New to the Spring Elite Team this year is Seattle-based ultrarunner and all around great human being Rich Lockwood. Although he's barely dipped his feet into the competitive running world Rich has already been having some fantastic results including taking the overall win at Run Rabbit Run 100 miler and setting a new course record at Deception Pass Marathon.
We wanted to know more about Rich; who he is and what makes him tick. So we put him through the wringer of questions!
My name is Rich Lockwood. I live in Seattle, Washington in an area called Magnolia. I am married to my amazingly inspiring and supportive wife Bri. We have a dog, a greyhound named Javier. He just turned 12 years old, but still acts like a young pup!
I work in healthcare at Harborview Medical Center as a Radiologic Technologist ( X-ray tech). I lead the vascular surgery imaging team in what is called “Interventional Radiology”. Basically we image blood vessels and perform minimally invasive life-saving procedures.
I love a bunch of mountain sports: Trail Running, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing, Backcountry Skiing, and Mountaineering. I also grew up playing soccer competitively, and skateboarded with my friends almost everyday after school.
Were you always outdoorsy and athletic? How did you get into running?
I always loved playing outdoors. Growing up on the Olympic Peninsula, my brothers and I would spend much of our time biking, hiking, and exploring the forests and coastline of our little town.
I always liked playing sports, but didn’t ever consider myself “athletic” or really competitive when it came to sports.
When did you first hear about ultrarunning? Was it even on your radar?
I first heard about ultrarunning in 2017 when looking for a trail race to run. I had never heard of ultrarunning, and trail running in general was completely new to me.
Why do you run?
I run for tons of reasons! Mostly to have profound experiences in the mountains with friends and alone. I also run to decompress after stressful days at work, and to clear my mind and be alone with my thoughts for a while. I run to stay healthy, and to maintain fitness for other outdoor pursuits.
I run to test my limits and explore the beautiful planet that we live on with its endless multitudes of wild places.
What was your first race? Most memorable race?
My first trail race was the Beacon Rock 50k on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. It’s a two-loop course that climbs up Mount Hamilton. There was a bluegrass band at the finish line, and I met so many new friends camping out after the race. Trail running had me hooked immediately.
My most memorable race is probably the Cliffs 100k at Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai, Thailand this past December 2022. While it wasn’t that long ago, I know I will remember it forever! It was so wild and completely different than any race I have ever ran before. The hot humid climate, the relentlessly steep climbs and descents, the density of the wild jungle, the kind and welcoming villagers in every town we ran through, everything about it was amazing.
When did you realize you were fast… like competitively fast?
I still grapple with feelings of competitive talent. I noticed a couple years in to running trails that I was consistently in or near the podium. But I think my talent comes in stubbornness and mental toughness. I don’t have any kind of track or xc background, so while I develop my speed I know that my biggest strengths lie in grinding hard in big mountainous races.
How did you decide to be an X-ray technician? How’d you get into it? Do you enjoy it? Is it demanding on you physically? What’s a normal work day like?
I was pursuing prerequisites for an undergraduate degree in Biology, hoping to focus on permaculture design and sustainable agriculture practices. But during a course in Animal Biology a classmate noticed how much I enjoyed it and recommended that I take an Anatomy and Physiology class. I immediately loved A&P and decided to switch into a healthcare pathway for school. Radiology seemed like a really engaging and dynamic mix of patient care and cutting edge technology. I really enjoy it, especially the procedural work I do now in Interventional Radiology. A patient can come in having a heart attack and barely be able to talk with the amount of pain they are going through while actively dying. And our team (imaging techs, nurses, cardiovascular surgeons) can open up their blocked coronary artery with a stent and be giving them a high five on the way out of the operating room. There’s nothing I have ever done that is as fulfilling and rewarding.
It is a pretty physically demanding job. I am on my feet most of the work day, which is sometimes a 12 hour shift. And due to the ionizing radiation that we use to form images, we have to wear protective lead (heavy) shielding the entire time as well.
There truly isn’t a “normal” day in my department, and that’s another reason why I love it so much. Each day is filled with new and exciting experiences and challenges to overcome with problems to solve along the way. As a leader in the department I will spend the beginning of my day assigning roles to each team member in the crew (we cover Body, Cardiac, Neuro, and Peripheral Interventional Procedures), then I help the team organize equipment and plan for all of the procedures for the day. We have inpatient and outpatient procedures to juggle and an emergent stroke, heartattack, or trauma could come in to the department at any time.
How does your work affect your running? How do you balance work with running, skiing, bikepacking, etc.?
I think my work is pretty complementary to my ultrarunning training. I get plenty of time on my feet and problem solving experience throughout each day. My busy work schedule does make things more complex for planning out when/how to fit all my running training in. I also have to take on-call shifts a few nights a month and one 60 hour weekend stint each month where I need to be able to be at the hospital within 30 minutes of a page going off.
I try to bike, ski, and climb whenever I can. But I will never be as focused and trained in any of these other skills with which I enjoy the mountains. My wife loves to ski, bike, and climb so I try my best to get out with her by planning most of my training for early in the morning so I can be home for more activities in the afternoon and evening.
I wish we didn’t have to sleep! There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to do it all.
What’s your approach to nutrition in life and in racing?
I eat a mostly pescatarian diet, bordering on vegan sometimes. But my main approach to nutrition in racing and life is whole food focused with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. I absolutely love to cook, so I try to make all of my own meals and rarely will “eat-out” for my meals.
In racing, specifically in 100k and above, I had a lot of trouble stomaching sugary gels in the early days on my running. But ever since finding out about Spring Energy I haven’t had any GI issues and always look forward to eating during races.
Have you always used Spring or when did you first try it? What do you like about Spring?
As I mentioned above, I haven’t always used Spring Energy. I ran my first couple of seasons in the mountains using some more sugary gels that got the job done, but never really tasted that great to me. I don’t really eat sweets in my everyday life, so sweet gels always tasted way too sugary to me.
I love that Spring Energy tastes like real food (because it is!)! It’s the perfect consistency, and never gives my stomach any issues.
As I have progressed in the sport and begun to geek out on specifics of nutrients that one needs during intense racing I have become so grateful for the amount of calories and specifically carbs that some of the spring gels contain. It really is the perfect race and adventure fuel.
You’ve traveled to quite a few places around the world for adventures, what have been some stand-out places/adventures and where do you plan on going next?
Stand out adventures have been: a 10 day bikepacking trip with my wife, Bri in southeastern Spain. Alpine climbing a granite spire in Chamonix. Backpacking in the peaceful and wild Valle Cochamo. Bikepacking around the tip of the Baja Peninsula with Bri.
When you run, climb, bike, and ski literally anywhere on Earth can be an amazing vacation/adventure! Bri and I would really love to get out to Oaxaca for Dia De Los Muertos (Bri shares her birthday with the mexican holiday). And we really hope to get out for many microadventures of alpine climbing in the north cascades, Washington volcano skiing, and some an overnight bike adventure on the Olympic Peninsula this summer!
Running-wise, what are some races and adventures you hope to do someday?
I would really love to go race in Europe. So many races are so iconic and inspiring: Eiger Ultra 100k, Lavaredo, Zegama, Grossglockner 110k, Ultra Tour Monte Rosa. The list is never ending.
I would also love to run some races in China. I have heard there are some amazing and wild mountain races there.
Anything technical and beautiful in the mountains is definitely my jam!
For adventures, I would really love to run some of the high routes in the Cordillera Blanca y Negra in Peru. And explore the big mountains of Bolivia on foot. My wife and I hope to explore some of the mountain bike routes in the Italian Dolomites and the bio diverse ranges of Colombia.
When you’re running, do you listen to anything? If so, what are a few of your go-to songs and/or podcasts?
I don’t listen to music when running really. Back when I ran roads I would always listen to music though. Usually rock music with a great steady beat. I have some mixes but usually some Broken Social Scene, MUSE, Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket. I’m a pretty eclectic music fan though and always stoked to get recommendations from people.
Are you a reader? What are some good books you recommend?
I am a reader. I always love the classics, Steinbeck and Hemmingway for sure. I also absolutely love the bizarre and dreamy world of Haruki Murikami. “The Wind Up Bird Chronicle” is definitely one of my favorites of his.
I’ve been reading “The Overstory” for a bit now and really love the interwoven style.
What’s your go-to post-race/post-run meal and drink? What do you crave or look forward to near the end of a run?
Go-to post race meal is pizza! Post-run I usually look for a protein smoothie. Near the end of a run I am usually looking forward to whatever post-race food they have (hopefully pizza or a burrito), maybe a nice cold beer, and most of all some solid hang time with friends (new and old)
What are some mantras that have helped you get through tough moments (if you have any mantras)?
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”
“Passion over pressure”
“Run with purpose”
What’s a side passion you have that maybe people don’t know about?
I play guitar and harmonica. But I’m super shy about it, so try to keep it a secret.
I have a few friends who I jam with, but mostly love to sit at home and play on my own. Having a creative outlet in life is something I feel to be so crucial for sanity.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Are you a morning person or night person? Morning person
Go-to run kit? Adi terrex, running with a handheld.
Favorite shoe? Terrex Speed Ultra
Favorite pack? Salomon Adv Skin 5 set for racing, Black Diamond Distance 15 for mountain adventures
Favorite Spring Energy flavor? A tie between Awesome Sauce and Power Rush!
A big thank you to Rich for sharing with us. We're excited to see how the rest of the year goes for you. Keep an eye out for Rich at Broken Arrow Skyrace next month and UTMB's CCC in August!