The year for Lisa Mehl actually kicked off rather poorly for an athlete, with the ambitious runner taking more than three hours to finish a marathon. After that came two more races and in between a stubborn infection that cost Lisa a lot of strength. “The runs that followed were all acceptable, but I just wasn’t satisfied with myself!” says the athlete. “That is really important for me, that I myself have the feeling that I achieved something.”
Hit the ground running from fjords to Alpine peaks
Her turning point was at the Nuts Pallas in Finland, which is an extremely raw race in the Scandinavian solitude that demands everything from athletes. Here is where she again found motivation and trust in her own power. “With the Nuts Pallas I am just happy that I took down this run in 20 hours. Simply because the run was incredibly difficult and during the run I had to fight some real demons inside myself. I was alone for hours, between the rocks, and only occasionally saw a reindeer herd. I was so tired. I had to really keep on my toes so I wouldn’t go to sleep while running.”
Her biggest success followed then in fall 2016: Victory at the Transalpine Run where Lisa Mehl started with her team partner Manishe Sina. Their plan was simply this: Tackle the run from the start to the end and have as much fun as possible without the body crying for mercy before the finish. In the end, the two women arrived at the finish as the fastest women’s team, with Lisa leaving a big mark.
At the foot of the Swabian Alps near Metzingen is where Lisa grew up. There, amazing trails were directly in front of the door where even as a kid she could be found. The GORE RUNNING WEAR® athlete discovered her super ambitious nature as a youth in track and field sports. “That made an impression on me, every weekend a meet, the excitement beforehand, the satisfaction afterward.” Now, Lisa is a police officer and lives near Esslingen where her local trails are on the hills of the Stuttgart winemaking region
Run, or nothing
For running Lisa Mehl doesn’t need some big philosophical way of thinking or an amazing role model. On the trails, the ultrarunner simply takes cues from herself. It is important to her to listen to her own body, to find her own pace, and to understand what will do her body good in any particular moment. Aside from the hefty trails she always takes on, Lisa loves to run flat and “boring” city streets just as much. “I still want to maintain my base speed. It really doesn’t bother me to just run along the banks of a river.”
What is it about running that gives Lisa a kick? “I am just a completely curious person and with trail running you can explore the world with runs all over the globe.” With longer challenges, aside from the athletic demands, Lisa also finds the discovery attractive, such as the small Moroccan Berber villages where she ended up when doing the Altlas Ultra Trail. “In planning my races, I try to include such destinations. I always look for something new, something special.”
And then there are those surprising moments that Lisa is good at coping with. “You can never truly know what’s going to happen in such a long run in advance. With a cross-country run, I can run the course beforehand. Then I know what to expect. With an ultra, I have to just see what happens. In that respect, it works out well for me that I’m an incredibly easy-going person who can take things as they happen. I don’t desperately try to change things.”
Lisa’s other passion: really fine fabrics
Before she became a police officer, Lisa studied textile technology and developed a huge passion for materials and fabrics. The partnership with GORE RUNNING WEAR® is therefore a really logical step. “I really like it when fabrics are technical and well-thought-out and just work. I notice whether a product is well engineered and whether for example if someone also runs developed a product. The look and feel of fabrics is really important to me. I just want to like them with all my senses. Like the SUNLIGHT LADY GORE® WINDSTOPPER® jacket.” A gear freak in the true sense however she is not what she is. “I do not want to schlepp around any unnecessary weight with me of course, and don’t really care for a lot for falderal. Still, I don’t really think that in the end 150 grams is going to make me faster.”
More than that, she believes in the strength of your own body and your own motivation. “I always look for something motivating in the run-up to an event. If during a run I can look forward to something really great, like for example something to eat, then I go get that.” For example, “Hefezopf,” a German specialty bread that is a soft sweet bread something like a brioche. This happens to be one of Lisa’s sweet indulgences. In Finland, the baked good is made in a snail-like shape, and after she finished the Nuts Pallas, her first bite into this sweet snail bread was for Lisa a moment of pure bliss.
A legendary run awaits her in 2017
Lisa’s 2017 race calendar is already mostly in place and is again a mix of urban running events such as the Hamburg Marathon, hefty competitions in faraway lands such as the Transvulcania on La Palma, and one of the most legendary ultra challenges – the Trail du Montblanc (UTMB®). We’ll keep you posted.
Lisa Mehl drops into GORE RUNNING WEAR® for a visit
When she visited Gore Headquarters in Germany, she met Daniel Jung, Sondre Amdahl und Steffen Thum – all three already GORE RUNNING WEAR®/GORE BIKE WEAR® athletes. The topics of discussion: sports, nutrition, and upcoming challenges. Here is a video of their chat.