This is anultra-runners mindset in a nutshell. Now imagine that this ultra-runner that is adventuring aroundthe mountains with you is a 13-year-old girl, with her long hair in braids with bows at the endand she is covered in pink from head to toe. A double take occurs where you can’t believe thatthis little gazelle is running alongside you and sheis clicking off miles while chatting abouther favorite songs, her best friends and all of the fun activities she will add on to the day tocomplete her teenage life.Meet Hannah Lutzker, the youngest female ultra-marathoner in the world. She achieved thisaccolade on June 30th when crossing the finish line in the Twisted Fork Ultra. On this day, she clicked off 42.2 miles with 6,518 feet of climbing in 9:42.35 and scoring 16th female overall. Hannah, at 13 years old, is already inspiring the masses with every step that she takes. For our relationship together as her mentor and coach, it is allowing me to expand my dream to inspire the next generation.
Rewinding back to a year ago, I received an email from Hannah’s father Monty and he explained the story of his daughter Hannah that just loves to run more than anything in the world. Monty and Hannah’s mom Sally were looking for a key influencer in running so that she could have guidance and inspiration from professionals in the field to guide and pace her. At the age of 7 years old, Hannah topped the Grand Teton. From there, she started slipping into trail running races and the distance just kept getting longer. For a project to do the XTERRA Half Marathon, I jumped in to be her guide. I met Hannah for a 5-mile trail run right after she completed her benchmark of doing the Mid Mountain Marathon (26.3miles in 6:03.17 with 3,678 feet of climbing) in Park City, UT. Immediately, we clicked and laughed for the entire five miles and I was in awe that this girl was so in love with trail running and had an itch to go farther and farther. All I could think to myself is what a beacon of inspiration she will be for the masses and how she reminded me of my younger self at 12 years old.
"I love running far to seethe scenery, it is less hard on your feet, the community is so nice, and it is really fun to run with friends," Hannah said.
I was immediately hooked on an amazing opportunity to be a guiding light for Hannah in her ultra-running journey as well as to be a big sister to her for a lifetime. We began running twice a week to prepare for the XTERRA National Championships and on race day, she had a PR of 11 minutes on the course, became the National Champion in her division, and then qualified for World Championships in Hawaii. Continuing on to smash her division by 39 minutes at Worlds, Hannah had her sight already set far beyond that December race to doing her first ultra-marathon.
From there Hannah had a training schedule of 21 weeks of training building from 24 miles a week to 60. Most importantly, she worked on her mental game. We built up strategies weekly on how to power her mind with positive affirmations and positive thinking. Before you knew it, it was race day and Hannah smashed her goal and had a successful race with one fallen toenail as the only carnage. We punched through the miles with ease and Hannah had a positive stride through every aid station. "I loved the twisted Fork race. I thought it was a great experience getting to know how ultras work and I loved getting to feel more connected with the ultra-running community. My favorite part about it was the middle of the race when you get into a groove and it was super fun and I thought this is why I love to run."
Running with Hannah is a very special experience. She is a vibrant, positive, smart, and beautiful girl that loves living life to the fullest.
"I love running with Jax because she is such a good runner and I really look up to her and she is my favorite person ever," Hannah said. "My favorite part about our runs together is that she pushes me really hard but she also makes it really fun."
For me, hearing words like this is the biggest reward ever. Being one that wants to spread inspiration to the masses by doing epic adventures, Hannah has become one of my favorite parts about running. Her glow, tenacity, grit, and determination is inspiring to not only children her age but also to those triple her age. The ultra community better keep a close eye on this prodigy for she will be crushing the ladies scene for sure. Until then, it is back to the drawing boards for preparing for the Mid Mountain Marathon where she hopes to have a big PR. Beyond that, Hannah is focusing on summer Nordic training and also being a normal kiddo having a fun summer break with her best friends and spending time with her parents.