Scotty Hawker was 3rd at Retezat SkyRace, a short, for his standard, but hard and fast race. He enjoyed his time in Romania, he was impressed with the fact that the Romanian mountains are wilder then other places, and he was surprised about the high quality of Romanian mountain runners. He is confident and he want to do a good job at Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, after an 11th place in 2017 and a DNF last year.

4run.ro: How Romanian mountains did seems for you?

Scotty Hawker: The trails in Romania were amazing. Everything just felt a little wilder than other places I train and race in which was awesome. There was a little of everything regarding terrain and profiles. It was an enjoyable place to train and race.

How did you feel during your stay in Romania?

We had the most amazing time in Romania, Radu Milea (ultra runner and race organizer) really looked after us, like family. It was an awesome experience visiting a new country.

How Retezat Sky Race did seems for you?

The competition was really high, I was a little surprised to be honest. There were quite a few really strong guys to push with.

Retezat Sky Race (28k, +2.300m) was a short race for you. In addition, it seems that was a good training for Lavaredo Dolomites (87k), there you finished 3rd.

Yes, Retezat was a nice training race for Lavaredo Ultra Dolomites. Lavaredo wasn’t a focus race but it was nice to go into this race with good feelings after our time in Romania. I was really happy to come 3rd place at Retezat as this race was a lot shorter than what I normally race. The two guys who beat me were amazing on the downhills!

You had a 5th place in Hong Kong, your first ultra in 2019. How was the race?

Hong Kong is an amazing place to race. The whole experience of racing here is super nice. It is just such a different race to anything else on the World Tour. The Chinese runners are incredibly strong; I was the first non-Chinese runner to finish which was pretty cool. It is always so nice to go back to Hong Kong 🙂

You raced two time at UTMB, in 2017 finishing on 11th place and last year with a DNF. Why that DNF in 2018?

Yes 2017 was a pretty good race for me despite having surgery on my ankle in March 2017. Last year was a bit of a disaster from the first race of the season at MIUT. At UTMB, I was battling stomach issues from early on in the race… From around 90-140km, I had nothing to eat or drink, eventually this caught up on me and I finally dropped at Vallorcine. Super frustrating to be in 5th place at Champex-Lac but not have the ability to finish.

How did the race in 2017 go?

Yes 2017 was an interesting race. I started super conservative, as I was nervous about my ankle. I eased into the race and from Champex-Lac I started to push a little. From Champex-Lac to the finish, I felt awesome and it was super motivating to pass heaps of guys in these final stages of the race. It was tough for me from Notre-Dame de la Gorge to Courmayeur, battling the cold and trying to eat properly.

What you like the most at UTMB?

The competition is the #1 motivation for me to run UTMB. The trails are beautiful also and the atmosphere throughout the race is incredible!

Where do you have to stay calm, where do you have to push?

UTMB is an interesting course… I think now with the race being so competitive you somewhat have to push throughout different stages in the race… you need to arrive to Courmayeur/ Ref. Bonatti with good feelings so you can be strong in the final 50-60km of the race. It is always tough near Col du Bonhomme, Grand col Ferret…

What are your expectations about UTMB 2019?

Training and racing for me in 2019 has been much better, I’m going into the race with much more confidence than 2018. I am really pushing for a podium result this year.

Can you point a top three this year at UTMB?

The competition in 2019 is amazing, as always, I think the podium could be made up from any three of about 40 athletes! The final three? I am not sure, I will tell you on the 31st August. 🙂

foto: Retezat SkyRace & Scotty Hawker