Anyone done any trail/fell/mountain running?

Inspired by AncientMum's "say it out loud and make it true" post (and Sallycycle's list of adventure races and mountain marathons), I REALLY want to be able to run in the mountains.

How does one begin? Am thinking of heading to Kinder Scout (which I know really well) and sort of setting off at a jog (with compass, map, water, sandwiches and willing co-conspirator. I am not totally irresponsible.) and seeing what happens.

We'd do the route from Edale, up Grinds Brook then East past Crowden Tower/Noe Stool, and then down Jacob's Ladder and back to Edale via Upper Booth, because 1) we're both familiar with it as a walk already, and 2) it eliminates a lot of the peaty, eroded mess at the top, and associated fear of getting totally lost and sinking whilst wearing running shoes. I think it might be ok, because we wouldn't try to run the steep ascent at Grinds Brook (I am not a mountain goat! Not yet, anyway...), and we suspect we'd walk down the steepest bits of Jacob's Ladder as well, so it would be more of a run/scramble/walk anyway.

Thoughts/advice, anyone?

28 Replies

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  • I once took off to do a run in memory of a great friend who died in a house fire, we used to hill walk together. I ran/walked a favourite walk of ours with a pack on my back. It was one of the best runs of my running years. I loved every minute of it, it was damn hard, thirsty work and I had to stop a few times in the 8 .5 miles but my goodness it was wonderful. Have fun, I'm sure you will but go well prepared for all sorts of weather. :)

  • That is such a lovely, lovely thing to do in someone's memory. And yes, the waterproof trousers and other glamorous items will be in my backpack!

  • Yes, go for it. Great idea to start with an area you know. I've run a number of trail routes here in the Highlands. These include easy runs along the canal, runs around lochs (which can be very muddy!) and runs along remote glens.

    I've blogged about some of these on my Hiking/Outdoors wordpress blog, Rambling On... . Here's a link to all the posts in my Running category: swanscot.wordpress.com/cate...

    This includes some of my races - both road and off-road - and a couple of Duathlons.

  • Perfect, thanks for the inspiration! :)

  • I'd love to be able to do this once I'm more confident in my running/stamina etc. I used to do a lot of fell walking in the Lake District and there was many a time I'd run for a short distance but it's not ideal when wearing heavy walking boots/walking gear/back pack etc, but it was fun :)

    I remember once, whilst walking up a particularly high fell, being passed by a couple (male and female) of runners who must have been in their 60's or 70's and being in awe of their fitness.

    I think I'm going to be more interested in trail/off road running rather than pounding concrete pavements ;)

  • Inglbleborough...no prob [yeah, right], if he wants a challenge, then the slog that is Whernside is what he needs...however, if he wants to enjoy running, steer clear of Whernside....it's a bl@@dy slog.

  • There is NO contest. Ingleborough is enjoyable; Whernside isn't.

  • I was thinking of getting some trail shoes rather than wear my 4 season walking boots as I think they'd blister my ankles if I ran in them for any length of time. And yeah, we've seen older fell runners out and about and it always makes me think "I want to be you when I grow up", even before I started running

  • I use Innov8 Roclite trail shoes as these come highly recommend by many walkers as well as runners. Mine have quite big cleats, but are not the grippiest.

    If you wish to read some tales/get some inspiration from one older fell runner, check out Old Running Fox's blog, Run For Your Life. Gordon is 82 and first started running at about age 50 and still runs regularly with his wife in his home county of Yorkshire: oldrunningfox.blogspot.co.uk/

  • I'll echo Swanscot and OldGirl, it's 20+ years since I've been up Kinder Scout, but if you know the route it won't be much different to running off road anywhere. Take precautions in that people know where you're off to and estimated times back etc and enjoy!

  • Hi

    Thanks for the mention, and a few words of advice for others to build on...

    Firstly, check the weather before you do, and take a light-weight water/windproof for your top half. Also take water in a back-pack.

    Secondly, if you ae going away from human life, let some one know your route (and stick to it) and your approx return time. If there is no one, either don't go, or lodge your details at a cafe or outdoor shop that caters for this, or the local polioce station.

    Thirdly, and most importantly, ENJOY IT.

    Forthly, start with small runs ~ it is easy to be over ambitious. Fell/trail running is very different from road running, and twisted ankles are likely if you don't watch your footing AT ALL TIMES.

    Finally, for now, don't run, and run, and run. STOP and enjoy the scenery, By the nature of this type of running you should be in some glorious scenery, so stop and enjoy it. KIt will also give you poor knees a chance to recover from the teisting and turning.

    Last words...ENJOY IT and report back, but running up Grindsbrook...!!!!!!!

  • Hi

    Thanks for the mention, and a few words of advice for others to build on...

    Firstly, check the weather before you do, and take a light-weight water/windproof for your top half. Also take water in a back-pack.

    Secondly, if you ae going away from human life, let some one know your route (and stick to it) and your approx return time. If there is no one, either don't go, or lodge your details at a cafe or outdoor shop that caters for this, or the local polioce station.

    Thirdly, and most importantly, ENJOY IT.

    Forthly, start with small runs ~ it is easy to be over ambitious. Fell/trail running is very different from road running, and twisted ankles are likely if you don't watch your footing AT ALL TIMES.

    Finally, for now, don't run, and run, and run. STOP and enjoy the scenery, By the nature of this type of running you should be in some glorious scenery, so stop and enjoy it. KIt will also give you poor knees a chance to recover from the teisting and turning.

    Last words...ENJOY IT and report back, but running up Grindsbrook...!!!!!!!

  • Haha, I am NOT going to be running up Grindsbrook! Would plan it more as a run-when-we-can hike. I mainly run off road anyway, so am used to rough ground/gravel/tree roots etc, but less so the long steep descents. Have one more week of teaching to get through, and then there's the small matter of getting married to attend to (eeeek :)!), so maybe in August/September I'll come back and let folk know how it went!

  • Bl@@dy part-time teachers!!! The Mrs has two weeks to go! BTW, I know just how hard teachers do work...and I would never do the job! Annemarie set off at Sparrow's-spit this morning, has taught, been on a course about the new curriculum, and is now planning etc for lessons. So far a 13 hour day! I'm being good and cooking...

    Running down hill is a funny one. Some say you should lean forward so you are perpendicular to the hill and just go...others, like me, say you should take it carefully and plan your route. This hurts your knees more, but that is nothing compared with the pain of falling on rough and rocky ground! Take your pick!

    I am so pleased you are getting married ~ a wonderful institution, and one I have been a happy member of for 24 years. The Silver next May!!

    Good luck with your run(s) and take care...a bride with a twisted ankle or broken leg just isn't on.

  • Oooh, 2 more weeks - really feel her pain! We have the threat of Ofsted looming and truth be told I am terrified (am only an NQT so still finding my feet, and my year 9s are already in summer mode despite my best efforts!).

    And congrats on your upcoming Silver anniversary. We've been together 7 years but am still really excited about getting wed. I think it's quite a powerful thing to stand up in front of everyone you love and declare your intentions. And yes to careful running until the day - have bought ridiculous three and a half inch heels to go under the long white frock (I know I know I know, they will f**k my hamstrings. I don't care. They are blooming beautiful.) so will need to be firing on all cylinders just to balance!

  • It is an incredible moment, and my best advice to you is to take a step back every-so-often and look around at what is going on. It is so easy to get caught up in all the detail that you don't get to see the bigger picture ~ AND remember, it is YOUR day. Do what YOU want.

    3 and a half inch...coo, a ballancing act indeed. I have no idea how you will walk in those - 2 inch, yes; but three and a half!!! However, I'm certain you will look stunning, and the groom is a very, very lucky man indeed.

    I hope OFSTED don't show up. The Mrs is a Deputy and qualified Head, and she was the lead in her last inspection as the Head was off sick (again). I know all about what goes on.

    Take care, enjoy the last week and happy and injury free running.

  • No call today, fingers crossed for an inspector free week! Can't even imagine being lead during inspection - argh!

    I will walk like a girl who stomps about barefoot and muddy, stuffed into shoes too beautiful to really be worn - but joyfully, which is all that counts. :)

  • Nothing wrong with being a 'girl who stomps about barefoot and muddy'. Life is far too short not to do what you want. I say that as long as it's legal and doesn't hurt anyone, do it! We all regret not doing something more than regreting the things we have done. I know I do.

    Excellent news about the lack of 'the call'. Nearly impossible for them now. Only hours to go and your safe...but don't dwell on that, you have a wedding to attend, and what better in life is there?

  • I go trail running but you have to watch where you place your feet! That's the downside. Trail shoes are the correct tool for the job. Match your shoes to your terrain. I think Salomon are good but have a Google and see what's best. There are fell shoes, trail shoes etc so you'll need to study a bit to find out what fits the bill

    You'll have to walk, climb and scramble I would think so it won't be all running unless it's totally flat, which doesn't sound like Kinder! LOL

    I think the trick will be not what to pack but NOT what to pack. Travelling light is the challenge whilst having everything you need. Spare pair of socks?

    Have a great time!

  • I've never carried spare socks as my feet as always hot from pounding the ground, even when they get soaking wet in the first few minutes of a 2-hour long run. But in spring/autumn/winter I take spare gloves as well as the pair I'm wearing. I learnt to do this after one outing where I slipped slightly when crossing a burn and put my hand out to save falling into the water. I had my gloves on, so that one was soaking wet. I suffer with poor circulation in my hands and would have been in agony with cold fingers if my son had not been carrying spare gloves, which he gave to me.

  • The only things I carried in my rucksack when I did my memorial run was, water, a carton of fruit juice (for sugar boost), jelly babies and two cereal bars & water proof jacket. I did however have a change of clothes in the car to return to if I got soaked. The socks & top were the only things I changed when I got back dry for the 90 minutes drive home :) My phone and camera were in my small runners bum bag for easy access.

    If you hit rough ground slow down, walk it, its safer than trying to run and falling injuring yourself. I'm no expert but have walked in the hills for over 30 years so would say keep an eye on the weather at all times, it can change in the hills very quickly.

    Final remark, wish I could come too!! :) Have fun

  • I promise I'll post about it, so you can tag along virtually. I so love your idea of a memorial run. Really touched me.

  • Try wearing Sealskins waterproof socks. They keep your feet dry and fresh(?).

    Avoid waterproof shoes...they fill with water from the foot opening, and it can't drain away.

  • I don't know if I'm allowed to do this here, but... my s-in-law lives in Glossop (so presumably somewhere near you if you're thinking of going up Kinder?) and does 'introduction to fell-running' sessions, if you'd rather not go on your own the first time. runningdelights.blogspot.co...

  • Thanks. I think we're just going to see how we get on and accept it might be a walk-with-bits-of-running, but will keep her in mind if it goes well and I decide I need a bit more!

  • A few things to add to you packing list: Wee first aid kit: just a few sticky plasters (yes, I've used these once!); a foil survival blanket (in case the worst case happens and you are awaiting rescue with only your running kit); camera; and whistle* in case of no phone reception. *Once when I was leading a family survival training day course, I explained about carrying a whistle and I taught the UK mountain distress signal (6 long blasts within a minute, rest a minute and repeat) and one participant told me she had once heard and responded to such a call. So it does work!

  • I do have a whistle but had forgotten the distress signal, so thanks for the reminder! And plasters are a good idea - I reckon Compeed mightn't be a bad plan either.

  • Thanks everyone for fab advice and encouragement. As I've said somewhere up there^, things are a bit busy for the next month (last push for school/teaching, then I am frantically hemming my dress/knitting my stole/finishing the bunting/making order-of-services so I can wed the boy, then I am actually getting married, and then honeymooning in the beautiful Lakes), but will surely report back if/when we make our attempt!

    And the friend I plan to run with will be bringing his lovely gf; the four of us will camp for the weekend and both our (sensible) partners will have a leisurely walk while we have a silly run, so we'll have a backup team to report us missing if we don't reappear!

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