Starting to run has changed Shaun Reid’s life and taught him what he’s capable of, writes Stephen Smith.
At one stage during the night, Shaun Reid was wondering if his next step would be his last. It may sound dramatic, but running for 100 miles (160km) pushes your body and your mind to the limits. “I just fell apart in my first 100 miler. I didn’t get my nutrition right, and with 30km to go every step I took I was wondering if I was going to die. Then I lay down in the forest and my seconder couldn’t get me up again. It took an emotional call to my wife to get me moving again.”
So how does someone find themselves in that position, flat on their back in a forest with 130km under your belt and still another 30km to go?
“You start by running 5km, 10km, and then you start wondering just how far you could go. It’s a terrible question to ask,” Shaun laughs. For Shaun it led to four Comrades Marathons and the Karkloof 100, as well as a changed life.
“100 miles is not about where you finish, but just about finishing. It rips down to the core of who you are and what you are capable of. Life is very simple when you’re running 100 miles: you put one foot in front of the other, and you either carry on or you don’t. You learn that you CAN take that next step and the next one, and you realise that you are capable of so much more than you thought you were. It really is a life-changing experience on a massive level: it makes you walk back into life knowing how we underestimate our ability due to fear of failure or fear of how big something is. Training for 100 miles teaches you the importance of the routine, of doing something small every day that will allow you to do something massive. I wasn’t a runner but I became a runner through daily discipline, and with that you start to wonder what else you could achieve by embracing daily discipline.”
And for Shaun, trail running really has changed his life. While he has been in marketing for years and still runs his own marketing company, becoming part of the trail-running world led to The Trail Shed, a business that he and partner Andrew Booth own and run (excuse the pun!). “The Trail Shed specialises in everything you need for ultra-running, from shoes to nutrition and everything else, and we can give you advice because we live the lifestyle ourselves.” The physical shop is based at Talloula in Botha’s Hill, where Shaun is also involved in the running of weddings at the venue, and there is also an active online shop.
Shaun, who was born in KZN and has lived here his entire life, has always sought out adventure. “I’m a bit of an adventure freak – spear fishing, kayak fishing, trail running… I love running in the Karkloof and in the Berg – we are so lucky to have such great places to run so close to us.”
And if you dream of finding yourself in a dark place on a trail one day, wondering if you’ve got what it takes? Shaun recommends joining a local club and starting with short, organised trail runs. “In our area we’ve got Beloved Long Runs, Giba Gabblers, Westville trails. There are a lot of people who do trail runs and a lot of their weekly runs are quite short. So just do it!” *
FOR MORE INFO: www.trailshed.co.za