How did you first get into trail running?
I entered a cross country marathon named the Clarendon (Salisbury to Winchester in South England.) I vowed I would never do another marathon again and didn't for at least 2 years.
What would you miss most about trail running if you were forced to give it up for some reason?
I would miss being out in nature, the wilderness with friends or alone, being high both in the mountains and mentally or spiritually if you like.
Do you prefer solo or group runs?
I used to road run alone for at least the first couple of years or so of my running life. My first experience of running regularly in a group was in Christchurch with the Port Hills Running club, I loved it. Since those sunny days in Christchurch I have always tried to train in a group, I love the social aspect to trail running even if I do find it difficult to keep up with the youngsters and for that matter some of the more mature runners...
What do you consider to be your biggest trail running achievement?
I ran the Ultra Easy 100km Sky Run with 4700m of overall climbing in Wanaka in 2016. My first 100km mountain trail, hopefully it will not be my last.
What's your most memorable run ever?
I had to think about that question. The more I think about it, its actually a 30km training run I did with a friend around Godley Head Park in Christchurch in 2015. I was in tip top condition, no injuries, training was spot on, head space was spot on, nutrition was spot on'ish and on this particular training run, that I regularly ran on the weekends, the sun was shining, blue skies, rugged challenging trail I felt what I think was "flow" that is when everything feels right and I was just gliding over the landscape a truly amazing experience.
What's your next big goal?
My next big goal is running 6.25 marathons in 7 days from Cape Reinga to Russell which is Leg 1 (the longest leg) of 31 legs from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The only relay that really matters in 2018. Some legs are 10km in length. We will be raising much needed funds for Variety the children's charity supporting disadvantaged kiwi kids. 100 days. 2000km. $200,000 - big numbers for little kiwi kids in need. For more info check out our website.
Who do you look up to in the world of trail running? Who are our heroes or mentors?
There are two individuals that really pricked my respect and awe buttons. They are Ranulph Fiennes who I met about 25 years ago when he gave a lecture in the Christchurch Antartica Centre not long after he and Dr Mike Stroud walked unaided across Antartica... I read his book Mind Over Matter about the epic crossing and others. It was a life changing meeting - what he had achieved and what he went through buried itself deep into my spirit. I was full of respect and awe. And then some 25 years later there is this guy called Mal Law who was going to run 50 mountain peaks in 50 days consecutively... Mal was also raising $250k for the Mental Health Foundation & he aptly called himself chief nutter! I joined him for day 31 a very memorable day because I made some good friends that day and achieved my first ever mountain marathon in one day. For me Mal made the achievement of truly amazing human endeavours very real for me. So if you like, Ranulph planted the seed and Mal fertilised my idea (amongst a few others) for the Cape Reinga to Bluff Relay.
How much a part of your life is trail running?
I have suffered with severe depression and running, being on the trails out in nature, is my best prescription for keeping depression a distant memory. My life now revolves around my running more or less. If I look after my running my running looks after me - both my physical and mental health - whereby I am in a much better place to support others.
Tell us something about yourself that has nothing to do with trail running.
I am a carpenter by trade and ventured into project management about 20 years ago. I miss seeing the fruits of my labours day to day. I enjoy being part of great teams completing great projects.
Andrew's closing thoughts...
I love the quote "never fear failure only fear never trying" (Roy T. Bennett.) That's how I'm approaching this Cape Reinga to Bluff Relay'ish project. It's going to be an amazing journey that I hope at least a few Wild Things will join in some way or other. We need sponsors, donations, lead runners/walkers, support runners/walkers, support crew. Check out the website for more.