Growing up I was interested in a lot of things that my peers weren’t and a fairly mundane chain of decisions led me to university. I’ll never forget going back to the town where I grew up, having a beer with a mate who’d decided to be a tradesman. He couldn’t wrap his head around how I could “be so smart”. That is, how I could get through the lectures, readings and assessment involved in being a tertiary student. I tried to tell him it was simply a choice I’d made, that the only difference between him and me was that I’d decided to go to uni and he’d decided to be a tradie. Clearly there’s a whole lot more to this; preferences, loyalties, priorities, nature, nurture etcetera, but in the end it all comes down to a solitary decision made at a particular juncture of life.
After leaving university I spent some time working an office job, moving freight around the world, sitting behind a computer. My vision was to end up a logistician for some aid organisation in some ridiculous, undefined humanitarian crisis. I couldn’t hack the office life and so chose to become an outdoor instructor and guide.
For the last four or five years I’ve travelled and worked around the world, living from a backpack; a sparse and lonely life recorded in the idyllic photographs that I chose to put out into the world in order to tell my story. Again, my friends and peers begged to know how I’d managed to find the dream job, how the hell I get paid to travel. I tried to tell them it was simply a choice I’d made, that the only difference between them and me was that I’d decided to become an expedition leader and they hadn’t.
When I first ran a mountain in the foothills outside of Santiago de Chile, in part it was because I was embarrassed at how hard I’d found a recent class hike. I was on a student exchange and enrolled in a mountaineering subject and had struggled to keep up with the rest of the group. That led to a decision. I chose to be fitter and more capable in the outdoors.
When I first ran an ultra it was because I wanted to do a multi-day hike and was impatient with how long it was going to take me. I chose to train to the point where I could run it instead. Those members of this obscure family of trail and ultra runners are often asked by outsiders how we’re able to run for hours, away from the comfort and security of urban spaces, through the night and extremes of weather. We try to tell them that it’s simply a choice we’ve made, that the only difference between them and us is that we’ve decided to be trailrunners and they haven’t.
For me this issue of Trail Run Mag represents the power of decision. The incredible results of choosing to run the length of Tasmania; the strength that comes from deciding the battle with illness and disease is one worth fighting; the decision to respect a millennia of culture and custodianship in spite of our individual goals; the apparently ludicrous plan of running 50 off road marathons and climbing 50 peaks in 50 days.
Every article in this issue represents tells the story of a decision made by those with enough self-belief to move toward their goals and dreams. Don’t spend your days wishing you were someone, or somewhere, else when all that really stands in your way is a decision.
As Goethe wrote, “Choose well. Your choice is brief, and yet endless.”
Your decisive editor, Tegyn Angel