Chris Ord, King of the Trails!

Introducing Chris Ord of Tour de Trails

Every now and then a special and unique operator comes along in our crazy event world, guaranteed not only to put on great events but to also pour the absoloute essence of who they are into everything that they do. The result? Read on for a small insight into the world of Chris and you will see!

How did you get involved in the event world?

By accident and poor/good fortune! I used to edit an adventure magazine (that covered adventure racing events). After being retrenched (poor fortune), I took a role with an events company that specialised in adventure events (good fortune) – I was more on the media side of things at that stage.

I was then offered the opportunity to assist a mountain resort in Victoria build its ‘green season’ visitation, in part by designing and help run events including a trail run festival, a mountain bike enduro, an off road duathlon, a kids adventure festival and a fly fishing festival! That got me hooked on the idea of designing engaging event experiences in the adventure sector for a living.

Eventually I took a punt and started an event of my own (the previous ones were all ‘client owned’ events). That event was the Surf Coast Trail Marathon on Victoria’s Surf Coast. It has now been around for five years and counting, hosts 700+ runners and thankfully doesn’t need my mortgage extension to prop it up!

That event spawned another one on the Surf Coast, the Afterglow Night Trail Runs, which is focused on a half marathon that runs the opposite direction to SCTM, is at night and has a fluroescent / unicorn / cornball 80s theme. It’s definitely a ‘fun’ run!

Then came two trail run festivals - Tassie Trail Fest in Tasmania, Warburton Trail Fest in the Warburton Valley, Victoria, and the Goldrush Trail Runs in the Hepburn Springs region of Victoria.

I also help an Autism charity (Oscars 100) put on Australia’s hardest 100km trail run, the Oscars 100 Hut 2 Hut, off Mt Buller in Victoria. It’s a beauty!

Given my company Tour de Trails was meant to be all about producing trail run TOURS, not events, I guess I kind of fell into the game and it snowballed. I keep having new ideas that I have to curtail my own enthusiasm for! Whatever keeps me out in the wilderness I guess!

What 3 words would people use to describe you…

Seat. Of. Pants. (probably not the best description for an event director who needs to be planned and meticulous, but it keeps things interesting). Okay, shall we say: spontaneous, creative and passionate.

What advice would you give 18 year old you if you could travel back in time?

Trust your gut instinct. Take the (calculated and creative) risks – they are the fun way to experience life. Be bold.

What is the best thing about the event world?

When the experience you have designed and brought to life actually makes a real difference in or impact on someone’s life. At the finish line of the trail running events, there is an abundance of participants who have achieved and shifted their perspective on life for the better because of what they have just put themselves through – it’s their effort but to be able to create the crucible that allows them to achieve is an honour and a privilege. Love a good cry session (for joy as much as pain) under my finish arch! I also love the general enabling and inspiring that goes on – being part of the mechanism for getting people outside and in nature (in the case of my events at least).

And. . . What is something that's not so glamorous about your job?

Emptying the bins? Picking up post-event rubbish? The late-night computer based administration. Responding to complaints.

At Register Now we have the belief that everyday is a school day - what was the most recent lesson that you learnt?

Break the big things/challenges down into smaller tasks – the old eat an elephant one mouthful at a time. Hmmm maybe, just don’t eat elephants? They didn’t do anything to us… Oh and: don’t panic.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Ghosts per se, as literature draws them… no, but perhaps the idea of remnant energy that hasn’t dissipated properly as nature intended when we die. Half science, half kooky. I mean, science tells us that theoretically we can walk through walls and travel back in time…and we know we are made up of energy…so why not…

When you are in control of the music, which song do you pump loudly?

Any song that is playing… I like my music loud and varied. Most recently Jeff Buckley, The Killers, Hilltop Hoods… (nothing new in that huh? I gotta get out more).

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Chris' Social Media Handles: @tourdetrails @trailrunmag