Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 168 May 2024 | Page 47

( MIS ) ADVENTURES trail ( mis ) adventures by CARLA LEA FARINA


( MIS ) ADVENTURES trail ( mis ) adventures by CARLA LEA FARINA

After Comrades 2023 , I retired from running road races . OK , so I just think it sounds cool to say I retired … but anyway , the point is that I am still more than happy to go and run 100 miles out on the trails any time , but road ultras are not on my radar for now . However , one really great thing to come out of my Comrades adventure was that I joined the Pirates running club in Joburg , as they seemed to be a vibey club with a lot going on , and had all the ‘ gees ’ at Comrades , but what I didn ’ t know at the time was that their trail section is unrivalled .

I have loved being a part of a group and community that is up for all the crazy adventures that I am up for , a community that will have my back when I am lost in the deepest , darkest neck of the woods , and a community that really knows how to have an epic time on all these adventures . This club is none other than the Scurvy Sea Dogs , which is the trail section of Pirates , and they are there , front and centre , for any and all epic trail adventures .
Carla in the lead , what could go wrong ?

Lost & Found Pirates

The golden rule of trail running ( with me ) is very simple : Do not , under any circumstances , no matter what , follow me . Trust me , it simply won ’ t end well , as some of the Scurvy Sea Dogs recently found out !
A Scurvy Sea Dogs Selfie
Navigationally Challenged
Now , when you join a running club , you tend to forget that your new clubmates don ’ t know about your running track record , or your propensity for getting lost . Well , some of my still new trail crew learned the above lesson the hard way recently , when I set out with some fellow Pirates for a lovely run out at Taroko Trails . Somehow , I managed to take the wrong path ( if you could call it that ) at least four or five times in a single run . And yet again , I have made a name for myself as the one who is most likely to find myself in some sort of trouble !
Find a Crew , Sail the Trails
Over the last year or so , I have done a few races with Scurvy Sea Dogs team leader Don , who is a brilliant trail runner – he is one of just three contestants to conquer The Beast event that I spoke about in my previous column . We were talking about the future of trail running , and the pro ’ s of having such an amazing group , and I actually wanted to do a full interview with him , but he apparently developed stage fright and just left us with the following advice : “ Not many things are better than a morning trail run , a coffee and a few laughs .”
It sounds so simple , but it ’ s true , and that is exactly what the Scurvy Sea Dogs crew has to offer . The moral of the story here is find people who share your passion for crazy adventures , find people who embrace it , because those are your people . Those are the people you want by your side during your ( mis ) adventures .
Oh , and also , when we ’ re out on the trails , please , please , please , don ’ t follow me ! ( On the other hand , I am heading back to Pondo in a month , so follow me figuratively , to watch the next adventure !)
Images : Courtesy Carla Farina
Taroko is a beautiful , stunning place to run . It offers relatively flat routes , with little to no places to have any sort of ( mis ) adventures – although that didn ’ t stop me ! However , what was cool is that I found a genuine Easter Egg on route . I am not sure how long it had been there , as it really wasn ’ t too delicious when I taste-tested it , but maybe that is part of the misadventure . Anyway , back to the topic , when you get a chance , it ’ s a nice venue for a faster trail run , with the bonus of bird hides , well maintained paths and if you are really lucky , dodgy easter eggs …
OK , so that isn ’ t the point of my story . Yes , I got lost . Yes , I tripped and fell . Yes , I got laughed at . So , nothing new , really … and no , that ’ s still not the point of this column . My actual message is this : Finding a community that not only welcomes you , but embraces you , in all your unique quirks and qualities , is most definitely a community that you want to be a part of .
Carla and fellow Pirates crew members
About the Author
While Carla ’ s ‘ day job ’ is Head Tennis Coach and Director of Tennis at Game Set Match Tennis in Johannesburg , her second love is trail running , which she tackles with an unquenchable thirst for adventure , a never-saydie attitude , and a healthy sense of humour about all the misadventures that befall her on the trails !