Bryony McCormick

 In Athletes, News, Newsletter, Running

“From a personal point of view, trail running has taught me so much about myself. From how far my body can go before it gives out, how strong my mind is to how beautiful this country is and what I can overcome if I really try. It’s empowered me, made me feel stronger, made me feel alive. Discovering like-minded women to trail run with has motivated me to push harder, explore wider and laugh louder.

I want so much to create a platform for other women to experience what I have, to experience the real-life, positive change that comes when you take up trail running. From being healthier, fitter, happier and mentally stronger to the the pure joy that 100% acceptance feels like when you find your tribe.” – Bryony McCormick 

How did you get into running?

I’ve run my whole life if some form or another, be it track, cross country, road or trail. My folks were runners and part of the local running club, which I’m pretty sure was more of a social club back then, and I spent my youth hanging off the back of bakkies, pouring coke into little cups for the club’s weekend long runs, or skottling from the sidelines of Comrades… I grew up surrounded by sugarcane, so my Dad and I were trail running long before it was a thing, but I guess I’ve taken it a bit more seriously in the last seven years since moving to Cape Town. Typically a creature of the ocean, I have found the cooler waters of the Cape slightly less inviting than those of Durban’s Indian bath tub ocean, so have had to switch up my playground.

Why Running – what is your obsession with the trails?

My real obsession is the outdoors and nature. Running trail is the most simple, raw and primal way to connect to that.

Favourite piece of gear?

My new headband. I’m committing to bringing headbands back. So far the uptake has been slow, but it’s early days. Regarding gear, it’s taken me seven years to find a pair of shoes that work with my ridiculous, ballet-ruined feet. I ran my last pair into the ground and shed a tear when it was time to retire them. And then obviously a good running pack is key for going the distance. I run in Salomon Sense Ride’s and use a Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra pack.

Why did you start Chicks who trail?

Running trail has really taught me about myself, my abilities, my strengths, my weaknesses, my relationships, my country… the list goes on. I’ve seen places and met people through trail that have fundamentally changed the way I approach life. I’ve been given such a beautiful perspective by simply spending time in mountains, and I guess there just came a point where I really needed to expose people to that and share it. I have also seen first hand the power of putting a lot of women together, the dynamics, the force and the energy, and knew that making it a women’s only community would only end up in great things. It’s been an utterly humbling experience, and I am inspired weekly by the women who rock up and run. They really are the essence of Chicks who Trail, I’m merely an admin on a Whatsapp group that tells them where to meet 😉

Your Chicks Who Trail motto is Trails, Truckers and Beer – can you tell us what that is about?

Trails, Truckers, Pizza and Beer was too long, haha. From the start I wanted to be clear about the group’s intentions, and make sure that it was a group any women felt like they could join without feeling intimidated. Trail running is majorly intimidating to people that haven’t tried it, so communicating that our group isn’t all about PB’s and that we don’t take ourselves too seriously was critical.

What inspires you?

Shit, most things do. I’m inspired by the outdoors and nature, that’s for sure. I can draw inspiration out of just about anything outdoors. I’m inspired by people who are brave. I’m inspired by people who give to charity without posting it on social media. I’m inspired by people who are kind to animals. I’m inspired by people who work tirelessly to initiate positive change, you know the ones that don’t make a bit deal about it, but just get on with it and do it. I’m inspired by my family, friends and partner. I’m very inspired by food, mostly when I am running and don’t feel like it. Then I think of the post run meal and I’m more inspired.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I read a great quote by Dave Grohl where he basically said guilty pleasures are a crock of shit. He was like, if you dig something, own it, and dig it with everything you’ve got! So on that note, and in the spirit of guilty pleasures, mine is Bold and the Beautiful – yup, SABC3, 17:30, weekdays. If I happen to be home at that time, which is seldom, I kick back with a glass of vino and catch up on the lives of the Forresters. The writing of that show is so bad it’s good. Kelly Lang is a legend. The one dude just blew up his own son in a demolition and he survived. It’s beautiful.  

What are your hobbies outside of your sport?

I am starting the journey of becoming a yoga teacher, which is very exciting, I did my training last year. I’ve been a veggie for about 15 years now, but have more recently been dabbling with way more plant-based stuff, so have really gotten into experimenting in the kitchen with cooking that kind of stuff. I love to read and am a very amateur gardener -still in the phase where I kill most things I plant but am very enthusiastic.

How do you think your friends would describe you?

Someone that can fall asleep in under 3 seconds in an Uber after three glasses of wine.

Any advice for the girls out there who want to start Trail Running?

Join our beginner’s group – they’re flipped legends and will get you on the trails safely! Not in Cape Town, find a safe trail and just do it. If you’re super new, why not start with some lukka hikes, get used to trails, mountains, etc.

For more info check out Chicks Who Trail

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