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This is the marathon edition of Doing Stuff Outdoors. If you’ve never run a full or half marathon before this podcast will give you a taste of what it’s like. Gary is running the half marathon event at Marathon by the Sea in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He takes his audio recorder along to capture some of the behind the scenes excitement as competitors wait at the starting line for the race to begin. We’ll meet first time runners, nordic-walkers, even a family running the 10 km event while pushing their baby in a stroller. Gary also records his comments as he runs the 13 mile course and after the race he’ll talk to fellow runners and the winner of the full marathon. It’s someone regular listeners to this podcast will know.
Call the comments line with the story of your best or worst race at 206-600-4557. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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On the podcast this week we join Andrew Spender of the UK for an account of his multi-day walk through the English countryside. He traveled a total of 146 miles from his home town of Stratford on Avon to London to raise money for a local hospice. He followed the same historical route dating from the time of Shakespeare, a famous fellow who just happened to live down the street from Andrew, Check out Andrew’s blog Redneps for a terrific account of his journey and for some fabulous photographs.
Also I go shopping for a new pair of running shoes with the help of running guru Alex Coffin. And as the marathon approaches I get a few last minute pointers on how to survive a half marathon.
Next week a special podcast about running the race. I’ll take you with me as I run (or attempt to finish) the 13 mile event. We’ll also talk to other runners and walkers and take in the party that is Marathon by the Sea.
If you have audio comments, suggestions or questions about the show call our new ‘Comments Line’ at 206-600-4557. Tell us about your favorite long walks or runs. You can email us at email@example.com. And if you haven’t done so already please subscribe through iTunes.
There is a certain amount of risk in everything we do. Taking risks is part of living. And when it comes to outdoor activities risk is an inherent part of being outdoors. Some activities carry a higher degree of risk than others. The chances of being injured during your morning walk in the park are probably less than if you were climbing a mountain or going backcountry skiing. But then you could easily trip and fall and sprain your ankle during your walk in the park or you could encounter even more serious urban threats such as a mugger or rapist. I’m not trying to scare anyone but these are the kind of risks we face every day.
I got thinking about this especially as it pertains to the outdoors after my daughter Erin was injured this summer. She was driving to Vancouver with a friend and stopped off in Jasper, Alberta to visit some other friends. They were working at a resort in the mountains. This is an outdoor adventure playground and some of the staff there rigged up a makeshift Tarzan Rope that swings down a hill and over a bog. It was innocent enough and a fun thing to try and I’m sure people swung on the rope all summer without incident. Erin did it twice but on her third attempt she slipped off the rope and fell about 12 feet. Even though the ground was soft the impact was enough to break her right ankle, her right wrist and even worse, shatter her right heel. It was a serious injury that required surgery and a long time to mend.
Erin I’m sure knew there was risk involved in this but didn’t expect anything bad would happen to her. But in just a blink of an eye it did and the same can happen to all of us.
My ribs are still a little tender from a fall I took this summer while water skiing. I used to water ski all the time as a kid but haven’t done much of it for years. So when I had the opportunity to go this summer I did and was fine initially skimming across the water on two skis. But when I went to drop one ski as I always used to do I didn’t expect to lose my balance and fall. I smacked the water pretty hard on my one side and didn’t really think much of it. I tried it again and succeeded in slalom skiing, zipping back and forth across the wake in much the same way as I used to or at least it felt that way. But the next day my ribs were so sore it hurt to take a breath. Compared to my daughter my injury is insignificant but like her it happened in a second and it wasn’t expected.
Lorne Blagdon who talks about hiking the Appalachian Trail in his ‘Trail Magic’ series in this paper and on the ‘Doing Stuff Outdoors Podcast” told me about his hike this summer along the Continental Divide Trail in Wyoming. When they entered the park he said the rangers showed them a video warning about the dangers of bears. Lorne has encountered many bears in the woods and he knows from experience that most of the time they run away from us. He was stunned to hear from the ranger that grizzlies had mauled two people already this season right in the same area where they were hiking. On the trail he saw signs of bears everywhere. At one camp they were so concerned they made plans about what to do if one of them were to be attacked. They even bypassed part of the trail after being warned there were grizzlies ahead. They had a plan and bear spray and fortunately they didn’t need to use either. But the risk of a bear attack was very real. Lorne and his hiking companions chose to carry on and take precautions.
I know the older I get the more cautious I become. Even though I’m doing more backcountry skiing now than ever I try not to take chances. I ski under control and only as fast as I’m willing to fall given the conditions. I’m the same on the mountain bike and I’m running slower now than I used to but I think that’s just because of age. The point is I’m less willing to take risks now.
As outdoor enthusiasts we all have to know the level of risk we’re willing to take. Each of us has a comfort level and that’s where we should stay. Being careful doesn’t make you a wimp. If you’re comfort level is different from those in your group and it’s causing a problem then maybe it’s time to find another outdoors group with a similar appetite for risk. And remember that no matter how careful and prepared you are, accidents can still happen. That’s just part of life.
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Thanks for clicking and downloading this edition of Doing Stuff Outdoors. On this podcast we check in once again with artist, film maker and outdoor adventurer Cory Trepanier. He’s just completed a month long expedition on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. There he encountered icebergs, kilometer high fiords, glaciers, polar bears and the native people of the north. Cory is sharing this experience through his paintings, video journals and more. We caught up with him in Iqaluit just as he was preparing to return to the south.
As I continue training for my half marathon run we’ll talk again with marathoner, coach and running guru Alex Coffin. Today Alex talks about marathon tourism and tells us about some of his favorite marathons including Big Sur, California on the Pacific Coast and the Cabot Trail run on the Atlantic Coast.
Brent Kimber explains the concept behind his blog mygeosports.com. His idea of keeping it simple and just getting outside is in keeping with my philosophy about outdoor adventure and what Doing Stuff Outdoors is all about.
Podsafe music this week from AjT.
On next weeks show Alex Coffin will give me a few last minute pointers on running a half marathon and we’ll go shopping for a new pair of shoes. And I hope to have an interview with Andrew Spender from the UK about his long walk across part of England this summer.
If you have audio comments, suggestions or questions about the show call our new ‘Comments Line’ at 206-600-4557. I’d also love to hear about some of your outdoor adventures. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you haven’t done so already please subscribe through iTunes.
Have a good week,
(This summer the town where I live in New Brunswick opened a new waterfront facility designed to encourage tourism. There’s a brand new building complete with meeting rooms, washrooms and a full kitchen. It will be used for meetings and receptions and a place for people to go. It has a spectacular view down the St. John river. The grounds include pathways along the waters edge and there is also a new boat launch, floating wharf and plenty of parking. It’s an important step for a community that until now had no focal point on the water. This column was published in the local newspaper.)
The biggest outdoor event to happen in Grand Bay-Westfield in a long time occurred this summer with the opening of the new River Centre at Brundage Point. It’s a fabulous and welcome addition to the community. Although the St. John River flows right through our town, until now we didn’t have a focal point on the waterfront. The new building and beautifully landscaped grounds, the boat launch and floating docks now provide that focus. It’s an anchor for the entire community that ties us now more than ever to the river. Our connection with the river goes back to the days when native people fished these waters and mills dotted the shoreline. The river was a means of transportation and riverboats would steam past on their way up and down the St. John. And of course the community really took shape when people from the city of Saint John came by boat and train to spend their summers on the water.
The river has always been accessible but there has never been a central place to go. Now there is and it’s bound to have a positive impact. Most communities built on and around water have some kind of main access area. Sometimes it’s the town wharf or a public beach and park. We have plenty of beach front in Grand Bay-Westfield but most of it is privately owned. We’ve always had Westfield Beach and now the new facility beside it really makes it an attractive package. Many hope this will encourage the development of tourism in the area and I’m sure it will help. But more importantly, I think it’s a place for people who live and work here to use and enjoy. I hope we take advantage of it. I know I will. But then Westfield Beach has always been one of my favorite places to put in my kayak.
The town organized a weekend long celebration for the River Center, complete with canoe races, entertainment, a dance and fireworks. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend many of the opening events, although I’ve followed the progress of the centre all through the summer. I got my real first experience of the fully completed facility a week after the official opening. I drove to the ferry landing to launch my kayak and took time to check out the new building and grounds. I played the part of a tourist visiting the area for the first time. I tried to put myself in their shoes to get a sense of the kind of first impression the new centre will make.
The place looks really good. Sitting as it does overlooking the river, the building has that inviting feel to it saying to all, come in and see what I’m all about and what I have to offer. The interior looks as good as the outside. But it’s a little smaller inside than I expected. One of the students working at the centre told me he hears that from a lot of local people seeing the building for the first time. I think it should have been larger. While I was there the place wasn’t that busy but there appeared to be a fairly steady flow of traffic in and out of the building. There were a number of boat trailers in the parking lot so it’s obvious the boat launch was being well used. I met a couple of people there launching their home-made wooden sailboats and had a nice chat with them. I returned again the next day and there were even more people at the centre, including some kayakers. It’s obvious the place is already a hit.
Eventually it would be great to see the River Centre connected by a trail system along the water front. Extending the existing walking trail to the ferry would be a good start. From there the trail could continue on to the Nerepis River and along the old rail line all the way upriver. Opening up a trail network like that would really be good for business at the River Centre. Add to it some boat rentals and kayak or sailing lessons and maybe a larger vessel to take people for a cruise on the river and you have an attraction that will bring out local people and tourists alike. It becomes a meeting place and destination. It gives people, especially local residents a place to go. They can come by trail, either walking or biking or by car or boat. It’ll encourage people to get outdoors. And in my book that makes it a winner.
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On DSO-16 we meet a family who loves to sail. Rich and Pam Eyram and their children Mattias and Jenna spent two years living on their sailboat and cruising in the Caribbean Sea. Gary found them sailing into Parry Sound Harbour on Georgian Bay in Ontario. Hear about their adventures living on board and the excitement of life at sea.
Lorne Blagdon is back with the second part of his interview about hiking the Continental Divide Trail in Wyoming this summer. After he and his daughter finished mapping their section of the trail for Backpacker Magazine they did some exploring of their own. They ended up on a challenging mountain climb where Lorne’s backpack made it to the bottom before he did.
And Gary’s “Outdoors Ramble’ today is about the balance between taking risks and being careful in the outdoors.
Check out the blog at doingstuffoutdoors.com and email us at email@example.com.
If you’d like to leave an audio comment about anything you hear on the podcast please call our comments line at 206-600-4557