Jayden Ordner | Adventure Enthusiast
Remember being on the playground as a kid? I think of the ones that felt almost like obstacle courses, requiring your balance, concentration and what felt like endless ducking, weaving and climbing to reach the end. Remember the feeling of being free to nervously and excitedly approach these challenges? I didn’t know it then but I was at play – a state that we almost all lose touch with as we grow up.
Before I started running in late 2017, I was a hiker – an obsession I found through travelling to some 26 different countries during my early twenties. I’ve been lucky enough to walk from Ollaytaytambo to Machu Picchu in Peru, ascend Everest Base Camp in Nepal, scramble up the insane Pedra De Gavea in Rio De Janeiro, and climb Åreskutan in Central Sweden.
I brought this love for exploring incredible natural landscapes back home and began to tackle the most beautiful, and often the most challenging, trails and hikes across Victoria. I became addicted to steep hills, exposed edges and rocky ridges. I discovered that scrambling up mountain tops in the Grampians and bending, stretching and reaching towards a summit at the Cathedral Ranges felt the way it did to play on that playground as a kid – total freedom.
I was still yet to find running though. Why? I’d grown up training in elite TAC Cup AFL teams. From ages 14-17 I trained like an athlete. I could run fast, rack up possessions, and score with game-long endurance. I’d been running around a football field since I was 5. However, when I was 18, I fell out of love with football and gave it up. I wouldn’t run again until I was 24.
In 2018, running became something my friends wouldn’t stop talking about. All I heard was talk of running shoes, running events and parkrun – as though running was...fun?! Fast forward two years after first joining them for a jog and I’ve ran my first marathon, and now I talk about running shoes, events and parkrun. I had become a runner!
I quickly realised that trail running was where I felt truly happy. My love of hiking met my enjoyment of running and it became a lusty love affair. The jumping, ducking, weaving and climbing that trail running calls for connects me to nature and reminds me of that sense of play. I feel the most human I ever do running down single-track trails amidst the mountains, carrying only the supplies I need to survive tucked away in a small trail vest. I found an enjoyment in running that I simply won’t give up, and a group of friends who share the passion for relentless adventure on the trails.
I have now run in races such as the Wonderland Run in the Grampians, the Rollercoaster Run through Mt Dandenong, and the Mount Macedon Trail Series. My holidays have been to places where I could run epic trails to see incredible views, including circling Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, trudging Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park, and most recently three weeks in New Zealand chasing elevation in Mount Cook, Wanaka and Queenstown.
Now all of a sudden “2020: Year of the Ultra” has a magical ring to it, and I hope to complete my first ultramarathon. My year ahead looks abundantly full of wholefoods plant-based nutrition, pursuing my study of dietetics, and plenty of trail running! I plan to run my events promoting the not-for-profit charity Switch4Good and sharing as much of my adventures to Instagram and the running community in Australia!
You can follow Jayden's adventures on Instagram HERE