Number one. Have your partner or wife/husband (or whoever knows you) take a photo of you before you go out so there’s a record of what you are wearing (colours and so on) so if the search is on the rescue party can identify clothing colours from the ground or air.
Number two. Never run to exhaustion in the bush. Some of the hills and terrain in the Waitakeres are not to be underestimated. Running hard can take your concentration away from your environment. This can result in something as common as a slip or not recognizing your surroundings (making a return journey hard as you’ll be hard placed to re-trace your steps). You are also more susceptible to injury when puffing hard and spraining an ankle in the bush really is a worst case scenario as you’ll quickly get cold, making tackling challenging terrain even harder.
Number three. Plan you run course and never deviate from it… case in point.
I always say to Claire (my wife) when I’m off for a run Saturday “I’ll be back in 45 minutes”. I never am. But one Saturday I decided to deviate from my planned bush course. The trail quickly deteriorated into mud and trees and eventually…It simply vanished. Leaving me somewhere between Parau and Laingholm, about an hour from home. I carried on, crossed two streams and on the second came to a fallen tree. I clambered on all fours over it a jumped down onto the bank on the other side. As soon as I hit the floor I sank into about 5-6 inches of mud and slid. And slid and slid. I managed to arrest my fall about 3 feet from a 6 foot drop into yet another rock strewn stream. Shaken but gathering myself I realized I had now been away from the house for over an hour and a quarter. More importantly I was due at a wedding in… about 45 minutes. So I ran! I eventually got home 2 and a half hours after I had left, looking like the creature from the black lagoon and soaking through. Claire was quietly relieved and we made it to the wedding. But it taught me to be more careful in planning my runs!
So. When I’m not falling down things I work as a physiotherapist/personal trainer. If you would like any advice on pain, injuries how to manage them and how to workout safely and effectively around injury, or you just want to hear one of my Grampa Simpson style stories about bush running you can contact me at
If you have any tips, stories or if you simply have any questions from this blog get in-touch and I’ll be happy to offer advice.