Inspired by mountains and wilderness, Lizzy 'fell' into the world of ultra-distance and endurance running more by chance than by design.
Inspired by mountains and wilderness, Lizzy 'fell' into the world of ultra-distance and endurance running more by chance than by design. Endurance has always been a way of life for Lizzy, rather than a sport. But having the courage to take some unexpected opportunities opened doors, and her achievements snowballed both on the road and the trail. She is the world record holder for 24hrs and was the 2006 world champion in 100km on the road. She is also 4 time winner of The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, and in 2011 set a new record running from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu.
Beyond the world of competitive sport, Lizzy just loves being in the mountains, and exploring on ski and on foot. Balancing life, work, competitive athletics, endurance events and her love of the mountains can be challenging. But as Lizzy says, "that is the journey of life ... and for now, if through my running I can reach out to people, to inspire them in some small way, then it gives it a deeper meaning. This is my dream."
What inspires her to run is: "to be immersed in nature - to strive to do the best I can - to learn more about myself - to be stripped of the trappings of modern life - to feel the freedom of a journey, to be exposed to the elements - to feel rawness, vunerability and yet strength in body, mind and spirit - to learn be 'mindful'. For Lizzy, but the most important thing is always to run for the love of it, with heart and soul as well as her head and legs. And then to follow the path that opens up ….
Lizzy's enduring passion for the mountains and nature has shaped both her life as an endurance athlete, and her professional career as a writer and as a scientist. A Natural Scientist by training, with a PhD in polar oceanography, she has been on many research cruises to the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean. These experiences and studies gave her an even deeper commitment to our responsibility of working towards both social and environmental sustainability in every part of our lives.
Her dream is to encourage people to realise the sanctuary and inspiration of the mountains, the richness of our environment and our responsibility to protect it, and the value of challenging yourself both physically and mentally.
Home: Footloose in the mountains
Favourite Place to Travel: In the mountains or wilderness ... with friends.
Favourite Food: Home-baked bread, some good cheese, a bunch of grapes, a glass of wine.
Favourite Book: Clear Waters Rising by Nicholas Crane
Favourite Music: Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis - memories of my very first long mountain ultra races. Dreams of a Journey by Nyman - it reminds me of the Antarctic
How I Relax: Losing myself in a good book. Going to the hills. Running.
Little known fact: There is a small and beautiful wooden sailing boat named after me. The other 'Lizzy Hawker' lives in the waters of the San Juan Islands beween Seattle and Vancouver Island. She has an adventurous spirit that I only wish I could live up to!
Best Ever Run:A run around Mont Blanc. 100km in Korea. A run from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu. Another run around Mont Blanc. And any day I can run - wherever, however, whenever.
Favourite Quote: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - Goethe
Where it all began: Falling in love with the Matterhorn at the age of six. It was the birth of a passion and I knew that the mountains and nature were 'home'.
'Running' Philosophy: If the truth of our running is that in our 'moving' we find ourselves, then running is the gift that allows us to know ourselves deeper. If you run for the love of it - then more becomes possible than you might ever have dreamed.
- 1st woman at the Everest Sky Race (9 day, 200km, stage race), Nepal, 2011.
- Gold Medal and WORLD RECORD at the 24hr Commonwealth Championships, UK, 2011.
- 1st woman at The North Face Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc, France. 2011.
- 1st woman at the Gondo Event (double mountain marathon), Switzerland. 2011.
- 1st woman at Swiss Alpine Davos (78km), Switzerland, 2011.
- 3rd place, Zermatt Marathon, Switzerland, 2011.
- Gold Medal, 7th place in the Comrades Marathon (89km), South Africa. 2011.
- Gold Medal, 6th place in the Two Oceans (56km), South Africa, 2011.
- 1st woman at 123km TransGranCanaria, Gran Canaria. 2011.
- 1st woman at Hong Kong 100, Hong Kong, 2011.
- 1st woman at Annapurna 100, Nepal, 2011.
World Record and World Championships
- Gold Medal and WORLD RECORD at the 24hr Commonwealth Championships, 2011.
- Bronze Medal at the 100km World Championships, representing Great Britain, 2010.
- Bronze Medal at the World Trail Championships, representing Great Britatin, 2009.
- World record running from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu, 2011.
- Gold Medal at 100km World Championships, representing Great Britain, 2006.
Other notable races
- 1st woman at The North Face Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc, France 2010, 2008 and 2005; 2nd in 2009.
- Winner of the women’s inaugral Mountain Marathon Cup, 2007.
- 1st woman at The North Face 50 mile Endurance Challenge, San Francisco. 2007
- Zermatt Marathon, 1st woman in 2006, 2007 (course record), 2008.
- Swiss Alpine Marathon Davos (78km), 1st woman in 2006 (course record), 2007 and 2011.
24hrs (road) 247.076 km WORLD and COMMONWEALTH RECORD
100 km 7:29:12 hrs WORLD CHAMPION 2006
50 km 3:21:12 hrs (during 2011 Two Oceans 56km race)
Marathon 2:45:02 hrs (during 2011 Two Oceans 56km race)
Half-Marathon 77:35 mins
10 km 36:26 mins
Fastest world performance times for 50 km and 100 km in 2006 - road running
- 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, The North Face
- Fell Runners Association (UK) Long Distance Award 2008
- Road Runners Club (UK) John Jewell Award 2006 for outstanding performance by British Distance Runner
- PhD in Polar Oceanography, 2005