When I first started trail running I had no clue.
I’d only been running regularly (again) for five months and after completing my “big” goal to run (in the loosest sense of the word) a half marathon I came across a trail running meet up for beginners in the Waitakere Ranges and went along for a change of pace.
I wouldn’t have said it was love at first sight – it was muddy, the hills were huuuuge, I had to cross a stream (rather unsuccessfully, I even managed to pull Alex, our group leader into the water) and although I looked totes cute, the beautifully cushioned white road shoes I turned up in were beyond useless and I slid everywhere. #eyeroll
So when I decided to add some of this trail running “stuff” into my training regime, I did what Julia always does. I bought shoes and googled “trail running for beginners” hoping to find recorded running routes (preferably loops) suitable for a beginner.
One blog I came across was started by a woman in October 2011 whose mission was and I quote;
To run all of the trails in the Waitakere Ranges, in West Auckland, New Zealand. I’ve heard there is 250 km of trail running goodness to be had, and I intend to have it all! And in true scientific style, I intend to document it.
When I first read the statement “I’m going to run all of trails in the Waitakere Ranges” I didn’t give it much thought but now that I’ve been around a mud slide or two I’ve come to realise what an actual mission running every single trail in the network would be! The blog in question hasn’t been updated since February 2012 and at that point she’d completed 47% of the trails in the Waitakere Ranges and from what I can gather she then decided to put her mission in the “this shit is way too hard” basket and honestly .. who would blame her.
The other day when I was trying to decide where to go for a run, I realised that I only had one trail in the Arataki Visitor Centre catchment to do before completing the entire set. (Which I’ve now done), but the revelation made me curious – how many trails in the Waitakere Ranges have I actually run so far?
Turns out more than I thought ..
There are 9 parks in the Waitakere Ranges, the largest (track wise) being Huia 52.3km, Cascade Kauri 44km & Piha 40.2km. I’ve still got over 30km of trails to complete in both Huia and Piha but I’ve nearly competed every trail in Cascade Kauri mainly because one of the closest Regional Parks to where I live and I’ve now completed all the the tracks under the Arataki Visitor Centre umbrella.
In total of all the 235 km of tracks that are currently open in the Waitakere Ranges, I’ve run just over 120 km of them which works out at 51%.
I’m not sure I have the fortitude to categorically state that I’m going to run every trail in the Waitakere Ranges but who knows, stranger things have happened ..
Till next time