Natural Born Runner

I’ve just come across the Spring (and launch) issue of Natural Born Runner magazine:

Articles include:

  • Running free with the Rarámuri
    Maria Walton’s spiritual journey in northwestern Mexico
  • What we can learn about Running from barefoot Running
    A landmark study on the science of barefoot running
  • Heroes of Running: Helen Hall, Keep on running
    They build them tough in Yorkshire

The Art Of Raising Young Ultrarunners

“Imagine you’re running a 50k trail race when you hear voices behind you, turn around, and see that you’re being passed – by an eight-year-old. That’s what happened to a couple dozen ultrarunners at the Siskiyou Out and Back in Oregon (SOB), in late July, when third-grader Teagan Redden completed her first 50k, accompanied by her dad, Seth, and her 10-year-old brother, Tajh.”

How old is too young for an ultra? Check out ‘The Art Of Raising Young Ultrarunners‘  by Katie Arnold on for an interesting article about 2 young ultrarunners in America.

Sole Man – 12 Things We Learned About Minimalism

“The minimalist running movement isn’t dead, but the pendulum has certainly swung back the other direction. The once white-hot trend has cooled considerably, but it benefitted us all – no matter if you’re a barefoot zealot or a FiveFingers diehard or have always been content wearing a trusty pair of ASICS Kayanos or Nike Pegasus as your primary shoe of choice.”

There’s an excellent article about the impact of minimalism on the running shoe industry over on which covers the following:

  • Minimalism Isn’t Dead, But Runners Do Love Cushioning
  • Minimalism Was Necessary And Long Overdue
  • Minimalism Changed The Way We Think About Running Shoes
  • Minimalism Begat Maximalism
  • Minimalism Helped Runners Think About Their Running Mechanics
  • Minimalism Hasn’t Reduced The Frequency Of Running Injuries
  • Minimalism Changed The Running Industry – Sort Of
  • Minimalism Spurred New Science – And Lots Of Pseudo-Science
  • Minimalism Was A Fad And A Sales Pitch
  • Minimalism Isn’t A New Concept
  • Minimalism Isn’t The Answer For Many People
  • Minimalism Isn’t Going Away

Check out the article:

Moray 10k

This coming Sunday, the 1st September, will be my first race of the year since the D33 ultramarathon back in March. I did have a number of events planned for the interim, including a second stab at the 95 mile West Highland Way Race, the 53 mile Hoka Highland Fling, the 43 mile Devil O’ The Highlands and, well, pretty much all of my ‘usual’ ultramarathons (Scottish Ultra Marathon Series). But then, in February, my son Harris was born, and it soon became all too obvious that there wasn’t going to be enough time in the day to train to the extent that I was used to AND be a great dad. That’s when I decided to retire from running ultramarathons, albeit temporarily.

In the run up to a race I am used to getting drop bags ready, spending ages pondering over kit choices, which waistpack/rucksack/race vest to wear etc. etc. etc. This time round, however, I will be lucky to have warmed up by the time I get to the starting line. Why? Because I am running a 10k, 6.2 miles.

I’ve run 15 10ks to date, starting back in May 2007 at the City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k. I can’t recall if it was that very race but I do remember that I reached the 1/2 way point at one Baker Hughes 10k, in May of that year (as it always is), and thought to myself that this was now my longest run of the year! Given the thousands of miles that I have logged since, and especially the miles logged since March 2010 when my focus turned to ultramarathons, it seems funny not to have run anything longer than 3 miles by May of any year!

My PB for the 10k distance is 49:36, set way back in 2007, again at the City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k. If memory serves me correctly, that was the year that the race start was delayed because of cars parked on the route and also the year where it started hailing/snowing just before the start of the race – no doubt the reason for my extra turn of speed that year!

Believe it or not, I am actually nervous about running it. I’ve never been a fast runner and, with a 10k, it’s never that long before the event is over. It’s also my first 10k since June 2009!

It would be nice to finish with a good time, especially considering all the training I have been doing and that, at my next event, the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on 6th October, I am aiming to set a new PB as part of my role as a PUMA PB Challenge Ambassador. However, I currently have a niggle with my right leg and, thus, will just have to see how the day goes.

On the plus side, even with race registration, transportation to the start line etc. etc., I should be away from the family for little more than a couple of hours rather than the 12-30 hours required for completion of some of my ultras in the past! In that area at least, it will be mission accomplished as far as my running and having realistic running goals is concerned.

All the best if you are running any of the Moray Marathon series of events this weekend. I will be the one kitted out head to toe in PUMA gear :o)

Races To Do Before You Die

The West Highland Way Race has made it onto ‘Races To Do Before You Die’, an article on the Scottish Running Guide.

West Highland Way Race

“An incredible off-road epic which covers Scotland’s best loved trail. The race covers a 95 mile undulating stretch which winds along the west coast from just outside Glasgow to the shadow of Ben Nevis in Fort William. I had the fortune of being a member of a runner’s support team in 2005 and the scenery and spirit of the race really struck a chord with me.”

Having completed the race myself in June 2012, I have to agree that it’s definitely a race to consider if you like longer runs. The following posts give an idea of my race, and the build up to the race.

Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference

The second Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference takes place on Saturday September 14th in Edinburgh and features none other than Barefoot Ted.

Based on the New York City Barefoot Run, an almost free run around the main sites of Scotland’s Capital, hosted by Colin McPhail and Donnie Campbell who are building on the success of last years event. £10.00 entry on the day purely to cover costs, any profits go to The British Heart Foundation

Event will include:

  • 11.00am The Scottish Barefoot RUN. Course as last year 5.25miles.
  • 13.00 Lunch at the venue Bruntsfield Links.
  • 14.30 Conference Featuring BAREFOOT TED, Joe Warne & Jae Gruenke. Venue TBA
  • 17.30 Golf Tavern for a few Barefoot Merlots

Amendments may be made to the timetable which is in draft just now.

Salomon & Hoka Updates At The Ultramarathon Running Store

The Ultramarathon Running Store has recently added the latest Salomon Advanced Skin Packs and has also added Hoka to the range stocked.

Salomon Advanced Skin Packs

The latest Salomon packs include the Advanced Skin Lab Hydro 12 Set and the Advanced Skin Lab Hydro 5 Set, available for £134.99 and £107.99 respectively. Both packs have adopted Salomon’s new approach of relying on soft flasks for fluids and, as such, no bladder is included. However, it is possible to carry a bladder in the pack if required. The packs come with the 500ml soft flasks which are like gold dust at the moment, with little or no stock available anywhere. The flasks are held in the front pockets for easy access.

New Autumn/Winter 2013 Model Additions

  • New 2x Hydro Pockets with 2x 500ml/17oz. Soft Flasks included
  • New 2x Energy pockets ( above each Hydro Pocket )
  • New 2x Stretch mesh pockets ( under each Hydro Pocket )
  • New 2x Secure mesh side pockets ( vertical with open top )
  • New 2x Vertical zipped lateral pockets
  • New Central Low Compartment ( with 2 side access pockets )
  • New Weight: 340g ( previous model: 530g )


The Hoka range on The Ultramarathon Running Store includes variants of the Hoka Stinson Evo Trail, Hoka Bondi B and Hoka Stinson Tarmac shoes.

“With the goal of designing running shoes for optimal performance, comfort, efficiency and fun, Hoka One One shoes ( aka Hokas ) pioneer a new philosophy in running by merging aspects of minimalism and maximalism. Engineered for maximum cushioning and comfort, while still offering lightweight, nimble performance and uninhibited movement.

Hoka One One shoes’ maximally cushioned midsoles offer superior protection, comfort and propulsion. The distinctive rockered geometry creates a platform for optimally efficient natural running mechanics. The oversized outsoles allow for maximum stability, traction and connection to the ground. Not only do Hoka shoes provide a sense of weightlessness, superior comfort and efficiency but Hoka’s athlete results prove optimal performance. They have recorded over 30 podium finishes on five continents in the past 18 months. Additionally, Hoka running shoes are 15 percent lighter than most others, they make running uphill as much fun as they make running downhill and with less body fatigue.”

Update 2nd September 2013: 
The Hoka Mafate 3 mens/womens models have also now arrived at The Ultramarathon Running Store and are described by Keith as being “the model most suited to those running the WHW Race, Lakeland and so on…”

Merrell & Gore Create Exclusive Minimal Footwear For Autumn/Winter 2013

Merrell have revealed some of their latest product for Autumn/Winter 2013, teaming up with Gore to create a product that combines that trusted Merrell glove like fit with exceptional breathability and waterproof performance. Just what minimalist fans need to see them through the winter. I’ve already worn the Merrell Ascend Glove out, but will be putting them to the test in the Cairngorms over the next couple of weeks with a view to writing a review. Watch this space.

Press Release

Merrell And Gore Create Exclusive Minimal Footwear For Autumn/Winter 2013

Unique Collaboration Delivers New Minimal Options For The Trail

Leading outdoor footwear and apparel brand Merrell, has teamed up with W.L. Gore & Associates to create two exclusive products launching Autumn/Winter 2013. The Merrell GORE-TEX® ConnectFit range delivers products providing an incredible natural glove-like fit with exceptional breathability and waterproof performance. Developed with the end goal of creating the most natural feeling GORE-TEX® shoes possible, three key design and construction processes were the focus of the collaboration.

To provide Natural Motion during the stride, layers of the construction underfoot had to be minimized to allow the shoe to contour naturally with the foot. Merrell’s unique minimal construction techniques combine with GORE-TEX® components whilst stripping out glue, board and other materials used in traditional construction. Enhancing the flexibility of the shoe around key areas of the foot allows it to move more naturally.

To achieve a Glove-Like Fit a highly supple upper has been developed with two different GORE-TEX® laminates being combined into one unique lining system. A GORE-TEX® laminate with a soft feel is applied to panels of the shoe which are more static, whilst a more stretchy GORE-TEX® laminate is applied to areas of the shoe which move more allowing the shoe to comfortably hug the foot with every step. GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort product technology delivers exceptional Climate Comfort by ensuring the highest levels of waterproof and breathable performance wherever and whenever the shoes are used. GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear is ideal for moderate and warmer conditions, and great for high aerobic-output activities. At the heart of this GORE-TEX® product technology is an extremely thin membrane that’s durably waterproof, windproof, and breathable. It has over 9 billion pores per square inch. These pores are 700 times larger than a water vapour molecule which means perspiration passes right through. This is what makes the membrane breathable.

Connectfit Technology Is Available In Two Brand New Merrell Products Both Designed For Use On The Trail

Merrell’s Ascend Glove with GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Technology is a trail running shoe inspired by the Merrell Barefoot collection. It features 0mm drop from heel to toe and 6mm of cushioning for a true minimal experience. Merrell’s new Motion Mesh upper provides support and a seamless interior for an extremely comfortable feel, even sockless. A new Vibram® outsole is also engineered for optimal performance on a rugged trail, complete with Trail Protect plates for extra protection underfoot in the heel and forefoot.

The Merrell Proterra with GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Technology Sport Mid and Shoe versions use Merrell Stratafuse™ technology, injecting the foot cage into the mesh upper, fusing it without seams for a lightweight, agile and responsive fee, making it a more natural and extremely comfortable choice for day hiking, walking and exploring the trail.

The Merrell range is available from:

Mizuno Wave Enigma 3

Thanks to The Running Bug, I have a shiny new pair of Mizuno Wave Enigma 3 trainers to test out while away on holiday. The Mizuno website describes the Wave Enigma 3 as “Luxury, cushioning and superbly smooth transition. Full length Mizuno wave and U4iC deliver a sumptous ride.” Aesthetically the shoes are really nice, coming in a lovely grey, blue and yellow colour combination (officially classed as Dark Shadow / Victoria Blue / Bolt). It’s actually hard to believe they aren’t trail shoes as this colour combination wouldn’t look out of place out on the trail. Comfort wise, I have yet to test these out on a run of any length but they appear to be well cushioned and extremely comfortable. Watch this space for a review!

Press Release

Pavement pounders will love the luxury, comfort and cushioning of the newest version of the Wave Enigma 3, a neutral shoe that provides an amazing cushioning to weight ratio – updated so it’s 30 per cent lighter, thanks to Mizuno’s clever new midsole technology, U4iC (pronounced ‘euphoric’).

Wave Enigma 3 is a soft, lush shoe, designed for neutral, high mileage runners. The updated lightweight version retains the shock absorption qualities and cushioning of the AP+™, promising a smooth and fast, yet cushioned ride.

Support comes from the anatomically engineered midsole geometry for stability, with full-length Parallel Wave® (now lower in the midsole) delivering a smoother, silkier transition, plus support, enhanced by the articulated lateral side.

SmoothRide (SR) Touch Foam is an even lighter material than the predecessor’s VS1 and offers up a small weight saving, plus even more shock absorption and greater propulsion through the whole running gait.

A clean looking and uncluttered shoe: the air mesh upper has concealed welded straps inside the shoe creating clean lines. Hidden micro-fibre materials with fantastic dimensional strength mean the upper is supportive, without being intrusive – creating a well-cushioned, stable, neutral shoe.

A lighter shoe, but not a lightweight – the Wave Enigma 3 offers durability with blown rubber forefoot and a light and cushioned X10 heel pad.


  • RRP: £120 / €160
  • Weight: Men size 10: 310g; Women size 6: 285g
  • 13/25mm Ramp


  • U4iC midsole with full length Mizuno Parallel Wave® gives a more conventional ride than Prophecy or Creation
  • U4iC offers luxury cushioning but is 20g lighter
  • Evolved Dynamotion Fit™
  • Superb fit and upper comfort
  • Greatly improved stability and transition, and improved propulsion with the use of new SR Touch
  • Articulated forefoot wave
  • New Last