19 October 2015

The fly

Sundays are usually my reward days. Trail runs out in the bush and redwood forest at a leisurely pace. Sure there’s the odd intermittent climb requiring hands on knees but overall the objective is time on my feet and mastering what trail runners call ‘technical maneuverability’.

My run began late at around 2pm due to a family commitment. It was a lot muggier than I was used to but I felt great. Nimble and light of foot I charged up the first of many bracken and fern lined tracks.

The New Zealand blackfly measures around 2-3 millimetres in length. In other parts of the country they are better known as sand-flies. These little critters thrive in the bush, around rivers and streams. With a life span of only 6 to 7 weeks they tend to appear all of a sudden and in swarms. Act all crazy as if life’s too short. Then vanish.

With mouth wide open, I made yet another high speed turn up an incline. With years of experience now under my belt and with eyes and a mouth larger than most, I can promise you blackfly swarms happen faster than in the blink of an eye. So before I knew it I had a number make contact with each eyeball before my eyelids had any chance to react.

Needless to say my mouth had even less reaction time. I’d say I had 3 or 4 of those nasty blood sucking parasites stuck well beyond that place of no return. Just behind the mid-point of the tongue now all dry from dehydration 30 minutes into my run. A mad flurry of blinking and swallowing followed from a standing position. All the while I mentally processed the likely time of their deaths by either gastric juice or intraocular fluid.

From that point on swarm after swarm followed making running with anything open impossible. Probably just as well. I needed to dial back the pace a little. Too many hard runs and not enough ‘long’ runs. 

WARNING - contains very descriptive language


  1. Funny video clip Mark. I'm sure your descriptive language would have been much more sedate. That's nasty -- glad we don't have that problem... although at the moment we have swarms of 'grass insects' in the evenings down by the lake -- mainly a problem when cycling.

  2. With my airways blocked up with creepy crawlies I couldn't get anything audible out. My thoughts however were probably on a par with that hilarious reporter.