The Car Analogy

Picture 412

November 26th, 1966. Means nothing to you does it? But today, 49-years ago I emerged into the world. Yes, as I write this I am entering into my 50th year. It’s a sobering thought. I remember my Dad’s 50th birthday and at the time thinking, wow, 50, it’s such a long way off for me.

But here I am writing and reflecting on 49-years.

Let me be clear here, this is no mid life crisis post and a writing about ‘what might have been’ or ‘if only…!’ No, I love my life for all its lows and highs and believe me, there has been plenty of them.

At times in my life I have hit some real low points. I have felt defeated, broken, sad and at the time I have thought, ‘that’s it!’ But each time I have picked myself up, dusted myself off and tried again. I look back on my 49-years and think of myself as a chameleon. I have adapted, changed and somehow managed to find a perfect place.

I love my job and what I do!

I have always been a photographer. I worked in a studio for years photographing cars, people, room sets, furniture, kitchen appliances and so on. My escape was sport and I guess in recent times I have looked back and reflected, (not in a sad way) at my life in sport.

We are all cars!

Way back in the day, I may never have been a F1 car but I sure as hell felt like it. I could get up at 5am, put on my cycling kit and head straight out the door. No warm up, no easing into things, I was ready! I would train for 2 to 3 hours and then arrive at work, shower, do an 8-12 hour day and then finish the day off with a bike ride, run or swim before heading home to the family.

I WAS a machine!

Come on, we have all been there haven’t we? You know exactly what I mean! Of course, if you are in your 20’s or 30’s and reading this, you still feel that way and have no idea what I am going on about. Don’t worry your time will come ;-)

I was a new car straight off the forecourt. Immaculate, clean, finely tuned and ready for the miles ahead.

In recent years though, just like a car that has been running for years, I have needed to slow down and I have needed more trips to the garage:

  • My suspension isn’t what it was!
  • I don’t seem to get as far on the same amount of fuel!
  • I need a regular MOT!
  • There are hints of wear and tear appearing!

We are all cars!

I have to laugh at how the parallels with a new and old car reflect my life in sport. In recent years I am running less. It takes me longer to warm up and I just don’t seem to be able to go as far for fear of breaking down.

But you know what, I embrace it! I look around and think how lucky I am and I channel my efforts and my passions in my work. So today as I enter my 50th year I remind you of the car analogy and raise a glass to my 49-years and I thank all those who have supported me on the rollercoaster journey of life.


If my body was a car,
I’d trade it in for a newer model.
For I think I need a towbar,
From the dents I’ve endured in battle.

My paint job is a little dull,
My headlights are out of focus.
I’m no longer very mobile,
My body’s an old aged carcass.

My bodywork’s full of varicose scratches,
I’m in need of cosmetic work.
My brakes make nasty screeches,
That stops me with a jerk.

My traction is not as graceful,
I slip and slide and skid.
I have to drive quite careful,
Never mind what weather I’m in.

It takes me hours to reach a speed,
My fuel rate burns inefficiently.
I need some TLC to succeed,
And nice accessories that are costly.

Every time I sneeze or cough,
My radiator leaks.
My exhaust backfires a lot,
And my tires now tend to squeak.

Yes, if my body was a car,
I’d trade it in for sure.
I think I’d choose a jaguar,
With a body all slick and grandeur!

– Samantha Wallace

SKYRUNNING UK 2016 Calendar Announced



To keep you all excited and on your toes, Skyrunning UK are pleased to announce several key changes that will be implemented in 2016.

Prize Money

All Skyrunning UK races in 2016 will have a minimum prize purse of £500 awarded as £125, £75 and £50 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd male and female.

UK Series

The Skyrunning UK Series will be implemented in 2016 and at the end of the year a male and female champion will be crowned. Points are awarded as outlined HERE. To qualify for the series, runners must participate and finish in a minimum of 4-races. Points are accumulated and the male and the female with the most points are the Skyrunning UK 2016 Series Campions. It is possible to run all Skyrunning UK races and use your best 4 performances for the ranking.

UK Series Prizes

In addition to prize money awarded at each race, the male and female 2016 Skyrunning UK Champions will receive:

  • Free entry into all Skyrunning UK races in the following year.
  • Guaranteed entry into a 2017 Skyrunner World Series event with 2-nights accommodation.
  • Prizes from Skyrunning UK sponsor, Raidlight

Needless to say, Skyrunning UK is booming!

Less Cloud, More Sky.


V3K Ultra Skyrunning – June 18th

Distance/ascent: 55km, 4,000m

Main mountains and terrain type: The 15 highest mountains in Wales, Snowdon massive (including Crib Goch), Glyderau (inluding Tryfan) and Carneddau expect gnarly ground, a knife edged arete, grade 1 scrambles, boulder fields, scree and some great gentle grassy slopes to finish

The V3K crosses the best of Wales – gnarly edges, rocky inclines and grassy slopes. food. You’ll need to be mountain savvy with a good head for heights, confident scrambling technical terrain and be prepared for the greatest mountain day of your life.

Race entry HERE

Lakes Sky Ultra

Lakes Sky Ultra – July TBC* 

Distance/ascent: 54km/4300m

Main mountains and terrain type: Fairfield, Helvellyn, Swirral, Casty Cam & Striding Edge, Pinnacle Ridge, High Street and Red Screes. Its a mixture of single track trails, technical rocky ground and open fell. This is a race of 2 halves, with very technical running & graded rock scrambling in the 1st half, then faster and easier running on good trails for the second half. The course ascends and descends some of the most classic ridge lines taking in 3 of the most iconic scrambles in the Lakes.

The course is fast & furious. Be lulled into the race by ascending Fairfield via Dove Crag,then punished by Helvellyn’s Edges and the ascent to Pinnacle Ridge. Luckily there’s Patterdale CP & the second half to recover if your legs can still take it!

Note – New LSU propose a new addition for 2016. A SKY race. More news to follow via Skyrunning UK.

Race entry HERE


Peak SkyRace – August 6th (tbc)*

Distance/ascent: 47km/ 2000m+.

The route is based on a local fell running challenge called the 5 Trigs. The race principally follows public footpaths passing close to or over the tops of Axe Edge, Roaches, Shuttlingsloe, Shinning Tor and Burbedge Edge. Competitors will cross fields, moorland, limestone and millstone grit peaks/escarpments.

Peak SkyRace is an ideal introduction to Skyrunning in the UK. The Peak District cannot compete with the altitude and ruggedness of the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Scottish Highlands. However do not think that this course will be easy, pacing is crucial. Go out too fast and you will pay the price in the later stages where most of the ascent and technical descent is found.

Race entry HERE * Entries will open when land permissions have been granted


Glen Coe Skyline – September 16th, 17th and 18th 

Distance/ascent: 53km / 4200m+

Main mountains and terrain type: Buachaille Etive Mor, Bidean nam Bian, Aonach Eagach Ridge: extremly remote and serious Scottish mountains.

A route that dances along the jagged and lofty mountainous horizons above Scotland’s most famous Glen and Pass, with long and serious sections of grade III scrambling. Skills needed: scrambling, endurance, running

Note – New additions for 2016

There will be a VK Friday evening 16th September and a 25km ‘Ring of Steall‘ SkyRace race on the Saturday 17th (same high mountainous terrain at Glen Coe Skyline but without the technical scrambling sections).

Race entry HERE



3×3000 80k Ultra – September 24th

Distance/ascent:  80km / 4101m+

Main mountains and terrain type: Scafell Pike – Steep rocky terrain  throughout. The summit plateau of Scafell Pike is a vast boulder field. Initial part of descent is steep & covered with loose rocks.

Helvellyn – Long ascent then rolling mountain trails along the beautiful Helvellyn ridge line. Skiddaw – A long & steep climb on grassy terrain, summit scree/slate, fast descent on gravel/stone trails.

A unique ultra running event linking the Lake District’s highest mountains-Scafell Pike, Helvellyn & Skiddaw. Designed by 2013 World Trail Running Champion Ricky Lightfoot, the route offers a journey through the full spectrum of classic Lake District fell terrain.

Race entry HERE

Mourne Skyline MTR

Garmin Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race – October 22nd

Distance/ascent:  35km/ 3370m+

Main mountains and terrain type:  The course covers the highest peaks in  the Mourne Mountains, including Slieve Donard (850m), starting at sea-level on Newcastle Promenade and winding it’s way uphill onto forest and mountain trails, all surrounded by the most stunning scenery.

The seaside start, alongside the relentlessly tough (yet spectacular) course has proved popular with athletes.  You will need mountain-trail experience, endurance and courage for the race, which is technical in places.  Some speed will also help on the flat and fast sections, and the final 5k descent!

Race entry HERE* Please note entries will open on St Patricks Day (March) 2016.


Download this information in PDF HERE


Go to Skyrunning UK on Facebook HERE

Go to the Skyrunning UK website HERE

Follow on Twitter @skyrunninguk

15 Ways to become a better Skyrunner


“Skyrunning, to me, is racing over the sort of terrain that tests your technique and mental toughness just as much as it tests your physical fitness. The sort of routes that you look at on a map, or gaze up at from the valley and wonder what if… In the UK most of these sorts of routes have until now been limited to FKT attempts by keen individuals. At its best Skyrunning brings real racing to real mountains.”

– Es Tressider

Skyrunning has boomed in recent years and with one season coming to a conclusion and the announcement of the 2016 season imminent. I asked three runners to provide their top-5 tips on becoming a better Skyrunner.

Sarah Ridgway

Is a former Welsh international runner specialising in mountainous terrain. Her love of gnarly conditions helped her secure the woman’s record for the classic Snowdon Horseshoe in a time of 1hr 43min. Sarah works as a guide in her business Run Snowdonia (, which involves anything from taking people for scenic guided runs, a hard training session or instructing people on how to run safely in the mountains.

Eirik Haugsness

Is a personal trainer, inov-8 athlete and has raced the Skyrunner World Series for the past 3-years. A specialist over the VK and SKY distance, Eirik has achieved world-class results in Mont-Blanc Marathon, Dolomites SkyRace, Matterhorn Ultraks and was the winner of the inaugural Tromso SkyRace.

Jayson Cavill

Is a UK based runner who has embraced the challenge that Skyrunning brings and has been an ever-present participant in the Skyrunner UK series. He has raced at Glen Coe Skyline and Mourne Skyline MTR amongst others and in 2015 won the Lakeland 50.



As a runner I am mostly drawn to the mountains, in particular exposed rocky ridges and classic routes that showcase the beauty and uniqueness of an area. Races that fall under the SkyRunning banner provide that experience for me: I know I’m going to have a challenging and rewarding day out.

Be specific

Study the course and train to mimic what you will encounter on race day. If the race involves a fast 9km flat prior to a Grade 3 scramble ascent, then do a 10km road race and get out in the hills as soon as possible after and do some scrambling. Get out and recce the course, but if you can’t, design a route that replicates it in your nearest wild place.

Prepare for the roller-coaster

Get used to big climbs, big descents, followed by another big climb, big descent… repeat. Get time on legs in the bank and develop strength to be able to adjust and adapt to a wide variety of terrain.

Don’t fight it

The more efficient you are in managing rough terrain the less energy you expend, which leaves more energy for simply getting the hard-enough job of the distance itself done. If you tend to “fight” a certain terrain or gradient and avoid running on it, commit to improving your technique and getting better at it.

Don’t be a fair-weather runner

Race-day date doesn’t change and the weather will do whatever it likes. If you don’t feel at ease running in driving horizontal rain encased in thick clag then you’ll feel anxious and have less energy to deal with the task at hand.

Refine your kit and fuel

Respect the kit requirements and learn how to use your gear before race day. Don’t just think about meeting the base requirement, pack things that will actually help you if things go pear-shaped: For example, if the forecast is dire, don’t scrimp on weight and go for your flimsy lightweight waterproof. Don’t neglect nutrition: practice eating and know what works for you and when to get it in.



Skyrunning for me it is about going to the mountains with no more equipment than you really need, then go up and down again as fast as you can, but in the same time enjoy the nature and the surroundings as much as possible while you are running.

The top 5 absolute must-have Skyrunning skill tips and how to obtain them.

1 . Be able to handle variation in terrain and weather conditions.

Outreach and run in different kind of terrain, everything from soft ground, hard packed surface, easy terrain and technical terrain. And make sure to train in all kinds of weather conditions. Weather will change quickly in the mountains and the surface that your run on will change with the weather.

2. Build up your engine to cope with the uphill’s.

If you really want to enjoy Skyrunning it is an advantage to have a strong heart and a set of well working lungs -most of the time spent in a race is in the climbs. Your heart and lungs can you easily sculpt trough structured cardio training with intervals and speed sessions with a higher heart rate. A couple of regular 4×4 intervals during the week are a great way to start.

3. Make sure to have strong legs for the downhill’s . 

Getting to the top of a mountain is challenging, but to get back down quick and in one piece can be just as hard. Strong legs and ankles will help you to get the job done. Step inside a gym ones or twice a week during the winter and build up your leg strength with weights or just use simple body weight exercises. 20- 30 min effort is more than enough – If you throw 15 min, or so, of balance and stability training too, you will be on the safe side. It is boring but worth every minute!

4. Learn how to pace your self during a race!!

Even it is a short uphill only race or a long sky/ ultra race, picking the right pace from the beginning to the end is essential for the running experience. It is always a lot more fun to have power left in the end of a race then to suffer from the first hour and out. Pacing is something you learn a lot from experience, but if you know your own fitness level it should be possible to pic a running pace that suits you without years of experience. Be patient and listen to your body is the only way to get this right.

5. Find a good nutrition and hydration strategy and stick to it.

Skyrunning races can be short, 35 min or even less, or they can last more than a day. When you enter a long Sky Race or a Sky Ultra race a good nutrition and hydration strategy becomes important. You normally need about 60 grams of carbohydrate and a half –one liter of water every hour to work at your best. This might seam like an easy task, but to get this done during a race when your heart is beating like a drum and the adrenalin is rushing trough your body is far from easy, whit the result that you run on empty long before the finish line. Practise eating and drinking in training! And find out witch solid and liquid nutrition that works for you long before race day! Testing and failing is the way to get this right. On race day: Discipline is the key! – Eat and drink at least every 20minute if your race is expected to last two hours or more.



As a relative newbie to the world of Ultra and trail running, well running of any kind that didn’t involve carrying any webbing or rifle and stomping along in boots from past Army years, the announcement of UK Skyrunning races provided an opportunity for me to reach out of my comfort zone. My skill set lies more with mid-distance ultra races and more “runnable” terrain, though I have always enjoyed being in and around mountains given the opportunity. I felt that this was an great chance to get me into some of the UK`s more extreme areas not just to race in but spend time training and exploring.

As the courses are all marked I felt that this offered a level playing field for those who didn’t know the routes inside out. The Garmin Mourne Skyline race was a great example of this. Unfortunately I had never even heard of the Mourne mountains before, but turned up for the race and had one of the best times; the course marking was superb and the dramatic scenery of steep granite clad mountains dropping to the sea blew me away.

Now, I absolutely love the thrill of being able to travel swiftly through these stunningly rugged and often intimidating areas – all in the UK. I think due to the nature and remoteness of these races the feeling between runners becomes more about camaraderie than competitiveness. The mountains become your competition: they will exploit your weaknesses whether mental or physical. If you haven’t had much experience with this before, then here are a few things I have done which would compliment and extend any normal trail race preparation.

  1. Get used to extremely long and very steep climbs – both up and down. It sounds obvious but really is key because with the best will in the world that short stepped run will be reduced to a walk, so don’t be afraid to practice hard, steep walking – The best place to practice is in the mountains but can still be done on any short climbs, long flights of stairs – anything you can find that is steep. Carrying extra weight, i.e. a large rucksack will help with building strength.
  1. Feel confident on technical terrain, not necessarily fast, but comfortable. The more relaxed you stay the less energy you waste. Again time in the terrain helps, though you can build up some foundation first with ankle strengthening and co-ordination exercises. Take things a step further than just balancing on one foot: stand on a wobble cushion and do various movements such as one legged squats to introduce instability. Single leg jumps on and off a box are great too. My favourite is using the slackline as this works so many different elements and can help reduce that disco leg you may get traversing Crib Goch!
  1. Have at least a basic level of mountain skills. I feel that it is important I take responsibility for my own safety, not just for during the race but when out training. The mountains are inherently dangerous and we all get (slightly) lost or disorientated from time to time. There are some great courses run by the FRA (Fell Running Association) for navigation, independent training days/camps or you could join other more experienced people for recce days and learn from them. Some race organisations offer these so look out for details on their own websites or pages.
  1. Prepare yourself for the mountains mentally. Being in this environment can throw up some additional challenges; you can suddenly be alone in the fog thousands of feet up, or climbing non-stop hands on knees for over a hour, down a quick descent then back on another hour long climb, so progress can feel slow and painful. Be ready for these situations, be honest with yourself and what your fears are, imagine how you will feel and think through how you will overcome any negative thoughts – visualise and keep that end goal and sense of achievement at the front of your mind.
  1. Don’t just run but climb. Some of the races require climbing or scrambling, and, in a race situation the adrenaline is pumping and you are suddenly changing mind-set from runner to climber. Spend some time practicing the specific climbs or more challenging ones – obviously there is another layer of safety and planning required here so take a guide or someone experienced enough if you need it. There are also lots of indoor climbing walls in the UK so why not have some fun indoors over the winter.

The 2016 Skyrunner World Series will be announced the first week of December HERE and the Skyrunning UK Series will be announced on Monday 23rd November HERE.

The UK series has a new structure for 2016 with prize money, points per race and an overall championship with great prizes on offer, more information available HERE.



Episode 99 – Giblin ELS2900 Grant


Episode 99 of Talk Ultra we talk all about ELS2900 with RD Matt Lefort and 3rd place overall, Andy Symonds. Sophie Grant talk Raid de la Reunion and Paul Giblet from the UK wins Javekina Hundred beating Speedgoat! Niandi is here too looking like a Druid.

00:01:30 Show Start

00:07:50 NEWS

Help Nepal – Nepal images ‘FACES of NEPAL’ – order a print and all funds donated to Nepal charities HERE

TRAINING CAMP in Lanzarote with Elisabet Barnes 28th Jan to Feb 4th HERE 2016 Calendar, not many left! HERE

ELS2900 read HERE

00:17:15 INTERVIEW

MATT LEFORT race director for ELS2900

1 – Jokin Lizeaga 14:48

2 – Nicolas Darmaillacq 15:37

3 – Andy Symonds 16:11


1 – Sonia Regueiro Rodriguez 21:51

01:01:52 INTERVIEW

ANDY SYMONDS 3rd place ELS2900


Elisabet Barnes has one every stage and as we record she is ranked in the top-10 and is guaranteed overall female victory.

We will have Elisabet on the next show to tell us about it and tell us about her plans for 2016.


1 – Lee Muir 10:45:33

2 – Mark Ford 11:49:41

3 – Tim Beckett 11:51:18


1 – Maree Jesson 12:47:32

2 – Laura Garriod 14:20:07

3 – Katherine Barrett 14:33:52


80km results HERE

1 – Arnaud Lejeune 8:30:09

2 – Fabien Antolinus 8:49:46

3 – Leonardo Diogo 9:51:17


1 – Anna Conclaves 12:43

2 – Hailey Fletcher 18:08:28

3 –

40km results HERE

1 – Julien Chorier 4:29:55

2 – Marco Silva 4:33:57

3 – Virgilio Ornelas 4:46:07


1 – Luvox Franco 5:53:43

2 – Alice Sousa 6:11:50

3 –  Marina Freitas 7:08:12

UTWT 2016 calendar

Honk Kong 100




Madeira Island Ultra Trail

Ultra Trail Australia

Western States


Eiger Ultra Trail



Diagonale des Fous


1 – Paul Goblin 13:49

2 – Michael Carron 15:21

3 – Brett Sanborn 15:47

Speedgoat was 5th (man) 16:31

1 – Devon Yanko 14:52 and 2nd overall

2 – Tony Littlehales 19:24

3 – Tracy Dimino 20:10

01:39:46 INTERVIEW

SOPHIE GRANT Raid de la Reunion profile HERE

02:35:36 INTERVIEW 




Australian Capital Territory

Stromlo Running Festival – 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website


Upstream 50km Challenge | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Upstream 50km Challenge | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website


The Ancient Khmer Path | 220 kilometers | November 27, 2015 | website

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Trail La Transtica – Course Aventure | 115 kilometers | November 18, 2015 | website

Costa Rica Trail La Transtica – Course Extrême | 196 kilometers | November 18, 2015 | website


100 Km Pharonic Race | 100 kilometers | November 20, 2015 | website



Trail de l’Asterius | 58 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website


Raid nocturne Le Puy-Firminy | 68 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website


A la Belle Etoile 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website


Trail Extrème Lillois – 75 km | 75 kilometers | November 15, 2015 | website



Chiemsee-Ultramarathon November | 108 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Lower Saxony

  1. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website
  2. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website


Oxfam Trailwalker Hong Kong | 100 kilometers | November 20, 2015 | website



Oxfam Trailwalker India – Mumbai | 100 kilometers | November 20, 2015 | website



Ultra K Marathon | 50 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website


Trail Uewersauer | 50 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website


Desert Ultra | 250 kilometers | November 13, 2015 | website

New Zealand

Molesworth Run | 84 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website


Trail AM | 60 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website

South Africa

Salomon Sky Run 100 km | 100 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Salomon Sky Run 65 km | 65 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website


Canary Islands

UMNR | 79 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website


Marathon des Oasis | 120 kilometers | November 16, 2015 | website

United Kingdom


Beacons Ultra | 45 miles | November 14, 2015 | website


Coastal Trail Series – Gower – Ultra | 34 miles | November 14, 2015 | website



Dizzy Fifties 40 Mile Trail Run | 40 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

Dizzy Fifties 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Dizzy Fifties 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

Tranquility Lake 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website


Colossal-Vail 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Colossal-Vail 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Pass Mountain 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website


Chimera 100 Miles | 100 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Chino Hills Spring Trail Series 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Mt. Tam Trail Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

San Joaquin River Trail 100K Run | 100 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

San Joaquin River Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Spooner’s Cove 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 15, 2015 | website

Spooner’s Cove 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 15, 2015 | website

Spooner’s Cove 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 15, 2015 | website


Cottonmouth 100 | 100 miles | November 14, 2015 | website


Tortoise and the Hare 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website


Tunnel Hill 100 Miler | 100 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Tunnel Hill 50 Miler | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website


JFK 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

Rosaryville Veteran’s Day 50k | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Stone Mill 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website


Nougat Trail 100K | 100 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Nougat Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

New York

Madhattan Run | 32 miles | November 21, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Old Glory Trail Trot 50K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Old Glory Trail Trot 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website

Old Glory Trail Trot 50 mile Relay | 50 miles | November 14, 2015 | website


Bill’s Bad Ass | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

Flying Feather 4 Miler | 43 miles | November 26, 2015 | website

Fuzzy Fandango 50 K | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website


Upchuck 50K Trail Running Race | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website


50K | 50 kilometers | November 26, 2015 | website

Wild Hare 50K | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

Wild Hare 50 Mile | 50 miles | November 21, 2015 | website


Antelope Island 50K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website


50K | 50 kilometers | November 21, 2015 | website

50 Mile Ultra | 50 miles | November 21, 2015 | website


Doppler 50k | 50 kilometers | November 22, 2015 | website

Grand Ridge 50 K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | November 14, 2015 | website

03:05:47 CLOSE

A SPAR AGUS ;-)A spar agus



Libsyn – feed://

Website –


Scott Els 2900 Alpine Run

pic by

                                   pic by

Press release from Scott Running re the Scott ELS 2900 Alpine Run

Race directors: Matt Lefort and Carles Rossell

You can listen to two interviews on Episode 99 of Talk Ultra podcast, one with Matt Lefort and the other with 3rd placed runner, Andy Symonds. The show will be released Fri 13th Nov and will be available on this website and on iTunes HERE

At midnight on October 31st, the 37 participants of the inaugural edition of the SCOTT Els2900 Alpine Run started from the Refugi Estanys de la Pera. Their goal, link all 7 peaks over 2900m high in Andorra, in less than 24h.

Unlike other ultra running events, participants were required for sole mandatory equipment a phone, a harness, two 60cm runners and a minimum of two carabiners. The rest was up to the athletes, leaving everyone’s personal experience dictate what to bring to move as fast and light as possible without putting one’s life at risk. So is the true essence of the sport, initiated 25 years ago by a handful of pioneers who did run up and down Mount Blanc and Monte Rosa. Such legends, Pep Ollé and Matteo Pellin, were actually involved into setting up the ropes to secure the Cresta dels Malhiverns section.

pic by

                                    pic by

Even though the risk factor is never down to zero being out in the mountains, the race organizers lowered it considerably by carefully selecting each participant based on their experience in such terrain. This is how elite athlete were denied entry, while much less popular yet highly skilled mountain people made the cut to create a crowd of humble and like minded peers.

The 70km route took the most direct line between each peaks, amounting a gruelling 6800m of elevation gain, through rocky cols, over exposed ridges, steep couloirs and even a via ferrata section that was performed at night.

pic by

                                    pic by

At this game, Jokin LIZEAGA (ESP) was the best on the day, taking the win in14h48, followed by Nicolas DARMAILLACQ (FRA) in 15h37 and Andy SYMONDS (UK) in 16h11 wrapping up the mens podium. The woman’s fields made of two at the start line will only see Sonia REGUEIRO RODRIGUEZ (ESP) cross the finish line at the Refugi de Coma Pedrosa in 21h51, crowning her 2015 winner of the SCOTT Els2900 Alpine Run.

True camaraderie was shown until the end where race winner Jokin welcomed the last out of the 22 runners who completed the course (Paul Marie, FRA) and popped a bottle of Cava with the whole crew who had joined to witness the scene.

pic by

                                      pic by

All images ©scott ©jordisaragossa

Find out more about the race here and SCOTT Running here 

Andy Symonds wrote an interesting post about the race HERE

What is the best shoe for Road, Trail, Off-Road or Mountain?


What is the best shoe for road, off-road, trail and mountain?

You won’t believe how many times I get asked this question. Of course I can’t answer it. Far too many variables come into play.

  • Drop
  • Cushioning
  • Grip
  • Upper type
  • Lacing
  • Outsole

Taking into consideration all of the above, certain elements are comparable and with 2015 drawing to a close I thought I would take a look back at some of the shoes I have tested and worn in the last 10-months and then put my neck on the line and say, which shoe (for me) is the best.

Shoes to look at:

  • Salomon S-Lab Sense – 4mm drop
  • Salomon S-Lab Sense SG (soft ground) – 4mm drop
  • Salomon Sense Mantra 3 – 6mm drop
  • The North Face Ultra MT – 8mm drop
  • The North Face Ultra Cardiac – 8mm drop
  • inov-8 Race Ultra (2-models) – 4mm and 8mm drop
  • inov-8 Terraclaw (2-models) – 4mm and 8mm drop
  • inov-8 Mudclaw 300 – 6mm drop
  • Scott Kinabalu 3 – 11mm drop
  • Scott Kinabalu Supertrac – 8mm drop
  • Scott Trail Rocket – 5mm drop

Notice that I have added the drop next to all the the shoes above. Drop has become a very important element when choosing a shoe. What drop you require as a runner is open to debate and to a certain extent; genetics. The book, ‘Born to Run’ inspired many runners to get low and minimal and what followed was carnage and very happy physiotherapists. Please read this post HERE to provide some perspective of my thoughts.

Drop and minimal are two separate issues.

1. Drop is the angle from the heel to the toes that the foot will sit at when parallel to the ground.

2. Cushioning is the amount of ‘soft stuff’ between you and the ground.

To clarify:

  • You can have low drop (typically 4mm) and LOADS of cushioning = Hoka One One
  • You can have low drop (zero) and no cushioning = Vibram
  • You can have a combination of varying drop and varying cushioning = Many of the above shoes.

So, if you want zero drop and no cushioning OR you want lower drop and maximal cushioning; stop reading, this is not the review for you!

If however, you are looking for a shoe that can handle some road, off road or mountain paths then read on; which shoe is a jack of all trades?

Where do I start?

It’s quite daunting taking so many shoes and then saying which pair, in my opinion is the best. So, here is my criteria:

  • Ability to run on road
  • Ability to run on hard trails
  • Ability on dry and wet rocks
  • Grip in mud
  • Climbing
  • Descending
  • Time on feet
  • Fit
  • Lacing
  • Cushioning
  • Outsole
  • Wear and tear
  • Drop
  • Conclusion


Salomon S-Lab Sense SG – Read full review HERE

Ability to run on road – For a shoe with an aggressive outsole, on road experience is good but as the name suggests, the SG is for Soft Ground.

Ability to run on hard trails – Good. Handles the trail well with comfort.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – On dry rocks, grip is very good. On wet rocks the grip is very compromised and at times sketchy/ scary.

Grip in mud – For such an aggressive outsole, the grip is moderate. The SG sits somewhere in the middle.

Climbing – Shoes feel great. They are flexible, hold your foot snug and you have a feeling of precision. They also handle wet ground well providing it does not get very muddy. Wet rock is hit and miss.

Descending – As above but in mud, or on wet it can be a challenge.

Time on feet – 6mm drop, adequate cushioning and great fit make this shoe very popular. Excellent for 50k and after that it depends on the runner and the runners adaptation.

Fit – Excellent. Endofit and the speed lacing system is the best out there!

Lacing – The best but lacks an ability to tweak or adjust.

Cushioning – Cushioning is good and finds a nice mix that still allows feel and contact with the ground.

Outsole – It’s a soft ground outsole but for me it’s a great outsole for dry terrain with a variety of surfaces and not too much mud.

Toe box – Narrow, precision fit.

Wear and tear – Moderate – 500k – 600k

Drop – 4mm

Conclusion – Great fit, 4mm drop and soft ground outsole. For many this is the ultimate off road, trail and mountain shoe for longer days training or racing. It’s limited in the wet and mud though.


Salomon S-Lab Sense 

Ability to run on road – Excellent. The outsole has a low profile.

Ability to run on hard trails – Excellent. The outsole has a low profile and therefore if the trail is dry, these shoes will fly along.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – On dry rocks, grip is very good. On wet rocks the grip is compromised and at times sketchy. You lack 100% confidence and that makes you go slower.

Grip in mud – Hopeless.

Climbing – Shoes feel great. They are flexible, hold your foot snug and you have a feeling of precision. Not good in the wet or mud.

Descending – As above but in mud, or on wet rock forget it!

Time on feet – This depends on ones adaptation to a more minimal shoe. If you like being close to the ground with a low drop this shoe will be perfect. However, for me I prefer this shoe for shorter runs on dry trails.

Fit – Excellent. Endofit and the speed lacing system is the best out there!

Lacing – The best but lacks an ability to tweak or adjust.

Cushioning – This is a more minimal shoe but it does have cushioning.

Outsole – For dry trails

Toe box – Narrow, precision fit.

Wear and tear – Moderate – 500k.

Drop – 4mm

Conclusion – It’s a racing shoe for dry trails for mid to fore-foot runners. Fit is excellent if you like a precision feel.


Salomon Sense Mantra 3 – Read full review HERE

Ability to run on road – Excellent. The outsole has a low profile.

Ability to run on hard trails – Excellent. The outsole has a low profile and therefore if the trail is dry, these shoes will fly along.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – On dry rocks, grip is very good. On wet rocks the grip is compromised and at times sketchy. You lack 100% confidence and that makes you go slower.

Grip in mud – Hopeless.

Climbing – Shoes feel great. They are flexible, hold your foot snug and you have a feeling of precision. Not good in the wet or mud.

Descending – As above but in mud, or on wet rock forget it!

Time on feet – This depends on ones adaptation to a more minimal shoe. If you like being close to the ground with a low drop this shoe will be perfect. However, for me I prefer this shoe for shorter runs on dry trails.

Fit – Excellent. Endofit and the speed lacing system is the best out there!

Lacing – The best but lacks an ability to tweak or adjust.

Cushioning – This is a more minimal shoe but it does have cushioning.

Outsole – For dry trails

Toe box – Toe box is generous and for those looking for a Salomon with more room, this is the shoe for you!

Wear and tear – Good 700K

Drop – 6mm

Conclusion – I think the Mantra is a shoe that more people should look at. They often go for the S-Lab Sense because of the S-Lab tag but for me, this is a better all around shoe and far more suited for most runners. It has 6mm drop, wider toe box and more cushioning. If you run long on dry trails this is a great shoe.


The North Face Ultra MT – Read full review HERE

Ability to run on road – Good considering the outsole but keep it to a minimum.

Ability to run on hard trails – It handles hard and dry trails well but the shoe lacks flexibility and is a little firm.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – On dry rocks, grip is very good. On wet rocks the grip is better than the Salomon due the Vibram sole. Felt far more confident in this shoe.

Climbing – Good but they are not as supple and flexible as others in the test. Grip is goo.

Descending – As above.

Time on feet – The Ultra MT is a relatively firm shoe that excels on softer, muddier and forgiving ground. If you stick to that terrain they are excellent.

Fit – Pretty good, you may need to replace the laces (not great) and tweak how they are laced to get the best fit.

Lacing – Provided laces are average.

Cushioning – It’s a firm shoe and although cushioning is present, it’s not a cushioned shoe.

Outsole – Is Vibram and aggressive. It’s good!

Toe box – Has loads of protection and although not over wide it will work for most people.

Wear and tear – Good 600k but less if you go on the road a great deal.

Drop – 8mm

Conclusion – I was disappointed with the Ultra MT at first. I wanted it to be something else I think! But after several runs I found that they excelled off road when the terrain was forgiving (cushioned) and muddy, wet or slick. It’s a good mountain shoe that protects the foot.


The North Face Ultra Cardiac – Read full review HERE

Ability to run on road – Excellent. The outsole has a relatively low profile.

Ability to run on hard trails – Excellent. The outsole has a low profile and therefore if the trail is dry, these shoes will fly along.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – Good. Confidence in both scenarios.

Grip in mud – Moderate. It’s a great middle ground shoe so does not handle the real muddy terrain well.

Climbing – Shoes feel great. They are flexible, hold your foot snug and you have a feeling of precision. Not good in the wet or mud.

Descending – As above but in mud it’s compromised.

Time on feet – Great. The combination of 8mm drop and good cushioning make this a great long distance trail. mountain or off road shoe for primarily dry conditions. I’d recommend these for 100-miles and multi-day racing.

Fit – Good with a well padded tongue.

Lacing – Standard lacing that you may wish to tweak for the best fit.

Cushioning – Great cushioning but not maximal. Ideal for longer days.

Outsole – Great compromise outsole that can handle road and trail. Okay for mud but not too much!

Toe box – Is average width so if you need a wide toe box you may want to try them.

Wear and tear – The upper lacks durability which is the only downside of the shoe – 500k?

Drop – 8mm

Conclusion – One of the best ‘all-rounders’ in this test that can handle multiple terrains with an 8mm drop that will allow you to run long.



inov-8 Race Ultra 270 (4mm drop) and 290 (8mm drop) – Read full reviews HERE (270) and HERE (290)

Ability to run on road – Good, the outsole has minimal tread and they work well on road.

Ability to run on hard trails – As above, good outsole for hard and dry trails.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – Average grip and terrible when wet.

Grip in mud – Hopeless.

Climbing – If you have really wide feet they will feel ok, if not they feel sloppy, over stiff and lack any true feeling with the ground beneath.

Descending – Toe box is too wide and therefore foot moves around inside the shoe causing friction, toe impact and a lack of control.

Time on feet – A real plus of inov-8 shoes is that they provide you with 2 drops, 4mm and 8mm so that you can get the correct shoe for you. I personally prefer the 8mm drop shoe and the cushioning that goes with it for longer runs.

Fit – If you have wide feet one of these shoes may well be for you. They are roomy! Too roomy for me.

Lacing – Standard lacing and I used a ‘lock-lacing’ method to make both shoes feel more secure on my feet.

Cushioning – In both models is good but lacks feel for me and suppleness.

Outsole – For dry trails only.

Toe box – Wide, very wide.

Wear and tear – Very good 7/800k

Drop – 4mm and 8mm

Conclusion – The Race Ultra shoes look great and have been extremely popular. I personally don’t get along with either model. I can run in them for sure but I wouldn’t if I can choose any other shoe in this list. For me they lack feel for the ground, they are sloppy and stiff.



inov-8 Terraclaw 220 (4mm drop) and 250 (8mm drop) – Read full reviews HERE (220) and HERE (250)

Ability to run on road – Both shoes run well on the road with good feedback but be warned, the outsole will wear dowm.

Ability to run on hard trails – Excellent. Plenty of feeling in both shoes and the grip works well.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – On dry rocks, grip is very good. On wet rocks the grip is compromised and at times sketchy. You lack 100% confidence and that makes you go slower.

Grip in mud – If it’s not too muddy they work well. This shoe is trying to be the perfect trail shoe doing all things well. Of course, compromises are made at the extremes: all road or all mud.

Climbing – Shoes feel great. They are flexible, hold your foot snug if laced correctly but the wide toe box lacks precision and makes them feel too sloppy for me.

Descending – As above but in mud grip is compromised and on wet rock you slow down.

Time on feet – This depends on ones adaptation and preference. Two shoes and two options, for me the 250 with 8mm drop is the shoe for longer days but if you are efficient and like low drop, the 220 works great,

Fit – Slipper like feel as the shoe has very little seams. You get a great barefoot feel from the wide toe box and if you lace the shoe as per your needs, they are very comfortable.

Lacing – The 250 laces conventionally and the 220 laces at an angle. I used lock lacing in both models to get a more firm hold of my foot which added security.

Cushioning – Cushioning is good in both but the 250 is for longer runs with more cushioning.

Outsole – Has good grip made from 2 compounds. The sole is aggressive but not too aggressive. You can run on the road in comfort and on the trails. Comprises would be made when the trail gets muddy, you start to loose grip. I also wouldn’t recommend for just road runs.

Toe box – Very wide.

Wear and tear – Good but not great, 6-700k

Drop – 4mm and 8 mm

Conclusion – The Terraclaw is everything the Race Ultra should be. They are comfortable, have great feel for the ground and the grip is great for all around use.


inov-8 Mudclaw 300 – Read full review HERE

Ability to run on road – Surprisingly good considering the outsole but keep it to a minimum.

Ability to run on hard trails – Okay but this shoe is for the soft and muddy stuff as the name implies.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – On dry rocks, grip is very good. On wet rocks the grip is excellent for such an aggressive outsole. I would say the best in this group.

Grip in mud – Excellent. They will take loads of mud, soft grass and give you more security than any other shoe here.

Climbing – Shoes feel great. They are flexible, hold your foot snug and you have a feeling of precision. Although precision fit the toe box has room.

Descending – Excellent. Shoes give you great confidence.

Time on feet – If you are running in mud all day, the 300 has cushioning to go with the grip and I’d say they are one of the better long distance off road/ fell shoes. If you are on hard or dry trails you’ll start to feel it.

Fit – Precision fit shoe designed to hold your foot so that you can run with confidence. Toe box was roomier than expected and I had to lace with a locking method as they have a low heel to reduce problems with the achilles tendon.

Lacing – Standard lacing and I used a lock lacing method to add a more secure feel.

Cushioning – This is a more cushioned fell shoe and therefore it’s great for longer soft ground running.

Outsole – Aggressive for the soft and muddy stuff.

Toe box – Narrow, precision fit.

Wear and tear – On soft ground they will last but add hard trail, gravel and road and they will wear because of the soft rubber outsole.

Drop – 6mm

Conclusion – Brilliant off road shoe with great cushioning and 6mm drop for long days on soft, mountain and boggy terrain. A comprise comes with shoe longevity if you run on road and gravel but then again, the shoes name tells you where you should be using it! Grip is excellent even on rocks when dry and wet.

Scott T2 Kinabalu 2015

Scott T2 Kinabalu 2015

Scott T2 Kinabalu 3 – Read full review HERE

Ability to run on road – Excellent. It’s not a road shoe but it runs great on the hard stuff.

Ability to run on hard trails – Excellent. The outsole has a low profile and therefore if the trail is dry, these shoes will fly along.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – On dry rocks, grip is very good. On wet rocks the grip is compromised.

Grip in mud – Moderate, they can handle a little soft stuff but not too much.

Climbing – Pretty good. The shoes are a little more substantial than others in the test and therefore they are a little heavier and a little more rigid.

Descending – Good feel and cushioning but grip is compromised on wet and muddy trail/ rocks.

Time on feet – Great shoe for longer running and a very durable upper with great protection. The shoe has an 11mm drop which is almost unheard of these days. 8mm has become the norm. But Scott use a ‘rocker’ and this does keep you mid to fore-foot and they don’t feel like 11mm drop when running.

Fit – Great fitting shoe that feels comfortable and holds the foot.

Lacing – Standard lacing with ‘lace-locker’ to hold excess lacing after they are tied.

Cushioning – Very good.

Outsole – It’s a road to trail shoe that offers grip similar to the TNF Ultra Cardiac but they have more grip than the Race Ultra, S-Lab Sense and Sense Mantra 3.

Toe box – Standard with good protection

Wear and tear – Very good 800k.

Drop – 11mm

Conclusion – The Kinabalu in it’s 3rd incarnation is a really good shoe, if it was 8mm drop it would be excellent. It’s a great shoe for those who want one shoe to do all things.


Scott Kinabalu Supertrac – Read full review HERE

Ability to run on road – Surprisingly good for an aggressive sole and you can run comfortable for longer periods of time.

Ability to run on hard trails – Excellent. As above.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – On dry rocks, grip is very good. On wet rocks the grip is compromised at times but you have confidence in the shoes.

Climbing – They are heavier shoes with less flex but the combination of grip and firm foothold make them very pleasing to wear.

Descending – Good cushioning and a robust (bomb proof) upper make you feel confident to tackle most terrain.

Time on feet – 8mm drop, good cushioning and a bomb proof upper make these great for long days. The only downside comes with the weight of the shoe. They are a fair bit heavier (340g) than other shoes in this test.

Fit – Great fitting shoes, maybe a little stiff when new but they soften. Toe box has room but not too much room and protection is excellent.

Lacing – Standard with ‘Lace-Locker.’

Cushioning – Excellent

Outsole – Aggressive that works on a multitude of surfaces.

Toe box – Standard with good protection.

Wear and tear – Excellent 800k

Drop – 8mm

Conclusion – This shoe is a real winner that mixes up different surfaces really well in a shoe that gives great cushioning all with an 8mm drop. The downside is the weight.


Scott Trail Rocket – Read full review HERE

Ability to run on road – Excellent.

Ability to run on hard trails – Excellent.

Ability on dry and wet rocks – On dry rocks, grip is very good. On wet rocks the grip is compromised.

Climbing – Shoes feel great. They are flexible, hold your foot snug and you have a feeling of precision. Not good in the wet or mud.

Descending – Okay if it is dry.

Time on feet – This depends on ones adaptation to a more minimal shoe. This is a shoe for faster running on dry/ mixed trail.

Fit – Good snug fit with precision feel.

Lacing – Standard.

Cushioning – This is a more minimal shoe for faster running but they are well cushioned.

Outsole – For dry trails

Toe box – Narrow, precision fit.

Wear and tear – Moderate – 5/600k.

Drop – 5mm

Conclusion – Great fitting shoe and the race rocker works well for keeping you mid to forefoot. This shoe compares to the Salomon S-Lab Sene, Mantra 3 or the Race Ultras. It has a specific use.

And the winner is?

Before I say my winner, lets look at my thought process. By ‘best’ shoe I am taking into consideration many things such as: comfort, drop, cushioning, longevity, fit and so on. I am not looking at the colour or the price of the shoe. It may sound flippant but all shoes are around the same price these days and to be honest, if the shoe is what I want and I know it works then I will pay the bucks.

You may well say, ‘But you can’t compare 4mm drop shoes to 8mm drop shoes and shoes with hardly any grip to shoes with loads of grip!’

Yes, I know.

But in some respects, this review or this comparison is all about purchasing one pair of shoes that can do all things well. If I wanted to just run in the mud I would get the Mudclaw 300. If I was just going to run fast hard trail I may well go for the Salomon Sense Mantra 3.

So, here you go:

Scott Kinabalu Supertrac


I am! When I started this process I didn’t think the Scott would come out on top but you know what, it has been a relatively easy decision.

I know it’s a heavy shoe and that is a big down side, especially when you compare it to say the Salomon which are almost 100g lighter; that is huge! But if I could only have one pair of shoes that had to take me along roads, along dry trails, up mud, down mud and along rocks in the wet and dry then the Supertrac would be the ones for me! The combination of 8mm drop, excellent cushioning, bullet proof upper, ‘rocker’ design and the aggressive outsole make them a winner; for me!

On a final note, shoes often have very specific uses and all the shoes above (in most cases) do one thing well! So, if you have the funds and the desire to own multiple pairs of shoes this almost certainly is the best way to go.

Three key shoe choices:

  • Road/ dry trails
  • Trail shoes for mixed conditions
  • Mud/ off-road shoes

The other key choice is drop and cushioning – you know your needs!

What are your thoughts and what shoes have I not tried here that would provide some competition?

Kilian Jornet’s new book – The Invisible Border

Kilian Jornet

“Three men and a mountain, three men and an impossible adventure. An expedition to the most untamed Nepal, that of distant horizons and most remote peaks, with improbable climbs, intrepid descents, challenges, risks, dangers and life and death decisions. An expedition that is both an investigation, an escape and a reunion, where emotions and feelings are multiplied and feeling under the skin; where words, silences and memories acquire new depths.”


With humility and simplicity, Kilian Jornet invites us on his second book to run, to go further and to dare to explore the invisible border that separates sadness to happiness, life and death.

“This second book is more of a personal quest in search of both physical and emotional boundaries.”

The book is available (HERE) in Catalan, Spanish and French. Unfortunately no English version is available yet. It is possible to sign up for news here

On Amazon HERE


inov-8 TERRACLAW 220 – Shoe Review


The Terraclaw 220 is the stripped down version of the recently reviewed Terraclaw 250 by Niandi Carmont on this website (HERE).

I have been using both the 220 and the 250 for the last 4-months and in all honesty, much of what I have to say applies to both shoes. The biggest and most obvious differences are:

4mm drop in comparison to 8mm drop

220g weight in comparison to 250g weight

Less cushioning in the 220

Different lacing system

If you are new to inov-8 shoes, they always add the weight of the shoe (based on a UK8.5) to the name. In this scenario 220 relates to 220g. I like this, from first glance you get an understanding of where a shoe fits in the big picture. It’s safe to say, the less weight = more minimalist.


For me, the 220 and the 250 Terraclaw shoes are an extension from the Race Ultra models, the 270 (4mm drop) and 290 (8mm drop). The Race Ultra, as the name implies was designed for longer days running and the shoe had a sole that was good for dry trail and road. A key feature was the wide toe box that would allow the toes to spread out and also allow for swelling. It’s a shoe that had many new features and I must add it proved (and still proves to be) very popular. My initial impressions were good but that is where it stopped for me. I found the Race Ultra in both models lacked feel for the ground, comfort and responsiveness. They just didn’t light my candle.


So when I received the Terraclaw models I was not over excited to take them out for a run. My preferred shoe drop is usually 8mm so I went out in the Terraclaw 250 (black and blue shoe) first and I was amazed how different this shoe felt. The sloppy feel of the Race Ultra was gone and I found this new shoe more flexible, supple, cushioned, responsive and the feedback with the ground was good. I have gone on to run many miles in the Terraclaw 250 and love them. You can read Niandi’s review HERE and for the most I agree with her thoughts.

However, I do have some other thoughts and they relate to both the 220 and 250 models.



As mentioned above, the Terraclaw 220 and 250 are almost identical.

The 250 has a cool colour way of black, yellow and blue and the 220 does not! Oh boy do I hate this pale blue and yellow. I have visions of the first Hoka’s and people saying, ‘why are you wearing clown shoes!’ Of course looks mean nothing in regard to performance but I do like my shoes to look good and I have to say, inov-8 usually do a great job of making shoes look ‘sexy!’ Not in this case, not for me anyway.


That big ‘X’ that goes over the front of the shoe is ‘X-Lock’ – inov-8 say that is a welded overlay to hold the foot in place. I will admit that the ‘X’ adds some structure to the shoe but it does not hold the foot in place!


Well this shoe and the 250 is all about foot splay. The toe box has been designed to let the toes splay out, move around and yes, even swell if they need to. It works. Both the 220 and 250 versions give me a ‘barefoot’ feel of movement. However, the ‘X’ adds little structure or hold.

This for me is a real plus and a real negative.

1. If you are running on mixed terrain that involved some road, hard trail, a little mud, soft grass and the profile is relatively flat with a few undulations and descents – the 220 and 250 are great shoes.

2. But if you are running anything technical, running up or running down, the movement within the toe box is way too much (for me). You have no control and your foot slides inside offering no reassurance.

The two comments above are comments that relate to the shoes ‘best practice’ running scenarios. So, if you are intending to run in the number 2 scenario, the 220 or 250 is probably NOT the shoe for you unless you have a foot as wide as a Hobbit. Look at a 212 (HERE) or 300 (HERE) instead.

Niandi needs a wider toe box and this where the needs of one varies to the needs of another. To take a step back and understand the needs of the individual, for me, the wide toe box is too much when I need control but for Niandi it works. We both agree though that the outsole is NOT for muddy or slippery terrain.


The outsole is an extension of the Race Ultra and I would imagine has come about from all those Race Ultra lovers who wanted more grip. Well they have it now but it has limitations. We must remember here that (for me) inov-8 are trying to create an ‘all-purpose’ shoe that transitions from different surfaces; road to trail? Like I always say, no shoe that compromises will ever do the extremes well. That applies to the 220 and the 250 – they are not as good as a road shoe and they do not offer the grip of an out-and-out fell or soft-ground shoe. BUT if you want a shoe that you can put on everyday and use for mixed terrain, the 220 and 250 are great for that.


The outsole uses different compounds to provide grip on a multitude of surfaces and the grip is made up of little triangles that provide adequate grip on soft ground but not muddy ground. The spacing of the cleats is supposed to allow debris to release quicker. It made no difference for me; mud is mud and it sucks on to your shoes.

A ‘Dynamic Fascia Band’ has been embedded in the midsole and this provides some propulsion on the ‘lift-off’ phase when running. I would say that I noticed this more on the 220 (4mm drop) shoe but in all honesty, I believe that this comes from me wanting to run better in the 4mm drop shoes. You (or I) need to think more about my run style in a lower drop shoe as the mid to forefoot strike is so much more important. Hence the ‘awareness’ of the DFB working.


The noticeable difference between the 220 and the 250 is the lacing. The 250 is conventional and the 220 sweeps off to the side. inov-8 call this Ray-Wrap and it’s designed to line with the foot’s first metatarsal. They are not the first shoe company to do this, I seem to remember using a pair of Brooks with a similar system. Ultimately it works. I am not convinced it is any better than normal lacing methods though. I personally like my shoes to hold my foot so in both the 220 and 250 models I use a lacing method like THIS and in the 220 it is a little harder to use because of the offset. The 220 also has less additional support added to the upper around the lacing. The heel box is snug and plush and the shoe fits true to size.


Both shoes feel like slippers when you slide your foot into them and this is due to the lack of stitching. The shoes have little or no seams to cause any issues. The toe box of the 220 has less protection than the 250 and this only an issue if you are planning running on more rocky terrain or terrain with obstacles when the risk of stubbing a toe increases.


In Use

Although the 220 and 250 are very similar, are they for different runners? The 250 is a great ‘all rounder’ that will appeal to many runners because of the following features:

8mm drop

Good cushioning

Mixed terrain outsole

Wide toe box

Great for longer runs

The 220 though is a much more streamlined shoe and the 4mm drop and less cushioning will appeal to more efficient runners who cover ground quicker with a forefoot/ mid-foot run style. For example, I can see a runner using the 220 for short training sessions, faster training sessions or racing. They then may well use the 250 for longer training runs or longer races. I don’t think that 250 users would necessarily drop down to the 220.

I have enjoyed the 220 for ‘keeping me on my toes’ on runs of up to 60-75 minutes on road, grass, forest trail and canal path. When I have wanted to run longer I have used the 250.

When running on technical trails with more mud, rocks and longer descents and climbs I have always preferred to use a different shoe. Currently the Mudclaw 300 (HERE) as this seems a natural extension of the 250 with a more aggressive outsole, precision fit but good cushioning.

Ultimately, if you need a shoe that will allow you to run on mixed terrain and you need a wider toe box, the 220 or 250 should be on your list of shoes to look at.

Despite misgivings on the lack of support in the upper, I have found the freedom that both shoes provide very liberating and they do give a ‘natural’ feel similar to running barefoot. The outsole has worn well even with road use and they compare well to other shoes on the market.



I have always admired inov-8 for thinking of runners when they make shoes. Silly thing to say you may think, but how many other brands provide shoe models with varying drop: 3,6, 9 and 12mm or 4 and 8mm and at the same time have offered standard or precision width fittings in certain models. The arrow system on the rear of the shoe in many ways inspired a whole new generation of runners who wanted to get ‘lower’ with drop and inov-8 facilitated that. So, I’m an inov-8 fan. Over time, they have tweaked models and expanded the range. The Race Ultra and now the Terraclaw are shoes that hove come about with the growth of ultra running and the need (or desire) for a wider toe box. They have answered that demand and in doing so, once again they have provided two options in drop to ensure that nearly everyone is happy. If you are in need of a shoe that can handle a mix of terrain (not all road and not all mud) then a 220 or 250 may well answer your needs.


Wide toe box

4mm drop for the more efficient runner

Fast shoe



Cushioned (but not too cushioned)

Great feel

Outsole for mixed terrain


I’m not convinced on the lacing but then again it caused no issues

Outsole lacks grip on mud, when climbing or descending

Toe box (for me) feels sloppy on technical terrain, when climbing and when descending

Less cushioning than the 250

Upper lacks support when required

Technical Specs

Weight: 220g/ 8oz

Fit: Standard

Footbed: 6mm

Midsole: Compressed EVA

ShankL DFB

Drop: 4mm

Sole: Terraclaw

Outsole: Dual C

What inov-8 say:

inov-8 say:

From single track to steep descents, the TERRACLAW™ performs on the widest range of trails imaginable. Our unique lug design releases debris and grit like no other, delivering optimum grip with every foot strike. At just 220g, the lightest version of the TERRACLAW™ is stripped-back for racing super-fast with a finely tuned balance of performance and protection.

Skyrunning is Booming! article on RUNULTRA

Skyrunning is Booming!

The recent Fast and Light film provides a great insight into Skyrunning and shows how the sport has grown worldwide; the UK has also seen interest grow in a sport where earth meets sky.

Shane Donnelly is a 26-year old runner from Ireland who has had his imagination captured by the sport.

In 2015 alone, he has raced the Tromso SkyRace in Norway, the Glen Coe Skyline in Scotland and the Mourne Skyline MTR in Northern Ireland.

Three challenging races but it’s the Glen Coe event in Scotland that is currently making runners turn their heads and wonder, ‘can I do that?

Let’s face it, the 2015 first edition of the race had Skyrunning World and European Champion, Emelie Forsberg take part and post race she said:

“Waow! Seriously the best race in this distance. Super technical ridges and gullies (think Trofeo Kima but no via ferrata!) and some parts are very runnable on nice but tricky trails. Glen Coe I’m thrilled to have run this race. Thanks for the amazing organization. Even though it was hard all of the nature and the course made me go fast.”

 You can read the full story on HERE



inov-8 TERRACLAW 250 Shoe Review


Niandi Carmont gets her claws out and test the new inov-8 Terraclaw 250. A shoe that offers a wide toe box, grip, cushioning and an 8mm drop for longer days on mixed terrain.

Please note all photographs in this review are the male colour ways . The ladies version as reviewed is below.




The Terraclaw is a great dual purpose trail shoe for “earthy” mostly dry trail as well as offering enough grip to be used on trail with moderately grassy/ muddy sections. As I’m not an aficionado of technical slippery and extremely boggy terrain, this is definitely the shoe to fit my foot in more ways than one.


What definitely makes this trail shoe even more attractive for me is the wide toe box or in inov-8 jargon “standard fit” as opposed to the “precision fit”. The roomy toe box allows my toes to splay comfortably as I’m running irrespective of any swelling in hot weather over long distances. This is an absolute must for me as like with many ultra-runners who have been in the sport for some time, I have an issue with a collapsing right arch and thus a wider right foot.  In my case narrower trail shoes usually lead to chafing in between the toes and ensuing blisters.


Another interesting key feature of this model which attracted me is inov-8’s innovative patented Dynamic Fascia Band™ (DFB) technology. What this means in layman’s terms is that the anatomical position of the plantar fascia ligament is replicated and the function of the human foot’s ability to utilize the “windlass effect” is duplicated. As body weight moves forward onto the metatarsal heads and the toes begin to extend, tension on the inov-8 fascia band™ increases. When the heel leaves the ground, the inov-8 fascia band™ resists elongation of the medial arch and carries the entire body weight of the runner converting the shoe into a rigid propulsive lever. This helps the athlete to run more efficiently, more economically and thus a tad faster. How cool is that for an injured right-foot heel striker with a collapsing arch like me? I certainly feel I’m dragging my right foot less.


In addition to this the shoe is very breathable with a soft with a slipper-like feel. In fact this model is almost too comfy for a trail shoe! At 250G it is a relatively light shoe yet lightness is not sacrificed at the expense of cushioning. There is enough cushioning in this trail shoe to run on rock, gravel or stony terrain and inov-8 have got the balance just right and so if like me you still like to feel the ground underfoot you won’t be disappointed. The shoe sticks to inov-8 heritage of getting you low to the ground but the lack of a rockplate will allow more irregular rocks or sharper rocks be felt in the foot. It’s no great issue but one you should be aware of.


If you take a peek at the sole of the shoe, you’ll quickly understand why this shoe offers good grip on most terrain.  Inov-8 have developed 5 distinct outsole compounds to deliver maximum grip on a wide variety of terrains and in changeable weather conditions. The Terraclaw outsole is composed of Dual-C, in other words a mix of medium sticky and hard sticky compound.  This particular technology uses rock climbing rubber technology.

In principle the shoe should therefore also offer a reasonable amount of grip on wet rock. However, I was not convinced after having tested it on the initial section of the Garmin Mourne Skyline race course. Running down the wet stone steps was tricky and a shoe like the inov-8 Mudclaw 300 (HERE) would be more suited to that terrain despite the aggressive outsole.  Personally from having tested the shoe on various terrains and in different seasons and weather conditions, I would say it is more suited to dry trail and trail with short road sections. The shoe transitions well from one to the other. It would perform less well on extremely boggy terrain, very steep and slippery grassy climbs/ descents (fells), stony river and waterfall sections.  I also found the cleats wore away quite rapidly with over-use. I’m on my second pair in the space of 3 months as there is noticeable cleat wear where I heel strike and on the forefoot where the foot lifts off. Of course, if you use the shoe on just soft ground or trail, the outsole will last longer! However, I believe that inov-8 are trying to find a shoe here that does all jobs? The rise of ‘city-trail’ a key indicator why this move from inov-8 makes sense. But whenever you make a compromise, you very often end up with something that does nothing well. Certainly, if you want an out-and-out shoe for wet, muddy and slippery trail this is not the shoe for you: look at the 212 (HERE) or 300 (HERE). Equally, if you want a shoe for just road, this is not the shoe for you. But if you want a shoe that enables you to run road, run trail, have comfort and all with a pleasing drop of 8mm this is definitely worth considering.


The triangular spaced out lug design of the shoe is interesting too.  The purpose of this is to release debris, grit and small stones. However I found that it was not effective in releasing big clumps of muddy grass which got entangled in the lugs.  On the plus side because of the lug design the shoe is easy to rinse off after muddy trail runs.


The Terraclaw offers good toe and foot protection in spite of its light weight with a full rand and higher stack height. Like other inov-8 models the 2 Meta-flex grooves on the outsole (pinky-red color on the Ladies shoe) at the forefoot and the heel allow for natural foot flexing making for a smoother run.


It’s a neutral shoe that fits true to size but be warned, the roomier toe box may make the shoe feel a little ‘sloppy.’ If so, try lacing the shoe using this method HERE, it will hold your foot tight but still allow the freedom for your toes.


Last but not least – the color is great! Nice and sober – black with a hint of pink and blue. Personally I’m not one for garish bright run shoes which quickly look muddy.



I have tested this shoe on several types of terrain and in various weather conditions:

  • A 2-day ultra around the Isle of Wight with a total mileage of 117km in hot weather and on dry trail, road sections, grassy coastal trail and some short technical ascents. My conclusion: this shoe is very versatile – I had no issue moving from trail to road sections. The grip on dusty trail is very good.
  • A one-day 42km trail in Lanzarote running on dust roads, through very rocky lava fields, on beach sections in soft sand, on pebbles, on stones, gravel and up and down slippery dusty mountain sections in hot weather. My conclusion: the shoe offered great grip in dry conditions. I tend to be too careful and overly think technical descents but found that I had more confidence with the Terraclaw.
  • Wet muddy trail training runs in the Midlands in rainy cold weather. My conclusion: If the terrain is not too muddy the Terraclaw offers sufficient grip. However, I felt it lacked grip in extreme boggy conditions.
  • Training runs on the West Highland Way. My conclusion: Good shoe for this type of terrain which is not extremely technical and very runnable.
  • Wet training runs on the fells in the Lakelands. My conclusion: Again I feel the shoe does not offer sufficient grip on really boggy and slippery terrain.
  • Training in the Mourne mountains in Northern Ireland. My conclusion: The shoe was great on forest path and trail sections but lacked grip on wet rocky sections on descents and steep grassy descents. The Mudclaw 300 would probably be more suitable for this kind of terrain.
  • Training runs on forest path near Paris. My conclusion: The shoe is very versatile and transitions comfortably from hard road surfaces to softer forest terrain.



  • I like it – I’m already on my second pair.
  • The patented Dynamic Fascia Band™ technology favors a more economical and thus more efficient run style.
  • The Dual-C grip is sufficient for moderately wet conditions.
  • This model is extremely comfortable.
  • It is lightweight shoe with ample protection and great cushioning.
  • I love the roomy toe box.
  • Great color
  • Very versatile shoe – an all-rounder


  • I’m on my second pair. It lacks durability mainly due to lug wear.
  • It doesn’t offer sufficient grip in more extreme conditions

If you’d prefer the same show with a lower drop (4mm) the 220 version is available with a unique lacing style.



Weight: 250G / 9OZ


Footbed: 6MM


Shank: DFB™

Drop: 8MM



Running a mult-day race? Check out our training camp

inov-8 website HERE

Inov8 say:

From single track to steep descents, the TERRACLAW™ performs on the widest range of trails imaginable. Our unique lug design releases debris and grit like no other, delivering optimum grip with every foot strike. The higher mileage version of the TERRACLAW™ range, this shoe delivers extra protection and comfort courtesy of a full rand and higher stack height.