Lisa Hessey LCW in 1 day

On 18th June 2022, Lisa Hessey completed the Leeds Country Way in a day with the help and support from her fellow Crossgates Harriers and STAC club members. Lisa now joins the list of people in Kippax Harriers LCW in a day hall of fame. We spoke to Lisa to find out why she did it and just what it takes to run 64.4 miles around Leeds in one go!

First of all, huge congratulations on your epic journey! For those that don’t know what made you decide to do LCW in a day?

I was due to run the 100km Race To The Castle in May but the bad storms earlier in the year damaged the course so it had to be cancelled. I had run the 50km event the previous year and had totally fallen in love with Trail Ultra Marathons. I was absolutely gutted as I had been training since October and was mentally and physically prepared for the race. I'd also not drunk a single drop of alcohol all that time and was up to marathon distance having completed 2 for training. After about 2 days of moping around and being a massive grumpy bum I decided that I would give LCW in a day a crack.....and so the reccies began.

You were interviewed and featured in an article in the Yorkshire Evening Post - how did that come about?

Janine from Crossgates Harriers asked me if I would like some publicity and I initially said no thinking nobody would be interested. Janine drafted an email to them and asked me what I thought. I thought it would be hilarious if they responded, never believing that they would and then a reporter called me for an interview. I actually asked him why they would write an article about little old me going for a run and he replied with "it's better than Covid and murders". I loved the photo shoot and felt like a proper celebrity running round a field in Whinmoor with a guy taking action shots! My favourite part of the piece in the YEP is, of course, that I made a full page on page 3! Ask me where they featured the Brownlee Brothers from that weekend's Triathlon......Page 7!

Best part of the day?

The support! Undoubtedly the bit that got me to the end. The energy that people brought to each leg was tremendous and made the adventure easy. Even the supporters out and about at The Mexborough, Tracey Parsons delivering strawberries during Leg 5 and Jason's little face popping up in Scholes with armfuls of liquid and the offer of food was amazing. And that finish had me in tears as I was truly overwhelmed by the support of both the Harriers and STAC. I think I sang, danced and laughed for most of the 64 miles. I literally had the best time ever!

And the worst?

If I am being totally honest I would say there was never a "worst bit".I trained hard and I knew the only thing on the day that would let me down would be if I paced it wrong and I didn't. I never hit "the wall", I didn't question my ability and I always knew I would finish it. Everything fell into place on the day including the weather which behaved despite being really hot on the Friday.

What got you through the toughest parts?

Again I'd have to say the fresh legs and energy of others joining me throughout the day. I also cannot forget my husband's part in the day either. He got up at 3.30am with me and was my Pit Stop Hero/Wardrobe Organiser/Social Media Manager all day. At the end of every leg he was just there waiting to refill my hydration vest and he even got to thumb me into my clean sports bra at the end of Leg 2 - lucky fella!

How did you feel when you’d finished?

Emotional but absolutely buzzing to be able to say I did it! To hear all those people shouting my name as I came up that hill in Garforth will stay with me forever. I'm still on Cloud 9 now, a week on and I'm certain that everyone is fed up of hearing about it, seeing my Strava map and being forced to read the YEP article.

Tips for any mad person considering doing it?!

Don't cheat on the training. Even when you know you have to do 30 miles on Saturday followed by 15 on Sunday just do it. Take it steady, don't squeeze all your training into 16 weeks or something silly like that. I had 8 months of training and it really paid off. Also try to slow it down and do it properly and if you have a bad training run so what, try again tomorrow. Work out how you will fuel it properly, experiment while you are training and then stick with what works.

What’s next and how do you beat that?

You won't be surprised to know that I am already planning my next adventure. I have been looking at The Dalesway which is Windermere to Ilkley and is 82 miles. It's a self navigation race though so that could be interesting! For now I am going to try and enjoy "just running" but I know I will sign up for something soon as I like the focus and motivation training gives me.

Finally, have you got a follow up interview with the YEP or have we got the exclusive scoop?!

Well I have been offered a number of interviews with a number of publications but in the interest of "keeping it real" I've turned them all down and have given you the exclusive interview!

Lisa joins Jo Loftus, Sam chapman, Jason Albrecht, Glen Johnson (twice), Helen Fenton, Tillie Clark, Stuart Gall and Dan Grant as STAC’s who have completed LCW in a day - so who will be next?!