Thursday, 4 December 2014

Top Trail Running Christmas Presents 2014

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of you with trail running friends and family will be wondering what will bring a huge smile to the face of your loved one when they open it up on Christmas day. Some of you who regularly trail run may also be wondering what to ask for to further your ever-growing kit list and shoe collection. So, to help you all out, below is a compilation of some great gift ideas to meet the needs of any serious trail runner. 


***Stocking fillers***


Smartwool PhD Run Light Socks: 
Over the winter it's pretty much guaranteed to be cold and wet. Get feet into a decent quality pair of merino wool socks, which retain around 80% of their warmth even when wet, and it makes for a much more comfortable and enjoyable run. No one likes cold feet!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Salomon S-Lab Fellcross 3 Review



The Salomon S-Lab Fellcross is now in its third generation with the release of the aptly named Fellcross 3. Time really does fly, and so will you when you have these on your feet!!! 

I am always a little concerned when a new version of an already fantastic trail and fell shoe is released. I still use the Fellcross 2 and am as happy with them today as I was when I first put them on my feet over a year ago now. So, what if they change something I already love in the newer model? There are certainly quite a few major changes in the new Fellcross 3, so lets take a deeper look.....

Monday, 3 November 2014

THERA°PEARL Sports Pack: Reusable Hot and Cold Therapy


For those of us who love to get outdoors and explore new places, train for great feats of physical endurance or race in beautiful places across the globe, it is a sad reality that our fallible bodies will, at some point, get injured and require some love and attention. It is an occupational hazard, so to speak. At these times, hot or cold therapy can really help to reduce swelling, alleviate pain and speed up recovery. Traditional methods of using frozen peas, hot water bottles and buckets of ice-cold or hot water can often be inconvenient, messy and time consuming. If only there was a way to avoid soaking the floor, defrosting your peas, searching for that hot water bottle or clearing up wet towels and puddles on the floor.....enter the new THERA°PEARL reusable hot and cold therapy Sports Pack.

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.