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The Runner's Village

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The Runner's Village

By Tania Seward on 2nd March 2018 Reflections

The Runner's Village

The author snapped at the finish line of the Luxmore Grunt by Photos4Sale

They say it takes a village to raise a child – and I think the same goes for running. Behind each of us are many long-suffering family members, friends and sports professionals who have each done their bit to get us to the start line.So with that in mind, today I thought I would share a few examples of people that are useful to have in your running village. Names have been removed to preserve friendships.

The coach

Coaches come in all shapes and sizes. Some are nice and some are sadistic bastards. Many of them appear to be nice but are actually bastards - but that’s okay because they’re usually proven right at the finish line, and by then all is forgiven.

Mine is a nagger who alternates between being a nice friend and being a sadistic bastard. Initially, his motivational tactics were simple: he would check Strava every second day. If I hadn’t logged any activity, he would ring me and ask why, then tear my pitiful excuses to shreds. I soon worked out that it was easier to just go for a run.

As the start line for my first event drew closer, he changed tack. For every week that I did not make the required mileage on my training plan, I had to pay him $10, which he then donated to a cause he knew I disliked. After giving $10 each to Destiny Church and the Conservative Party, I upped my mileage accordingly.

The “helpful” partner

Partners are at once very useful and somewhat annoying for a runner.

On one hand, they are handy for getting rides to the start line, can usually be relied upon to clap at the finish line, and can often be cajoled into being support crew with a puppy-dog look and the promise of “making it worth your while later”.

On the other hand, it can pay to make yourself scarce on the 15th of each month when the Visa bill hits the inbox. Apparently I didn’t need that fourth pair of shoes, or the sports massage, or the supply of gels from the local running shop. Umm, yes I did.

In my case, my husband has the phone number of my coach and does not hesitate to use it if I look like I am going to pike out on a run. One memorable evening they co-ordinated a two-pronged attack and I ended up going for a 2km run at 9pm in the pouring rain.

The dietitian

As a runner you get very well acquainted with various bodily functions. Given that it’s rarely socially acceptable to discuss gel-induced flatulence at family events, you may want to rope in a dietitian to talk all things poop. It turns out they love talking about poop and are quite knowledgeable on the subject as well.

It was also through my dietitian that I realised how much cake I eat in any given week. I told her I was carb loading in advance. She said it wasn’t carb loading if the event was still eight weeks away. I still eat cake - just not as much.

The physio

Good physios can be hard to find but are worth the effort. Don’t bother lying to them about having done your exercises – their eyes are like lasers and they will know that you are lying.

Likewise, don’t bother keeping track of how much money you spend at the physio – it will make you weep. Some physios offer a discount if you pay for 10 appointments in advance. I once wondered who would need 10 physio appointments in advance. I don’t wonder that any more.

My current injury requires a great deal of poking and prodding of my hip flexors. If I don’t drop the f-bomb in the treatment room, then I can buy a chocolate bar on the way home. So far I have not bought any chocolate bars.

Non-running people

Non-running people ask awesome questions like “so what run are you doing next?” This is the perfect opportunity to discuss your training plan with someone who will nod and smile as their eyes glaze over.

Non-running friends are very impressed when you run from home to their BBQ, housewarming or child’s birthday party. However, it pays to ask beforehand if it’s okay to shower when you get there. Some people like to clean their showers before their stinky runner friends turn up.

On one memorable occasion I went straight from a speedwork session to a hotel where my coach friend was staying. “Just come on up to room 414, you can grab a shower then we will go out for a beer,” he said. This was fine until I couldn’t find the lifts in the hotel lobby and had to ask the concierge for directions. Judging by the look on his face as he pointed me towards the lift, he was not a runner. Sorry about that…


If you’re reading this and you’re a runner, take a moment to thank your village for getting you to where you are. Whether it’s tagging them in your post-race Facebook post, a nice text or a quiet beer – just do it.

And for all the village members reading this – thank you. Without your input, there would be many more people sitting on the couch, watching The Barkley Marathons on Netflix, and wondering if they could be a runner one day. Thanks to you, we’re halfway there.

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