Lucja Leonard loves running, but hasn't always! A Dutch-born, Aussie raised, British woman living in the USA with her husband & fellow ultra runner, Dion Leonard, and their 2 fur-kids Gobi & Lara life is anything but straight forward. Overweight, unfit and unhappy Lucja turned her well-being and overall happiness around when she took up running in 2004 to try and lose some weight off her 216 pound, and growing, body. Never much for sports growing up she was surprised to discover that she enjoyed the thrill of running and after running her first marathon in 2010 she started to wonder what more her body was capable of. In 2013 she ran her first ultra marathon as part of the Kalahari Extreme Marathon, a 250km race over 6 stages/7days through the Kalahari desert in South Africa where you have to carry all your kit and food to survive the entire week! From here she was unstoppable having run a multitude of ultras around the world, the tougher and higher the DNF rate the more excited she gets about giving it a go. Lucja's experience now includes epic races such as Leadville 100, Ultra Trail Mont Blanc 106 miles, Oman by UTMB, Marathon Des Sables and Transgrancanaria 125km to name just a few. This year she takes on her biggest challenge to date by attempting to run the Triple Crown of 200 milers, Bigfoot 200, Tahoe 200 & Moab 240 over only a 9 week period in total! Ultra running has not just shaped Lucja's mind and body but it has changed both her and Dion's lives. Dion was running a 250k/155mile multi stage race across the Gobi desert in China in 2016 when a stray dog started following him. She would run nearly 80 miles with him and Dion and Lucja turned their lives upside down in the process of adopting her from China to the UK where they were living at the time. You can read more about their true & inspiring story in the NY Times bestselling book 'Finding Gobi' which is also being made into a Hollywood film.
Lucja lives her life fearless! The bigger the challenge the better. She went from overweight and unhappy to fit and having incredible adventures. On this podcast Lucja talks about her very first epic ultra and subsequent struggles. She also opens up about insecurities and how she has overcome them through positive self-talk. Lucja tells us about her biggest challenge to date, the Triple Crown of 200 milers and raising money for the Pink Ribbon Foundation that supports breast cancer patients, which is a charity close to her heart. We know you will walk away from this one as inspired as we were. “Believe in yourself as others believe in you”.
You can find out more about Lucja and follow her journey @runningdutchie on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Breast Cancer Fundraiser
'Finding Gobi' available at www.findinggobi.com or your favorite spots to buy books, and this amazing book is being made into a Hollywood film.