Series Ambassadors

TRAIL RUNNING SERIES AMBASSADORS

We are very excited to appoint Mark Barger and Renee Drysdale as the Trail Running Series presented by The North Face ambassadors!

Mark and Renee are absolutely hooked on trail running - their enthusiasm infectious and running journeys both inspiring, and ongoing… They’re no strangers to The Trail Running Series – for Mark that is where his trail running journey officially began!
Our new ambassadors are looking forward to sharing their running journeys with you as they prepare for the Trail Running Series 2018 – so get ready for a range of training blogs, race previews, race day reports and of course lots of awesome photos!
Read on to find out what drives our ambassadors, and what they are looking forward to about the 2018 Series.


“Setting increasingly difficult goals, putting in the work, achieving and celebrating them have given me so much focus and a motivation to look after myself. Mentally, the journey you go on over a trail race has built a lot of strength for me and has been a good lesson in perseverance and adaptation.” Mark Barger, Trail Running Series 2018 ambassador.

“I love the trails because of the freedom, the fresh air the scenery, but I love that I can keep my mind active on the technical ground and switchbacks, I love that I can talk myself through a tough climb and feel a huge achievement when I hit the top. You just don’t get any of that when your pounding the pavement, your mind wanders to places where it only goes when your board and your body hurts from the impact.” Renee Drysdale, Trail Running Series 2018 ambassador


FIVE MINUTES WITH MARK BARGER

Mark Barger

Name: Mark Barger
DOB: 10/08/85
Lives: Brunswick East
Sporting Background: Absolutely nothing before I took this up
Distances: I’ve run everything up to 100km so far. My preference is 15km+
Years running/trail running: I started in the first half of 2015 with a Couch 2 5k program. 2016 I did mostly road up to half marathon and started discovering trails. 2017 I did my first trail mara, road mara and ultra. I’m 10 races in this year with half of them ultras.
Upcoming events: Maroondah Dam 30k, Wings for Life, UTA, and Trail Series are all registered for. I try to be at an event most weekends.
Motto: I don’t have one. My coach says ‘fortune favours the brave’ is my approach. I think I have poor impulse control. I try to remind myself of the statement ‘relentless forward progress’ when I’m struggling.
Social media: Instagram -  @markba / Facebook - @mark.barger / Strava - mark_barger

Mark Barger

How did you first get into trail running and racing?
My training buddies spotted some people running through the bush near the Yarra one day. After a bit of investigation, they found The Trail Running Series. We did a couple of the short course events that year, and the next year I did the 5 long course events and started to get to know the community.

What is it about this sport that got you hooked?

It’s accessible to so many people and welcoming while being incredibly honest and humbling. You can’t fake running 15km’s of single track. You have to work for it, but it’s within reach. I also love the gear - headlamps, watches, shoes as well as the science and psychology of endurance becoming a new interest for me.

What are your running goals?

I have some outlandish goals given my lack of experience and talent! Fastest Known Times and stage racing seem really exciting and adventurous to me. More tangibly, this year I want to Everest a hill on foot, hit a sub 20 5k, sub 4 marathon and sub 19 at UTA which will allow me to start entering the ballot for Western States.

What are you looking forward to about The Trail Running Series presented by The North Face?

My favourite race is always the night race and party that follows it. I love the weekend away around Race 4 in Anglesea with mates all taking on big challenges. I’m keen to see all my friends out on these trails and better my times from the series last year. I’ll be having a crack at the Concrete Shoe trophy by taking on Surf Coast Century the day before Race 4.

Mark Barger

Why would you recommend others give trail running and trail running events a go?
The community is so inclusive. I started at nearly 30 years old and still sit in the bottom third of the pack as far as pace but even I can have opportunities like this. Outside of event day, the friendships I’ve built during long runs, wintery laps of a park or being lost on a trail are second to none. Without even focusing on it as such, I’ve become a lot less prone to injury and am far healthier.

What makes you want to share your running journey to inspire others?

Setting increasingly difficult goals, putting in the work, achieving and celebrating them have given me so much focus and a motivation to look after myself. It’s given me a measurable reason to make better choices – whether that’s about food or getting some more rest. Mentally, the journey you go on over a trail race has built a lot of strength for me and has been a good lesson in perseverance and adaptation. I feel like I’m better in so much more of my usual day to day, just by doing something that’s hugely fun with great people.

Mark's Ambassador Tips:


Five minutes with RENEE DRYSDALE

Renee Drysdale

Name: Renee Drysdale
Nickname: Ren, Nay, Dee Dee, most people call me Renee
DOB: 16/11/1985
Lives: Ruffy - “WHERE??” I hear you all say, either that or “Oh I know someone from Ruffy”
Sporting Background: In the last 2 years I have been trail runner, family fun runner, track and field athlete and little athletics coach, adventure racer, mud/obstacle racer.
Distances: shortest run 2km fun run with my kids, longest/highest run/hike Mt Bogong Conquestathon (20Km almost 2000m elevation) also a 22km Spartan Beast at Bright, I occasionally enjoy a short fast 5km and now there is a parkrun close to me so I enjoy them more often, but majority of races and training are 8-15km
Years running/trail running: 2 years of passion for running and trail running, training for a fitter stronger faster me, competing 90% trail, 5% track and field and 5% mud runs/ obstacle runs, between kids I ran a little bit, but not enough to write about, and at school competed in both athletics and cross country at inter school and state levels (some years)
Upcoming events: Bright Fun Run, Benalla Pentathlon (need to break up the run run with some fun fun), The Trail Series and Wonderland Run, obviously most events pick up over the warmer months, I try to only have one or two races/events per month to save on family weekend impact,
Motto: “you gotta be in it to win it” (this is my response if I come home with a medal and people say to me, so how many were in your race anyway?), and “better than yesterday” (this is more of a personal thing when it comes to trying to beat and better myself, however I know I have to plateau at some point)
Social media: Instagram -  @reneesharingtherunlove 

Renee Drysdale

How did you first get into trail running and racing?
I used to be an event photographer for races and other events, I worked at Mt Buller Sky Run one year and the sense of achievement and passion in those runners is what sent me to my first ever trail race, I then shot at a few more races like Falls Creek Alpine Challenge and Big Foot Snow Run, less interested to attempt these mammoth races, I was still mesmerised by the emotion at the finish line, the strength and endurance these runners went through to be where they were, and what goals they were striving to achieve. (trail runners do love to talk and share)

What is it about this sport that got you hooked?

That sense of achievement when you finish or conquer the mountain, and that unexplainable runners high even after a 3km interval training run.

What are your running goals?

To beat my own PB’s for each race, a bad habit of mine is to repeat a race until I achieve a PB before moving on or attempting the next level/distance. I also enjoy a run where I didn’t struggle, I just had the strength and ability to get where I wanted to be without gasping for air or crippling in pain, so my goal when it comes to that is to be prepared, and have trained properly. (I have had a few races which were harder than they should have been, I was underprepared or not in the right head space.)

Renee Drysdale

What are you looking forward to about The Trail Running Series presented by The North Face?
The next distance (2018 will me the medium course, the green runs), the last two years I’ve done the short course, seeing where my body is at and if I have done enough to get me through, and it goes without saying sharing the run love.

Why would you recommend others give trail running and trail running events a go?

There is so much to trail running, you’re in a mix of navigating a technical track or admiring the scenery, there is no time to get lost in how tired your body is feeling.

What makes you want to share your running journey to inspire others?

I love seeing people doing better because of a tip or small piece of advice I have given (I notice this more so in coaching my children and coaching at little athletics) but I have had some great inspirational people share their knowledge with me, and I want to share what I know with others.

Renee's Ambassador Update and Tips:
Cool weather running Training update and Ambassador Tips
Training and Tips for Race 1 - 17th June
Race 1 Race Report
Training, Tip and Well Wishes for Race 2 - 15th July
Race 2 Race Report
Race 3 Race Report
Race 5 Race Report

Stay tuned here and over on the Trail Running Series Facebook Page for Mark and Renee’s training blogs, race previews, race day reports and more!

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