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A Runner's Ramble

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by Michael Briggs

MY FIRST TRAIL RUN

02nd December 2016

Ever since I started running, I’ve always wondered about trying trail running. At first, I thought that it was a waste of time, “why would I want to run in a forest and get covered head to toe in mud whilst getting soaked?!” – I was fairly critical as you can tell.

As time went on, however, my arm was slowly but surely beginning to get twisted about the prospect of taking to the trails. Watching runners such as Ethan Newberry aka The Ginger Runner or Luke Adams with his 5k Trail Race Series in South Shields, got my attention, I’ve never set foot on a trail route but I really wanted to give it a go – trouble was, I didn’t know where to start.

I tweeted the wonderful UK Run Chat community for advice, some replies were very helpful others, well, thought it was funny to mock the tweet and take the piss a little…

Anyway, the ideas that arrived really urged me on to research Trail Shoes, kit and, more importantly, routes. Weeks passed and still, I was plodding the roads, desperate for a change of scene – the hilly stages of my runs are welcomed at the best of times but now, I’m getting bored. img_4777

As winter crept in, along with Christmas, I noticed that Luke has put a suggestion on Facebook to launch a Guided Trails Day that would take place on a Sunday through the outskirts of Beamish Museum, FINALLY, something that would cater for my needs to try this, all the positives were there;

  1. It’s guided – my ManNav works wonderful when I’m the daylight and not knowing where I’m going, however, in trails, in the middle of nowhere, I can’t trust it here, but being told where to head made it much more enjoyable!
  2. It’s easy – by this, I mean the breaks in between to explain different parts of the trail, act as perfect recovery spots and allow for others to catch up – NO-ONE IS LEFT BEHIND!
  3. Coffee – I mean, come on, I’m not going to turn an event down if there’s coffee at the end.
  4. Cost – £10 is nout, especially to get a taster and for Luke to give up his spare time to take us out for the 75 minutes or so.

So, with that paid for, the hunt for trail shoes escalated and, as I was identifying the pros and cons for different shoes, I politely requested that whatever I pick, could be an early gift, with the result being, yes! Eventually, I narrowed the search to the Adidas Kanadia 7 TR Shoes.

Granted, the 8’s and the XT Boost models did look appealing, but I just liked how the 7’s looked and felt when I got them in my hands, plus, I’m quite loyal to the brand at the minute, with my training, racing and weightlifting shoes all stemming from Adidas and they seem to be working well for me currently.

As Sunday arrived, I packed my spare gear and snacks, as I had Emma (Emma’s friend) join me to participate too. As we got started, I noticed that the GPS Watch was flagging, showing two bars remaining on the battery, here I was praying it could hold, especially as it was my first ever trail run, I wanted it documented, I just had to take a chance.

When we got started, I made sure to take my time, while, making sure my shoes are far from pearl white as they were from the box, while enjoying the scenery. Descending was definitely my favourite part as well as ploughing through bogs and puddles – the dirtier I got, the better!

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Some of the route had glorious views, I’d imagine the more I do them, the better the views would be as, there would be more than one course to complete, even if I used the same trail. Easily the highlight of the morning, was my attempt (successful I must stress) of clearing the stream. This was, roughly 2.5/3km in to the run, I think. The way the distance was described to me was, that it would be a walk in the park, I’ve long jumped in the past, trained for it mostly, so I knew that I’ve still got a 5/5.50 metre jump in my legs, so anything less than, would be simple – turns out, it was wider than I thought!

There was a tiny raised platform that I clocked straight away that would act as a perfect point of taking off from, it would just be a case of gauging the distance, speed and how far back I’d need to go to establish the right speed. Anyway, I stripped away any  doubt (although beforehand, there was plenty) and went for it, a quick burst of speed, foot plant then take off – here I don’t remember a lot – followed by the landing. I made it, just and relieving more so!

I’ve still got that knee drive and dorsi flex tekkers!

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We were told that the course was just over 5.5 miles but it flew by, I didn’t even realise we’d finished until I see the home straight. I had so much fun that it is true what they say (I’d love to know who ‘they’ are that say this) ‘time flies when you’re having fun.’

Although I came home battered and shattered, it left me wanting more. It was so refreshing to not just try something new but to meet new people who are in the same boat as you and it’s something I’m looking forward to later this month when the next in the series of the Guided Trails take place.

If you live locally and fancy the venture, I’ve pop links to Luke’s on site with further information HERE


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