in training, and turned back to that corner of the Alps around Monte Rosa. I realised there was a similar 100 mile hiking trail around Monte Rosa, so started to use that for training. Much wilder and far more challenging (than the UTMB route) I realised that if that was a race, that was the race I’d really like to do. It didn’t exist of course. The idea remained just an idea until after hours of talking with Richard he challenged me to make it a reality. So some years later and we are working together to do just that …
-What are you offering participants which makes the UTMR special?
Lizzy: a big race experience with an intimate atmosphere. It’s a challenging and outstandingly beautiful route but the special relationship between runners and volunteers makes it a unique experience.
Richard: The feedback validates what Lizzy says. It’s not too big, and small enough so that runners can get to know one another at the beginning, and still find each other again at the finish, and maybe recognise some of the volunteers returning. Last year the checkpoint that the team from On Running set up at the Monte Moro was a huge hit with runners…
-What would be your advice preparing for UTMR?
Lizzy: For all races my advice is always to get used to long days – for UTMR ‘hours on your feet’ is more important than pure running speed. The ascents and descents are long (ie over 1000m) so it’s important to be adapted to this or the body will have a big shock.
Richard: It definitely is on the technical side, and it’s hard. That’s the word from the finish line from seriously experienced runners. So do come prepared in the way that Lizzy recommends. Need some advice? Best is to post a question on our Facebook group and get answers from past competitors.
-What are your wishes for 2019?
This comes in 3 parts (i) that runners have a safe journey around Monte Rosa & that it is a truly positive experience for all runners & volunteers, (ii) to increase the depth of field, (iii) to make UTMR sustainable so that we can continue in future years.
All of the above, and for 4 days of perfect weather!