Tiger Snakes Suck

Over the years I've encountered plenty of snakes on the trails. Most of the time they move away, keeping their distance from the stomping human. Sometimes they just stay where they are and it's easy to move past them without a problem. Then back in December 2011, I ran into a tiger snake's personal space and it gave me a bite before making it's getaway. The details can be read in Snake Season. Since then I felt as though I've become more accepting of snakes in general and the small element of fear that often goes with a close encounter had dissipated. If anything that had been replaced by a newfound interest.

Now I've come to the conclusion I just don't like Tiger snakes. Why? To put it simply, they can just be aggressive. I know snake handlers/experts tend to disagree and claim everything is just defensive, but tiger snakes in my experience are the most likely to have a go.

I headed out for a hard run, 4x2000m intervals at about 10km race pacing over hilly terrain, followed up by a 500m steep hill repeat and a handful of hill sprints. With the supporting kilometres this would give me 18-19km. Definitely race preparation training. The session started well. A warm to hot sunny day. A bit of wind. Just a perfect day for running. There was a heaviness carried in my legs through the warm up, but this was cured by getting into the first interval. While I had to keep the concentration up to prevent from dropping the pace, everything else seemed to fall into place. The running was good.

In the latter portion of the second 2000m interval I was travelling over a nice fire trail. Down the path I spotted a snake making its way across. It had reached the side of the trail and was pushing into the bush on the side. There was plenty of room so I decided to pass on the opposite side, expecting the snake to keep moving off. Closer in it was clearly a tiger snake, probably a tad shorter than 1 metre. As I passed it turned back 180 degrees and flicked towards me as a strike. I was happy to have enough distance that it was n'tgoing to connect, but it added a little extra to my heart rate.

The course I'd chosen was mainly an out-and-back, so a little over 20 minutes later I was heading back to the section of trail. Since snakes don't like hanging around humans I expected to have a clear run. Well, that assumption was wrong. The tiger snake was now right in the middle of trail, taking in some of the dappled sunlight. It wasn't going anywhere. It was facing me this time and raised it head showing it was standing its ground. The message was clear, and I took a detour.

Now preferring kangaroos and echidnas on my runs I suffered a fair deal over the final 2000m interval and into the 500m hill repeat. The session is fairly specific for the 10km cross country coming up. There was plenty to happy about with my current condition and it reinforces that I'm in a pretty good form. It did highlight a couple of key weaknesses, which I should be able to address. It is more about race strategy so I can best use my strengths and not expose what I'm not so good at. The true excitement for my races is now starting to be felt.


  1. Glad the "pretty good form" you are getting in. Sounds really good...all except the tiger snake. I run out in the country here in Texas and snakes always have to taken into account. When I ran at night I would see several out warming on the pavement and would take the healthy detour to avoid getting close. Copperheads and water mocassins we have here are not chase-you-aggressive, but they just don't move off all the time and stepping on them will get one bit.


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