Mick Backshot Beach


Running for the Soul, man

History of Running

Growing up, I was inspired by the raw wilderness of the South Islands West Coast and was tentatively introduced to trails by family bush walks. Through my teenage years I played a lot of hockey and stayed pretty fit through that, but always saw running as a chore. I never had the motivation, or felt I had the time to get amongst it though (to be fair I didn’t try very hard and was more content to get gassed up and party on the weekends). It wasn’t until 2011 or so when a guy came into my work to buy a boat ticket out to the start of the Queen Charlotte Track that I realised that I needed to lift my game! When I asked him if he’d sorted out his accommodation for the usual 2 nights / 3 days most people needed to complete the 71km track, he calmly replied with,

“Nah, I’ll just do it in a day,”

“Ahhhhh, ok…you do realise its 71km?”

“Yea mate, she’ll be right.”

So he did the Queen Charlotte Track in a day, and I decided I had better pull finger and start exercising. I went on a run with my wife who was training for a duathlon, my mum got me Dean Karnazes’ book “Ultra Marathon Man” for Christmas, and from that, and a few youtube videos the fascination began to grow. I got some New Balance minimus trail shoes. And so it began.

Why Trails

Living in Havelock (Marlborough) I was spoilt for choice with trails, and the bush seemed like the obvious place to run. It’s interesting, sometimes in the shade which is nice, there isn’t a whole bunch of people to stare at you as you plod along feeling self-conscious, it’s peaceful, and it made me feel good, so thats where I ran. The last few years I did find myself becoming a bit of a trail-snob and only running on trails, so have had to check myself a bit and come back down to earth and just enjoy the process. Now, I prefer forest/bush, and hill trails, but am quite content to run in more urban settings and still love it. To be fair, a lot of Christchurch’s East side (where I live) is fairly off-road with the red zones, so one can quite easily access non-pavement and relative solitude,

It might sound a bit like an infomercial, but I’m inspired by the prospect of New Zealand’s back country, and challenging my outlook by running in the elements, and getting to experience the amazing places which mother nature makes us earn by committing to the adventure.

Max distance to date

I got a bit obsessed with the idea of ‘Ultra distance’, so conned one of my buddies in to doing the Queen Charlotte Track with me back in 2014. That was 71km of awesome, and once the legs had recovered a bit I found myself thinking ‘man, I wonder if I could turn around and go back’…I haven’t ‘turned around and gone back’, but shit I want to! How far can I go?


I work in my family’s retail business

Training days

I don’t get out on the trails nearly as much as I’d like, but such is life. I prefer to train long and slow, with a couple of 1 – 2 hr runs during the week, some kettle-bell, and hopefully a long run when I can fit it in.

Goals for future of my running

2016 / 2017 – Queen Charlotte Track ‘out n back’

Just generally get out on the trails more and go on some long missions with my buddies.