Mark J. Keenan
Running: Perth Trail Series
This is a post of mine that was shared on the Facebook page for a fantastic group called Perth Trail Series (www.perthtrailseries.com.au) as part of their Trail Tuesday Stories.
I have only been running for two and a half years. Before that I thought runners were all crazy. Now, of course, I know they are. And trail runners are the craziest!
I got into running for very personal reasons. My family was going through a few challenges - including mental health issues - I needed personal clarity of mind and I wanted to set a better example for my kids. So, I gave up alcohol and started running in the same week. Neither of those was easy to do but I'm now happier and healthier, physically and mentally, than I have ever been.
For the first year, I just ran by myself. I still remember being so proud of being able to run 3k without stopping. It makes me smile just thinking about it now. I really enjoyed running by myself (I still do). I found running alone was somehow meditative, calming. There is a quote from Haruki Murakami - one of my favourite authors, who also happens to be a long distance runner - where he talks about running to ‘acquire a void’. I so get that.
After the first year I discovered parkrun and found out what it’s like to be part of a running community. Turns out it’s pretty special. I was encouraged and inspired by people I met and before I knew it I was training for, and then running, my first half-marathon at Freo in october last year. Of course one of the things about runners is how much they like to talk about running and soon enough I heard about PTS and trail running.
With no experience, and definitely no clue, I decided that I would make running the Summer Series one of my 2016 goals. The first time I set foot on a trail to run was at Staypuft this year. What an absolute buzz. I was hooked straight away. I met some old friends, made some new ones, and enjoyed every second of the whole series. And there is no one who has come into contact with me since who hasn’t had to put up with me talking, on and on and on, about trail running.
My whole family is now running and my youngest even recently ran Moonshadow with me (wow! wasn’t that run just the coolest ever?) after making his trail debut when we ran Partial Truth together earlier in the year. I have run several half marathons in the last year (all road, except Eagle and Child) and I keep getting asked if I am going to try a marathon next year. They all look at me strangely when I tell them ‘No, not interested in that. But I am planning to tackle Bloated Goat.’
Happy trail running!