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. 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Womens Inov-8 Trailroc 236 review

Inov-8 Trailroc 236
It is with great excitement that I bring you my second guest review! After previously being really impressed with the mens Trailroc 235's, but discovering after only 150km that the uppers split across the metatarsal flex point, I was keen to see any improvements that Inov-8 may have made in the 236's.The Inov-8 Trailroc 236 has proved a very popular trail shoe for women in both training and racing situations, and with the help of my wife Hannah I hope to help you make the choice of whether this may be the trail shoe for you. I have been sending her out on the local trails in all weathers and dragging her to races across the country to enable me to interrogate her on the pro's and con's of the women's specific shoe in the well-known Trailroc series. And so, it's over to Hannah to fill in the blanks.....

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ashmei Ullswater 9 & 20 mile trail runs, 2014

CavemanClarke and new run buddy Paul Yeoman
Not too long ago, I had a fantastic weekend trail running in The Lakes. Pooley Bridge, a small village situated by the quietly lapping waters-edge of Ullswater was to host the 2014 Ashmei 9 and 20 mile trail runs. Thirty and a half miles later (more about that in a minute!), a few new friends and with fun tales to tell, I fondly look back at what turned out to be a really great event.


It all started early Friday morning, packing my new favourite toy. After much consideration and saving, my wife and I decided to invest in a comfortable way to travel and stay all over the UK without having to slum it in a tent or pay through the nose for a B&B. So we bought ourselves a campervan; a Mazda Bongo to be exact. After shuddering at the weather forecast, carefully remembering everything on the race kit list, and not forgetting the espresso maker, (after all, we are glamping now!) we headed off on the 4.5h journey to Ullswater. Upon arriving we pitched up in a lovely spot with all the other campers staying for the weekend and sat back to ponder what the weekend would bring. Ashmei events had set up a huge tent-marquee with race registration, chill-out area, food section and shop selling their merino wool run clothing and merchandise. A fire pit was smouldering away and an inspirational running movie was playing on a big screen. Nice!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Review

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra
Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Review: a comparison with the Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground:
Welcome everyone to what I feel is a very exciting post, in which I will be reviewing one of the newest and latest releases in the top quality Salomon S-Lab, athlete-inspired line-up; the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra. I will also be comparing it to its wet-weather twin, the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG (soft ground). For a full review of the Sense 3 Ultra SG please click here!  

I have tried a lot of minimalist trail shoes over the past few years (as you can imagine), and occasionally one pops up that feels right, grabs your attention and takes you miles, and miles, and miles.....It is very seldom that two come along at the same time, but this has certainly been the case in relation to the Sense 3 Ultra and Sense 3 Ultra SG. Racing footwear has become far more of an easy choice. Simply look out of the window, and if its dry and hot out there, put on the Sense 3 Ultra. If its wet, slip on the SG version. Sorted!