Are you ready to Swashbuckle?

One question I get asked almost more than any other, is what heck is a ‘Swashbuckler’? Well, the traditional definition says it’s “a swaggering swordsman, solider, or adventurer; daredevil.” As you can imagine, we’re less about swords, and more about adventure here. So let’s go with that. And we’re not just talking about the go climb a mountain, jump out of plane kind of adventure either. You can be daring and brave and adventurous in all sorts of ways. We have our own ‘The Relentless Pursuit of Wow’ ethos here, and that’s really what we’re about. So if there’s something that stirs your soul, or makes you go “Wow!”, that’s what we wish more of for you in the year ahead.

Maybe it’s to read more, dream more, do more, travel more, love more, or just be more of who you really are. Whatever makes you happy. 🙂

And as I’ve said before, it’s not awesome people who somehow have the monopoly on doing awesome things, it’s doing awesome things that make you one of those awesome people. Many of us, myself very much included, often suffer from ‘Imposter Syndrome’ thinking we have to be something more than we already are to do what we really want. Well, fuck that.

Let’s make 2017 the year of doing what we’re most passionate about, regardless of whether or not we’re actually ‘ready’. Let’s be honest here, you could spend your life trying to get ready, and never get anything done. So how about we just start and work it out as we go along?

Please know, if the thing you’re most passionate about is doing open heart surgery on someone, you’re probably not included in that particular strategy. Best you practice a bit first. For the rest of us, who just want to try new things, write, paint, draw, sing, dance, travel, take photos… whatever it is, let’s go with the strategy that I was given when first started writing many moons ago: “pursuit of the craft”. Learning by doing.

Because I don’t know about you guys, but these years don’t seem to be going by any slower. For me personally, when I think about how fast this last one went by, and then I think of that amount of time multiplied by about 20, it suddenly doesn’t seem like all that much time left. For example, if I keep on my current trajectory of productivity, I’m unlikely to write more than about 4 or 5 more books, and I have plans for many more than that. A lot more. So something better give. Either I’d better hope I get more than 20 more good years, or I find a way to get more done in those years. Pulling my finger out and making shit happen probably isn’t a bad place to start.

You can, of course, set goals and intent on any day of the year, but we all know doing it at the start of a calendar year makes things neat and tidy, (if that sort of thing is important to you.) Whenever you do it, whether it’s today, tomorrow, or you’ve already done it, here’s to some serious Swashbuckling in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.


Chief Swashbuckler.

PS Here’s a picture of my first book, signed by George Betsis, the person who originally inspired the whole idea of The Swashbucklers Club way back in the mid 1990s! But that’s a story for another day.


My first book, signed by George Betsis, the person who inspired The Swashbucklers Club almost 20 years ago.

Exploring Tasmania’s North East Coast

With the Tassie Trail Fest behind me, it was time to head further east to the coast and sneak in a bit of exploring. First stop was Binalong Bay. A few years back this was described as one of the “hottest” spots to visit by Lonely Planet, and about forty seconds after getting there I could see why. (Although it was anything but hot when I arrived!) Sand so white even Donald Trump wouldn’t have any excuse to discriminate, and water so blue it was second only to my toilet bowl after loading it up with some Toilet Duck. Unfortunately it wasn’t exactly beach weather while I was there so there was no swimming on the agenda, but I did go for a nice long walk, climb on some rocks, get some ridiculously fine white sand in my shoes, and take some pictures of me staring meaningfully off into the distance for my Instagram account.

After that I worked my way down towards Freycinet and stopped at the nearby town of Swansea for the night. Having stayed in the Bates Motel in Derby for three nights, the Swansea Motor Inn was basically like the Ritz Carlton. Double bed. Bathroom. No bird shit on the carpet. No vomit in the bin. OK, to be fair, that last bit was my fault at the last place – if you missed that story feel free to read it in all it’s glory right here.

Anyway, the hotel, was pretty plush by comparison. And the Salt Shaker cafe down the road was pretty epic too. To celebrate my awesome hotel room I ordered basically one of everything from the menu and dug in. There was oysters, seafood chowder and scallop pie. If you’re ever in the neighborhood. it’s well worth a visit. Tell them Sputnik sent you. They won’t have any idea who I am, but it would be an awesome thing to do anyway.

The next day I headed down to Freycinet – for those of you as stupid as me, it’s not actually pronounced Fray-see-net. But Fray-see-nay. It’s French. Or something. Whatever. I went there. The jewel in the crown there is a place called Wineglass Bay. Cause it’s kind of curved. Like a wine glass. I suppose. I plotted a bit of a loop run that I was guessing would be about 11 or 12kms. Out to the left, check out Wineglass Bay, then cross over through the bush to the other side of the peninsula to Hazard’s Bay, and back again. How hard could it be? If you’re a decent runner who didn’t run/crawl a 45 km trail marathon a few days earlier, probably not that difficult at all. If you’re a bit overweight, quite a bit out of shape, and coming off a 7.5hr trail marathon combined with a marathon 12 hour spewing effort, a little more difficult than I may have expected. I’m also ridiculously scared of snakes, so some of the single track sketched me out a bit. I tried telling myself there were enough people around to have scared them off. But the truth is there weren’t that many people around. And Tiger Snakes aren’t that easily scared off anyway. So I spent half the time fairly convinced I was going to be bitten by a snake and die a slow and painful death alone in the bush in a place with a fancy french name.

Turns out none of that happened, which you’ve probably guessed by now. And instead I completed my loop. Had a Gatorade, didn’t spew, then drove up to the Tourville Lighthouse to check out the trail there – one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. In this case, really short as it was only 600m. The weather was rolling in by this point and although I was, as always, wearing my awesome ioMerino clothing to keep me warm, I decided I was ready to put my feet up so I headed back to Coles Bay, met up with Chris and Simon from Adventure Types (who’d arranged the Tassie Trail Fest) and Flix the Freak. OK, that’s not his real name, but this is a guy who rode his bike 400kms from Hobart up to the Trail Fest, helped set everything up, then went out and ran the marathon. And won it. So yeah, he’s a bit of a freak. Lovely bloke though, and an epic runner. Obviously. We met up at a local cafe where I ate a bowl of hot chips. And they didn’t. Which probably explains why they’re all quite fit looking. And I’m not.

Then it was back to the Swansea Ritz Carlton for another awesome sleep. The novelty of being in a clean bed and not feeling like I’d smoked a carton of cigarettes by the time I woke up in the morning hadn’t yet worn off – and neither had the stink from three days in the Ashtray Hotel. That night I decided against another indulgent feast and instead tucked into a smorgasbord of left over bits and pieces I’d bought for the trip. When I do a road trip, I have a bad habit of hitting the local supermarket when I first arrive and buying enough food for 18 people. For about four months. So that night I chowed down on a combo of baked beans, salt and vinegar chips, bread rolls and an assortment of other snacks, all washed down by a couple of cans of Mike Tyson ‘Black Energy’ drink I’d found on special at the Reject Shop. I’m not entirely sure calling it ‘Black Energy’ is entirely PC, but I sure as shit won’t be telling Mike that cause I doubt very much he’s all ears. And apparently it’s Poland’s best selling energy drink. Seriously.

On the last day I drove back to Launceston Airport with a minor diversion to Cataract Gorge – just outside of the city. It reminds me quite a bit of Morialta in my own home town, and I’m sure if I lived there, (in Launceston, not the Gorge), I’d probably go running there all the time. I did one of the more modest walks, checked out some of the old historical buildings, then chickened out of doing the full loop through Snake Gully, because it was called Snake Gully and my guess is if they’re using the same amount of imagination they did when naming Wineglass Bay, there’s a fair chance there’s a shit load of snakes in Snake Gully and my interest in seeing any of them was whatever’s less than zero. So I did a cheeky little out and back then drove to the airport, getting their nice and early. Too early as it turns out as Launceston Airport isn’t exactly a thriving metropolis and I had to wait an hour to check in. I suppose I could have gone and sat at one of the fine food and beverage establishments to kill the time, but since there weren’t any, I flogged a spare wheelchair instead and sat in that instead.

And that, my friends, was my Tassie Trail Fest adventure.

Running the Tassie Trail Fest Marathon

After having a few random micro adventures in north eastern Tasmania, hanging out with echidnas, and wrestling leeches, it was time to get my act together, stop faffing about, and get ready to run. After all, the main reason I’d headed south in the first place was for the Tassie Trail Fest. All week I’d been saying I’d probably do the half marathon, so I didn’t kill myself out there doing the full. I was still a bit shaken from the 60km Tarawera Ultra where things had all gone horribly wrong, and I wasn’t sure I was in good enough shape to run the full marathon all that well. The last thing I wanted to do was run myself into the ground on what was supposed to be race number one of five for the weekend.

As is often the case though, ego and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) got the better of me and at the 11th hour I decided I was in for the full marathon. “I’ll take it easy” I thought. “How bad can it be?” I thought. Ah yes, famous last words.

I turned up at the starting line with a long list of bad omens. I hadn’t eaten a decent meal the night before. (ie no pizza or pasta, my usual pre-run ritual. It was a small town and I had to scrounge what I could.) For the same reason, I hadn’t had a decent breakfast the morning of the run either – another important piece of the puzzle. What’s that old saying? “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” or something, right? Exactly. On top of that, I’d accidentally taken the wrong running shoes – bringing a pair with way too many miles, and way too many hole in them, instead of my comfy new pair. Hey, they’re the same model of shoe and they looked the same when I packed in the dark! An innocent, but stupid mistake. There were few other things as well, but really the biggest stuff up was yet to come. And at a time when you least need one – mid-race.

When the race started, I was still messing about taking photos of everyone so I literally started at the back of the pack. I’m cool with that, it’s not like it’s ever going to cost me a podium finish or anything, but it does create a real issue with one of my biggest hang ups – the etiquette of over taking. Especially in trail running, people have all sorts of strengths and weaknesses. Some are strong uphill, some downhill, some on the flats, some on the technical single trail, and some on the nice, open fire trails. So we all lose and make up time in different places.

Me, I’m pretty much crap at all of it, but in a field like this, there were a few people who I was ever so slightly faster than at the start. On a wide trail, it’s no problem. You just pop out to the right and plod past. Maybe they’ll catch you later, maybe not. Either way, it’s all good. It’s a different story on single trail though where you have to ask someone to edge over so you can overtake. It’s one of my worst nightmares asking people to move so I can go past, only to look like a bit of a flog a mile or so down the trail when they come shooting past. Maybe it’s a chip on my own shoulder and no one else cares, but I really struggle with it. I do enough stuff to look like a flog without accidentally adding to the already long list.

Needless to say, I did eventually pass a few people and settled into a nice position, probably about three quarters of the way back where I usually am. Hardly anyone overtook me in the first 20 or so KMs, and I sure as shit didn’t over take anyone else, so I guess I ended up in about the right place.

And for those 20 or 30kms I did OK and was about as happy as I can be running 44ish kms of trails. Then the wheels fell off in spectacular fashion. At the time, I didn’t know why, and I genuinely spent the last few hours of that race planning my retirement from running anything longer than about 200 meters. Even tough runs can still be a version of fun, but at about the 30km mark of this one I started to feel so ill, I couldn’t even break into a Cliff Young shuffle. I felt like I wanted to throw up and had zero energy.

To put this in context, it was pretty much exactly the same experience I’d has at the Yurrebilla 56km ultra six months earlier, and at the Tarawera 60km Ultra the month before. After six years of running and never experiencing gut problems of any sort, clearly the old body had given up the ghost and I was now one of those people, or so I thought at the time.

I now have a slightly different theory: I’m a bit of a dickhead. A theory that will come as no surprise to many of you, but let me explain why it’s relevant in this particular instance.

After Tarawera I ended up in the medical tent with extreme nausea. ie a pretty bad case of the chucks. And much like Tarawera, in Tassie I found myself unable to keep any food or drink inside my body for the back half of the race – or for about 24 hours after the finish for that matter. Not ideal when you’re pushing your body to go those sorts of distances. After Tarawera the medical staff asked me if I’d taken any ibuprofen. Now before I hear all you runners tsk tsk tsk-ing and waving your finger at me like a naughty boy, I should say I’ve taken all sorts of pain killers over the years when I’ve needed them and never had a problem. Ever. I know taking these sorts of things is frowned upon these days, but having never had a problem before I figured I was a bit above and beyond all that. But the medicos at Tarawera were convinced that was where my problems had come from, and thinking back, although I can’t recall for sure what, if anything, I took at Yurrebilla there’s a red hot chance I popped a few Nurofen there as well.

Regardless of whether or not they were right or not, I decided that moving forward I wouldn’t risk it and I’d play it safe and stick to plain old Panadol/Paracetamol if I ever needed anything mid-race in the future. So let me tell you what I thought happened on the day, and then what actually did happen on the day.

About half way through when my back hurt I reached into my pack, grabbed a couple of panadol, ran for a little while longer, then started feeling sick. I hadn’t taken Ibuprofen so clearly those medicos knew jack shit and I had some other illness, possibly Ebola or some other rare tropical disease that only affected me after about the 25km mark of a race. I walked most of the last 15kms, getting over taken by pretty much everyone who’d been behind me, including a few stronger runners who’d taken a wrong turn and run an extra 10kms. I threw up a few times in the last 5kms of the course, threw up at the finish line, threw up as I was crossing the road, and threw up in the bin in my hotel room. Several times. (Hey, cut me some slack. I know that’s gross, but I was in a room with a shared bathroom and couldn’t make it there so the bin was the best I could do.) And I continued to throw up well into the night, still unable to eat. Even the blue Gatorade I managed to find at the pub down the road when I chanced leaving my room for a bit later in the evening, made it’s way into that bin via my intestinal tract.

And the whole time, all I did was ponder my retirement from running and think about what I might take up instead. For the record, ten pin bowling was fairly high up the list. I also considered becoming a professional hurler, but that had nothing to do with actually considering it as a sport, and everything to do with the fact I’d spent the last 12 hours practicing a different kind of hurling. And if hurling into a hotel room bin had been an Olympic sport, let me tell ya I would have taken home gold for Australia.

But all that’s what I thought happened. Because the next day, after pondering all this, I had a half memory flash back that was then confirmed by the other people in the story. And this is where, a bit like directionally challenged trail runners, my version of events and the actual version of events go in slightly different directions.

You see, as I rolled into the 30km check point, one of my fellow runners asked if anyone had an ibuprofen. At first I didn’t answer cause I was feeling a bit shit and couldn’t quite get myself co-ordinated enough to reach into my pack and grab the panadol. Plus, they were pandadol and she wanted nurofen so I shut up hoping someone else would come to the rescue. When that didn’t happen, I fessed up that I had Panadol, but specifically mentioned I didn’t have Ibuprofen, but she was welcome to grab a couple from my pack. It’s what happened next that qualifies me as Dickhead of the Year. As she pulled out the slide of Panadol, she said, “oh wait, these aren’t Panadol, they’re Nurofen!” I didn’t really pay much attention at the time cause I was feeling shit and just wanted to crawl the last 15kms to the finish line. But doing a post mortem of my race the next day, her words came back to haunt me. “These aren’t Panadol. They’re Nurofen.” (Insert ominous echo.) Nurofen? What the fuck? I’d taken extra special care to make sure I only packed Panadol, and surely I hadn’t made a mistake. Just like surely I’d packed my new shoes and not my old ones. Doh! A quick inspection of the tablets in my pack revealed two things. They were definitely Nurofen. And I was definitely a dickhead.

Now, whether or not it was the Nurofen that caused this problem three races in a row I can’t say for sure. But you’d have to say the odds are they were. If there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s that I may not have that rare form of Running Ebola after all, and just a bad case of the dickheads, which can be pretty easily cured by, well, not being a dickhead. Suffice to say, for all future races I won’t be taking anything stronger than some jelly beans and with any luck, I’ll be right as rain. Back from the dead. Elite ultra running career in tact. And hey, if all else fails there’s still ten pin bowling. Or more hurling.

Oh, and at the risk of rushing through the rest of the story of the Tassie Trail Fest, I didn’t run again for the rest of the weekend, but did manage to get out and about a bit on the various trails, taking photos of the runners who were all not as dickheady as I was. And even though I was disappointed to not be running, I still had a pretty awesome time cheering everyone on, and blinding them with my flash and headlight during the night run. Sorry about that guys.

(You can check out a few pics from the other races below or a full gallery in the story I wrote for the guys at ioMerino.)

With the Trail Fest done and dusted, I had a few days up my sleeve to get my adventure on and go check out a few other things, but that’s a story for another time.

A taste of ‘The Apple Isle’

It’s known as ‘The Apple Isle’ and for those of you from around the world who don’t know, Tasmania is the little island at the bottom of Australia that’s the butt of quite a few mainland jokes and so often gets left off maps. Apparently it got the whole ‘Apple Isle’ name because for many years it was one of the biggest apple growers on the planet. But I wasn’t there for the apples, although I did eat a few while I was there and they were quite nice. No, as usual, I was there for the trail running and adventure.

Weirdly, while I’ve been to quite a few places around the world, there are still plenty of spots in my own home country of Australia that I’ve not yet visited – and Tasmania was one of those. There wasn’t really any good reason for not having been. I simply hadn’t gotten around to it. Especially since getting into this whole adventure lark, I’ve always thought it would be a pretty awesome place to go, but as is often the case, unless you have a specific prompt to go, it just never happens. The Tassie Trail Fest was my prompt to go. So I did.

As usual, my decision to go was a little last minute and I did precious little research on where specifically I’d be going and what else was around. I basically booked a flight, a car, and turned up figuring I could make the rest of it up as I went along. It’s a strategy that’s worked for me before but isn’t one I’d necessarily recommend.

The Trail Fest itself wasn’t due to start til Saturday, which meant I’d pencilled in Thursday and Friday as adventure days. Thursday I checked out the nearby Myrtle Forest Walk just outside of Weldborough before heading off to St Columba Falls and onto Ralphs Falls. It was my first taste of Tassie wilderness and I absolutely loved it.

St Columba Falls is considered one of Tasmania’s highest and most beautiful waterfalls. I have to say, it probably wasn’t one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen, but then, perhaps I’ve been a little spoiled with some of the spectacular falls I’ve seen in South East Asia. The forest along the way, however, was right up there. They say Platypuses live in the creeks there, although you’d need to be pretty lucky to spot one. You’d have to be even luckier to spot a Tasmanian Tiger – the icon of the Tassie Trail Fest. In days gone by, this area was their prime habitat but they’ve been listed as “presumed extinct” since 1986 – 50 years after the last one died at the local zoo. That hasn’t stopped there being thousands of sightings of them still, including one right there at St Columba Falls by a local ranger back in 1995. Locals are convinced they still live deep in the forests and I hope they’re right.

I may not have seen any platypus or Tasmanian Tigers, but I did get bitten on the back of the leg by something while sitting on a rock by the creek. It hurt like buggery and at the time, I was worried it was Tiger Snake because I am an idiot and a panic merchant at times. I imagined dying a slow and painful death, alone in the wilderness beside that beautiful creek. There’s probably worse ways to go, but it turns out it wasn’t a snake. Or a platypus. Or a Tasmanian Tiger.


Next stop was Ralph Falls – and even though the nasty weather was really starting to settle in by this point, I actually thought this 100m high ‘ribbon’ waterfall was much more spectacular making its way down some fairly decent cliffs. While clear, fine weather is usually what people wish for when they’re out and about, if there’s one lesson I’ve learned it’s that there can be real magic in ‘bad’ weather, and the mist rolling in made for an awesome photo before I had to tuck the camera away to keep it dry.

Ralphs Falls - magical weather!

On the way back to the car from the main lookout I found a turn off on the trail and followed it for a while to the top of the falls, but because I didn’t have a map and the trail was quite over grown, I got a bit sketched out and turned back after a while. OK, I confess, mostly I was worried about being bitten by another killer platypus. I now know it was a nice 4km loop trail and wish I’d done it. But when you’re in the middle of nowhere by yourself, without proper supplies, and scare of Tasmanian Tigers, the last thing you want to do is hit up a trail that goes for who knows how long and who knows where. One for next time!

Besides, with a trail marathon coming up on the Saturday I wasn’t wanting to put too many miles on the legs so I was happy to keep things pretty mild, do some short walks, and say ‘hi’ to a couple of very friendly echidnas along the way.

I spent that first night in one of the event’s luxury tents. It turned out they were so luxurious they came with their own water feature courtesy of 12+hours of relentless rain and a leaky roof. So in the early hours of the morning I was forced to abandon ship and stay warm and dry in my car. Ah yes, adventure comes in many shapes and forms, and sometimes when you least expect it.

On the Friday, again without any sort of plan, I just jumped in the car and headed off, coming across the Blue Tier Giant Trail – a forest trail to view some giant gum trees. Seemed as good an adventure option as any to me. It was raining, but I was rugged up in my ioMerino as usual, so I braved the elements and set off on what was supposed to be a short, easy walk. The Blue Tier Plateau is an exposed, sub-alpine plateau 600m above sea level and this particular walk goes through huge eucalypts, musk, myrtle, mosses, ferns, and a shit load of leeches. Not that anyone mentioned the leeches. And damn do I hate leeches.

I made it to the Blue Tier Giant without any issues. Just a bit wet. And this tree really is a giant. Perhaps not on the scale of the redwoods I’ve seen in the USA, but it is seriously big. In fact, it’s the widest living tree in Australia and takes 15 people to wrap their arms around it. I was 14 people short so didn’t bother trying to test that. instead I just stopped and took a few rain soaked pictures. Big mistake. As this probably gave some blood-sucking hitch-hikers the opportunity get on board. Half way back to my car, I felt the not unfamiliar bite of leeches on my legs and feet, and sure enough I was covered in the little bastards. If there was any good news, it’s that they weren’t killer platypuses. And they were the regular leeches and not the dreaded vampire Tiger Leeches that need a nuclear arsenal to remove. (All jokes aside, Tiger Leeches are a real thing. I googled and it tuns out Leeches are hermaphrodites and devoted parents. Which is kind of cool but I still hate them.) Can’t say I felt all that lucky at the time that I’d managed to pick up just regular leeches, standing on the side of the road, stripped down to my undies, standing in the rain, trying to pull them off my legs and pick them out of my pants, socks and shoes. Not a great look and not my favourite part of this whole adventure thing that’s for sure!

That night I relocated to the nearby Dorset Hotel in Derby. Considering the town of Derby has a population of around 200 it’s fair to say accommodation options there are fairly limited. And with 300+ trail runners and sundry hangers on hitting town for the Trail Fest, I was pretty lucky to find somewhere to sleep at all. After seeing the room, I’m not sure I’d necessarily consider myself lucky exactly, but at least it was dry. Full of spiders and about 30 years worth of cigarette smoke, but dry. I’ve stayed in some pretty shit places in my time, but this may well be the shittest. You never want to write terrible things in case the people you’re writing them about see them – awkward! But in this case, I think it’s fair to say there’s ‘Ye olde worlde charm’. And then there’s… whatever this was.  For anyone considering visiting Derby in the future, I can highly recommend never staying there. But hey, sometimes dodgy hotels are all part of the adventure and the sheets were clean(ish), the shower was warm, and Leonie the publican was actually pretty cool beneath her gruff, chain smoking exterior.

Intentions count. Chill out.

Jamie Oliver recently caused quite a stir by making what were deemed to be ‘inappropriate’ comments about breast feeding. Whether you love or hate him, Jamie’s done some fairly decent things out there in the world when it comes to making sure young people in particular, have access to decent food.

I’m not his biggest fan, so I can’t comment on the finer points of what he’s achieved over the years, but I can comment on intention. And while intention doesn’t count for everything, it does count for something, and I think it’s time people chilled out a bit. Not just over this, but lots of things.

If you spend more than a few seconds before you react to things, you could probably make your world, and the world in general, a lot better, happier place. I know outrage sells, but come on, let’s get real. It’s not difficult to tell the difference between someone who knowingly says or does something negative or that you don’t agree with, (think Donald Trump), and someone who does it somewhat unwittingly, even if they should know better. Sometimes even the best of us can let slip a poorly chosen word. Jamie included. And this is where intention comes in.

Intention is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card to shoot your mouth off without thinking and say whatever you want, but let’s not ignore it completely when things go a bit tits up. Pun intended.

I pose this challenge to you: before you launch at someone for something they’ve done or said, look past the words and at their intention. Whether it’s someone in the public eye, or someone you know personally, it’s usually pretty easy to tell what someone’s intention is. In Jamie’s case, a few poorly chosen words does not justify every man and his dog, or in this case every woman, getting stuck into him. By all means ask for clarity if you need it, but don’t get sucked into sinking the boot in for no good reason. And don’t let a few poorly chosen words overshadow what may actually be a predominantly good, useful and important message either.

These days we seem very quick indeed to look past the good, and to put a ridiculous amount of emphasis on the bad. Maybe it’s because a good rant gets such good traction on social media. Something everyone can join in on with calls to ‘burn the witch!’. Nothing like good old mob mentality. Whereas, for some unknown reason, there’s so much less glory in posting good vibes. Well, I say it’s time to chill out, recognize good intentions, maybe even have a bunch of your own, and keep the good vibes alive.


Footnote: Great to see some more balanced reporting out there in this article.

Is technology making us mean?

Technology has been the source of many amazing things. I can now fly to America in a day and eat bad airline food instead of sitting on a boat for months, eating bad boat food and getting scurvy. Technology allows me to connect with like minded people I would otherwise have never met, and share the joys of random, obscure things. And because of the wonders of modern technology I can send messages across the planet in an instant. It also allows me to be a complete and utter asshole to absolute strangers.

In days gone by, it would have been highly unlikely I would have walked up to a stranger, famous or otherwise, and abused them. I wouldn’t have done it for a number of reasons. Manners. Fear. Common decency. But like a lot of the commons, (common sense is in there also), it seems these character traits have gone the same way as fax machines and vinyl records. Technology seems to have made them somewhat redundant.

Back then, I would most likely have avoided someone I didn’t like and not spoken to them at all. It was good formula. And mum was right when she said “if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Sadly, now, that seems to be more a case of “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, not only say it, but shout it as loud as you possibly can, regardless of the consequences, and share it with the world.”

These days, it’s not at all unusual to unleash a tirade on anyone and everyone, for pretty much any reason at all, or none at all, on the internet. We’ve got technology to thank for that. Kim Kardashian? Watch out, there are any number of people out there who want to tell you what they really think of you. Taylor Swift? Complete and utter strangers have got some very unkind words headed in your direction too. In fact, you don’t have to look much further than ‘Celebrities Read Mean Tweets’ to see what a phenomena this is. And celebrities are just the tip of the unkind iceberg.

What I used to say to celebrities I didn’t like.

When I was younger I used to camp outside hotels to meet my favorite pop stars. It wasn’t a super common past time, I guess most people had better things to do. But for those of us who were big enough fans, we’d wait outside the hotel we assumed they were staying at – (it’s one advantage of coming from a small city where there was really only ever one or two hotels worthy of celebrity visits) – and you know what we’d do when they came along? We’d asked for autographs. And if we were really well off, snap a few photos on our pocket brownies. That’s it. But then, they were the celebrities we liked.

So what about the ones we didn’t like? Nothing. We didn’t wait for them so we could tell them how much we hated their last album. We didn’t write them letters saying how much we hated them personally. We didn’t do any of that. Because we weren’t mean. We weren’t assholes. If we were talking amongst friends, I suppose we’d say who we did and didn’t like and why, but we didn’t broadcast those feelings to the world. Or to that person directly. And you know why? Because we weren’t as mean and unkind as we are now.

Enter technology. And the golden age of unkindness.

Now, I know what you’re going to say, if those people put themselves out there, put themselves in the public eye, they deserve everything they get. Ah, why is that exactly? Surely it’s just as reasonable to suggest we should be kind to people? Whether they’re in movies, on TV, making music, designing fashion or the kid sitting at the desk in class next to you, why do we now feel so compelled to say mean things?

Technology has certainly made it easier, but then, technology has made it easier to have a coffee enema, and we’re not all rushing out to do that. Being an asshole isn’t mandatory.

Some will even justify it by saying they are entitled to their opinion. And, of course, they are. They are also entitled to keep it to themselves. Or stuff it in their ass. There is no obligation to share an opinion when all it does create negativity and misery.

A while back I was quite unkind to someone. Because let’s be honest here, just because I’m writing about this subject now like I’m the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa doe not mean I am immune to this condition. So I was quite unkind to someone, and even though it could be argued it was not altogether undeserved, it caused a lot of trouble. And a lot of heartache. Not only for that person, but also myself. And after much reflection, I came up with the following thought: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Now, to be fair, this is not likely to go down alongside “I have a dream” as one of the great and profound philosophical sayings of all time. But maybe it should. Let me say it again: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Let that sink in. Technology allows us to do many things that we were previously unable to do – but just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Don’t be a dick pic.

We can send dick pics now without having to duck down to the local photo processing store, lodge a film, have the poor people who work there see the pictures come out of the developing machine, pop them in an envelope, and post them off to someone. Possibly even a stranger. So it’s much easier to do that now. Whack out the smart phone, whack out your bits, snap, send and voila! Instant asshole. But hey, just because we can send dick pics now, doesn’t mean we should.

You know all those barriers to doing it before? The fact you would likely not do it because it would mean other people would know what you are doing and you would likely feel embarrassed or uncomfortable? To the extent where you probably wouldn’t do it? Those things are clues. Clues that sending dick pics is not a decent thing to do. Even though you can.

And before you ask what the heck dick pics have to do with you when all you’re doing is giving your ‘opinion’ on Facebook, well, if you’re being unkind, it’s the literary equivalent of a dick pic. Except you’re the dick. No one asked for it. It’s not necessarily decent. And just as in days gone by when you would have had a few real world prompts that it was inappropriate, we should probably still recognise being an asshole is as out of fashion as it’s ever been.

I’m also not pitching mass compliance. It’s still OK to have different values. It’s still OK to be outraged by injustice. It’s also still OK to have manners and be polite and be decent and be kind. And it’s still not OK to not be all of those things.

Just because you don’t see the results of your actions doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We can’t see gravity, but we’re all pretty happy to accept that exists. (I’m sitting with my ass firmly planted in my seat courtesy of it right now.) Same goes with how people would react to your actions. Your words. You can’t see it. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

What do your words say about you?

Next time you go to tweet or comment or whatever the next big thing is, I’d ask you to consider this simple notion: if the person you’re communicating with, or about, was your brother or sister or mother or father or son or daughter or any other loved one, how would you word your feedback? Would you be decent and kind? It’s highly likely that person, who is most likely, although I suppose these days not necessarily, a human being, is someone’s loved one. How do you think they feel? How do you think their loved ones feel? What do your unkind comments really communicate? Do they say something about what kind of person they are, or what kind of person you are?

And this: What are you actually hoping to achieve by saying mean things? Seriously. What? Are you challenging some monumental injustice? Are you affecting positive change in the world? Or are you just intentionally causing another human being heartache? And in the process showing the world you are mean. Unkind. An asshole.

I started by proposing that technology is making us mean. But you know what, let’s not shoot the messenger. Or in this case, Messenger. Or Twitter. Or Whatever. Technology isn’t the problem. Social Media isn’t the problem. The culture of celebrity isn’t the problem. It’s us. You and me. The ones who have set decency aside to take up the opportunity to broadcast our mean-ness. Yes, technology allows us to do that, but just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Want to say ‘hi’?

Want to say hi in 2016? As always, a lot of this is subject to change, but for now at least, here’s where we plan to be in 2016.



17th. Undies Run. Adelaide, South Australia.

(24th> New Zealand)


6th: Tarawera Ultra. Rotorua, New Zealand.



12th-14th. Tassie Trail Fest. Derby, Tasmania, Australia.

20th. Bay-City. Adelaide, South Australia.



3rd. Clare Half Marathon. Clare, South Australia.

24th. Cleland SA Trail Running Championships. Adelaide, South Australia.



1st. Greenbelt Half Marathon. Adelaide, South Australia.

11th-15th. Ultra Trail Australia. Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia.

22 May. Sturt Gorge Trail Race. South Australia.

29th. Barossa Marathon. Barossa Valley, South Australia. TBC



10th-13th. Melrose Fat Tyre Festival. Melrose, South Australia.

19th. Mt Misery Trail Race. South Australia. TBC

25th. Surf Coast Trail Marathon. Torquay/Surf Coast, Victoria, Australia.



24th. Hills to Henley (30km). Adelaide, South Australia. TBC



14th. Adelaide Marathon. Adelaide, South Australia. TBC

27th. Kangaroo Island Marathon. Kangaroo Island, South Australia.



18th. City-Bay. Adelaide, South Australia.

25th. Yurrebilla Ultra. Adelaide, South Australia. TBC



6th. Kuitpo Forest Trail Run. Kuitpo, South Australia.

TBC. Blue Lake Fun Run. Mt Gambier, South Australia.



Capturing the Awesome.

For those of you interested in taking photos of your awesome adventures, Chief Swashbuckler Sputnik has put a few tips together on choosing a camera – especially if you’re thinking of buying an ‘ActionCam’ like a GoPro. Obviously technology is changing all the time, so makes and models will change, but many of these tips will serve you well for a while yet. In a world full of infinite opportunities, this basic checklist might help you narrow down the options and make a decision:

  • Do you really need your camera to be able to handle all weather conditions? If you do, this instantly narrows it down to traditional style waterproof cameras (like the Lumix FT5) and action cams like the Garmin Virb or GoPro. Even if you won’t be diving into the ocean or rolling around in the snow, a waterproof camera is also usually shockproof, rain-proof, sweat-proof and although not exactly indestructible, certainly way more durable that a regular camera. Super handy if you’re going to be out in the elements – whether that be rain, snow or even just dust or sand which can ruin a less durable camera pretty quickly.
  • What level of quality do you really need to shoot? If it’s just for basic personal use, don’t get hung up on, or pay for, things like 4K video when good quality HD will more than do the job. Same with shoot speed which allows you to slow the footage down for super slow-mo later. If this is something you might need then pay for it, otherwise, let it go. We’re guilty of buying things ‘just in case we need it’ but have a good think up front, and be realistic about where your pics or videos will end up and you may just find some of these expensive, high end options just aren’t that important. Or worth paying for.
  • How much control do you want when shooting? Depending on the model, actions cams give you a little control, like the ability to shoot wide or zoom mode, and a few other adjustments, but they’re not so user friendly in that department so it’s very much set, go, point, shoot and hope for the best. Which is why they’re called ‘Action Cams’, right? But if you’d prefer to be able to change things up on the go, and even zoom in and out while you film, you may find a more regular waterproof camera is for you. You won’t look as cool as all the popular kids with their Action Cams, but you’ll get the shot. (This is one of our favorite things about the FT.)
  • Accessories are a big deal and ActionCams are the king of the castle in this department. If you’re likely to need a helmet mount, chest strap, bike mount, steadicam style ‘gimble’ to smooth out your shots on the go, the universal mount that’s standard on ActionCams like the GoPro and Virb is the place to be. The official and aftermarket range of accessories for these cameras is ridiculous. Just be warned, you’ll want to factor all your extra bits and pieces into your budget as many of them don’t come cheap. We quite liked the amazing little Dome Port from KNEKT which allows you to shoot half underwater, half above, but at $349.99 it doesn’t come cheap. Same goes with even more basic options like interchangeable lenses. People rave about getting compact cameras with the ability to change lenses, but 99% of them never actually get around to doing it because it’s expensive and, let’s be honest, a bit of a pain in the ass. So yes, it’s awesome if you can get extra stuff for your camera, but again, be realistic about what you’re likely to cough up the bucks for.
  • Batteries aren’t sexy, but they are kind of useful, so you’re going to want to consider how long they last, how much extra batteries cost, and how easy they are to change when you’re out in the elements. This is another area where we have a personal preference for the Lumix FT, and while it may come at the expense of picture quality, we’d rather get the shot with a powered up battery, than miss it altogether. And remember, all those extra features like WiFi, GPS etc will drain your battery faster. So don’t buy a camera for those extra features if you end up turning them off anyway to save battery power in real life situations. (Yes, again, we’re guilty of that. GPS is rarely turned on in our cameras.)
  • Will you be shooting more stills or video? Most ActionCams definitely skew towards video cameras that shoot stills, whereas waterproof cameras are more like stills cameras that shoot video, and as such usually have more photo options. Again, something to keep in mind. We haven’t managed to get our hands on one yet, but Olympus has now released the TG-4 – the first ever waterproof compact that shoots high quality RAW images that allow you to do more high end photo processing afterwards. By the time you read this no doubt other companies will breathing down their necks, but for now, it’s another feature to keep in mind. (And before you get too sucked in by cameras that say they can shoot stills while they’re shooting video, be sure to check the specs on those as usually the photos a camera takes in photo mode, are better quality than the ones it shoots at the same time you’re filming.)
  • Everyone gets all excited about picture quality, but let’s not forget its not quite as popular little brother, audio quality, either. If you’re going to be shooting video, you may want to think about what the audio quality is like on your camera of choice. Many a great shot has been ruined, or even rendered effectively useless by audio so noisy, it’s painful and almost impossible to watch. These days the on board audio of many cameras has gotten a lot better but for a few dollars more you can get an attachment that allows you to attach external microphones to many cameras including the GoPro. just remember you usually have to take your camera out of its waterproof housing to use an external mic! Some of them work with wireless external mics only so retains it’s waterproof rating.
  • Another feature that gets overlooked quite a bit is being able to see what you’re shooting. Models change from time to time obviously, but right now the GoPro Hero4Silver and Hero+ LCD have screens, but it’s a no go on other GoPro models and the Virb. If you’re primarily going to be using the thing stuck on a helmet, you may think a screen is largely irrelevant as you won’t be looking through it while shooting away, but if you want to check to see if you got the shot later, screens can be super handy. Various external screens are available though, and remember playing back will also reduce precious battery life so you might want to keep that to a minimum in any case.


  • If you’re already taking your smart phone with you, you may be better off just buying a really good waterproof case like the ones from Lifeproof. The latest Samsung and Apple smart phones shoot 4K video and awesome quality pics. So if you need to travel light, this may be an option worth considering. Just keep in mind, not all lens qualities are the same. There’s a very good reason high quality lenses can cost $100s or even $1000s of dollars. The size of the lens and the quality of the glass the light passes through can have a massive affect on the end result. A pin-hole sized camera lens with a micro-sensor simply can’t capture the same quality as a a full size DSLR – although the gap is definitely closing.
  • Be realistic about what you’ll be using your camera for. It’s easy to get caught up on sensor size, megapixels and various other things, and in days gone by where the focus was on printing things out, it was super important to know if you could print an A4 or an A3 image etc. These days, it’s more about sharing images digitally, and for most people, megapixels stopped being an issue years ago. Just about any camera will shoot a picture that looks just fine on social media. If you’re planning on doing something semi-pro with your images, that’s a whole different topic for another day. For you, buying a camera to capture your adventures may mean being realistic about where the final pictures end up and not getting sucked into specifications that are meaningless at a practical level. Although it is worth being clear on whether or not there’s a specific feature you will be needing – like being able to also shoot stills while you’re filming, super slow motion, self timer options etc. If you have a specific requirement, that can sometimes help narrow down your choices also.
  • Budget is pretty important as well. Obviously. How much do you really want to spend? If you’re anything like us, you almost always end up spending a little more than you would have liked to get what you want, but if you decide your ballpark up front, you may be able to rule out at least a few options.
  • Finally, just accept you’ll never find one camera that does absolutely everything you want it to. In a perfect world, perhaps, but not here on Earth. So even when you’re traveling light, you may end up taking more than one piece of camera equipment with you and using different ones for different things. Here’s some of the gear Chief Swashbuckler travels with.


Lumix FT5, Canon G7X, Garmin VirbXE and iPhone with Lifeproof case.


  1. Canon 7D. (Not pictured) For shorter adventures where packing light isn’t an issue, I’ll always try and take a DSLR. The 7D isn’t exactly the latest model now but does everything I need it to and the quality is more than enough for what I need.
  2. Canon G7X. (Top right) I won’t lie, I’m totally and utterly in love with this camera. Some good manual controls and shoots RAW so I can give my pics a tweak later. I find myself taking this with me more and more instead of my 7D for pure convenience. I’ve already trashed one of them because it’s not so durable and I tend to give my gear a bit of a hiding, but this really is a sensational little camera. (Also worth checking out the newer Sony RX100iv)
  3. Lumix FT5. (Top left) I’m on my third one of these cameras, and each model gets better and better in terms of quality. It really is my go-to waterproof camera. I’ve rock climbed, waterfall jumped, snorkeled, mountain biked, trail run… you name it, I’ve done it with this camera from Cambodia to Nepal and beyond. I’m sad it’s not quite up to scratch with video quality right now though.
  4. Garmin Virb XE. (Bottom left) I’ll admit, having shot on regular cameras for so many years now, I’m struggling to adjust to the ActionCam category in general. But the VirbXE has found a place in my kit and although it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, it’s definitely come in handy.
  5. iPhone 6 with Lifeproof case. (Bottom right) The Lifeproof case isn’t completely indestructible, but it will protect your phone from all sorts of conditions. I’m not sure I’d test whether or not it’s fully waterproof, but it’s kept my phone safe from dust, sand, sweat, rain and spilled drinks. Regardless of what camera gear you’re taking with you, well worth having one of these.

Running Australia’s Surf Coast

After running the Big Sur International Marathon on America’s ‘Jagged Edge’ at the end of April, I almost immediately set my sights on a Surf Coast Trail Marathon re-match back in Australia. Last year was the inaugural race, and with ioMerino sponsoring the event, it seemed only right that I would make the 800km road trip across and fly the ioMerino flag.

Last year I was carrying a serious, chronic injury and was in no condition to run a full marathon. And on trails at that. Naturally, I did it anyway and had a pretty horrible day out, taking 6:18 to finish the course, so this year I felt like I had something to prove. Besides, the race had captured my imagination, so I was also keen to go back and actually enjoy it this time.

The course itself is actually quite mild compared to many trail races. There’s no crazy elevation or technical stuff, although there’s quite a bit of beach running and the softer sand can definitely take its toll. This year the forecast was for a mercifully mild morning with temperatures of around 7c/44f, but not due to go much higher than that for the rest of the race. Knowing it would be slightly warmer than last year, I opted for the Vital ribbed long sleeve with my Altitude Tee, and my ever-present Highpoint Necktube to keep my ears warm. And my bad haircut hidden. This is basically my go-to trail gear these days and serves me well across all sorts of activities and temperatures.

Compared to last year, I managed to shave almost 10 minutes off the first half of the course, and passed the half marathon starting line before they took off which made for a much more interesting second half as the half marathon front runners made their way through the field. Damn, those guys are fast!

I slowed down quite a bit in the second half of the race, but still managed to enjoy the spectacular coastal, cliff-top views. After last year’s ‘King Tide’ where the ocean was so far in there was only a tiny bit of super soft sand to run on, it was a relief to find the sand much firmer under foot and made for easier running. Even if that was somewhat evened out by a pretty aggressive headwind. The last thing I needed 30+kms into a 43kms race!

The overall race winner, Damien Angus, polished the course off in a lightning quick 3:10:04. In fairness, Damien is an elite triathlete and Age Group Ironman World Champion having won his category at Kona, Hawaii, so I don’t feel too bad for taking an extra two hours to complete the course myself. I’d hoped to crack the 5hr mark this year, but I’ll take a 1hr+ PR over last year’s lack lustre effort. As for that elusive 5hr mark, there’s always next year…

For an event in only its second year, it’s superbly organised and supported. With fairly easy access to the trails at many points along the way, it’s also a great supporter’s race. It may not have the huge crowds of some of the more high profile road races, but trail races can be quite solitary a lot of the time, so just seeing anyone along the way, cheering you on, is a nice change. I was lucky to have fellow adventurer and ioMerino wearer Kyle Williams make the trip down to the coast to cheer me across the finish line as well which was nice.

It’s a sentiment confirmed by Race Director, Chris Ord: “Last year was special as the first, but this year seemed to up the ante in terms of people being so encouraging of everyone, and so damn happy. And the number one feedback we’re getting is that the volunteers were out-of-this-world friendly and made all the difference when runners were hitting their walls! It is they who really make the event experience top notch for everyone, and as an organizer, I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Today, more than ever, there are so many new events on offer, runners really need to pick and choose the races they do, and each race needs its own identity and draw card to attract runners. I know I had to choose between this and a regional Marathon on the edge of the world famous Flinders Ranges on the same weekend, but in the end, I simply couldn’t resist those awesome coastal views and the great atmosphere.

“The whole reason the Icebug Surf Coast Trail Marathon came into existence was to offer an inclusive, supportive event that enticed runners onto the trail and down to experience the stunning environs of the Surf Coast in particular” Chris explains. “We believe we have a special place here in terms of the coast and the trails along it and we wanted to share it, while also creating an event that was as much about just participating as the winning.”

More than 560 runners crossed the line on event day making the Icebug Surf Coast Trail Marathon one of the bigger trail events in Australia. And I was happy to be warm and comfortable in my ioMerino along the way as always. And not in the last few runners like I was last year!

Running the Jagged Edge

Everyone has a dream or two, and for the past five years running the Big Sur International Marathon has been one of mine. Don’t ask me why, because honestly, I’m not entirely sure. I can’t even remember how I first heard about the race. But ever since I did, I’ve wanted to run it. This is a race that takes in 26.2 miles of coastal road between Big Sur and Carmel on the Californian ‘Jagged Edge’ Coast. And it’s not an easy race to get into. It typically sells out in minutes, and when you live in Australia, trying to enter at the start of their day, means getting up in the middle of the night to try your luck and see how fast your internet connection and typing skills are.

For me, that meant waking up at 2:30am to fire up the computer and, beyond my wildest dreams, I managed to secure a spot. Which is probably just as well because they’ve since announced they’ll be moving to a lottery system from 2016. So no more ‘the quick and the dead’. It will be pure luck from now on. Having entered, I then had to start the hard work. I’ve been carrying a chronic injury for well over a year, and the last marathon I ran was the Surf Coast Trail Marathon last June when I had a very, very tough day at the office and dragged myself across the finish line in pain, well after most people had already gone home.

I don’t enjoy training of any sort, but over the past 6+ months managed to stay disciplined enough to work hard with my rehab trainer and work towards being marathon ready. At least I hoped I was. In the few months before the race, I completed a few Half Marathons, but still wasn’t 100% certain my body would be up to a full Marathon. And let’s face it, America is a long way to go to run half a race. So I was more than a little nervous.

Usually marathoners have a ‘taper’ week in the lead up to a big run, where they take it easy so they can go into the run with their body well rested and ready to go. Naturally, I did the complete opposite. I landed in the US a week before the race, and proceeded to run every trail I could find. It wasn’t conventional wisdom, and it could well have been my undoing, but the temptation to get out there and run a bunch of new trails was too much to resist. In fairness, I did have a day or two off, but still managed to cover more than 106kms/66miles in the week leading up to the race – which was easily my heaviest weekly running load in well over 12 months! In fact, I rarely ever run that far in a week!

Running the race itself consisted of waking up at around 3am in order to catch a 4am bus from the finish line, all the way back to the starting line, a little over 26miles away. Needless to say it was cold and dark at that time. Naturally, I had my ioMerino on, but I also have a confession to make. I’d gone to Walmart a few days earlier and bought a cheap tracksuit to wear at the start line. Yes, I know, synthetic sacrilege, right? But race protocol for a cold race morning like this, is to wait til the very last minute before the race starts, then take off your outer layers and leave them at the starting line where they are collected and donated to charity, and there was no way I was going to leave my beloved ioMerino there. (Sorry charity people for the crappy Walmart tracksuit!)

Starting a race in the early hours of the morning, but then running for around four hours always has temperature challenges. And it’s even worse when you’re running from cool, windy shade, to full sun and back again – the range of temperatures can be pretty significant. Not to mention variations in your own body temperature. Typically, I’d say the temperature ranged from a little over freezing at the start up to somewhere around the 20c/68f mark – and yo-yo-ing everywhere in between throughout.

While some runners went for shorts and singlet, I knew the cooler weather would be uncomfortable and opted instead for a Vital long sleeve with an Altitude T layered over the top. This kept me warm at the start and through the cooler sections, but thanks to its natural breathability and temperature regulation, meant I didn’t overheat when it warmed up. Even when I worked up a bit of a sweat and ended up a little damp and the wind picked up, the MicroMerino® kept me warm. It’s one thing to read about these benefits, but when you’re out there and your comfort really depends on it, it’s nice to know there’s substance behind the promises. Running a marathon is difficult enough without also having uncomfortable clothes to contend with. Oh, and I also wore a Highpoint Necktube ‘bandana’ style to keep my ears warm. In cold and windy weather, I really suffer from sore ears, so the Necktube was exactly what I needed. It may have been soaked with perspiration by the end, but it still did the job nicely.

I managed to finish the race in pretty good shape all things considered, and the body held up well – as did my ioMerino. I’m constantly surprized at how many runners are still wearing synthetic DriFit style running gear, or even worse, ‘Killer Cotton’ in these sorts of conditions. I kind of want to grab them and ask them what the hell they are thinking, but the middle of a race probably isn’t the best time to do that! But I’m more than happy to do it now: If you’re a runner, and you run in cooler conditions, you must try ioMerino. Ditch the synthetics and the cotton – (You know Search & Rescue teams call it ‘Killer Cotton’ because of how poorly it performs in cold weather, right?) – and get some ioMerino on you. Like me, you’ll probably wonder why you didn’t try it well before now. And if you’re already wearing it, welcome to the club!