The Sportsshoes #GetAPic Photography Competition 2019

Photography Competition.jpg



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


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.


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 ( 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 and the winning photograph shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



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

Facebook | Twitter | Strava | Instagram





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.



The Lake District (22nd August 2019)

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



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.



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’)



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.



The Lake District (6th April 2019)

2019-09-23 08.17.26 1.jpg
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.


The Lake District (3rd February 2019)

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.


Glen Coe, Scotland (2019)

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



The Rochdale Canal, Calderdale (29th December 2019)

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.



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




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.




Addingham (27th December 2019)

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



Somewhere in the UK (15th December 2019)


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




Kinlochleven, Scotland (19th September 2019)

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.


The Lake District (6th April 2019)

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


Derbyshire (10th July 2019)


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



Tong, West Yorkshire (10th November 2019)

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



The Lake District (26th February 2019)

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!


Gran Canaria (October 2019)

Selfie from Gran Canaria in October.


The Lake District (November 2019)

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


Calderdale (20th September 2019)

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.


North Wales (4th August 2019)

Leg 5 of my Paddy Buckley Round.


Calderdale (November 2019)

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


Dovestones (2019)


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!!


Unknown location (29th December 2019)

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


SKIPTON, NORTH YORKSHIRE (18th December 2019)

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.


CALDERDALE (August 2019)

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


SNOWDON, NORTH WALES (24th December 2019)

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


THE LAKE DISTRICT (January 2019)

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



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.



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


The Lake District (2019)

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


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!


The Lake District (2019)

Wayne.jpgBeautiful Grasmere.


Scotland (2nd August 2019)

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.


The Lake District (25th July 2019)

‘High Hartsop Dodd for Breakfast’


Blackstone Edge (18th November 2019)

Blackstone Edge on fire!


Edinburgh (26th June 2019)

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


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.


The Lake District (December 2019)

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


Snowdon (2019)

Crib Gogh on day 1 of Dragons Back 2019.


Embsay Crag, North Yorkshire (30th December 2019)

Enjoying the views from Embsay Crag.


Peru (2019)

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!).


Somewhere in the UK (2019)


My boy at his first junior park run.




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.



Embsay, North Yorkshire (December 2019)

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



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.



Snowdon (13th September 2019)

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



Calderdale (17th September 2019)

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



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.



The Lake District (2019)

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.


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

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:


Aschau Im Chiemgau, Germany (26th March 2019)

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.


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.


Yorkshire Dales (July 2019)

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


Somewhere in the UK (2019)

Early morning view. Hill reps.


Peak District (31st December 2019)

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


North York Moors (2nd July 2019)

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




The Lake District (2019)


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



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.



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.


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.



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!!


Monte Generoso, Switzerland (2nd November 2019)


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.



Darwen, Lancashire (2nd November 2019)

A run under a December sky over Darwen Moors.
@_cherylsp_ (tw)


Rossendale (2019)

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




Calderdale (20th December 2019)

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



Snowdon, North Wales (July 2019)

Mark T.jpgApproaching Snowden Summit.


Penistone Hill, West Yorkshire (31st December 2019)

2019 Auld Lang Syne fell race.


The Lake District (8th September 2019)

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


The Isle of Man (1st January 2020)

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….


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.


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.


The Lake District (13th May 2019)

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


California (2019)

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


Malham, The Yorkshire Dales (June 2019)

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


Cornwall (2019)

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


The Peak District (29th November 2019)

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


West Yorkshire (December 2019)

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


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.



The Lake District (August 2019)

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



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.



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.



Caernarfon, North Wales (31st December 2019)

thumbnail_image1.jpgSnowdon, Rhyd Ddu path, Caernarfon



The Lake District (29th May 2019)

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



Scotland (27th February 2019)

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


Blackburn Moors, Lancashire (1st January 2020)

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” 


Canada (July 2019)


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



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.


Llyn Cerrig, North Wales (26th December 2019)

Rob.jpgSorry I’m currently semi-retired.



The Lake District (5th September 2019)

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



The Yorkshire Dales (April 2019)

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



The Lake District (August 2019)

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




The Peak District (30th December 2019)

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


Walney Island, Morcambe Bay (31st December 2019)

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


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.



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.



The Yorkshire Dales (November 2019)

Gav2.jpgIngleborough, 2019.




Lancashire (August 2019)

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



Glen Coe, Scotland (September 2019)

Chris J.jpgGlen Coe, September 2019.


Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland (29th September 2019)

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



Penistone Hill, West Yorkshire (31st December 2019)

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



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!



Calderdale (2019)


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.


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!!).




The Lake District (29th October 2019)

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!!


Norland, Calderdale (30th December 2019)

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.


The Lake District (4th July 2019)

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!


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!


The Lake District (27th October 2019)

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


The Lake District (31st July 2019)

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


Snowdon, North Wales (May 2019)

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.


Morecambe Bay (3rd January 2020)

“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


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.


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)


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.


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 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 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.


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 and 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.


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)


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 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 😉


Facebook | Twitter | Strava | Instagram

Supported by Sportsshoes | Mountain Fuel | Suunto | inov-8 | Comfyballs | Strava




X-Talon G235_3

inov-8 first launched the X-Talon back in 2008 and I’ve been racing in this range of shoe ever since. Like all fans of inov-8, I’ve been waiting patiently for the release of the new X-Talon G 235 and I’m delighted to say that they do not disappoint.

For me, the G 235 is a shoe that combines the very best features of the X-Talon 210 and the X-Talon 230. It’s a perfect hybrid version of both successful models.

I love the 210’s because they’re so lightweight and the grip is outstanding. However, this love does come at a price. They only usually last about 200-250 miles and I wear out quite a few pairs over the length of a season. This is where the G 235 impress. Not only are they comfortable and lightweight, they’re built to last and don’t need ‘wearing in’. They also offer a similar protective quality and feel to the X-Talon 230. The upper materials are made from hard wearing ballistic nylon, with a black printed rubber rand wrapped around the front of the shoe. It’s worth mentioning that, like the 230, there is a rock plate built into the mid-sole, for additional protection against sharp rocks. The combination of these materials and protective features make the new X-Talon G 235 the ideal choice for running over extreme and rugged terrain.


For a lightweight racing shoe, the G 235 is extremely comfortable to wear. The precision fit suits the shape of my feet and I like the split shape of the gusseted* tongue (*this means that it’s been stitched to the inside of the shoe and helps prevents mud and debris getting in). Both of these features really help to improve the fit and feel of the shoe.

I also love the fact that I raced in these shoes straight out of the box. I first wore them for the Hodgson Brothers Relay in the Lake District in October. I slipped them on 10 minutes before the race and quickly made the decision to use them. They immediately felt comfortable and the fit and feel gave me enough confidence to race in them before testing at length.


The G 235 is a tough-wearing, high-performing lightweight racing shoe. I’ve worn this shoe to run in the Lakeland Fells, the Yorkshire Dales, the Alps, the Pyrenees and also on the Costa Blanca trails. It is primarily built to tackle soft and muddy ground, but it easily handles all other types of extreme terrain, from wet mountain rock to hard-packed trails. So far I’ve clocked over 200 miles, with minimal signs of wear. This improved durability is undoubtably the most impressive feature of the new X-Talon G 235. The combination of Graphene with STICKY GRIP rubber means that they will now last up to 50% longer than previous X-Talon models and most importantly, with an upper that’s just as strong.  I would predict that I’ll get at least 600-750 miles out of the G235 before I’ll need to consider replacing them.

So if you need an off-road racing shoe that’s lightweight, comfortable, durable, and protective, with unrivalled grip across all types of off-road terrain, then look no further – you’ve just found exactly what you’re looking for.


WEIGHT: 235g (average over size curve)

DROP: 6mm


WIDTH (1-5): 2 Precision fit

RECOMMENDED FOR: Racing on serious off-road terrain



Facebook | Twitter | Strava | Instagram

Supported by Sportsshoes | Mountain Fuel | Suunto | inov-8 | Comfyballs | Strava



The World of the Vertical Kilometer®

A VK (Vertical Kilometer®) is no ordinary race. The rules are simple – run uphill as fast as you possibly can! Every VK is different and unique, but MUST always include 1000m of climb, in less than 5km of distance.

Such is the popularity of this type of race, there is now even a Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit, with fixtures all over the globe, most commonly held in the mountains of the Alps and Pyranees. There are now even two Vertical Kilometer® races in the UK – the Salomon Mamores VK and the Snowdon VK.

There is even such thing as a K3, a triple VK race, with a jaw-dropping continuous climb of 3000m. I wouldn’t recommend tackling this beast until you’ve completed a standard VK. However, if you are interested, check out this Red Bull blog for more info.

Trentapassi-VK-2017The Trentapassi VK, Lago d’Iseo, Italy 2017. Photo credit: Lessons in Badassery

In 2017, Italian Philip Goetsch set a new world record for the discipline at the Kilomètre Vertical® de Fully, in Switzerland. At 1.9km and reaching an altitude of 1,500m, he completed the 1,000m lung-busting ascent in an astonishing 28’53”!!!

Earlier this year, at the Vertical® du Grand Serre, in France, in a super-human time of 34’01”, Axelle Gachet-Mollaret became the new women’s world record holder for the VK, smashing her own previous WR from 2018. This particular race is famously known as the world’s shortest and steepest VK, with an incredible 1,000m of vertical climb over a distance of just 1.8 km!

PizTri VertikalThe Piz-Tri Vertical, in Malonno, 2018. Photo credit: Justin Britton

I consider myself to be an experienced trail runner, having trained and raced for most of my life. But it wasn’t until last year that I completed my first ever VK.

In all honestly, it was one of the toughest, most challenging and excruciatingly painful experiences of my entire life. It took me over 41 minutes to complete the 4km route – my lungs were burning, my legs were on fire and I was gasping for breath for the entire duration of the race…but in a strange and very sadistic way, I absolutely loved it!

For anyone reading this and still wanting to try a VK, there are a good number of reasons to sign up and take part. Firstly, they’re an amazing challenge – a race completely different to anything that you’ve ever done before.

To run a fast VK, it requires lots of training and maximal effort during the race, from start to finish. But you could always just run (or walk) for fun! They always finish at the top of a mountain and the panoramic views are always incredible. The PizTri Vertical, in Malonno, Italy, even has a mobile bar at the finish, serving Bèpete BAM mountain beer – definitely worth the effort to get to the top! Please remember that at some point you will need to return to the bottom of the mountain and drinking at altitude usually makes the 1000 metre descent more challenging than the uphill race itself.


  1. Practice makes perfect!

Power to weight ratio is the key to VK success. Training your body and legs to climb continuously at pace for 1000m takes serious commitment and effort.

Ideally, the best training is on a VK course or a hill over 1000m. It takes practice to train your body to climb for this length of time and you need to know how to pace your effort. However, if you live in the UK, then obviously you might struggle to find a climb over 1000m, especially if you live in England! In all the VK races I’ve competed in so far, I’ve always felt strong up until around 700m of climb and the last 300m is my ‘death zone’!

It’s also important to vary your training as running up and down too many long mountains all of the time is not always good for the specific demands of a VK. I would recommend regular hill reps, but varying the gradient, distance, terrain and speed, especially as every VK race is different and unique. Leading up to an event, sessions below 60 minutes will help keep you sharp and ready for race day. Check out this article for some ideas for hill training.

70692060_2352674458134741_6927103016550006784_nKirsty Hall competing in the Salomon Mamores VK, 2017. Photo credit: James Mackeddie
  1. Poles apart!

Most of the top European mountain runners use poles during VK races. That said, you don’t have to run with them! Poles help to balance your centre of gravity and are advantageous when gradients become much steeper, but only if you know how and when to use them. Personally, I’m no expert with poles, but I would recommend trying them if you’re serious about improving your climbing performance, particularly on the steeper VK courses. You will need to practice your technique before using them during a race. Check out this blog by Ian Corless for some handy tips. 

  1. Strength exercises!

All the best runners have a super strong core. It’s what drives everything during exercise and is essential when you’re climbing the hills. If you improve your core strength, it will help to improve your technique and ultimately this have a positive impact on your results. You don’t even need to go to a gym to improve your core strength, as exercises can be done in the comfort and convenience of your own home. Try and challenge yourself to doing a certain amount planks, sit ups, press ups, burpees etc. daily or a few times a week. There are lots of websites that provide good ideas and guidance on core and cross workouts for runners.

The more consistently you train, the easier it gets. My good friend, Peter Maksimow, Team USA international trail and mountain runner, has the perfect daily routine – 15 minutes of planking, 50 pull-ups, along with 160 pushups (2 sets of 80-with and narrow stance) and 320 sit-ups/crunches (varying types). His plank record is 2hrs 22min 22sec and he admits to drinking several beers during that time. No matter what he’s doing, or where he is in the world, he will always make sure he completes these exercises – even if it means planking on the floor in an airport!

Most importantly, you need a strong pair of legs for competing in Vertical Kilometer® races. Exercises such as lunges, calf raises, leg press, leg extension, squats and box jumps are all great ways to help improve your leg strength. Check out this simple strength plan from Runners World if you need a few handy tips.

  1. Treat your feet!

Running light = running fast in the world of Vertical Kilometer®. So it’s incredibly important to wear and use the right kit – this includes clothing, poles and especially shoes! My top recommendations are the inov-8 X-Talon 210 and the Hoka Evo Jawz. Both are incredibly lightweight and have unbeatable grip, especially the former.

Also look out for the new inov-8 X-Talon G 235 shoes, available to buy at from the beginning of December 2019. They share the same incredible grip as the 210 model, but with the addition of graphene in the sole, meaning they will last up to 50% longer. The uppers are also more durable, with greater protection from sharp rocks. They are my perfect choice for VK racing!

DF22ECBF-392F-491A-8B89-37CA8CAA4F3EThe Puig Campana VK, 2019.
  1. Have fun!

Choosing and racing a Vertical Kilometer® is tons of fun! There are loads of races to choose from and it will give you a great opportunity to visit somewhere new and exciting.

You don’t always need to race either. Some VK routes, like the 1000m climb to the summit of Puig Campana, in Alicante Spain, is marked with permanent signs. You can have a go at your own leisure, without having to compete in a race environment. Visit the official website of Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit to see the official fixtures for next season, or check out this blog on the Trail and Kale website, for some top VK recommendations.

Finally, just a word of caution…VK’s can be addictive and can seriously improve your health!

Facebook | Twitter | Strava | Instagram

Supported by Sportsshoes | Mountain Fuel | Suunto | inov-8 | Comfyballs | Strava


A Fell Running Obsession – Ben Mounsey

I’m not the greatest runner in the world and nor do I claim to be. In fact the more I think about it, I’m not even the fastest person in my house. But fear not, I do know a few things about the sport and I can spin a good yarn – it’s safe to say that I have more than a few stories to tell.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve competed in some pretty epic races, visited some amazing countries, ran up and down some spectacular mountains, and I’ve trained and raced with the very best mountain runners in the world. So if you fancy a few training tips, travel advice, or just simply enjoy listening to tales of adventure (mostly amusing and self-deprecating), then this event on Tuesday 12th of March, at the Ellis Brigham store in Manchester at 7pm, might just be of interest…

Quarry3Andy Jackson Photography



Mounsey VS Mudclaw


The new MUDCLAW G 260 is inov-8’s latest running shoe to utilise graphene – the planet’s strongest material.

200 times stronger than steel, graphene has been infused into the rubber outsoles, making the 8mm studs stronger, more elastic and harder wearing.

In June 2018, I was given a prototype pair of the MUDCLAW G 260 and asked to see how many running miles I could put into them. Seven months later, I’ve managed to rack up a mammoth 1,100+ miles and counting (see photo above).

The revolutionary graphene-enhanced rubber compound used in the outsole of my prototype pair is the same used in the final version of the MUDCLAW G 260, which is on sale now at and via selected retailers. The only changes are in the upper of the shoe, where, following more rigorous testing, inov-8 have used our most durable materials to date.

BenMounsey_mudclawG. Photo by Justin Britton

Put to the test!  Racing in my MUDCLAW G 260 prototypes at a Vertical Km Race in Malonno, Italy. Photo: Justin Britton


As a brand ambassador for inov-8, I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the testing and development process for the new inov-8 MUDCLAW G 260.

Initially, I tested a number of different prototypes, before receiving a pair in June 2018 that I’ve been wearing for the last seven months.

It is worth pointing out that the shoes I tested were prototypes, so while the rubber outsole compound has not changed, there have been some changes to improve the upper materials for the final production model that is now on sale.

The first thing I noticed about the shoes was how super-comfortable they were. I have what I think are fairly normal shaped feet, perhaps a little skinny, but not too much. From that first feel, I instantly knew these were shoes I could use for both training and racing.

The grip is the most aggressive I’ve ever seen and the best I’ve ever tested. It’s given me more confidence than ever before to attack any type of descent.

With the sticky rubber having been infused with graphene and promises made that these outsoles would go the distance, I was super-keen to test their durability and lifespan. I wanted to see if they could cope with the rigorous demands of fell, mountain and trail running, and, of course, a high volume of mileage, all of which I logged on my Strava account.

Ben Mounsey sträva Mudclaw graphene shoes

Pictured above: Mileage totals from my Strava account, including the 1,123 miles I’ve put into my MUDCLAW G 260 prototypes

In fact, I saw the opportunity of testing these shoes as something of a personal challenge – could I use them enough to the point where they might actually wear out!? And so the battle began, Mounsey vs Mudclaw.

Over the last seven months my trusty pair of prototypes have travelled with me all across Europe. I’ve tested them on all types of terrain – from the hard, rocky ground of the Italian Dolomites to the snowy mountain peaks of the Swiss Alps, the loose, rough rock slopes of Mount Vesuvius and, of course, the soft, muddy fells of the UK’s Lake District.

Most recently, I wore them to complete the Dales Way (UK) – and 81-mile trail (muddy in places) from Ilkley in Yorkshire to Bowness in Cumbria. It was an easy decision to make – there is no other shoe that offers the same grip, comfort, grip and durability.

I know, yes, I’m an inov-8 ambassador and I rave about the brand’s products, but honestly, these are my favourite ever inov-8 running shoes. They are also the first and only pair I haven’t been able to wear out!

7 months, 1123 miles, 8 countries, 15 races, 226 runs, all weather, all terrain, 1 shoe

Spine Race kit - MUDCLAW G 260

The new MUDCLAW G 260 with graphene grip, available to buy now

The MUDCLAW G 260 shoes with revolutionary graphene infused (G-Grip) rubber outsoles, weigh just 260g, feature a 4mm drop (heel-to-toe differential) and a snug inner fit for foot stability. The super durable graphene-enhanced studs (which look more like fangs) claw through mud and soft ground, while also moulding and sticking to rocky, wet terrain.

The shoes are perfect for trail and fell runners, as well as obstacle course racers, orienteers and cross-country runners, all of whom compete in muddy underfoot conditions.

Runner’s World (UK) have just published their ‘first impressions’ review of the shoes. ‘When the apocalypse finally arrives, only cockroaches, Keith Richards and the inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 will survive’ – read it HERE.


Facebook | Twitter | Strava | Instagram

Supported by inov-8 | Powered by Mountain Fuel | Timed by Suunto

The inov-8 #GetAPic Sport Photo Competition 2018


The inov-8 #GetAPic Sport Photo Competition 2018

I’m delighted to announce, that the winner of the inov-8 #GetAPic Sport Photo Competition 2018 is…


For his beautiful photograph of a Bob Graham Round attempt, capturing runners as they climb the super-steep Steel Fell, from Dunmail Raise, in the Lake District.


A HUGE thanks to all those who entered, it was a very hard decision for the panels of judges to make. Of course, another HUGE thanks to inov-8 and James Appleton for providing the prizes and supporting the competition

Here are all the entries…

1. LEWIS DEAN – ‘Sheep are great on the descent!’

Underskiddaw, Keswick (6th July 2018)

SHEEP.pngThis was my first visit to the Lakes, I was absolutely astonished. Couldn’t believe and kept saying to myself, this is on my doorstep. I was there as a result of supporting my first Bob Graham Round, I was doing legs 1 and 2. I possibly pushed myself a little hard on the climbs to get ahead of the other chaps so I could try and snap a few photos. I felt like a tourist, which I suppose I was, it was incredible. This photo takes me back to climbing Skiddaw and I just felt incredibly blessed. I took a few more, but this one truly resonates with me and takes me back to that very first time in the Lakes.


2. LEWIS DEAN – ‘Dark side of Blencathra!’

Threlkeld, Keswick (6th of July 2018)

BLENCATHRA.pngLooking back and just seeing a silhouette of the mountain ridge looked incredible. Again, I feel a wave of nostalgia creeping over me as I look back on these photos. We were so lucky with the weather that day, no boggy terrain whatsoever, just dry ground underfoot making for an incredible descent. I was once again, having to speed up to catch the others as I was just completely overwhelmed by the beauty I was engulfed by as we made way into the ‘valley’.


3. LEWIS DEAN – ‘Be careful, disused mines ahead!’

Belmont, England (20th of November 2018)

MINES.jpgI’m not great with self-navigation and especially when it concerns a map and compass. I was attempting to traverse with a map and compass and a little memory of the Rivington Pike Marathon route. Needless to say I got lost and wondered into heavy marshland where I felt at any moment I could sink under the ground and be lost for ever. It was particularly concerning when I hit a sign that warned me of disused mines ahead, I soon found comfort in the GPS of my phone and wandered back to a safe track. This photo reminds me of that moment, realising, I’m incredibly inexperienced and have a lot to learn. I would begin to think further about how I’d be truly out of my depth should I have been in a location further a field, lost in complete wilderness without the means to find my way back. It’s allowed me to truly sit back and reflect on how I’ll need to gain more exposure to events like that, being uncomfortable is truly the feeling of learning. Here’s to 2019 and the year I’m able to confidently and comfortably navigate using a map and compass!


4. FINLAY GRANT – Upper Swaledale Valley (30th August 2018)

20180827_131341.jpgPhoto of the village of Reeth and the Lower Swaledale valley on a warm-up run of the course for the Reeth Show fell race, which I ran later in the day.


5. FINLAY GRANT – Reeth (27th August 2018)

20180830_123624.jpgPhoto of me and the Upper Swaledale valley in the distance from the summit of great shunner fell on a training run to the summit and back again.


6. ADAM OLIVER – Helm Hill, Kendal (31st October 2018)




7. PAUL HAIGH – ‘One man and his dog’.

Luddenden Valley, Calderdale (16th December 2018)




8. PAUL HAIGH – The Calder Valley (18th October 2018)

20181018_075846.jpgComing down from Crow Hill, Calder Valley, just after sunrise at 8am, with cloud still lingering on the hills.



9. EUAN BRENNAN – Scotland, 2018



10. EUAN BRENNAN – Scotland, 2018



11. EUAN BRENNAN – The Alps, 2018



12. STUART COWAN – Screel Hill and Bengairn, Scotland (17th December 2018)

View from Screel Hill looking towards the Solway firth - Stuart Cowan (2).jpgPhoto taken during a morning hill run over Screel Hill and Bengairn near Palnackie in Dumfries and Galloway. The view is looking towards the Solway Firth, Hestan Island and Auchencairn Bay.


13. STEPHEN SMITH – ‘The Mass Start’

Wainstalls Road, Calderdale (20th May 2018)

The Calderdale Way Relay, as we headed to the end of Stage 4, the mass start at Stage 5 saw the group of runners head over the skyline towards Shelf.

14. STEPHEN SMITH – ‘What’s that coming over the Hill?’

Skipton (11th February 2018)

GetaPic-2.jpgWest Yorkshire Winter League Race 4 hosted by Skipton AC, runners come over the hill following the climb up the golf course. It was a bit muddy!



15. STEPHEN SMITH – ‘Looks Like Snow’

Queensbury (4th March 2018)

GetaPic-3.jpgWest Yorkshire Winter League Race 5, Queensbury. The snow race, such a bleak day with the runners kit standing out amongst all the white stuff.


16. DAVE CULPAN – Hebden Bridge, Calderdale (1st June 2018)

I like this image as it was taken early in the day along the canal in Hebden Bridge whilst cycling on route 66.Very calm scene of a typical canal boat moored next to centre vale park in the heart of the Calder Valley.

17. DAVID GRIFFIN – Amalfi Positano Wine Trail (26th October 2018)

AmalfiThe gods parted the clouds on my recce run on the Amalfi Positano Wine trail race.



18. DAVE MIDDLEMASS – Sunrise on Latrigg (15th November 2018)

latrigg sunrise.jpg

19. DAVE MIDDLEMASS – Panorama of Chevin Chase crowds (26th December 2018)

chevin chase panorama.jpg



20. DAVE MIDDLEMASS – Kilnsey, Yorkshire Dales (28th August 2018)

DSC04391.JPGStart of Kilnsey Crag Fell Race from the top of ‘The Chimney’.

21. BECKY RENDELL – Jurassic Coast (November 2018)


I wanted to recce a coastal trail route so grabbed a new running friend and me, plus a generation, AKA my mum, and headed to the Jurassic Coast on a sunny November morning. We ran along the undulating South West Coast Path from Lulworth Cove, passed Durdle Door and I snapped this picture (out of breath and on my iPhone!) of them climbing the hill nattering away and admiring the view! Just as well we did because when we came back for the race a couple of weeks later we could’t see the sea it was so misty!



22. BRYN EVANS – Sunset at the Round Rotherham (20th October 2018)

IMG_5079.jpgThe nerves of my longest ever run were eased by a beautiful sunrise as the settled fog started to disperse. It set up a lovely long day of plodding.



23. BRYN EVANS – The Reward (28th December 2018)

We all hate injuries. My wife hasn’t been able to run with me for 8 months so we went for a test run Xmas day and then celebrated by going up Old Man Coniston a few days later fuelling ourselves with Xmas leftover sandwiches. Responsible recovery.

24. BRYN EVANS – Goodbye 2018 my old friend (31st December 2018)

A final long run of the year with plenty of climb in the West Pennines over Darwin Moor. No rain, just a chilly breeze. No pace watching, no thinking about work, just a run for fun after far too much indulgence.

25. KAMILLA KONCZ – The Old Man of Coniston (28th December 2018)

IMG_20181228_150145_319This was taken when climbing the Old Man of Coniston, with my two children. It was a wet and foggy day, but still a very enjoyable climb.



26. KAMILLA KONCZ – The Lake District (28th December 2018)

IMG_20181229_145916_496_resized_20190102_084143909.jpgThe one with the gingerbread was taken on 28 December during a hike around Elterwater, Hodge Close and Little Langdale. We had Christmas in the UK this year so I made some of my mum’s Hungarian gingerbread for a little taste of home.



27. KAMILLA KONCZ – The Hebden, Calderdale (January 2018)

IMG_20190102_203438_resized_20190102_084144909.jpgThis one with the snow was taken during The Hebden in January. There was so much mud too! It took me almost 7 hours to get around! Still going again this year, though…



28. RICH BALDWIN – The Bob Graham Round: Leg 4 (July 2018)

The following day the long standing record was broken but I’ll remember this day for longer, out on the fells with good mates in fine weather in the best place on earth.

29. RICH BALDWIN – Turner Landscape Fell Race 2018


The last climb, all downhill from here.




30. RICH BALDWIN – The Bob Graham Round: Leg 4 (July 2018)

download (1).pngKilian Jornet flying past the summit of Kirk Fell and over to Great Gable on his way to break the record for the Bob Graham round in July 2018.


31. GERALD GRECH – Lost in Sestriere (29th August 2018)

thumbnail_IMG_4396.jpgThe moment when I realised we were lost on a mountain bike trail in Valle Argentera, Sestriere, Italy at 2600m. The planned 2hour bike trip with 2French friends (father and son) who blindly trusted my guidance ended up in a gruelling 7 hour journey carrying our mountains bike through the woods including a very close encounter with an aggressive cow herd!



32. CHRIS MURRAY – Marsden Moor, Huddersfield (3rd February 2018)




33. CHRIS MURRAY – Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge (24th May 2018)

download (2).png


34. CHRIS MURRAY –  Ogden Reservoir, Halifax (14th May 2018)

download (3).png


35. JEREMY DOUGHERTY –  Cadillac Mountain, USA (1st January 2018)

thumbnail_image1 (1)

I live in Bar Harbor, Maine, USA, home of Acadia National Park which has steep, rugged, muddy mountains all clustered together, and surrounded by the ocean as we’re on a small island.  You can get in a great 50k with 20k in climbing here in about fifty different ways.
This is a pic from last new years day with local friends climbing of the highest peak on the eastern sea coast of the US, Cadillac Mountain.  It was 0 Celsius that morning and the surrounding ocean was full of sea smoke.  Nobody was in the park, but we are year round runners and embrace the elements here.  It gets real cold at times, but always beautiful.


36. JONATHAN COX –  Sgurr Alasdair, Isle of Skye (June 2018)




37. JONATHAN COX – near Annecy, French Alps (August 2018)




38. JONATHAN COX – near Annecy, French Alps (August 2018)



39. JIM HARRIS – Pennine Way (2018)




40. JIM HARRIS – Haworth, West Yorkshire (2018)



41. JIM HARRIS – Steel Fell, Lake District (2018)




42. SIMON WALKDEN – Grindleford Gallop Fell Race, (17th March 2018)

20180317_135659-01.jpegThis picture is of my friend, Chris Marritt, as he braves the side winds on Baslow Edge, heading towards Curbar Gap in the Peak District. The race took place during the Beast from the East 2 and I think this photo sums up quite nicely just how brutal the -10C windchill was during this section of the race!



43. SIMON WALKDEN – Blacka Moor, Sheffield (4th May 2018)

20180504_072554-01.jpegI captured this rare fogbow on my usual 6 mile pre-work run on Blacka Moor on the South West edge of Sheffield. I reached the perfect viewing spot at the perfect time and just stood for a few minutes marvelling at it. What a way to start the working day!




44. SIMON WALKDEN – Higga Tor, Peak District (21st July 2018)

20180701_125510-01.jpegThis is a photograph from a rare run with my 13 year old son, Sam, who took great delight in showing his Dad how easy it is to run up the steep hills! Here he is, showboating, by leaping off a boulder as we ran along the top of Higger Tor on our way back to Burbage Bridge and Stanage Edge.



45. PAUL HAIGH – Westminster Bridge, London (30th January 2018)

20180130_190512.jpgThis captures London in a nutshell. Went for a jog along the river after work and came up with this by chance. Love just fitting in running wherever I can.



46. JOCASTA FLETCHER – Sa Calobra, Mallorca (13th October 2018)

Boiling hot weather 100+km ride , 2000m + of ascent. What goes down – always goes back up in cycling. Glad I live in Calderdale as prep for these hills! If you can cycling in Yorkshire you can cycle anywhere!


47. JOCASTA FLETCHER – Northton, Isle of Harris (31st May 2018)

49178088_10157039736905956_6678146315274158080_n.jpgA morning run along the 5 beaches to the temple under the shadow of Chaipaval – off day during our family cycle adventure doing the Hebridean Way.



48. OLIVER BLOMFIELD – “Chasing sunsets”

Arthur’s Pike, (18th November 2018)





49528599_10218104934353095_412067202557018112_o.jpgFirst outing in the inov-8 Mudclaws.








49899579_10218104920072738_1309621646939652096_o.jpgJust the perfect day for running!


52. JAMES WILLIAMSON – “Snowhere i’d rather be”

Skiddaw, Lake District (8th January 2018)

49592443_1110436815784744_8039151769827147776_o.jpgDawn raid of Leg 1 BGR, heading for Skiddaw, looking towards Blencathra.



53. JAMES WILLIAMSON – “I see a little silhouetto of a man…”

Bob Graham – Leg 3, Lake District (26th March 2018)




54. JAMES WILLIAMSON – “Walla, walla, walla!…ooooh”

Walla Crag, Lake District (8th March 2018)

49241478_1110445739117185_809509199657566208_o.jpgWalla Crag, looking over Derwent Water towards Catbells.


55. MATT KAY – Buckstones, West Yorkshire (2018)

49803065_10158278961038747_7067353747671744512_o.jpgA brief respite when the Beast from the East came. Nearly lost my fingers to get back home, but nice pic all the same. Wearing inov-8 Roclites too, if that gets bonus points?



56. MATT BARKER – Loughrigg Fell, Lake District (14th October 2018)

Taken on the climb out of Ambleside.


57. KRIS LEE – Andorra (19th February 2018)

Skiing in Andorra, my faithful Mudclaw 300s to keep me upright when not on my skis.




49322408_10155847259317050_8137760898933587968_n.jpgA lovely summer run out in my inov-8 Roclite 290s.



59. KRIS LEE – Langdale, Lake District (13th October 2018)

Free shoe cleaning service at the end of the Langdale Horseshoe race.


60. CALVIN FERGUSON – “Three Wise Men on a Bob (Graham)”

Lake District (28th July 2018)

49343315_366949937187442_8588607344026320896_nMyself (taking the photo), Andrew Britton & Stuart Russell supporting Mike Clayton on his Bob Graham Round attempt. Glorious views down the valley.



61. JON BURDON – Holme Valley (2018)



62. APOLLO KWOK – “Waiting for Kilian”

Great Gable, Lake District (2018)




63. APOLLO KWOK – Great Rigg, Lake District (2018)




64. APOLLO KWOK – West Wall Traverse (2018)



65. MATT KAY – Dovestones (20th October 2018)

49235753_10158281604743747_8873009229280051200_nOut on the tops and looking down on the reservoir below.


66. MATT KAY – Turley Cote Lane (10th June 2018)

49409579_10158281607113747_9146719918731821056_nSunny recovery run, snapped this one when out taking my time and just enjoying the views.



67. ALUN WOOD- “Morning views”

The Lake District (12th May 2018)

thumbnail_image1 (3)
Waking up to this on a recce of the lakes 10 peaks on 12/05/18. Between Esk pike and Great End.



68. ALUN WOOD- “Lonely Shepherd”

Gilwern Valley, Brecon Beacons (17th July 2018)

download (4).png
Looking toward Sugarloaf mountain (wales) from the Gilwern valley on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.



69. ALUN WOOD- “Sunset Fan”

Pen-Y-Fan, Brecon Beacons (23rd October 2018)

download (5).png
Evening run after work up and over Pen-Y-Fan and Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons National Park.


70. DAVID SEARLE- Old Man of Coniston, Lake District (2018)

thumbnail_img-20180728-wa0007-01This was taken descending the Old man of Coniston. Myself and a friend went to support another guy racing Lakeland 50 and he only went and won. We went for a run in the morning whilst waiting for the race to start and the clag cleared on the descent.



71. DAVID SEARLE- South West Coast (2018)

download (6).pngThis was taken on the South West Coast path near Soar Mill Cove. It was a chilly moody autumnal day with a strong offshore wind. Very invigorating.



72. DAVID SEARLE- Devon (2018)

download (7).pngRunning the ridge at Start point lighthouse in Devon at sunrise. Its one of my favourite spots to watch the new day break before a run. The coast path can be stunning and challenging at the same time.



73. MATTHEW BARKER- Lake Windermere (14th October 2018)

49727948_10156905143829784_2359203953482137600_nLake Windermere spills over.



74. MATTHEW BARKER- Ruskin View (23rd June 2018)

49206078_10156905151294784_6412140118546579456_nRuskin view after a steep-stepped climb to graveyard.


75. ANDREW BRITTON – “The Last Waltz”

Stair, Lake District (21st April 2018)




76. ANDREW BRITTON – Newlands Valley, Lake District (21st April 2018)

49204766_10156350294527496_8345444592287481856_nAnniversary Waltz 2018



77. ANDREW BRITTON – Stickle Tarn, Lake District (17th February 2018)




78. WILLIAM LAYE – L’Argentine, Switzerland (July 2018)

IMG-20170703-WA0018.jpgIt was particularly striking as coming around into the second half of the loop, as you’re treated to a brilliant contrast of lush fields and imposing rock faces. An extra treat was my first sighting of a Marmot and the strange scream they give out when they see you! An amazing area to visit and so many brilliant trails to run.



79. WILLIAM LAYE – High Street, Lake District (March 2018)

DSC_0479.JPGComing off High Street, completing the Kentmere Horseshoe route, whilst fending off the ‘Beast from the East 2’, in March. I’d never seen horizontal icicles before which completely engulfed cairns on the higher reaches. A route with a lot of bang for your buck, its just a shame I didn’t bring a sled to keep up with Emma! Perhaps even a bungee cord next time and she could pull me!



80. WILLIAM LAYE – Langdale, Lake District (March 2018)

DSC_0329.JPGPossibly my favourite place in the world – Langdale. First day out in sub zero temperatures with a fierce, biting wind. We traversed the modest Lingmoor, from the sheltered south side then quickly took cover behind that majestic wall. I’m ever in awe of the sheer beauty, quality and organic nature of Lakeland walls. A skill that’s thinner on the ground and a real craft that we shouldn’t take for granted. I love this picture as it captures all that’s beautiful in that area (except perhaps the warm retreat of the the Langdale pubs!) – Lingmoor, the perfect viewing platform.



81. DANAE DUMONTET – Upper Joffre Lake, British Columbia, Canada (4th November 2018)

thumbnail_IMG_20190103_140148-2.jpgA run through Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, eventually presented us with this unique perspective of Upper Joffre Lake’s emerald waters. If you look really closely, you can see two people paddle boarding down there!  

82. DANAE DUMONTET – “Feeling on top of the world”

Upper Joffre Lake, British Columbia, Canada (4th November 2018) 

download (8).png
I hiked Prairie Mountain the day after running Melissa’s Road Race (a half marathon in Banff, AB). My tired post-race legs and I were so happy to finally be at the top, a cartwheel was definitely in order.

83. DANAE DUMONTET – Cheam Peak (Mount Cheam, British Columbia, Canada (12th November 2018)

download (9).pngThis steep trek in snowy, icy conditions rewarded us with stellar views of the Fraser Valley and North Cascade Mountains. (And left us feeling very thankful we’d packed the right gear!).



84. JAMIE MCILVENNY – “White out at the Hebden”

The Calder Valley, West Yorkshire (20th January 2018) 

White out at the Hebden.jpg

A grand day out, a firm favourite for many Trawden AC runners and the first long distance running for many of our runners. I chose to run as a ‘Support Act’ with my Wife, Roxanne, and several other clubmates and thankfully the snow eased later on.

85. JAMIE MCILVENNY – “Summiting Stoodley on the Haworth Hobble”

Stoodley Pike, Calderdale (10th March 2018) 

Summiting Stoodley on the Haworth Hobble.jpgAnother firm favourite of mine and a supporting role to my Wife on her first Ultra distance race. Fair to say she was finding it tough as we got to the climb up to Stoodley Pike but a chance to take an epic photo with last checkpoint village of Mankinholes beneath the clouds behind.



86. JAMIE MCILVENNY – “Sunset on The Fellsman”

The Yorkshire Dales (28th April 2018) 

Sunset on The Fellsman.jpgMy main target race of 2018 and what a great experience. My camera was away for most of it to concentrate on the run but couldn’t resist a quick snap as the Sun goes down over the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, leaving the beast of Fleet Moss and Beyond into the night ahead.


87. JOCASTA FLETCHER – Grasmere, Lake District (2nd July 2018)

download (11).png
Day 1 of the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, somewhere between Grasmere and Overnight camp. Where are we ? and do you think we have to go up and down that to find the control ?

Facebook | Twitter | Strava | Instagram

Supported by inov-8 | Powered by Mountain Fuel | Timed by Suunto



The Mountains are Cuillin…



Rugged, wild and free.

It’s difficult to summarise a country in just 3 words, but hard pushed, I’d struggle to find a more concise and fitting description.

Those that know me, are aware of how much I love to travel. Italy being my obvious destination of choice. In my opinion, there is nowhere better in comparison, especially if you share my passion for the mountains. But perhaps I should have looked a little closer to home? I am, after all, a fell runner. I was born to run in the hills and mountains of Great Britain. The sport I love was forged in this environment. So what better place to visit than Scotland.

39685280980_5569c19d7a_o41494379441_1a6ca26096_oPictured above: Running in the Isle of Skye (April 2018), with the famous Cuillin ridge looming in the distance.

Scotland boasts the highest mountains in the UK and has produced some of the greatest ever mountain runners that Britain has ever seen – Angela Mudge, Robbie Simpson, Andrew Douglas and Finlay Wild, to name but a few. So it was something of a New Year’s resolution of mine to discover a little bit more of this amazing country.

In January of 2018, I drove to the Isle of Mull. I was amazed by its beauty and it left me wanting more. In April, I decided to return to the north. I was desperate to see what the rest of the Scottish Islands had to offer and the Isle of Skye was at the very top of my list. It came with a flood of recommendations, my friends would always mention it during conversation. Many legends of our sport have previously graced its rugged landscape. I was treading in the footsteps of giants. No more so than the great Finlay Wild. An 8-times winner of the Ben Nevis fell race and renowned for his fell running prowess. A man with a reputation that proceeds him.

In this adapted extract from The Mountains are Calling, Finlay Wild, Scotland’s pre-eminent hill runner, is attempting to break the record for the fastest traverse of the notorious ridge line of the Black Cuillin.

Finlay Wild.JPGPictured above: The great Finlay Wild.

Finlay Wild stood on the summit of Sgùrr nan Gillean, the northern culmination of the Black Cuillin of Skye. The scree fountain of Glamaig across the deep trough of Glen Sligachan gleamed in dazzling sunlight; islands punctuated the glittering glass of the Inner Sound; away in the east, Ben Nevis stared impassively. The transcendent world of the so-called Isle of Mist was at harmony. The runner was not. He looked back along the ridge he had just negotiated – an eight-mile scythe of alpine pinnacles and splintered crags, flanked by plunging gullies. There is no greater examination in British mountaineering; it is, as Sir Walter Scott noted, unrivalled in its ‘desolate sublimity’. Finlay – a twenty-nine-year-old GP from Fort William, unknown outside the clique of hill running – had beaten the ‘unbeatable’, becoming the fastest to traverse the ridge, but something did not feel right. Doubt crowded his mind.

Starting from where it had all begun on Gars-bheinn, he traced the twisting blade of the ridge, silently counting mountains. His eyes lingered on Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich, the fourth of the eleven Munro summits. A surge of uncertainty. Finlay pulled out a flip book of summit diagrams, leafing through the pages until he located Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich. He looked hard at the drawing, then raised his eyes to gaze again at the mountain. A very simple question burst from his subconscious: had he touched the pile of stones on the 948-metre highest point? He had certainly climbed the peak; the spine of the central ridge made that unavoidable. The cairn though? Had he put his hand on it?

As Finlay descended, first to a road, then along a glen, the ridge now over his left shoulder, his mind dwelt on that airy crest. While he was unable to convince himself that he had touched the cairn, nor could he be sure he had not. His parents and a group of friends were waiting at Glenbrittle, ready to congratulate him. ‘I wasn’t, “yeah, I’ve done it”,’ Finlay remembered. ‘I said that I’ve kind of done it, but I need to check something. Basically, I got away from there as soon as I could and walked back up to the summit. That gave me time to think: what will I do if I haven’t touched it?’

Finlay Wild silhouetted on the Cuillin ridge (1).jpg

Finlay clambered into the glaciated bowl of Coire Làgan, where vast chutes of scree cascade from a cirque of astonishing mountains. To the right was Sgùrr Alasdair, the acme of Skye; to the left, the shark’s fin of the Inaccessible Pinnacle; between them was the steep sliver of Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich, its west face forming the gigantic headwall of Coire Làgan. Scrambling up West Buttress, he made directly for the summit. Once on the ridge, the vista opened: mountains were everywhere; the islands of Eigg and Rum reared immaculate from the sea. It was the sort of day when you may have been able to glimpse the dark dots of the St Kilda archipelago, pitched some 100 miles to the west, jostled by the Atlantic swell.

Finlay was only looking to a summit of slabby rocks. Concreted to the cairn on Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich is a sixty-year-old plaque dedicated to climber Lewis Macdonald. Before it was shattered by lightning, a couplet read: ‘To one whose hands these rocks has grasped, the joys of climbing unsurpassed.’ Finlay knew before he got there. Unlike Macdonald, he had not grasped these rocks.

Desperately searching for a reason, Finlay began to piece together what had happened, why it had happened. He had approached the summit on a marginally different line to previous ascents – a common occurrence on the technical ground of the Cuillin. The newness must have momentarily disorientated him. Unconsciously, Finlay ran past the top, his mind already preparing for the difficulties ahead, principally the basalt-rudder of the Inaccessible Pinnacle and the six-storey down-climb from its top.

The summit of Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich had been ten metres away, amounting to a single metre of height gain. ‘Five seconds,’ Finlay said ruefully.

Finlay’s ambitions hinged on a decision of conscience. ‘The weird thing was that I knew I had done it, but at the same time, parallel to that, I knew I couldn’t claim it the way I had done it,’ he said. Finlay could have been excused for erring, for prevaricating. It was five seconds. The oversight was not deliberate. He had done everything else by the book: adhering to a set of standards enshrined by one-time record holder Andy Hyslop, demanding the contender visits the eleven Munros and two further summits, as well as undertaking four technical and exposed sections of rock climbing. Furthermore, to avoid any doubt over the record’s validity, Finlay had been taking splits at every summit on two watches. In races and mountain marathons there are marshals or checkpoints to ensure competitors do not – for want of a better word – cheat.

‘No-one is policing this traverse,’ Finlay said. ‘These things are done on trust. It is totally on your own conscience.’

Ultimately, there was no doubt, no debate. By strict definition, he had not summited Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich. It was five seconds but it could have been one, for if Finlay had not summited Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich, not gone as high as is physically possible, then he had not traversed the ridge. There could be no record. Not today.

It was a gesture that symbolised the ethos of his sport: nothing was more important than doing things the right way.

Finlay Wild on Sgurr nan Gillean.JPG

The Mountains are Calling, by Jonny Muir

Jonny Muir was a nine-year-old boy when the silhouette of a lone runner in the glow of sunset on the Malvern Hills caught his eye. A fascination for running in high places was born – a fascination that would direct him to Scotland. Running and racing, from the Borders to the Highlands, and the Hebrides to the hills of Edinburgh, Jonny became the mountainside silhouette that first inspired him.

His exploits inevitably led to Scotland’s supreme test of hill running: Ramsay’s Round, a daunting 60-mile circuit of twenty-four mountains, climbing the equivalent height of Mount Everest and culminating on Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak – to be completed within twenty-four hours.

While Ramsay’s Round demands extraordinary endurance, the challenge is underpinned by simplicity and tradition, in a sport largely untainted by commercialism. The Mountains are Calling is the story of that sport in Scotland, charting its evolution over half a century, heralding its characters and the culture that has grown around them, and ultimately capturing the irresistible appeal of running in high places.

AUTHORPictured above: The author, Jonny Muir

Jonny Muir is a runner, writer and teacher, and The Mountains are Calling, published by Sandstone Press, is his fourth book. A runner since his school days, Jonny ran and raced on road, track and trail before receiving a calling to the mountains. Since then, he has run extensively in the British hills and mountains, and has completed the Bob Graham Round and Ramsay’s Round.

The Mountains are Calling is available from…  

Amazon | Waterstones


Come Fly With Me

Come Fly With Me

Once upon a time there was a boy called Ben who lived in Yorkshire, the biggest and best county in England. He grew up on the mean streets of a town called Elland and spent most of his time in the Hudd (Huddersfield).

Then one day he discovered something called fell running. It was a sport that took him to new and exciting places, like North Wales and the Lake District. Sometimes he even ventured as far as Scotland…but never Lancashire… he’d heard bad things about Lancashire 😉 


Whilst on his travels, he visited a most beautiful and magical land, a country called Italy. It was here that he discovered Peroni, bresoala, truffle oil, huge mountains, epic trails, spectacular landscapes and something he’d never really felt before in England called ‘sunshine’.

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship…


Over the last few years I’ve become a seasoned traveller. I work full-time as a teacher in the UK from Monday to Friday, yet most weekends I’m jetting off to compete in mountain races all over Italy. Sometimes I feel like I’m living a double life!

I like to travel to different destinations for new and exciting running adventures. For me, discovering fresh trails and experiencing new races is the best possible way to explore the world. I get to see so much more than the average tourist, things that don’t always feature in a typical guidebook.


Take this weekend for example…tomorrow is Friday, so naturally I’ve planned another epic weekend of adventure in Italy…

After I finish work, I’ll drive to Liverpool airport, fly to Rome, eat dinner overlooking the Colosseum and spend the night in my favourite city. On Saturday, I’ll catch the train to Naples, get a lift to the Amalfi Coast from my friend Leo, and stay in his beautiful hotel in Ravello. On Sunday, I’ll compete in the Trail Del Vesuvio, a 21km race on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Then I’ll spend another night in Ravello, enjoy a run in the mountains on Monday morning, before flying back from Rome and returning to work in the UK on Tuesday. Admittedly, it’s a crazy and hectic travel schedule, but in my opinion a small price to pay for such an amazing experience. After all, what could be more thrilling than a trail race on one of the world’s most famous volcanoes!


Planning such an adventure can be extremely tricky, it’s often a logistical nightmare and difficult to know exactly where to start. There’s the small matter of finding a race, before the real work begins – booking flights and trains, hiring cars, sorting accommodation, transfers etc. Everything has to be timed to perfection and sometimes I have to rely on luck rather than organisation! Despite this, I’ve managed to enjoy some amazing, action-packed weekends and now I want to help you do the same.

So without further ado, here are my top-tips for the travelling mountain runner…


Choosing a race is the first and most important decision that you’ll have to make. It can however prove quite difficult, especially as there is so much choice! My advice would be to consider a place or country that you’ve always wanted to visit and then search for a race near to that location. For example, I desperately wanted to run the Path of the Gods, on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. After doing some research on the internet, I accidentally stumbled upon the Trail Campania website which provided me with all the details about the different races in the region. I’ve since competed in 4 different races and explored much of the spectacular Amalfi Coast on foot.

Trail Degli Dei.jpgPictured above: Competing in the Trail Degli Dei race, Agerola, Amalfi Coast, Italy (courtesy of Antonio Naclerio)

There are also several other useful websites that can provide you with a list of European race fixtures, recommendations and all the other information you might need.

Here are a few that I regularly use;

Amalfi Trail.pngPictured above: Competing in Rupert’s Trail, Amalfi, Italy

You’ll also need an up-to-date medical form in order to compete in Europe, which must be signed by your doctor. Be aware that unless you have a friend in the profession, you’ll have to pay a charge for this service. If you’re planning on competing in Italy then apply for a Runcard. It costs 15 Euros and is valid for a year.


In addition to this, if you are training or competing on dangerous mountainous terrain, I would advise paying for specialist travel insurance. Most standard policies, especially those insurance services provided by your bank for example, won’t cover you against an accident of this type. Check the small print BEFORE you run. To be safe, it’s best to get cover for the days that you know you’ll be running/competing, or for the trip as a whole. The best company I’ve used for this is Sportscover Direct. They’re one of the few insurance companies who actually have an option for ‘mountain running’ on their online application form and it’s best to purchase specific cover just in case you do require medical care. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!!!

Video: Sentiero Spinotti e Monte Coglians, Northern Italy


Before you enter the race, first check that there are flights available, and at the right price. If you’re prepared to search around and be flexible on which airports you fly to and from, then you can really find some great deals. I can recommend using to search for possible flight combinations. Don’t forget to ‘add nearby airports’ to your search list and this will increase the number of options that you have. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly via another place/country e.g Amsterdam, which is one of a number of European transfer hubs for connecting flights. My personal favourite airline is Lufthansa; Germany efficiency at its best. They rarely cancel flights, they’re usually on time and they always look after their customers. You even get free food and drink on the flight and ‘free’ is my favourite word, closely followed by ‘reduced’.

It’s worth knowing that in Italy, Milan and Rome are two of the easiest and cheapest places to fly into. Both cities have 2 airports and most of the mountain races I’ve competed in are accessible from either. As a starting point I’d look for flights to one of these cities, as most UK airports include them in their list of destinations.



If you’re a confident driver, then a hire car is by far the quickest and easiest way to get around and about. For a start, you can be more flexible with your travel plans and you’re not a slave to public transport. It also means you can visit and see more places in the short time that you have available. Just last year alone, I drove a hire car in 12 different countries! Personally I think the best website to search for a car rental is Zest (they also offer better rates to loyal and returning customers).


I’d recommend using sat-nav to avoid toll charges, especially if you don’t want to pay for the privilege of using faster and more direct roads and motorways. You’ll also need to remember to take your driving license and a credit card with you. The latter is required to allow a pre-authorisation block to be placed on your account, as a security deposit in the event of an unfortunate accident.

If you’re considering driving on the Amalfi Coast you might also want to wear a nappy and book additional life insurance. Only a confident and calm driver can handle the hair-raising turns, deathly switchbacks, steep drops into the sea and crazy italian drivers. It’s certainly not a travel experience for the faint-hearted, but if you can drive on the Amalfi Coast, then you can drive anywhere in the world!

Your mountain.jpgPictured above: Val Di Mello, Northern Italy

Alternatively, you can travel on trains, buses or pre-booked transfers/taxis. It’s always best to book in advance (wherever possible) to save money and in most European countries, public transport is cheap, very reliable and usually runs on time. In Italy, the FrecciaRossa ( are (slightly more expensive) high-speed trains, operated by Trenitalia, making journeys between Italian cities as smooth and short as possible. I’s recommend using these if you’d prefer to save time and travel in greater comfort.

If you’re catching a bus in Italy, you’ll have to buy your ticket in a local Tabaccheria (Tobacconist) before you travel. You can purchase them over the counter (single or return) and you must make sure you stamp them in the ticket machine as you get on. If you don’t stamp your ticket (bus or train!), then you risk paying a fine!

It’s sometimes worth checking the price of a flight + train journey, compared to a direct flight. For example, for my latest trip to Italy, the closest airport to Mount Vesuvius is Naples. However, I’ve booked a flight to Rome and a train journey to Naples, rather than a direct flight to Naples – the difference in cost is around £250!

40602594865_c2a352b322_o.jpgPictured above: The steep descent to Deia on the GR221, Mallorca


Once your travel plans are in place, the next step is to find some accommodation. If you’re a seasoned traveller and lucky enough to have personal connections, then you could always stay with friends in the nearby area. However, it’s unlikely that this will be an option, so the obvious place to start your search is a website like Trip Advisor. Not only can you book a room through the site, but you can see how accommodation has been rated by other guests.

Depending on the length and type of my trips, I book a standard of accommodation in relation to how much time I know I’ll be spending at my chosen destination. For a short weekend break, basic rooms at a cheap price are perfect. I choose them for convenience, rather than comfort and quality. However, if I’m going for a week or two, I’m more likely to choose somewhere more luxurious. My favourite hotel is the Parsifal in Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast. The Mansi family who run the establishment have become great friends of mine and always provide their guests with a most amazing holiday experience. Plus, if you’re fast enough to keep up with Leonardo Mansi, he might even take you for a run in the mountains and show you the best local trails.

IMG_4510Pictured above: Sentiero Spinotti e Monte Coglians, Northern Italy

I think it’s worth emailing the race organiser to ask for their personal recommendation/s. Usually they will have their own connections and their knowledge and advice could make your trip even easier and more enjoyable. If you’re an international athlete, there’s a good chance they’ll offer you free accommodation, because they’re always looking to improve the standard of competition in their race. It’s always worth a cheeky email before you book somewhere!

Another alternative is to use Airbnb. It’s not something I’ve personally tried, but comes highly recommended by many of my friends.

Of course, if you want to enjoy a running holiday without the hassle of meticulous planning and preparation, then check out somewhere like Pyranees Haven, run by fell running legend Gary Devine and his wife, Debbie. Already popular amongst the fell running community, you can enjoy a holiday in the French Pyranees with very little effort in terms of organisation. They offer shuttle transfers from the nearby airports and recommendations for flights to France or nearby Spain. For a package price, you can enjoy excellent accommodation and enjoy amazing home cooked food at half-board. There is also the opportunity to compete in some of the competitive races in the area or simply enjoy running on the local trails. As an alternative, in the winter months, you can switch to the slopes and ski! I can guarantee you’ll have a fantastic holiday and be extremely well looked after!


Choosing the right kit (especially shoes!) is essential and very important. It’s best to research what kind of terrain you’ll be running on and what the weather conditions will be like at that particular time of year. Study the course details on the race website, email the race organiser or ask someone you know that has done the race before (or something similar).

I always wear inov-8 and have shoes for every type of terrain and condition. The X-Talon 210 are suitable for trail and fell races where both grip and weight are both a priority. They are my lightweight racing shoe of choice. However, if I’m racing on dry paths and trails, then I might take the Roclite 290 as an alternative. inov-8 design and make shoes to fit all shapes and sizes of feet and for all types of terrain. So if you’re unsure of which to choose, then either contact inov-8 or myself, for a personal recommendation.

40783325814_cb814412a8_o.jpgPictured above: Putting the inov-8 X-Talon 210 to the ultimate test on the GR221, Mallorca

If you’ve booked a weekend trip or you’re really working to a budget, then you’ll need to pack light and just take hand luggage. A good tip is to stuff the inside of your shoes with running socks, undies, gloves, hats, buffs etc. This way you’ll be able fit more in your case and you’ll have plenty of room to bring back all your prizes…now all you have to do is win your race! 😉

So there you have it, my top-tips for a travelling mountain runner in one handy, helpful blog.

The Mountains Are Calling…don’t leave them waiting!

Mountains are calling.jpg

Facebook | Twitter | Strava | Instagram

Supported by inov-8 | Powered by Mountain Fuel | Timed by Suunto