Humans are into some strange things. Extreme ironing, scrapbooking, My Little Ponies, and slightly masochistic long-distance running, to name but a few. And now New Zealand’s trail runners have their own dedicated publication with the launch of NZ Trail Runner.
Published by Lifestyle Publishing, which won best magazine in the sport and leisure category at the Magazine Awards this year for Wilderness magazine,the new quarterly title is a natural extension of its knowledge of outdoor recreation and its community.
So does New Zealand need a trail running magazine? Quite possibly. Lifestyle conducted a survey of the trail running community and 95 percent of the 700 respondents said they wanted to read about trail running in New Zealand. Added to that, trail running is experiencing unprecedented growth (there has been a 107 percent increase in trail running events held in New Zealand since 2005, when just 52 events were recorded; the average number of entrants at major trail running events in 2012 was 900-1300, more than double the number of 2009 when it was 300-400; and the total number of starters expected at the Xterra Series of trail runs in 2012 is 6,000).
Lifestyle is hoping runners will be seen as fairly attractive targets for advertisers. The survey showed 88 percent wanted to learn more about trail running products through gear reviews and buyer’s guides; 20 percent earn between $50,000-75,000, 16 percent earn between $75,000-$100,000 and 49 percent earn more than $100,000 a year; and they also go through the gear, with 47 percent of trail runners replacing their running shoes at least once a year, 20 percent replacing their shoes twice a year and a hardcore nine percent replacing their shoes more than three times each year.
NZ Trail Runner editor Mark Banham says the magazine will be packed with “all the dirt that’s fit to print” and is intended to be a source of inspiration, not just information.
“I really think the world would be a better place if more people got out on a trail and splashed through the puddles like ten-year-olds,” he says. “We’d be a healthier, happier, saner bunch of people, albeit perhaps a little muddier. So the magazine exists to make that happen; to give readers the tools to go further and faster but most importantly to get them fired up to get out onto the trail.”
The inaugural summer 2012 edition is available as a free download from www.zinio.com and an abridged version is wrapped with the December issue of Wilderness, with the launch edition featuring interviews with elite runners including Lisa Tamati and Richard Bowles (who's currently running the length of New Zealand), as well as articles on the Coast to Coast mountain run, racing the Hillary Trail, biomechanics for runners and more (at this stage there's no online presence for the magazine, but it is looking into its options).
Production for the autumn issue is already underway, with the finished magazine expected to hit newsstands at the beginning of March, 2013. Non-pavement pounders can subscribe here.