Trail running is not only a great way to see New Zealand’s outdoors, it is an enjoyable activity that demands physical performance, mental agility, fortitude and perseverance. It is also a pursuit that frequently exposes runners to risk. While the risks are inherent in trail running, they can easily be reduced through careful planning and good decision making.
Watch and learn what to pack for a trail run
Choose your track
Tracks here can differ dramatically and will require different levels of fitness, equipment and planning. It's important to recognise that the perceived risk of a day walk can be very low, where as the potential risk can be surprisingly high.
Consider your ability, skills and fitness
Think about how long it will take you
How will you get there?
How will help find you if something goes wrong? Will there be cellphone signal?
What is the terrain like? Will there be rivers/bridges? Will the terrain be slippery/steep?
You can find out more about how to choose a track on our Trip Planning Section of our website. Excellent sources for local track information are DOC Visitor Centres and I-sites.
Prepare for your run
Your feet can take you out of civilisation, but it will be your planning and stamina that will get you home safe. Take steps to prevent an injury or getting lost in New Zealand's outdoors.
Get yourself ready
Start small - if you are new to the sport, it pays to do short routes nearby with easier terrain and build up the strength and stamina required for a bigger trip
Get advice - talk to others with more experience or consider coaching to develop a running style and posture
Run with others - you can learn from each other and be there if something went wrong. A solo trip is a massive undertaking
Warm up - help get your body to get ready to the challenge ahead