2017 was something of a break out year for trail runner Lucy Bartholomew.
She won both Ultra Trail Cape Town and UT Australia's 100km races and came 2nd at the Mont Blanc Marathon 80 km - amongst other podium finishes at notable events.
That helped her bag one of the six coveted reserved spots for the world famous Western States 100-mile Endurance Run in California for this year.
Lucy's has PH in her bottles for a few years now. We met her through one of Team PH's first athletes - pro triathlete Brad Williams - who got chatting to her in an airport on the way back from a race and told her she needed to get in touch for a Sweat Test.
These days Brad heads up Team PH as Captain and he caught up with Lucy ahead of the biggest race of her life so far...
So Lucy. We're less than a week away from the biggest race of your career so far, how long has the Western States 100 been on your radar as a race you wanted to do?
Western States was probably the first race I really got excited about and watched clips of. It was growing so rapidly and there was a lot of talk about how hard it is to get in to, so I always had this fantasy about being able to participate.
My dad has been trying to get in for the last 5 years and for me it was the 3rd time in the lottery but I was unsuccessful. It was a real honour and surprise to be awarded an Ultra-Trail World Tour bib (since 2014 six coveted spots have been reserved for elite athletes from outside North America) and it really changed the shape of my year!
Do you consider the WS 100 to be the most prestigious race in the ultra-running world?
Yes, definitely. It's known as "the granddaddy" of 100 mile racing and the history and stories behind it are just so fascinating and inspiring.
What other races are still left on your bucket list?
One day I want to run the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) and make the journey around that famous massif!
Speaking of bucket list trips, can you tell us a bit about the community project that you are involved with in Nepal?
Yeah, I'm teaming up with Impact Marathon to go to Nepal and do some community work, run a marathon with the community and explore their culture.
It’s all about bringing people together and showing that running is a shared and powerful passion. It that doesn’t matter where you come from, or who you are.
I'm really looking forward to this new experience...
Ok, so back to the race ahead - how many calories are you aiming to take in per hour? How many litres of PH per hour?
I just hope to maintain a good steady food intake. It’s a flaw for me in my racing as sometimes my tummy struggles - and with the length and intensity I think it'll be an even bigger challenge in this event - but I hope to be able to get the food in and keep my motivation up by using different products (gels, liquid, potato, fruit etc)
I will carry a 500ml of PH with me between each aid station and there are 21 stations - so you can do the math ;-)
What's your pacing strategy for the race?
All I've heard is that the race really starts at about 100km at Foresthill, so I just want to get to there smiling and be ready to roll on down to Auburn!
Who's in your support team? And who'll be doing your pacing in the later stages of the race?
My dad has come over from Australia to crew me and he's in a car with a local guy who has 7 WS finishes to his name and who has very kindly decided to give his day to chasing me around the canyons.
Then I have a second crew of Sally Mcrae - a Nike athlete who'll be pacing me from 100km and photographer Sarah Cotton, who's working on a piece for Tempo Journal.
You’ve been in the US a while now. What are the differences and similarities with the running community compared to back home in Australia?
I think it’s very similar here in people's laid back approach. I've always found that Aussies and Americans on the circuit have gotten along really well - most runs finish with beers!
The differences would be the lack of gear they carry here. In Australia you always carry a snake bandage but here they just tell me “don’t get bit”...
Ok, so if you had to choose one place in the world to train and run, where would it be?
Oh that's tough, different places for different reasons! But I love running in Cape Town, with the mountains, the beach, the people and the access to amazing fruit!
What’s the best advice you have been given about the race so far?
I guess ‘have fun’ is the most common piece of advice! And to just soak up the amazing amount of support out there and to enjoy the journey from the mountains of Squaw to the track in Auburn. And to embrace the heat!
What are your post race plans? Any places you plan to visit while in the US?
After Western States I'll fly to Mexico with my dad and lie on a beach and eat fruit all day!
Then I'm off to Alaska, Telluride, Ecuador and Colorado before flying back home to Oz in the middle of August.