A review by the Cyborg
I strongly suspect that some 20-odd years ago a younger Huw Kingston looked out at the world of people taking up such fads as aerobics and Body Pump and thought to himself, “You know, there are a lot of masochists out there. Sure, they say it’s all about fitness, but that lycra is just cheaper leather. I reckon there’s money to be made in that...” So he set up Wild Horizons, a middle-class masochist club. Sure, it’s dressed up as an outdoor event organiser, but deep down inside, everyone who enters any of their events is there to suffer.
Just look at the courses they make for events such as the Highland Fling and Bundy Run. They’re not happy unless the elevation profile looks more like a pincushion than a smooth roller coaster. It’s almost as though they design their courses by pulling out a topographic map, and putting red pins in all of the highest points. They follow this by putting blue pins in all of the lowest points – particularly if they can find one with a creek crossing to ensure everyone gets wet. Then they string together these pins, and voilà – a course!
Their events have a certain character and, dare I say, aroma. They encourage getting out into the outdoors and being environmentally friendly – they give out twine instead of cable ties to affix your race plates, and don’t provide any disposable cups at their drink stations. But, most of all, you will recognise a Wild Horizons event by the smell. Some would call it country smell. I call it shit. Cow shit. Which is not to say their bullshitters, but should you hang around long enough, I’m sure you’ll hear a good yarn or two at the hub.
Of course, that just means that their events tend to be in more rural locations, which has numerous advantages - beyond just being able to get about and run, ride or just hang out in the bush. Even more impressive is the way they get local townships and services involved - Bundanoon in the Fling, Wingello in the Three Ring Circus, even Rydal for the Rock ’n’ Road. There’s something quite special about an event where you receive a hot feed from the local school tuck shop.
All of this makes for great events, and everyone involved, from the team at Wild Horizons to the volunteers on course, are fantastic characters. If you’re not at the pointy end, it’s well worth stopping every now and then to have a chat and just enjoy the atmosphere of one of their races. And, if you’re serious about suffering, well, they’re happy to provide that too.
You can always check them out for yourselves by visiting their website: www.wildhorizons.com.au.