We’re stoked to welcome Natalie Gallant to the Macpac ambassador family. A true trail badass, Natalie is a mountain lover and endurance athlete, passionate about exploring the rugged playground Aotearoa has to offer. In 2020 she ran the length of New Zealand.
Let’s start with a hard one – how old are you?
Older than I look! At 35 I still can’t buy alcohol without my ID!
Where are you from?
I grew up in a small village just outside Lincoln in England. Lincolnshire is mostly flat farming land and growing up I remember longing for the mountains. Every summer holiday I’d get my mountain fix in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales when I’d visit my Grandfather; I’ve lost count how many times I’ve climbed Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)! New Zealand has been home for the last 7 years.
Can you describe yourself in 50 words or less?
I’m a trail runner, mountain lover, passionate sports physiotherapist and as my hubby calls me, an adventure wifey. I’ve a keen curiosity for learning whether that’s through playing barefoot outdoors or my nose in a book. I feel a strong connection with Aotearoa and especially grateful for this beautiful playground.
What’s your earliest adventure memory outside?
In all honesty, it really was in my own back yard. Being a gymnast I’d climb on everything, so when I wasn’t training and to avoid driving my parents nuts, my dad would build these amazing assault courses in the back garden. There’d be planks of wood balanced between climbing frames, giant brick stepping stones, ladders up trees and a huge zipline back down to the garden. My brother and I would be entertained for hours. Aside from that, most other early adventure memories involve sheep poo in North Wales!
What do you love about being a Macpac ambassador?
I love that Macpac as a company is so down to earth and genuine, created by Kiwi’s who deeply understand the importance of quality sustainable kit. As an ambassador I love sharing my passion for their products and that Macpac shares genuine enthusiasm for supporting me in my adventures too.
The confidence I get from wearing clothes specifically designed for the technical demands of my sport and anything mother nature throws at me, means there’s more focus on the fun stuff, like having epic adventures!
What piece of Macpac kit do you never leave home without?
My Macpac Eyre Long Sleeve Tee. You would think after wearing it daily to run the length of New Zealand, that I’d be desperate to wear something different, nope, I’m even wearing it right now! It’s so light and comfortable I’m either wearing it out the door or leaving with it stuffed in my running vest as a ‘just in case’ top.
Tell us about your best day in the outdoors or on an adventure in 50 words or less.
An epic all female mid-winter West Coast mission, we aptly named ‘Frocks on Frew’. Take 9 wild wahine, 7 dresses, 2 Tutu’s and 1 dance party on Frew saddle. After an epic day tramping we danced our hearts out like no one was watching, because really no one was!
Who’s on your fantasy dinner party guest list?
Emelie Forsberg and her partner Kilian Jornet, a beautifully bad ass mountain and sky running adventure couple. They appear to live simply yet strive to embrace life fully and run primarily because of the joy it brings to them. I think you can learn a lot from people like that. It would have to be ‘bring a plate’ as apparently Emelie is an equally bad ass Swedish cook!
If the world was about to end, where would we find you, what would you be doing, and who would you be with?
How long have I got?! I’d grab my hubby and my hiking pack and head straight to the Richmond Ranges. Living in the Marlborough Sounds it’s literally on our doorstep. We’d hike day and night if we had to in order to sit on top of Mt Rintoul. A place I’ve wanted to share with Jamie since I ran the Te Araroa trail. What an epic way to watch the world end with breath taking alpine views.
How would you sum up your approach to life?
Enthusiastic, inquisitive, playful and passionate. Do what you love and do it to the best of your abilities. Life is one big adventure, so always keep exploring, learning and embracing new challenges.
You can follow Natalie’s adventures on Instagram @trailrun_physio