For Wild Places
Words: Simon Harris
Image 1 & 2: FWP Crew scouting Pilliga Ultra trails
Image 3: Tim Cooper
Hi, I’m Simon, a proud trail runner and member of For Wild Places, a group that empowers runners to embrace sports activism as a way to celebrate and protect our wild places.
It all started, three years ago after I watched a documentary that changed my life. Patagonia’s ‘takayna’ documentary - a video that documents the destruction of the beautiful Tarkine forest in North West Tasmania told through the eyes of a trail runner.
The film affected me so much that the next day, I called the Bob Brown Foundation, the organisation working tirelessly to protect Tasmania’s Tarkine region against logging, and pitched an idea: a trail run through the Tarkine to raise money and awareness, and save the forest.
Luckily, a guy called Lincoln, approached the Foundation at the same time with the same idea. Lucky because I really had no idea how I was going to create a new trail event through a wild forest (and Lincoln did)!
Takayna Trail, now in its fourth year, has taught me so much and I’ve experienced first hand the power and motivation that trail runners have when they unite to protect the environment.
Trail runners are natural allies of the environment and I feel so lucky and excited to harness this.
This experience led me to co-create ‘For Wild Places‘ – a community of trail runners dedicated to protecting the places of environmental significance. We’re doing this through unique wild events such as camps, workshops, and trail races.
Part of why we started For Wild Places is that we believe people protect what they understand and know. Trail runners understand more than most the beauty and majesty of nature because we choose to spend our leisure time surrounded by it.
Our next major event we’re working on is the Pilliga Ultra, an event to raise awareness and funds to protect the beautiful Pilliga Forest, North West NSW from coal seam gas mining.
I was lucky enough to visit the Pilliga Forest in North West NSW earlier in the year where a few of us were scouting the area to find trails for The Pilliga Ultra, an event to support The Wilderness Society’s campaign to protect the Pilliga Forest and its communities from damaging fossil fuel extraction.
We had an absolute ball running over breathtaking rocky outcrops whilst taking in the stunning views, and rare eucalypt woodlands.
We found two beautiful routes, 20km and 50km long. They’re both super technical yet diverse – trust me, I have the cuts and bruises to prove it!
The best part of the trip was getting to meet some of the community members affected by the potential coal seam gas plants.
I gained such a deep understanding of how we as trail runners can make a huge difference to a local community and a magical forest.
The next event on the calendar is the Pilliga Ultra, which will be held in northwest New South Wales’ Pilliga forest on 26 March 2022.
If you want to find to more about For Wild Places please get in touch with Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find them here: