Thursday, 4 December 2014

Top Trail Running Christmas Presents 2014

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of you with trail running friends and family will be wondering what will bring a huge smile to the face of your loved one when they open it up on Christmas day. Some of you who regularly trail run may also be wondering what to ask for to further your ever-growing kit list and shoe collection. So, to help you all out, below is a compilation of some great gift ideas to meet the needs of any serious trail runner. 

***Stocking fillers***

Smartwool PhD Run Light Socks: 
Over the winter it's pretty much guaranteed to be cold and wet. Get feet into a decent quality pair of merino wool socks, which retain around 80% of their warmth even when wet, and it makes for a much more comfortable and enjoyable run. No one likes cold feet!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Salomon S-Lab Fellcross 3 Review

The Salomon S-Lab Fellcross is now in its third generation with the release of the aptly named Fellcross 3. Time really does fly, and so will you when you have these on your feet!!! 

I am always a little concerned when a new version of an already fantastic trail and fell shoe is released. I still use the Fellcross 2 and am as happy with them today as I was when I first put them on my feet over a year ago now. So, what if they change something I already love in the newer model? There are certainly quite a few major changes in the new Fellcross 3, so lets take a deeper look.....

Monday, 3 November 2014

THERA°PEARL Sports Pack: Reusable Hot and Cold Therapy

For those of us who love to get outdoors and explore new places, train for great feats of physical endurance or race in beautiful places across the globe, it is a sad reality that our fallible bodies will, at some point, get injured and require some love and attention. It is an occupational hazard, so to speak. At these times, hot or cold therapy can really help to reduce swelling, alleviate pain and speed up recovery. Traditional methods of using frozen peas, hot water bottles and buckets of ice-cold or hot water can often be inconvenient, messy and time consuming. If only there was a way to avoid soaking the floor, defrosting your peas, searching for that hot water bottle or clearing up wet towels and puddles on the floor.....enter the new THERA°PEARL reusable hot and cold therapy Sports Pack.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket Review

The nights are pulling in, the days shorter, colder and the sun has faded to a warm glow at best. The wind begins howling through the night and chilly breezes begin challenging the trail runner still braving the summer shorts and t-shirt attire during the day. It is time to change the running wardrobe and bring out the winter gear! For most of us, this will include leggings, mid-layers, hats, gloves and of course, a windproof jacket. For those of you yet to get yourself protected from the wind, or anyone looking to upgrade to something better fitting, more functional and with superb breathability and features, the Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket is a fantastic choice.
Over the past few weeks I have taken every windy, wet and blustery opportunity to run in the new S-Lab Light Jacket to bring to you an honest, in-depth review of just what I think of the newly updated and improved windproof running jacket from Salomon.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Buxton Adventure Festival Trail and Fell Running

A couple of weekends ago took me all the way to Buxton Adventure Festival for a weekend packed full of trail and fell running workshops and inspirational talks. With 'CavemanClarke' being a place to shout about everything great in the world of off-road running, this little gem certainly deserves a mention! 

The weekend started with a relaxed drive up Saturday morning in my beloved Bongo campervan. The plan was to have a gentle afternoon run, from the campsite where I was staying, to the Adventure Festival. The events I was travelling to see were all packed into a tight schedule for the Sunday. Upon arriving and tucking into some lunch, I changed into my running gear and headed off across the trails and into the town. Familiarising myself with where I needed to be the next day, I returned to the camper, cooked up an evening meal and relaxed with my copy of 'Run or Die' by Kilian Jornet to pass away the evening. Sunday morning came round and the weather was fantastic. Getting myself to the beautiful Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, I was ready for the first event of the day. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR Review

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR ready to get muddy
Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of testing the latest trail and mud running specific model by Vibram FiveFingers; the Spyridon MR. The aggressive 'mountain bike tyre' tread pattern, coupled with the letters MR, which stands for 'Mud Runner', immediately let you know that this has been designed with the minimalist, natural trail runner in mind. Following on from its very popular and proven to be trail worthy predecessor, the Spyridon LS, I am glad to say that not too much has changed in the re-styled Spyridon MR. For those of you already accustomed to wearing a pair of FiveFingers, or any trail, mountain and fell runners out there looking to transition to a more natural running form, this is definitely a review that is worth your time reading! You may also want to check out my 'First Impressions' review of the Spyridon MR before reading on by clicking here.

So, grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee, sit somewhere comfy and let me tell you a few good reasons why a Vibram FiveFinger Spyridon MR should be in every trail and mud runners selection of shoes.....

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Merrell Bare Access Trail Review

Merrell Bare Access Trail
For the past few years I have tried, tested, analysed and reviewed many minimalist 'barefoot' trail shoes. In the early days, when barefoot, or 'Natural Running' first came into the spotlight, many companies were quick to produce a more minimalist shoe to meet the demands of the emerging market. They did this by attempting to strip back every aspect of the new shoe to an absolute bare minimum. This sometimes led to a fantastic product which clearly met the needs of a runner who wanted as little as possible on their foot to provide just enough protection from the environment and grip for the terrain. But often, it led to a product with reduced durability, that was far too extreme for the average runner wanting to transition into natural running. 

Over this period, Merrell have produced some fantastic shoes with a more minimal approach. The original Trail Glove still stands in my mind as a milestone in minimalist shoes, along with the likes of the brilliant but slightly stranger looking Vibram FiveFingers. Now, today, Merrell produce a wide range of trail and road shoes that meet a variety of requirements for people looking for a low, light and natural feeling running shoe. Whether it be zero-drop, a low drop, a wide toebox, natural foot shape or minimal cushioning, Merrell has the shoe for you. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR First Impressions

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR
I was so excited to receive a pair of the new off-road, mud-loving and trail ready Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR to test. As some of you may know, my running journey began nearly five years ago with a pair of FiveFingers, and it has completely changed my life ever since. Back then, it was the dark confinements of a spit-and-sawdust weightlifting gym that housed my workouts every week. Even then, I knew I preferred the great outdoors but I just hadn't found the exact activity in which to explore and enjoy it yet. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense Tank and Short Review

Ready to head out on the trails in the Salomon S-Lab Sense range
A vest is a vest and shorts are shorts, right? Wrong! The world of trail running offers the runner an almost impossible decision when trying to choose the right shoes, clothing and apparel. With a whole host of great brands producing fantastic products for both athletes and recreational runners, just how do we choose the best kit for our adventures and hours spent out on the trails? In this brief review, I hope to enlighten you on why you might want to part with your hard-earned cash to kit yourself out in the Salomon S-Lab Sense tank and short.....

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cotswold Outdoor Wings For Life Relay

Cambridge - Sandy - Milton Keynes
It gave me great pleasure to be a part of the Cotswold Outdoor Wings For Life shop relay! Cotswold Outdoor, a popular retailer for everything you need for the outdoors and adventure since 1974, is raising money and awareness for the Wings For Life Charity by holding a non-motorised relay of over 3000 miles between the 69 stores, nationwide. I, along with friends Chris Green and Nathan Heathfield, were responsible for taking the baton from the Cambridge Cotswold Outdoor store, to the next store in Milton Keynes. It was decided that Chris and I would run from Cambridge to Sandy, hand over the baton to Nathan, who would then complete the leg to Milton Keynes on his bike.

Trail and Fell Running Workshop at Buxton Adventure Festival, Oct 2014

Exciting news everyone! On the 12th October 2014 Buxton Adventure Festival will be hosting FOUR inspirational and educational trail and fell running events, and I will be there to make the most of this great opportunity.

Buxton Adventure Festival is an awesome weekend of unbeatable Peak District activities, inspirational speakers and motivating adventure films: click HERE for more info! As a keen trail and fell runner who takes any opportunity available to get to the beautiful Peak District for a fun-packed weekend of excellent trails and discovery, I just couldn't bear the thought of missing what is on offer on the Sunday (12th October). 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Trail Running magazine...the perfect coffee break!

Time for a well earned coffee break!
Exciting news! This months latest edition of Trail Running magazine is out in the shops and, as usual, I have been and fetched myself a copy!

Why buy Trail Running?
Why on earth not? For just £4.50 (or even cheaper if you subscribe) you get inspiration, motivation, training plans, gear and shoe reviews and interviews with top athletes and adventurers! 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Trail Running in Edale and Kinder Scout

CavemanClarke enjoying Kinder Scout
The bank holiday weekend just passed will hold fond memories for me for many years to come. It was pure and simple freedom. As a keen trail runner and reviewer of the latest off-road running gear I was keen to take some of my favourite trusty pieces of kit, along with my newest Suunto toy to the quaint little Derbyshire village of Edale in the Peak District; a trail runners paradise! Living in rural Cambridgeshire leaves me needing hills and mountains, and the Peak District is by far the easiest accessible place for me to get my fix and some decent training in. 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Womens Inov-8 Trailroc 236 review

Inov-8 Trailroc 236
It is with great excitement that I bring you my second guest review! After previously being really impressed with the mens Trailroc 235's, but discovering after only 150km that the uppers split across the metatarsal flex point, I was keen to see any improvements that Inov-8 may have made in the 236's.The Inov-8 Trailroc 236 has proved a very popular trail shoe for women in both training and racing situations, and with the help of my wife Hannah I hope to help you make the choice of whether this may be the trail shoe for you. I have been sending her out on the local trails in all weathers and dragging her to races across the country to enable me to interrogate her on the pro's and con's of the women's specific shoe in the well-known Trailroc series. And so, it's over to Hannah to fill in the blanks.....

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ashmei Ullswater 9 & 20 mile trail runs, 2014

CavemanClarke and new run buddy Paul Yeoman
Not too long ago, I had a fantastic weekend trail running in The Lakes. Pooley Bridge, a small village situated by the quietly lapping waters-edge of Ullswater was to host the 2014 Ashmei 9 and 20 mile trail runs. Thirty and a half miles later (more about that in a minute!), a few new friends and with fun tales to tell, I fondly look back at what turned out to be a really great event.

It all started early Friday morning, packing my new favourite toy. After much consideration and saving, my wife and I decided to invest in a comfortable way to travel and stay all over the UK without having to slum it in a tent or pay through the nose for a B&B. So we bought ourselves a campervan; a Mazda Bongo to be exact. After shuddering at the weather forecast, carefully remembering everything on the race kit list, and not forgetting the espresso maker, (after all, we are glamping now!) we headed off on the 4.5h journey to Ullswater. Upon arriving we pitched up in a lovely spot with all the other campers staying for the weekend and sat back to ponder what the weekend would bring. Ashmei events had set up a huge tent-marquee with race registration, chill-out area, food section and shop selling their merino wool run clothing and merchandise. A fire pit was smouldering away and an inspirational running movie was playing on a big screen. Nice!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Review

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra
Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Review: a comparison with the Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground:
Welcome everyone to what I feel is a very exciting post, in which I will be reviewing one of the newest and latest releases in the top quality Salomon S-Lab, athlete-inspired line-up; the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra. I will also be comparing it to its wet-weather twin, the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG (soft ground). For a full review of the Sense 3 Ultra SG please click here!  

I have tried a lot of minimalist trail shoes over the past few years (as you can imagine), and occasionally one pops up that feels right, grabs your attention and takes you miles, and miles, and miles.....It is very seldom that two come along at the same time, but this has certainly been the case in relation to the Sense 3 Ultra and Sense 3 Ultra SG. Racing footwear has become far more of an easy choice. Simply look out of the window, and if its dry and hot out there, put on the Sense 3 Ultra. If its wet, slip on the SG version. Sorted!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra preview

The new Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra
What better surprise than to arrive home after a hard days work, to be greeted by a parcel delivery sitting on the doorstep containing one of the latest releases by Salomon in their prestigious S-Lab line up for 2014; the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra! 

After recently testing, reviewing and being very impressed with its wet-weather twin, the Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground I was more than excited to get these on my feet, out the door and on the trails in dryer weather to see just how they compared. The perfect opportunity was only a week away; a 10km race in which I had entered myself, along with a few of my run coaching and Trinity Fitness Club clients. I knew it would be a tough course, very hot weather and with plenty of rolling countryside (aka hills!) and over a variety of terrains, so it would be ideal to put these shoes through their first paces. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Trinity Fitness does the Wimpole HooHaah 10k

Trinity Fitness runners Hannah and Anais complete their first 10k race
It gives me great pleasure to help people achieve things that they doubted they could do, or once thought they would never even have imagined trying. Last week, I took some of my Trinity Fitness run coaching and Fitness Club members to run the Wimpole HooHaah 10k race in Cambridgeshire, UK. The group was a mixture of first-time 10k runners, people returning to running their first race in years as well as regular runners. 

After much practice and some last minute run coaching to help people get the best out their race experience, the day was upon us. Nerves collided with excitement, the thrill of the event coupled with anticipation of what the course would throw at us and how our times and goals would pan out. It was a scorching hot day with no sign of even a light breeze to bring some relief from the intense heat. Gladly, some of the run was to take us through tree-lined paths and small woodland, but there was still a fair few kilometers through open grassland and fields in full force of the unrelenting sunshine! Still, we were there, each of us with our own hopes and goals, and ready to face whatever the course could put in front of us.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground Review

Ready for the trails: the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground
Back in December 2013 I was excited to bring you a review of what I thought was one of the best trail shoes for wet and soft ground conditions that I had ever tried; the Salomon S-Lab Fellcross 2. I thought it would be some time and take some beating to better such a great trail and off-trail shoe, but in next to no time at all Salomon have done just that by releasing their latest shoes in the S-Lab Sense range, the Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground (SG). I managed to get my hands on a pair of the Sense 3 Ultra SG and set out to test them on my local trails. I knew even before I got out the door that I was in for a treat, as I had never put on such a comfortable trail shoe from Salomon; the fit was perfect! Over the next few weeks I took them out on the trails to put them through their paces, alternating with other trail shoes to get an accurate idea of how the Sense 3 Ultra SG perform. Here is what I found.....

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The West Highland Way, Scotland!

The West Highland Way
What a fantastic experience. Carrying all I needed to camp and live for the week, I have just walked the West Highland Way long distance footpath in Scotland, UK. 96 miles of incredible trekking, scenery and nature and I certainly feel refreshed and excited. What a well needed break from the usual 'daily grind' (so to speak) that we all accidentally fall into as we go about our usual daily tasks at home and at work.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

An update on the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG's

Just before I disappear into the Scottish Highlands in a couple of days to walk the West Highland Way long distance footpath, I thought it was a good opportunity to give you all an update on how I have been getting on with the newly released Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG's; the soft ground version of the new Sense 3 Ultra's. 

For the full review please click here

The Salomon Sense 3 Ultra SG's are a very comfortable and grippy trail shoe
Now I will be honest! In true unpredictable English weather fashion, the sea-proportion of rain we had experienced over the last few months that left half the country wading to work suddenly stopped. Since then, I have only experienced a few odd days when the heavens opened enough to soften up the local trails enough to truly test the capabilities of the Sense 3 Ultra SG's! But, in true CavemanClarke dedication, I have put on, run in and scrutinised every detail of the Sense 3 SG's as best as the weather has allowed, and here is what I have found so far.....

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG - First Impressions

The long-awaited release of the latest evolution in Salomons Sense range has arrived, and boy has it made an impression! I have managed to get my feet into a pair of the new Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG; the soft ground specific model in the third generation of the already successful Sense range of S-Lab racing products.

For the full review please click here

Monday, 10 March 2014

Garmin Forerunner 110 Review

A user friendly review of the Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS Watch

There comes a time for every keen runner when spending ridiculous amounts of time attempting to remember and plot your every twist and turn into MapMyRun, or similar online run tracking sites, just doesn't cut the mustard any longer. You just want a simple and reasonably priced GPS device that does the work for you, helping you keep track of your training routes, speed and distances covered. After 1000's of 'clocked and recorded' kilometers with my first GPS running watch, I thought it was time to let you know what my thoughts are on the Garmin Forerunner 110......

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Run Coaching Cambridge, UK

CavemanClarke run coaching, Cambridge

Learn to run correctly with CavemanClarke via Trinity Fitness Run Coaching, Cambridge

Up to 85% of people who regularly run get injured every year, often due to incorrect running form and technique. In most sports, people receive coaching, and running should be no different

Run Coaching Cambridge:
Trinity Fitness' School of Running (run by CavemanClarke) is the best place to receive top quality run coaching in the Cambridgeshire area. Having had years of experience and a serious passion for running, if improving your technique and form is your goal then this is the service for you.  

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Trail Running Hydration Pack Review: what is the best way to carry water and gear?

Getting out the door and on the trail is a fantastic way to escape and be free in a busy and hectic world which never ceases to make constant demands on us all. The trail brings a peaceful solitude or a place to catch up with friends. It helps to get us away from the stress and worries and just 'be' in the moment. 

So it doesn't come as much of a surprise when our runs get longer in time and further in distance, hoping to make that free space in your day just that little bit longer. But with the increases in distance and time out on the trail comes extra demands on the body. Initially it may be just the need to start carrying water to remain hydrated on hotter days, or snacks to keep you fuelled as the miles increase. Eventually you will need a way to transport additional equipment such as clothing or maps to get you safely to our destination. So what, exactly, is the best way to carry all this gear we suddenly find ourselves investing in? 

Trail Running magazine special offer!

Hi everyone. Hope the running in 2014 is going to plan. Just a really quick post to let you know that this month, Trail Running magazine have a brilliant offer on for anyone wishing to subscribe. Thought some of you may be interested.....

Subscribe to Trail Running magazine now and get a Silva Jogger torch worth £25! 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Coming soon on CavemanClarke.....hydration packs and shoe durability!

The year ahead is already looking exciting for CavemanClarke, reviewing trail running shoes and apparel. Coming soon over the next few weeks I have reviews of:


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Womens Saucony Peregrine 2 and 3: a guest review by Faye Johnson

Saucony Peregrine 3
It gives me great pleasure to bring to you my first women's-specific trail shoe review, courtesy of Faye Johnson from Kendal. I first bumped into Faye at a Salomon demo run back in October 2013, and have since kept in touch and met up to run together again. When it was suggested that she could provide a review on her much used Peregrine 2's, as well as a comparison with her newer replacements; the Saucony Peregrine 3's, and that it would be my first ever review of a women's trail shoe, she was so excited to help! 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Thoughts for a New Year: the five main reasons why I run

Every so often, I find myself pondering over exactly why I love to run. Over Christmas and new year these thoughts returned to me, and I just couldn't put them out of my mind until I admitted to myself what it is that keeps me plodding mile after mile. So, one very wet and cold day, when I was out with the dog on one of my usual routes near where I live, I let my mind wander to think it over and figure out exactly why I had turfed myself out of my warm house and into the harshness of a British winter, and here is what I came up with:

The five main reasons why I run.....