Run To Make Grandpa Jones Proud: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Trail Run Sunday

cutting through the jungle with Indiana Jones

When I was <mentally> getting ready for the run today I knew it was a technical bit of trail which requires some extra attention and focus. Staying awake is crucial.

However I didn’t expect it to be that technical!

With a bunch of addicted trail runners, my friend and I have finally run the St Ives Showground trail run. The track goes through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park which is one of the natural beauties I absolutely adore this country for. Running through the Park is more like Indiana Jones style cutting your way through the jungles. Some of us got bitten by leeches, others ‘attached’ by bushes but more or less no one was hurt. It is a stunning track through the national forest with some beautiful red trees, dangerously sticking out roots, magical waterfalls, noisy creeks, endless stairs, ascending and descending paths and a bunch of brave and a little crazy runners making a lot of noise, getting through the bush.

I joined a running group called Trailblazers – a bunch of brave trail runners. They get together every Sunday morning to conquer a new trail on the Northern side of Sydney. Since I live on the West, Sundays for me are a 5 am start and a long day recovery (giggling) but it is so worth it.

Anna Kochetkova: trail running group - Trailblazers

Although I do not consider myself as a fitness junkie and I do not have the lungs of the heart for a marathon, I enjoy bush walking run due to a number of awesome reasons.

Anna Kochetkova: early morning run selfie

 Trail running doesn’t affect your legs as bad as concrete road running does. Trail running is very soft with constant speeding up and slowing down.  Stamina wise, mixing up your pace is much harder than keeping the motion of the same speed. Moreover, it doesn’t put me asleep like road running sometimes does (giggling).

Trail running makes your brain excited about the surrounding and the run itself. I am not sure about other people but I’ve been a big fan of bush walking since I moved to Australia. One day I thought to myself ‘my walk? I could probably run?!’ So here I am.

Finding new scenery, new bush lands and new tracks is very exciting. This is like unfolding a story or finding a treasure. If you loved Indiana Jones adventure films you would appreciate trail running. 

Moreover, the seemingly dangerous trail running can actually help you prevent injuries. How so? 

That’s because hills are sneaky. Running hilly trails is like going into the weight room and doing squats – it builds a lot of strength! And hills are more specific to running than lifting weights because, well, you have to actually run up them.

By working against gravity, hill running helps you in a lot of different ways including building legs strength, efficiency reducing impact forces and increasing stride power which can help prevent injuries. As long as you don’t sprain an ankle or break your foot falling over a tree stump, you are safe and sound on a trail.

Many people train incredibly repetitive aka lifting weights, achieving speed goals and maintaining exercise types.  Many running injuries are repetitive stress injuries – they’re the result of too much wear and tear from the same motion, repeated over and over again. Trails help reduce that repetition by making you change your stride slightly, take shorter steps in between obstacles, and switch directions much more often than if you were on the road.

And of course, trail running helps you avoid going too fast, too soon. If you observe children you notice how they often speed up at the beginning (whether it is a game or a race) loosing their stamina half way through their run. Trail running is almost impossible to run at some points where it gets to steep or too many obstacles are on the way forcing you to pace yourself.

Finally, trail running is so much fun it becomes addictive and you simply keep coming back for more!

P.S. Gaida Coote, 84, has been missing since December 3, when she drove to Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden at St Ives in Sydney’s north. We hoped to bump into some clues of her whereabouts. No luck! Folks, please keep your eyes and ears opened – we all keep searching for her! Thank you


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