Alpine Observer - - News - Matt Cooper

What do you do?

I’m a lead­ing fire­fighter with Fire and Res­cue NSW based at Al­bury. I also coach ath­letes in mind­set spe­cific fields of their sport.

Have you al­ways done those things?

I’ve been with FRNSW for 15 years and a per­for­mance coach 10 years. Pre­vi­ous to this I was a con­creter.

How long have you lived in the area?

I’ve lived in Wandi for four years now and won’t be mov­ing any­time soon.

Your also a trail run­ner, Is that some­thing you’ve al­ways done?

Trail run­ning for me was more of a sec­ondary re­sult of just go­ing out and ex­plor­ing. As a kid I was al­ways into do­ing things out­doors, when I was old enough to start my own ad­ven­tures I would grab my dog and we’d just head for the moun­tains. Some­times we’d come back that day, some­times we’d come back an­other day. These were well and truly some of the best ad­ven­tures of my life. Af­ter do­ing this a while a good friend of mine in­tro­duced me to trail run­ning and it seemed quite fun to be able to do a sim­i­lar ad­ven­ture as I would with Busta but on a course and quite of­ten in beau­ti­ful moun­tains. Within a cou­ple of years, I was com­pet­ing all around the world in moun­tain races up to 200km long.

How does this area in terms of trail run­ning com­pare to other places around the world?

When I first started com­pet­ing in the big­ger moun­tain races over­seas I would travel to Bright and the Alpine re­gion to train. The trail and moun­tains here are with­out doubt some of the most beau­ti­ful and amaz­ing in our coun­try. You can lit­er­ally be on the trail from your home in a cou­ple of min­utes and we have a great net­work of trails through­out the val­ley and sur­round­ing ar­eas. Even af­ter com­pet­ing in big­ger moun­tain re­gions around the world, I al­ways love com­ing home. From the snow gums to the pine forests this is a unique place to run.

You’re one of the or­gan­is­ers of a new run­ning event Wandi Cross which took place over the week­end, what did you try and cre­ate there?

The Wandi Cross is sim­ply about get­ting peo­ple out into the moun­tains. Its in­spired by a style of run­ning I have done a lot over­seas called Skyrun­ning. It’s as sim­ple as let’s get to the top of that moun­tain and back as quick as we can. We had a com­bi­na­tion of quite tech­ni­cal trail, flow­ing sin­gle trail and sec­tions of off-trail to give peo­ple a real ex­pe­ri­ence of get­ting into na­ture. This year we of­fered a 27km, 14km and 5km dis­tances. All of them use a trail some friends of mine and I cre­ated called the goat track which takes you straight to the top of Mys­tic Moun­tain. The event is not-for-profit with pro­ceeds be­ing put to­wards out­door equip­ment and out­door ex­pe­ri­ences for kids at Wandiligong Pri­mary School.

What else do you en­joy in your spare time?

Spend­ing time ad­ven­tur­ing with my wife and two kids. Play­ing with our border col­lie, rid­ing our horses, rock climb­ing, paraglid­ing, ski­ing, pretty much any­thing out­doors is good for me. I also have a ten­dency to be seen at Six­pence Cof­fee most days of the week.

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