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Santa’s a trail runner: TRM Ed3 online

Santa’s a trail runner. He must be. ‘Cause he just delivered Trail Run Magazine Edition #3, the first pressie to land under your e-tree.

Oh yes, it’s here. Hot on the heels of the ‘mook’ coffee table book-like hardcopy edition ( is the summer edition of Trail Run Mag.


What’s in this edition?

Bustin’ the Bibbulmun – psychologist trail runner Bernadetta Benson faces her demons over 1000km
Hoofing it on Hinchinbrook
Fear and loathing on the Great Ocean Walk 100  – a young gun punches it out with Failure
Andrew Vize Q&A  – Australia’s man at the front of the pack
Kiwi’s Sjors Corporaal – the man behind the mountain goat
Trail & sail – Tassie’s Three Peaks
Outback marathon – a beginner’s tale
No shoe shuffle  – What to do when you turn up to a trail sans shoes
Great North Walk 100
PLUS plenty more including trail shoe reviews, trail medic, shoe guru, gear, columns and plenty of trail porn (does using that word get a higher Google rating? It’s dirty people but not nude).

And just in case you’ve been out on the trail and haven’t heard: the coffee table book-like Trail Run Mag Collectors’ Edition has hit the stands. Get yours here.

Get the dirt for real – Trail Run Mag now available as hardcopy magazine


It was for a photoshoot for the upcoming Edition #3 of Trail Run Mag (what?! you haven’t read number #2 yet? Well get on it!).

Anyway, the idea was to get an image for a story by Nick White about turning up to a trail event sans shoes (he forgot them). I thought a cracking shot of some mud between the toes might suffice. Conceptually, it didn’t work. Or maybe my photography was just not up to scratch.

It was raining. But not cold. There was a small stream running down the centre of the trail, muddying things up. Perfect. I ditched the shoes (Merrell Sonic Gloves, since you asked – read the trail shoe test in the next edition), and sunk my slabs into the mushy dirt. It squidged between my toes. Glorious. I got my hands in there and started throwing mud at my legs and feet.

How much fun is throwing mud at yourself?

Never tried? Go. Do. It rocks.

There’s some kind of freedom about it.

But here’s my point. The feeling of earth against my skin brought back memories of a childhood spent revelling in the stuff. I could smell it through the rain drops. I could feel it getting under my toenails. It was slippery, a little gritty. It felt real. More real than anything I’d felt for a long time. It felt gooooooood.

I came back to my front door, greeted by my four year old looking quizzically at me:

“Dad, why are you muddy?”

“Because it’s fun, beautiful. So much fun. You should try it.”

At that moment, I was more kid than my own kid. That’s a gift.

Point is, sometimes it’s good to feel something in the flesh. There’s just something better about it; the touch, the feel – it’s skin on a solid reality.

Which is why we’re so smack happy to bring you Trail Run Mag in the flesh. It’s real. You can touch it. If I could’ve I would’ve smudged every copy with real dirt (but Kiwi customs told me they’d burn the lot – something about contagion. We’d already transgressed with a possum, apparently).

Anyway, get the dirt: get your hands on a real copy of Trail Run Mag.

Get it here, now.

[of course we still want you to read the ezines here… they still make your computer screen reek of trail, such is the genius of designers The Bird Collective. But the hardcopies are special. There’s only a limited number of them. So get in now before they go. No reprints. They are, in reality, collectables.]

Oh, and give me a week and you’ll also have edition #3 of Trail Run Mag popping dirt all over your screen. It’ll be here when the time’s right.

Buy the hardcopy…you know it’ll save your dirty soul…

Looking for a rocky mountain high?

Steph Gaskell in The North Face 100 // Aurora Images

There are some things you can’t do on your own – and that extends to some ultras. Like when you’re doing it as a team, and when it’s the lauded Gore-Tex TransRockies Run, in which most runners are team entrants.

Adelaide based trail runner, 27 year-old Stephanie Gaskell has high hopes for entering the Colorado, US, event, which would be her biggest trail target to date.

And she wants a pointy end finish. That’s a big ask for the 120 mile (193km) run which puts runner through 6100 meters of climbing.

An even bigger ask is that she needs a partner to run it with her.

“There are 200 teams of two who run the full course over six days and then fifty solo runners (who only do 3 day event covering sixty miles). I’m doing the six-day event, and I need a running partner,” says Steph, who is based in Adelaide, South Australia.

The run is a multi-day point to point from Burna Vista to Beaver Creek through heart of the White River and San Isabel National Forests. The course includes mix of single track and forest reaching altitudes of over 3800 metres.

“I plan to go a week or so before race start and would obviously work this out with my running partner’s schedule. I am aiming high,” says Gaskell, who is studying a Diploma in Sports Nutrition and has a string of top end results in running, both trail and otherwise.

“ My PB in the Melbourne Marathon is 2:56; I was first female and fourth overall in the You Yangs 50km in 2010 (4:28); and came 7th female and 53 overall in the 200 North Face 100 (13:06),” says Gaskell.

“I don’t care if my partner is male of female, so long as they are happy to aim to be competitive! But they also should be fun as we will be running together for six days plus some training!”

Prospective partners can contact Steph by email or M: 0417 122 070.

Check out Steph’s website here and background here:

Running High – doco teaser

You’ve all seen the whip around for the new Desert Runners movie, featuring Aussie Sam Gash, Kiwi Lisa Tamati and a few others tackling the 4 Deserts series. You’ve only got until 8 November to help them out to make the film a reality by pre-purchasing (in effect) a DVD and in doing so becoming a ‘Producer’.

Looks like it will be a great watch, and a good story to support. Check in to the ‘Become a producer’ page here. Looks like they have reached their goal to make it happen – but every penny counts in an edit suite, so fling em a bit of hard earned!

Yet another project following hot on the heels of Desert Runners is a documentary that will feature Lisa Tamati in her attempt to crack La Ultra The High, a 222km ultra through the Himalayas in Kashmir, India. Less desert, much more mountain – in fact this is the world’s highest ultra pushing competitors over two passes of 5400m as recounted in some of TRM’s previous blogs. It’s also what the six finishers this year – including Sam Gash and all of whom have done most of the world’s biggest ultras – rated as the world’s hardest, if only for the altitude and pollution. In the first outing, there was only one finisher. Will Lisa – an asthmatic –  finish in the second edition? Will anyone?

Produced by Nalu Productions Running High will document Lisa’s journey to run on the roof of the world. It covers the highs and lows of trying to finish in under 60 hours, the battles she faces physically and mentally, and those of her four man crew  – altitude sickness, disappearing crew cars, meltdown moments… it’s all there.

Here’s the early trailer. We’re not passing the hat around. Yet. (although if you do have a lazy $30,000…please email!). But stay tuned for developments as the film goes into the edit suite. We can promise you a dramatic outcome.

Please do leave any comments on this one – all support is appreciated as we, Like Desert Runners, go into our own little ultra of how to get a film made. Stay tuned.

Beating (oneself) up on the Bibbulmun – a 1000km trail record attempt

Bernadette Benson

They say that psychologists are themselves nuts – that’s what drew them to the profession in the first place. They also say (‘They’ being a powerful collective of super insightful, but faceless intellectuals who sit in judgement upon pretty much everything in life) that trail runners are nuts. Especially the ultra variety.

So put the two factors together and you could say (‘They’ could say) you have someone ripe for having their runners confiscated and being committed to the asylum (isn’t that where all us good trail runners end up anyway?).

So does Bernadette Benson – registered psychologist – need her head read by a few of her non-trail running professional counterparts.

Is she crazy?

It’s the question that has to be asked when you hear that she is, tomorrow, setting off on the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia, attempting to become the fastest ever person to run the trail from Perth (Kalumunda) to Albany, nearly 1000km of it, in under 19 days.

Nuts or not, one thing is for sure, Bernadette will have plenty of time while trotting to search the inner sanctums of her mind to find the reasons for her attempt.

‘I Love Running’ does not count as a valid reason. We all love running, but this feat will demand more than love. It will demand up to 18 hours of running a day. Check that? Ummmm…run for 18 hours, sleep for four. Hang on, must eat, attend to blisters, pee…make that sleep for three hours. Repeat. 19 times. Preferably less.

It will demand physical and mental exhaustion. It will demand that her body almost eat itself  – muscles that implode, vital systems that scream “enough already!!” And yet still Bernadette will have to keep running.

For what?

Not money (ha! money in trail running? Not likely  – although the Kokoda Challenge in PNG does cough up an impressive $4500US as reported in the latest Edition of Trail Run Mag!).

Fame perhaps? Not unless you count coverage in Trail Run Mag (we’re hoping Bernadette will reveal all about her state of mind post run).

Glory? Yes, there will be a touch of that, but it’s not like Sports Illustrated will have her on the cover (although there is the Canadian link, being an ex-pat…not sure Bernadette’s up from running in a bikini though).

So why Bernadette, why?

INSERT: me badly mimicking Bernadette’s voice in the absence of actually speaking to her, as her phone is off – we’re assuming she’s deep in preparation, counting and recounting her calorie bags, doing the sums and praying to someone, something, somewhere (religious or not).

“Why not? Because it’s there…” my imaginary, Canadian-lilted voice says (although given it’s me mimicking it, my accents always sound Indian).

But then, psychologists are intelligent people, and interesting people, so I would hope that she’d actually avoid the adventure sporting cliché (and the Indian accent) and dig deeper to give us some real insight into what drives people to such extremes.

And let’s face it, digging deep is exactly what Bernadette will need to do if she’s going to finish this mammoth trail run.

Wonder if she’ll find a few nuts at the bottom of that obviously deep well of determination?

Bernadette is being supported by Montane in her attempt to conquer the Bibbulmun. Quickly.

Queenstown’s new (trail) runner stunner

NZ: Queenstown. A place known for its adventure. And now, a trail run gem to add to its menu of wild delights.

Queenstown long-distance runner Adrian Bailey has announced the inaugural Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon for February 4, during Waitangi weekend.

Featuring 5km, 10km and half-marathon choices, the race will trail from the old Pipeline bungy site in Skippers Canyon, via the Moonlight Track, to Moke Lake.

Speaking to, Bailey said the race will have a “wow” factor due to the panoramic scenery, the variety of terrain, including river trails, bluffs and ridge-lines, and signs of the area’s rich goldmining history.

“On the ridge-lines you can see Queenstown, which is fantastic, but also other mountain regions like Mount Aspiring and, of course, Ben Lomond,” he told the media outlet.

“There will be world-class mountain runners in the race, without a doubt. There is interest from America, Australia and up north – people are already raring to enter.

Bailey expects the fastest [marathon] time to be just under three hours: “Even though it’s a good testing course, you make up a lot of time on the long, gradual downhills.”

Bailey – who organises an annual 5km and 10km running series at Queenstown’s Jack’s Point – expects about 250 to 300 entries in the shorter races. The marathon can take up to 420 runners.

“In the first year I’d be ecstatic if I get 200,” Bailey says.

The idea for the race came after Bailey was introduced to Ben Lomond farm owner John Foster by veteran local multisporter John Knight.

Fitzroy Falls Marathon 2012

If there is a spring equivalent of the iconic 6ft Track Marathon for NSW trail runners, it has to be the Fitzroy Falls Fire Trail Marathon (FFFTM).  Now in its 12th year, Fitzroy Falls is a regular marathon distance event on the fire trails near Bowral in the NSW southern highlands.

Without the massive elevation changes of the 6ft, the 800m elevation delta on the circular Fitzroy Falls course nevertheless make for a tough outing, and a wet spring meant that the normally tame creek crossings were much deeper and more numerous this year.

The toughness of the course is can be gauged from the historical race times – coming into 2012, only ten sub-3 hour marathons had ever been recorded on the course.  2012 saw a red-hot field, with previous winners Alex Matthews and Mick Donges duelling with the new trail sensation Andrew Tuckey.  Throw in last year’s runner up Ian Gallagher, Australian Commonwealth representative Brendan Davies and elites like Tim Cochrane, David Hosking and Martin Pengilly, 2012 was set to be a
great year.

Despite the wet and sticky conditions, the elite race was as competitive as predicted, with four runners coming in under three hours and Andrew Tuckey taking the win with a stunning 2.47.05 to record the fourth fastest time ever  Andrew narrowly
beating 2010 winner Mick Donges who improved 15 minutes on his 2010 winning timing.

In the woman’s race, a strong finish from Canberra’s Louise Sharp edged out Coastal Classic winner Shona Stephenson (2nd) with Sarah Carpenter coming in third for the second straight year.

TRM columnist Nick Wienholt (who was very happy with 21st with a PB of 3.30.04) caught up with some of the top runners after the race to chat about how their race went.


TRM Ed#3 cover

The rumour is true … Trail Runner Magazine Edition #2 has snuck out onto the webosphere. You can download all the dirt and drama on the Zine page or right click/save as on the cover right to download the file to your desktop (remember to follow download instructions and view in pdf Reader or Preview, not in a web browser).

If you like what you see, remember to like us on our FB page and Twitter feed.

And, you’re here now…may as well read the AU Editor’s letter – a little taste…


No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’ve lost all they got and they don’t know what for –
Regina Spektor

I’m not religious. But Dan is dead. And I’m certainly not laughing at God. And I certainly wasn’t laughing in the hospital at his bedside, two days before he left us. I’m not laughing at cancer and I don’t know what it’s for.

This edition wasn’t supposed to be the misery edition. Promise. Going into spring I wanted the lightness to shine through, the words and images we present inside a reflection of the glowing wattle flower cover. But a glance over the line-up reads like the blackest shade of pale: cancer, car accidents, fires, death.

But read on. Pretend this edition is an ultra: persevere, push past the pain and you’ll find a spring of sunshine.

I do admit that I cried just prior to writing this editorial. Tears on the keyboard.

I welled up as I read Duncan’s words telling of a journey in life that no father ever wants to take.

Maybe it’s because I share a connection of fatherhood with this man I have never met. Maybe that’s why I now wipe my MacBook with Kleenex – parenthood both makes and breaks a man.

His is one journey that I hope never to embark upon but feel richer for having read it, for there is a radiance of strength in his story of overwhelming sadness.  There is bravery. There is life peeled back to a core of indefinable pain that brings forth hope, some of it found on the trail.

What has this to do with trail running?

Nothing and everything.

Trail running is a journey off the predictable bitumen of regimented life. It takes us places that physically hurt– sometimes to places of incandescent pain – and mentally it can take us to tears. Yet we step onto that trail chasing such moments of lowness because we know that they have the power to bring out the best in us; to make us stronger than we were before we reached the nadir.

From the valleys of death we find the power to look up, see the mountain, be challenged by it, be scared by it, but take a step forward up the trail, towards where we can see the sun breaching the summit. And we move despite the pain. Another step. Over another rock. Another tree root. Another rise. Another false summit. And there, there is the pinnacle and the world opens up to a view that not long ago we thought we’d never see, a view that we thought was impossible to reach.

That is the choice we make when we step onto a trail. To just keep the fuck going.

The rest – the experience, the moments of realisation, the moments of self, the moments…that is the trail working its magic.

I was going to write about my ongoing battle with a left leg ITB problem. For the last few months it has filled my world with frustration and even depression. But then I read this edition. It was an easy decision to instead labor some on what was perhaps touched upon in my first editorial. But I take the risk of riposte in the repetition because it matters. Dan matters. Duncan’s son matters. Kate Sanderson and Turia Pitt, the brave women whose lives are changed irrevocably after the Kimberly bushfire tragedy, they matter.
A bloody dodgy ITB does not matter. Running with it glowing red is not even a light scratch compared to the pain others cop on life’s debris-strewn trail.
And so I hit the trail, ITB be damned, in the hope that just as Duncan sees his lost son every time he runs a mountain, maybe I’ll see Dan out there. Hell, I might even see God, whatever that is to a heathen like me.

It’d be a good run if I did. The three of us can all have a good laugh together.

Then the prick can fix my ITB.

No one’s laughing at God
We’re all laughing with God

Regina Spektor

 **Happy trails. Chris Ord, The Ordinary Trail Runner & AU Editor

A dirty mag? as dirty as they come…(but not worth hiding)

So I’m on our NZ editor’s FB page, hunting for his brilliant little trail getaway ( available to hire and awesome trails nearby people), and I stumble upon a little conversation re: the next edition of Trail Run Mag and its offspring, a hardcopy edition [ezine #2 out in the next 48 hours, hardcopy by end Nov].

Apparently we’re up there on a pedestal with Playboy magazine. I was always a Penthouse man, but we’ll take the compliment in this conversation:

KC:  Mal, I bought a copy of Runners World to read in my motel on Monday. It took me 15 minutes to read including the Advertisments. What a crap mag. When is the best and dirtiest trail running mag due out? I need a good fix.

ML: mid-late Sept for the next issue of the dirtiest mag on the planet! {early Oct. Ed.}

KC: yeeha, cant wait, have to go over the last copy to see if I missed anything.

SC Any news on a hard copy? It’s a thing of beauty that should be on my coffee table for all to see.

ML  The plan is to do a ‘best of’ hard copy twice a year ie best of previous 2 ezines. First beauty should be available before Xmas so pressies galore! {available late Nov.Ed.}

SL Noice!

KC I had a hard copy of Playboy once untill my mum found it and burnt it. Probably would be worth a fortune now. I will have to find a different hiding place for this dirty little mag.

Hey KC – we suggest the coffee table is fine. It’s a dirty mag, but it’s still ‘G’-rated :). Look forward to your feedback after the next edition is released in the next 48hrs.


The TRM team