FURTHER THAN 500

As part of the running community, we at Sportsshoes strive to set an example of helping to support our UK charities.
We are calling on the Strava community to join together and run as many miles as possible to support the UK based charity ‘A Mile in Her Shoes’ in our FURTHER THAN 500 challenge.

Inspired by the benefits of running, A Mile in Her Shoes uses physical activity as a tool to empower women, including those affected by homelessness, by providing a means of exercising, socialising, boosting confidence and raising self-esteem.

500 miles is the optimum lifespan of a running shoe, and just one pair of shoes can make a big difference to the life of a vulnerable person. That’s why, in partnership with ASICS, we are committed to donating a pair of ASICS running shoes for every 500 miles that we collectively run as a club.

Run or walk as many miles as you can, anytime from September 14th – 21st 2020.
Join us in helping to raise money and awareness for a great cause.

It’s FREE to take part, simply JOIN THE STRAVA CLUB now and start running some miles. We’ll do the rest!

Get involved and help change lives through sport.

This challenge is open to all members of the Sportshoes.com Run Club.
All participants who contribute to the challenge will also\ receive a 10% discount code for Sportsshoes.com.

Help to inspire others by sharing pictures or videos of your progress and tagging #FurtherThan500 #FT500 to be part of the campaign.

Additional Info:
At this time, all runners should protect their health and safety and that of others by social distancing while running. Please stay up-to-date on the latest news and guidelines from the CDC, WHO, and your local and national authorities.

We expect all athletes to honour the Strava Community Standards, which includes abiding by all health advisements and restrictions in your area prior to undertaking any physical activity.

Activity privacy settings must be marked “Everyone” to count towards the Challenge goal.

All or Nothing at All

Preview of “All or Nothing at All – The Life of Billy Bland”, by Steve Chilton

Undoubtedly one of the greatest fell runners of all time, Borrowdale’s Billy Bland is quite simply a legend of our sport. Held in the same high esteem as men like Joss Naylor and Kenny Stuart, very few people can rival his achievements – most notably his former long-standing Bob Graham record of 13:53, set in 1982. Bland is renowned for being a tough, no-nonsense, no-frills kinda guy; and it’s safe to say, they don’t make em’ like they used to.

Although fell running hasn’t changed all that much over the years, our lifestyles certainly have, highlighting some very noticeable differences between the then and now. The world has changed. We don’t live like we used to and we don’t train like we used to. These days it’s very rare for an elite athlete not to have a coach, or at least not to meticulously think about the planning and structure of their training. With the introduction and influence of GPS devices, mapping software and apps like Strava, we’re immersed in an ocean of digital data. We literally have the world at our fingertips. Obsessed with numbers and mile splits, summit selfies and instagram stories, for most of us our training is certainly very different to that of our predecessors. The following extract, taken from Steve Chilton’s latest book, “All or Nothing at All”, takes a look at the training of the Billy Bland in direct comparison to this new digital era…

He didn’t train especially hard when he was racing as a pro. Initially, as a newly re-instated amateur, he was doing just forty miles a week in training. However, he was putting a lot into it when he went out and thinking that he was doing enough. Looking back from today’s perspective, he says it obviously wasn’t. Over the years he progressed training-wise and results-wise.

By the first six months of 1980, his championship year, he was up to eighty miles a week in training. But when racing often it would come down to the middle sixties. Mischievously, he says, ‘I’ve made a point of never doing more than 99 miles in a week just to say I’ve never done 100 – but maybe I was telling lies!’ This was all done on the fells when it was light enough, but when the dark nights came in it was mostly on roads in the week and on the fells at weekends.

Photo credit: Eileen Woodhead

The normal training pattern for Billy would be that virtually every day he would be out running. For him there was no such thing as days off. There had to be a reason to have a rest day. He would just get out and run, anything from 70 to 100 miles a week. Now the truth comes out. ‘I didn’t often top a 100, but I did sometimes, and I did average seventy right through the year. It doesn’t sound a lot, but it was nearly all on the fells.’ They weren’t cheap miles, and they weren’t soft miles. He would be running at 90% of race pace a lot of the time. Re-emphasising his life choices, he would get himself off to bed at night, get plenty of sleep and recover for the next day. He didn’t go down the pub, and he wanted to wake up ready to go again. He emphasises that work had to come first, mind. ‘I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, actually. That is amateur sport isn’t it? I was doing what I liked doing, working and running.’

Mind you, he could combine his work and running by doing the latter straight after the former, sometimes to quite an extreme level. ‘Once me and Chris [Bland] were working on a job at Ambleside and I ran home over the tops at the end of the working day from there once a week – via Red Bank and up to Sergeant Man and then via Angle Tarn and Sprinkling and come back in here just to make it a bit longer.’ That is something like 17 miles. Just training, he says quietly.

I once suggested to Billy that one of the keys to being successful at any endeavour is to be enjoying what you are doing and wondered if that applied to him and his training. ‘Absolutely, for me’, he replied. ‘I am the sort of person that if I didn’t want to do it, then I wouldn’t do it. You have got to mean what you do. But you have also got to do it because you like it. You have come home from work and instead of sitting on your arse watching TV, then you have got to go out and run for two or three hours on the fells. You do that because you like it, not because you necessarily want to win some particular race. You mebbe had a bad day at work and someone annoyed you, and you get your shorts on, get up on the fells and you are on your own and your mind floats away. By the time you come back, what was bothering you doesn’t matter anymore. It is a great stress buster.’

With this regime in place, he kept getting better. The better he got, the more he felt he could train.

Pictured: Author Steve Chilton & Billy Bland

“All or Nothing at All – The Life of Billy Bland” will be published on Thursday 20th August and can be obtained from all good bookshops and online at Amazon.

Look out for the live and interactive book launch, on Thursday 20 Aug at 6-30pm: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVbuEUURETE&feature=youtu.be

About the book

All or nothing at all: the life of Billy Bland. Sandstone Press. Format: Hardback. ISBN: 9781913207229. Publication Date: 20/08/2020 RRP: £19.99

This book tells the life story of Billy Bland, fellrunner extraordinaire and holder of many records, including that of the Bob Graham Round until it was broken by the foreword author of this book, Kilian Jornet. It is also the story of Borrowdale in the English Lake District, describing its people, their character and their lifestyle, into which fellrunning is unmistakably woven.

About the author

Steve Chilton is a runner and coach with considerable experience of fell running. He is a long-time member of the Fell Runners Association (FRA). He formerly worked at Middlesex University as Lead Academic Developer. He has written three other books: It’s a Hill, Get Over It; The Round: In Bob Graham’s footsteps; and Running Hard: the story of a rivalry. He has written for The Fellrunner, Compass Sport, Like the Wind and Cumbria magazines.

He blogs at: https://itsahill.wordpress.com/

WET, WET, WET!

Following the dramatic change in UK weather conditions, it seems like the perfect time to provide a detailed review for a range* of the best trail running waterproof jackets, currently available from Sportsshoes.com.

*Please note that all jackets reviewed are available in options for both men and women.

1. INOV8 TRAILSHELL FULL ZIP JACKET

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/ino1621/inov8-trailshell-full-zip-jacket-~-aw19

SPORTSSHOES.COM PRICE: £104.99 (RRP £149.99)

WEIGHT: 140g

BREATHABILITY: 20,000 B-1

WATERPROOF: 20,000 HH

SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS SLIGHTLY LARGER)

The new inov-8 Trailshell full zip jacket is perfect for fast hiking/running, combining high-level performance with lightweight design.

It features a new super-soft Pertex Shield fabric for increased comfort and has a high waterproof protection rating of 20,000 HH. It is designed to be both wind and water resistant, even during the heaviest of showers. The jacket has taped seams throughout and will comfortably pass any race kit check inspection.

During testing, I wore the jacket with the inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1 vest. The jacket fits comfortably and doesn’t move or ride up over the waistline during movement – it’s a slightly longer fit than most other jackets I tested. The elasticated trims on the wrist also restrict any unnecessary movement of the sleeves during exercise.

Fashion conscious runners will appreciate the simplistic design of this jacket and the grey and green colour scheme, which perfectly matches the rest of the inov-8 apparel in the current range.

KEY FEATURES

1. The material feels great and has a small amount of stretch, allowing you to use the hood even whilst the jacket is fully zipped. The hood also fits perfectly on the head and doesn’t block or restrict vision, especially when you’re moving at pace.

2. Super-lightweight! It weighs a mere 140g and packs down to easily fit inside a race vest or bag. On the inside of the chest, there is a zipped pocket, which allows the jacket to fold up neatly into a small bag.

3. There are 3 small under-arm air vents, which improve ventilation and help to prevent you from overheating.

2. OMM KAMLEIKA JACKET

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/omm203/omm-kamleika-jacket-~-aw19/

SPORTSSHOES.COM PRICE: £161.49 (RRP £189.99)

WEIGHT: 255g

BREATHABILITY: 1800g/m2

WATERPROOF: 20,000 HH

The OMM Kamleika is a stretch waterproof jacket that looks and feels fantastic. The material is soft to touch and extremely comfortable to wear, even against the skin. Weighing in at 255g, although lightweight, this is slightly heavier than other comparable jackets on the market. It does however, improve the insulation of the jacket, keeping you warmer during exercise.

During testing, I found the jacket to be extremely waterproof, but also very breathable. It’s ideal for everyday use and particularly well suited to longer runs. I would choose this jacket for training in wet conditions and racing in long distance events. The fit and tapered shape, at the back of the jacket, means it is also perfect for cycling. What I also love about the Kamleika, is the extra long arms, which stretch below the wrists to partly cover the hands. Working alongside the thumb loops, it creates a very effective barrier in wet conditions, as it overlaps the hands/gloves better than any other jacket – an excellent feature.

The casual fit means that you can wear as part of a layering system, with plenty of room underneath for a base and/or mid layer. It is a slightly bigger fit than other similar jackets, so bear this in mind before purchasing.

The colour of the jacket (blue) allows it to be seen clearly in low light conditions. This, combined with small reflective details on the sleeves and back of the jacket, make it the perfect choice for anyone training where they need to be more visible, especially in sight of motorists and cyclists.

KEY FEATURES

1. The long sleeves and active cuffs, with adjustable thumb loops are fantastic. They feel great and fit perfectly on my arms and hands, helping to keep out the rain because of their length, shape and design.

2. I also like the design of the hood, which can be easily adjusted for increased comfort.

3. There is plenty of room for storage in the front of the jacket, with two large zipped pockets at either side. The shape of the zips allows them to be opened and closed easily without any snagging. 

3. SCOTT RC RUN WP JACKET

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/sco26/scott-rc-run-wp-jacket-~-aw19/

PRICE: £169.99

WEIGHT: Super Lightweight

BREATHABILITY: 20,000/M2/DAY

WATERPROOF: 10,000 HH

SIZE GUIDE: 2 (FITS SMALLER)

I love this jacket. I particularly like the colour and design – it’s simple and stylish. It looks good, it feels good and most importantly, it fits me really well.

The shape of the cuffs and hood are perfectly angled to fit around the wrists and face. Unlike many of the other jackets I’ve tested, this one has a very athletic fit, meaning you may have to size up if you want a roomier fit (something I would definitely recommend).

A key feature of this jacket is its breathability, with vent holes below both shoulder blades to improve air circulation.

This is a jacket built for speed, designed to be light and streamlined, making it the ideal choice for racing.

KEY FEATURES

1. Lightweight, breathable design.

2. An athletic fit, built for speed.

4. HIGHER STATE STRETCH WATERPROOF MOUNTAIN RUNNING JACKET

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/hst1442/higher-state-stretch-waterproof-mountain-running-jacket-~-aw19/#sku-hst1444

SPORTSSHOES.COM PRICE: £49.99 RRP £159.99

WEIGHT: 280g

BREATHABILITY: 10,000

WATERPROOF: 10,000 HH

SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS LARGER)

This is an extremely comfortable waterproof jacket that looks and feels great. Although it’s slightly heavier than most comparable jackets, it is well insulated, offering ample protection against wet and cold weather. It’s very durable and both the materials and zips are built to last. I would be confident wearing this in all types of inclement weather.

This jacket is a casual cut, a direct comparison to the Scott RC Run Waterproof. It’s looser fit means that it offers more room during movement and is suitable for a range of outdoor activities. However, the fit can still be personalised. There are velcro straps on the wrists and the hood can also be adjusted by tightening the drawcord at both sides.

There is ample room for storage too, with handy large zipped pockets at both sides of the jacket.

I would personally use this multi-purpose jacket for walking, running and cycling.

Available to buy from Sportsshoes for just £49.99, this jacket is outstanding value for money!

KEY FEATURES

1. Ample storage for carrying essential items.

2. Extremely versatile. Ideal for a range of outdoor activities.

3. Warm, comfortable and durable.

4. Outstanding value for money!

5. HAGLOFS LIMM PROOF MULTI JACKET

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/hgl886/haglofs-l%2Ci%2Cm-proof-multi-jacket-~-aw19/

SPORTSSHOES.COM PRICE: £79.99 (RRP £159.99)

WEIGHT: 290g

BREATHABILITY: 20 000 g/m²/24h

WATERPROOF: 10,000 HH

SIZE GUIDE: 3 (TRUE TO FIT)

A fantastic addition to any outdoor wardrobe, this Haglofs jacket is an excellent waterproof. It’s simple in design, unassuming but effective. Built specifically for lightweight performance and versatile for a range of outdoor activities.

Breathability is enhanced with mesh-lines pockets, on both sides of the jacket at the front. These pockets are also great for storing small essential items and easy to access when you’re on the go.

The fit and feel of this jacket is second to none – it’s a joy to wear. The elasticated cuffs and hem, ensure a very snug and comfortable fit. Fans of Haglofs gear will not be left disappointed with this jacket.

Available to buy from Sportsshoes for just £79.99, this jacket is outstanding value for money!

KEY FEATURES

1. Simple and stylish in design.

2. Well positioned pockets with breathable mesh inner material.

3. Outstanding value for money!

6. MONTANE VIA MINIMUS STRETCH ULTRA PULL-ON

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/mon1490/montane-via-minimus-stretch-ultra-pull~on-~-aw19/

SPORTSSHOES.COM PRICE: £86.99 (RRP £144.99)

WEIGHT: 154g

WATERPROOF: 20,000 HH

SIZE GUIDE: 2 (FITS SMALLER)

The key feature of this jacket is its weight, or lack of it! At 154g, it is one of the lightest waterproof on the market, without compromising on performance. This makes it an ideal jacket for anyone wanting to travel fast and light, as it packs down extremely small and stuffs neatly into the zipped chest pocket.

Unlike the other jackets in this review, it’s a half-zip design, which will either turn you on or off, when it comes to choosing a lightweight waterproof. It does however fit comfortably over the head and easily zips up and down, featuring a snag-free zip design. The sizing can also be adjusted, with an adjustable drawcord, on both the hood and the waistband, allowing for a more personalised fit.

KEY FEATURES

1. Super-lightweight in design!

2. Easily adjustable in terms of sizing and fit – both the hood and waistband can be adjusted.

3. Available to buy from Sportsshoes for just £86.99, this is another jacket that is outstanding value for money!

7. INOV-8 STORMSHELL FULL ZIP RUNNING JACKET

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/ino1570/inov8-stormshell-full-zip-running-jacket-~-aw19/

SPORTSSHOES.COM PRICE: £125.99 (RRP £179.99)

WEIGHT: 174g

BREATHABILITY: 20,000 B-1

WATERPROOF: 20,000 HH

SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS SLIGHTLY LARGER)

This jacket is an excellent addition to the inov-8 waterproof apparel range, boasting a range of quality features.

For a start, weighing only 174g, it’s one of the lightest jackets on the market. It packs down to a tiny size and can be compacted inside the zipped chest pocket.

This brightly coloured yellow jacket is perfect for dark nights, featuring complete reflectivity, making it extremely visible, especially to motorists.

In addition to its highly waterproof and lightweight design, it is also well ventilated. The hood can be rolled down and clipped neatly in place. The front of the jacket can also be partially unzipped and held together with a button clasp.

The fit and feel of this jacket is also impressive. I particularly like the elasticated cuffs with thumb loops, for an improved fit.

KEY FEATURES

1. A lightweight, compactable and well-ventilated design.

2. 360 degree reflectivity. Perfect for use at night and visible to traffic.

8. SALOMON BONATTI PRO WATERPROOF RUNNING JACKET

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/sal3871/salomon-bonatti-pro-waterproof-running-jacket-~-aw19/

SPORTSSHOES.COM PRICE: £143.99 (RRP £179.99)

WEIGHT: 194g

WATERPROOF: 20,000 HH

SIZE GUIDE: 3 (TRUE TO FIT)

Firstly, this is a fantastic looking jacket. I love the design, especially the coloured trim around the zip and chest pocket, with the Salomon logo design on the sleeve.

In terms of performance, Salomon have managed to create a jacket that is both lightweight and extremely well-built, offering a large amount of protection against the elements. I would be happy wearing this jacket for both short and long distances, confident that it will shield me from even the worst weather conditions.

Like many other comparable jackets, it packs down small and stuffs into a zipped chest pocket, ideal for compact storage. There is also an extra volume of material at the back of the jacket, to allow for movement – particularly handy for wearing over a running vest/pack. Another excellent feature is the press button clasp, at the top front of the jacket, to allow for extra ventilation.

The versatility of the Bonatti Pro makes it a perfect choice for any outdoor activity, not just for running.

KEY FEATURES

1. Zipped pocket for storage

2. Press button design for extra ventilation.

3. Motion fit material, with extra material at the back of the jacket.

9. INOV8 ULTRASHELL PRO FULL ZIP JACKET

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/ino1569/inov8-ultrashell-pro-full-zip-jacket-~-aw20/

SPORTSSHOES.COM PRICE: £224.99 (RRP £249.99)

WEIGHT: 106g

BREATHABILITY: 40,000 B-1

WATERPROOF: 20,000 HH

SIZE GUIDE: 3 (FITS SLIGHTLY LARGER)

If you can afford to splash out on a lightweight waterproof jacket, then this top-of-the-range model from inov-8 is almost impossible to beat. At 106g, it’s just about the lightest full-zipped waterproof on the market and coupled with the fact that the breathability rating is a staggering 40,000 B-1, this is the perfect choice for any serious athlete.

What I like most is the fit and feel of the jacket. It performs exceptionally well in both wet and windy conditions, because it doesn’t flap about if you’re being battered by huge gusts of strong wind. The snug, athletic fit does mean that it’s a more figure-hugging design than other jackets on the market, but ideal for racing (similar to the Scott RC jacket). I chose to wear a small in this jacket (which I prefer) as the inov-8 jackets do tend be be slightly on the larger in size to other brands. Bear this in mind before purchasing.

This jacket is perfect for fast, lightweight competition as it packs down to a tiny parcel, zipping neatly inside the pocket located on the left shoulder. This compartment is also handy for carrying small items during a run, like a key, money, compass or whistle.

When fully-zipped, the tight fit of the jacket ensures that hood stays firmly and comfortably in place during extreme weather conditions. Also worth noting is the fact that race numbers can be easily visible beneath the jacket, as the material is slightly transparent – just make sure you wear some clothes underneath, especially if you’re pairing this jacket with the matching waterproof trousers! ;-))

KEY FEATURES

1. Handy zipped shoulder pocket for storing small items/zipping away the jacket.

2. Unbeatable light-weight design.

3. Extremely high waterproof and breathability ratings.

3. Athletic fit, perfectly suited for travelling fast and light, especially in harsh weather conditions.

10. THE NORTH FACE FLIGHT SERIES FUTURELIGHT JACKET

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/tnf52/the-north-face-flight-series-futurelight-jacket-~-ss20/#sku-tnf53

SPORTSSHOES.COM PRICE: £224.99 (RRP £249.99)

Please note that TNF do not provide comparable industry details for breathability and waterproof ratings.

SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS SLIGHTLY LARGER)

The new FutureLight material has been developed by TNF to be the worlds most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear. A very bold aim, but after testing this jacket in some particularly harsh Scottish weather, I must confess to being very impressed with its performance.

The comfort and soft feel of this jacket, is the first thing that grabbed my attention. It feels great to wear, not just for running, but also for casual use. The simplistic design is also available in two very contrasting colours for both men and women – bright green or plain black.

The enhanced breathability of the FutureLight material is noticeable, particularly in extreme weather conditions. When the jacket is fully zipped and you’re performing at a high-level of intensity, I found that my temperature was very well-regulated. The material wicks away sweat and moisture, whilst at the same time allowing you to stay warm and protected against the harsh elements. However, it is essential that you pair this jacket with the correct base-layers to allow this system to work as effectively as possible (obviously the same can be said for all the jackets in test).

This jacket is slightly heavier than most of the others I’ve tested, but I do think it will keep you warmer for a longer period of time. Therefore, I would recommend this as a top-quality training jacket or more suitable for longer races, when you’re likely to be exposed for an extended period of time.

There is a large, zipped pocket at the back of this jacket. Although easy to access and a great size, I would avoid carrying any heavy items in here, as they could potentially move around and annoy you during exercise.

It’s also important to mention the sizing. I wore a medium-sized jacket during testing and it felt quite large. I would definitely opt for a small in the future. The shape and cut of the jacket can certainly be classed as more ‘regular’ than ‘athletic’, so something to bear in mind before purchasing.

KEY FEATURES

1. Large zipped pocket for storage, located at the back of the jacket.

2. Excellent breathability.

3. Suitable for training/long races.

4. 360 degree reflectivity. Perfect for use at night and visible to traffic.

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Get Shorty!

Lockdown has given me plenty of time to review some of the best trail running apparel and shoes on the market. This is the first, of a series of reviews, to help you choose the right kit to suit your needs.

1. HAGLOFS L.I.M TEMPO SHORTS

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/hgl907/haglofs-l%2Ci%2Cm-tempo-shorts-~-aw19/

PRICE: RRP £49.99

SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS LARGER)

If you’re looking for a comfortable pair of lightweight running shorts, then look no further, because the L.I.M (Less Is More) range from Haglofs feels absolutely sublime.

Admittedly, they are a longer and looser fit than I would usually prefer to wear, but the feel and comfort of the material makes them the perfect choice for both performance and leisure. It’s worth mentioning that this ‘feel good’ material from Haglofs stretches way beyond just the shorts, so expect more positive reviews on the rest of their apparel, especially the base layers.

In terms of sizing, I tested a medium, but I think a small might have been a slightly better choice for me (I do prefer to wear clothes that fit a little more tightly). I would say these shorts are more suited to runners of a bigger build – roomier than your standard running shorts and with plenty of leg room.

KEY FEATURES

1.Firstly the elasticated waistband ensures that they fit comfortably and the looped drawstring means you won’t lose one end through the end of the hole in the material at the front.

2. The zipped pocket on the front of the right thigh. It’s roomy and perfect for storing small items that you don’t want to lose, like small keys, money and empty doggy bags. However, beware of carrying anything heavier, like a mobile phone, as it will only annoy you by swinging around awkwardly when you run. It’s perhaps the only drawback of these shorts, especially if you’re someone who’s used to carrying your phone in your shorts when you exercise.

3. They’re super-comfy, built to last and it’s a guarantee that you’ll wear these for more than just running.

2. SALOMON exo twinskin shorts

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/sal3580/salomon-exo-twinskin-shorts-~-aw19/

PRICE: RRP £129.99

SIZE GUIDE: 1 (FITS SMALL)

Salomon have set the benchmark for running apparel over the last decade, in terms of lightweight performance and stunning design. The new Exo twin-skin shorts are no exception. For a start, they look and feel incredible. They’re also the lightest pair of shorts I’ve ever worn, the outer layer is made of a super-thin tissue material and the exo-layer underneath provides the perfect mix of comfort and compression.

I think what I like the most about this pair of the shorts is not only the style, but the fit. They move as you move, specifically designed for high-level lightweight performance. In terms of sizing, they are a very small fit. The pair I’ve tested are a medium and they are a snug fit. If in doubt, order a slightly bigger size.

KEY FEATURES

1. The outer layer of thin material has a V-shaped slit at each side, which allows for superb comfort and breathability during movement and exercise.

2. There is storage for small items inside the waistband, a pouch at the front and a zipped pocket at the back. A mobile phone could easily be carried in the back of the shorts, without too much movement during exercise.

3. Top quality design with exceptional lightweight performance.

3. INOV-8 RACE ELITE 7″ shorts

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/ino1397/inov8-race-elite-7%2522-running-shorts-~-aw19/

PRICE: RRP £64.99

SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS LARGER)

I’ve been wearing inov-8 clothing for many years and I’m pleased to say that the quality and design of this season’s apparel has continued to make significant improvements.

Personally, the fit is perfect for me, much different from the old ATC style, the cut of the material is far more streamline in comparison. The outer shell is lightweight, with a triangular section of breathable stretch material at either side of the outside leg, complete with a small slit at the bottom of the shorts to allow for movement. The inner material is soft and stretchy, whilst providing just the right amount of compression during exercise. These shorts perform well in all kind of weather, especially in the rain. Even when they become wet, they never lose their fit and shape.

In terms of sizing, these shorts fit quite large. I’m always a small in inov-8 shorts, compared to the medium sizing of other comparable brands, like Salomon for example – something worth knowing before you order!

KEY FEATURES

1.The deep waistband, made from a stretchy, elasticated material, provides tons of support and comfort during exercise. It really improves the fit and feel of these shorts. There is also a red adjustable drawcord at the front of the waistband to provide a more secure and personalised fit.

2. Like the Salomon Exo, this pair of shorts also has a zipped pocket at the back of the waistband, very secure and perfect for a mobile phone or other small items.

3. The triangular mesh strips down either side of the outside are a great feature, allowing for increased comfort and ventilation during exercise.

4. The logo on the front on the shorts is reflective and higher visible in low light conditions, especially to oncoming motorists and cyclists.

I judge shorts entirely on price, comfort, design and performance. For me, the inov-8 race elite 7” shorts tick every box and they’re currently my favourite go-to pair for both racing and training.

4. SCOTT RC RUN HYBRID SHORTS

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/sco21/scott-rc-run-hybrid-shorts-~-aw19/

PRICE: RRP £59.99

SIZE GUIDE: 2 (FITS SMALLER)

Scott have produced a winning design with this pair of hybrid running shorts, combining the perfect blend of comfort, style and performance.

I love these shorts – they look great and feel fantastic. They’re extremely comfortable to wear, perfectly suited to all distances and ideal for both training and racing. Especially the latter, as the super-lightweight material means they weigh next to nothing.

Comparable to the inov-8 race elite shorts (reviewed above), these shorts really impressed me during testing and were my other favourite design.

In terms of sizing, a medium fit me perfectly – a small would have been far too tight.

KEY FEATURES

1. A deep waistband, made from a stretchy, elasticated material, provides tons of support and comfort during exercise. It really improves the fit and feel of these shorts.

2. The material of the inner compression layer is both soft and stretchy and feels extremely comfortable against the skin.

3. There is ample storage at the front and back of the shorts. An open pouch at the front is split into three small compartments and ideal for carrying small loose items like energy gels. At the back of the waistband is another, larger open pocket, which has a button clasp. It would easily hold a mobile phone, but be aware that it doesn’t have a zip.

4. The shorts also come with a Scott branded waterproof storage pouch, perfect for a mobile phone and other small items.

5. The logos on the front and reverse of the shorts are reflective and highly visible in low light conditions.

5. RONHILL INFINITY MARATHON TWIN SHORTS

https://www.sportsshoes.com/product/ron2978/ronhill-infinity-marathon-twin-shorts-~-aw19/

PRICE: RRP £49.99

SIZE GUIDE: 4 (FITS LARGER)

The Ronhill Infinity Marathon Twin Shorts are both comfortable and supportive, with a relaxed fit. Although slightly heavier than other comparable models, they feel great against the skin and the stretchy fabric allows for plenty of movement during exercise.

In terms of sizing, they are comparable to the Haglofs L.I.M shorts, with ample room. The outer material has a slightly larger and looser fit than models like the Salomon and Scott designs. Like the Haglofs, I would say these shorts are more suited to runners of a bigger build.

If you’re looking for a pair of comfortable shorts, for all-round performance, at a competitive price, then these would be a great choice.

KEY FEATURES

1. A large zipped pocket on the reverse of the shorts, will keep a mobile phone and other small items completely safe and secure. There are also two smaller pockets either side, which are ideal for storing energy gels.

2. A comfortable, supportive and relaxed fit.

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Ultra Running Tips from the Pros

Ultra Running graphic

I’d started 2020 with a clear goal in my mind – to take part in my first ultra race. A huge personal challenge, considering my preferred racing distance has always been less than 25km!

My ultra-running journey was due to begin last month, with the ULTRA NORTH in Newcastle, a new 55km ultra-marathon event. Unfortunately, this race has now been postponed until 2021, but at least it will give me more time to train and prepare for the big day.

I’ve been running for most of my life and racing competitively for the last 17 years. During this time, I’ve competed in hundreds of races, visited some amazing countries, ran up and down some spectacular mountains and explored some of the best trails in Europe. But despite all this running experience, the challenge of running an ultra is something completely new to me. It’s also an extremely daunting experience and in all honesty, a little bit scary!

But thankfully I know plenty of ultra-runners and coaches with the necessary experience and expertise that I am lacking. So, I asked them for their best ultra running tips and top kit recommendations and this is what they had to say…

1. HOLLY PAGE

Adidas Terrex Athlete  |  Skyrunning World Series Champion 2018

FOLLOW HOLLY: TwitterInstagram

HollyPhoto credit: Adidas

1. CARRY SPARE KIT

If you head out on a long run thinking, “I’m cold now but once I start running I’ll get warm”, think how cold you’ll get if you have to stop because you’ve sprained your ankle in the middle of nowhere. You never know when something might happen and having the right equipment to stay warm / dry etc. is really important. There is so much great lightweight kit out there now that there really is no excuse.

HOLLY RECOMMENDS:

ADIDAS TERREX AGRAVIC RAIN WOMEN’S JACKET

ADIDAS TERREX AGRAVIC ALPHA HOODED WOMEN’S JACKET

2. CARRY EMERGENCY FOOD (that you don’t really like!)

Sometimes runs can take longer than you planned so it’s good to always have something in your bag for a “just in case” moment. If you always have a bar / gel that you don’t really like in there then you won’t be tempted to eat it in a “non-emergency” situation too. Carrying extra food when running with others is also a great way to keep yourself popular – a bonking friend will be forever indebted to you for saving them with those “emergency jelly babies”.

3. TAKE A MAP / COMPASS (AND KNOW HOW TO USE THEM!!

Technology has come on leaps and bounds in terms of navigational aid, you can download the GPX of a route onto a watch or phone and follow this to recce a race route / go on a long training run. However, many people are placing too much reliance on following a blue line on a watch. That’s great until the watch malfunctions and you find yourself stranded in the mountains with no idea where you really are or where to go next. You can go on a navigation course, or read up on the basics to gain skills and confidence and then go out and practice!

HOLLY RECOMMENDS:

For shoes, I recommend the ADIDAS TERREX TWO ULTRA PARLEY WOMEN’S TRAIL RUNNING SHOES as they’re really cushioned and comfy – that’s what I’m wearing all the time at the moment. They’re also made out of recycled ocean plastics, which has to be a good thing too!

  

2. DAMIAN HALL

Inov-8 athlete/Ultra Runner  |  5th place UTMB, 2018

FOLLOW DAMIAN: TwitterInstagram

Damian Hall_inov-8Photo credit: inov-8

KIT IS KEY!

The number one key piece of kit for ultra runner is shoes. You may be in them for a long time, so they need to be comfy. Yes, terrain is important (will it be rocky, muddy, wet, hard and fast trails, a mixture?), but above all that you want to treat your pinkies like they’re royalty – else they’ll rebel and give you blisters. Everyone’s feet are different, so don’t listen too much to what works for others. Instead get a pair early and try them out on your long runs to see how well they suit you.

DAMIAN RECOMMENDS:

For UTMB, inov-8 TRAILTALONS and TERRAULTRA Gs have both been excellent for me. I want some cushioning for 100 miles, but not too much (I want to feel dextrous on technical bits) and both of these have a roomy toebox for when grumpy feet start to expand a little. No blisters. No complaints. And ace grip, to boot.

Most ultras have a mandatory kit list so you’ll need a pack to carry that in, plus your sandwiches. INOV-8 RACE ULTRA PRO 2IN1 Vest was brill for me at UTMB in 2018 and numerous races and challenges since. Again, comfort is really important as you might be wearing it for 24 hours-plus. Key for me is the side pouches as I want to be able to access kit (gloves, sunglasses, waterproof) and my sandwiches on the move, without ever having to take the pack off. Plus the water-carrying options are great, with different carrying options for soft flasks (or a bladder). And there are several options for pole attachments too. It’s a really versatile pack – not least the option to detach the main compartment when you only need minimal kit.

Most ultras (and indeed fell races) will have a waterproof as mandatory kit, even when often there’s very little chance it’ll get used. So lightest is best. INOV-8’S ULTRASHELL meets all the strict race criteria for UTMB and other races, and weighs a stunning 97g. Being transparent you can still read the race number through it, too – another race rule. I’ll also take the excellently named ULTRAPANT, which are just 86g. I don’t know of a lighter combination of full body waterproof cover. If the forecast is for a monsoon however, I’ll plump for the STORMSHELL. I wore this in 2017 and 2018 UTMBs and on a recent Winter Paddy Buckley Round and it’s been well skill. For just 170g you get excellent protection around the head, neck and wrists.

PETZL NAO+

Inadequate headtorch beam could mean topographical befuddlement or, worse still, a trip or fall. The Petzl NAO+ boasts a whopping 750 lumens, but can be customised in an app to last all night (with fewer lumens). I’ve used this for several UTMBs, plus longer runs in the dark, such as the 230-mile Cape Wrath trail. Excellent, reliable bit of kit.

SUUNTO 9 BARO

This watch can record GPS for up to 120 hours, which is great for FKTs. Being able to follow a race or route’s GPX file can also save a lot of bother/confusion, it has wrist HR (to help guard against overtraining), you can get smartphone notifications if you really want them (I don’t).

 

3. HOWARD DRACUP

Montane Athlete  |  3rd place in the Montane Spine Challenger 2018

FOLLOW HOWARD:  Instagram

Howard Dracup_Philipp ReiterPhoto credit: Philipp Reiter

FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL

Planning & preparation before a long distance race is absolute vital to success. Especially for distances of 100 miles and above. In the weeks and months leading up to the race, I recce all, or as much of the route as possible (in sections). This helps me to understand things like what terrain I will be running on, what shoes and kit I will need and most importantly where the race goes. Then I sit down with a note pad & pen! I close my eyes, visualise it and try and run the whole race in my head – I get into its mind!

I’ll start with how long I think it’s going to take me on a good day & a bad day…I break it down into legs/sections. I ask myself questions like – are there any aid stations? How far apart are they? Am I allowed support/able to use drop bags, how much food, water & electrolytes do I need to carry to get to the next supply point?

Time spent at checkpoints needs to be as fluid as possible. You want your next lot of Energy/kit ready to grab and go without any faffing. I put mine into clear ziplock bags and label it CP1 for example, and make sure my dropbags are organised.

By constantly familiarising myself with the route and planning, it means that on the day I know exactly what I’m doing & where everything needs to be.

By preparing in advance it gives me more confidence on race day and puts me under less stress before and during the race- especially if your travelling abroad! I also do the same with my kit choices.

HOWARD RECOMMENDS:

MONTANE VIA GECKO PACK

The Montane Gecko Vest was my most used race vest last year, I love it! It’s remarkably comfortable and extremely breathable – perfect for running ultra-distances.

MONTANE PRISM MITTS

I used my “Montane Prism Mitts” a hell of a lot this winter. I prefer mitts to gloves as they keep my hands a lot warmer and revive them if they’ve gone too cold & wet!

 

4. GEORGIA TINDLEY

Merrell Athlete  |  Team GB Long Distance Mountain Runner

FOLLOW GEORGIA:  Instagram

Georgia Tindley - Guillem CasanovaPhoto credit: Merrell

1. TRAINING FOR TECHNICAL RUNNING

If you’re one of these people foolish enough to not only sign up for an ultra, but who decided to make it a technical and exhausting skyrunning style ultra then heed this advice. Train on technical terrain. Prepare for technical terrain. Adapt to technical terrain. Moving over ridges, rocks and scree is both mentally and physically exhausting and will take it out of you far more than running on a lovely smooth trail. It will also require a different style of movement and use different muscles; incorporate some scrambling and strength work into your training (or limp across the finish line!).

2. DON’T START TOO FAST 

It’s the classic piece of advice for ultra running for a reason: everyone knows it, and everyone has done it anyway. In the excitement of the start line it is easy to get carried away, especially if you’re used to running shorter, faster races. No matter how good you feel at the start of an ultra there will come a time when you feel awful. If you start too fast this rough patch is going to come sooner and last longer! If I’m feeling unexpectedly fresh and springy at the start of a race I remind myself that it’ll make a bigger difference to be able to push hard at the end than to keep pace with my competitors at the beginning.

3. DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO OTHER COMPETITORS

It’s easy to get psyched out before a race when you start chatting to your competitors. How much water are you carrying? Are you eating gels or solid food? Do you think it is t-shirt weather? Where are you going to push hard? But making changes just before the race, no matter how small they seem, can totally unravel you. It’s important that you work out what works for you during training, and stick to it in the race. Maybe carrying 500ml less water in a race of a couple of hours wouldn’t make that much difference, but over the course of an ultra that could be litres less that you manage to consume.

GEORGIA RECOMMENDS:

MERRELL MTL LONG SKY TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

This year Merrell are the lead sponsor for the Skyrunning World Series and have put together a team of international runners to showcase their range of new skyrunning specific shoes. This includes the Merrell Long Sky running shoes, which are specifically designed to provide both grip and support in grueling ultras. If you fancy something a bit lighter, the SKYFIRE is a great all round shoe and easily robust enough to take on ultra distances.

 

5. ANDY JACKSON

Experienced Ultra Runner  |  UTMB finisher

FOLLOW ANDY:  Instagram

Andy Jackson2 - Rachel PlattPhoto credit: Rachel Platt

1. TRAIN YOUR BRAIN

Having a strong mind really does help. For me, a lot of training has being solo, getting out in the mountains in any weather. This has helped me to become stronger, both mentally and physical. Essentially practice, as in long ultra races you often have to run through the night and also alone.

2. BUY THE BEST KIT

Buying and using the correct kit is also absolutely essential. I often read advice on internet forums advising people to buy the cheapest clothing and equipment just to get through a kit check. In reality, when you’re racing in the cold dead of night, sometimes at high altitude, with a tired body, fatigued brain, whilst battling inclement weather, you’ll be glad you spent that extra bit of money on good quality gear.

ANDY RECOMMENDS:

INOV8 TERRAULTRA G260 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

My favourite shoes are the inov8 TerraUltra G 260, having worn them to complete the Bob Graham, Lakeland 50/100, Fellsman and more recently the PTL (300km 26000 meters of climbing on mixed terrain. These shoes to me are the best all-rounder multi-terrain shoe proving excellent comfort and grip. The addition of graphene in the rubber soles also prolongs the life of the shoe, making them the perfect choice for all ultra-running distances.

LEKI MICRO TRAIL PRO TRAIL RUNNING POLE

Poles are an absolute essential for ultra-races in mountainous environments! Using these on long races like the ‘Spine Challenger’ and the PTL whilst carrying a 20 litre pack with all the mandatory kit certainly help on the climbs, keeping the body upright and also gives tired knees support on long descents. The poles I use are the Leki Micro Trail Pro’s.

 

6. HARRY JONES

Hoka One One athlete/coach  |  4th place Transvulcania 2020 | http://www.harryruns.com

FOLLOW HARRY:  Instagram

Harry Jones - HokaPhoto credit: Transgrancanaria 128km official race photography

1. BUILD UP SLOWLY

First and foremost, the allure of running your first ultra is strong. But make sure you are patient, if you’re new to ultra running, don’t just go from a road marathon straight into your first 100km on the trails. Take your time to build up your training safely to a volume you could only have dreamt of before you started your ultra journey. Take your time to get to a place where 3 hour runs start to feel short compared to some epics you’ve had in your training block. Most importantly, take your time to enjoy the process and get excited for race day.

If trails are new to you get some shorter trail races in first. Get out in the mountains, figure out what you’re good at, what needs work and how much slower and longer those big hills and tough terrain can make the miles drag.

2. STRUCTURE IS KEY

Don’t neglect structured workouts. It’s easy to think ‘I’ve got a 100km race with 6,000m of climbing, so I should just focus all my time on vertical, volume and running in the mountains’. It will definitely help, but don’t underestimate how beneficial building your overall running fitness can be, whether that be with hill intervals or track workouts. I do a lot of volume and time in the mountains coming into big goal races, but always make sure I still feel like I’m within a strong road marathon fitness, maintaining some good structured workouts at pace. There might be a lot of hiking in a steep ultra but often there’s a lot of running too and that’s where you really make up time.

3. MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE

Make sure you choose the right race for you. Don’t just enter the first race you find, make sure it’s a race, route and area that excites and motivates you. It will help keep the miles flying by and when you hit a rough patch (if you’re doing it right you will) you just have to look up from the trail, take in the views and the energy will start to come back.

HARRY RECOMMENDS:

HOKA SPEEDGOAT 4 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

Great cushioning, traction and ride for a long day out on the trails. I’ve always been a fan of the Speedgoat and have raced everything from fast 21km trail races, all the way up to long ultras in them. This will be my shoe of choice for UTMB this year.

CAMELBAK ULTRA PRO PACK

I’ve tried a wide range of different hydration vests to find the best fit and functionality for race day. Camelbak Ultra Pro ticks all those boxes, lightweight with good access to pockets whilst still having enough volume to fit mandatory gear for a race like UTMB.

LEKI MICRO TRAIL PRO TRAIL RUNNING POLE

Not essential for every ultra, but when you’ve got plenty of steep climbing poles can really help take some strain off the legs and get you through the course faster. The Leki trigger shark system allows you to click in out of your poles quickly and gives good energy return when you’re hiking up those mountains.

 

7. GARY HOUSE

Competitive Ultra Runner & Coach  |  www.therunstrongclub.com

FOLLOW GARY:  Instagram

GaryPhoto credit: The Dragon’s Back official race photography

1. STOP STRETCHING & GET STRENGTHENING

Some still see it as controversial but it’s really not – there is enough evidence to confidently support the notion that if more people worked on being a stronger runner rather than a flexible one, there would be a lot less injuries. When you think about it, why would you need to be that flexible? Tying your shoe-laces or getting over a style maybe, but that’s it. Out of the thousands of runners I’ve coached, those that I have switched out stretches for strength work have seen nothing but positive results.

My BIG 5 are: Deadlift, Split Squat, Hip Thrust, Weighted Calf Raises. Single Leg Press / Lunges.

2. HAVE A RUNSTOPPABLE MINDSET

Running an Ultra means that you will spend a lot of time with only your own thoughts to motivate you both in training and on race day, so it’s very important to strengthen your mind. Most plan races as if it’s going to be the perfect day, but it never is! Work on things that could go wrong in the race, so it’s easier to problem solve when you’re tired.

The first step is to realise that there are both intrinsic (challenge, role model, build confidence) and extrinsic factors (medals / t-shirts / profile pictures)..…. you need solid reasons to train when its freezing, dark, wet or all three! – as humans we are hard wired to overcome and persevere, but you have to sometimes rediscover and practice it so that you are prepared on race day for the tough times.

3. DON’T LEAVE IT TOO LATE

a) Walk before you need to walk

b) Eat before you need to eat

c) Drink before you need to drink

d) S**t before you s**t your pants

 

8. JAREK TURIF

Ultra Runner  |  Winner of the 10 Peaks Brecon Beacons Ultra 89km, 2019

FOLLOW JAREK:  Instagram

Jarek Turif2 - Kong RunningPhoto credit: Kong Adventure

1. CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY

When preparing for an Ultramarathon, think of your training with a perspective of short, medium and long term goals. Do you have a specific area of weakness that you want to improve? Are you hoping to improve a personal best? Or perhaps you are recovering from an injury? Apply a perspective to your training plan in order to consistently build your form whilst maintaining physical and mental well-being.

We are all at fault for wanting to run more. Running more does not always mean running better!

2. CELEBRATE

Unless your name is Pau, Xavier or Kilian you are unlikely to stand on the podium of an International race, and as much as we like competition and racing, concentrate on what you do well and remind yourself what contributed to that success? Perhaps you managed to get out the door when it was pouring with rain outside, your training partner finished his/her first ultra or you feel the first rays of spring sunshine on your face. There are million reasons to celebrate running!

3. REST/TAPER

Think of all the months and years of preparation. All of the sacrifices of waking up early, declining the second helping of carrot cake (my favourite) and the hours spent on your feet. For your main races in the calendar, allow yourself to rest and absorb the training impact. Personally I have been following the 70/50/30 rule. This is the overall percentage of total running volume for each of the weeks before the race. Remember, It is always better to be slightly undertrained and rearing to run than over trained and too tired on the big day.

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10 Top Tips For Trail Running During Self-Isolation

10 TOP TIPS

During this difficult period of social isolation, it’s essential that you exercise to stay fit and healthy, for the benefit of both body and mind.

At present, government advice dictates that we each have one opportunity to train everyday, so you should really treasure this privilege. In other, less-fortunate countries, they have much tighter restrictions placed on social movement.

Please remember that the official advice and rules for UK citizens may change over the next few days and weeks, so it’s very important to regularly check any updates on the official government website.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Gov

1. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET

I’m sure that most people are feeling pretty worried, scared and anxious about what is currently happening in the world right now – I know that I certainly am. It’s really important to accept that the large-scale circumstances are completely out of your control and you have to adjust your mind-set and adapt your daily routine in order to cope with the incredible changes thrust upon our daily lives. But equally recognise that can all play our small part in the fight against the COVID-19. If we are all sensible, respect the rules and each do our bit – it will make a big difference to slowly down the spread of the virus. It’s good to talk, so make sure you chat to others members of your household about how you’re feeling (pick up the phone if you’re on your own).

This is why it’s so important to make the most of your running and training. Exercise will reduce your anxiety and negative thoughts whilst enjoying some much-needed fresh air.

Forget training for any races that you had planned and instead focus on the here and now. Enjoy your exercise and stay fit – that is the most important thing right now!

 

2. CHOOSE THE BEST TIME TO RUN

This tip is especially important if you live in a busy, urban area. For example, try and run early in the morning to avoid other people going to work or the shops. Stay away from busy streets/areas and wherever possible, you must minimise contact and engagement with other people. Some people are much more fortunate than others because they might live in quiet, rural areas. Whatever your circumstances, be sensible and use a common sense approach when it comes to exercising.

It is not advisable to travel/drive anywhere to exercise. Leave your car where it is and either run from home or exercise inside. Reduce the chance of seeing other people by running with a nearby radius of your home.

 

3. CHOOSE A QUIET ROUTE/TRAILS

Avoid popular trails, paths and ‘hotspots’. Study a map of the local area and choose a route where you are less likely to see/pass other people. Instead, study a map of the local area and plan a route where you are less likely to come into contact with anyone. For example, apps like KOMOOT and ALL TRAILS, will show you a map of all the trails in your local area. You can also have some fun in the build up to a run by planning new routes and exploring hidden trails. Websites such as Suunto Movescount will also allow you plan a route using mapping software.

Strava has also updated its features so help you find local routes, most of which are reasonably short in length and always use safe and well-established trails. In addition to this, you can now log up to 32 different activities, to include exercises such as Yoga, planking, crunches or even cleaning the house and gardening! The only limit is your imagination (and government regulations!)

 

4. KEEP IT INTERESTING

Challenge yourself. You could create a short local route (5k for example) and try to better your time whenever you run it. You could even challenge your family and friends (who live nearby) to try and beat your time, or run the route in reverse to keep things interesting and varied. Create a Strava segment/s to monitor and track progress. To set up a segment on Strava, you need to access the website on your computer or laptop. Click on the ‘Overview’ option for an activity you’ve already completed and select ‘Create Segment’ (see graphic below). Strava will then guide you through the remainder of the process.

Another thing I’ve been doing is trying to find a new local trail every time I go for a run – there are plenty of routes where I live and I’m safely exploring the local area by finding one trail at a time.

Segment 2Pictured above: How to create a segment in Strava

5. TRAIN ALONE/OR ONLY WITH OTHER HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS

In order to minimise the spread of the virus – do not arrange to meet and train with friends or groups of people. If you do see another runner or cyclist on the trail, then make sure you adhere to the 2m rule as recommended by the government. It is OK to train with other members of your household, but it might also be an opportunity for you to escape from the confines of your home and get some much needed fresh air. Perhaps even take it in turns to exercise with people in your house. Enjoying time to yourself will help to relieve tension and stress in this difficult period of social isolation. It’s also good to have a break from the news, the internet and social media!

 

6. DON’T TRAIN TOO HARD OR RUN TOO FAR

The rigors of long distance running temporarily weaken your immune system. Look after yourself and manage your training sensibly.

Currently we are allowed to train once a day to help us improve our physical and mental health. There isn’t a limit on how long or far you can run, but common sense should dictate what is a reasonable and acceptable amount. You certainly don’t need to run a marathon every day – all races have been cancelled. Minimise the chances of seeing other people, by keeping your runs down to a sensible distance and don’t flout the rules by running more than once a day.

 

7. ALWAYS TELL SOMEONE ELSE WHERE YOU ARE GOING

Safety first – tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be out. Ideally take a phone with you and if you are going up a hill or two, always carry extra kit in case of an emergency – racepack/bumbag with extra clothing etc.

Now is not the time for heroics – don’t plan any runs that are dangerous or leave you feeling exposed. Save your ambitions of scrambling over Crib Goch or Jack’s Rake for the future. Minimise your risk of injury and exposure – you don’t want to put any extra pressure on our emergency services, especially if Mountain Rescue need to be called out. Over the Easter weekend there were 20 call outs for Mountain Rescue teams in the UK. A smaller number than usual, but given the current circumstances, it’s still 20 too many.

 

8. LEAVE YOUR KIT AT THE DOOR

Leave your trainers next to the door (outside if possible). Don’t walk them through the house and when you’ve finished running, make sure you take off as much of your kit near the front door. Wash your kit as soon as possible. Try and avoid touching gates and stiles during your run – you could even wear gloves and take them off before you enter the house. Make sure you always wash your hands as soon as you get home.

Before I go for a run, I leave a basin filled with hot water, some soap and a hand towel outside the front door, so that I can wash my hands as soon as I return. I also spray the door handles regularly just to be on the safe side.

IMG_8104

 

9. TRAIN AT HOME

There are no restrictions on the amount of exercise you can do at home. Set up a room in your house where you can relax, stretch and workout. There are some fabulous online workouts that you can use for ideas and much of these do not require any equipment at all. I’ve been making the most of the free LIVE workout sessions on the Sportsshoes.com and inov-8 Instagram accounts.

IMG_8102 2Pictured above: This week’s Sportsshoes.com LIVE instagram programme

I’ve downloaded an app called the 30 Day Ab Challenge and I’m currently at day 21. Regrettably I started on the Intermediate level and 5 days into the exercises I was really starting to suffer. Unless you already have a strong core and a decent set of abs, I’d definitely recommend starting at the beginner level!

Pictured above: The 30 Ab Challenge App

I also have a chin-up bar which hangs on the frame of my bedroom door. Our ‘house rules’ dictate that you must do at least 5 pull-ups every time you walk underneath it. Unfortunately this means that I try and avoid going upstairs at all costs. I’ve also walked head first into the chin-up bar more times than I’ve actually done pull-ups. My top safety tip is to hang a tea towel over the bar whenever you’re not using it, just in case!

If you are lucky enough to own a treadmill, exercise bike, turbo-trainer or weights, then you have everything you need at home. I’ve really been enjoying my treadmill sessions, mostly because I can watch films and documentaries on the TV whilst I’m running. There are some fantastic things to watch on Netflix at the moment – check out the various documentaries on the Crossfit Games, The Least Expected Day and my personal favourite The Last Dance. Sources of inspiration can go a long way to helping you train that little bit harder, especially with the absence of races and competition.

188E0927-DC27-4247-8A91-5D9114DE6E3BPictured above: The Zwift app in full swing

Apps and software such as Zwift and RGT Cycling are other great ways to get you motivated. It’s worth pointing out that the latter is offering all premium features for free during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zwift now supports running and not just cycling, something that was a welcome surprise to me, especially as it provides free workouts and training plans (you have to pay for the privilege if you’re cycling). To connect to Zwift, you either need a very expensive treadmill, or a footpod with a bluetooth connection that links directly to the app. The other alternative is to buy a pair of shoes which have the Bluetooth technology built into the shoe itself. I’m lucky enough to own a pair of Under Armour HOVR Machina, which are pricey at £139.99 RRP, but it does mean that you don’t have to buy an additional footpod or an expensive treadmill with the latest up-to-date technology.

HOVRPictured above: The Under Armour HOVR Machina

 

10. BUILD STRUCTURE & ROUTINE

During this current lockdown, it’s important to build a good routine so that you don’t just spend all day sleeping, eating, drinking (excessively) or constantly glued to your phone or tablet.

There has never been a better time to learn a new skill, or improve an existing one. One thing that has really helped me is dedicating time everyday to learning and practising Italian. I’m using an app called Duolingo, which is free to use, but you can pay to upgrade to the premium version (without adverts) after using the free trial. There is another good app called Babbel which is currently offering 6 months free if you purchase a 12 month subscription.

I’ve also been spending more time in the kitchen cooking good quality meals. I’ve really enjoyed following actual recipes and being more experimental with my preparation and delivery (I always did wondered why we have a set of weighing scales in our kitchen). Although it has to be said that fish finger sandwiches are still my lockdown food of choice!

IMG_8050Pictured above: My experimental fish finger sandwich with mayo, pesto & something green called lettuce

To keep things fun and interesting in our house we recently played a game of Come Dine With Me, where everyone took it in turns to prepare, cook and serve a meal of their choice and then we rated them. It’s also a good way to spread the responsibility of cooking to more than just one person. Next week we’ll be taking on a Bake Off challenge. Any ideas of how to include fish fingers in a cake will be gratefully accepted.

Gardening, reading, writing, designing and making interesting cocktails are a few other things that have kept me thoroughly entertained during the lockdown. I should confirm that the cocktails have been received with mixed reviews, despite that fact they were all made from fish finger free recipes.

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The Sportsshoes Self-Isolation Competition 2020

Sportsshoes

*ENTRIES CLOSED 17TH MARCH 2020 *

*THE WINNER IS STEVE SMITHIES*

As we face difficult times during the current health crisis, it’s becoming more of a challenge to stay fit and healthy, especially with the cancellation of races, other competitive events and social gatherings.
So I’ve organised a free competition to try and put a smile back on the face of one lucky person.
To enter, simply answer the question below by submitting a short VIDEO or PHOTOGRAPH (with description/links/info if required), to be in with a chance of winning some fantastic prizes;

WHAT IS YOUR BEST IDEA/TOP-TIP FOR EXERCISING DURING SELF-ISOLATION?

All entries into the competition must be practical, safe and unique. Please ensure that your idea does not involve any unnecessary travelling or close contact with others. I’ve already seen plenty of great ideas on the internet, so I’m looking forward to seeing lots more!

PRIZE LIST
Everyone who enters will receive a 10% off discount code for Sportsshoes.com (with free P&P on all orders over £30).

The winner of the competition will receive ALL of these fantastic prizes;

MAIN PRIZE: (Courtesy of Sportshoes.com)

• 1 X pair of SALOMON SENSE RIDE 3 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES – AW20 (RRP. £119.99)

*In the unlikely event of these shoes being unavailable in your size, you will be offered a suitable alternative. Colours may vary.

PLUS!

• A set of 8 inov-8 rubber coasters.

• 1 X pair of Comfyballs boxers (for men) OR Comfy hipsters (for women)

• 1 X taster pack of Mountain Fuel

• 1 X pair of Strava running socks

• 1 X 10ml bottle of Organic Relief 5% CBD Oil

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Many thanks to SportsShoesinov-8 All Terrain RunningComfyballsMountain Fuel Sports NutritionStrava and Organic Relief CBD for kindly donating the prizes.

HOW TO ENTER
• Post your entry on Facebook, Twitter or instagram. Don’t forget to tag me in any posts so I can see them!

Facebook: @ ben.mounsey.75
Twitter: @El_CapitanoCVFR
Instagram: @ben_mounsey

• Alternatively, you can email me directly (ben_mounsey@hotmail.com). Please include your video or photo, along with a short description of your best ‘self-isolation’ exercise/workout tip (if required).
• Include the hashtags #Sportsshoes #NoFunStandingStill
• The best entries will feature on the Sportsshoes.com Running Hub, as part of a blog post showcasing the best tips/ideas for exercising during self-isolation.

ENTRY RULES
• Your entry must be your own unique idea.
• Only 1 entry can be submitted per person
• Entries are open from 23rd – 27th March 2020
The winner will be judged by the Sportsshoes team and announced via social media shortly after the closing date.

#Sportsshoes #NoFunStandingStill #selfisolation

The Sportsshoes #GetAPic Photography Competition 2019

Photography Competition.jpg

THE SPORTSSHOES #GETAPIC PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION 2019

**ENTRIES NOW CLOSED***

The competition winner is John Allan (ENTRY NO.1) for his photograph of Helen Buchan, taken during her Bob Graham Round attempt

1ST PLACE!

John Allen

If you’re like me, then you’ll love taking photographs during a run. So why not enter your favourite personal photograph of 2019 and be in with a chance of winning a free pair of inov-8 X-TALON G 235 !!

It costs nothing to enter and ALL entrants will be showcased online.

Prize

The winner of the competition will receive;

  • 1 X FREE pair of inov-8 X-Talon G 235 (RRP. £139.99)
*In the unlikely event of these shoes being unavailable in your size, you will be offered a suitable alternative.

How to Enter

  • You can enter via my Facebook page or email (ben_mounsey@hotmail.com). Please include a copy of your photograph, along with your name, a short description and the date it was taken (see example below).
  • Don’t forget to tag me in any entries on Facebook so I can see them!
  • LIKE & SHARE the post and include the hashtags #sportsshoes #GetAPic
  • All entrants will be showcased here on my website www.benmounsey.net and the winning photograph shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

EXAMPLE ENTRY:

BEN MOUNSEY – ‘A GRAN DAY OUT!’

Gran Canaria (1st March 2019)
DSCF0193.JPGThe best £5 I’ve ever spent on airfare. Blitzing and blazing the trails in Gran Canaria with Kirsty Hall, Sarah McCormack, Heidi Davies, Tom Adams, Jack Wood and Joe Baxter. A ‘Gran’ day out!

Entry Rules

  • Photographs must have been taken by the person entering the competition
  • Entrants can only submit 1 photograph each
  • Photographs must have been taken during a walk/run/cycle (January 1st – December 31st 2019)
  • Entries are open from December 29th 2019 – January 3rd 2020

The winner will be judged by the Sportsshoes team and announced via social media shortly after the closing date.

#sportsshoes #GetAPic #NoFunStandingStill #inov8

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COMPETITION ENTRIES 2019:

JUST TO BE CLEAR…THE ENTRIES ARE NUMBERED IN ORDER OF WHEN PEOPLE ENTERED THE COMPETITION – JOHN JUST HAPPENED TO ENTER FIRST! )

1. JOHN ALLAN – LEG 5 BG (WINNER!)

The Lake District (14th July 2019)

John AllenPhoto taken during Helen Buchan’s Bob Graham Round attempt 2019.

 

2. GIOVANNI TOWER TORRE – Rupert’s Trail

The Amalfi Coast, Italia (2019)

Gio.jpgExploring the paths of Rupert’s Trail, 2019 edition.

 

3. KRIS LEE – LONG AWAITED RUN

The Lake District (22nd August 2019)

Kris.jpg
The long awaited first run in my G260 mudclaws over Nab Scar, Heron Pike, Great Rigg and Stone Arthur.

 

4. NICK OWEN – (UNTITLED)

Llandwyn Beach, Anglesey (4th October 2019)

IMG_20191004_182124.jpgEvening run making the most of the daylight chasing my 8 year old daughter (in her x-talon 212) around the forest and sand dunes.

 

5. JAMES WILLIAMSON – “I SEE A LITTLE SILHOUETTE…”

The Panopticon (10th March 2019)

80810339_1380857452076011_5967134283515559936_o.jpgA cold run in fading light with my son Archie over The panopticon (a.k.a. ‘The singing ringing tree’)

 

6. PATRICK WARDLE – “LOO WITH A VIEW”

The Lake District (22nd June 2019 at 5:22am)

PatI call it “Loo with a view” supporting Tom on his BG, he smashed his target time of by 2 hours doing it in 20:09! It was a fab day in the hills.

 

7. CHRIS FARRIMOND – “DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME?”

The Lake District (6th April 2019)

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This year’s Coledale Horseshoe took place on my 35th birthday and was my first cat. AM fell race. As tough as the race is, it felt much harder than it should. Within minutes of finishing a sickness virus hit me and I spent the next 3 days in bed. I’m definitely going to remember my first A fell race.

8. STEVE BOYER – “WAVE YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR, LIKE YOU JUST DON’T CARE!”

The Lake District (3rd February 2019)

Steve.jpg
Here is my favourite running photo from this year for your competition.  It was taken using my basic Samsung A5 phone on the 3rd February.  I was doing a gorgeous, snowy reccy run of the Lost Shepherd fell race with some of my club-babes; Rikki Hammond, Aileen Baldwin and Angela Lee.  We had been descending towards Lumbutts and Stoodley Pike can be seen in the distance.

9. DECLAN BULMER – “HIGH UP IN THE HIGHLANDS”

Glen Coe, Scotland (2019)

Declan.jpg
Photo taken by me in Glencoe just off A82 on a post Ben Nevis race leg loosener.

 

10. AMJID KHAN – “SUNRISE ON THE CANAL”

The Rochdale Canal, Calderdale (29th December 2019)

Amjad.jpg
The sun rising through the trees on the Rochdale canal. Not a person in sight. Beautiful.
Taken on 29th December by myself whilst on a run.

 

11. GERALD GRECH – “TRAIL ON FIRE”

 Il-Majjistral Nature and History Park, Mellieħa, Malta. (15th December 2019)

Gerald.jpg

 

12. MARK ANTHONY ROGERSON – “UNTITLED”

The Lake District. (27th December 2019)

Mark.jpgThis was taken on a run up Gowbarrow fell including Aira Force. Being back on the fells to get views like this down Ullswater.

 

 

13. ALISTAIR NASH – “ALI’S GUEST RUN”

Addingham (27th December 2019)

Ali.jpgAli’s ‘Guest Run’ (new) rules…. beast your pals on the fells then find time for a cream tea…..in a ski lift….in Addingham.

 

14. PAUL MYERS – “X-CITED”

Somewhere in the UK (15th December 2019)

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This is how i felt on my 1st outing with my new X-Talons #jumpingforjoy

 

 

15. ALUN WOOD – “UNTITLED”

Kinlochleven, Scotland (19th September 2019)

Alun.jpg
Looking down into Kinlochleven, after we climbed to the top of the Salomon Skyline Scotland VK to install the radio repeater ahead of the weekend races.

16. JAMES PENSON – “UNTITLED”

The Lake District (6th April 2019)

James.jpg
The Coledale Horseshoe fell race. Martyn Price in shot – Great race, heading up into the grass line towards Grassmoor.

17. COLIN SMITH – “UNTITLED”

Derbyshire (10th July 2019)

Colin.jpg

The evening of the 10th of July on an away run with another running club through the beautiful Derbyshire country side. #whatatimetobealive #makingmemories

 

18. LAURENCE MARTIN – “UNTITLED”

Tong, West Yorkshire (10th November 2019)

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Autumn sunshine in Tong village. Catching some early morning rays of sunshine before heading back into the valley during my long run.

 

19. DAVE MIDDLEMASS – “UNTITLED”

The Lake District (26th February 2019)

Dave.jpg
The familiar view of Wasdale from Westmoreland Cairn on Great Gable. Amazing what you can get to see on just another Tuesday afternoon in February!

20. MARK BURTON – “SELFIE”

Gran Canaria (October 2019)

Mark2.jpg
Selfie from Gran Canaria in October.

21. SCOTT BAXTER – “CHRISTMAS PARTY”

The Lake District (November 2019)

Scott.jpg
Top of Cat Bells on Abraham’s espresso round “fell friends Christmas party”.

22. PAUL HAIGH – “CALDERFORNIA SUN”

Calderdale (20th September 2019)

Paul2.jpg
Perfect Friday morning for getting out pre-work with Andy Wright and we were treated to a cloud inversion in the valley below Norland moor.

23. DOUGIE ZINIS – “PADDY POWER”

North Wales (4th August 2019)

Dougie.jpg
Leg 5 of my Paddy Buckley Round.

24. BOB HOWARD – “UNTITLED”

Calderdale (November 2019)

Bob.jpg
Sunrise at Crow Hill, Midgley Moor on an icy November morning with Martin Howard.

25. MATT KAY – “SUNSET ON ALPHIN”

Dovestones (2019)

Matt.jpg

We’ve not had a massive amount of snow this year, but when it comes, I just love getting out in it. I went for a run around Dovestones to clear my head after getting signed off work and this did the trick. No one else around, quiet and peaceful, awesome! The sun started setting as I reached the trog point at Alphin and the light was just right. No filters needed!!

26. JO DANIELS – “AGGIE IN HER INOV-8’S”

Unknown location (29th December 2019)

Jon.jpg
Halfway up and halfway down. Blowing the cobwebs away with my daughter, Aggie in her inov-8’s.

27. NILS PERSSON – “TOP OF THE WORLD”

SKIPTON, NORTH YORKSHIRE (18th December 2019)

Nils.jpg
Walking up Pinhaw Beacon – near Skipton in blanket snow with my running partner (dog Stanley) and his new best friend (golden retriever Puppy Flo!). Flo (Florence) is a new sole-mate for Stanley having sadly recently lost his mum (Olive) to cancer!
A special photo for me because it links in running with my love of dogs, their love of running, the amazing Yorkshire Dales and the start of a new chapter.

28. HARLEY BEECROFT – “UNTITLED”

CALDERDALE (August 2019)

Harley.jpg
Me and my running buddy pounding the moor above Midgley during the ‘heatwave’ (that never happened) in August 2019.

29. ROB OWEN – “UNTITLED”

SNOWDON, NORTH WALES (24th December 2019)

Rob.jpg
Heading up Snowdon on the miners track, Christmas Eve run.

30. ANDY HOLDEN – “COASTING”

THE LAKE DISTRICT (January 2019)

Andy.jpg
Winter Fell Running with a Sea View – and Ingleborough too!
Kendal Winter League, Birkrigg Common, Ulverston.

31. CARMINE DE GRANDIS – “UNTITLED”

THE LAKE DISTRICT (2019)

82177514_10157296969462946_554983910073696256_n.jpg
Highlight of my year, running with my fell running club to Carrock Fell and playing a tune or two on each peak with my mountain accordion. Photo sent for the winning shoes competition. I was wearing Inov8 mudclaws g-260. Perfect for the conditions. Have a great 2020… there are some videos of the shenanigans on Facebook, including la bamba and more.

32. DAVID MILLER – “UNTITLED”

JURASSIC COAST, DORSET (August 2019)

David.jpg
Just close your eyes and enjoy the rollercoaster, that is life! 🎢

33. TONY MOUNSEY – “UNTITLED”

The Lake District (2019)

Tony.jpg
Blake fell, where the snow lay deep and crisp and even.

34. TOM COSWAY – “UNTITLED”

Pendle (December 2019)

Tom.jpgMy picture that I took of Rob Scott when it snowed on Pendle a couple of weeks ago and we went for a run!

35. WAYNE McINTOSH – “UNTITLED”

The Lake District (2019)

Wayne.jpgBeautiful Grasmere.

36. EUAN McLAUGHLAN – “UNTITLED”

Scotland (2nd August 2019)

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The photo was taken on the 2nd of August from the summit of Ben Vorlich. It’s munro my dad spoke about as I grew up and I’ve always been facinated by it. I finally scaled it that evening, in a cool 39 minutes with my trusty inov-8 Roclite, to be treated to some absolutely spectacular views! This photo, to me, sums up hill running – the beauty and elation of being on top of the world rolled together.

37. JEFF SINGLETON – “UNTITLED”

The Lake District (25th July 2019)

Jeff.jpg
‘High Hartsop Dodd for Breakfast’

38. PHILIP TAYLOR – “UNTITLED”

Blackstone Edge (18th November 2019)

Philip.jpg
Blackstone Edge on fire!

39. IAIN GORDON – “UNTITLED”

Edinburgh (26th June 2019)

Iain.jpg
Edinburgh under a blanket and earning that sunrise by getting a run in early.

40. ANDY SMITH – “THE CALDER VALLEY BATHED IN SUNSHINE”

Calderdale (2nd January 2020)

Andy Smith.jpgI took this photo because all around was dark clouds and land and the sun was breaking through the clouds and shining on the bottom of the Calder Valley.

41. ROGER TAYLOR – “UNTITLED”

The Lake District (December 2019)

IMG_20191201_121148.jpg
Kim Collision on his winter Bob Graham record, at the top of Yewbarrow.

42. LES CUPIS – “UNTITLED”

Snowdon (2019)

Leslie.jpg
Crib Gogh on day 1 of Dragons Back 2019.

43. LAURA WOODHEAD – “ONE MAN AND HIS DOG”

Embsay Crag, North Yorkshire (30th December 2019)

Laura.jpg
Enjoying the views from Embsay Crag.

44. JOHNNY PARSONS – “BONKING AT 19,110FT…

Peru (2019)

JohnnyParsons.jpg
The photo was taken in the 2019 MISTI SKY RACE. A race I have run twice. I always train on my own, so most of my pics are scenery stuff. I am not really a selfie man. This was taken at the summit (5825m, 19110ft in old money). I was goosed, it was baltic cold, the summit had taken a lot out of me. The descent is epic, a massive scree run that is like the Ben, but twice as long and 3 times as high! Anyway, it is a photo that means a lot to me 🙂
Plan B.jpg
(My alternative entry “Plan B” was taken on a training run the week before at around 5000m, the hill behind is over 6000m. The brand name of the local tuna does make me chuckle, childish git that I am!).

45. DANIEL TAYLOR – “UNTITLED

Somewhere in the UK (2019)

Daniel.jpg

My boy at his first junior park run.

 

 

46. SIMON TAYLOR – “UNTITLED

Great Hill, Lancashire (15th May 2019)

80592448_10157891730498629_2172022522738900992_n.jpgFell Running with my twin boys at The Great Hill with Darwen Tower and Pendle Hill, Lancashire in the background.

 

47. PETE LLOYD – “UNTITLED

Embsay, North Yorkshire (December 2019)

Pete Lloyd.jpgEmbsay Crag Maffetone run (walk), early December 2019.

 

48. ROB MORTI – “UNTITLED

The Lake District (14th September 2019)

Rob2.jpgThis is my favourite photo of 2019… This was taken by my fellow club mate Catherine Slater as I was starting to feel the pain on my Bob Graham Round on the 14th September. I am climbing the path towards the base of Bowfell with the sun rising over the Langdales and Rossett Pike. Was so proud to complete my round in 23 hours 3 mins.

 

49. BEN HARTLEY – “UNTITLED

Snowdon (13th September 2019)

Ben H.jpgLittle trot on Crib Goch. Set off at 3am to see the sunrise. Beautiful day.

 

50. JOCASTA FLETCHER – “UNTITLED

Calderdale (17th September 2019)

81645682_10158000379915956_9062983337953460224_n.jpgSunset on a Tuesday night pack run – Stoodley Pike West Yorkshire.

 

51. PAUL SUMNER – “UNTITLED

Wigan (28th October 2019)

81527167_2659079774160350_240442955108712448_n.jpgCommuting in Wigan, snapped whilst catching my breath on a run home from work.. Picture is the sunset across Scotsman’s Flash.

 

52. GLYNN JENNISON – “UNTITLED

The Lake District (2019)

IMG-20190623-WA0221.jpg
My favourite picture of the year. It was taken on top of Bowfell in the lakes . The last of a 10 peaks walking challenge completed by myself and some friends (some of whom had never seen the beauty of the lakeland fells) to raise money for a local charity close to our hearts (PAUL for brain recovery) . It was an epic day, and epitomizes friendship , camaraderie and hard work to me.

53. JOSEPH TWIGG – “STUDENTS CAN’T AFFORD CABLE CARS

Mer De Glace, Mont Blanc Massif, France (24th August 2019)

Joe.png
A stunning first ‘long run’ (~16km, 1200m) in the Alps, hitting the trails out from Chamonix with Joe Dugdale, Josh Liddle, Harry Bolton and Harry Greenbank. A lot cheaper (and far more fun!) than getting the cable car (Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2646658854)

54. LOVA CHECHIK – “UNTITLED

Aschau Im Chiemgau, Germany (26th March 2019)

IMG_20190326_102901.jpg
I had half a day to spare after a skiing holiday. So went for a  run in the low alps with majestic views – the snow got deeper in the second half, so I ended up in a mad rush to catch my flight.

55. CAREN CRABTREE – “UNTITLED

National XC Relays, Berry Hill (2nd November 2019)

Caren.jpgMy entry was taken at a cross-country race that I was walking round and spectating at.

56. ADAM COLLINGE – “LITTONDALE VIEWS

Yorkshire Dales (July 2019)

Adam C.jpg
inov-8 walk to the top of Darnbrook Fell.

57. IAN HUTCHINSON – “UNTITLED

Somewhere in the UK (2019)

Ian.jpg
Early morning view. Hill reps.

58. ADAM ADAMS – “UNTITLED

Peak District (31st December 2019)

Adam.jpg
Bleaklow at its beautiful bleakest. Reccy of Trigger, early morning,

59. RICHARD VEITCH – “UNTITLED

North York Moors (2nd July 2019)

Richard V.jpgThe Mighty Roseberry Topping – Esk Valley Fell Club Tuesday night training.

 

 

60. JILL HOLMES – “UNTITLED

The Lake District (2019)

Jill.jpg

Quick drink stop on the Kentmere Horseshoe, inov-8’s now worn out!

 

61. TAMSIN COOKE – “SUMMER SOLSTICE SUNSET

Calderdale (2019)

Tamsin.jpgSummer solstice sunset: a two-day walk. High up in Calderdale with James Cooke, Toby Sid, Richard Sunderland, Charlotte Wetton & Liam Edward Matthew Williams.

 

62. ADAM OLIVER – “UNTITLED

Scotland (27th October 2019)

Adam O.jpg
This one is a summit photo from an early morning trot up Meall Nan Tarmachan – The inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 got me up there in thick virgin white stuff. Zero filters.

63. SIMON WALKDEN – “ZAF’S FIRST ULTRA

Peak District (22nd June 2019)

simon.jpgMy favourite run of 2019 was with my good friend, Zafar Ali, when we ran through the night in the Peak District, starting at sunset on the shortest night of the year. This was the moment, descending Winnats Pass near Castleton, where Zaf passed through the 30 mile mark on a run for the first time.

 

64. CRISTINA SENSI – “UNTITLED

Song Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan (30th July 2019)

Cristina.jpgWho can say no to a fun run on vacation? Even if you are at 3000 m asl? of course!!

65. FABIO GIUDICI – “FOGGY FOREST TAPERING

Monte Generoso, Switzerland (2nd November 2019)

Fab.jpg

Mist is broken by a runner that silently emerges as a mythological beast.
Francesco Puppi’s last workout before the World Mountain Running Championships in Argentina.

 

66. CHERYL SPEIGHT – “UNTITLED

Darwen, Lancashire (2nd November 2019)

20191202_102822-01.jpeg
A run under a December sky over Darwen Moors.
@_cherylsp_ (tw)

67. KEN ‘SUPER-VET’ TAYLOR – “UNTITLED

Rossendale (2019)

Ken T.jpgTraining route in beautiful Rossendale, above Marl Pits Athletic Club.

 

 

68. DAVE CULPAN – “UNTITLED

Calderdale (20th December 2019)

Dave C.jpgSheepstones, above Hebden Bridge, a wintry morning.

 

69. MARK TAYLOR – “UNTITLED

Snowdon, North Wales (July 2019)

Mark T.jpgApproaching Snowden Summit.

70. DIANE MACDONALD – “UNTITLED

Penistone Hill, West Yorkshire (31st December 2019)

Dianne.jpg
2019 Auld Lang Syne fell race.

71. ANNA GRIFFITHS – “UNTITLED

The Lake District (8th September 2019)

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Taken during my climb up Helvellyn on the 8th September. Lots of fun and a beautiful day.

72. JONATHAN PUGH – “UNTITLED

The Isle of Man (1st January 2020)

Jon.jpg
My mate Gary Christian running the New Year’s Day fell run in the Isle of Man ….ran well too, brilliant effort and makes everyone smile, until he goes past them….

73. JON PARKIN – “UNTITLED

The Yorkshire Dales (19th April 2019)

jON p.jpg
06:11 sunrise leaving Hawes at the start of a Pennine Way run from Hawes to Tan Hill Inn and back again. Happy days in a beautiful part of the world.

74. RICH BEE – “UNTITLED

The Lake District (January 2019)

Rich B.jpg
Taken from the summit of Great Gable looking down into Wasdale during a winter round of the Borrowdale Fell Race route, I’d meant to do the same route the previous Xmas Eve, but my car conked out at a petrol station on the Nottingham ring road where the views just weren’t the same.

75. TOM MIDDLETON – “UNTITLED

The Lake District (13th May 2019)

IMG_20190513_192253-01.jpeg
Halls Fell Ridge – Some brutal hill reps up the Blen! Fell runners from Eden Runners training on Blencathra during the spring.

76. CARMEN DOJAHN-WOOD – “UNTITLED

California (2019)

Carmen.jpg
Here are two young deer spotted early morning while I was running in hills of my childhood on a trip back home to California.

77. ALASTAIR MACDONALD – “UNTITLED

Malham, The Yorkshire Dales (June 2019)

Alastair.jpg
Above Malham Cove. On a recce of the Pennine Barrier ultra route.

78. CHRISTEVIO RILES – “UNTITLED

Cornwall (2019)

Chris.jpg
Taken on a costal jaunt with Alfie, my Hungarian Vizsla near Constantine, Cornwall. One of the most beautiful areas of the UK.

79. JONNY NICHOLLS – “UNTITLED

The Peak District (29th November 2019)

Jonny.jpg
Kinder scout – a trip up there with a couple of friends. The weather was “kind” to us that day.

80. BEN WHITEHEAD – “UNTITLED

West Yorkshire (December 2019)

Ben W.jpg
Me and the smurf running leg 2 of Gathering Winter Fools relay.

81. PETE HILL – “UNTITLED

Lancashire (January 2020)

Pete.jpgHad a nice day out int’ near Mac Forest ..Teggs Nose – little shelter veiwpont on the top ….very different views to yours – Jodrel bank visible and the Matterhorn of the Peaks, Shutlingsloe ( not from its most photogenic side ) all of the Manchester plain of to the right … but it’s nice to be out.

 

82. SARAH WRIGHT – “UNTITLED

The Lake District (August 2019)

Sarah.jpgArthur’s Pike, August. First fell run after injury rehab.

 

83. ANDREW SLATTERY – “HISTORY IN THE MAKING

The Lake District (June 2019)

Andrew S.jpg
Paul Tierney on a brief coke break as night fell on Bannerdale Crags during his epic record run of the 214 Wainwright fells.

 

84. OWEN BARNICOTT – “UNTITLED

The Lake District (2019)

20190426_131755-02.jpegTrying to catch a pic of the wife during a drizzly run around Derwent. When the pooch made unexpected appearances.

 

85. MEL PRICE – “SEEING OFF 2019

Caernarfon, North Wales (31st December 2019)

thumbnail_image1.jpgSnowdon, Rhyd Ddu path, Caernarfon

 

86. EDDIE EVANS – “A DAY ON THE FELLS IS A DAY WELL SPENT

The Lake District (29th May 2019)

0DC94923-789F-45B9-A60C-11A1F5BDF59D.jpegBlack Crag, The Lake District.

 

87. SPANIEL BENTLEY – “BURNS NIGHT HANGOVER CURE

Scotland (27th February 2019)

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Having fun messing around in the snow during a club run after a heavy night of whisky, neeps and tatties.

88. JAMIE McILVENNY – “UNTITLED

Blackburn Moors, Lancashire (1st January 2020)

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At Wainwright Memorial up on Blackburn Moors at New Years : “I ventured on all the nearby hills and moors… and always with the summits as objectives” 

89. BILLY HAINES – “UNTITLED

Canada (July 2019)

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Just completed my first 50k (Buckin Hell in Canada) crossing finish line with my little boy who had waiting hours to finish with me.

 

90. RICK CRABTREE – “UNTITLED

Durness, Scotland (October 2019)

Rick.jpgThis was taken at Sango Sands, Durness , in late October, on my eve run whilst doing the North coast 500 trip.

91. ROB OWEN – “UNTITLED

Llyn Cerrig, North Wales (26th December 2019)

Rob.jpgSorry I’m currently semi-retired.

 

92. ED NEWBOULD – “A BREAK IN THE CLOUDS

The Lake District (5th September 2019)

Ed N.jpg
Faithful running buddy Ned taking in the Lakeland views. Catbells.

 

93. NEIL ‘BRAVESHORTS’ WALLACE – “A STORM BEYOND

The Yorkshire Dales (April 2019)

Neil.jpgThe 2019 Three Peaks Race, following the running snake to Ribblehead and back towards Pen-y-Ghent.

 

94. ROB REID – “UNTITLED

The Lake District (August 2019)

Rob R.jpgCat Bells, looking Derwentwater to Keswick and Skiddaw. Taken on a trip round the Newlands Horseshoe.

 

 

95. MIKE FANNING AKA. TFM – “KEEP YOUR EYES TO THE HORIZON AND YOUR NOSE TO THE WIND”

The Peak District (30th December 2019)

TFM.jpg
On the Gritstone Trail (East Cheshire – Western Edge of Peak District)

96. BENJI GRUNDY – “UNTITLED”

Walney Island, Morcambe Bay (31st December 2019)

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I took this photo on a walk on the beach at Walney Island on New Year’s Eve at sunset.

97. ALAN DORRINGTON – “UNTITLED”

The Lake District (20th July 2019)

Alan.jpgTraversing below Hobcarton Crag, trying to keep up with my 14 yr old, fleet of foot daughter. Quality time together in the fells.

 

98. LEON SEVERN – “UNTITLED”

The Yorkshire Dales (March 2019)

Leon.jpgOut for a solo reccie of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks race, with Ribblehead Viaduct in the foreground and Whernside in the background.

 

99. GAV DODD – “UNTITLED”

The Yorkshire Dales (November 2019)

Gav2.jpgIngleborough, 2019.

 

 

100. JOANNE AINSLEY PERRY – “TIME TO PLAY, BEFORE THE WORKING DAY”

Lancashire (August 2019)

Joanne.jpgEarly run towards the sun – 6am run (nr Wycoller).

 

101. CHRIS JACKSON – “UNTITLED”

Glen Coe, Scotland (September 2019)

Chris J.jpgGlen Coe, September 2019.

102. ROSE GEORGE – “FELL NINJA”

Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland (29th September 2019)

Rose.jpgNo kilt but a Scotsman in Scotland, atop Merrick in the hills of Galloway,, during Wigtown Festival.

 

103. ALEX FROST – “UNTITLED”

Penistone Hill, West Yorkshire (31st December 2019)

Alex.jpgLast race of the year no52 Auld lang Syne.

 

104. TOM PHILLIPS – “UNTITLED”

Chelva, Spain (30th December 2019)

Tom.jpgUnusual trail running near Chelva (Spain) Built to carry water by Romans 2000 years ago – now makes a sublime section of trail running!

 

105. JIM HARRIS – “UNTITLED”

Calderdale (2019)

Jim.jpg

The somehow even more handsome in silhouette 😉 Richard Crombie leaping a stile on a Calderdale Way Relay recce somewhere near Heptonstall, in that glorious part of the year where the sun-touched evenings begin to stretch on and on.

106. PAUL NORMAN – “UNTITLED”

Appletreewick, Yorkshire Dales (February 2019)

Paul.jpgThis was at Ted Mason’s Runners & Riders, February 2019. I had been hoping to ‘run’ round myself, but marshalled from a spot with the best view I have ever marshalled at (and I’ve done a few!!).

 

 

107. STEVE HOOK – “SCAFELL PIKE FROM SEATHWAITE”

The Lake District (29th October 2019)

Steve.jpg
We managed to catch a few days of magical sunshine in The Lake District in October.
Sometimes someone in front is great so you know where you are going. Sometimes you just think how on earth am I going to catch them up!!

108. PHOEBE HOOK – “LADSTONE ROCK”

Norland, Calderdale (30th December 2019)

Phoebe.jpg
This rock has always been my favourite running and walking destination. After a run up it’s a good place to sit, look at the view and contemplate life.

109. RACHEL LUMB – “WANSFELL PIKE”

The Lake District (4th July 2019)

Rach.JPG
Catching the best bit of the day and feeling on top of the world. It’s amazing which famous fell runner  you see on the top of a hill in a morning!

110. JOEL HOOK – “MYTHOLMROYD”

Calderdale (23rd February 2019)

Joel .jpg
Leg 4 of the Calderdale Way relay. Looking down the valley it must be one of the most beautiful views in Calderdale and a great run!

111. FINLAY GRANT – “UNTITLED”

The Lake District (27th October 2019)

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Taken from the bottom of the scree gully off the summit of Pike O’ Stickle, dropping 424 meters of elevation in less than 600m.

112. KIM ASHWORTH – “MOUNTAINS IN MY HEART”

The Lake District (31st July 2019)

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My partner Andy stopping to gaze over Great Langdale on a family run up Scafell Pike.

113. ANDREW WORSTER – “THE VERTICAL KILOMETRE”

Snowdon, North Wales (May 2019)

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Kim on our recce of Snowdon VK race in May 2019 with Y Lliwedd in the background. We ended up having a km refreshing dip in the Watkin pools at the bottom of the valley.

114. LIANNE LOMAS – “THE BOYS OVERLOOKING THE SOUTHERN LAKES AND MORECAMBE BAY”

Morecambe Bay (3rd January 2020)

Lianne.jpg
“If I had my whole life to live over again, I’d make all the same mistakes, only sooner” – Eric Morecambe

Trofeo Vanoni – Twinning in more ways than one

Trofeo Vanoni

A SPORT ON THE UP!

There is no denying that over the last few years, there has been a huge increase in the popularity and growth of trail and mountain running. As more people continue to hit the trails, the future of our sport looks extremely promising. This steep surge in participation has also risen significantly within the UK and Ireland, with an increased representation of our athletes in European mountain races. These are exciting times to be a mountain runner and I’m very proud to consider myself part of this growing movement.

Now don’t get me wrong, we’re certainly not the first runners from the UK and Ireland to venture into Europe in search of new and exciting races. Early pioneers, such as Billy Burns, Martin Cox, Anne Buckley and Angela Mudge, have been doing it for years and have enjoyed a huge amount of success.

“THE FUTURE OF OUR SPORT LOOKS EXTREMELY PROMISING…THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES TO BE A MOUNTAIN RUNNER

But this is different. Different because I’m not just talking about a handful of athletes, now we’re more like an army, invading Europe and entering races on mass. Inspired by the achievements of others, our ranks are swelling in size. Leading the line are the famous names of Robbie Simpson and Victoria Wilkinson, newly-crowned World Cup winners Andy Douglas and Sarah McCormack, Skyrunning champion, Holly Page, European champions and medal winners Jacob Adkin, Sarah Tunstall, Emmie Collinge and Emma Moran. The list goes on. British and Irish mountain runners are flocking to the continent to compete and we’re giving our European counterparts a real run for their money. The lure? Aside from the prizes, the chance to run in truly amazing places, compete against some of the best athletes in the world and most importantly, enjoy new and exciting experiences. There are literally hundreds of races out there and thousands of trails and mountains just waiting to be explored.

Take the Trofeo Vanoni relay, in Northern Italy, as one such example. In 2006, only one woman and one men’s team from the UK and Ireland entered the race. This year, a staggering total of ten women and nine men’s teams competed. It’s a huge contrast, but it’s also easy to see why this particular race has become so popular.

Start of the mens race 2019 - Giacomo MeneghelloPictured above: The start of The Trofeo Vanoni Relay 2019 (Credit – Roberto Ganassa)

THE HISTORY

Held annually in the town of Morbegno, the Trofeo Vanoni relay is one of my favourite events of the year. One of the things that makes this race so special, is that Morbegno is twinned with Llanberis, in North Wales. This partnership between the two countries is particularly strong and has been for many years – they are both connected and bound by a love of mountain running. Each year, the Italians send a strong representative team to compete in the Snowdon International, held annually in July. In response, the Snowdon race sends a team of athletes to compete at Trofeo Vanoni every October, which usually consists of the best-placed athletes in the Snowdon race from the UK and Ireland.

“TWO COUNTRIES, BOTH CONNECTED AND BOUND BY A LOVE OF MOUNTAIN RUNNING”

It’s a tradition that has been upheld for decades, a celebration of unity between the two towns. I find it incredibly refreshing to see this kind of friendship, with shared values and respect between two very different cultures, still existing and continuing to thrive in today’s modern society. It’s such a shame that things like this don’t happen more often in the world.

THE RACE AND THE RECORDS

The Trofeo Vanoni relay consists of three individual legs over the same 4 mile circuit. The route runs along the historic town centre and the ancient paths that lead to the tiny village of Arzo. Unfortunately, the women compete in a stand-alone race, on a slightly shorter 3 mile course, much to their disappointment. Perhaps in the future it might also be possible for women to compete in a relay style event – I certainly hope so.

To run a fast time* at Trofeo Vanoni, you have to be a complete runner, fast on the flat, super-strong on the climb and a demon descender – confident on every type of terrain and willing to push yourself harder than ever before. There is no respite, no time to take your foot off the gas and certainly no time to enjoy the views. It’s an eyeballs out and full-gas race from start to finish. Formula 1 pace is the only way to take your place on the podium.

The fastest team record at Trofeo Vanoni is 1hr28’55”, set by the famous Italian ‘Forestale’ team, in 2007. A staggering achievement, but when you learn that Marco Rinaldi, Emanuele Manzi and the great Marco De Gasperi were in the team, it’s easy to understand why. I have to say, it will take an unbelievably talented trio of athletes to ever break this long-standing record.

vanoni-2007-forestalePictured above: Record breakers! The Forestale Team, 2007 – (L to R) Emanuele Manzi, Marco De Gasperi and Marco Rinaldi 

Great Britain’s Emmie Collinge, is the current women’s race record holder, setting a time of 21’13” in 2015. She is one of only a handful of elite women to ever run under 22 minutes.

The men’s individual leg record is held by italian superstar, Alex Baldaccini, in a jaw-dropping time of 28’21” in 2012. He has dominated this race as an athlete for many years, posting three of the four fastest ever times, all well under 30 minutes. My best ever time is 30’21” in 2015, which pales in comparison. How anyone is able to run 2 minutes faster on that course is beyond my imagination, my lungs are still burning four years later.

Alex Baldacinni leading the climb - Maurizio TorriPictured above: King of Trofeo Vanoni, Alex Baldichinni, leading the climb, 2019 (Credit – Maurizio Torri)

Throughout Trofeo Vanoni history, only three men from the UK and Ireland, have ever managed to run sub-30 minutes on this course. It’s probably no surprise to learn that GB’s Kenny Stuart, arguably our greatest ever fell runner, has the fastest time of these three athletes. He completed the course in 29’15”, in 1985, currently the 11th fastest ever time in 62 years of this famous relay. It’s worth mentioning that Kenny also has the 14th fastest time, clocking 29’21”, in 1984. Joining Kenny on the all-time greatest list are John Lenihan (Ireland), 29’35” in 1986 and Mark Kinch (GB), 29’41” in 1997. Both outstanding achievements and quite rightly earning their place in the history books.

Although he didn’t break 30 minutes, Kendal’s Craig Roberts, is the only other athlete from our home nations to win the fastest leg at Trofeo Vanoni, recording a time of 32’17”, in 1999. Craig assures me that the times this particular year were slower than usual due to torrential rain and extremely slippy conditions. Even so, his name will be forever etched on the list of past winners.

Aside from the overall finishing times, there are also two other greatest ‘all-time’ lists, one for the fastest climb and the other for the fastest descent. This helps to make Trofeo Vanoni one of the most exciting and unique events on the mountain running calendar, because these challenges have incorporated two extra races within the main race.

Unsurprisingly, the overall course record holder, Alex Baldichinni, has the fastest time for the climb, clocking 19’30”, in 2012. Only 45 men have posted times below 21 minutes for the climb, since split-time records were first recorded in 2005. Robbie Simpson and Andi Jones are the only two athletes from the UK and Ireland to have done this, clocking 20’09” in 2017 and 20’32” in 2006 respectively.

Ian HolmesPictured above: King of the Descent, the great Ian Holmes, Trofeo Vanoni, 2005 (Credit – Zee Holmes)

When it comes to the descent, English fell running legend, Ian Holmes, is the reigning king of the downhill. He has the overall descent record of 8’37” in 2007. Since 2005, only 29 men have dipped under the magical 9 minutes. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is that I am the only other athlete from the UK and Ireland to make this prestigious list, 8’56” in 2015, 19th place on the all-time list.

Ian Holmes passes to Ben Mounsey 2018 - Roberto GanassaPictured above: Team inov-8 at Trofeo Vanoni 2018 – The legend Ian Holmes passing me the baton at the end of leg 1 (Credit – Roberto Ganassa)

Alongside from these notable performances, our home countries have actually enjoyed far more success in the women’s race. In fact we’ve celebrated six different individual winners since 1984. Diane Ellerton (GB) was our first female victor in 1985, with a time of 24’08”, briefly holding the record for a year. Then along came GB’s Carol Haigh (now Greenwood) in 1986, setting an outstanding record of 21’48”, which lasted for 31 years, until it was finally broken by the talented Czech athlete, Anna Pichrtova in 2007 and now more recently, by Emmie Collinge in 2015. Other winners from the UK and Ireland include Susan Dilnot (GB), 23’32” in 1988, Tricia Calder (Scotland), 23’54”, in 1990, Anne Buckley (GB), 24’18” in 1991 and Carol Haigh (again!), 23’21” in 1993.

THE MAGIC OF MORBEGNO

For me, this race is special in many ways. It’s a truly unique event, both amazing to race as an athlete and extremely exciting to watch as a spectator.

THE CROWD ROARING YOUR NAME, URGING YOU TO GO FASTER…THE DEAFENING SCREAMS OF “DAI, DAI, DAI!!!” RINGING LOUDLY IN YOUR EARS”

There are a number of key locations from which the action can be seen. It’s possible to watch the runners at various points on both the climb and descent, despite it being a circular route, and the lead usually changes several times during the race. It’s also the biggest annual athletic event in Morbegno, the whole town becomes completely immersed in the action. The local athletic club, CSI Morbegno, host the event and they do an amazing job in accommodating all of the teams, making sure everyone involved feels extremely welcome. The race organiser Cristina Speziale, deserves a special mention for her efforts, always working tirelessly before, during and after the event.

Sarah McCormack - Angelo TestaPictured above: Sarah McCormack – The Snowdon Team, at Trofeo Vanoni 2019 (Credit – Angelo Testa)

When race day finally arrives, the atmosphere is absolutely electric. Hundreds of people gather in the streets to spectate and cheer for their favourite athletes and teams. Imagine busy sections of a Tour De France climb and you’re somewhere close. As a competitor, you cannot ignore the waves of excitement and huge surges of adrenaline coarsing through your body. It’s an amazing feeling and what I really love most about Trofeo Vanoni. The crowd roaring your name, urging you to go faster and the deafening screams of “Dai, dai, dai!!!” ** ringing loudly in your ears.

The race route has a real mix of everything, including a huge variation in terrain, from tarmac, to mud, grass, tracks, cobbles and rocks. It’s full of twists and turns, steep climbs, sharp and technical descents, fast running, big jumps and plenty of challenge, all of which leaves you feeling like you’ve just completed an assault course by the finish. The organisers have certainly managed to pack a lot of excitement in to such a short race. One of the hardest decisions is actually deciding what kind of footwear to wear! Some people prefer to compete in road shoes, others wear trail and some even choose fell shoes for increased grip. In my opinion, it depends entirely on the weather and October in Northern Italy can be very unpredictable. I usually travel with three pairs of racing shoes just to be on the safe side.

Ben Mounsey - Maurizio TorriPictured above: Tackling the descent! Trofeo Vanoni 2019 (Credit – Maurizio Torri)

Aside from race records and most importantly, Trofeo Vanoni is a race that brings people together; athletes of all ages, disciplines, abilities and nationalities. You don’t have to be an Alex Baldaccini or an Emmie Collinge to take part. It’s a celebration of mountain running, one of the last big events on the mountain running calendar – a chance to run as part of a team, experience the wonderful Italian culture, make new friends and race against some of the finest athletes in the world. Anyone can compete and everyone can enjoy the spectacle, as both an athlete and/or a spectator. It represents everything that is good about the sport and in my opinion it’s the perfect advertisement for mountain running.

THE 62nd TROFEO VANONI, 2019

This year, the UK and Ireland almost celebrated our first female winner since Collinge in 2015. Irish superstar, Sarah McCormack, was only 7 seconds behind winner Lucy Murugi in an inspired performance, both women within a whisker of the record. Murugi clocking a time of 21’16”, McCormack 2nd in 21’23” and Elise Poncet of France, 3rd in 21’28”. Only 12 seconds separated the top 3 women. Also making the top ten were Scout Adkin, Scotland, 8th in 23’04” and Kelli Roberts, Snowdon Race Team, 10th in 23’19”. I think it’s only a matter of time before we celebrate another female winner from the UK or Ireland, and based on this performance, I’d put good money on McCormack achieving this goal in 2020. Perhaps Emmie Collinge will make a return, in a bit to break her own record? Or maybe even Victoria Wilkinson, Sarah Tunstall or Heidi Davies? All of these talented athletes certainly have the potential to win this race.

Lucy Murigi Winner 2019 - Roberto GanassaPictured above: Lucy Murigi breaks the tape to take the win, Trofeo Vanoni 2019 (Credit – Roberto Ganassa)

As for the men’s race, unsurprisingly, it was once again dominated by the Italians. Team Valle Brembana, took the victory from a strong Valle Bergamasche, both teams stacked full of Italian national athletes, including the record holder Baldacinni, who formed part of the winning trio. France, the previous winners in 2017 and 2018, could only manage third place, despite an outstanding team performance. The Snowdon race team, were the first trio to cross the line from the UK and Ireland. They finished in 6th place, with a team consisting of Joe Baxter, Michael Cayton & Zak Hanna. They were closely followed by team inov-8 UK, which included Jack Wood, Tom Adams and myself, finishing in 9th position and putting the high standard of competition in perspective.

There were also a handful of other teams from Wales, Scotland and Ireland, who all performed strongly.

Winners Atheletica Brambana - Giacomo MeneghelloPictured above: Nadir Cavagna at the finish, as Valle Brembana win Trofeo Vanoni 2019 (Credit – Roberto Ganassa)

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Only one team from the UK or Ireland, has ever won this prestigious trophy – the Snowdon race team consisting of Ian Holmes, Lloyd Taggart and Will Levett, in 2005. A few others have come close, but will we ever celebrate another winning team?

IMG_5715Pictured above: Rule Brittania! The Snowdon Race Team, 2005 – (L to R) Lloyd Taggart, Will Levett and the great Ian Holmes (Credit – Zee Holmes)

One positive to take from this year’s race is that we had more teams entered in 2019 than ever before, and if our participation in European mountain races continues to rise, then who knows? It will be a huge task to overcome the sheer strength and dominance of the Italian and French teams. Perhaps a Scottish dream team combining the super-powers of Simpson, Adkin and Douglas could finally give the Italians a run for their money? Let’s wait and see what next year’s edition of Trofeo Vanoni will bring. You might even see your own name and team on the start list for 2020.

One thing is for certain, I can guarantee there’ll be plenty of entries from the UK and Ireland.

Visit the website www.trofeovanoni.it for all other information, including results and entry details.

* Sub-30 minutes is a time generally considered to be worthy of making the ‘all-time’ greatest list for this event.  
** This basically translates as “Go, go, go!!!” in English, not “Die, die, die!!!”, as I originally first thought and certainly nothing to do with the feeling of hatred towards Brits in relation to Brexit 😉

 

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