Runner’s Ramblings:Trails, Snakes and old Mates

By: Mizuno Race Team Member, Mike Aish


Have you ever heard a grown man scream like a little girl?


Before I start, please note that all names and locations have been removed in order to protect those involved.


The other day in an effort to enjoy a few of our warmer days between snow storms, I decided to get a little adventurous and explore a new trail head I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. Crazy thing is it might be three miles from my house and after over 10 years of running in the area, I have still never made it over there.


Anyway…. So I convinced a mate of mine to come along with a pretty good speech about how much fun we will have and how if he wanted to be a good runner, he was going to have to push himself (all the same lies I use on myself and the athletes around me). The plan was to run from the house, which he wasn’t so happy about, and then see how far we got into the unexplored wild badlands of Golden, CO.


The first three miles were uneventful, but that’s where the new trail we were on disappeared and the bush whacking/hiking started. Let’s just say my mate wasn’t so happy about this, which lead to me telling him more lies about how great this was and how he should see the view up here. The facts were that we were inching our way up the side of a cliff and from what I could see at the time, things were only going to get worst.


When we got to what looked like the last little part of the climb, I was quickly informed that this was ridiculous and that there was no way in hell we were going to make it up that 50ft vertical rock face. “What the hell are you thinking,” he asked me to which more lies came out of my mouth, “It’s not that bad, I think it gets easier over there”. It didn’t.


After a few minutes of following the base of the rock face around, I did the only smart thing- I started climbing. Now I don’t want to be mean, but I think it’s fair to say that I might be a better rock climber than my mate is, so once I got to a place where I could see more of what was below us I started directing him to what looked like the safest route, and that’s when it happened.


I’m standing high up on a rock looking down and I heard this blood curdling scream, like the noise that a someone makes when they feel their life is threatened. Then I hear what could have been mistaken for a young girl scream out “Snake, Snake”. I have to admit that I was starting to laugh a little by now and was less worried about the snake than the idea of my friend crapping himself and me having to run back home to get him a fresh set of pants.


Let’s just say that after my friends’ close encounter with this man eating reptile improved his climbing skills to no end and as the adrenaline started to wear off and the truth came out, I found out that the snake might not have been much larger than 6 inchs long but was also informed, “That it was a rattler and that the small ones are the most dangerous”. “I guess we are lucky you’re still alive,” I said.


We made it to the top of the rock and which made all the goofing around worth it. After a quick break and a few more comments from my mate about how he was lucky to be alive and it was touch and go. As you can guess, we decided to take a slightly better marked trail back to the road before heading home.


All in all it was a good day out. No causalities and a little bit of fun.



aish hsMichael Aish is a former New Zealand Olympian, 2000-10,000/2004-5,000m, and current ultra marathoner for the Mizuno Race Team.  With PR’s of 13:22 for 5K and 27:46 for 10K, Michael has been tearing up the ultra scene for the last four years, with his most notable performance being a 2nd place finish in the 2014 Leadville 100.