I distinctly remember my first meeting with Glenn “Horrie” Lockwood, it was 4 years ago, a cold Blue Mountains, and I was waiting nervously to check in at TNF100 ultra. This was my first ultra and I was pretty much like all debutants to the sport, feeling out of my depth, nervous and filled with the sorts of questions only beginners ask. So what was so engaging about this first meeting, well firstly he was more excited than a kid on Christmas Eve and secondly he wasn’t short of an opinion and happily shared it with everyone, but most important of all, is that he went out of his way to introduce me to pretty much everyone. This first meeting left me with a good feeling in my stomach, that this crazy sport of ultra running was one great big community with a heart beat driven by the likes of Horrie.
It didn’t take long to catch up with him again soon and was delighted to be able to join a team he was assembling for the Wild Endurance 100km race. The team of 4 included Ultra168’s Darrel, Horrie, Kevin “Brick” Heaton and myself. We went on to win the race leading from the gun for the whole 100kms but throughout the run, Horrie never let us forget the fundamentals of running an ultra, keep focused, hydrated, eating and managing the myriad of aches and pains that start to occur once the mileage rises.
Fast forward 4 years and I am delighted to be able to share with you a catch up I had with Horrie on his return from a successful Badwater 135 campaign where he upheld a tradition of strong and successful finishes by all Aussie who enter this epic race.
Marcus: Have you always been a runner or is this something you took up in later life?
Horrie: I originally took up running in 1990 and ran a couple of City to Surfs but stopped when I changed jobs and kids came along. Then during Christmas 2002 a couple of things happened. Firstly, a mate who I was working with had a mild heart attack and then we were invited to Christmas lunch with one of our daughter’s friend’s family. I needed new clothes because I didn’t have anything appropriate. I got a huge shock when I tried on the size I thought I was and I couldn’t do up the waist button. For the first time in my life my waistline was over 100cm. I then decided to weigh myself and I was 101kg. I decided to go and get a medical checkup. The doctor was pretty blunt with me and told me I was at risk of type 2 diabetes which could lead to heart problems and stroke. She told me the weight for a person my height and build should be 80kg and that I needed to lose 20kg. Most of our family were overweight so Belinda decided to radically overhaul our diets. We all went on a low fat, low carb diet and began walking 30 minutes a day. The weight started dropping off and my goal was to reach 80kg by Father’s Day. As the weight started to drop off and we got fitter, the walking became easier and our walking pace got quicker. Then in early August Belinda decided to go out for a run. When she told me this, I felt immediately challenged and went out and bought some running kit that night. We ran a few km together and on a whim I decided to enter the City to Surf the next day. I haven’t looked back since.
Marcus: What made you step up to the longer distances ?
Horrie: When I first ran 6 Foot I realized there was more than running as fast as you can, that there were races that required toughness. That is when I realized there was an Ultra Runner in me trying to get out.
Marcus: Was it a race or an individual that teased out that ultra runner?
Horrie: Not long after starting running, I discovered www.coolrunning.com.au and there was this guy called Mister G that did all these crazy distances. I met him and he told me that if he could do these events then I could. I also met Tim Turner and Brendan Mason around the same time. It was refreshing to see that these guys didn’t have any special running ability. I had formed a friendship with Wayne (Blue Dog) Gregory around the same time and after running a 12 Hour event in Gosford, Grafton to Coffs Harbour and Sydney to Gosford (PMC), he talked me into running the Glasshouse 100 miler. That was in 2006.
Marcus: What is your favourite Australian Ultra and favourite overseas Ultra ?
Horrie: C2K – it is the iconic run from sea level to the highest point in Australia, covering just short of 150 miles in distance.I have just completed Badwater 135 so it is still burnt into my psyche. I love everything about this race,the way all the SUVs drive into Death Valley on the Sunday before the race like I imagine gunfighters rode into town for an old fashioned shootout like they did in the old days. The camaraderie among runners and crew is incredibly strong. Everybody knows that we are going to go through some tough times out there but we all want the best for each other and want everybody to succeed but you know some people aren’t going to make it. Then the unspoken words and utmost respect we all have for one another at he finish pizza party. This event is like C2K on steroids.
Marcus: What race is still on your bucket list ?
Horrie: There are a few races here that I haven’t done but are shorter ultras. I will try and tick them off over the next couple of years. The big o/s race on my bucket list is Spartathlon but I know I have to get faster to have any chance of finishing this. However I have gained a lot of confidence in finishing Badwater and learnt with specific training and mindset, anything is possible. I will set myself some targets along the way and that will give me the feedback to know when I am ready.
Marcus: Who do you consider to be your legends of the sport?
Horrie: Seeing what guys like Jornet, Roes and Krupicka have done at WS100 over the last 2 years is amazing. To see these guys finish in daylight is amazing. Jurek has been a good runner over a number of years and has proven his versatility by winning WS100 7 years in a row, winning Badwater and breaking the US 24 Hour record with 260 km last year in the world champs last year. The doyen of our runners here is Martin Fryer who has also proven his versatility by doing well at WS100, C2K and his amazing performances on the track. Ultra 168’s Andrew Vize has achieved amazing results in his short career and is still improving. I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet.
Marcus: What is your weekly mileage when training for ultras?
Horrie: I am a fairly low mileage runner for an Ultra Runner and get by on between 80-100km per week most weeks. I occasionally have bigger mileage weeks but these usually lead to niggles flaring up which then results in lower mileage weeks because of time spent getting over said niggles.
Marcus: How do you juggle life, work, family, finances that comes with being a family man?
Horrie: Very delicately. Until a recent accident, my wife Belinda had her training so I have to fit mine in around hers and our work commitments. Add to that, we have a son who can’t be left alone due to epilepsy and it does get quite difficult at times.
Marcus: The Badwater 135 miler is often described as one of the toughest races in the world, what attracted you to it ?
Horrie: As we were in the US last year running WS100, a friend Brendan Mason was accepted into Badwater last year, decided it would be good idea to have an Aussie on his crew. Up until that time, the race scared the crap out of me. But after seeing first hand that this race could be conquered, I decided I had to have a crack at it.
Marcus: How does it compare to ultras like C2K, GNW100 and WS100 ?
Horrie: It is closest to C2K because it is on road with a distance of well over 100 miles. I like to call it C2K on heat. You have a crew that you meet up with every mile and takes care of your needs and can deal with the many issues that arise. Things can go very wrong very quickly in those conditions.
Marcus: Did you do anything differently in your training for Badwater 135 ?
Horrie: From the beginning of May I introduced heat training into my schedule. I ran in the mornings and did either steam room sessions or bikram yoga in the evenings. I started off with 15 minutes in the steam room and eventually worked my way up to 55 minutes with the longest stint being half an hour without a break. My biggest fear was passing out in the steam room and that somebody would find me unconscious on the floor. Bikram yoga classes were 90 minutes in duration in a room heated up to 45 degrees.
Marcus: How important was your support crew for this race ?
Horrie: Crewing is a vital part of being able to complete this race. You have to put total trust in your crew as you may not be able to make decisions yourself. I was fortunate to have a very experienced crew with Phil Rosenstein who ran GNW and C2K in 2007 who has ran BW once and crewed there 3 times before, knowing exactly what was required. They have to stay focussed the whole time and be ready to make vital decisions at any time.
Marcus: What were your fellow competitors like ?
Horrie: They were as hard as nails! You think you are tough but some of these people make you look like a wimp. On the day after the event, we were sitting in the pool soaking our legs and I am enjoying a few beers. I start talking to a Canadian by the name of Barb Owen. She had just completed the 135 Mile triple crown in 2011. As well as Badwater, she also completed Brazil 135 and Arrowhead 135. Arrowhead 135 is a race held in Minnesota in winter where you run-through snow and carry all your gear on a sled. It has a 60 hour cutoff. I asked her how you do an event like that and she said if you are looking after yourself you will not feel the cold just like you won’t feel the heat at BW. I asked her what instructions she had given her crew on when they could withdraw her from the race and her reply was DEATH. Now you have to agree that is hard core.
Marcus: Was there a pieces of gear you relied on more than anything else in this race?
Horrie: The white arm warmers and leg warmers they gave us in our goodie bags that are made by Moeben. They are made with UV material so they protect you from the sun and then when you we them, they keep you cool and your core temperature down.
Marcus: Did you make any changes to your nutrition and hydration strategies ?
Horrie: Yes. I got most of my calories in liquid form. Fruit puree in gel like sachets, sustagen sport and a couple of drinks you can only get in US like Ensure. I did rely in some old favorites such as rice pudding, mashed potato, ravioli and potato crisps. I did stay away from starchy foods like bread etc.
Marcus: What was the reaction from your family and friends on completing Badwater ?
Horrie: I was blown away when Belinda joined me on the road for the beginning of the 12 mile hike to Mt Whitney Portal. She told me she had never felt prouder of me than what I was doing in this race. What made it more special is we have been together for over 30 years so it obviously had a very powerful influence on us all.
Marcus: What if anything would you do differently if you were to return to Death Valley ?
Horrie: Nothing, it was about as perfect an race as we could execute.
Marcus: So with the Australian ultra season rapidly approaching what is your next target race?
Horrie: C2K in December with a couple of 100km runs at GNW100 and Glasshouse100 to compliment my training.
Marcus: You mention GNW100 where you have competed regularly, this is a particularly favourite race of Ultra168, any tips for our readers on running this race successfully?
Horrie: Start out slow because the first section is a beast. Don’t let the heat along Congewai Rd psyche you out. Get in and out of the checkpoint at Congewai School quickly as there isn’t much to be gained by sitting around in the heat. When you are struggling to put one foot in front of the other heading up to the communications tower, just concentrate on getting to the top because there is some easy running and a nice breeze waiting for you. Never let the thought of reaching the sand of Patonga stray from your mind as it is an amazing feeling finishing the race.
We wish Horrie well in his next endeavours and check back regularly as we report on his progress. You can watch a video of his exploits at this years Badwater 135 here:-