After months of shopping for the right pair of Trail Running Shoes I finally got a bargain in a pair of Merrell All Out Crush. These, along with the new Vango Swift 10L Hydration Pack meant it was time to get out especially as we have plans to run up to the Mer de Glace while we are in Chamonix, as well as the Yorkshire Three Peaks later in the year.
Besides this, I had an urge for some sort of physically draining day out and have done since the New Year, and BG was yet to try out the route/navigation setting on his Suunto Ambit3 Peak I got him for Christmas. We found this route on Suunto’s Movescount website which was rich in trail running routes all over the Peak District.
I’ve never run further than 10K (6 miles) before but I was quite ready to sink my teeth into something further and more challenging. The route went straight uphill which as it was cold it took my lungs a while to warm up and feel comfortable. It flattened out quite quickly and I was able to find a comfortable pace and enjoy the scenery. By the time we had reached Stanage Edge I was really starting to enjoy myself. It was a refreshing change not to be road running the same routes through the city or to be consumed with speed and PBs.
One of the things I enjoyed learning to trust was the new shoes and my own balance abilities. At one point I was flying down a rocky and uneven path down past Burbage and I was so busy enjoying the run that I forgot myself for a brief moment and had to remind myself to slow down before I tripped over a rock or my own feet.
Another luxury that had never come with road running was carrying a hydration pack. Not once did I feel like I was carrying a heavy load and it was great to not have to carry a water bottle. Keeping constantly hydrated really made the run easier.
The route got boggier around Burbage but the benefit of trail running shoes made dealing with this easier. They stood up to all the different grounds under foot. The only time they were pretty useless was running by the river through Coppice Wood. The ground was just a slippery and sticky mud bath that everybody who was attempting the path was struggling with.
The route was quite varied in ground. It started on the road until getting to Stanage Edge, then we took the large rocky, boulder path along the top rather than the more even one. Running down from Stanage and across the road to Burbage was quite rocky but a lot narrower than the path over Stanage before becoming more grassy and boggy running past Higger Tor. After crossing the A6187 and the path was more of an ‘man-made’ path until hitting the edge of the woods where the path was muddy with uneven rocks all the way down to Upper Padley. As mentioned before, the path through Coppice Wood was very slippery but it soon opened out to grassy fields along the Derwent before the end of the route became tarmac again.
It was only the last couple of miles that the Jelly Babies stopped being useful and I started to feel fatigued. But unlike road running I was never inclined to stop and walk when I felt tired. Trail running is certainly a lot more enjoyable and more rewarding than road running. And I can’t wait for the next one.