Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket Review

 
The nights are pulling in, the days shorter, colder and the sun has faded to a warm glow at best. The wind begins howling through the night and chilly breezes begin challenging the trail runner still braving the summer shorts and t-shirt attire during the day. It is time to change the running wardrobe and bring out the winter gear! For most of us, this will include leggings, mid-layers, hats, gloves and of course, a windproof jacket. For those of you yet to get yourself protected from the wind, or anyone looking to upgrade to something better fitting, more functional and with superb breathability and features, the Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket is a fantastic choice.
 
Over the past few weeks I have taken every windy, wet and blustery opportunity to run in the new S-Lab Light Jacket to bring to you an honest, in-depth review of just what I think of the newly updated and improved windproof running jacket from Salomon.
 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Buxton Adventure Festival Trail and Fell Running


A couple of weekends ago took me all the way to Buxton Adventure Festival for a weekend packed full of trail and fell running workshops and inspirational talks. With 'CavemanClarke' being a place to shout about everything great in the world of off-road running, this little gem certainly deserves a mention! 

The weekend started with a relaxed drive up Saturday morning in my beloved Bongo campervan. The plan was to have a gentle afternoon run, from the campsite where I was staying, to the Adventure Festival. The events I was travelling to see were all packed into a tight schedule for the Sunday. Upon arriving and tucking into some lunch, I changed into my running gear and headed off across the trails and into the town. Familiarising myself with where I needed to be the next day, I returned to the camper, cooked up an evening meal and relaxed with my copy of 'Run or Die' by Kilian Jornet to pass away the evening. Sunday morning came round and the weather was fantastic. Getting myself to the beautiful Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, I was ready for the first event of the day. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR Review

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR ready to get muddy
Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of testing the latest trail and mud running specific model by Vibram FiveFingers; the Spyridon MR. The aggressive 'mountain bike tyre' tread pattern, coupled with the letters MR, which stands for 'Mud Runner', immediately let you know that this has been designed with the minimalist, natural trail runner in mind. Following on from its very popular and proven to be trail worthy predecessor, the Spyridon LS, I am glad to say that not too much has changed in the re-styled Spyridon MR. For those of you already accustomed to wearing a pair of FiveFingers, or any trail, mountain and fell runners out there looking to transition to a more natural running form, this is definitely a review that is worth your time reading! You may also want to check out my 'First Impressions' review of the Spyridon MR before reading on by clicking here.

So, grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee, sit somewhere comfy and let me tell you a few good reasons why a Vibram FiveFinger Spyridon MR should be in every trail and mud runners selection of shoes.....

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Merrell Bare Access Trail Review

Merrell Bare Access Trail
For the past few years I have tried, tested, analysed and reviewed many minimalist 'barefoot' trail shoes. In the early days, when barefoot, or 'Natural Running' first came into the spotlight, many companies were quick to produce a more minimalist shoe to meet the demands of the emerging market. They did this by attempting to strip back every aspect of the new shoe to an absolute bare minimum. This sometimes led to a fantastic product which clearly met the needs of a runner who wanted as little as possible on their foot to provide just enough protection from the environment and grip for the terrain. But often, it led to a product with reduced durability, that was far too extreme for the average runner wanting to transition into natural running. 

Over this period, Merrell have produced some fantastic shoes with a more minimal approach. The original Trail Glove still stands in my mind as a milestone in minimalist shoes, along with the likes of the brilliant but slightly stranger looking Vibram FiveFingers. Now, today, Merrell produce a wide range of trail and road shoes that meet a variety of requirements for people looking for a low, light and natural feeling running shoe. Whether it be zero-drop, a low drop, a wide toebox, natural foot shape or minimal cushioning, Merrell has the shoe for you. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR First Impressions

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR
I was so excited to receive a pair of the new off-road, mud-loving and trail ready Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR to test. As some of you may know, my running journey began nearly five years ago with a pair of FiveFingers, and it has completely changed my life ever since. Back then, it was the dark confinements of a spit-and-sawdust weightlifting gym that housed my workouts every week. Even then, I knew I preferred the great outdoors but I just hadn't found the exact activity in which to explore and enjoy it yet. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense Tank and Short Review

Ready to head out on the trails in the Salomon S-Lab Sense range
A vest is a vest and shorts are shorts, right? Wrong! The world of trail running offers the runner an almost impossible decision when trying to choose the right shoes, clothing and apparel. With a whole host of great brands producing fantastic products for both athletes and recreational runners, just how do we choose the best kit for our adventures and hours spent out on the trails? In this brief review, I hope to enlighten you on why you might want to part with your hard-earned cash to kit yourself out in the Salomon S-Lab Sense tank and short.....

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cotswold Outdoor Wings For Life Relay

Cambridge - Sandy - Milton Keynes
It gave me great pleasure to be a part of the Cotswold Outdoor Wings For Life shop relay! Cotswold Outdoor, a popular retailer for everything you need for the outdoors and adventure since 1974, is raising money and awareness for the Wings For Life Charity by holding a non-motorised relay of over 3000 miles between the 69 stores, nationwide. I, along with friends Chris Green and Nathan Heathfield, were responsible for taking the baton from the Cambridge Cotswold Outdoor store, to the next store in Milton Keynes. It was decided that Chris and I would run from Cambridge to Sandy, hand over the baton to Nathan, who would then complete the leg to Milton Keynes on his bike.

Trail and Fell Running Workshop at Buxton Adventure Festival, Oct 2014


Exciting news everyone! On the 12th October 2014 Buxton Adventure Festival will be hosting FOUR inspirational and educational trail and fell running events, and I will be there to make the most of this great opportunity.

Buxton Adventure Festival is an awesome weekend of unbeatable Peak District activities, inspirational speakers and motivating adventure films: click HERE for more info! As a keen trail and fell runner who takes any opportunity available to get to the beautiful Peak District for a fun-packed weekend of excellent trails and discovery, I just couldn't bear the thought of missing what is on offer on the Sunday (12th October). 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Trail Running magazine...the perfect coffee break!

Time for a well earned coffee break!
Exciting news! This months latest edition of Trail Running magazine is out in the shops and, as usual, I have been and fetched myself a copy!

Why buy Trail Running?
Why on earth not? For just £4.50 (or even cheaper if you subscribe) you get inspiration, motivation, training plans, gear and shoe reviews and interviews with top athletes and adventurers! 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Trail Running in Edale and Kinder Scout

CavemanClarke enjoying Kinder Scout
The bank holiday weekend just passed will hold fond memories for me for many years to come. It was pure and simple freedom. As a keen trail runner and reviewer of the latest off-road running gear I was keen to take some of my favourite trusty pieces of kit, along with my newest Suunto toy to the quaint little Derbyshire village of Edale in the Peak District; a trail runners paradise! Living in rural Cambridgeshire leaves me needing hills and mountains, and the Peak District is by far the easiest accessible place for me to get my fix and some decent training in.