How did you first get into trail running?
That'd be my first proper event - the West Coaster back in 2007
Where are your favourite runs?
The Waitakere Ranges in Auckland
What types of trail do you most like to run?
Technical through bush, with some Mud Monster encounters
Do you prefer solo or group runs?
Group for sure!
How important is competing to you?
What do you consider to be your biggest trail running achievement?
It has to be my 2017 Tarawera Double run/walk/crawl/retch (204km).
What's your most memorable run ever?
I have many memorable runs but some stick out more than others. I remember running the Molesworth 85km in 2009 in stinking hot and dusty weather and having a blast. The next day or so I had the most amazing runners high I have ever had then or since. It felt like I was walking a few inches off the floor! I'm sure the extremes of the run altered my brain chemistry temporarily (some would say permanently!)
What's your next big goal?
The 316km 7 day Alps 2 Ocean Ultra Marathon in February/March next year (2018)
What's your favourite run food?
Piha Shop pies!
What gets you out of bed to hit the trails on a morning when all you want to do is have a lie in?
If I have a trail run scheduled then I don't have a problem getting out of bed! It's the enforced road training where that issue comes up!
What's your favourite time of day to run?
Early morning where I catch the sun coming up half way through the run.
Who do you look up to in the world of trail running? Your heroes or mentors?
Ooo, so many! Firstly my wife. Nic started trail running before I did and inspired me to give it a go. That was after I questioned her sanity in driving all the way the hell out to the Waitaks just to get muddy LOL! I also especially look up to people who get out on the trails despite having so many challenges to overcome. Mary Fisher is just amazing! Amelia Stephens is another I hold up on a high pedestal. Pretty much all the people I run with are my heroes and inspirations (too many to list and too much chance of accidentally leaving out someone). I have to include event organisers who put so much blood, sweat, and tears into bringing us a forum to test ourselves. High on this list are Paul Charteris, Tim Day and their team. You guys help so many people do things they didn't think possible, including myself.
How much a part of your life is trail running?
It holds a pretty big part.
What are the biggest challenges you face regarding trail running?
Getting enough trail time. I can usually only hit the trails at the weekend.
Any remarkable or amusing stories you'd like to share about trail running?
Well, the funniest part of my Tarawera Double, in a weird way, was the nausea that hit me early on (only 50k in). Every 20 kilometres or so I would end up on my knees retching unproductively. I remember on the return leg to Kawerau, at the Okataina aid station, I had another episode and quickly went a short distance down the trail so I wouldn't be captured by the first aiders. During some noisy "deer roaring", I just couldn't stop laughing at the whole situation. Luckily I always kept my calories down and could continue happily for another 20km
What other sports or pastimes do you enjoy?
There are other pastimes? Oh, I do like drinking well-earned post run coffees, and riding my motorbike on the rare weekend day where I'm not running.
What does your run year look like? Do you ramp up for events or simply turn up?
I tend to prefer "fat ass" adventures where you gather a bunch of friends and just head on out. Having said that, I do like to have at least one Big Hairy Goal event per year to aim for.
How much and how often is 'formal' training (such as hill reps, speed work and such like) included in your routine?
I now have a coach and it's just the best thing for a lazy runner like myself. My goal event doesn't require speed work (phew) so lots of long distance training is in order.
Tell us something about yourself that has nothing to do with trail running.
I have way too many kids (5).
Simon's closing thoughts...
"Trail runners are a special breed. They are more caring and tolerant of each other than the general mob out there. I think this is a cross between the natural and beautiful places we enjoy together, and the type of people these places attract. Having said that, I believe in the basic goodness in pretty much everyone - it's just that some people are yet to discover the joys of trail running"