An interview with the London-based team Wild Trail Runners, whose members are always searching for amazing places to run and will participate in the 2nd edition of the Ultratrail on the trails of the Cinque Terre National Park.
International participation at 20% with 16 nations represented
Manarola, 7 January 2016 – With just over 2 months until March 20th, the date of the 2nd edition of Sciacchetrail®, the 2016 race promises to be a melting pot of international runners. With a total of only 250 race bibs available, runners from many countries will race along the 47 km of trails through the villages, sanctuaries and vineyards of the Cinque Terre. Italy, France, Germany, Turkey, The Netherlands, Austria, Morocco, Luxembourg, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Croazia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Norway: 16 nations will be represented at the Ultratrail of the Park, with the percentage of international teams at over 20%
Wild Trail Runners, a team which grew from Nike Run Club London, is an example. After a short but intense visit to the Cinque Terre last summer, following in the footsteps of Nike Elite Trail Team USA athlete Sally McRae, the London crew made their first international trip official by registering for SciaccheTrail®. This participation confirms, once again, the capacity of trail running to build invisible bridges between territories: an inspiring force that unites people of different countries, encourages travel and creates sincere and lasting friendships. We spoke with Nic Errol and Maggie Dempsey, the leaders of the group, always in search of “amazing places to run”, to better understand this movement. A deeply “green” point of view that is not far from the values of our ancestors and of the Cinque Terre of Wine which we celebrate through Sciacchetrail®, 365 days a year.
Wild Trail Runners. A name that immediately suggests the idea of nature, freedom and passion for sport. Who are the Wild Trail Runners and what is your mission? I was interested in trail running and ultras, and training for my first ultra in 2014. I met Maggie in early 2015 via Nike, and we started running trails together, and she shortly fell in love with trails and ultra running. Through our involvement as Pacers and Brand Ambassadors for Nike London, we were exposed to more runners and many of our friends began to join us in trail and ultra running. We said early on that trails were going to take over, and we wanted to be at the front of that movement. Chatting one night we decided that we needed something tangible to identify our group of trail runners, as whilst we are invovled with Nike London, it had taken a life of its own. Wild Trail Runners came out, as for us, it represents everything we love. Wild, connecting with the natural world, the trails, the mountains, and channelling that raw and pure essence of that animal instinct that comes out when you are free on the trails. It is all encompassing, and it represents how we connect to the earth, life, each other, and express that via our running. Our mission is to embrace and enjoy running and being outside in the natural world, in as many different ways we can.
Behind this discipline there are always “good stories to tell.” How did this connection between Wild Trail Runners, Sciacchetrail and the Cinque Terre come about? Very soon after we fell in love with trails and ultra running, we began following the adventures of elite athletes. Our FAVOURITE runner is Sally McRae, a Nike Elite Trail Team Athlete, and one of the most inspiring runners. She had been posting on instagram about the potential to race in Italy, and the unfolding of events led her to race the Sciacche Trail in 2015. Living in London, we are always looking for amazing places to train, run and explore. After reading her race report, and making contact with Nicola and Christine, we (Maggie and I) planned a trip to Cinque Terre, for a running holiday. We love Italy, love the ocean, love Italian food, and it was the perfect trip. Our time in Cinque Terre was incredible, as we immediately fell in love with the trails and the soul of Cinque Terre. Nicola and Christine were so kind and hospitable, and we decided then and there to return to race this event that is far more than just a race. Seeing our photos, hearing our stories, and with little encouragement, our friends and crew all decided to join us, and it will be our first major international race as a team.
Essential values of trail running include authenticity, humility, fair play, respect and sharing. What is the role of the community of trail runners in the maintenance of these values? Could the running community be considered a “movement”? Trail and ultra running has always held far more meaning to us. It holds a different spirit and community, and the lessons that trail running teach, are humbling and core characteristics that make us a better person. Connecting with the natural world, appreciating the earth and places we are so privileged to run and explore, this appreciation translates across every aspect of our lives. As we share this with each other, this reinforces these core values, and allows the communication of this to spread naturally and organically. It is definitely a movement, as this shared experience transcends geography and time.
The values of small communities and outdoor corporations – how do these 2 elements of trail running coexist? Small communities are key to trail running. Like the natural world, there is so much diversity and so many unique aspects, of which these communities hold. They have stories, history, culture, and nuances that are what stand out and capture our attention. They give purpose and meaning to these beautiful trails and create stories for us to tell in the future. Outdoor corporations are key to ensuring we get to experience these stories and communities. By providing the space, knowledge, equipment and many of the logistical elements, they can be of critical nature to identifying these communities, maintaining and guarding their history, culture and uniqueness, and are key in much of the protection of these communities. When they work together, a relationship of respect for the trails, for sharing the stories, for creating new stories, and allowing the continuity of this to happen, in a sustainable and safe way.
Thank you Nic and Maggie, Sciacchetrail® 2016 awaits you!