At the 2017 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Kualoa Ranch last December, Hannah Lutzker charmed us with her speed, mental toughness, and her big smile. She and her coach and mentor Jax Mariash ran the course together and looked like they were having more fun than anyone else out there, despite the heat and humidity, which was a shock for these Park City residents.
“I was so hot,” said Hannah about the race. “So Jax and I talked and got our mind off how hot we were and thought about better things.”
“We did all the tricks,” said Mariash. “The first two miles, we talked about our running memories together. Then we talked about someone Hannah really likes in her life.”
“When I’m thinking of who I’m grateful for, I’m not thinking I’m hot and I’m running and I have 12 more miles to go. I’m just thinking about how fun it is to be on the course. It was all so pretty,” said Hannah.
This attitude of gratitude worked, and Hannah won her 10-14 age group with a time of 2:35:32.
A seventh-grader, Hannah’s running has been entirely self-motivated out of a desire to run with her dad.
“I did 5Ks with my dad when I was six,” she remembers. “I won and I was like, really surprisingly fast, so we kept doing 5Ks. Next, we moved up to 10Ks and 15Ks. So we just kept getting bigger and I love the long distance so I’ve gone all the way up to a marathon. I guess I started running at such a young age because I liked the people I was running with and it came so naturally to me.”
Last summer, Hannah did the Mid Mountain Marathon, which is a trail run at 8,200 feet of elevation in Park City, Utah. Afterwards, her father contacted Mariash to help mentor and encourage his daughter so she could do what she loves without getting injured or burning out.
At the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Snow Basin, Utah last September, Hannah – with Mariash by her side - won her 10-14 age group in 2:09:14 over the challenging course. In 2018, she will be back to defend her title.
“I am looking forward to the XTERRA National 21K again this year, and I’m also going to do a 64K trail run as well as a fast half marathon,” said Hannah. “And I’m going to do some fun drop-in races with my Dad and Jax. I love being in the mountains on the trails.”
Most likely, Hannah will run on the Park City High School cross country team when she is old enough, and until then, she will keep doing what she does best, which is to light up the trails with her genuine sense of joy.
“I love to run because I enjoy the outdoors, and the running community. Everyone is so kind and supportive. Also, running is very simple. You just put on your shoes and head out. I really enjoy how when you are running you almost forget about where you are, and you forget about school and other things. So you end up really just looking at the beauty of nature, and relaxing, even though you are still running.”