Showing posts from 2016

Inov-8 X-Talon 225 review

Usually I don't review my running shoes as I tend to buy them in cycles i.e. when my old ones are ready to be retired, so I often end up with shoes half way through or towards the end of their seasonal cycle and by that time, the shoes have already been reviewed time and time again.  For a change I've got a pair of the X-Talon 225's from release and with them being so new, thought I would take a bit of time to review them, or at least give people an overview on the new model of fell shoes and rather than just looking at certain aspects of the shoe, I'm going to honestly look at them from my own experiences of actually running in them, rather than a typical "shoe review" post.
If I'm honest, the first thing that made me take a closer look at them was their actual appearance.  Now you're probably thinking why are you bothered about what they look like when they'll be several foot deep in bogs, splashing through mud and scraping on rocks for most of…

The Ben Nevis Race 2016

The Ben race.  One of the most famous in the fell/hill running calendar, steeped in history and steep in height.  At 4,414 feet, it is Britain's highest mountain and one of only nine mountains in Britain (although all are in Scotland), over the height of 4,000 feet.
Me & my regular race buddy, Simon Taylor, made our way up on Friday afternoon and arrived to check in at the hotel just after 6pm.  In to the room, kit bag thrown down and a nice leg stretch out to check the facilities.  We'd booked in the Ben Nevis hotel & leisure club so we had a pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room to make the most of over the weekend.  From our room the hills were visible, just across the road from us.  When I say visible, it was rare that we could actually see them, the weather on Friday was murky and on Saturday morning, pre-race, it was terrible.  The rain came down no end and the clag covered the hills and Meall an t-Suidhe (the mountain) which was towering high.
Prior to arriving i…

Salomon Speedcross 4 review

Last month I was delighted to be asked by Salomon to be part of the "trial team" for the new Speedcross 4 shoe.  Having reviewed shoes for other brands before, I was really looking forward to getting an off road shoe to trial, something that was new to me.  This was something that was open to anybody to apply for, I saw it through an advert online & applied.  I had actually totally forgot I'd done this until I received the email confirming I had been chosen, along with a handful of other runners.
I have had the previous model of the Salomon Speedcross, the Speedcross 3, as well as other Salomon shoes in the past.  The Speedcross is, from my own observations, the most popular model of  Salomon shoe, at fell races anyway!  These were one of the first shoes I noticed as they seemed so widely used by the running community, both for trail & fell, so surely a shoe that is well trusted throughout the sport.
One of the aspects of the new model is the colour range that t…

The International Snowdon Mountain Race 2016

Mount Snowdon, Snow Hill or Yr Wyddfa.  Whether you speak English, Old English or Welsh, this is the highest mountain in Wales and the highest point in the British Isles outside of the Scottish Highlands.  At an elevation of 1,085 metres (3,560ft) above sea level and described as possibly the "busiest mountain in Britain", this was going to be my toughest test yet.
So, after an extremely disappointing Three Peaks race in April, something I rapidly wanted to move on from, the next "big" race in my diary was Snowdon.  Between those two races, I raced 12 more times - some local short ones but some of reasonable reputation, including the English & British fell championship counter Sedbergh Sports and even a weekend trip up to Dollar in Scotland for the Dollar hill race.
A common theme was occurring in most of these races post-Three Peaks.  I found myself feeling very low on energy, with any form of incline proving difficult to run.  My strength was fine but I could…

The Lake District "Four"

Following on from yesterday's race round up, I did mention that I'd dramatically increased my racing experience in the Lake District as of late.  The main reason behind this was due to the fact that I don't really consider myself a strong enough runner to run a time I would desire, or more importantly, I don't feel strong enough to take on a lot of the races.  Obviously everybody has differing standards in terms of what they class as being acceptable, in every walk of life, but for me I want to be able to push myself to the limit, which in turn, makes it an enjoyable experience, while at the same time running a somewhat respectable race time.  Like some of us, I get the most out of myself when I am pushing beyond my comfort zone, obviously only to a certain extent...I won't be going for a Bob Graham round next month or attempting Wasdale fell race any time soon, but never say never!
After giving Kentmere Horseshoe a go last year, along with Scafell Pike & Lang…

Race, Race, Race...

Since my last update, I have been busy working & racing - nothing new, I guess!  Although I now represent Calder Valley on the fells, as well as continuing to represent the Dashers at road, trail & cross-country events.  I have also since had my birthday and what better way to celebrate than doing a classic up & down fell race in the Lakes?  More on that one later...
Bleasdale Circle was the first on my list after Windy Hill and that put us all to the test.  The weather was possibly the worst I have raced in to date (touch wood there won't be much worse any time soon!).  At the start it was the typical four seasons of conditions & very wet underfoot from the previous days downpours.  I dabbled with my waterproof on and off, decided against racing with it on as I get warm very quickly, especially when running uphill.  95 hardy souls were bouncing up and down on their tip-toes, ready for the starters orders.  We held a perfectly observed silence to respect the loss …