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Hand in hand with Mother Nature!

by Editor
Thursday 26th September 2013
Tags  Lowri Morgan   |   Merrell   |   6633 Ultra   |   Ring of Fire   |   Dragons Back Race

Interview: Ultra-runner and Merrell ambassador Lowri Morgan

Ultra-runner and Merrell ambassador Lowri Morgan

Last month we featured ultra-runner and Merrell ambassador Lowri Morgan (HERE). We wanted to find out a little more about this gutsy Welsh athlete after reading about her inspirational performances, including her finish in the 2011 6633 Ultra - she was the only person to finish the challenging 350 mile event in the Arctic that year!

What we found was a bubbly, enthusiastic woman with a passion for adventure, who really appreciates the opportunities she has been given to travel and compete around the world.

Her career as a freelance TV presenter and broadcaster has given her the chance to see many wonderful places – it is not however your regular nine till five, Monday to Friday job that you can fit a regular training schedule around! Just how do you fit in the miles when you’re off to live with a tribe in Morocco?

Lowri seems to thrive on a challenge though and has been known to fit in 4000 miles of running per year when preparing for a big race, and feels happy when she can manage to run at least six times per week, covering 80 to 90 miles a week. When she can only manage four weekly runs she might run two to three times per day, getting her body used to working whilst being tired.

In addition she may be carrying a 10 to 12 kg pack. Lowri explained that she tries to emulate race conditions, so she may carry the weight over the type of terrain she is likely to experience in the event she is training for.
Planning is one of Lowri’s strength! “I might not be the best, but I can be the best prepared!” It is her meticulous preparation that helps Lowri to compete ?on a level playing field with her fellow competitors, whether male or female. In the Arctic for example she had created a very tidy system  in her pack so that when she was really tired, she knew exactly where everything was!

The men may have been teasing her at the beginning about whether she had brought her mascara and hairdryer - and according to Lowri, some of them even admitted after the race that they expected her to drop out after the first 24 hours – but in the end an ultra is a great leveller and they showed her great respect! “Everybody is equal when you’re digging deep!”

“I’ve always very proudly competed against men.” Her position overall is what counts to Lowri, more than how many women have finished ahead or behind her! Asked who inspired her most Lowri doesn’t list any of the elite runners. People and their stories, their fights and personal experiences such as a friend training for her first 5k are what she looks for!

“I also try to be aware of my senses - new sights, colours and smells – hand-in-hand with nature. Sometimes literally when you’re clawing your way up a steep mountain!”

Another thing Lowri really listens to is her body. Lowri injured her knee when she was 18 (playing rugby for Wales). “I can’t straighten or bend my leg fully. I am very aware of my knees. I also have got a heart problem. Before the Amazon race they did a heart check and the electronics don’t work properly. I might need a pace maker in 15 years. I really listen to my body. It’s made me more aware of it and more grateful for what I can do with it!”

Ultra-runner and Merrell ambassador Lowri Morgan

“What one can do with the body and mind is amazing!”

During the 6633 Ultra Lowri had stress fractures in her feet. “They were black and blue and I’d pull my hat right down so all I could see were my feet, getting into a rhythm. I’d try to concentrate on one pain at a time until it became a part of the rhythm.”

Ultras are about “getting to the start line first, then to the finish line and it’s one step at a time in between!”

So what next? When we spoke to Lowri she had just completed the Ring of Fire (http://www.ringofire.co.uk/), a 135 mile coastal ultra-marathon, circumnavigating the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales. She finished 12th overall (second woman) despite getting lost. So if she is to take on another Welsh ‘epic’, The Dragon’s Back, she needs to improve her navigation. Until the Ring of Fire she had never raced a multi-day event in Wales, but she would love to take on the Dragon when it returns in 2015 (http://www.dragonsbackrace.com/)!

Lowri doesn’t just run to compete though. Racing has given her the chance to go to amazing places, has given her the space to be herself. In every ultra there is also the element of camaraderie. “You’re all there to survive, not to compete!” People she meets who make her believe in herself make her dig deeper!

“In the Arctic there were many ‘angels’. People you’d never met would give up their sleep to walk beside you. You’ll never meet them again but they leave a big mark!”

So while the media debates the chances of women ‘closing the gap on men’ in endurance event there are women out there who have already won outright and Lowri is one of them!

You can find out more about Merrell footwear at www.merrell.co.uk, and more about Lowri’s races and adventures at www.lowrimorgan.com


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