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Top Town NZ- Nelson

What is New Zealand’s Top TRAIL Town? Hmm, could there be a bigger can of worms?
Today BCR continues their series of chats with a few folks that rate their local spot as the top trail running spot in the country. We have broken the “Top Town” criteria into the following-

“The bread and butter run”- a quick and easy, no brainer option for scoring some nice off road/single track close to home. Ideally with little to no drive time.
“Fortune favours the brave”- long , endurance, adventure run – whatever you call it- this is the training run than gets you excited- the most work, with the biggest reward. Steep, long climbs, big loops, and high peaks, all with top notch NZ scenery are the highlights here.
“The biggest show in town”- the main attraction event wise- when people think of a race in your home town/area this is what they think of.
“Après Trail”- whether it be a good coffee, local micro brew, or the best thick shake in town- where is the best post run hang out. Most likely goes hand in hand with the “Fortune favours the brave” run or the “The biggest show in town” race. Quality pizza and/or burgers are a bonus.

Chris cranking on one of the fine trails in the Nelson region

Last week we caught up with Kristain Day from the mighty Kaweka’s, this week it is Chris Gates, who has been running trails around Nelson for about as long as KDay has been alive!  Chris started running in events like the Tramper’s Marathon, over the 5 mile track and Butcher Baker track, hosted by the Tararua Tramping club (where they had to wear tramping boots!). Fast forward and Chris has spent the last 20 years in Nelson, where he started to do trail events, mainly those run by Nelson Events.

Bread and butter run - The Grampians, my usual run to work run, great network of tracks,close to middle of town,can be accessed from many sides, has a nice 290 metres of climbing to warm you up on the chilly winter mornings, south faces have big, old bush and nice stream to follow as you zigzag up to high point. Only a short road run from where we live and thanks to a keen group of pest control volunteers you can run up while seeing/hearing Tui’s  Bellbirds ,Woodpigeons and even Weka. Views from the top cover from the northern tip of Abel Tasman, along the length of Mt Arthur range to Mt Owen tablelands and western side of the Richmond ranges.
From the top there’s plenty of options down into Nelson city CBD.
Fortune favours the brave  Had to give this one some thought, with three National parks and the Richmond forest park less than an hours drive away, there’s so many options !!
Nelson lakes, around Lake Rotoiti, through the mainland island bird sanctuary, then across the Travers, up to the Cascade track to Angelus basin, then if the weather looks O.K. throw in a side trip to Sunset Saddle, (a good place to do bit of scree running on way back to Angelus Hut, then out along peaks of Robert ridge to zigzag down the Pinchgut track to the lake shore.
Good run for a good day (lots of time spent above the tree line so full survival gear should be carried.)
Biggest show in town for me,has to be the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic. OK, I’m bit biased having run all nineteen years of this event but it has most things to enjoy in theNelson region.
Nice boat ride up the coast of the Abel Tasman, golden sands, seals etc, then the marathon equivalent race with approx 750 metres climbing to finish with a great prize giving meal with local beer and wines to aid post race recovery. Should be achievable for most runners but underestimated by some. A bucket list run for most .
Apres trail Post Tuesday night Nelson Striders run, has to be the Sprig and Fern Tavern, on Milton street. Great craft brewery beers, and the takeaway next door will deliver your orders so no valuable drinking time is lost.

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A Backcountry Running Community for New Zealand trail, mountain and ultra runners- We want this to be the place you come for all things trail running including race previews and reports, interviews with New Zealand runners and hopefully a whole lot more! Our aim is to provide as much original content- previews/reports/interviews on New Zealand trail, mountain and ultra races. We can't be everywhere- so feel free to get in touch if you have the scoop on a race or event.

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