Uphill Battle: Part of deal
Mum and reporter JO McKENZIE-McLEAN is taking on one of the biggest challenges of her life training for the Northburn Station 50km mountain run in March next year. She reports on her progress.
Rabbits. Those cute little pests are a pain to landowners - and runners.
I went off-road training last week with Terry Davis, who had found a particularly nasty little hill while clearing wilding pines on the Kawarau Trail, at Bannockburn.
In blizzard conditions, I pulled my hood tight around my head wishing all this wild winter weather would be gone and stood gaping as Terry picked up a tree trunk, threw it down a rocky hill and told me to ''go fetch''.
The slope was steep - well so I thought - and my feet skidded on the stones and rocks.
''You are a townie,'' he taunted, after telling me off for calling the ''rocks'' rocks.
They are ''gold mining tailings'' he told me. We were running in an historic area of Central Otago and the track shows off some of the most impressive examples of herring-bone tailing left in the country.
After the short history lesson he ordered me back up the slope carrying a heavy log above my head, then down for 20 squats.
Peering over a much steeper slope with the Kawarau River lapping at the bottom of it I said ''no way'' before he could even get the order out.
''Are you trying to kill me?'' I asked. ''You might slip, but you won't die,'' he replied.
Nope, no way, no how. I wasn't doing it. So compromising, we went back down the medium-slope, weaving our way around to the bottom of the steep climb. I stumbled up the hill, forgetting the pain in my legs because I was terrified of not only tripping on a rock (or tailing - I can't really tell the difference) or even more likely, breaking my ankle in a rabbit hole. There were holes everywhere. I'm not sure what size rabbits breed in Central Otago but the holes were huge.
As I clambered clumsily to the top of the hill, Terry bellowed from below to strike my best Rocky pose. Rocky? I screamed back ... I felt more like Alice in Wonderland about to fall head-first into one of those holes.
The Southland Times