Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


Taken Up The Whangie

January 3, 2016 by Richard Wright in Journal, Running

Whangie ViewSo, Betty took Ryan and I up the Whangie.

What? What’s funny about that?

Oh for goodness sake.

The Whangie, for those of you with a mental age of twelve, is a rock formation in the Kilpatrick Hills, where a slice of hillside has been separated from the main rock to form a narrow chasm about ten metres high and a hundred long. Legend has it that it was formed by the devil’s tail flicking down as he passed, because why not? When your belief system begins with a talking serpent and an apple, anything goes.

Bit Of WhangieThe Whangie has stunning views even on a grey day, and a trail to run or walk on. Betty, who I met through Advent Running, invited Ryan and I to join her running up it. The whole route is barely five kilometres, a distance I was knocking off daily in December.

No problem, I thought. Even though it’s trail running, and I haven’t done that before, 5K is 5K.

The reason I thought that is because I am very, very dim.

The short run started with a steep climb, and halfway up I was actually wheezing. Then there were the rocks, which were impossibly slippy, and the mud, which was sucking and deep. I devoured that mud. Literally. Because while seasoned trail runners Ryan and Betty bounced along like fleet-footed mountain goats, I fell face first into it over and over again. A few hours after finishing, I felt as though I had been beaten up.

Yet I got round it, and loved it too (thank you Betty for suggesting it!). Splashing uphill through mud is very different from bouncing along roads or park paths. Core strength? Balance? Flexibility? I fast discovered both that I have none of those, and that I really do need them for any sort of trail running. This is a good time to realise that. My first race of the year, the Mighty Deerstalker, makes no bones about being a brutal night time mountain run, through forests and rivers, with really tough ascents and terrifying descents. It’s three times the distance I did today, and sounds a lot tougher. I have learned that my usual road and park based training isn’t really going to cut it.

Also, I need new gear (starting with MUCH better trail running shoes). I like needing new gear. Gear is toys.

And then, to compensate for never doing anything on a Sunday ever I went and met up with Emma, one of my best friends from my University days. Given the time passed, it was improbably easy to fall back into old familiarities, and while coffee was the order of the day instead of the billion pints and fags that we would have consumed two decades ago, it was brilliant seeing her.

Today has been a good day, and we’re only three days into 2016. I smell good things on the wind. This year is going to deliver.


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