Jazmine Lowther of Canada stormed the trail ultrarunning scene with her commanding win of the 2022 Canyons by UTMB 100k. In our first interview with Jazmine, get to know this mountain athlete’s background in life and sport, how the Canyons 100k unfolded from her perspective, and her plans to use the Western States 100 Golden Ticket she won through this performance.
For more on what happened at the race, check out our Canyons 100k results article for the play-by-play and links to other post-race interviews.
Jazmine Lowther, 2022 Canyons by UTMB 100k Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Jazmine Lowther. It’s the day after the 2022 Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB 100k, and you are the women’s champion. Good morning.
Jazmine Lowther: Good morning.
iRunFar: Congratulations. How are you feeling the day after an incredible performance?
Lowther: Yeah, a little like I just ran 100k with almost 5,000 meters of vert, but yeah, I feel ecstatic and glowing. I hope I can carry this momentum forward. It’s a lot of good energy for sure.
iRunFar: The trail running world really wants to know about you. Who is Jazmine Lowther? You come from the Canadian Rockies. Tell us about yourself.
Lowther: Yeah. I live in this little ski town called Nelson, British Columbia. It’s this little humble abode, very open community. I would identify as a mountain athlete more so. My background is actually in rock climbing, alpine climbing, trad climbing. Then two years ago, I, on a whim, just signed up for a local ultra race, had no idea how to train or anything like that, I’d go for one long run a month and that was it, and did fairly well there and thought, “Oh, maybe I’ll try this out.” Yeah, I trained since basically 2020. We had COVID-19, so went for a few FKTs. Yeah, I was transitioning from rock climbing, but I’m still skiing a lot. Yeah, I mean, running is definitely my main thing now, just focusing in on that and seeing where it goes.
iRunFar: Very cool. Did you do any sports growing up?
Lowther: Definitely, yeah. I mean, I was always an athletic young person. In grade school, so super young, from five to 10 years old, I was always running cross country. I never lost a race except for one.
Lowther: One time I came in second because I stopped to tie up my shoelaces. I’ll always remember that moment and how sad I was, but also just it’s a funny memory and a good lesson there too.
iRunFar: Probably every starting line you’ll be on forevermore, you’ll be like, “I’ve got to get my laces right.”
Lowther: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, every time. Yeah, I’ve got to make sure they’re tied up really good. And even if something goes haywire, if you’re doing a 5k race, you probably shouldn’t stop and tie them up.
iRunFar: Leave the shoe.
Lowther: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, I ran cross country. Then all through high school, I did a lot of soccer. I was on three or four soccer teams at a time. That was during school hours as well, so during school, after school. Then I was also very into dance, ballet and all sorts of different types of dance. Between those two things, I was very, very busy and I think that just built up a robust, good developmental framework for athletics. Yeah.
iRunFar: Very cool. Then do you have a job? What do you do professionally?
Lowther: Yeah, I do, gets in the way a lot.
iRunFar: Oh, that work thing.
Lowther: Yeah, that work thing. Yeah, I’m a plant biologist. Actually, I work for our provincial government. I work with primarily, the really, the plants that are able to establish very well, so they’re always newly coming into the province, so they’re actually more so the bad ones. But yeah, I work as a botanist, biologist.
iRunFar: Awesome, you’re a plant nerd.
Lowther: I’m a plant nerd, yeah.
iRunFar: I love those people. I like to go on hikes and runs with them so they can teach me things.
Lowther: Yeah, exactly. Even on Canyons, during that course and you’re going through all these different ecosystems and it’s just like —
iRunFar: Yeah, you see several ecosystems, don’t you?
Lowther: Yeah, yeah, like scrubland and you’re getting into the pine. Yeah, it was beautiful.
iRunFar: Then were you like, “Mayday! Mayday! There’s poison oak.”
Lowther: Yeah. Poison oak, and I’m trying not to look at any of the bad ones. There was a few of those, but that’s okay.
Lowther: Yeah. I’m hoping that it didn’t get on too many people’s shoes to spread around.
iRunFar: There might be some itching legs around this area this morning.
Lowther: Yeah. There was a few people during the race, “I don’t know how to identify poison oak or anything. I bet we’re rubbing up on it.” Yeah, I’m sure there was some.
iRunFar: Well, that’s fun to get to know your background a little bit. It looks like in the last maybe year or so you’ve entered a couple big trail ultra races. You ran Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile last summer and then the Chuckanut 50k just a couple months ago. Those are competitive, people come to them. Did you go to them to get a feel for where you were at competitively? Did you choose them just because they looked like beautiful, cool places? How did you come about at those races?
Lowther: Yeah. I signed up for Run Rabbit literally the year before, so that —
iRunFar: Oh, you were a COVID-19 turnover.
Lowther: Yeah, exactly.
iRunFar: Got it.
Lowther: Yeah, I was training for it all year, as my first hundred miler. I kept thinking, “Okay, I’m going to be doing this big thing. I have no idea what it’s going to feel like or if I can even do it.” That one, it was a little bit too bad. Actually, I ended up getting sick the week before, terrible immune system during tapers. Yeah, and I did not recover very well. I was still able to get to the race and it was like, “I trained all year for this, so I’m still going to go.” I think I could have done a lot better for that race.
Lowther: Then, yeah, Chuckanut, it’s close to home, good sharpening. I didn’t really think a 50k would be my thing, being a bit shorter, but it was super fun. It was really fun to run fast. It was short, and yeah.
iRunFar: And you podiumed.
Lowther: Yeah. I didn’t know going in how it was going to go. I was hoping to podium, but sometimes you read the list of the names who’s coming and it gets a little intimidating, for sure.
iRunFar: Well, now you’re going to be the one where the name is intimidating to others.
iRunFar: Let’s talk a little bit about how yesterday’s race went. Races that fire off in the dark and go on a single track trail are really interesting because you really have no idea where anybody else is, especially in the women’s race, for quite some time. When iRunFar saw you at mile 15, what you said to our team was that, “There must be 10 women in front of me.”
Lowther: Yeah, yeah. I literally thought for that first 15, even up to the first 25k marker. I was in disbelief. I was like, “No, I think there’s 12 women in front of me,” because I didn’t think I’d passed them in the dark. I must have snuck past them and didn’t even realize it. Then yeah, around 15k I ran into the race director and he was like, “No, you’re first female.” I was like, “No, you’re kidding me. You are kidding me. Please don’t be kidding me.” Yeah, I guess he was right. That definitely lit a fire. It was like, okay, if that’s the case, then I’ve got to make a gap and keep it.
iRunFar: That’s exactly what you did. You established a gap off the front, straight away. You were minutes ahead when we saw you just before mile six and then again at mile 15. Sorry, you’re speaking in kilometers and I’m trying to convert it in my head, but I’m not very smart the morning after covering a race. Anyways, you kept building a gap and then it just stayed all day long.
Lowther: Yeah, yeah. It’s funny because going into races, I’ve learned that you always need to ask where people are in front of you. I kept being like, in my mind, “Okay, I’ve got to be asking where people are in front of me,” but then this race was the opposite, where I was asking everyone, “Do you know how far behind they are?” No one knew. I mean, they can’t tell you really. But yeah, that was on my mind, I’ve got to maintain this gap somehow. Yeah.
iRunFar: The race has very different parts, terrain-wise. There’s the faster, more runnable stuff in the first half and then the climbing really begins itself around mile 25, a little under 50k into the race, it turns into a different race. In my mind, I want to say that the second half has got to be your style coming from the Canadian Rockies, but maybe I’m wrong.
Lowther: I think, it’s interesting. I really loved that first half, it was super flowy, very runnable and really fast. I think my time was actually similar to the Chuckanut time. I was probably just a little bit under or a little bit over my 50k time with more vertical, so I was like, “Okay, I’m doing pretty good.” My goal was four and a half hours to that 50k area, and I was under that. Yeah, and then we got into the climbing. I think on some of those climbs I did really well and my legs were still fresh. I loved the kind of slow, like any forest service road.
iRunFar: Like the slow burn uphill thing.
Lowther: Yeah. I don’t know, I got that low gear and it works really well. My legs got a little bit toasted there at the end on those last two big climbs, even going up to Deadwood Junction. That’s a good grind. Yeah, it was between power hiking and running. Then even the downhills. Downhills at first I was doing really well and I love flying past people on downhills, but after a while, we were putting some good downhill mileage on our quads so I was feeling it definitely.
iRunFar: Then by all accounts, the last 5 or 7k of the course were certifiably ridiculous, with melting snow and slush and puddles and stuff, but you must have been right at home.
Lowther: Yeah, I know. We all were like, “Oh, this will be the one thing going for us Canadians.” Not the heat or anything else, but okay, we know how to run in snow, but that was pretty ridiculous. That was major slop fest, puddles. I just felt like a drunk pirate going through all of them and trying not to eat it or roll an ankle. At that point, I mean, actually at the 80k marker, I don’t know what that is in miles, but I knew I had a chance at the course record. But yeah, I was a little bit roasted. But that last 5 or 6k or last three miles, it’s like, “I’ve got to put the hammer down if I want to slide past and get a little course record.”
iRunFar: That was really fun to watch your final sprint. You came across the line and I think the timing system measured you at … The course record was 10:01:55, and I think it measured you at 10:01:53.9. They eventually gave you a course record by one second.
Lowther: Yeah, yeah. In my mind, I thought her time was actually 10:03, so I thought I had a little bit more time. It was like, “Okay, I’ve got it for sure,” but it’s good I asked, because yeah, I might not have gotten it. I mean, one second, but I’ll count that.
iRunFar: It’s fun.
Lowther: Yeah, it’s fun.
Lowther: That’s Beth Pascall, yeah, major respect for her.
iRunFar: Yeah, yeah. Well, you very eagerly accepted your Western States 100 Golden Ticket at the finish line, so I guess you’re coming back here in another two months.
Lowther: Yeah, I guess so. I honestly thought it was for 2023.
iRunFar: Oh, that’s really funny. Wait, when did you find out it’s in two months?
Lowther: I don’t know. All my guy friends are like, “No, no, it’s for nine weeks. You know that, right?” Okay, well, I’m going to take the Western States ticket for sure.
iRunFar: You’re going to do it.
iRunFar: That is hilarious, I love it. You accepted it thinking you were going to run in 2023 and sometime yesterday found out this is actually in two months.
Lowther: Yeah. I don’t know why. Yeah, major misunderstanding of course, but …
iRunFar: I love it.
Lowther: Yeah. I’ve got to do a lot of heat training now that’s for sure, but it is the perfect race to do before, it really is. I mean, you get to know the course, you get familiar with it and you know the style. So yeah, grateful for that.
iRunFar: Awesome. Well, it was super fun to watch your truly emergent performance yesterday. Congratulations on your win of Canyons by UTMB. It’s going to be great to see you do it again in the opposite direction in a couple of months.
Lowther: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. Thank you so much.
iRunFar: Well done.