2013 was quite a year in the life of Ricky Lightfoot. The Cumbrian not only took some big domestic wins at such races as the Borrowdale fell race, but also won the IAU Trail World title, the Otter Trail race in South Arica and topped it all in becoming a father.
“To better 2013 would take a lot (my daughter was born) and I had some good results with some strong runs, it’s probably the best shape I’ve been in since 2009”, states the Salomon Trail Team UK runner. But as is common in many sports, you are only as good as you last result, and after a tricky start to 2014 due to, firstly, a knee injury and more recently a back problem, Ricky is now running freely once again and looking ahead to an exciting 2014.
Having just returned from this year’s Salomon Advanced Week in Italy (a week of testing, training and inspiration with the Salomon International team), he is now replanting his race schedule and reflecting on how beneficial his week in Limone nr Lake Garda in Italy was.
“Its not all about testing and sampling new kit at the Advanced Week, the week also gives the athletes a chance to meet before the season, the design team and other athletes to discuss their race plans, as well as being able to train and run on some of the best trails around in Limone Sul Garda. To me Advanced Week couldn’t have come at a better time, I’d not been running much due to some injury issues and at the beginning of the week didn’t think I’d be able to run, but a few appointments with Arnaud I was back running straight away. Its an amazing week, I feel so lucky to be part of it, its like an extended family from around the World.”
“Training so far in 2014 hasn’t gone as I’d have liked, I picked up a knee injury at the end of January which stopped me running until mid March and then a back injury prevented me from running until I managed to see Arnaud. So I plan to get some consistent training in over the next 6 weeks which unfortunately means I’ll have to miss Transvulcania and hopefully my first main race will be the Maxi Race in Annecy. From then on I’ll decide for definite on my race schedule.”
“I’ve got some big races planned for 2014 and they’ll be some quality fields to go up against, but I’m still on a big learning curve when it comes to the long races so we’ll have to wait and see. My main races this year will be Dodo Trail in Mauritius, another visit to the Otter Trail in South Africa, the new 3×3 Ultra in the Lake District, Les Templiers in France and the season Finale TNF San Francisco 50.”
Speaking about the product testing aspect of Advanced Week, which is so important to the whole Salomon product and development teams who decamp to Advanced Week each year, Ricky continues:
“The week is a great opportunity to sample some of the new kit for the 2014 season and to look at what’s in development for the years ahead. This is my third Advanced Week and I’ve got to say the development and progression improves year by year and this year is no exception, in my opinion they have produced some of their best kit and products I’ve seen yet.”
“Overall I am excited for 2014. I’ll be spending time in the Lakes and fells that I love and will always be ‘home’, but will also discover some new places around the world – when I think about it I am pretty lucky!”