Serious Sisu: Lucy Bartholomew

Last week we were thrilled to announce that Anna Frost would be joining SisuGirls as an ambassador.  This week we are very excited to catch up with fellow Salomon runner, Lucy Bartholomew, who at 18 years of age is fast becoming one of Australia's greatest trail runners.  

In 2014 she was the Junior World Champion in the Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix, France and recently took 6th place in the Women' division at the Hong Kong 50km, running with women twice her age.  Enormous talent at a young age can come with many challenges, but Lucy's determination and drive demonstrate just how much this Australian teenager loves trail running - she is a great example of sisu.  

Finishing Australian 100 kilometre ultra, the Surf Coast Century as second female, 2013

Finishing Australian 100 kilometre ultra, the Surf Coast Century as second female, 2013

Please can you give us a brief introduction of yourself? 

My name is Lucy Bartholomew; I am 18 years old and an ultra trail runner with the Salomon Australia team. I started running ultra distances at the age of 15 when I was on the support crew for my Dad.  He was running The North Face 100 Australia (100km ultra marathon) and I ended up running from checkpoint to checkpoint to crew for him.  From that moment I trained with my Dad every day and at the age of 16 I ran my first ultra.  It was a 50km race in the mountains.  A week later I was due to run 100kms with my Dad along the Australian coastline.  That was the beginning....

What has been your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement was winning the Junior World Champion title at the Skyrunning World Championships held in Chamonix, France as part of the Mont Blanc Marathon.  I went across as a member of the Australia / New Zealand team, and I was so scared, since I was so young and inexperienced. However, once I got out there I felt relaxed and happy, and it all came together.  I think what I have achieved is ‘sisu’ because when I started running longer distances I was given a lot of negative feedback since I was so young and a girl; everyone thought it was unhealthy. But I was confident in my ability and was motivated to change perceptions.  I had to grow a thick skin quickly and focus on what I was doing rather than what other people were saying; for me it took a lot of guts, a lot of sisu, a lot of determination, bravery and resilience. 

What does a typical week look like for you?

My weeks vary, but I usually run around 15 hours a week.  I run a lot on hills with repeats and speed work.  The speed work sessions are very tough.  I also go out for long runs where I breathe easy and the hours go by so quickly.  I also work in a bakery four times a week, with a very early start. 

What attracted you to running?

Lucy bartholomew in action

Lucy bartholomew in action

At first it was the chance to spend some quality time with my Dad. Now it is the entire experience - the natural environment, the people I meet, and the overall atmosphere of the events.  Everyone is very relaxed, even at the pointy end. 

What was your family's reaction to your choice of sport?

I don't think they were surprised, considering Dad had been participating in ultra events too. Although, I am sure my family were concerned with how my running would affect my schooling.  The worry being I would run too much, leaving behind other opportunities, and if I never ran again, I would have nothing to support me.

What have you learnt about yourself through your running?

I have learnt the importance of self-belief as well as how powerful the mind is, especially in endurance sports.  I have also gained a greater appreciation for the human body and what it is capable of achieving.  Finally, I have learned how we must nourish and look after our bodies  - something I think some people are yet to learn. 

Do you have any goals that you want to achieve with your running? 

This year my main focus was to make the Australian Trail World Championships Team, which I have!   That was a huge tick for me in 2015.  Away from racing I want to encourage more girls to get out on the trails and see the world - you only live once! 

running in nz - Photo taken by marceu photography

running in nz - Photo taken by marceu photography

What piece of advice would you give to our young SisuGirls?

Never give up!  Yes, it will get very tough, but once you climb out of the dark the view at the top will be more than worth it!

What makes you wake up each morning?

Breakfast! haha.. The incredible opportunities that are waiting for me and the adventures I will live. 

What and who inspires you?

Emelie Forsberg. She is changing people's perception of what we, especially women, are capable of achieving. She loves running and always smiles through the challenges. I have had the extreme pleasure of being coached by Emelie, and she has great belief in what I can do, which encourages and inspires me daily.  

Photo taken by lloyd belcher visuals in hong kong 

Photo taken by lloyd belcher visuals in hong kong 

What is the piece of advice you ever received?

“....After all, it's just running”. Before I raced in the MSIG50 in Hong Kong I was so scared.  At the start line someone told me just to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It is that simple...it's just running! It is so true! 

Finally, who do you think has serious sisu?

Anyone who leaves their comfort zone, even for a second. It's not easy, and can be scary, but you are better for it.

Chloe Chick