We spoke with 22-year-old ultrarunner Lucy Bartholomew just days before she began racing the 2018 TransRockies Run on August 14.
Ultrarunner To Watch: Lucy Bartholomew
Lucy Bartholomew is quickly making a name for herself in the ultramarathon world. The 22-year-old Australian was the third female finisher at this year’s Western States 100-mile Endurance Run. Heralded as the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race, the grueling course follows the historic Western States Trail and requires runners to ascend more than 18,000 feet and descend almost 23,000 feet.
Bartholomew’s entry into the ultramarathon scene occurred when she was 15 years old and witnessed her father’s first 100K race. Intrigued by the ultramarathon community, Bartholomew tackled her first 100K race the following year, with her father by her side. She has been completing ultramarathons ever since.
Although Bartholomew lives in Melbourne, Australia, she has been away from home, traveling and racing, for the past three months. She will spend her last week in the United States on the trails, completing the 12th annual TransRockies Run. Known as “Summer Camp for Big Kids,” this multi-day trail race consists of six different stages, covering 120 miles.
Women’s Running checked in with Bartholomew as she was preparing to start the TransRockies Run on August 14 to learn about her race preparation and goals for the future.
How do you think that your success at Western States has prepared you physically and mentally for the TransRockies Run?
This is the first race for me to put a bib back on after Western States. After Western States, it has been a roller coaster of emotions—I’ve struggled to get back into training. But with TransRockies, there are many days, so I can ease my body into the week. TransRockies is not an “A race” for me. It is an enjoyable way to end an enjoyable trip. My goal is just to survive and have fun, run some new trails and meet some new friends, and get back into running consistently.
How does the TransRockies Run compare to other ultramarathon races you’ve completed?
The community side [of TransRockies] is different. You get to really form a family and make bonds with people. It’s better than just finishing a race and walking off after. You get to share a lot of highs and lows and a lot of laughs together. I’ll be [running] with Hillary [Allen] during the race.
What are you most looking forward to at TransRockies?
All of it is new, so I’m looking forward to all of it! There’s no part that I’m nervous about; I feel comfortable about the altitude and distances. I’m excited about going over Hope Pass, which is part of the Leadville 100 course.
What does a typical training week look like for you?
It depends on what I’m training for. I might spend 12 to 18 hours a week training, but how far I run really depends on the terrain I’m training on. I normally train every day in some way, and everything is pretty easy. I’ve been just exploring at the moment. I’ll take the trail and see where it goes.
As a runner who adheres to a plant-based diet, what is your fueling plan for TransRockies?
The stages aren’t super long, so I plan to carry gels, since they give the most instant energy. I use Cliff products—gels and shot blocks—which are all vegan.
What is your typical post-race meal?
When you travel as much as I do, you can’t get hung up on having anything specific. The thing that I make the most is what I call a Buddha bowl—it’s not anything specific, but it usually includes sweet potatoes, any vegetables, green salad and my nut-based turmeric-tahini dressing. I have that [dressing] every day.
Given all of the miles you log with ultramarathon training, have you experienced any running-related injuries?
I’m fortunate that I haven’t had any injuries! I’m okay taking rest days, and I do a lot of yoga and cross-training, and I am happy to go with the flow. I’m not pushing myself, and I listen to my body.
How has your dad been influential in your ultrarunning career?
My dad ran marathons while I was growing up, and I went up and crewed for his first 100K. That’s when I realized that if my dad could do it, I could do it. I definitely owe a lot of my passion and success to him. It feels like yesterday that I was running side-by-side with my dad. It’s been awesome.
Do you have any upcoming race goals or aspirations?
My dad has been trying to get into Western States through the lottery for the past seven years. The dream would be that we can share those trails together next year.