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Why we love the outdoor community by Mark Barger

Why we love the outdoor community by Mark Barger

I started running in 2015. I was 25kg heavier than I am now and had a lot of bad health habits. I never did any sport before this.

My first event was just near the end of my Couch 2 - 5K program - something I still passionately evangelise to anyone that asks me 'how do you start running?' 

It was a 4.55k run with Coburg Harriers. I thought I was going to die and ran as poorly as you would expect. Looking back at the photos from that event, I barely recognise myself.

A little while later I made a training friend, Claire. We worked on our first 10km and 15km together - and later half marathon and road marathon. While on a training run she spotted people running through the bush near the Yarra. After some detective work we discovered trail running and thought we'd give it a go. We participated in a couple of trail races in 2016. I went on that year to complete my first half marathon and then break my heel training for the 28k at Two Bays.

2017 I completed 34 races including my first ultra followed the next day with a half marathon trail race. By this point I'd made so many wonderful friends. The social aspect is so much of why running has become part of my life and personality. Any holiday or trip away is now carefully crafted around a Parkrun or event.

For 2018 I set myself some big goals. I've already PB'd my road marathon in Japan at both the Kyoto and Tokyo marathons, completed two 100km races at Oxfam Trailwalker and UTA100 and finished more than 20 other events. I'm dealing with an injury right now, but have my sights set on a few more achievements before the year is out.