Trail Run Mag Edition 08 released

The latest edition of Trail Run Mag has landed!

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And it’s free for all you dirt-loving trailites to get an eyeful of the best singletrack tales, mountain madness and back of beyond running you can imagine.

Download your FREE COPY here (right click, save to desktop or go here).

In this edition:

EXCLUSIVE: JEZ BRAGG writes for Trail Run Mag giving a personal insight into his tussles on Te Araroa, New Zealand’s end to end trail.

OVERLAND ODYSSEY – Hanny Allston looks to the history of the Cradle Mountain Ultra for inspiration in running it herself.

PENGUIN RUNNER – an adventure run through Namibia and South Africa for a cause.

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GETTING HIGH – what’s the deal with altitude chambers?

MOUNTAINS & MADNESS – everyone says you’re crazy when you tell them you’re off to run 100 miles through alpine territory. Here’s  proof that ultra trailites quite often push the line of sanity…


FUELING THE LONG RUN – our nutrition expert talks us through how Richard Bowles fuelled his epic runs top to tail of both Australia and New Zealand.


RICH’S RANT – speaking of Rich…he has a dummy spit. And some good points…in his column.

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Q&A: Sputnik takes flight: Adelaide’s favourite on trail personality talks inspiration, reason and new trail (ad)ventures.

PROFILE: Whitney Dagg, New Zealand’s up and comer is out to prove her speed at TNF100

PLUS: event previews of the Glow Worm Marathon and The Big O; Brooks Trail Porn; Salomon Trail Guides; shoe and product reviews.


Trail Run Mag Ed.08

Trail Run Mag Ed.08

Stop reading the highlights and start enjoying the zine… download it now directly by right clicking here  or head here for our library of all the editions in case you haven’t collected them all!

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REMEMBER: this is the final FREE copy of Trail Run Mag. We will be taking our humble zine to the masses from Edition #9 onwards via the Apple Store on iTunes and Amazon Kindle. Stay tuned for details. Don’t worry – it won’t break the bank! $14.95 covers a full year’s subscription to four editions.






Luna Launch

Luna takes another step forwards, or backwards, in evolution

Getting back to nature

Getting back to nature

If there’s anything to be learnt from the barefoot brigade, it is that even if you’re not prepared to run in minimalist shoes you should be spending as much time as possible with as little as possible on your trotters. While even the most dedicated of us will struggle to spend much more than ten hours a week running, we spend plenty more than that moving, walking, chasing after the kids, browsing the supermarket aisles and generally being bipedal. It is this time that runners can spend strengthening up lower legs, foot muscles and getting back in touch with a natural stride just by wearing shoes with zero drop or arch support, and after just a couple of weeks getting around in not much, the benefits are clear.


. Luna have recognised that people running Ultra marathons in their slim Vibram soles is going to be a limited market and their products now reflect the joy of getting around life in something as close to barefoot as possible. The company is the brainchild of Barefoot Ted of Born to Run fame and he encompasses the company’s philosophy;  “barefooting is all about mindfulness and presence, being acutely aware of our own bodies and environment. This connection is a fundamental source of happiness and good health. That’s why we’re so excited to bring the barefoot experience to more people with this new collection. These sandals are everyday footwear for all your activities.”


The company personifies the grassroots businesses that are finding niches in the booming trail running market. The testing and refining of their products is a team effort where ideas bounce back and forth from the designers through their handful of sponsored runners and their team of ‘monkeys’ who handmake every pair of sandals in Seattle. From a simple sole with leather laces the Luna range now includes a range of sole thicknesses, and their now almost perfected All Terrain Strapping. The big advance of recent years has been retained with the Monkey Grip Technology sole covering solving the inLuna shirtitial problem of a slippery sole in wet weather. I have been running in a pair of Leadville Pacers with MGT footbeds for well over 3000 kilometres now and not only are they still sticking firm to my soles but the MGT shows as minimal a sign of wearing down as the soles do, still providing enough protection for the gravel trails I frequent daily. I have a few different Luna models and to watch the clever yet unobtrusive innovations that are made with each new release shows they are a company who value the design process and live by their own minimalist creed. The subtle design of the All Terrain strapping show plenty of tinkering has been done to produce a model that works in both form and function. Their footbeds are a similar success with the attractive leather a stylish option on their street sandals and the MGT design having more than proven the test of time on muddy, sandy, dry, wet and especially rocky trails. The choice then is left to you – how thick do you want your sole, and what do you want to do with them?


Luna’s new range includes three models, designed for urban, general and heavy trail use. The inspiration of the Tarahumara and their car tyre sandals have brought Barefoot Ted a long way, and even if you’re not quite ready to jump through the Copper Canyons in a pair of sandals, getting around in Lunas is the most comfortable way to improve your form, get the barefoot experience and strengthen up leg muscles atrophied from years in foam padding.

By Garry Dagg, Trail Run magazine’s resident barefoot/minimalist adherent and editor.

The Bandicoot Run

He, maybe she, lay broken and spiraling on the trail.

The distinctive small snout dug into the laterite soil, broken back legs pedaling furiously to get away from me, her potential saviour.  The run had been a struggle up until then, one of those afternoon sojourns that had you wishing you had not rushed to the trailhead.

But now, instantly, the run had purpose.

Australia’s marsupial population is down to half of what it was prior to white colonisation.  The three horsemen of the modern apocalypse for so many species; hunting, habitat destruction and ferals have wreaked a trail of destruction for two centuries. This bandicoot was another to be added to the casualty list, its back half broken by the jaws of a feral cat or fox or, perhaps less cynically, an unsuccessful hawk.

Regardless, there it lay, its front half clawing at the dirt while its driving back end spun it in circles.

There are many mantras people recite when running to retain either mental or physical focus.  Relax the shoulders, keep going, one foot in front of the other. The barefoot runner has many more; run light, engage your core, grip with your toes, but they all have the same aim of trying to make running as efficient and smooth as possible, weightless and quiet.  Cupping a broken bandicoot in one arm, dashing over limestone rock and gravel trail, however, is the perfect indicator of form, no mantra needed.  Each elongated stride and jolting foot strike reverberated not through me but through my conscience, through my newfound role of marsupial paramedic.

Having struggled to hold my form for the first part of the run, I was now as smooth as a mountain stream, gliding along the trail back to the car, sandals caressing the gravel and rocks as I balanced the need of getting the bandicoot to the soon-to-be closed vet with the need to pad it softly on our journey along the trail.

The few kilometres back were a lesson in running smooth, precious cargo perched in one hand while the trail rolled out beneath.  I made it to the vet as the doors were closing but sadly the little one did not make it through the night.

The trail to me is now the bandicoot trail and each time I run it I am encouraged to run even quieter still, listening out for the sound of native noise.

Daggs, Trail Run Mag Barefoot/Minimalist Guru

As Trail Run Mag’s resident barefoot/minimalist sage, Garry Dagg will continue to write on issues, opinions, styles and techniques of barefoot/minimalist running. And he’ll test the bejesus (a sandal wearer) out of all and sundry models now flooding the market. He’s on board not to convert, but to offer a perspective, much the same way our Shoe Guru, Simon Bright offers his. Agree or not, better to be aware, even if you’re not a fan of being bare. We welcome your opinions on the barefoot debate – fling them through on or Facebook them at Garry will also write regularly on the topic online, so sign up for his blogs and news feeds at Ed.

Awarefoot runner: the barefoot leap

The shod stand on one side of the river, gazing across the foaming abyss at the barefoot fraternity on the other.  So far, so bizarre.  Your colleagues on the shod side mock and degrade the lunatic fringe who are skipping along in their wacky sandals, minimalist shoes and, shock, completely bare feet.

Luna Sandals – for the uber minimalist traditionalist. IMAGE: Nathan Dyer

Most people at this point turn away and go back to trudging along in their heavily cushioned factory products, shutting out the possibility that something else could be possible.  Humans, it turns out, are incredibly reluctant to change which is no great surprise given that the majority of our species’ existence has been about feverishly protecting what we have from marauding neighbours and predators.  If you find yourself at this river however, inquisitively peering at the eccentrics preaching the joys of minimalist running maybe it’s time to have a dip in the river and see if you can make it to the other side, the domain of the barefoot runner.

The swim is not as long at it looks, nor as fearsome for the reality of barefoot running for most people will most likely end up being a weekly experiment in technique refining.  And despite what your orthotic pushing mileage obsessed mates may tell you, we are actually a welcoming and friendly crowd.  Some of us even have jobs.

There is one important thing to remember though. Beyond important thing actually.  Vital. Critical.  Take it slow.

Yes running forums are covered in threads from injured barefoot runners and barefoot running can be a pursuit that takes you towards the freezer in search of ice packs but only if you move too quick.  The jury is still firmly out on whether barefoot running will aid performance and lower your PBs but I am a believer in its ability to ward off injuries and, most importantly, clear the mind.  If somewhere, deep inside there, you run for fun, it is certainly worth a try.

Despite what the punters will have you believe, the goal is not to run barefoot but to run light.  Running light not only puts less impact on your legs it also makes you feel the earth and become more aware of every part of your running.  If running barefoot helps get you lighter then that is great, and it may well teach you some lessons to take back to your shod running technique.

So start slow.  Run around the block in a pair of minimalist shoes or, if you’re an Aussie and have grown up wearing thongs and ducking into the shops barefoot then you’re probably right to do a lap actually barefoot.  The next day run shod, then again the following tap out a circuit of the block and so on slowly, slowly building up the resistance.  This will give you a taste of the liberating feeling that barefoot running gives and even if you decide it’s not for you that slightly improved technique will bounce around in your subconscious while you are back in you shoes.  At the very least running barefoot around the block will turn you into the weird neighbour and you won’t have to listen to Mrs Cheetam on the corner complaining about what the weather does to her dodgy knee as now she’ll duck inside at the mere sight of you.

My introduction to barefoot running was laboriously slow.  I had to undo the damage a few decades worth of running shoes, orthotics, Dr Martens, hefty heeled work shoes and ski boots had done to the structural strength of my legs.  By the end of month two I was just cracking out 6km runs and it wasn’t until four months of sandal shod patrolling that I pushed it to 10kms.  Having said that, I never had the faintest twinge in all that time so may well have been able to push it a bit further but figured that the risk of yet another running injury was far from worth it.  Now, eighteen months down the track and two hour runs are a simple glide in my rubber sandals.

It is probably a positive enough sign that you are reading this.  It says that you are happy to at least glance across the river at all the gliding barefooters and ask yourself the question why.  The simplest level of curiosity is all it takes.  There is no need to go out and splurge on the latest minimalist shoe sent in from the designers of Tokyo as a pair of Dunlop Volleys will do the trick as an introduction.  Take it slow, be aware of what your feet and legs are telling you and, most importantly, free your mind.

Garry Dagg, Trail Run Mag Barefoot/Minimalist Guru

As Trail Run Mag’s resident barefoot/minimalist sage, Garry Dagg will continue to write on issues, opinions, styles and techniques of barefoot/minimalist running. And he’ll test the bejesus (a sandal wearer) out of all and sundry modles now flooding the market. He’s on board not to convert, but to offer a perspective, much the same way our Shoe Guru, Simon Bright offers his. Agree or not, better to be aware, even if you’re not a fan of being bare. We welcome your opinions on the barefoot debate – fling them through on or Facebook them at Garry will also write regularly on the topic online, so sign up for his blogs and news feeds at Ed.