Wild Things - NZ Trail Running Club
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Stephanie Berry

Stephanie Berry


How did you first get into trail running?

When we were kids our parents used to take us to places like Lake Daniells and Hanmer Springs for camping holidays. I used to challenge one of my brothers to races along the trails ... I remember always wanting to "just go to the next corner". Of course when I got that far I wanted to go and see what was around the next bend and then the next one and then the next. We would run for ages (or what seemed like ages). He always won because he would take a short cut back down steep banks and through streams and I would stick to the trail. I always challenged him again when we got back and he would refuse so I would go back on my own. I guess that was the start of my love for all things trails. Then, later in life I was coaching school children in outdoor ed and taking them into the local Canterbury mountains. We'd get near the top and race each other to the top of the mountain and then break into a run coming down. It was so much fun I just started heading into the hills for my runs.

What would you miss most about trail running if you were forced to give it up for some reason?

I'd miss the exhileration of running down a single trail in the bush and mountains, the feeling of freedom, the feeling of my own power and strength as I climb a hill or scramble across a stream, the majesty of nature, the peace and serenity, the connection between the earth, the flora and fauna and my body ... physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually ... the feeling of oneness and interconnectedness, the absolute sense of belonging that is lacking in the material world. Trail running brings me back to me and to all that exists in nature ... I would miss the ease of that connection.

Do you prefer solo or group runs?

A bit of both ... solo when I want to connect with myself and experience nature more deeply, with others when I want to connect with others and play and converse or just be in togetherness in the wild.

How important is competing to you?

I can take it or leave it ... love meeting new people and catching up with friends and cheering others on and celebrating peoples victories and commiserating their bad days.

What's your next big goal?

My next big goal is to complete an ultra distance run, hopefully before Xmas this year and then next year I want to complete a 100km run. I have a course mapped out that I want to run. I want to do it in my own time, in my own way, with whomever wants to support me and for me it's my way of saying F**k You to Autoimmune Disease, F**k You to Fibromyalgia, F**k You to Adrenal Fatigue. It's my way of saying "I've got this"!! 100kms here I come!

What do you consider to be your biggest trail running achievement?

Being able to run ... every run for me is an achievement ... just putting my shoes on and hitting the trail .... any trail, any distance is my biggest achievement. Two years ago when I could barely walk because of the pain and exhaustion in my body I couldn't imagine ever running again. The mere thought of running made me feel sick. Somewhere in the depths of my mind there was a glimmer of some far off day when I would run again but it was so weak that I would dismiss it as fantasy or something someone else would be able to do but not me. Slowly week by week, month by month, year by year I have found my way back to loving the trails and loving the body I live in and loving running and if it wasn't for the trails I don't think I would have tried to run again. There are days when I stand looking out the window thinking I need to go for a run but the pain is too much and those are the days that I reluctantly put my shoes on and force myself out the door and when I take those first few steps suddenly I am in a different body and the pain is less and I am running and I am free and life is really good right then. I appreciate trail running more on those days than the ones when it's easy and it all flows smoothly.

What's your most memorable run ever?  

My most memorable trail run to date was an early morning run up Mt Oxford to capture the sunrise. We left home at 4am with the intention to be at the peak before the sun rose. It was touch and go which was part of the fun but challenging as I wasn't feeling well and had to constantly push. There were moments when I felt we weren't going to get to the top in time and I had to keep pushing through the pain. I can't explain why it so important to get to the top before the sun .... I'd just decided I wanted to see the sunrise and I wasn't going to give up or let a little pain defeat me. I went through a roller coaster of emotions ... one minute feeling defeated and the next rallying and determined we would get there in time. It took 40 minutes longer than usual to make that climb and every inch of it hurt like hell. We crept closer and closer to the trig as it got lighter and lighter ... constantly watching the horizon as it appeared and disappeared behind ridges and trees until finally we stood on the top. As I touched the spot that marked the trig, my partner George said "look", and I turned toward the rising sun and there it was ... just popping out above the horizon ... the most magical moment .... standing atop a mountain watching the sun rise above the horizon. We'd made it with not a moment to spare and it was worth every step of pain. A hugely emotional moment of awe and wonder and amazement ... staring into the heart of the rising sun. Once we had our fill of sun energy we ran across the snow covered ridge and down through the trees, completing a 21km loop.

What's your favourite run food?

Our own secret recipe Bliss Balls ... so yummy

What gets you out of bed to hit the trails on a morning when all you want to do is have a lie in?

The promise of a glorious sunrise, the thrill of a sweet downhill trail, finishing a run and still having some day left to do other things.

What's your favourite time of day to run?


What other sports or pastimes do you enjoy?

Kayaking & Mountain Biking just for fun. Passionate about anything to do with Health & fitness, nutrition, helping others, Essential Oils, meditation, yoga, permaculture, living simply and growing amazing nutritious food.

Stephanie Berry
Stephanie Berry
Stephanie Berry
Stephanie Berry


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