elizabeth hawker
Inspired by mountains and wilderness, Lizzy 'fell' into the world of ultra-distance and endurance running more by chance than by design. Endurance was never just a sport for Lizzy but a way of life and it has allowed her to push herself to the absolute limits. Having the courage to take some unexpected opportunities opened doors, and her achievements snowballed both on the road and the trail. Lizzy went on to set many world records and she became the 100km Women's World Champion and five time winner of The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc - along with many other impressive achievements.

Beyond the world of competitive sport, Lizzy's enduring passion for the mountains and nature has gone to shape her professional career as a writer and as a scientist with a PhD in polar oceanography. Her dream is to encourage people to realize 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.
Full Name: Lizzy Hawker

Birthdate: March 10, 1976

Hometown: London, UK

Homebase: Nepal / Switzerland

Languages: English, smatterings of others

Favorite Meal: bread and cheese, outside, with my best friend

Style of Running: Free - since that is what running gives me, a freedom.

Favorite Place to Run: Anywhere that I can run!

Achievements and Awards


- 3-day record for 320km Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu, Nepal

- 1st Annapurna 100, Nepal


- 1st woman, 2nd overall, Mansalu Trail Race (277km stage race), Nepal

- 1st woman at The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, France, the first competitor to win 5 editions

- 6th woman at the Western States 100

- 3rd overall, 1st woman, Spartathlon


- 1st woman at the Everest Sky Race (9 day, 200km, stage race), Nepal

- 1st and World Record at the 24hr Commonwealth Championships, UK

- World record running from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu

- 1st woman at The North Face® Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc, France

- 1st woman at the Gondo Event, Switzerland

- 1st woman at Swiss Alpine Davos (78km), Switzerland

- 3rd place, Zermatt Marathon, Switzerland

- Gold Medal, 7th place in the Comrades Marathon (89km), South Africa

- Gold Medal, 6th place in the Two Oceans (56km), South Africa

- 1st woman at 123km TransGranCanaria, Gran Canaria

- 1st woman at Hong Kong 100, Hong Kong

- 1st woman at Annapurna 100, Nepal


- 3rd at the 100km World Championships, representing Great Britain

- 1st woman at The North Face® Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc, France


- 3rd at the World Trail Championships, representing Great Britain

- 2nd at The North Face® Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc, France


- 1st woman at The North Face® Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc, France

- 1st at Zermatt Marathon


- 1st women at inaugural Mountain Marathon Cup

- 1st at Zermatt Marathon (course record)

- 1st woman at Swiss Alpine Marathon Davos (78km)


- 1st at 100km World Championships, representing Great Britain

- 1st woman at Zermatt Marathon

- 1st woman at Swiss Alpine Marathon Davos (78km) (course record)


- 1st woman at The North Face® Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc, France

Personal Bests

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


- Adventurer of the Year, Natural Geographic, 2013

- Female Athlete of the Year, The North Face®, 2011

- Fell Runners Association (UK) Long Distance Award, 2008

- Road Runners Club (UK) John Jewell Award 2006 for outstanding performance by British Distance Runner


- Ascent of Ama Dablam (6856), Nepal, 2007.

- First ski mountaineering traverse of Ak-Shirak range, Kyrgyzstan, with seven first ascents, 2006.

- Ski mountaineering traverse of Kackar range in North East Turkey, 2005.

- First ski ascent of Kalanag (6387m), Garwhal, Indian Himalaya, 2003.


- PhD in Polar Oceanography, 2005.

TNF: Hi Lizzy, how did you get into ultra running?
Lizzy: I went to visit some friends and this led me to race 40 miles on a track, my first ultra, simply because I was visiting, they were entering the race, so I thought I would too. That opened the door for me into racing long distances on the road. The same year a chance reading of an article about the Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc led to my first ultra distance race on mountain trails.

TNF: What is your motivation?
Lizzy: My motivation is to run simply for the love of it, with heart and soul as well as head and legs, and I want to share that joy with others.

TNF: What has ultra running taught you?
Lizzy: It has reminded me of both my vulnerability, and yet my power and strength.

TNF: What drives you to explore mountains?
Lizzy: A love of being out in wild and open spaces and making a journey under my own effort. The mountains never fail to give me perspective. It puts things in context, reminding me of my insignificance, of just how big the world is and how small my place in it.

TNF: Describe your perfect day in the outdoors.
Lizzy: Running on high, wild trails with a good friend.

TNF: Who has inspired or inspires you?
Lizzy: Anyone who has the courage to step outside of their comfort zone and to challenge themselves – in whatever way is meaningful for them.

TNF: How do you focus?
Lizzy: By questioning my motivation and intention, and then holding that strong.

TNF: Describe your perfect run.
Lizzy: The next one.

TNF: And how about the best advice you’ve ever received?

Lizzy: The best advice that I’ve ever received is that everything is a choice – how we feel and think about what happens in our life is our choice.

TNF: Do you listen to music while running?
Lizzy: No – I run to be fully present in my environment and in nature. But my favorite music is the Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis because it brings back memories of my very first long mountain ultra races. I also enjoy Dreams of a Journey by Nyman because it reminds me of the Antarctic.

TNF: What are your other interests/passions?
Lizzy: Life!

TNF: What is something that someone would be surprised to know about you?
Lizzy: 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 between Seattle and Vancouver Island. She has an adventurous spirit that I only wish I could live up to!

TNF: What are your future dreams and plans?

My dream is to share with others the joy that I have had from running. This will come from trying to encourage others of the value of endurance running, trying to encourage more women to try ultra distance running and particularly in Nepal to encourage girls to run and to realize how sport can empower them.