A Summer in the Alps – Part 1

Gareth Rapley has be contributing to BCR almost from the first week- posting short updates and reports on the BCR Facebook page and then e-mailing in race reports to publish (the recent Dun Run and Mukamuka Munter were written by Gareth). Today is the first in a series written by Gareth as he prepares for the 50km at Northburn.

These musings will appear sporadically as I spend the summer travelling around the South Island exploring new places and re-discovering spots that I’ve already visited. Certain races will be enjoyed (or endured) with even the odd road event thrown in the mix.
While the top trail runners like Anna, Kilian and Anton strive to keep their sponsors happy while travelling the world and simply (or so it seems via my Facebook stalking) setting FKT’s, the rest of us have to work for a living. However, there is another way. If you don’t have the life package (career, mortgage, spouse, kids), and you don’t mind sleeping in a tent, a summer can be spent amongst the mountains while frugally eking out those precious pennies. This is my third summer of this and the first where trail running is a major pastime.

While I won’t be setting any distance or speed records, this is where Trail Running is great. You don’t have to be good at it to enjoy it. The simple act of being in the hills becomes the norm. Personal problems are reduced to the basics – water, food, shelter and warmth. The weather becomes a major factor.

Saxton Hut on the Heaphy Track- Gareth’s destination on a recent adventure

Spring has provided us with a mix of fine, sunny days and the rest. Those good days have seen me jogging tracks, climbing hills and even one day where I managed a 60km day trip to Saxon Hut on the Heaphy Track. The rest has included snow and heavy rain, where after a few hours of wandering about, you just want to hibernate in the sleeping bag with a cup of tea and a paperback. And when you try to escape, a high flowing ford means you have to wait for 24 hours…
So, you head for a trail race in sunny Nelson, only for the course to be shortened due to heavy rain. It still beats working for a living though!

About Gareth Rapley

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