Professional athlete Scotty Hawker has revealed how an innovative New Zealand supplement made from Kiwi-grown blackcurrants has led him to abandon thoughts of potential retirement and reignite ambitions of UTMB World Series success in 2024.
The 36-year-old Christchurch ultra-marathoner had considered stepping down from professional sport this year before staging a remarkable career revival in Europe and South America last month. With the first months of 2023 plagued with niggles, the international athlete was thinking his best days were perhaps behind him.
Scotty credits the internationally-recognised New Zealand blackcurrant sports supplement, CurraNZ, for his turnaround in form – and believes the humble blackcurrant can extend his sporting career to compete at the highest level.
Fifteenth from a field of 1,757 in the UTMB World Series Final in Europe and a record-breaking win in the 250km Atacama Crossing in South America has proven he is still capable of mixing with the world’s best ultra-endurance runners.
Poor form and two ‘DNFs’ in the first half of 2023 had led the highly regarded athlete to think seriously about retiring, until the blackcurrant supplement, regarded as one of the most effective legal performance enhancers in sports supplements, turned around his fortunes in dramatic fashion.
Scotty Hawker says: “CurraNZ has been a great find that has absolutely changed my capacity to do the work required and compete with the best. It’s shown me that my best days may be yet to come as a professional athlete.
“It doesn’t matter what sport you’re in, you have a shelf life and you get to the point when you can’t compete at the top level – and I thought I might have reached that stage.”
After observing US and New Zealand professional athletes and close friends Hayden Hawks, Ruth Croft, Dan Jones and Caitlin Fielder using the award-winning runner’s supplement in the lead-up to UTMB in September, Scotty followed suit.
He says: “I was looking at a top-five finish until dehydration and lack of calories meant I self-destructed on the final climb, having been sitting in seventh, but that result has given me confidence to come back next year. It’s such a fine line between a great performance and things not going quite to plan at UTMB.
“I genuinely feel if I have my best day out at UTMB and it all flowed, there’s no doubt I can stand on that podium again.”
Adding further fuel to the fire, Scotty broke multiple stage records on his six-day, 250km stage race debut in the Atacama Crossing in Chile, just three weeks later.
His initial ambition to ’just complete’ was turned on its head when he started breaking race records from day 1, even in a heatwave with temperatures topping 54 degrees some days.
“I was taking six CurraNZ capsules each day and like UTMB, I felt really consistent, had fast recovery and felt mentally great. Day after day I felt stronger and better, which really got my competitive juices flowing – so I couldn’t help but attack the records.
“I was expecting to feel destroyed after UTMB but I was able to push hard, get the food in, wake up and go again every day, when many others around me were falling apart. I’ve also seen improvements to my carb intake and tolerance too. I didn’t have any moment’s worry with the usual GI issues, which is unbelievable really, given how hard I pushed myself and the intensity of the conditions.
“Also, I managed a smooth transition from approx. 65g carbohydrate per hour to around 90-100g carbs per hour and this enables me to train harder, recover faster and fuel myself better on race day.”