07.07.2023 | Trails, TEDx and Chats

Jul 07, 2023 5:32 am

We protect what we love


FRIDAY 07.07.2023.

Good morning friends, and welcome to the first newsletter of July.

We've had a busy week adventuring here at FWP headquarters. Hilary made the 10.5-hour journey from Aireys Inlet to Katoomba, where she presented at TEDx Katoomba, and has now joined Lauren in the Pilliga. Tim has been exploring trails of the Illawarra escarpment on fresh, yet sunny, winter mornings, and I caught a train from Central to Katoomba to hang with Hilary. We were a little bit distracted on Sunday when exploring local trails of Blue Mountains National Park, as we were checking Strava updates of the Gold Coast Marathon ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ


Lauren enjoying the spectacular views of the Pilliga from Maria's Lookout

FWP camp attendee, Bridget, competed in the Gold Coast Marathon last Sunday, beating her expected time of 3:20 by 14 minutes, finishing in 3:06:14. She also placed first in the Uni Sport National Championships and set 10km and half marathon PBs. In her own words "Can't wait to compete again next year and get under 3 hours", and we have no doubt she will achieve this! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

This week's newsletter

In this week's newsletter, I'm providing an overview of my time with Hilary in the Blue Mountains, and Hilary is answering some questions about her recent talk at TEDx Katoomba.

We hope you enjoy the read and are inspired to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors this weekend โœŒ๐Ÿฝ


Exploring dharug and Gundungurra country


A pre-trail selfie, taken at Narrow Neck Plateau Lookout, Dharug/Gundungurra country.

After a 2-hour train journey (where I attempted to start writing a PhD proposal), I arrived in the brisk air of Katoomba. Hilary booked an AirBnB not too far from the station, and I was stoked to spend some quality time with a fellow FWP member. We spent Sunday night at the Blue Mountains Craft Brewery, enjoying some local IPA (for Hilary) and cider (for me). We enjoyed a delicious homemade Thai Green Curry for dinner, before continuing our Harry Potter marathon, which we started in early June in Melbourne pre CAMP FWP!


Hilary practicing running with poles (I had a go, but am quite uncoordinated so managed to trip several times in the 30m I used them).

On Sunday we explored Narrow Neck Plateau, which is not only my favourite trail in the Blue Mountains but also happens to be part of the UTA100 course. It's the trail that I recommend to anyone who wants advice on where to go in the Blue Mountains because it offers awe-inspiring 360-degree views as far as the eye can see. In fact, at its narrowest point, the cliffs fall away on either side of the trail, with the Jamison Valley on one side and Megalong Valley on the other - youโ€™ll feel on top of the world.  It's also nestled just far enough away from the town centre (5kms from the station), so it isn't a tourist destination, yet enough people still traverse the trail so you're safe if something happens (e.g. twisted ankle).


360 degree views along the Narrow Neck plateau.

Fuelled by nature's goodness (bananas) and Trail Brew, Hilary and I only covered part of the trail, as we're both returning from injury and didn't want to push it. In total, the trail stretches for 12.5 km and during spring, is lined with flannel flowers and banksias.

Next time you're on Dharug and Gundungurra country, I highly recommend paying this trail a visit.



Hilary on stage, talking about 'running for purpose'

We recently asked you all via social media to ask Hilary any questions about her recent TEDx experience. You all came through with the goods, and Hilary is here to answer your questions, so maybe you can think more about the TED talk brewing inside of you, and take up the opportunity to share something you are passionate about with the world.

What was the selection process to give a TED talk?

As always, the world works in mysterious ways! FWP Board member Lauren has recently been doing an online coaching course, and a lovely chap and Katoomba local, Niall Clerkin, was one of her peers. Niall, being the curious creature he is, checked out Lauren's LinkedIn and saw she was a Board Director at FWP. He then reached out to Lauren, wanting to know more, and suggested the work we are doing at FWP could be appropriate for his new TEDx event in Katoomba. Lauren reached out to me, and I reached out to Niall, and before too long, I was writing an outline of a TED talk I could give about the purpose and impact of For Wild Places. I was amongst 90 people who pitched to be part of TEDxKatoomba, and 16 would be selected to present. With Niall's guidance, I was able to submit an outline that had legs (pardon the pun) and I was very excited, and nervous, to start the writing process! I had about 3 months until the big day...

What support did they give you to give your talk?

In the months leading up to TEDxKatoomba, I met with Niall online for 1-hour Zoom meetings, during which I'd present what I had so far, and we'd further discuss and unpack the ideas and direction the talk was taking. My first drafts were too political and specific - A good TED talk appeals to a broad audience, and rather than answer questions, it opens up new ways of thinking. So the brief was unlike your usual speech or pitch, and my speech went through many iterations. The talk needs to be between 8 and 18 minutes, and I found it easier to write more and then cut, edit and trim until it was tight, to the point and around 15 minutes. Niall and I met about 6 times, and once I had the talk nailed, it was up to me to remember it by heart!

How was the presenting experience?

Thankfully, I have some experience talking in front of crowds, which thankfully over time becomes less daunting. So I wasn't nervous about the crowd, but I was worried I'd go blank, and not be able to remember my presentation! We had time to practise on stage on Thursday afternoon, and I had slides with images, and a few prompt words to help me remember the order of my paragraphs. This practice didn't go well at all - I blanked, made a lot of it up as I went and didn't feel confident at all. Thankfully I was able to adjust my slides, and add some additional prompts and for the 12hrs before presenting, I listened to nothing but Taylor Swift and a voice note of my talk on repeat! I was second last on the program at 4.30 pm, so spent the day trying to relax, practise in full a few times, and walk around Katoomba muttering under my breath as I listened to my talk. I would have loved to have watched the other presenters, but my brain was unable to retain any new information until my turn was over!

As for the actual talk, I honestly don't remember it at all. I remember feeling relaxed and in control, but I can't remember any specific moments, and am honestly worried I missed sections, as it felt like it was over in 30 seconds! I'm keen to see the video so I can how I actually went ๐Ÿ˜ณ

What do you hope will come out of giving a TEDx talk about

For Wild Places?

TED has a great reputation globally, so I'm hoping that having done a TEDx talk about For Wild Places, it will give us some extra credibility with not only individuals but companies more broadly, which could help in securing additional support and sponsorship. A lack of resources is what is holding us back most at FWP, so any additional support this opportunity could bring would be fantastic. We hope it raises the profile of For Wild Places, and more people find out about our initiatives, events and campaigns by watching online. We really hope the people that are passionate about sports activism share the clip, so more people can join our movement.

When can we watch the video?

Good question! Being TED, it goes through a strict approval process, and I'm hoping to see a first draft in the next week or so. All going well, it will be available on the TED YouTube channel in a few weeks. We will be sure to share the video with you once it's live!

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Youtube to stay up to date!


The best Backyard Ultramarathon runner in Australia


Next Thursday, FWP will hear from the GOAT of the Backyard Ultra, Phil Gore โ€” and heโ€™s got a world record to prove it!

Phil will be speaking with us at next weekโ€™s trail chat and sharing tales of his adventures from 5ks to ultras, with a healthy dose of trail love to boot.

RSVP here and weโ€™ll see you on Thursday 13th of July at 12pm AEST!

๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ


In next week's newsletter, we'll provide you with a summary of our chat with Phil Gore, as well as introduce you to our next Trail Chat guest (who needs no introduction ๐Ÿ˜‰) and give you an important update on the Pilliga Ultra.

And as always, thank you for taking the time, for wild places.

Elanor (she/her) & the For Wild Places team




13/07 Trail chat #15 | Sign Up

05/11 East Gippsland Ultra | Pre-Register

We acknowledge the the First Nations people who have been custodians of land, waters and culture for tens of thousands of years. We pay respects to First Nations Elders past, present and emerging.

This email was written on Gadigal land of the Eora nation. To these people, we pay our respects.

Always was, always will be.