MERRELL.CO.UK Blog MERRELL.CO.UK Blog Tue, 29 Jul 2014 04:20:45 GMT NEVER GIVE UP! <p>Lowri Morgan, Merrell Ambassador is all set for Man vs Mountain. If you're getting involved in Man vs Mountain or taking part in any race read Lowri's 10 Tips on how she keeps on going when her mind and body are screaming stop.</p> <p><br />Whether you're bidding to complete the course or gunning for a spot on the podium, there comes a moment in every long- distance challenge when doubts creep into your mind. These negative voices urge you to stop, sit down, bail out. Finding the mental strength to rebut them, back to your fitness and re-find your confidence, is one for the cornerstones of any successful endurance athlete. We took Lowri Morgan, TV presenter, ultra runner and adventurer, to Snowdon to see how she would contend with running up the mountain- and to share her wisdom on how you can do the same.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Lowri.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />Lowri wearing Mix Master to view the trail running and mix master ranges follow the link - <a href=""></a></p> <p>1 Building Slowly<br />Everyone is different, and there&rsquo;s no such thing as a one-size fits all solution to endurance running. So make sure your training and pre-race preparations work for you. Build your training gradually. It takes time to increase distances.</p> <p><br />2 Test yourself mentally<br />I am big believer in back-to-back training, doing two long runs on consecutive days, because if you can do the second run even though you&rsquo;re sore and aching it will train your brain for when the going gets tough in your event. I worked with a sports psychologist who suggested as difficult as possible so the event doesn&rsquo;t feel as intimidating. You have to do your mental homework- it&rsquo;s going to be tough!</p> <p><br />3 Test your kit before you race<br />Avoid anything that chafes or burns, which will make it more difficult for you to continue in the event. Pack tour rucksack carefully so you know where everything is and make sure it&rsquo;s easy to access.</p> <p><br />4 Train for the terrain<br />If you&rsquo;re going to race up Snowdon, you need to get out and run up rocky hills. No treadmill will replicate Snowdon&rsquo;s gradient or terrain. But don&rsquo;t beat yourself up. #Forgive your bad days and missed workouts, and just concentrate on the race.</p> <p><br />5 Plan the mindgame&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />Be mentally prepared for a roller-coaster of emotions, both great highs and deep lows. Some people can visualise the finish line and how they will feel when they reach it. <br />Others simply focus on the next step and then the next. Find out which works for you.</p> <p><br />6 Be patient<br />This is the main thing I&rsquo;ve learnt. When you think, &ldquo;that&rsquo;s it, I can&rsquo;t go any more,&rdquo; sit back, take a moment to chill out, believe in yourself and start to take one step after another towards the finish line. Even elite ultra runners walk sometimes.</p> <p><br />7 Pacing is Key<br />Go out conservatively. Try not to get caught up in the excitement of the start and set off too quickly. Every competition is better at one part of the course than another: some are strong uphill, some on the flat and some on the downhill. Have patience and confidence, stick to your strengths, and you will catch other people up.</p> <p><br />8 Embrace the pain<br />It hurts up to a point and then it doesn&rsquo;t get any worse. Face it and you will get through it. I remember in the Amazon i had lost all my toenails and been stung 40 times by hornets and I thought it would be fine to give up. But i remembered the saying &ldquo;Glory lies not in never falling but in the way we rise when we do fall.&rdquo; So i picked myself up, took one step at a time and the pain just disappeared. It might have been endorphins, simply body mechanics or even something spiritual, but over just five miles in a 150 a-mile race, something switched in me.</p> <p><br />9 Focus on your goal<br />When you want to stop, remember how hard you have worked this, how good you will feel at the finish line, and just keep going. Don&rsquo;t disappoint yourself. Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it&rsquo;s the little voice in the back of your head telling you to get back up teh crack on.</p> <p><br />10 Don&rsquo;t leave anything out there<br />Cross the finish line knowing you could not give any more. If you cross the line thinking, &ldquo;That was okay,&rdquo; you haven&rsquo;t tried hard enough.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Untitled.png" alt="" /></p> <p>Britain&rsquo;s toughest outdoor event pits your fitness against the wild challenge posed by running up Mount Snowdon and then back down again to face a series of natural obstacles. These include the Merrell Vertical Kilometre, an abseil and an open-water swim. It&rsquo;s an epic event and you&rsquo;ll feel exhausted and elated as you cross the line, having raced. Find out more on the event- <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:54:00 GMT NUTRITION TRAINING <p>If you are training for a big endurance event such as Man vs Mountain chances are you will be exerting a significant amount more energy than normal life and so you need to ensure you are eating properly to help your body adapt, repair and recover to the extra demands you are placing on it.<br />This article has been written to give you some ideas and principlas to changing your eating to help make the most of your training. It features the best hints and tips from Merrell&rsquo;s team of endurance atheletes but it is not designed to be an exact meal planner just some useful info to help you along the way.</p> <p><br /><strong>Tip #1 eat protein:</strong><br />Dr Andrew Murray says &ldquo;Muscles need protein fact and with your muscles undergoing stresses they may not be used to it. You need to up your protein intake to help them recover and re-build. Consuming a good protein rich meal as soon as possible after training is great to aid recovery and I recommend eggs, poultry, lean meats and nuts&rdquo;.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><br /><strong>Tip #2 milk it</strong><br />Katie Robey makes the case for Milk. &ldquo;Milk from animals (cow&rsquo;s, goats, sheep) is a great addition to any diet during training. Not only is it full of whey protein great for muscle recovery it may also help strengthen the immune system and milk products also contain stearic acid, which is thought to improve blood-cholesterol levels&rdquo;.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Tip #3 Go Low GI</strong><br />Ultra-runner Lowri Morgan sticks to low GI foods and says &ldquo;always try and get energy from low GI sources, these provide a much steadier and sustained release of energy and avoid big spikes in blood sugar which can lead to tiredness or lethargic feeling. Think wholemeal pitta breads, kidney beans, lentils and flax seeds&rdquo;.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /><br /><strong>Tip #4 Carry a snack</strong><br />Merrell&rsquo;s resident ironman Sean McFarlane is all about snacking. &ldquo;To ensure proper nutrition ensure you carry a healthy snack at all times as the increased training may mean you find yourself hungry when you are not expecting it. Carrying something suitable in your bag means you won&rsquo;t have to rely on what is close which may only be junk. Something like bananas, a small bag of nuts and seeds or a wholegrain muffin&rdquo;.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Tip #5&nbsp; Before Bed</strong><br />Mountain marathon runner Jake Thompsett swears by late night snacking &ldquo;with the added effort your are going to be making sleep becomes even more important.As well as making sure you are getting enough sleep you should think about feeding your body just before sleeping and so it can recover with maximum effectiveness. On big training days aim to have a small snack before bed to help the muscles re-build whilst you are asleep. Something like a smoothie with honey and peanut butter, low fat yoghurt and sugar free muesli or some oat cakes are all good&rdquo;.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 01:39:00 GMT ANDREW MURRAY RECORD RUNNING THE 10 HIGHEST MOUNTAINS IN THE UK IN A DAY <p>Scottish International distance runners and Merrell Ambassador Andrew Murray and Donnie Campbell (Team UVU) have completed an incredible run up the 10 highest mountains in the United Kingdom in 13 hours 10 minutes. It is thought they are the first to complete &ldquo;the Big 10&rdquo; within 24 hours. A total of 9 hours 10 was spent running, with the remainder driving between the mountain ranges.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Setting off at 0420 on 19th July, their first mountain was Ben Lawers, followed by a drive to the Nevis Range where they completed Aonach Mor, Aonach Beag, Carn Mor Dearg and the UK&rsquo;s tallest mountain Ben Nevis before driving to the Cairngorms, where they traversed Cairngorm, Ben McDhui, Braeriach, Angel&rsquo;s Peak before finishing on Cairntoul at 1730.&nbsp; The challenge, billed &ldquo;The Big 10&rdquo; was followed by a team from BBC Scotland&rsquo;s &ldquo;The Adventure Show&rdquo;.<br />Dr Murray, 34 races for Merrell UK, and is a GP and Sports and based in Edinburgh. His previous achievements include completing a remarkable 2,559 mile run from Scotland to the Sahara Desert, a 7hr run up Mt Kilimanjaro and race wins in some of the most spectacular and hostile locations on Earth.&nbsp; He also works with some of Scotland&rsquo;s best athletes as part of the sports medicine team at the sportscotland institute of sport.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /><br />He said &ldquo;The mountains in Scotland are magical. The Big 10 had it all in terms of spectacular ridgelines, some wildlife and highly variable weather.&nbsp; We had fog, wind, rain, and even a glimpse of sunshine. We were both glad that the promised thunderstorms did not materialize. For me definitely the toughest part of the day was dealing with the wind, rain and low visibility in the Cairngorms when we were already tired. There were a few boulder fields to cut across which were pretty slippy resulting in a few comedy falls.&nbsp;&nbsp; Part of what we were looking to do We are looking to do is draw attention to the benefits of getting regular exercise in the great outdoors. It really gets the happy hormones going, and helps prevent and treat over 40 major health problems.&nbsp; Even walking 30 minutes 5 days a week increases your life expectancy by over 7 years&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" style="width: 455px; height: 131px;" width="640" height="196" /><br />Campbell, 29 is a running coach, and a former Marine Commando based in Edinburgh who previously ran from Glasgow to his former home of Skye without stopping<br />He said<br />&ldquo;It was an early start, followed by a full day of up and down, up and down. We are hoping that other people will take on The Big 10, much like the 3 peaks challenge.&nbsp; With a decent level of fitness it could be great day and a do-able challenge, that people can give a shot.&nbsp; Saying that, low visibility and changeable weather makes finding the routes and navigation tricky so it&rsquo;s important to have decent kit with you. Some fresh air and a load of hills might give us sore legs the next day, but it&rsquo;s much underestimated how good exercise is for mental health as well as physical health, which is why we&rsquo;re encouraging everyone to get active in whichever way suits- there is no better time with the Commonwealth Games coming up&rdquo;.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The Route/ Mountain&nbsp;Height metres</p> <p>Ben Lawers-&nbsp;1214<br />Aonach Mohr-&nbsp;1221<br />Aonach Beag-&nbsp;1234<br />Carn Mhor Dearg-&nbsp;1220<br />Ben Nevis-&nbsp;1344<br />Cairngorm-&nbsp;1244<br />Ben MacDui-&nbsp;1309<br />Braeriach-&nbsp;1296<br />Angels Peak-&nbsp;1258<br />CairnToul-&nbsp;1291</p> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 19:09:00 GMT WIDEHORIZONS: NIGHTLINE ADVENTURE <p>Earlier this year you may have read some of our blog posts about an event called Nightline, organised by the children&rsquo;s charity Widehorizons.</p> <p>Thanks to the support of Merrell, more than 100 people dusted off their walking boots to trek 50km from London to Kent all in one amazing night! Below are pictures of the event as it happened.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Happy walkers at the start of the evening.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It was a glorious summer solstice evening with a beautiful sunset in London and glorious sunrise over the North Downs the following morning. Although tired, walkers were welcomed across the finish line with a hot breakfast and a well earned sit down!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Walkers commented on how peaceful the countryside was at night.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Widehorizons Chief Executive, Alex Brooks-Johnson, "We are delighted that so many people turned out to take this challenge on, taking part in their very own adventure and raising funds to provide children with their very own adventures. It was a tough, but immensely enjoyable, night and I only got through it myself because of the contagious adventurous spirit of people that I met along the route."</p> <p>Those taking part were raising money for Widehorizons&rsquo; work providing life-changing adventures for disadvantaged children. More than one third of children in London today have never been to the countryside. There are children in the capital who have never seen a cow or who don&rsquo;t know where vegetables come from. With 4 in 10 children living in poverty, most will never have these simple experiences that we often take for granted. A lack of nature is also linked to some of the most disturbing childhood trends such as obesity, attention disorders and depression.</p> <p>Through Widehorizons, children are given the opportunity to explore the countryside and have amazing new experiences &ndash;such as climbing a tree, kayaking down a river, or walking in the mountains. Each adventure not only provides a child with wonderful memories but has a positive effect on their health and wellbeing. Overcoming a challenge, such as abseiling down a cliff-face, also shows a child that they can achieve more than they ever thought possible.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Participants were in high spirits even after walking 50km!.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>So far the event has raised more than &pound;17,000. Alex says; &ldquo;With the funds raised through Nightline, we will now be able to provide more affordable days of adventure for thousands of children that could potentially change their lives.&rdquo;</p> <p>For more information on the work of Widehorizons, or to register your interest for next year&rsquo;s Nightline event, go to <a href=""></a> or call 0845 600 65 67.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Participants walked with friends and joined with others to keep each other motivated.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 02:10:00 GMT MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THE OUTDOORS WITH JAKE THOMPSETT - PART 4 HOW TO WALK SAFELY WHEN OUT ON THE HILL <p>In this part of the series, Merrell Ambassador Jake Thompsett talks about how to walk safely when out on the hill. Giving tips on how you should tackle uphill and downhill terrains.</p> <p>Watch the full video by clicking on the link- <a href=""></a></p> <p><br />We've put together a our 5 spots that are great for hiking whether your a beginner or a pro. Especially if your planning a outdoor trip this Summer.</p> <p>Use the map guide to see whats closest to you, or what can be an active get away.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/lake district.png" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>1. Longdale Valley, Lakeside.</strong></p> <p>A beautiful valley runs west of Amblesdie up to the Langdale peak.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Longdale Valley, lakedistrict, cumbria.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>2 Cairngorms, Scotland.</strong></p> <p>Providing Britains largest and highest mountain ranges.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/cairngorms Scotland.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>3 Malham Cove, North Yorkshire.</strong></p> <p>At the end of the Valley you can enjoy the sight of the curved natural&nbsp;limestone cliff.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Malham Cove- North Yorkshire.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>4 New Forest, Hampshire.</strong></p> <p>Covered in forest with secret hideaways filled with nature and animals.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/New Forest Hampshire.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>5 Rhyd Ddu, Snowdonia.</strong></p> <p>Known for popular walks that build up to the Snowdonia Mountain, also where we The Man Vs Mountain event will&nbsp;be held.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/rhyd ddu MVM Snowdonia.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:37:00 GMT ANDREW MURRAY SET TO RUN BRITAINS 10 HIGHEST MOUNTAINS IN 24 HOURS <p>The latest challenge of Merrell Ambassador and prolific adventure runner, Dr. Andrew Murray, will be attempting to climb the 10 highest mountains of Great Britain, in just one day, a feat not known to have been completed before. Murray, who has previously tasked himself with a well-documented 2,559 mile run from Scotland to the Sahara Desert, is expecting this latest quest to be one of his most challenging to date, and has concentrated all of his efforts towards getting into prime physical condition before his attempt.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/IMG_2141-15.jpg" alt="" /><br />On 19th July 2014 Murray, aged 33, will be joined by Scottish internal runner Donnie Campbell, to begin his challenge at the foot of Ben Lawers, before driving to take on a route that heads through the 4 mountains of the Nevis range, followed by one last drive to the Cairngorm mountains where the final 5 mountains await. The challenge, billed as &lsquo;The Big 10&rsquo; will be followed by a team from BBC Scotland&rsquo;s &lsquo;The Adventure Show&rsquo;, and is sure to create a buzz amongst the adventure minded.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/IMG_2253-21.jpg" alt="" /><br />Our&nbsp;Ambassador has already completed a number of notable feats including a remarkable seven hour run up Mt Kilimanjaro as well as winning races in some of the planet&rsquo;s most spectacular and hostile locations. He comments, &ldquo;There is nowhere I would rather be than in the mountains of Scotland on a summer&rsquo;s day. This will be a tough but beautiful shift, but we are hoping to raise awareness of the benefits of exercise, and being in the great outdoors. We know, for example, that even doing 30 minutes walking 5 days a week has been shown to make people happier on average, and live 7.2 years longer, so we&rsquo;re urging people to build walking into their routine and take advantage of schemes like &ldquo;Fit in 14&rdquo;. It&rsquo;s inspiring what some people have achieved for example Paul Giblin running the entire length of the West Highland Way in 14 hours 20 minutes, but even a little exercise goes a long way towards happiness and health.&rdquo;</p> <p>The&nbsp;Top&nbsp;10&nbsp;peaks, height in metres.</p> <p><strong>Ben Lawers 1214</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Ben Lawers.jpg" alt="" /><br /><strong>Aonach Mohr 1221</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Aonach Mohr.jpg" alt="" /><br /><strong>Aonach Beag 1234</strong><br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Aonach Beag.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Carn Mhor Dearg 1220<br /></strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Carn Mhor Dearg.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Ben Nevis 1344</strong><br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Ben Nevis.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Cairngorm 1244<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Ben Nevis.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Ben MacDui 1309<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Cairngorm.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Braeriach 1296<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Braeriach.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Angels Peak 1258<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Angels Peak.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>CairnToul 1291</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/CairnToul.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />Powered by Merrell on every step of his journey, Andrew will utilize Merrell&rsquo;s Allout Rush model to conquer the unstable and unpredictable British mountain terrain and the weather conditions. The innovative Allout Rush circular lug design in the sole provides animal-like agility across varied terrain along with an increased surface area for a highly versatile, slip-free ride.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/IMG_2103-14.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 17:54:00 GMT YOGA, RUNNING AND THE REST <p>Ambssador Faith Shorney shares her view on yoga and the power from within.</p> <p><br />Why do you run? <br />How far and fast can you push your body? <br />What are the things that set you back? <br />Where are your limits? <br />What do you really want to achieve?</p> <p><br />Tight hips and hamstrings, weak shins and ankles, painful feet and toes &ndash; all common running ailments and injuries, all of which can be improved through regular yoga practice. Contrary to the mainstream belief that yoga is simply stretching and lengthening of musculature, it is in fact also a powerful tool for strengthening and stabilising areas of the body, depending on the poses (asanas) chosen. Through yoga we also learn to feel our bodies in a different, more fully rounded sense, enabling us to work with, and not against, the body during hours of running; maximising energy through breathing, finding space where before there was none, drawing on strength from new places, understanding our limits and working with them to achieve our full potential.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/IMG_2802-2-4.jpg" alt="" /><br />Injuries have, for as long as I have been running, been the single most common downfall in my running career. Injuries caused not by running per se, but by the weaknesses in my body, the tightening muscles from long hours on the trails, from bad posture, bad footwear and limited movement patterns that have developed over time. I&rsquo;ve suffered the chronic pain and the heartbreak of being side-lined by injuries coming into race season, and for the most part my year of recovery has included a substantial amount of yoga. After taking the right approach to yoga and running, and using each one as a compliment to the other, I am able to integrate the two and achieve greater progress in both.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/IMG_2897-45.jpg" alt="" /><br />Yoga takes on many forms for varying levels of experience and ability; the beautiful thing about yoga, as with running, is that there is no start or end point and no &lsquo;right&rsquo; way of doing things, you just do it. Choosing the right yoga for you is essential for both the enjoyment and getting the benefits from it which are suited to you. For those who appreciate&nbsp; a hard workout and strengthening work, power yoga and Ashtanga can be incredibly beneficial, but if you really want to ease into things slowly, which I would highly recommend if you&rsquo;re an inexperienced yogi, then a gentle hatha class, restorative yoga, or my personal favourite, yin yoga, might be the better option. Pilates is also excellent for strengthening the body, but I would try both before deciding. Start by trying different types of classes once or twice a week until you find the one that fits you, everyone is different and finding the right class and teacher is essential to progress in your practice.<br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/IMG_2920-27-58.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Aside from the benefits in injury prevention, rehabilitation and basic lengthening and strengthening that yoga provides for the body, there is also the benefit to the mind and the human spirit that comes with regular practice. Few runners heed the advice given to take a step back, reign in the miles and slow things down; we want to push through the pain and find the illusive, miraculous surge of energy that will help us scale &lsquo;the wall&rsquo; we so regularly hit during races or long training runs. To be our best we must first asses what nourishment we need physically, mentally and spiritually in order to thrive. <br />When we take the time to unwind, de-stress and subdue the mind by focussing on the body in slow and controlled movement, we open ourselves up to self-acceptance, we begin to naturally overcome fears and limiting beliefs, we open our minds and bodies to receiving energy and inspiration from the world around us and we are able to experience life in ways we may never have imagined. I&rsquo;ve been practicing yoga on and off for 4 years and during my injury rehabilitation my yoga practice has been my lifeline. I have subsequently achieved more in my running than I ever thought possible simply by taking the time to get down on that mat and salute the sun every morning. It may sound clich&eacute; but I truly believe that when we stop trying to push, and we allow ourselves to simple &lsquo;be&rsquo; as we are, we will find ourselves in a unique position to receive what the universe throws our way with openness, gratitude and the strength to overcome any obstacle.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/IMG_2945-31-70.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 05:07:00 GMT THE BARE ACCESS TRAIL <p>The Bare Access 3 is designed for runners looking for the perfect mix of protection and barefoot connection on the trail. This fantastic new Merrell running shoe provides a glove-like fit for your feet, which follows the natural motion of your body. The result is a responsive and agile ride across every terrain, with breathable mesh material keeping your feet cool and a TPU support cage providing fantastic protection.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Bare Access Trail mens1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Breathable Protection</strong><br />The solid toecap provides great protection for your toes, while the breathable mesh upper keeps your feet cool.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/IMG_4608-40-2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Zero Drop</strong><br />With no drop from heel to toe the Bare Access 3 allows your feet to land flat on the ground, creating a natural stride.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Bare Access Trail GORE-TEX womens.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Unrivalled Grip</strong><br />The Vibram outsole provides grip on rock, grass, mud and every other surface &ndash; so you&rsquo;ll stick to any trail.</p> <p><strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Bare Access Trail GORE-TEX womens1.jpg" alt="" /></strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>USED by Jake Thompsett</strong><br />Jake is an adventurer, expedition leader and mountain marathon specialist. Training mostly in the Brecon Beacons, he uses minimal shoes to provide balance, feel and control on difficult and complex trails; and to release maximum speed and agility when racing.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/4M0D7444-7.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 01:50:00 GMT TOP 5 BITS OF EQUIPMENT TO TAKE ON A MULTI DAY MOUNTAIN MARATHON <p>Merrell Ambassador and Outdoor instructor, Jake Thompsett gives some usefull infromation on tech equipment to have when out on a mountain marathon.</p> <p>1.&nbsp;Lightweight insulated jacket <br />Great for the evenings at camp and for sleeping in, a nice lightweight synthetic jacket or pullover will keep you warm and help you out with getting a better nights sleep. I find the best materials to be ones such as Primaloft as, unlike down, they aren't effected by wet or damp conditions.</p> <p>2.&nbsp;Polartech powerstretch gloves<br />I really struggle with cold hands and even though these gloves are very thin and light they seem to do the job really well. Breathable enough to stop your hands from getting sweaty when you&rsquo;re moving fast, yet warm enough to keep the sensation in your fingers, they&rsquo;re perfect for mountain running.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/MCM.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>3.&nbsp;Good Quality lightweight waterproofs<br />The problem with mountain running waterproofs is that you need something that is waterproof enough to keep you dry yet breathable enough to let the sweat out, which, unfortunately seems to be quite a rare thing. Its a good idea to keep your eye out for a few handy features:<br />&bull;&nbsp;Smocks are very useful for running as it minimises the weight and bulk of having a full length zip, and also reduces the amount of &ldquo;weak&rdquo; areas where the water could get in<br />&bull;&nbsp;I use a waterproof smock that has a horizontal water resistant front zip which also acts as a vent. Perfect for giving loads of ventilation and breathability when it is raining too hard, or alternatively storing snacks and race maps<br />&bull;&nbsp;Look to see if the jacket has a storage bag or whether it folds inside it&rsquo;s own pocket, this is really handy for storing it away and minimising space inside your pack<br />&bull;&nbsp;Things like elastic cords can be a pain when the wind is high as they flap about and hit you in the face, look for a jacket with an elasticated hood (that doesn't have draw cords etc) thus minimising this and also giving the hood a good fit around your head providing more protecting in poor weather.</p> <p>4.&nbsp;Ultralightweight Survival bag/bivy<br />Great for emergency situations on the hill and if you buy one that is made from a breathable membrane then you can sleep inside it as well as your sleeping bag, which will give you a little extra warmth, something that is much needed if you&rsquo;re opting for a very lightweight sleeping bag. Stay away from the foil style survival blankets though, a proper waterproof bivy bag or heat reflective survival bag are much better.</p> <p>5.&nbsp;Good quality lightweight stove (pocket rocket)<br />Refuelling yourself is everything for multi day races therefore you need a good stove, there are plenty of well priced high quality &ldquo;pocket rocket&rdquo; style stoves that are very small, lightweight and only take minutes to boil enough water to rehydrate your dehydrated meal! Mix this with a lightweight pot (titanium ones are the lightest) and you&rsquo;ve got the perfect combination!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/IMG_0323-70 9.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 18:02:00 GMT 8 BEST YORKSHIRE WALKS <p>The Great Outdoors have put together&nbsp;a selection of Yorkshire Walks which are great if your looking for somwhere to go this weekend or to put on that bucket list.</p> <p>We've put together a few of our favourite locations&nbsp;which&nbsp;have great footpaths and trails with amazing views and scenery.</p> <p><br /><strong>Nidderdale</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br /><strong>The wonders of Lower Wharfedale</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br /><strong>Malham magic</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Swaledale</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br /><strong>Haworth</strong></p> <p><strong></strong><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/7.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>To read up on the other routes and trails you can take in Yorkshire, follow the link - <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 22:50:00 GMT MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THE OUTDOORS WITH JAKE THOMPSETT - PART 3 WHAT FOOTWEAR TO USE WHEN OUT ON THE HILL <p>In this part of the series, Merrell Ambassador Jake Thompsett talks about the importance of footwear when out on different terrains. Talking from a technical side which highlights which shoes will really keep you safe when out and about on the hill.</p> <p><strong>Low Land Country Trail</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Trail running.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When on low land country trail use the Merrell Moab; flexible, supportive, light and comfortable.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2014/7/MRLM-J21469-091813-F14-032.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>When on Mid Country Trail</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Light Hiking.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Use the Merrell Grassbow; lighter, faster. for long distance hiking and has minimal foot movement.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/MRL-W24627-052213[1].jpg" alt="" style="width: 238px; height: 173px;" width="309" height="234" /></p> <p><strong>When on a Higher Mid Terrain</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Hikinh.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When on higher terrains use a style like the Merrell Chameleon 5; supportive, stable and is good on a loose uneven terrain.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/MRL-R39919-050112.jpg" alt="" style="width: 249px; height: 146px;" width="313" height="191" /></p> <p><strong>High&nbsp;Land Terrains</strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/3cd736bee59b16566db882fb995e5163.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When on high terrains use the Merrell Moab Peak; Supportive and has a deeper cut for the heel and draws the foot in toward the shoe for comfort on a steeper terrain.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/MRL-W24291-040113.jpg" alt="" style="width: 243px; height: 191px;" width="309" height="235" /></p> <p>To watch the full video of Jake Thompsett going through the different types of shoes follow the link- <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 04:07:00 GMT CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN: SEAN MCFARLANE <p>Merrell Ambassador Sean McFarlane reports back from one of the Toughest Triathalon's he's done yet.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve had a bit of success in these type of races in recent years. Runner-up spots in this one last year, as well as the inaugural Celtman and Brutal races, have even given me the &lsquo;specialist&rsquo; tag. As ever, I had three clear aims: to survive it, to get to the finish and to leave nothing in the tank.</p> <p>My pre-race build-up goes okay and I feel good come race morning. The calm and sunny conditions do well to conceal a high tide not so conveniently about to begin its retreat just in time for the start.</p> <p>The less said about the swim the better. The water is cold, but bearable, and at least it&rsquo;s a nice day. The heated tent in transition is certainly welcome once I eventually emerge from the waters of the Forth.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/smc.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Trying not to look at the alarming lack of bikes in transition, I clip in and head off. My parents have come out 20 miles in to cheer me on. They look understandably unimpressed and shout &lsquo;37th&rsquo; as I pass. The truth hurts &ndash; a lot.</p> <p>I&rsquo;d been very much looking forward to using my new TT bike, but I&rsquo;m all too quickly aware that I&rsquo;ve not ridden it enough before the race. Fifteen miles in and my upper body aches in a way it shouldn&rsquo;t. I&rsquo;d also changed the saddle and it doesn&rsquo;t feel right either. It&rsquo;s crucial to stay aero in these races, but I&rsquo;m just not able to do that. My mistake and I&rsquo;m paying for it.</p> <p>Once at T2, my ever-loyal wife Becs ensures I&rsquo;m properly kitted out and fuelled up. The run starts with an hour of tarmac and then comes a long grassy climb up to 1,500ft. It&rsquo;s horrible and I begin to fade. I lose a place for the first time since leaving the water and it hits me hard. Once up onto the West Highland Way path, I try hard to spot some targets, but even my eyes are failing. I reach the Glen Nevis pit stop after more than three hours of running. Just Ben Nevis to do now!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/7/Ben Nevis Summit - C2S.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>I&rsquo;ve done plenty of races up Ben Nevis before and it&rsquo;s a unique place. It&rsquo;s clear that for many of those among the throngs of walkers on the mountain, this represents a far bigger challenge. After a thoroughly disappointing day it&rsquo;s just the reality check I need. Onto the snow and summit, I finally begin to enjoy myself. I&rsquo;m in eighth and having seen seventh place struggling to descend I know I&rsquo;ll catch him. The run down is the highlight and, given I&rsquo;m now 13hrs in, I feel great. I try to never leave anything in the tank, but for whatever reason I have this time. Over the finish line and straight to the free bar.</p> <p>I was well and truly beaten by six others. Thom Phillips, 2013&rsquo;s winner, came within 2mins of doing the double. Jon Thorp from Norway, sixth in Norseman last year, held on for a gun-to-tape win.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 00:56:00 GMT WHAT'S YOUR JOURNEY? <p>Merrell Ambassador Faith Shorney, shares the&nbsp;simplicity and beauty&nbsp;of running.</p> <p>Ralph Waldo Emerson once said &ldquo;Life is journey, not a destination&rdquo; but I&rsquo;ve always felt that having a destination, or a goal to work towards, gives us some sense of purpose, otherwise what is it we are all doing here anyway? I&rsquo;ve been thinking a lot recently about the journeys, both personal and physical, which have brought me to where I am today, and where I see that journey going from here. I&rsquo;m not concerned with the destination, I have a clear idea of where I&rsquo;m heading and I&rsquo;m just learning to enjoy the process of getting there and learning to live in the present moment.</p> <p>Running is an excellent metaphor for life and since a lot of my life has been about running in recent years, it makes sense that it has taught me a lot about life and about myself. Running has allowed me to find the present moment and to show up in it, to meet with myself and to understand more about life and the journey. This journey of running in particular, like most, has been a bumpy road at times, injuries and setbacks have left me disheartened and ashamed, but with every new day I am able to find the path again, to turn a new corner and to keep putting one foot in front of the other.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/IMG_2802-2.jpg" alt="" /><br />I&rsquo;ve realised that my life is a series of journeys and that I am never in one place for very long, there is no structure or sense of stability, at least not in a conventional sense, but this is where I have learned find my own stability: within my mobility. This new found way of being has allowed me to constantly move and still feet like my feet are rooted to the ground. Running has taught me that.</p> <p>Running for me is freedom, adventure, exploration, joy, honesty, integrity and mobility; running is the days when the sun shines on your face and takes all your troubles away, running is the rain that washes away even the most painful experiences, running is the wind that blows so loud that it drowns out every thought.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/IMG_3198.jpg" alt="" /><br />Running is the spring in your stride and the bliss of being exactly who you want to be in those precious moments when you find yourself alone on the path. Running is the opposite of standing still, it is letting go allowing the strength in your beautiful legs move to you forward through this journey we call life. There&rsquo;s no hurry, this is not a race, there is no set destination, it&rsquo;s just you and the sound of your feet falling as they land upon the earth and it catches you as you fall.&nbsp; This is your time, this is your body, your life and your journey.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 02:03:00 GMT TIPS ON HOW TO RUN DOWN HILL <p>Sean McFarlane, Merrell Ambassador is preparing for Man vs Mountain. If you're getting involved in Man vs Mountatin or taking part in&nbsp;downhill running&nbsp;have a read of Sean's Top Ten tips when training.</p> <p>"Increase your cadence, not our stride length, to make the&nbsp; most of the free speed avialable from gravity"</p> <p>If uphill running is primarily a test of endurance, downhill running demands speed, balance, agility and complete focus on the path ahead. So when you&rsquo;ve reached the summit you are only halfway through the challenge, especially at an event like Outdoor Fitness&rsquo;s forthcoming Man vs Mountain, where the run down from the top of Mount Snowdon to Llanberis arrives at a moment when serious fatigue is starting to set in. But if you hone your downhill technique, you can gain &lsquo;free&rsquo; speed, protect your ankles, knees and hips, and gain places in the race. Here&rsquo;s how...</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/Sean.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Sean&nbsp;wearing the All Out Rush to get the gear have a look at the All Out range- <a href=""></a></p> <p>1 Don&rsquo;t underestimate how quickly you will cool down on a mountain descent after a long, hard climb. The change in temperature is extreme. Personally I always put a jacket on for the descent, but some runners prefer to do just a hat and some gloves.</p> <p>2 Before you begin the descent, check your rucksack is closed and tighten the straps so it doesn&rsquo;t bounce around on your back. It needs to be tight, not restrictive &ndash; get used to running with it uphill and downhill before the event.</p> <p>3 Keep your weight forward as you run downhill. It&rsquo;s counter-intuitive because your natural instinct is to lean back, which is a braking action (it&rsquo;s the same when you&rsquo;re skiing). You need to lean forward a bit and keep your torso over your hips and ankles.</p> <p>4 You need to be constantly looking at the terrain and trying to &lsquo;dance&rsquo; around obstacles. Be prepared for what is coming and pick your line carefully, as you would when mountain biking.</p> <p>5 Get a feel for the type of terrain underfoot. If conditions are dry and the surface is loose then the stones are going to move, but if the stones are damp or wet they might well stick.</p> <p>6 Quite often the track just to the side of the built path is best, grassy sheep trods being easier and softer to run on.</p> <p>7 If you have a heel-strike running gait, take care that you don&rsquo;t catch your toes on the rocks. This is less of a problem for forefoot strikers.</p> <p>8 It&rsquo;s always a balance deciding how much you should zig-zag down a path to avoid rocks. Some runners batter straight down, but this is tough on your muscles &ndash; and if you stumble you are going to fall onto something hard!</p> <p>9 The top runners have &lsquo;soft&rsquo; feet &ndash; they are not in touch with the ground for very long, which is far less tiring. If you land heavy it feels like you&rsquo;re braking with every step, sending jolts through your legs.</p> <p>10 Most runners shorten their stride going downhill to dodge obstacles, especially if the terrain is technical. Increase your cadence, not your stride length, to make the most of the free speed available from gravity. If it&rsquo;s a long, grassy descent, you can lengthen your stride.</p> <p>11 Try to relax your arms so they hang like dead weights by your side. When running downhill your arms are far more important for balance than for powering ahead. More and more runners are now even using poles for balance on longer descents.</p> <p>12 Don&rsquo;t try to eat or drink while you&rsquo;re running downhill. Few descents are long enough to demand refuelling, and it&rsquo;s not worth endangering your balance. If you do need to take on energy or fluids, stop.</p> <p>13 Avoid feeling pressure to descend faster than you&rsquo;re comfortable with. Forget those who charge downhill and stay in control of your speed. Everyone finds this part of a race tough.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/Downhill.png" alt="" /></p> <p>Britain&rsquo;s toughest outdoor event pits your fitness against the wild challenge posed by running up Mount Snowdon and then back down again to face a series of natural obstacles. These include the Merrell Vertical Kilometre, an abseil and an open-water swim. It&rsquo;s an epic event and you&rsquo;ll feel exhausted and elated as you cross the line, having raced. Find out more on the event- <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 08:18:00 GMT THE CHAMELEON 5 <p>THE CHAMELEON adapts to any trail and the latest model is set to push the boundaries even further.</p> <p>Designed for walkers who want protection and durability on the hill, the Chameleon 5 GTX allows you to adapt to any surface. The suede leather and mesh fabrics hug your feet as you walk, while the flexible forefoot plate protects you from bumps and bruises on rough terrain.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/MRL_SS13_Hike13_MediumRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The thick Vibram sole and classic Chameleon oval lugs provide amazing grip on even the most demanding surfaces, making it the ideal choice for mountain lovers.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/IMG_1138-113-225.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This groundbreaking new boot from Merrell &ndash; available in men&rsquo;s sizes 6.5-14 &ndash;has built on the heritage of its predecessors to become the most responsive, protective and hardwearing Chameleon ever.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/IMG_0920-76-151.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>USED by the best Monty Halls<br />A renowned adventurer who&rsquo;s tackled the world&rsquo;s toughest terrain, Monty needs a rugged, tough and versatile shoe.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/DSC_7060.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>&ldquo;The Chameleon&rsquo;s lightweight mixture of versatility, durability and comfort is perfect. I often go from shore to summit in the same day, so I need tough footwear that can live with every terrain.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/027JM_MontyHalls - Copy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Check out our Chameleon 5 range- <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 10:30:00 GMT RUNNING- I THINK I QUITE LIKE RUNNING <p>Running is for everyone Merrell Ambassador Katie Roby explains, the simplicity of running and how it can cater for every need.</p> <p>These last few weeks have reminded me of how much I enjoy running in my free time.&nbsp;I survived the "Might Contain Nuts" trail marathon in the Brecon Beacons on a Saturday that saw what can only be described as biblical weather conditions.&nbsp; I gave my quads a bashing when I took on the legendary Jura fell race. I had another &ldquo;holiday&rdquo;, running 165 miles of the Pennine Way before my annual leave quota got used up.&nbsp; I even broke my only running rule by succumbing to the dark side and racing on the tarmac stuff!</p> <p>Running is just unbeatable. Simple. Lung busting.&nbsp;Relaxing.&nbsp;Sociable.&nbsp;Quiet. A thought sorter. A reason to explore.&nbsp; An excuse for a holiday? I guess it is anything you want it to be ...</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/bb2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Its simplicity is what really impresses me. Ultimately all you need is a decent pair of shoes (Merrell offer a fine selection).&nbsp;Then off you go; slowly, quickly, in the pouring rain, in 30 degree heat, through a national park, down the high street, 1 mile, 40 miles.&nbsp; The options are endless.</p> <p>Most people have run at some point in their lives, even if it is just for the bus.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s something we can all relate to.&nbsp;Running around the playground as a kid.&nbsp;Cross country at school. The London Marathon.&nbsp; The 100m final.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Running accepts you if you are really fast, or if you are really slow. If you have perfect technique or if you waddle like a duck (that is me!).&nbsp;Novices can compete with the elite. You rub shoulders with each other as you gather on the start line, you run the same route and share the elation as you cross the finish line.</p> <p>Running pushes your body to the absolute limit.&nbsp; It makes muscles scream and sweat glands pour. Cleverly, through strategic production of endorphins, all painful memories are quickly removed and replaced with a sense of satisfaction and contentment.&nbsp;The recent encounter with the Paps of Jura was a fine example of how quickly my body forgot the 2370m of ascent over 28km of bog, boulders and scree.&nbsp;10 minutes after dragging myself across the line swearing &ldquo;never again&rdquo; I had signed up for next year.</p> <p>On the other hand it gives you time to think, to reflect, to work stuff out. Or you think of not a lot and give your brain some time out. It refreshes and declutters.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/bb1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>For me, my favourite bit about running is how it gets me outdoors.&nbsp;It encourages exploration and adventure. It takes you on a journey, a very simple and natural one. I have been to some exceptional places through running. Found little nuggets of beauty that I might otherwise had missed had I been driving, or cycling or walking.&nbsp;</p> <p>Well, there you go. I think I quite like running.</p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:48:00 GMT THE ALL OUT RUSH <p>The All Out Rush is designed for athletes who demand speed on the trail. This innovative new running shoe features Merrell&rsquo;s Uni-Fly natural run system, which wraps around the foot&rsquo;s arch, creating a continuous, flexible contact.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/IMG_0245-23-2-45.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The sole provides great protection thanks to a layer of ultra-resistant foam, plus built-in shock pads that provide a soft landing and stable take-off. With a futuristic grip pattern that allows each lug to move independently, the All Out Rush also offers unparalleled levels of agility<br />and multidirectional control.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/sole.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The All Out Rush has also been awarded 'Best Runners Debut' pg 99 in Runners World Magazine.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/all Out Rush.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Used by Dr Andrew Murray<br />He&rsquo;s raced at the North Pole, in the Himalayas and across the Sahara Desert, and last year ran seven ultra-marathons on seven continents in seven consecutive days.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/186.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>&ldquo;Training in the Scottish mountains, I need shoes that provide protection, grip and stability. The All Out Rush allows me to push myself to the limit on even the toughest terrain.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/205.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>Have a look at the All Out Rush range- <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 14:17:00 GMT A DAY WITH MONTY HALLS <p>Merrell Ambassador Monty Halls recently came down to Merrell HQ and shared with everyone his recent adventures and how he has been using his Merrell footwear and clothing. Monty was in town to help launch the new Autumn / Winter range of products due to hit shops in September. Scroll down for a sneak peek of what&rsquo;s new.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>On show were the NEW Verterra, Annex and Bare Access Trail.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Alongside the new styles Verterra, Annex and Bare Access Trail the evening involved plenty of beer including the unique &ldquo;Merrell Vermont&rdquo; brew inspired by the native honey of Vermont; Merrell's place of birth.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Check out Montys talk of&nbsp;how he wanted to get involved with Merrell and become a brand&nbsp;Ambassador- <span style="line-height: 115%; font-size: 10pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;"><a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 09:52:00 GMT RUNNING AND TRAINING WITH LOWRI MORGAN <p>Lowri tells us about her progress with running, what motivates her and how&nbsp;she&nbsp;enjoys keeping fit.</p> <p>I have been running almost every day, most of the time just casual runs but I&rsquo;m really enjoying being out on the trails. The warmer weather might have something to do with it but my legs have started to recover pretty quickly after training sessions and I have noticed lately that my body is not getting as tired as it was a few months ago.</p> <p>With me racing the Trans Alps in the Summer and discussing running expeditions with S4C (Channel 4 Wales), I am motivated to get out and train, and generally enjoy everything about the sport again. However, there are still days when I go through rough patches. <br />It happened to me a few days ago. I was having such a good week. I was cruising; constantly visualising crossing the finish line and kept pushing myself onwards faster and faster towards the invisible &lsquo;race end&rsquo;. I found new strength in my legs and was really pleased with my times.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>That all changed on the last session of the week. It was horrible run - I felt every step of the way, my legs were heavy and found it very hard to motivate myself forward. The only way I kept going was by reminding myself that even if I was struggling and the pace slow, I was still out doing something that I love. Slowly but surely I stopped counting the long miles and forgot about the minutes per mile. I threw my watch into my rucksack, started to appreciate the beautiful surroundings and concentrated on the reasons why I run.<br />I used to be very hard on myself about missing sessions or for being below par but I&rsquo;ve learnt over the years that there is a fine, yet very definite, line between critiquing yourself productively and beating yourself up. Using productive criticism feels like encouragement and progress. Beating yourself up creates negativity and I certainly do not run to create those kind of feelings.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>And that's where the biggest word in ultrarunning comes into play - patience. You've got to have a lot of patience. Even when you're running a 5k or an ultra marathon, all of a sudden you feel like you want to get to the end straight away. You get panicky - you're not doing what you want to do, and you panic. And you've got to just let that feeling go and have faith in yourself because you will get there eventually. Be patient.<br />So by being patient, I managed to finish that horrible 14 mile run last week. It wasn&rsquo;t pretty and it certainly wasn&rsquo;t fast but I finished with a smile on my face. <br />The crippling lows and euphoric highs are why I do this. You have to go a long way to feel at your lowest but you can also feel the greatest you ever have in the same race. Every low point you have - during a race or in training, you can use as a learning experience, a reference point to help you deal with it when it happens again.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>With my training about to intensify in preparation for the Summer, I know there will be good days and bad days. Long distance running is a roller coaster of ups and downs and the longer you go the bigger the ups and the bigger the downs. I may feel terrible at times but the body and mind is an amazing thing and together with positive thinking and chemicals my body will produce, I know I will overcome and feel ecstatic a few miles later.</p> Sun, 15 Jun 2014 17:17:00 GMT ANDES TO AMAZON UPDATE <p>Dr Andrew Murray has been prepping for Andes to Amazon 14th June 2014. He&rsquo;s been busy training in Ecuador where he&rsquo;s been taking pictures and giving his updates to his progress as time draws nearer to the Andes to Amazon run.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Since his arrival in Ecuador he has&nbsp; successfully climbed Mt Pichincha, which looms over Quito at 4696 metres offering fabulous views into Quito and the Avenue of the Volcanos.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The next day Andrew and his team acclimatise further around Quito before heading into Volcano alley to hit Iliniza Norte (5146metres)</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>To read more on Andrew Murrays plan on how to take on Andes to Amazon check out his blog <a href=""><span style="color: #5c80b1;"></span></a></p> Thu, 12 Jun 2014 23:32:00 GMT ANDREW DOES ANDES TO AMAZON <p>Ultramarathon man to run from Andes to the Amazon in a day</p> <p>Merrell Pack Leader and Ultra Runner Dr Andrew Murray, whose previous conquests include completing a remarkable 2,559 mile run from Scotland to the Sahara Desert, a 7hr run up Mt Kilimanjaro and race wins in some of the most spectacular and hostile locations on Earth has earmarked his upcoming Andes to Amazon challenge as his hardest to date. The challenge, which is set over 24hrs, commences on June 14th 2014.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/AtoA2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>South America is a continent of natural extremes, with the two best known natural features being the spectacular Andes mountains and the immense ecosystems of the Amazon jungle.&nbsp; On the day England kick off their football World Cup campaign in the heat and humidity of the amazon city of Maunas, the Scottish International distance runner will run for more than 100 miles through first sub-zero temperatures then the searing heat to reach the Amazon Basin.&nbsp; Murray will first climb the crevasse riddled&nbsp; Mt Cotopaxi (5897metres), before running the undulating &lsquo;Avenue of the Volcanos&rsquo; which includes Mt Tungurahua one of the most active volcanos on earth, then descending onto the Pastaza river, which feeds the mighty Amazon. <br />Murray, 33 from Edinburgh said &ldquo;the landscape and wildlife are utterly amazing.&nbsp; The major difficulties are having to run about 100 very hilly miles at pretty significant altitude, having just climbed a mountain higher than anything in Europe. I ran Mt Kilimanjaro last year and Cotopaxi is a little higher and is covered in snow and ice so I&rsquo;d anticipate being tired even before getting off the mountain.&nbsp; <br />Actually as a doctor with the SportScotland Institute of Sport I&rsquo;m aware that altitude, heat and humidity are usually the enemy of the long distance runner, and I&rsquo;m sure I&rsquo;ll have plenty sympathy for the English Football team who will be running around in the Amazon jungle on the same day.&nbsp; But I have been kitted out with the gear that will help minimise the effects of the heat, and it would not be a challenge unless it was harder than what I have done before.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/AtoA1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Dr Murray hopes to raise awareness of the benefits of exercise through this epic, saying<br />&ldquo;As a GP I know that taking regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If everyone did 30 minutes of walking, or any other form of exercise a day, stats show it would increase national happiness.&nbsp; Even this amount of exercise increases life expectancy by 7 years. There is a great video called 23.5 hours, whilst I&rsquo;m really keen to support the Fit in 14 campaign, which along with Merrell, I&rsquo;m an ambassador for.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 03:27:00 GMT THE ALLOUT FUSE <p>Light the fuse..</p> <p>The new All Out Fuse from Merrell is helping runners to get back to nature. These revolutionary running shoes are designed to replicate the natural shape and movement of the foot, allowing your feet and body to move in perfect unison. The flexible underfoot wrap shapes perfectly around the arch of your foot to create continuous contact, increasing mobility and efficiency by absorbing shock and transferring energy.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/fuse2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Used by the best Sean McFarlane<br />Nine time Ironman finisher and one of the UK&rsquo;s top long-distance athletes, Sean&rsquo;s used the All Out Fuse throughout his winter training.</p> <p>&ldquo;The All Out Fuse has a great balance of natural feel, cushioning and support. As a long distance athlete all three elements are vital. I need protection when I run, but I also need agility and feel. These shoes deliver all that and much more.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/cyprus2014-944.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Have a look at the Merrell Allout Fuse collection- <a href=""></a></p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 22:06:00 GMT NEW RUNNING TRAILS IN NORTH WALES <p>If you&rsquo;re looking for somewhere new to venture out new running trails have been created at the Coed y Brenin forest park. The four new running trails guarantee great routes for trail runners of all abilities to enjoy the forest alongside the cyclists and walkers who use existing trails.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/cyb_3.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Sarn Helen -</strong> Short route, 2.7 miles, 97m of climbing. Climb from the visitor centre and contour round the ridge picking up the Sarn Helen Roman road to loop back to the visitor centre.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Sarn Helen -</strong> Long route, 5.2 miles, 198m of climbing. The route climbs over the Cefndeuddwr ridge before descending into the valley of the Afon Gain, where it crosses the river twice before climbing back past the ruins of Penmaen farm before returning to the visitor centre along the Sarn Helen past the Medieval Ironworks.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/sarn helen.jpg" /></p> <p><br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>GoldRush -</strong> 8.5 miles, 420m of climbing. This trail takes in considerably more sections of single track footpath than the others, giving a different experience as it climbs the ridge and drops to cross the Afon Mawddach before climbing again to cross the copper bog to reach a mile and a half long descent back to the valley floor before following the Afon Eden for a low level finish back to the visitor centre.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Half Marathon -</strong> 13.5 miles, 727m of climbing. After climbing to Cefndeuddwr the trail descend to the Afon Mawddach on forest roads before climbing up and over the next ridge before descending on a footpath to the Afon Wen. The trail then climbs past Cynant Hyll with its cascading waterfall before following the ridge down the valley on the extreme Eastern edge of the forest park. The trail then drops back down to the Wen, before contouring round the base of the next ridge, giving an extended respite before the final sting in the tail &ndash; climbing back over the Cefndeuddwr ridge to the finish!</p> <p>To read more about the new trails have a look at the outdoors magic website- <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/6/valley.jpg" style="width: 571px; height: 360px;" width="639" height="428" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 01 Jun 2014 17:09:00 GMT THE GRASSBOW <p>Light, Fast and Tough..</p> <p>If you want to travel fast and light in the mountains, the all-new Merrell Grassbow is the shoe for you. Designed to be ultra-lightweight (men&rsquo;s 354g, women&rsquo;s 283g) but still extremely tough. The Grassbow is the lightest trail shoe Merrell has ever made &ndash; striking the ideal balance between stability and protection. For walkers who demand speed and durability from their footwear, the Grassbow is the ultimate piece of outdoor kit.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/gb1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Used by the best Jake Thompsett<br />An intrepid adventurer who leads expeditions into the mountains and jungles of Borneo, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos</p> <p>&ldquo;When I travel I need footwear that provides comfort and support without slowing me down. The Merrell Grassbow is the ideal travel companion.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/gb.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Have a look at the Merrell Grassbow collection- <a href=""></a></p> Fri, 30 May 2014 00:38:00 GMT IRISH COAST TO COAST WITH SEAN MCFARLANE <p>Sean McFarlane delivers his most recent&nbsp;adventure described as "double epic"when he took no the Irish Coast to Coast race. Read more about his non stop journey.</p> <p>The 2014 race season was starting over 500 kilometres from home for me. I couldn&rsquo;t work out if the fact that the race would take me more than half the way back home was a good thing or not. But one thing was clear &ndash; the first ever non-stop edition of the Irish Coast to Coast race was going to be in the top adventure category of &ldquo;double epic&rdquo;.</p> <p>We arrived after a long day of travelling on Thursday evening. The decision not to take the hour detour and look at the midpoint in the kayak course would come back to haunt me but it very much felt like the right one at the time. A pint of the black stuff and some decent nosebag and it was an early night for the team. But the start of a sore throat was worrying. Friday morning was all about preparation. It all seemed to go rather quickly, no doubt due to a couple of decent cafe stops, a photo shoot on the beach, and a play in the surf. It did achieve the key aim of putting a smile on our faces though, so job done. My cold was certainly there though but there was nothing I could do about it now.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/c2c 1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The non-stop version of this race, a new feature for this year, didn&rsquo;t start until midday on Saturday. Much talk had been had about the merits or otherwise of doing so, but that was the rules for everybody and all too soon we were standing on the beach awaiting the start. I knew my cold was a big issue but I was always going to start this one and make every effort to finish. The key was just at no point too far from the finish to totally knacker myself, so that was the aim. My good friends Nick and Al were also doing the race as a team and we&rsquo;d agreed, as you&rsquo;re encouraged to do, to bike the first 110k bike leg together as much as possible. So the first 5k out and back beach run was a leisurely affair and fine by me.</p> <p>Into the first transition, bike kit on and off we went. Quickly. The wind at our backs was great and we biked the first section pretty hard. After an hour or so I was convinced we were in the lead but meeting the WAGS at the halfway point we were told there was one single guy two minutes ahead. I pulled away from the others with about 20k to go, confident that they would catch me on the kayak and we could maybe work together once again.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/c2c 3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/c2c 5.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;I&rsquo;d done this race once before, and totally messed up the kayak by going way off course and even falling in at one point when I was luckily close to shore. I was fully focussed on not doing that again. So off I set, about ten minutes down from the leader at that point. After about 45 minutes the safety boats approached me, told me I was closing on the leader, only to then blast off and cause a sizeable and alarming wake. I could have handled that and just take the waves head on. But I was approaching a bridge right at that point so the waves banged off its sides and came back. High sea time and I was in trouble. Over I went. I quickly got back in and felt ok. But soon afterwards I hit the large lake on the course, Garradice, where I had messed things up before. It&rsquo;s a very exposed piece of water and the wind was creating some decent waves. I managed to paddle solidly and quickly to the corner of the island in the middle but with my clothes soaked I was getting cold, really cold. Once at the corner of the island, I was jubilant, thinking I&rsquo;d done the hard part. And I had. But I was freezing. I wasn&rsquo;t sure at all at that point where to go and was too cold to stop and check the map. So off I ploughed, in the wrong direction, for a long time. It was a massive mistake. Eventually I began to shake so much with the cold that it was obvious I would soon capsize. So I beached, fully intending to abandon, began doing star jumps and hill reps to keep warm, then walked towards a farmhouse confident that I was on course and my support team were round the corner. Having warmed up, I eventually decided getting back in the boat was a better option, so I continued, still in the wrong direction. Eventually the safety boat reached me and pointed me in the right direction and I was eventually back on course. The tracking shot tells it all.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/c2c 4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I&rsquo;d lost over an hour. I was 10th person (including teams) into the half way point. It was a disaster. But at least I had plenty to overtake now. So off I went on the rest of the paddle. Four and a quarter hours after starting, the paddle was over. Just the small matter of a 140k overnight bike and 35k run up and down Ireland&rsquo;s highest peak left. We&rsquo;d been incredibly lucky with the weather which was forecast to rain all day but up until now had been dry. But the clouds were looming and the ride started with some unwelcomed drizzle. Same for everybody though. The rules for this bike leg were that during the hours of darkness the support car was to drive 50 metres behind you the whole way with the hazards on. I was keen to only do this when it was properly dark and Andy had leant me a light that light up the whole of Western Europe. So I biked in a somewhat Zombie-like manner until about 11pm and then the car joined me. Biking overnight, on a time trial bike at a decent pace was a strange and new experience. I enjoyed it, though won&rsquo;t be looking to do it again anytime soon.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/bike.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I arrived at the run start transition at 1am. It was a very mild night though I knew my cold was now causing me to run a fever so although I started in short and t-shirts, my good sense, aka my wife&rsquo;s advice, kicked in and I returned to the car for a base layer. The leader was now literally miles ahead so the clear aim was to consolidate second place. I&rsquo;d hoped my legs would feel better for the start of the run and I wasn&rsquo;t moving at the pace I&rsquo;d hoped for. But I&rsquo;d passed both third and fourth placed competitors on the bike and they both had frankly looked done. So I wasn&rsquo;t overly concerned. I looked back after about 10k and couldn&rsquo;t see any lights at all so began to relax.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/c2c 6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Half way point on the run at Spegla dam was preceded by a kilometre climb on the road. This signalled the start of my walking. Meeting the team at 4am for a final time before the finish was strangely alarming because as they set off to the finish, I knew I still had a long way to go and was, to use a technical term, totally cabbaged. My stomach was in a bad way. It had held up remarkably well given the nasty combo of chemicals I&rsquo;d thrown at it since midday, together with what was now a full-on cold. But I was now completely done. After 16 hours of racing, this was now getting into &ldquo;expedition&rdquo; territory and both me and my body were very aware this was new to us. The day began to dawn and lifted the spirits, slightly, but it was all far too little too late. The approach up the mountain section was now a walk for me. Up and onto the ridge and magnificent Mournes, I just had to stop and look around. And I did, a lot. They really are fabulous and being the first, well actually the second, person up there that day was without doubt the highlight. I was very close to sitting down for a proper awe inspired gaze but I knew if I did I&rsquo;d fall straight to sleep. Plus I had to summit Slieve Donnard.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/walk.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Eventually on its final ascent, I was especially grateful for the sturdy wall on its western flank and the shelter it gave me from the howling wind as I had stupidly not packed any tights. Finally on its summit, I dibbed and then walked down, very slowly. With knees now aching badly, the slow walk continued until into Newcastle itself and only the fear of pictures awoke me from my saunter to manage a shuffle across the line. Runner-up for me in almost 20 hours. I was more than convincingly beaten, by almost three hours, by Finbar McGurren. Even cold free, with an upright and straight line kayak, I would have been nowhere near him. It was a mighty impressive performance by the affable Irishmen- they all are.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/c2c 7.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It was a great race and the lack of sleep added to the dream like nature of it. It may have been a nightmare at times but I was now only a short ferry ride and hour drive from home.</p> Thu, 29 May 2014 06:32:00 GMT 10 TIPS FOR MAN VS MOUNTAIN WITH JAKE THOMPSETT <p>Here is Merrell Ambassador Jake Thompsett preparing for Man vs Mountan. If you are&nbsp;taking part&nbsp;in Man vs Mountain or participating in any uphill run, have a&nbsp;read of Jake's Top Ten tips&nbsp;when training.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Maintaining momentum and motivation on an &lsquo;endless&rsquo; uphill run is seriously hard."</p> <p>Nothing tests your endurance and mental strength like running up a mountain. Adding hill reps to your run training is one thing, but you get a break every couple of minutes. What happens if the climb goes on and on? What tactics should you adopt to contend with an unrelenting 1,000m climb? This is the challenge that awaits at Outdoor Fitness&rsquo;s Man vs Mountain event this September. Competitors must run to the summit of Mount Snowdon from sea level at Caernarfon Castle. When the ascent begins in earnest you&rsquo;ll already have run the better part of eight hilly miles, with a further hour or two of endless upward gradient to face. It will sap your energy, fill your legs with lactic acid and cast doubt into the darkest recesses of your mind. Naturally, you should add some hills to your training runs, which is more enjoyable than doing hill reps. Then on the day itself, there are extra steps you can take to reach the top with a spring in your stride. Here are my top 10...</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/Jake mvm.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Jake wearing the All Out Rush to get the gear have a look at the All Out range- <a href=""></a></p> <p>1 Plan your nutrition strategy so you eat before the ascent starts. It&rsquo;s tough to sustain your pace and breathe if you&rsquo;re swallowing a snack.</p> <p>2 Set off cold and bold. And take off layers at the start of your climb so you feel a bit chilly. You&rsquo;ll soon warm up! Then put them on again as soon as you get to the top.</p> <p>3 Tighten your rucksack straps so that it hugs your upper body.</p> <p>4 Shorten your stride length. There&rsquo;s no way you can maintain long strides running up a climb of Snowdon&rsquo;s length. Aim to keep your legs moving like a metronome, with shorter, steady steps. You may even need to halve your normal stride length so your foot isn&rsquo;t landing too far in front of your body, which would work your muscles too hard.</p> <p>5 When the gradient is so steep that your pace slows to the same speed you could achieve by fast walking, start to walk, pushing hands on knees. It uses less energy and saves you from muscle burn.</p> <p>6 If you&rsquo;re walking, seize the chance to eat a snack. I like real food such as dried fruit and nuts and wafer bars. Nutrition can really help your morale, so choose snacks that make you feel happier. I keep gels for emergencies.</p> <p>7 Try not to stop during the ascent, but if you pause to shed a layer or navigate, take the chance to rest.</p> <p>8 Stick with your buddies even if you all run at slightly different speeds. You can support each other when the going gets tough.</p> <p>9 If you&rsquo;re really struggling, set easy targets: it could be reaching the next 20 yards, the next 20 and so on.</p> <p>10 Sing to yourself to help the time pass. Chanting a simple mantra &ndash; &ldquo;Come on Jake, man-up&rdquo; &ndash; can sometimes help, too.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/MVM.png" alt="" style="width: 323px; height: 215px;" width="314" height="209" /></p> <p>Man VS Mountain, Mt snowdon, 6 september 2014. Britain&rsquo;s toughest outdoor event pits your fitness against the wild and rugged challenge posed by running up Mount Snowdon and then back down the other side to face a series of natural obstacles. These include the Merrell Vertical Kilometre, an abseil and an open-water swim. You&rsquo;ll feel exhausted and elated as you cross the finishing line, having traversed about 20 mountainous miles. Fidn out more on the event -<a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 26 May 2014 05:45:00 GMT 3 TOP TIPS ON HOW TO MOUNTAIN BIKE DOWN HILL <p>Tobias Mews gives his 3 Top Tips when mountain biking downhill.&nbsp;Tobias&nbsp;shares a few simple&nbsp;techniques of how you can control your bike and stay safe when travelling at speed when coming downhill. Check out his video: <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 22 May 2014 21:31:00 GMT MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THE OUTDOORS WITH JAKE THOMPSETT - PART 2 WHAT EQUIPMENT TO USE WHEN OUT ON THE HILL <p>Jake talks about the importance of being prepped with the right equipment when out on the hill, he highlights the necessity and how essential equipment is to keep you safe, dry and comfortable when you are out exploring and having fun. Soon to be posted Jake&rsquo;s next video where he will be discussing footwear.</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 20 May 2014 22:01:00 GMT “BOIL-IN-A-BAG” MEALS: THE CHEAP WAY! JAKE THOMPSETT GIVES US TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE FAST AND EASY FOOD WHEN OUT ON THE HILL <p>Boil in a bag meals are brilliant for anyone who likes spending extended amounts of time in the hills and doesn't want the "faff" of cooking regular meals in a small camping stove. Boil in a bag meals basically mean that your whole meal is prepared inside a bag (which you can place in boiling water) ready to heat up and eat, therefore there's no need to wash your stove or bring a plate, the bag is your plate! Also, if you spend a lot of time in the hills then the costs of ready-made meals will soon add up, here&rsquo;s how to eat lightweight in the hills and stay friends with your wallet at the same time:</p> <p><br />There are two types of boil in a bag meals:</p> <p><strong>Wet Food</strong> <br />Pros-<br />&bull;Generally taste better than dehydrated meals <br />&bull;No crunchy bits!</p> <p>Cons-<br />&bull;Much heavier<br />&bull;Take much longer to heat up thus using more gas/fuel</p> <p><strong>Dehydrated Food</strong><br />Pros-<br />&bull;Lightweight<br />&bull;Easier to prepare as all you have to do is add boiling water&bull;No crunchy bits!</p> <p>Cons-<br />&bull;Sometimes end up with crunchy bits left in them where food hasn&rsquo;t rehydrated properly</p> <p>How to make your dehydrated meals<br />Making your own boil in a bag meals is super cheap and super easy, although you must ensure that all the ingredients aren't perishable (e.g. raw meat), are lightweight, and are easy to prepare (e.g. make sure all you have to do is add water!), here's an example:</p> <p><strong>Example Meals<br />BREAKFAST 1: Porridge</strong></p> <p>What you will need:<br />&bull; 1 x Pour and Store bag <a href=""></a><br />&bull; 1 x Stove and Gas<br />&bull; 1 x Serving of Ready Brek<br />&bull; 1 x Serving powdered milk<br />&bull; Plenty of chocolate chunks, chips or powder! (can be supplemented with fruits etc.)</p> <p>STEP 1<br />Add the servings of Ready Brek, powdered milk and chocolate into the Pour and Store bag</p> <p>STEP 2<br />&bull; When you're ready to cook your breakfast simply boil some water in your stove<br />&bull; Then add a sufficient amount of boiled water to the contents of the Pour and Store bag<br />&bull; I usually seal the Pour and Store bag for a minute or so to allow the porridge to absorb the water, make sure you stir the contents to prevent any lumps of milk powder!<br />&bull; If the porridge isn't absorbing the water very well then you can place the sealed bag into the water contained with the stove and simmer for a couple of minutes, this can also be done to reheat the food if it goes cold</p> <p>STEP 3<br />Tuck in and enjoy!</p> <p><img style="width: 202px; height: 248px;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/water 3.jpg" alt="" width="565" height="737" /></p> <p>Some more ideas for&nbsp;Boil in a Bag&nbsp;meals:<br /><strong>DINNER 1: Mashed Potato and Sausage</strong></p> <p>What you will need:<br />&bull; Pour and Store bag<br />&bull; Stove and gas<br />&bull; Smash (powdered potato)<br />&bull; Dried or cured meat (e.g. salami)<br />&bull; I add a chunk of butter for more calories and flavour<br />&bull; Chilli powder or gravy granules (optional)<br />Boil water, and add to the bag contents, continue adding and stirring until the smash is of the preferred consistency</p> <p><strong>DINNER 2: Couscous</strong></p> <p>What you will need:<br />&bull; Pour and Store bag<br />&bull; Stove and gas<br />&bull; Couscous<br />&bull; Any other ingredients you fancy such as cured meats, spices etc., just make sure they aren't perishable!<br />Boil water, add to the bag and stir!</p> <p><br />Top Tip: Purchase a long handled lightweight spoon to prevent getting your meal all over your knuckles as you scoop the contents out of the bottom of the bag</p> Sun, 18 May 2014 01:50:00 GMT JAKE THOMPSETT REVIEWS ALL OUT RUSH <p>Expedition Leader and Merrell Ambassador, Jake Thompsett reviews our All Out Rush range, giving the facts and benefits they give when hitting the trail.</p> <p><strong>About the shoe&hellip;</strong></p> <p>The All Out Rush has the perfect balance of feel and protection, therefore still taking into account the minimalist style of running yet giving you enough protection to take on the rougher and more gnarly long distance trails. Merrell have achieved this balance through the use of the Unifly system where the denser foam in the heel and forefoot helps dissipate impact, and the softer foam underneath helps soak up the ground giving you great sensory feedback.</p> <p>Now enough of the geeky stuff, let&rsquo;s talk about how the shoe performs in practice&hellip;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Uphill performance</strong></p> <p>Having a shoe that you can trust to not slip as you run uphill is incredibly important, it can be very draining when you are sapped of energy and every step upwards results in you slipping. The Rush&rsquo; lugs dig deep into softer terrain meaning that there isn&rsquo;t any waste of energy when running up hill, not only that but the shoe is nice and flexible and provides good feedback to your foot from the ground, therefore you can be much more effective and energy efficient with your foot placements.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/4.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Downhill performance</strong></p> <p>Running downhill can cause some serious injuries if you&rsquo;re not using the right techniques and footwear, a fall on mountainous terrain, downhill, and at speed could mean the end of your season and not just your race, therefore it is very important that you can trust the shoe to grip the terrain and support you as you descend a trail. By integrating 5mm lugs into the sole of the Rush, Merrell have solved the problem of the previous trail shoes in that they were lacking in downhill performance, the soles just didn't have enough tread to allow you to pick up any pace and trust your steps meaning that you had to carefully and slowly make your way downhill, which isn&rsquo;t great when against the clock! The added cushioning and unify system also means that your feet have a lot more protection and comfort when you commit to a downhill trail.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Fit</strong></p> <p>Fit is something that I have always struggled with in footwear, I have somehow ended up with flipper shaped feet, somehow suggesting that maybe I should&rsquo;ve been a swimmer and not a runner! With a skinny heel, high arches yet a very wide forefoot I regularly find that a shoe is either too loose on the heel or too tight on the forefoot. The spacious toe box coupled with the omni fit lacing system of the Rush eliminates that problem for me, the omni fit system allows me to pull the heel, ankle and arch of the shoe in so that it is almost &lsquo;custom fit&rsquo; to my foot, whilst the spacious toebox allows my foot to comfortably spread when I land and prevent any rubbing or blistering on longer training sessions or races.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/7.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Overall</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been using the All Out Rush for a fair while now in and around the Brecon Beacons, I consider the terrain there to be pretty challenging when off trail and so far the shoe has performed great. I also use the Rush for everyday mountain use when I don&rsquo;t require something with ankle support and waterproofing such as an approach shoe for climbing or an everyday instructor shoe in the hills and at the crags.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re looking for a shoe that not only provides brilliant grip on loose terrain but also gives support and cushioning for those longer races and training sessions without totally taking away the feeling of minimalism and the ground underneath your feet, then the All Out Rush is for you.</p> Thu, 15 May 2014 17:44:00 GMT MEET THE MERRELL AMBASSADORS SEAN MCFARLANE AND FAITH SHORNEY 14th & 15th MAY <p>Quality performance footwear brand Merrell, is set to infiltrate the streets of Central London with a Pop Up brand store to open on 68 Neal Street, Covent Garden from April 24th to May 18th 2014.</p> <p>The shop will feature the latest in stylish and durable Merrell footwear including the Allout natural running range; the Grassbow; Merrell&rsquo;s lightest ever adventure shoe and the Azura; the new outdoor performance shoe specifically designed for women.</p> <p>During it&rsquo;s stay in Covent Garden, Merrell will be running a variety of activities for all to enjoy including a daily prize draw for shoppers who try on a pair of Merrell. Entrants will then automatically be in with a chance to win one of two exhilarating outdoor experiences; a 2 day all expenses paid hike and camp experience or entry and 2 nights accommodation to tackle the Outdoor Fitness Man vs. Mountain run.</p> <p><strong>Also be sure to head across to the store for a meet and greet with the Merrell Pack including Triathlete Sean McFarlane, due in store on&nbsp;Wednesday May 14th, 6pm,&nbsp;and adventurer Faith Shorney on Thursday May 15th from 6pm.</strong></p> <p>As spring has officially arrived Merrell is encouraging everyone to challenge themselves in the great outdoors, so head down to the store and kit yourself out for adventure, exhilaration and new experiences.</p> Mon, 12 May 2014 02:23:00 GMT ANDREW MURRAY HOW TO DESTROY YOUR LEGS- RACING THE HOME NATIONS ULTRA CHAMPS <p>Merrell Ambassador Andrew Murray shares his&nbsp;journey of success when&nbsp;competing for Scotland in The Home Nations Championships/ Angleo Celtic Plate. 'Fortune has favoured me in relation to running.' Andrew paints a picture&nbsp;of his&nbsp;previous journeys and the mind set of his most recent and challenging run.&nbsp;Not only that his hard work and dedication has&nbsp;achieved&nbsp;his finishing time&nbsp;to be&nbsp;recognised as Top 20 for 100km in the World for this year.</p> <p>To read thefull blog follow the link: <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/AM pic 2.jpg" alt="" style="width: 314px; height: 208px;" width="4499" height="3001" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/AM pic 5.jpg" alt="" style="width: 314px; height: 209px;" width="315" height="209" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/AM pic 3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/AM pic 4.jpg" alt="" style="width: 314px; height: 209px;" width="315" height="209" />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/AM pic 6.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Images&nbsp;by Julian Porter</p> Mon, 12 May 2014 02:06:00 GMT MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THE OUTDOORS WITH JAKE THOMPSETT - PART 1 WHAT TO WEAR WHEN OUT ON THE HILL <p>Here is the first in a series of videos by Merrell ambassador and Expedition Leader Jake Thompsett to give some fundamental guidance to enjoying the outdoors. <br />In this video Jake talks about what to wear when out on the hill an essential part of any planning for a day out. We will be posting a new video in the series every couple of days for the next week and so keep checking back for more tips, hints and advice on kit, technique, orientation and lots more.</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> Sun, 11 May 2014 20:45:00 GMT Doc Andrew Murray: "Find something you enjoy and go for it" Check out this interview with Total Health about Andrew's recent adventures <p>Click here <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 08 May 2014 09:35:00 GMT MONTY HALLS: CHAMELEON 5 GTX - THE ULTIMATE TEST - FROM DARTMOUTH TO GUYANA TO SNOWDONIA TO THE SLATE ISLANDS... <p>These boots are made for walking&hellip;..</p> <p>&hellip;..and climbing, and running, and for transporting you to all manner of weird and wonderful places.</p> <p>Three months ago, those nice people at Merrell were good enough to send me some boots to trial. And trial them I did, on many a trail and many a travail.</p> <p>Happily the boots arrived at the beginning of a particularly intense three months of activity, involving expedition-training weekends, a period of preparation for a substantial overseas project, and a couple of decent expeds. Even as I type these words they are sitting in my foyer, sagging gently with many a mile under their knobbly soles. I know how they feel.</p> <p>It all began by getting a large box from Merrell. I don&rsquo;t care who you are, or how old you happen to be, but the arrival of a large parcel is always exciting. I had to fight my two year old for the honour of opening it, a battle I duly won as I&rsquo;m much, much bigger than she is, and subsequently tore into the box with trembling hands as she sulked in the corner.</p> <p>Boots are important things. Regardless of how intrepid you may feel, if your feet are wet, chafed, blistered and sore you aren&rsquo;t going anywhere. Well, you might go to a few places, but you&rsquo;ll be fairly miserable when you do. To have dry, comfortable feet means you are transported on winged heels. Oh, and the boots need to look good too. Very important when you&rsquo;re in a pub in Kendal having loud conversations involving phrases like &ldquo;Death bivouac&rdquo; and &ldquo;crux move&rdquo;.</p> <p>The boots in the box were well-made and looked pretty dam cool as well, a long way from the &ldquo;stout&rdquo; footwear of yesteryear. But would they stand the test of some proper trekking? Happily I was about to find out.</p> <p>First off was an expedition training weekend. I run these down here in <strong>Dartmouth</strong>, and they&rsquo;re great fun. We work from a base camp in a local woods, and although there isn&rsquo;t much walking involved, we certainly put our footwear through it&rsquo;s paces. This is mainly because it always seems to hammer with rain on these weekends, regardless of the time of year. It&rsquo;s positively uncanny, in fact I&rsquo;ve considered running these events in certain drought-ridden parts of the world just out of a sense of public spirited global relief. True to form it bucketed down, and I duly abseiled, winched, clambered, and off-roaded through the forest with dry feet and happy heart.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s obviously important to break in a pair of boots, and at the end of the weekend they looked suitably well worn, with steam rising gently from them as they sat on my doormat. So far, so good. But now the real test.</p> <p><strong>Guyana</strong> is 80% rainforest, one of the last great wildernesses on the planet, and I was about to head off on a Discovery filming project to explore various untouched regions within this great, green, crackling, emerald world.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/pic 1.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>This would involve some serious trekking, with a touch of climbing thrown in. If the training weekend had been the equivalent of the gentle foothills of the Mendips, then Guyana was going to be K2.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/pic 23.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>One of the snags of rainforest walking is that your feet get not only wet &ndash; inevitably as it&rsquo;s a forest where it rains a lot, the clue is in the name after all &ndash; but they get very hot too. This can be very uncomfortable indeed. There&rsquo;s also all manner of critters trying to get access to my well-turned ankles, some of them capable of spoiling your day in a spectacular manner. Where a good pair of boots is important in England, on a three week project in Guyana they might just be the difference between success and failure.</p> <p>They were nothing short of magnificent, those boots, transporting me through river, up cliff, across savannah, over tepui, and into another world. There&rsquo;s something wonderful about knowing that your feet are happy. Throughout an unbelievably intense expedition &ndash; I lost a stone in weight over the course of the project &ndash; I had very, very happy feet.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/pic 34.jpeg" alt="" /></p> <p>And so we come to the final test, a four day expedition to <strong>Snowdonia</strong> last week. This might not sound like much, but the plan was to trek to the top of various remote peaks and dive ancient glacial pools. This, sadly, required that dive equipment be carried up giant hills. Dive kit, as it turns out, is rather heavy. The team staggered to the top of glowering Welsh mountains, bowed beneath colossal weights, trembling on wobbly pins. But make it we did, and dived ancient lakes mired in legend, looking at cracked glacial boulders deep beneath the waters surface, never before seen by man.</p> <p>And what about the next few months. Well, I&rsquo;m off to the Slate Islands, off the west coast of Scotland, then Cape Wrath, then Vietnam, then the Monach Islands. Then home. And&hellip;</p> <p>Boots, they&rsquo;re made for walking after all.<br />&nbsp;</p> Thu, 08 May 2014 00:59:00 GMT THE NEW MERRELL POP UP STORE <p><br />We are delighted to announce our new POP Up store launches on 68 Neal Street in London's Covent Garden today. We have competitions, expert advice as well as a great selection of Merrell products. <br />If you are in the area head on down postcode is WC2H 9PA.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/Pop up 2.png" alt="" width="575" height="149" /></p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/5/Picture1.png" alt="" width="575" height="461" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 01 May 2014 20:33:00 GMT WIDEHORIZON - ADVENTURER FOR A DAY <p>Last month you may have read our blog Adventure in Unexpected Places, where children&rsquo;s charity Widehorizons revealed stories of how they bring adventure to disadvantaged children who&rsquo;ve never experienced the outdoors before.</p> <p>Widehorizons believe every child should have access to adventure as part of their education and development. They own eight Adventure Centres across England and Wales, each with their own unique character, providing outdoor experiences for children from the age of two up to 18.</p> <p>One of these centres is Widehorizons Environment Centre in South-East London. This nine-acre hidden gem is filled with fairytale woods, peaceful ponds, and lush meadows.</p> <p>Recently, a group of six and seven year old children visited the centre to take part in a session of Forest School. This is a way of encouraging curiosity, exploration and creativity amongst young children in a woodland setting.</p> <p>As Forest School Leader, Zoe Arnold, helped the children to construct secret gardens she noticed that every child was wearing plastic latex gloves! The gloves had been given to the children so that they wouldn&rsquo;t get their hands dirty. Zoe commented; &ldquo;I slyly took the gloves away and encouraged the children to see what it felt like actually putting their hands in the mud. They soon got stuck in and had an amazing time!&rdquo;</p> <p>This is not an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence for Widehorizons. Over 80% of the UK population now live in urban areas. In London alone, 1 in 4 children are trapped by a life in poverty. Many children have never had the chance to go an adventure before.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why, on Saturday 21st June, Widehorizons is running Nightline. This incredible 50km night walk treads some of the most famous trails in South-East London and Kent including the Green Chain Link, London Loop, Darent Valley Path, and North Downs Way.</p> <p>Widehorizons&rsquo; Events Coordinator, Ceri Rhoades, recently did a test run of the first 25km of the Nightline route:</p> <p>&ldquo;It was great to experience some stunning countryside and a really exhilarating walk. I got an amazing sense of achievement after 25km so I think when our Nightliners hit the 50km finish line they&rsquo;ll be bouncing off the walls!&rdquo;</p> <p>Those who take part in Nightline will also have the chance to enjoy the beautiful countryside of another area &ndash; the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Llangollen, North Wales. Anyone who<a href=""> registers for Nightline </a>before Friday 2nd May 2014 will be entered into a prize draw to win a 2-night stay at Widehorizons&rsquo; Lodge for up to 8 people!</p> <p>Click here to register, or for more information call 0845 600 65 67</p> Thu, 01 May 2014 07:17:00 GMT The Top 20 British Walks <p>If you missed our recent Top 20 British Walks with the Telegraph you can still get them online and download really useful PDF&rsquo;s of all 20 which give you all the details you need to get out and explore these amazing routes.</p> <p>Simply visit <a href=";source=SlashURL">;source=SlashURL</a><br />The interactive map will let you easily browse the walks.</p> <p>There are also loads of useful hints and tips to make the most of your walking and until 30.4.14 you can get 20% off Merrell products at Blacks.</p> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:54:00 GMT LIVE SEVEN YEARS LONGER THROUGH REGULAR EXERCISE <p>Doctor Andrew Murray, sports medicine doctor who works for the Scottish Government promoting physical activity says Scotland&rsquo;s life expectancy rates could increase severely if the population became more active. 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or simply walking for 30 minutes five times a week can increase life expectancy by 7.2 years. Not only does regular exercise bring physical benefits with it but also it makes people happier than the ones that are inactive.</p> <p>Read the full article here <a title="The Scotsman" href="">The Scotsman<br /></a></p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 18:08:00 GMT Win the Ultimate Trail Running Experience with Merrell <p>Whether you run on fells, up mountains or through woody trails we are giving you the chance to win a fantastic outdoor experience to indulge the adventurer in you.<br />WIN a weekend in the Brecon Beacons with Merrell Ambassador &amp; Expedition Leader Jake Thompsett!&nbsp; You could win a two day mountain running skills workshop learning navigation, nutrition and training techniques from a pro.&nbsp; <br />We have five places up for offer so head over to <a href=""></a>&nbsp; to enter now, T&amp;C&rsquo;s apply and can be found below.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/4/jake ddd.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>T&amp;C&rsquo;s</p> <p>1.&nbsp;Entry. Enter the Merrell&reg; Trail Running Competition 2014 (the &ldquo;Competition&rdquo;) by visiting and Like and share the relevant postbetween 9:00 17th April 2014 and 17:00 24th April 2014 (the &ldquo;Promotion Period&rdquo;).</p> <p>2.&nbsp;Eligibility. No Purchase Necessary to Enter or Win. Each entrant must be 18 years or older at the time of entry and a legal resident of the United Kingdom mainland (excluding Northern Ireland, the Channel islands and Isle of Man).&nbsp; Employees of the Promoter, its licensed dealers, agents and affiliates, and employees&rsquo; immediate families are ineligible. Immediate family members include relatives living at the same address as an employee.</p> <p>3.&nbsp;ONE (1) ENTRY PER PERSON. Each entrant is only eligible to enter the Competition once.&nbsp; Odds of winning a prize depend on the number of eligible entries received. All entries become the Promoter&rsquo;s property and will not be returned. By participating in the Competition or accepting a prize, entrants and travel guests accept and agree to these terms and conditions.&nbsp; The decisions of the Promoter are final and binding in all matters related to the Competition and no correspondence will be entered in to.</p> <p>4.&nbsp;Prizes. Five main competition prizes are available comprising of one (1) of the specified experience prizes.</p> <p>5.&nbsp;Prize Draw. On or about 26th April 2014, the Promoter will hold a random computerised draw to select one (1) prize winner from among all eligible entries received during the Promotion Period. The potential winner will be notified within three (3) days of the draw by e-mail and/or telephone. The Prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner selected if the potential winner cannot be reached within three (3) days after the draw, or does not meet eligibility criteria, or does not fully comply with these terms and conditions.</p> <p>6.&nbsp;Publicity: Acceptance of the Prize constitutes the winner&rsquo;s consent to the use of their name and/or likeness for advertising and promotional purposes without additional consent.&nbsp; The winner may withdraw consent to such use by contacting the Promoter in writing at Merrell&reg;, a division of Wolverine Europe Limited, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.</p> <p>7.&nbsp;Liability:&nbsp; Subject to paragraph 8 the Promoter is not responsible for and shall not be liable for: (a) illegible, incomplete, damaged, misdirected, stolen, late, or lost entries; (b) errors or delays in entering; (c) any condition caused by events beyond the control of the Promoter which may cause the Competition to be disrupted or corrupted; and (d) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by the Prize or resulting from acceptance or use of the Prize, or from participation in the Competition. No responsibility is accepted by the Promoter for any network, computer/phone hardware or software failure of any kind, virus, or any malfunction of the Competition website or any data transmissions preventing or limiting participation in the Competition. Each entrant is responsible for taking appropriate measures to protect his/her data and/or software stored on his/her computer, mobile device and/or telephone equipment. Any entrant attempting to defraud or in any way tamper with the Competition, including but not limited to using automated processes for entry, will be ineligible. If for any reason the Competition is not capable of running as originally planned, the Promoter at its sole discretion reserves the right to modify or cancel the Competition.</p> <p>8.&nbsp;Nothing in these terms and conditions limits or excludes the Promoter&rsquo;s liability for (i) any personal injury or death resulting directly from the Promoter&rsquo;s negligence and/or (ii) the Promoter&rsquo;s fraud.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>9.&nbsp;Winner. The name and county of the Prize winner may be requested by sending the Promoter a self addressed, stamped envelope, attn: Merrell&reg; Trail Running Competition 2014, by 31st May 2014.</p> <p>10.&nbsp;Privacy Policy. By participating in the Competition, entrants accept and agree to the Promoter&rsquo;s privacy policy, located at <a href=""></a> (&ldquo;Privacy Policy&rdquo;).&nbsp; The Promoter will use and share your information in accordance with its Privacy Policy.&nbsp;</p> <p>11.&nbsp;Governing Law:&nbsp; This Competition is subject to English law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts</p> <p>12.&nbsp;Promoter: The Promoter of the Competition is Merrell&reg;, a division of Wolverine Europe Limited, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG (&ldquo;Promoter&rdquo;).</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:41:00 GMT FAITH'S 14 WEEKS MARATHON TRAINING PLAN <p>I see it every day, over worked legs pounding the road or the trails, fighting for energy, worn out from too many miles. The injuries that come a few weeks before race day, the aches and pains and grimacing looks of runners who have lost their love for the outdoors because they&rsquo;ve racked up a few too many miles this week; we&rsquo;ve seen you all before. Surely there has to be another way?</p> <p>You want to run a marathon, you don&rsquo;t really have that much time and you would quite like to do one this summer but time for training seems to be ebbing away at an alarming pace. It&rsquo;s already April and the marathon season is well under way. What are your options?</p> <p><br />I don&rsquo;t like heavy mileage. In order to achieve my goals without the monotony and pain of spending endless hours on the trails, I&rsquo;ve put all my energy and a lot of time into looking for alternative training methods and trying to adjust my plan to suit my body and keep my lazy mind interested and active.</p> <p><br />*NB: I know 3 months doesn&rsquo;t seem like a very long time to train your body into completing 26 miles, but <strong>if you&rsquo;re already a regular distance runner</strong> and you have completed a few marathons, or at least half marathons, then this programme will allow you to step it up a level without taking on too many extra hours of training.</p> <p><br />**<strong>If you&rsquo;re relatively new to running</strong>, start with building up your base running fitness. Start with footwear &ndash; get a properly fitted pair of running shoes (or two, because you can never have enough), then start by building up over a 2 month period, running 4 times a week, until you&rsquo;re running 13 miles comfortably.&nbsp; Only then should you attempt this training programme.</p> <p><br />Here&rsquo;s the secret weapon in my 12 week (technically 13 week) marathon success plan: <strong><span style="font-size: x-large;">you only have to run 3 times a week. But&hellip;</span></strong> That doesn&rsquo;t mean you&rsquo;re allowed to slack off the rest of the time. You&rsquo;re going to have to get in the gym, take up a few extra classes and try something new. I promise you&rsquo;ll thank me for this later. Here&rsquo;s the trick: You&rsquo;re going to run 3 times each week; one long run, one tempo run, and one speed work run. You&rsquo;re going to keep the tempo runs and speed work varied for maximum benefit, and then you&rsquo;re going to add some cross-training to your schedule to mix things up a little.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/4/IMG_2965-9-18.jpg" alt="" width="279" height="362" /></p> <p><br />Doing 2 to 3 cross-training sessions a week is an effective way to keep fit, train more and still maintain a healthy balance within your body that will allow you to go out and run hard when you need to. You get the chance to strengthen the legs, prevent injury, give your body time to rest and keep your cardiovascular system working to improve overall fitness beyond what you might achieve on a laborious running schedule. I would also strongly advise runners to take up Yoga, Pilates, swimming and any other low-impact exercise they can to lengthen and strengthen the musculature; these can be done on the same days as runs or cross training.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/4/IMG_2920-27-58.jpg" alt="" width="289" height="452" /></p> <p><br />A lot of this is taken from the FIRST training programme (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) and their book published by Runners World &ndash; RW RUN LESS RUN FASTER. Although they tend to aim at a 16 week programme, I keep mine between 12 and 14 weeks. This booked changed the way I train, maximising my running capacity and giving me much needed time to focus on my swimming, cycling, yoga, cross-fit and strength training, as well as fit my work in. Gone are the days of me being continually injured and constantly strained for time trying to fit it all in. I&rsquo;ve also applied these theories to my cycling and swimming programmes and found the results to be pretty similar (and therefore excellent).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/4/14 weeks schedule.jpg" alt="" width="403" height="299" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/4/session guide.jpg" alt="" width="401" height="108" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/4/speed index.jpg" alt="" width="397" height="110" /></p> <p>A few more words of advice to all you runners out there:</p> <p><br />1.&nbsp;LIFT SOME WEIGHTS!! Get in the gym and start strength training; you won&rsquo;t get big and heavy, you&rsquo;ll definitely increase your running strength AND speed, and you will almost certainly prevent running injuries by strengthening the right muscles. Get the right help and advice, don&rsquo;t go in all &lsquo;gung-ho&rsquo; about this stuff, do it right or not at all.</p> <p>2.&nbsp;EAT RIGHT: that DOES NOT mean you should be carb loading. Gone are the days of processed foods and refined carbs; start building a healthy base of whole food, high protein meals with plenty of vegetables. Avoid the usual pasta/rice/carb loading debates and stick to natural nutrition. You can and should be getting your carbs from vegetable sources, along with lots of healthy fats (avocado, nuts, coconut and olive oils, eggs, fish, butter, yogurt, cheese) and protein (eggs, meat, poultry and fish). Cut down on the booze and sugar as well!</p> <p>3.&nbsp;SLEEEEEP: This is essential to your training and recovery; if you want to run your best, minimise the late nights and get in as much sleep early in the evening as possible. The more hours sleep you get in before midnight the more fully rested you will be to tackle the day ahead. Sleep a decent 8 hours (or more if you need it) and at the very least, make it 6.</p> <p>Please note every individual is different and this is only a guide and by no means definite</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:17:00 GMT Outdoor Fitness Magazine's Editor Jonathan Manning about his experience of last year's Man vs Mountain event <p>Fall off your bike or tumble from a horse and the advice is universal &ndash; get back in the saddle straightaway. The longer you leave it the harder it becomes to face up to your fears. Well I&rsquo;ve managed to leave it six months since my bruising encounter with Mount Snowdon before confronting my demons.</p> <p>The last time I visited I couldn&rsquo;t wait to get away. Everything hurt from the soles of my feet to my calves, thighs, hamstrings, lower back and even the palms of my hands after a careless trip. Man vs Mountain had broken me. I&rsquo;d underestimated how hard a mountainous challenge can be, and the peak in question had bared its teeth.</p> <p>I&rsquo;d anticipated the difficulty of running from sea level to the summit. There&rsquo;s no easy way to run a height gain of more than 1,000 metres. What I hadn&rsquo;t expected was how bitterly cold the top of Snowdon would be in September &ndash; within a minute my hamstrings had frozen, my fingers were too cold and numb to force into gloves, and my energy levels plummeted. Caught up in the excitement of the challenge I&rsquo;d failed to follow basic commonsense, and paid the price with a painful, stiff-legged descent from the summit.</p> <p>So half a year later I&rsquo;m suffering a dose of weekend warrior&rsquo;s post-traumatic stress as I glance up at Snowdon&rsquo;s peak to see snow, ice and menacing clouds. The mountain weather service warns that above 750 metres the paths are frozen and passable only with ice axes and crampons. It&rsquo;s a timely reminder that this is a proper mountain. It&rsquo;s also a caution - I&rsquo;m wearing running kit!</p> <p>The consolation is that this is a photo shoot to preview 2014&rsquo;s Man vs Mountain race, and I can wrap up warmly as I put three Merrell ambassadors through their paces for the cameraman.</p> <p>The three runners strip off their insulating layers and transform from Michelin Men to racing snakes, then fly up and down hill, using the snapper&rsquo;s instructions as an opportunity for an impromptu interval training session. Sean McFarlane, Jake Thompsett and Lowri Morgan just seem to float over the landscape, perfectly balanced, light footed, enviably swift. They&rsquo;re confident, sure-footed and always seem to be accelerating, even in the savagely steep slate quarry that hosts the event&rsquo;s infamous Vertical Kilometre.</p> <p>I watch and learn&hellip; where they place their feet, the line of their sight, the length of their strides. And I make a silent promise &ndash; this year I&rsquo;ll prepare better, train harder, and make wiser decisions during the event. I&rsquo;m not going to fall off the saddle again.</p> <p>This year&rsquo;s Outdoor Fitness Man vs Mountain, powered by Merrell, takes place on 6th September. For more details, see <a href=""></a></p> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 18:39:00 GMT HOW TO STAY SAFE IN THE MOUNTAINS <p><span style="font-size: small;">Katie Roby is an experienced ultra trail runner and volunteer for the Mountain Rescue Team in the Brecon Beacons. Here her top 5 tips to stay safe in the mountains:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">1) Dress appropriately - think about the weather conditions</span></p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p><br /><span style="font-size: small;">2) Pack the right kit - map, compass, survival bag, whistle, phone, food and water<br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><a href=""><span style="font-size: xx-small;"></span></a></span> <p><span style="font-size: small;">3) Plan your route - think about escape routes should you run into trouble<br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><a href=""><span style="font-size: xx-small;"></span></a></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">4) Check weather forecast<br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;">5) Let someone know where you are going and when you are expecting to get back</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><a href=""></a></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 04:57:00 GMT Mountain Rescue Team <p><span style="font-size: small;">Katie Roby talks about what it's like to work for the Mountain Rescue Team</span></p> <p>I suspect that most of you reading this will be hoping for dramatic tales of epic rescues from treacherous mountain tops.&nbsp; Hold that thought .......<br />&nbsp;<br />I didn't really know much about Mountain Rescue before I joined.&nbsp; I had seen a few clips on the news, particularly after the search for April Jones in Machynlleth.&nbsp; I had visions of rescuers in red racing up hillsides with their stretchers, doing CPR before being whisked away in a helicopter.&nbsp; It has been an eye opener to learn a bit more about what the team are actually asked to get involved in.&nbsp; As well as providing a search and rescue service for climbers, hill walkers and river users, the team is also used to search for vulnerable or missing persons within the community.&nbsp; More often than not, these searches last for hours, sometimes days, are at unsociable times of the day/night and involve lots of trudging in miserable conditions - a far cry from my vision of rescuers in red!<br />&nbsp;<br />I joined Brecon Mountain Rescue Team 15 months ago.&nbsp; I have completed the trainee program and am (hopefully!) nearing the end of my probationary period at which point I will become a full team member.&nbsp; I have been given a pager and attend call outs with the team who provide guidance and supervision where needed.&nbsp; There are about 50 of us; all are volunteers.&nbsp; We train one evening a week and one Sunday a month as well as providing cover for local events and participating in fundraising events. <br />&nbsp;<br />So what are the good bits? Most of the time there is a happy ending; injured people get rescued and the lost get found.&nbsp; Without sounding too clich&eacute;, there is a great sense of satisfaction in knowing you have been involved in that process.&nbsp; I've learnt a lot and expect to continue learning, from both a technical and medical point of view.&nbsp; It's quite exciting travelling in blue lights.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s got me out onto the hill on days I probably wouldn't have ventured out otherwise.&nbsp; The team are lovely too.<br />&nbsp;<br />And the bad?&nbsp; Often the pager goes off just as you are tucking into your Sunday dinner, or you end up getting back home in the early hours of the morning.&nbsp; Invariably the weather conditions are horrendous and you end up with wet underwear.&nbsp; There are times when the ending isn't so good and this is sad. <br />&nbsp;<br />From a personal point of view, my time with Mountain Rescue has considerably changed my approach to training and racing.&nbsp; As runners (I am about to make some sweeping generalisations) we like to think we are invincible, and for most of the time, as we are trotting along the Beacons Way, we are.&nbsp; We're efficient at keeping our body temperature at the right level, our lungs work well and our hearts are healthy.&nbsp; The problem is that as soon as we stop, whether that be due to an injury or getting lost or helping someone else out, we run into trouble.&nbsp; We are pretty stingy when it comes to carrying extra weight.&nbsp; Most of us are 10 stone soaking wet, so carrying an extra 500g for a jacket, or a spare hat, is significant, particularly over 20 miles.&nbsp; We run light, after all we're keeping warm by running, and it&rsquo;s not that far back down to the car anyway.&nbsp; We often run solo, who else is silly enough to join us for a 20 mile training run on a Sunday morning?&nbsp; We know the route well so no need for a map or compass .....<br />&nbsp;<br />Well, that used to be my approach anyway.&nbsp; I'm now much more aware of how easy it is to get caught out and have seen how quickly people, even if they are fit and healthy, can deteriorate.&nbsp; I now carry a small pack or bum bag which contains a phone, map, compass, hat, survival bag, an emergency bar/gel and waterproof.&nbsp; It actually doesn't weigh that much and I'd far rather carry a few extra grams and be able to sort myself out if I get into difficulty.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp;<br />So unfortunately no tales of heroic rescues but have a look at the links below for more information on some searches we were recently involved in.&nbsp; Mountain Rescue provides a brilliant service to those using the mountains, with team members committing a huge amount of time and energy for training and call outs.&nbsp; For a "bunch of volunteers" the team are extremely professional and work hard to provide a very high standard of care.&nbsp;</p> <p>About&nbsp;the Mountain Rescue Team <a href=""></a></p> <p>MRT facebook page <a href=""></a></p> <p>50 rescuers' nine-hour student hunt in Cambrian mountains <a href=""></a></p> <p>Boat found in river search for kayaker in Llangynidr, Powys <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 07:01:00 GMT Yoga for Runners <p>Faith Shorney about the benefits of yoga for other sports</p> <p>All this bending and stretching stuff seems to have become quite the popular fitness crazy in recent years and the dynamic and varied forms of yoga are only growing and spreading further. Being an adventure athlete and outdoor enthusiast, I didn&rsquo;t warm to yoga immediately, despite my father being a teacher. I started out in the hot, sweaty confines of a Bikram yoga studio, breathing fire and over-stretching in the insane heat, pushing my body to extremes and eventually injuring myself (damn, that competitive nature). I slowly moved to gentler forms of yoga and found my 'middle way', something that reeled my ego back in and allowed me to relax a little &ndash; all of sudden I found myself running further and harder with less effort, my legs recovered faster and the pain of hill sprints and speed work slowly ebbed away into a gentle stiffness.</p> <p><br />That&rsquo;s when I came to the astonishing realisation that yoga doesn&rsquo;t just help me stretch and recover, it actually strengthens the body and improves cardiovascular fitness without putting any pressure on the heart from over exertion. Finally I&rsquo;d found the yin to my running yang, the downward dog to my uphill struggles and the fresh breath of calm that seemed to ease me through the most demanding parts of every run, and I haven&rsquo;t looked back since. It&rsquo;s been 3 years, I&rsquo;ve had my fair share of injuries and oftentimes fallen out of love with running and with my yoga practice, but it seems that the two go hand in hand and when I find myself out of balance, it&rsquo;s always because something is missing.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/Yoga 1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />You&rsquo;ve gathered by now that I am an advocate of yoga for runners. Let me also just bring to your attention the incredible benefits yoga has for all sports, and for all people, regardless of age or ability. It is a physical practice that strengthens and realigns the body, it is a mental practice which incorporates breath work and meditation; it is a balancing act. It brings the mind and body together to work in harmony to achieve balance and strength both inside and out. Most people don&rsquo;t know how to balance, how to breathe, how to focus their attention or how to move in a functional way; our bodies and minds have become rigid from sitting at desks all day and living lives that take us away from our natural ways of being. What yoga does is bring the outside world into our focus, it brings everything together so that we can enjoy it fully and experience it physically.</p> <p><br />So, whenever you can, get outside and play in nature. When you can&rsquo;t do that, go inside and find some space in your body and your mind. In fact, if you can, take a yoga mat and go outside and inside all at the same time &ndash; you never know what amazing stuff you might find. Enjoy your body, move it because you can, take care of it, let it be free and functional. Find the space you need to clear your head, find the strength you need to run harder, learn to breathe into the difficult situations and make your journey through life a little more balanced. <br />&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 05:21:00 GMT Might Contain Nuts <p>Might Contain Nuts is the event organiser of the Welsh Ultra Running Series. Katie Roby, Merrell Pack Leader and winner of the Female Open Series 2013, took part in the first round this year last weekend and again, came first lady!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/cccc.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />So, what exactly is the Welsh Ultra Running Series and how do you take part?</p> <p>The series consists of 4 events, all taking place in the Brecon Beacons National Park, each time exploring different areas and some of the best trails of the park.</p> <p>You can usually enter for three different levels like for example</p> <p>ULTRA - 40 MILES / 2,800M ASCENT, <br />MARATHON - 26 MILES / 1,600M ASCENT, <br />TRAIL - 10 MILES / 700M ASCENT</p> <p>The entry limit is 200 people, you can sign up right just before the event and it is between &pound;15 &ndash; &pound;50.</p> <p>People at all levels can take part. You should however prepare and familiarise yourself&nbsp;with running ascending and descending techniques to prevent injury.&nbsp;Stay focused&nbsp;and take the right kit with you.</p> <p>Find compulsory kit list for the Welsh Ultra Running series here <a href=""></a></p> <p>Find typical route map here&nbsp;<br /><a href=""></a></p> <p>Fore race and marathon prep tips from Katie click here <br /><a href=""></a></p> <p>For more info on the MCN Ultra Series go to<br /><a href=""></a></p> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 02:13:00 GMT STUNNING LOCH KATRINE <p>The third 1st place of the year. Doc Andrew Murray wins the Loch Katrine Run <a href=""></a></p> <p>Read full article here <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 13:00:00 GMT The Land of Fire and Ice - Travelling in Iceland <p><span style="font-size: small;">Jake Thompsett about his favourite place to travel</span></p> <p>Iceland, the land of fire and ice, a place where volcanoes meet glaciers and summer is the same as winter, just with less snow! With next to no darkness during the summer, and almost no light during the winter it&rsquo;s a little different to the rest of the world and it just happens to be my favorite place to travel to at the moment!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2014/3/Iceland 22small.jpg" alt="" width="352" height="507" /></p> <p>As you land into Keflavik airport and begin the walk to baggage collection, the walls are lined with images of ice climbers, mountaineers and dog sled racers. I remember the first time I saw those images in Keflavik airport and thinking to myself &ldquo;this is my kind of place!&rdquo; The towns are full of people wearing big down jackets and fur lined parkas as they get into their all-terrain equipped 4x4&rsquo;s and trucks. Everything just screams the mountains and outdoors and it&rsquo;s a brilliant environment to be in and on top of that the fish and chips are incredible!</p> <p>Heading away from the towns and towards the Pingvellier National Park you&rsquo;re surrounded by huge open plains where distant mountains pop out of the ground, the roads are straight and travel as far as you can see, You really are surrounded by vastness.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2014/3/Iceland 28small.jpg" alt="" width="527" height="272" /></p> <p>I spent plenty of hours sat in Geography lessons at school hearing about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, but never had I appreciated how incredible it really is, and also that you didn&rsquo;t have to dive deep in the Atlantic Ocean to see it! In the Pingvellier National Park you can stand right next to it and the water is as clear as it could possibly be. Regular tours take people diving and snorkeling, but I wasn&rsquo;t there for the diving, I was here for the mountains!</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/Iceland 40small.jpg" alt="" width="532" height="300" /></p> <p>The journey into the Porsmork National Park is pretty surreal, driving up a glacial outwash plane, crossing braided rivers in rugged buses and looking up at the famous Eyjafjallaj&ouml;kull volcano that caused the cancellation of all the commercial flights during 2010. As you get off the bus at the campsite and take a panoramic sweep around you, there&rsquo;s so much to take in; huge glaciers carving their way down into the valleys, lime green terrain and thick coniferous forests, braided glacial rivers running along the outwash valley like the capillaries in your arm and then the odd public bus driving in and out of the valley and crossing rivers as easily as we cross a bridge in the UK! Iceland during the summer definitely isn&rsquo;t a place for the light sleeper, with nearly 24 hours daylight it&rsquo;s a pretty weird feeling lying in your tent in bright daylight as if you were trying to get to sleep at 6am</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/Iceland 23small.jpg" alt="" width="526" height="327" /></p> <p>The thing that I love most about Iceland is that the mountain walking never gets boring, the trails are so varied, there&rsquo;s always new terrain to walk over, or different views to look at as you&rsquo;re slogging your way uphill. The walk up to Brattafon Peak is one of the most exciting within the area around the campsite, with its narrow ridges and steep scrambles, it&rsquo;s no easy feat, but when you reach the high volcanic landscape you have views of the huge glacier and the famous Eyjafjallaj&ouml;kull volcano and it&rsquo;s totally worth it. As we descended, Iceland really bared it&rsquo;s teeth and showed us that it&rsquo;s not all sunshine and great views, we could physically see the weather front chasing us down the trail and when it hit, it was time to &lsquo;batten down the hatches&rsquo;! When we got back to the campsite we all retreated to one of the many small huts, ditched our wet kit and got a brew on, awesome!</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/Iceland 3small.jpg" alt="" width="533" height="337" /></p> <p>So why do I love Iceland? It&rsquo;s rugged, mountainous, gnarly and everything screams &ldquo;get outdoors&rdquo;, adventure is therapy in Iceland, and to me that&rsquo;s what life is about!<br />I&rsquo;m lucky enough to be heading to Iceland twice this year to race in a two day mountain marathon in May, and take a group along the famous Laugavegur trail in the summer, but there&rsquo;ll be more on that later in the year!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 23:16:00 GMT Faith Shorney - Discovering the World From the Outside <p>Faith about her plans for this summer</p> <p>So, summer is on its way (in Europe at least), and we&rsquo;re all thinking about the holidays, the escapism and the sunshine. Although I am currently sitting on a beach in Thailand, I have also been thinking a lot about the European summer and what I am going to do during this magical time. One thing I know for certain is that a lot of it will be spent outside.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/IMG_0049Internet size.jpg" alt="" width="528" height="314" /></p> <p><br />Being outside gives us the space we need from the rest of life, away from the distractions of technology and the stress of work. We get to spend time alone, or with people we love. We have the opportunity to connect with nature, breathe un-polluted air, bask in the summer sunshine and enjoy some quality time doing something really good for our minds and bodies. So, make a plan for your next holiday, or maybe set a goal to work towards then will encourage you to get outside.</p> <p>A lot of people will be prepping for the coming race season; if you&rsquo;re a runner, triathlete, cyclist or climber, you know what I mean. I am currently preparing my mind (not so much my body)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/IMG_0087Internet size.jpg" alt="" width="493" height="286" /></p> <p>for a London to Paris cycle, followed by the Paris marathon, and finishing off with a cycle home to London. The trip is my first adventure of the season, it&rsquo;s sort of just for fun, and to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, a children&rsquo;s charity I am incredibly passionate about, and I am really looking forward getting outside and doing something fun for a good cause. <br />After that there are bigger adventures planned further afield, and hopefully quite a few good mountain races in the pipeline. I am looking forward to travelling more, getting outside more and exploring this beautiful planet. <br />My advice herein is this; whatever you do this summer, try to make sure you spend a good portion of your time outside. Get active, it&rsquo;s an amazing way to make new friends, see new places, have fun and discover more about yourself and the world around you. Try something new! I recently started climbing and I love it, and am looking forward to doing a lot more of it this summer. I am planning great escapes and mini-adventures with friends, and looking for more adventures and places to explore. <br />Most importantly, have fun! Playing is the one thing we seem to have forgotten how to do. We don&rsquo;t need to compete in races or be particularly good at anything to be active. Play is essential to our emotional and physical development, it keeps our curiosity alive and helps us grow and learn. As the French would say, &ldquo;Jouez!&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/IMG_0117internet size.jpg" alt="" width="547" height="283" /></p> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 23:17:00 GMT Sean McFarlane - Preparing for City to Summit <p>After deciding to take another crack at one of Britain's hardest triathlons, age-grouper Sean McFarlane relives last year's race in the hope he'll avoid making the same mistakes again</p> <p>Read full article here</p> <p><a href="">220Triathlon</a></p> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 02:04:00 GMT Andrew Murray wins Coastal Trail Series Northumberland Ultra <p><br />The decision on whether to race or not when carrying injuries is always a tough one. For me it usually comes down to factors that include</p> <p>1)&nbsp;Is the race somewhere beautiful?<br />2)&nbsp;Is the race important?<br />3)&nbsp;Am I going to make the injury worse by running and<br />4)&nbsp;How sore will it be?</p> <p>Endurance Life put on an excellent series of races, deliberately stationed in areas of natural beauty. Living in Edinburgh, I do like a good castle, and the Northumberland coastal trail has castles in spades.&nbsp; I have not spent much time exploring this coast before, and on foot, during a race seemed an ideal way to do so.&nbsp; The knocks I was carrying were more annoyances rather than significant injuries. I&rsquo;d been elbowed in the ribs and had my foot stood on playing football in midweek (that is what I get for having a clumsy touch!).&nbsp;</p> <p>The ribs grumbled taking a deep breath and when running quickly, whilst my foot has some interesting looking bruises. <br />These annoyances were blown out of the water by the prospect of a decent outing on a baby blue weather day. The van was fully frosted over, and the stars out by the time I got to sleep. Having come directly from working at the Edinburgh vs Ospreys rugby game I wasn&rsquo;t sure I&rsquo;d packed a pair of trainers- leaving office shoes or rugby boots as alternatives. I have run a few hills before in a pair of office shoes and did not fancy a repeat.</p> <p>Fortunately when I woke out the Merrell&rsquo;s were there, and I jumped on the bus to the start line. The route itself was a linear and varied one. The birds sang and my mood splendid at the start.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/CTS Northumberland (3).JPG" alt="" width="375" height="248" /></p> <p>After only a couple miles my race was nearly over. Having already been outwitted by one gate, I tried to jump one, and succeeded only in giving myself a fence in the baby making department.</p> <p>&nbsp; <br />With one thing and another- running quickly was catching my ribs a bit I ran a pretty conservative race. The course was a superb mixture of coastal trail, sandy beach, dunes, along with some mud (where would we be without mud in March) and road.&nbsp; It was great to see great fields for not only the ultra, but also for the marathon, half marathon and 10km- many people I spoke to said it was their first.&nbsp; I was a little caught up in the scenery, getting a little lost a couple times although this was entirely my own fault- the routes were well marked.&nbsp; I ran steadily, taking a gel every 30 minutes, and aiming for make sure I finished in 4 hrs 40 minutes as my good friends Mike and Jess McKenzie were getting married nearby- this would give me the time to scrub up.</p> <p>Banburgh Castle imposes itself for many miles. Spectators can see the finishers approaching many miles off, and the encouragement was welcome. I finished in 4 hours 32 minutes, finishing first in the Ultra and well in time for the wedding.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/3/CTS Northumberland (1).JPG" alt="" width="287" height="402" /></p> <p><br />Endurance Life put on a fantastic series of events, I can recommend trying one of them for yourself.&nbsp; Find out more here</p> <p><a href=";location=263">;location=263</a></p> <p>I used Merrell&rsquo;s new kit for the season, the All Out Rush trainer (review can be found on <a href="">runblogger</a>.) and Science in Sport nutrition.<br />Good luck to everyone running races soon- next one for me is the Glasgow to Edinburgh double marathon at the start of April.</p> <p>Andrew</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 07:39:00 GMT Youth vs Experience <p>Sean McFarlane about the optimum age for best performance in long distance multisport racing</p> <p>I&rsquo;m asked a lot of questions with a central theme - when are you going to stop all this? Aren&rsquo;t you getting a bit old for this? Are you still improving? They&rsquo;re all linked to that old issue of youth versus experience. So what&rsquo;s the optimum age for performance in long distance multisport racing? The guys who pipped me to the inaugural Celtman and City to Summit titles were 43 and 49 respectively. There&rsquo;s no doubting the effects of ageing but experience really does make a massive difference. So after plenty of debates over the years on this here are my musings.</p> <p><br /><strong>1. Don&rsquo;t underestimate the huge benefits of experience<br /></strong>Experience in life counts for so much and endurance racing is no different. You&rsquo;re unlikely to forget your first ironman and despite how much you abuse it your body won&rsquo;t either. Having previous similar experiences under your belt is invaluable. Knowing you&rsquo;ve done it once, however slowly, works wonders second time round and dark places tend to become a bit lighter once you&rsquo;ve visited them.<br />Another very important aspect of experience is being able to get every last ounce out of your body. I see plenty of people running the last couple of kilometres with a big smile and at a decent pace only to cross the line half way down the field. I&rsquo;ve been there several times. It might look good to others but the ability to &ldquo;leave nothing in the tank&rdquo; is crucial to maximising your performance and for me only comes through experience.</p> <p><strong>2. Don&rsquo;t forget what you can&rsquo;t do with age<br /></strong>Performance wise, I don&rsquo;t feel my age inhibits me, for now at least, but I am very aware of its effects in my training and wider life. Perhaps the most obvious aspect here is my relative inability to do different training or even fairly mundane activities without at least some degree of soreness. Biking and running are fine and even a bit of swimming, but that&rsquo;s because that&rsquo;s mainly all I&rsquo;ve done, for years. But add anything else into the mix and I need to be careful. I spent 20 minutes practicing my kayak rolling last week and the next day felt like I&rsquo;d been hit by a bus (not that I ever have been so I confess I don&rsquo;t know what that feels like but I was sore!).&nbsp; Last year I turned down a game of golf for fear of injury! First planned game in two years so I think I was justifiably cautious.</p> <p><strong>3. Don&rsquo;t expect to do well in the younger man&rsquo;s races</strong><br />In general for me, as I get older, my short course abilities drop off. A recent foray into track speed sessions might help stem the decline, but expecting to beat people half your age in short fast races is, for me, a non starter. That&rsquo;s why we have age grouping.</p> <p><strong>4. Remember when you started all this</strong><br />In my experience, the point in time at which you start long distance training in your life does affect your peak. I started in 2005 when I was 32 so am confident that I&rsquo;ve got at least a few years ahead of me of good performance. I have other training partners who started much earlier and are clearly dropping off at my age. The truth for me is that I may have had a higher peak in say my mid thirties if I&rsquo;d started at 20 but I didn&rsquo;t so can look forward to more competitive racing in future. Happy days!</p> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 22:53:00 GMT Doc Andrew Murray - Born to Run <p>6 top tips to motivate yourself for outside training</p> <p>The first few steps outside the front door are always the hardest- especially when the weather is terrible or I feel that there is too much else to do but I hardly ever regret it once I&rsquo;m out there.<br />I&rsquo;ve heard a few great tips for getting active and getting outside in 2014- here are a few of my favourites</p> <p><br />&bull;&nbsp;If you&rsquo;re busy, try making walking, cycling or running part of your commute<br />&bull;&nbsp;It&rsquo;s often more fun as part of a group- join a club, there are even online clubs like <a href=""></a> that are great for sharing ideas and getting tips<br />&bull;&nbsp;Or encourage friends to join you<br />&bull;&nbsp;Check out and plan for the weather<br />&bull;&nbsp;Take a camera- there&rsquo;s almost always something worth catching<br />&bull;&nbsp;Build it into your routine- if you&rsquo;ve planned it, you&rsquo;re more likely to do it</p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 03:04:00 GMT Man vs. Mountain <p><strong><em></em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>Beautiful yet brutal. </em></strong><strong><em>Spectacular and savage</em></strong></p> <p>The iconic Man vs Mountain is the ultimate test of your fitness and endurance. This lung-busting, muscle-burning event will push you to your limits as you run from sea level at Caernarfon Castle to the summit of Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a mesmerising trail to the top, and seriously challenging as the gradient rises for mile after rocky mile. And there&rsquo;s no rest when you reach the peak, because you&rsquo;re only half way through this epic day.</p> <p>Your long descent to Llanberis is merely a prelude to a further series of energy-sapping challenges that begins with the Merrell &lsquo;All Out&rsquo; Vertical Kilometre, a timed race up a gruelling incline against the striking background of a colossal slate quarry.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/up the hill.jpg" alt="" width="351" height="200" /></p> <p>Then you&rsquo;ve barely time to catch your breath before you&rsquo;ll abseil down a sheer cliff face and summon your final reserves of energy to run down the hillside to a series of deep water lakes where you&rsquo;ll dive in from high platforms and clamber over a giant, inflatable island.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/water.jpg" alt="" width="334" height="183" /></p> <p>Finally, with the end tantalizingly in sight, you still have to wade and swim across a river and climb over tricky obstacles before you can hang round your neck the most coveted finisher&rsquo;s medal in outdoors events, and bask in the glory of having completed the toughest outdoor event in Britain.</p> <p><strong>You&rsquo;ll have run more than 20 miles, climbed a mountain, contended with rugged, rocky terrain, sprinted uphill and jumped into inky black water. It&rsquo;s time for a beer.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;In 2013 more than 400 runners braved this mountain challenge, covering more than 20 miles, and surviving a ruthless assault on their senses and stamina. Join their ranks in 2014 and take on the legendary Man vs Mountain.</p> <p>&nbsp;For more information see <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 21:01:00 GMT Born to Run <p>Doctor Andrew Murray about the benefits of doing regular exercise</p> <p><br />The UK has been inhabited for about 15,000 years. We have always done plenty of exercise, initially as hunter gatherers looking to catch food or avoid being eaten then more latterly working in jobs that involved moving and being active. The second part of the 20th Century&nbsp; changed all this, and now over 50% of jobs are desk jobs.&nbsp; The problem is that we were made to move- the human body has evolved in such a way that regular exercise is a key part of staying well, and when this doesn&rsquo;t happen, there are implications for our physical and mental health.</p> <p><br />When I decided to run over 34 miles per day, from John O&rsquo;Groats to the Sahara desert (4300km), it was partly to test the hypothesis I&rsquo;d read in Chris McDougall&rsquo;s book &ldquo;Born to Run&rdquo; that we have evolved perfectly as persistence hunters- being amongst the best performers in the animal kingdom at running&nbsp; long distances without overheating or breaking down. It proved that an average Joe like myself could do that sort of thing.</p> <p><br />During this trip I spent a lot of time running, but also had the chance to read quite a bit- and was fascinated by the research showing the huge benefit you get from regular exercise. I must admit prior to reading, I just knew I enjoyed getting outside, seeing new things, and getting the happy hormones going. This 9 minute cartoon film &ldquo;23 &frac12; hours&rdquo; has 9 million hits worldwide and counting and explains the benefits of regular physical activity, and challenges the viewer to limit &ldquo;your slouching, sleeping and sitting to 23 and a half hours per day&rdquo;.</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p>Simply put, getting any form of regular exercise is the single best thing you can do for your health.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/Health and Happiness.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Studies show that it makes us happier and more relaxed, whilst also helping us perform better at school or work. Professor Steve Blair even showed that low fitness kills more people than &ldquo;smokadiabesity&rdquo;- the combination of smoking, type2 diabetes, and obesity, while our top doctor Sir Harry Burns says &ldquo;lack of exercise may be as dangerous as smoking&rdquo;.</p> <p>But it&rsquo;s more about what we&rsquo;ve got to gain. Who wouldn&rsquo;t want to be happier, healthier, and more productive. Who wouldn&rsquo;t want to live an average of 7.2 years longer than your average couch potato.&nbsp; Personally I like the outdoor gym the most- whether it&rsquo;s biking, running or pretty much anything else the fresh air offers me time out, and there is always something new to see.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 06:02:00 GMT Widehorizons: Adventure in Unexpected Places <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/Widehorizons Blue logo2.png" alt="" /></p> <p>Recently, you may have read our Journey of Adventure blog, which showed how the charity, Widehorizons, provides adventure for all children as part of their education and development.</p> <p>As that blog was posted, Widehorizons&rsquo; Events Coordinator, Ceri Rhoades, found herself in the midst of the London tube strikes, and they actually proved to be more of an adventure than she thought:</p> <p><em>&ldquo;After the initial chaos of not being able to squeeze onto a bus, I eventually decided the quickest way of getting to Victoria would be to walk, and it turned out to be quite exciting! I passed several international embassies, was a stone&rsquo;s throw from the V&amp;A, Natural History, and Science museums, and even &ldquo;celeb-spotted&rdquo; the actress Gemma Arterton as she rode past me on her bike. Even in the obscurest of circumstances, I experienced an unexpected adventure right on my doorstep!&rdquo;</em></p> <p>Widehorizons currently provides Outreach to local schools, where one of their team visits a class and takes them on an adventure within their own neighbourhood. With over 80% of people now living in urban areas, and many children lacking the means or opportunities to get out to the countryside, Widehorizons&rsquo; uses even the smallest of green spaces to give children an unexpected adventure.</p> <p>Last week, Widehorizons&rsquo; tutor, Gemma Knight, took a class of 8-year olds from one such school in Lewisham to explore Beckenham Place Park. The children went on a habitat walk to find plant and animal homes along a woodland trail. Many of the children were not prepared for the mud. As Gemma put it, <em>&ldquo;ballet pumps aren&rsquo;t really the outdoor shoe of choice!&rdquo;</em></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/January Blog Image 2.JPG" alt="" width="351" height="257" /></p> <p>As the pupils continued to explore, one boy proudly announced that he had just helped his friend to get through the mud by giving him a piggy back. During their adventure, the boy had also learnt how to work with others without even realising it.</p> <p>Without the help of Widehorizons and their supporters, the class from Lewisham would not have been able to experience this unexpected adventure, and the 8-year old boy would not have developed his team-working skills as a result.</p> <p>On <strong>Saturday 21st June</strong>, Widehorizons are inviting you to go on your own adventure by taking part in Nightline; a 50km night-walk through the striking urban landscapes of London and into the gorgeous countryside of Kent. By taking part, you will be raising funds for more children to experience adventure - perhaps for the first time in their lives.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/Nightline Stock Image.jpg" alt="" width="466" height="257" /></p> <p>By entering before <strong>February 28th</strong> you will also be in with the chance of winning a pair of Merrell walking shoes (the actual outdoor shoe of choice!).</p> <p>Register for Nightline <a href="">here</a>, or for more information contact the Widehorizons events team on 0845 600 65 67 or by emailing <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 22:55:00 GMT Q&A with Sean Mcfarlane <p><strong>Every story has a beginning.&nbsp; When did you start competing in triathlons and why? </strong></p> <p>My first triathlon was in September 1998 in Bracknell. It was a part of corporate sports weekend with my law firm. We could only make the Sunday and the only event that possibly fitted for us was the triathlon. It was a huge step into the unknown but great fun. A year later I&rsquo;d have done four and I was off for a two year spell working in New Zealand. From that point on there was no looking back!</p> <p><strong>Many people only think about the physical aspect of competing in an extreme event, but don&rsquo;t take into account the mental part. Which is the more difficult aspect of preparing for the competition, the physical or the mental? Or are they equal in difficulty? </strong></p> <p>Great question!! I think probably the physical is more difficult, as least for me at this point in my racing. Having competed at a decent level now for several years, the mental side is so much about experience so the longer you compete the easier it becomes, or at least that&rsquo;s the theory! But the mental side is very much something you still need to work on. Some of the most useful training sessions for me have been where things go wrong, where we get caught in bad weather or something similar and getting back home is a real relief. I wouldn&rsquo;t want to have too many of those sessions though!</p> <p><strong>Are there times when you think &ldquo;Why am I doing this?&rdquo; </strong></p> <p>I used to but not anymore. I think I&rsquo;ve been doing this for long enough now that it simply doesn&rsquo;t make sense to question it. Nobody is forcing me to do it and it&rsquo;s entirely my choice. I came to the conclusion a while ago that I do this because I can. It&rsquo;s a celebration of my life &ndash; that I have time, and am healthy and simply able enough to do it. Lots of us aren&rsquo;t.&nbsp; If ever it became a chore in any way, I&rsquo;d have missed the whole point.</p> <p><strong>Preparation is obviously the key to success.&nbsp; What does your training regimen involve? </strong></p> <p>I try to mix it up, keep it fun and train with others where possible. I also try and work round the weather when I can, but my washing machine still has a tough job! I swim a bit but not enough. Pool work&rsquo;s tough though open water swimming is great and frankly for me is like a different sport which I can also combine with kayak training. Biking is a big part of my training and takes up a lot of time. Ideally before my first ironman of the season, I like to have done at least four 100 milers on the road. Hill and trail running are also important and perhaps the most crucial of all my sessions are what I call &ldquo;three part bricks&rdquo;. I only do about three or four of these each season but they make a huge difference in the extreme long distance triathlons. They involve a ride of about 90 miles on my time trial bike, a flat two hour trail run then a hill run up and down a 2500 foot peak behind my house. These sessions normally take about nine hours and are great preparation for the bigger races. They help also with nutrition plans for race day as you&rsquo;ve got to eat a lot of the correct stuff to complete them.</p> <p><strong>How does where you live and the environment around you affect your training?</strong></p> <p>Where I live is absolutely integral to my training and vice versa. I&rsquo;m very lucky to live in a village called Dollar, about ten miles east of Stirling in Clackmannanshire in central Scotland. Here we have a fantastic network of quiet roads and off road tracks from my door as well as great lochs for open water swimming and paddling. But best of all I have the magnificent Ochil hills literally on my door step. Within ten minutes of pretty easy running, I can be in what feels like a total wilderness yet I&rsquo;m still less than an hour away for more than half of Scotland&rsquo;s population. I&rsquo;ve lived in some great locations including Auckland, but give me Clackmannanshire any time!</p> <p><strong>What advice would you give to someone who wants to compete in endurance events such as triathlons but is intimidated? </strong></p> <p>There&rsquo;s no doubt to me that triathlon has a branding issue. The very word instils fear but it really shouldn&rsquo;t. There are so many different events that there is genuinely something for everyone. Start short and build up. Off road events are increasing greatly in popularity and tend to attract people who don&rsquo;t take themselves quite as seriously as others. And don&rsquo;t be put off by all the kit on show!! People like to splash the cash in triathlons but the phrase &ldquo;all the gear and no idea&rdquo; was never more apt.</p> <p><strong>How long do you see yourself competing?</strong></p> <p>As long as I can!! Being at a high level of fitness opens up so many opportunities for great adventures, of which big races are only a part. Age grouping adds to the fun. I think it&rsquo;s also important to have some targets, which racing gives me.<br /><strong>&nbsp;<br />Do you ever think about how you&rsquo;ll spend your time when you&rsquo;re done competing? Will it still involve the outdoors?</strong></p> <p>I suspect when I&rsquo;m totally done competing I&rsquo;ll be done for good, if you know what I mean! But certainly getting others into the sport, in its huge variety of forms, and the glorious outdoors in general is very much something I want to do more and more of. Adventures are always best shared and as far as I&rsquo;m concerned it&rsquo;s the more the merrier!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 05:25:00 GMT My Local Training Ground - Woodland Trails <p>Jake Thompsett about his favourite local training ground - Wales</p> <p><strong>Wentwood</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;m lucky enough to have some pretty fantastic training areas situated no further than an hour from my house, from winding forest trails, to large open mountains, it&rsquo;s got it all. A big part of my training involves variety, I get bored very easily and struggle to stick to a regimented program therefore spicing it up all the time keeps me interested and motivated. Sometimes the thought of getting blasted in the mountains by Wales&rsquo; finest wet and windy weather, whilst wearing shorts and a lightweight waterproof, makes me feel just a little bit reluctant to head out! So call me soft but once in a while I like to head up to the local woodland and hit the forest trails.</p> <p><br />Being Wales&rsquo; largest ancient woodland means that not only is Wentwood a stunning venue to chuck your trail shoes on and blow away the cobwebs, it also provides plenty to go at! With miles of snaking trails around old oaks, the fresh smell of pine resin in your lungs, and even the odd sighting of a deer grazing (if you&rsquo;re light footed), Wentwood truly is an outdoor lover and trail runners heaven!&nbsp;</p> <p><br />Don&rsquo;t think that it&rsquo;s only for the casual walker though, there&rsquo;s some good quality training to be had there! Although only a short ascent, Gray Hill (the county top of Newport) provides an extremely steep climb on loose, muddy ground. As the lugs of your shoes dig in and the lactic acid floods your legs you feel like your quadriceps have been set on fire as you start desperately sucking in oxygen. All that short period of pain is worth it though when you top out and (in clear weather) can see as far as the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains to the North West, and across the Bristol Channel to the south.</p> <p><em><br /></em>My yellow Labrador Lincoln always joins me for a woodland run and seeing the excitement in his eyes when I put my ascend gloves on and grab his lead definitely inspires me. The pace that he runs at, constantly sprinting ahead, then sprinting back again kind of makes me feel like I&rsquo;m not working hard enough, I try and keep up, but that just means he runs faster, it&rsquo;s almost as if he loves toying with me!</p> <p><br />There&rsquo;s something special about being in the woods, especially when you&rsquo;re running, I think for me it&rsquo;s the sense of freedom and almost childish feeling I get as they played such a big part in my childhood! The woods play a huge part in our history too, they were our survival, and I think that is still engrained in us, however deep that may be. <br />Fancy a bit of woodland trail running? Well Wentwood isn&rsquo;t the only forest you can go exploring, the Woodland Trust has over 1000 woodlands all over the British Isles, check out their website to find your nearest one: <a href=""></a><br />So what are you waiting for? Find your nearest woodland, lace up your Merrell shoes and go explore!</p> <p><br /><strong>Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The woodland trails make me feel free, but the mountains invigorate me! Never once have I regretted a day out in the hills, especially when I was running. No matter how hard a training day in the hills was, even if it was a complete &ldquo;sufferfest&rdquo; I always feel better for it, my most memorable training days in the mountains are the ones which were the toughest, or even the ones where I had an epic!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/brecon beacons.bmp" alt="" /></p> <p><em>The sheer awesomeness of the Brecon Beacons... Corn Du, Pen y Fan (Powys county top), Cribyn and Fan y Big (left to right)</em></p> <p><br />Situated only 45 minutes north of Cardiff, the Brecon Beacons offer any keen hill walker or runner the chance for some lung busting and leg burning days out, you can experience the Welsh weather at it&rsquo;s worst, or it&rsquo;s finest and on a clear day, Pen y Fan (the highest mountain in South Wales) may treat you to stunning 360 degree views of as far as the sea beyond the Mumbles, Exmoor, and the Cambrian Mountains in Mid Wales.</p> <p><br />Being up high and looking down at everyday life in the surrounding towns makes you feel like you&rsquo;ve left everything negative behind,&nbsp; it&rsquo;s just you and the elements and that is natures therapy! Anyway, how can you get stressed out about work when you&rsquo;re too busy desperatly trying to get some oxygen into your lungs on a big ascent!? <br />Although he wasn&rsquo;t a mountain man, Bruce Lee said a great quote that I always think about when I&rsquo;m in the hills:<br /><em>&ldquo;To refuse to be cast down, that is the lesson. Walk on and see a new view. Walk on and see birds fly. Walk on and leave behind all things that dam up the inlet of experience&rdquo;</em></p> <p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/Fan Foel.bmp" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Fan Foel (Carmarthenshire county top) and Picws Du on a stunning winter day</em></p> <p><em></em><br />The Brecon Beacons National Park is fantastic for training too, it provides long ridges, steep ascents and open fells making it the perfect choice for any trail or fell runner, don&rsquo;t think that it&rsquo;s only good for a &ldquo;little jolly&rdquo; though, they are regularly used by our Armed Forces for training and in 2013 played host to the notoriously challenging Original Mountain Marathon, which I had the pleasure of competing in. This year the Brecon Beacons will be like a second home to me as I prep for 2014&rsquo;s endurance adventures, and I couldn&rsquo;t be more excited about it! So enough writing and sat in front of the laptop, it&rsquo;s time to hit the hills!</p> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 18:11:00 GMT Rjukan Ice Trip 2014: Paradice! <p>The&nbsp;Final Day&nbsp;of Jake's Ice Climbing Series in Norway&nbsp;- More upper gorge action, Top Gear Challenge and a night time surprise!</p> <p>Sore, aching and just a little bit broken! We all stumbled out of bed, made some coffee, necked some scrambled egg and a banana each, and made our way over to the Upper Gorge. Today Joe, Dan and I were going to climb as a three together, and the plan was to do a nice WI4, unfortunately we arrived a little bit late today and all the routes were looking pretty busy. After a bit of searching we found a route named &ldquo;Nedre Svingvoss&rdquo;, Joe took the lead, Dan and I followed, and it turned out to be a very enjoyable climb. Next was &ldquo;By the Way&rdquo;, it was my turn to lead, as I looked up I could see that most people were taking an easy line to the right, but on the left was what looked like a short but technical and steep section of ice flowing from underneath a cave roof, I got to the base of it, made a few moves up and placed an ice screw, then went for it and it was seriously beautiful! At one point I had to bridge my foot out across onto a hanging ice chandelier, then traverse onto it by switching hands on my ice axes, super fun!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/Jake ice climb.jpg" alt="" width="267" height="422" /></p> <p><br />After descending we started walking out to the car ready to sort out all of our kit, as we walked past the base of a 3 star rated WI2 named &ldquo;Lettvann&rdquo; (an easy angled ice route covered with deep snow), I hear Joe say &ldquo;Jakey boy&hellip; Top Gear Challenge? Dan can race back to the car up the path while me, you and the other boys can solo (climb without ropes) up Lettvann and try and beat him to the layby on the road?&rdquo; (Lettvann finishes just below the road). The challenge was on! To no one&rsquo;s surprise Dan beat us, so whilst pouring with sweat, hands numb and calves burning, we headed back to the hut ready to get some food down us and start packing for tomorrow&rsquo;s flight home!</p> <p>Munching on some pasta and sauce, I think we all felt like we hadn&rsquo;t quite had enough from the day, and we wanted to finish the trip on a major high. Searching through the guidebook, Joe found a climb named &ldquo;Svingvoss&rdquo;, a steep frozen waterfall that pour&rsquo;s onto the side of the road. We piled everything into the car headed up the main road and found it, a beautiful blue ice pillar coming from the top of a roadside rock face, we pointed the car headlights at it, got geared up and had the most fun we&rsquo;d had all trip, an awesome way to end!</p> <p>So sat hear now having had a good old rest, I can&rsquo;t help but wish I was back there now, sharpening my ice tools and diving into the world of ice climbing, Rjukan I will be back!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 06:48:00 GMT Widehorizons Provides Journeys of Adventure <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/Widehorizons Blue logo.png" alt="" width="376" height="120" /></p> <p>Last month, you may have read our blog post about <a href="">Making 2014 the Year for Adventure</a>. We shared some stories with you about our first adventures as a child, remembering that great adventures can be as small as looking under a log, or building a shelter out of twigs.</p> <p>This month, we want to share with you some more stories from the children&rsquo;s charity <a href="">Widehorizons</a>. Widehorizons believe that every child should experience adventure as part of their education and development.</p> <p>Along with running eight Adventure Centres across England and Wales,&nbsp;Widehorizons also offer Outreach Sessions to schools; bringing adventure to a child&rsquo;s very own doorstep!</p> <p>Many children in the UK do not have the means or opportunity to get out and explore the countryside. Over 80% of our population now live in urban areas. In London alone, 4 in 10 children are living in poverty. To leave their own neighbourhood is a hurdle too high to jump. That&rsquo;s why Widehorizons&rsquo; Outreach Sessions are so effective. They make the most of the smallest green spaces to give children an adventure; and show them how they can continue this adventure every day.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/January Blog Image 3.jpg" alt="" width="305" height="215" /></p> <p>Recently Widehorizons&rsquo; Outreach Tutor, Gemma Knight, took a class of five-year olds in Greenwich to explore a special Secret Garden within the school grounds. Along the way they created &lsquo;<em>journey sticks&rsquo;</em>. These are sticks which the children attach natural items to. Afterwards they can look back along the stick and remember their adventure.</p> <p>Over the seasons, the children returned to the Secret Garden to see how the landscape had changed. Each time they went back, one boy would ask; <em>&ldquo;Can we do that journey thing again?&rdquo;</em> In the end, the children were given buckets so that they could collect up natural items and use them creatively in their own way. Gemma commented, <em>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s great to hear that the children are taking ideas from their Outreach Sessions and using them in their own learning.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>This is just one example of how Widehorizons uses the outdoors to help children learn new skills, and understand lessons from the classroom, whilst experiencing the fun of adventure. The adventure for the five-year old boy was that he could unleash his creativity through exploring the outdoors &ndash; and he enjoyed it so much he wanted to journey (stick) on! Without the help of Widehorizons, and their supporters, these children would not have been able to experience an adventure like this.</p> <p>On <strong>Saturday 21st June</strong>, Widehorizons are inviting you to go on your own journey of adventure by taking part in <a href="">Nightline</a>; a 50km night-walk through the striking urban landscapes of London and into the gorgeous countryside of Kent (journey stick: optional!). By taking part, you will be raising funds for more children to experience adventure - perhaps for the first time in their lives.</p> <p><strong> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/Starry Night.jpg" alt="" width="380" height="252" /></p> <p>Enter before February 28th and you can also win 1 of 10 pairs of Merrell walking shoes!</p> </strong></p> <p>Register for Nightline <a href="">here</a> or for more information contact the Widehorizons Events Team on 0845 600 65 67 or email <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 00:44:00 GMT Rjukan Ice Trip 2014: ParadICE! <p>Day 6 of Jake's Ice Climbing Series in Norway- Heading into the upper gorge...</p> <p>You'd think we'd learn, but we suddenly found ourselves scrambling down and 'hand over hand' abseiling back down into the lower gorge in a last attempt to find the waterfalls we tried so hard to find all week! Trying to cling onto the rope with frozen gloves as I lowered down an icy, rocky track I turned my head and there they were, the lower gorge waterfalls.... BOOM, it was on!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/rjukan8.bmp" alt="" />&nbsp;</p> <p><em><span style="font-size: xx-small;">Checking the guidebook with a view of the old Vemork Power Plant near the Upper Gorge</span></em></p> <p>&nbsp;But no, the lower gorge had other ideas for us, in front of us stood the same last obstacle that ended our first attempt, a partially frozen river no deeper than waist high at points, but plenty enough to put you in a bad mood and end your days climbing! The problem wasn't that the river wasn't completely frozen, but that EVERYTHING was covered in at least 3 feet of snow making it impossible to judge what you could and couldn't step on. So, sick and tired of being beaten by the lower gorge I took the lead and started testing the ground ahead, I got to a point where I could see the water flowing and what I was standing on, and the platform across the stream seemed good to stand on, until the ice underfoot cracked and I only just managed to get away with dry legs. Once the boys had quieted down and all the "WHEEYY's" and "OOOOOHHH's" had stopped I gave the jump a go, to my surprise it was solid, brilliant, the guys jumped across and we started to walk towards the base of the first WI4 waterfall, and what greeted us? Another bloody frozen stream, but this time it was about 6 foot wide, was barely frozen and had a light dusting of snow, a real "no go" for all of us. Once again we found ourselves turning our back on the lower gorge with our tails between our legs, backup plan?.... The upper gorge!</p> <p>Because of all the time wasted in the lower gorge we went for a nice star rated multi pitch route named 'Tracy&rsquo;s Eyes', I took the first pitch on some very thin ice and built a solid belay underneath a cave and brought Joe up on the second ready for him to lead the second pitch. The second pitch was supposed to follow up a line of ice and out of a steep, ice filled groove in the rock, before setting up a belay on a tree at the top of the gorge.</p> <p>To descend the plan was either to do a retrievable abseil from the tree (this is where you are able to abseil to the bottom and then retrieve your ropes by pulling them back through the anchor at the top of the gorge), or walk across to the top of a snow filled gully and just walk down back to the bottom of the gorge. After making his way up the ice Joe reached the rock groove, but due to poor conditions it didn't have any ice (something which we couldn't see from the bottom of the climb!) making it impassable, therefore the only option was to abseil off the climb, one problem, the only place to abseil off was a fair way back down the ice! The plan was to make an abalakov thread (this is where two screws are drilled into the ice simultaneously so that the holes they create match up within the ice in the shape of a V, you then thread some climbing cord through this thread, tie the cord together, and then loop your rope through the cord), this way we wouldn't leave any super expensive ice climbing gear behind as an abseil anchor! As I started to climb up to Joe where we were going to build an abalakov thread, he realised that it would be much safer and easier for me to traverse across the ice and rock face (which was, to my luck covered with consolidated snow) where the descent gully was and find a solid tree to bring Joe across to so that we could both abseil off. After a bit of scratching along rock, and a few &lsquo;fruity&rsquo; moments where the snow slipped slightly, we were abseiling back down the gully and packing up ready to head back to the car.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/rjukan9.bmp" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Joe traversing across to me where the abseil tree was located</em></p> <p>After a bit of a battle of a day we decided to taste a bit of local brew and splash out on a couple of Norwegian beers, turns out Norwegian beer isn't too great, the only description I can come up with to describe the taste would be "wheat biscuits, mashed up with a little bit of cheap honey, mixed into soda water and blended", sounds appetising ey!? ;)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 06:21:00 GMT Rjukan Ice Trip 2014: ParadICE! <p><br />Day 5 of Jake's Ice Climbing Series in Norway</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We seem to have become experts in wading through waist and chest deep powder, the guidebook stated a 20 minute walk in to an area named &ldquo;Bolgen&rdquo;, due to the crazy snow conditions we took a whopping 2 hours meaning we were all dehydrated and sweaty, ready to start the four pitch frozen waterfall, brilliant!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/Bolgen.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />Unfortunately the ice conditions were terrible and as it was Joe's turn to have a lead, he was lucky enough to take on an awful, thin ice pitch with running water behind, a real 'bum twitchingstomach churning' pitch! I got a bit luckier and it was my turn to lead the next pitch, compromising of a fantastically steep ice section, similar in technicality to the previous days WI4 that I lead. This pitch really got my forearms working and after about 15 - 20 metres of climbing I really started to feel the burn in my forearms, coupled with the fact that pretty much all of the blood had drained from my hands along with their sensation, I started to produce noises I'd never heard myself make before! Pulling over the top of the steep section I was greeted by poor, brittle ice and a difficult position to try and create anchors for a belay, then came the next obstacle, "HOT ACHES", otherwise known as "SCREAMING BARFIES"! This is when the steep, cold climbing causes you to loose circulation to your hands making them numb and extremely cold, before the blood returns and the MOTHER of all pains bares its teeth. The only way I can describe hot aches is by getting you to imagine someone driving hot needles into the tips of your freezing cold fingers!</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/jake leading thingy.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Jake leading the steep and sustained second pitch </em></span></p> <p>With the blood back in my hands and my brain focused on more important things I chucked my down jacket on, shouted to Joe to start climbing and then dived into my "happy place", where I think of as many warm and comfortable things as possible!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2 more pitches of poor ice lead us to the search for the abseil point, a tree with climbing grade cord and a small steel Maillon (a steel carabiner with a screw up lock) to thread the rope through so that you can retrieve your rope after abseiling down on it. The light was fading so we attached our head torches to our helmets and began the laborious task of sorting ropes and abseiling down 3 full 60 metre rope lengths. As soon as the sun goes down everything begins to completely freeze, ropes, gloves, your fingers, and the worst of all being your carabiners! I had to fight my abseil device carabiner to open after the first abseil, almost risking that winter climbing mistake of putting something metal in your mouth! Trust me, all those 'myths' about body parts (especially tongue and lips) sticking to cold metal surfaces are definitely true!</p> <p>For once, the deep snow was in our favour and we were able to slide and almost jog down the slopes making our descent time only about 20 minutes!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 06:57:00 GMT Running My Way <p>Race and Marathon Prep from Katie Roby</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I often get asked how I train for ultra-marathons.&nbsp; &ldquo;How on earth do you prepare your body to run those kind of distances&rdquo;, people ask.&nbsp;</p> <p>My answers are a bit vague and I suspect a little disappointing to those asking.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t really understand the physiology behind distance running, nor do I keep up to date with the latest training trends and diet plans.&nbsp; I guess I am a bit of a cowboy.&nbsp; Meticulously planned and strict training programs don&rsquo;t work for me.&nbsp; I have tried, but found them overwhelming.&nbsp; I couldn&rsquo;t deal with the guilt when I missed a session and felt daunted by how much I had to do each week.&nbsp; It made running become a chore.</p> <p><br />Of course I train, just not in a structured way.&nbsp; I have a rough plan in my head, I know I need to build up the distances and incorporate in some strength and conditioning work.&nbsp; I will keep an ear out for shorter races that I can do in the run up to an event.&nbsp; I try to run with other people.&nbsp; I will use race training as an excuse to go exploring and find new routes.&nbsp; Running is my hobby; I choose to do it; so it needs to be enjoyable.&nbsp; That said, it isn&rsquo;t always fun.&nbsp; There are plenty of evenings where I&rsquo;m tired, the weather is disgusting and the thought of leaving a warm, cosy house to run 5 miles is a horrendous thought.&nbsp;</p> <p><br />I am no expert.&nbsp; I am constantly making mistakes.&nbsp; Overtraining; undertraining; eating badly.&nbsp; Slowly, my body awareness is improving.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m starting to understand that my niggly hip gets worse when I do too much running and not enough strength work.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m learning to pick up those warning signs that I need a break; that drained feeling, the increasing frequency of niggles, the inability to run faster than 3mph!&nbsp; I have to remind myself that my body needs a bit of respect, and beasting it every week doesn&rsquo;t always correlate with a good race result.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/2013-MCN-ULTRA-round4-218.jpg" alt="" width="379" height="205" /></p> <p><br />So, I&rsquo;ve got a bit of work to do before I can satisfactorily answer questions on training!&nbsp; Things to try out and lessons to be learnt.&nbsp; I guess it will continually evolve as I age and what drives me to run changes.&nbsp; In the meantime, I&rsquo;ve got some more hills to explore!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 00:32:00 GMT Rjukan Ice Trip 2014: ParadICE! <p>Day 4 of Jake's Ice Climbing Series in Norway - Finally a full day of climbing!</p> <p>We finally learnt our lesson after 2 failed attempts at the Lower Gorge and decided to go straight to Krokan in the morning so that we could get a full day of climbing in. We set off nice and early to beat the crowds (Krokan is always full with groups on a weekend) and kicked the day off with a nice, and quite sustained climb named 'Bullen' which goes at WI3, Joe and Chris took the lead on two different lines on this route, both turned out to be quite steep meaning that the top sections were quite 'spicy' and brought on a fair bit of the old lactic acid in the forearms!</p> <p><br />After a good warm up on these routes I then decided to take the lead on what turned out to be a stunning 3 star ice route named 'Gaustaspokelse' WI4. The first section was a nice ice slab leading to a small cave where I could place a good quality ice screw. Then, a big step out on good ice axe placements lead onto a steep ice pillar, where sustained climbing lead to a rest before taking on a brilliantly technical ice pillar, full of wide bridges onto rock and large ice chandeliers.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/gautasp.png" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/gaustap 2.png" alt="" /></p> <p>Jake on the top section of "Gaustaspokelse"</p> <p>I then brought up Joe and Chris before abseiling off ready for the next route, so far the best route I had been on in Rjukan! Joe finished off the day with a very strenuous WI5 on a lone standing ice pillar, we're going to feel today's efforts in the morning!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 05 Feb 2014 05:21:00 GMT Rjukan Ice Trip 2014: ParadICE! <p>Day 3 of Jake's Ice Climbing series in Norway &ndash; A Roadside warm up!</p> <p>Today started off with another 'swim' through, at some points, chest deep powder whilst trying a new approach to the Lower Gorge from Vemork Bridge. Unfortunately, the snow conditions just wouldn't allow us to get there and after an hour and a half of wading, we made the call to turn back and go on the hunt for some roadside ice.</p> <p>After getting a bit of beta from a regular Rjukan veteran we drove up the ski roads to an area called Ozzimosis, a popular roadside ice crag popular with groups and visitors on their first day in Rjukan, it's full of some nice WI3 and WI4 waterfalls (WI meaning 'water ice', the grading system for frozen waterfalls). We polished off two WI3's and one WI4, finishing in the dark climbing with head torches on, a great way to get back into the "swing" of things!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/pic3.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Jake leading "Skrueis" at Ozzimosis</em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em></em></span></p> <p>So after refuelling on some good old chicken curry and sinking a cold beer (at an eye watering &pound;5.90 a pint!), it was time to reflect on the day, dry and sort kit and then plan tomorrow's climbing schedule!&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/2/4.jpg" alt="" />]</p> <p><em><span style="font-size: xx-small;">Joe leading Anakje</span></em></p> Sun, 02 Feb 2014 22:42:00 GMT Rjukan Ice Trip 2014: ParadICE! <p class="title">Day 2 of Jake's Ice Climbing series in Norway - Powder, Powder Everywhere...</p> <p>Over the last week Norway has seen some serious snowfall, which has consequently produced mega deep powder, great for skiing, awful for ice climbing! We'd heard that the Lower Gorge had some fantastic routes of all different grades so we decided to give it a go, the guidebook stated "from the car park go left and steeply down trending left to the river bed, 5 minute walk",</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/1/Car Park Lower George.png" alt="" width="447" height="335" /></p> <p><em>Car Park Lower George</em></p> <p>...a slight understatement! We managed to get down to the river bed after wading through waist deep snow and the falls were no where to be seen, on top of that there was a river crossing.</p> <p>This would have been very simple if it hadn't been for the 3 foot of snow covering all of the ice, this meant that there was no way of telling what was good to walk on and what would result in boots full of ice cold water, I unfortunately got unlucky and ended up with a right boot full of it! The river was a no go so we bailed, took on the awful trudge uphill out of the gorge and headed over to a popular crag name 'Krokan'.</p> <p>&nbsp;This turned out to be a great choice for the first day as it had a nice selection of good quality WI3 (water ice 3) and WI4 graded waterfalls, of which we took full advantage!&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/1/Jake.jpg" alt="" width="426" height="220" /></p> <p><em>Base of Krokan</em></p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 17:45:00 GMT Long Distance Race Nutrition For The Layman <p>Part 1 of Sean McFarlane's series of race advice</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re anything like me, you&rsquo;ll have started to read numerous articles on nutrition only to lose interest and perhaps the will to live after the first paragraph. Some like to get very scientific and technical about what we consume during long distance racing but I&rsquo;m not one of them. Perhaps it&rsquo;s to my detriment but I prefer to get by through a series of trials and errors, with hopefully the error count dropping off after each race. I still make mistakes but I am learning. So what have I learnt? Here are five lessons, picked up the hard way.</p> <p><strong>Gels</strong></p> <p>1.&nbsp;Make sure you&rsquo;ve tested your race nutrition. I&rsquo;ve seen so many people, particularly with gels, turn up on race day, get their goodie bag with a couple of gels and use them for the first time during the race. A big no no. Gels are an acquired taste and you&rsquo;re unlikely to make that acquisition straight away.</p> <p><strong>Cheese Bun</strong></p> <p>2.&nbsp;In longer races don&rsquo;t hesitate to use real food. My bigger races are won in over 12 hours yet so many competitors are fed up with and can&rsquo;t stomach gels and energy bars by half way through. That really is a rookie mistake, which I&rsquo;ve made on far too many occasions. I normally have about 30% (sorry, getting a bit technical!) of real food during these races. My nosebag of choice is white rolls with butter, cheese and tomato cut in half and wrapped in tin foil. In transitions or any stops I tend to have small pots of creamed rice and custard.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Right Timing</strong></p> <p>3.&nbsp;Fuel up at the right time. I see so many people, particularly on the bike, approaching a climb and stuffing themselves in preparation for it. Wrong. The extra exertion required to get up the climb will seriously affect your digestion so it&rsquo;s a far better strategy to focus on rewarding yourself with something at the top.</p> <p><strong>Hydration</strong></p> <p>4.&nbsp;Liquid intake. Until relatively recently, I mainly took water in my bottles but I&rsquo;ve had far better results from adding at least something to it. The choice is yours but, sticking to the layman approach here, your system needs something to entice it into absorbing the liquid and its contents, which it won&rsquo;t do with water alone. There are so many products out there that it&rsquo;s not difficult to find one that you&rsquo;ll like the taste of.</p> <p><strong>Grazing</strong></p> <p>5.&nbsp;Graze don&rsquo;t gorge. Try to operate a continuous grazing process and certainly don&rsquo;t wait until you&rsquo;re hungry or thirsty before taking nutrition on board. Prevention really is better than cure. To graze effectively, make nutrition as easy as possible to take. On the bike, back pockets are still popular but having things almost to hand can be easier. Experiment with this as you don&rsquo;t want to interfere with the bike&rsquo;s function. Having a front pouch clipping your leg on every pedal will really take its toll after five hours. And things falling off into the spokes can be costly in many ways.</p> <p>So the main message? Experiment. Training isn&rsquo;t all about the physical preparation.</p> <p><br />These are the views and opinion of Sean Macfarlane and are examples of what works for him. They may not work for everyone and Merrell advise everyone to exercise sensibly and consult professional medical advice with any exercise related concerns.</p> Wed, 29 Jan 2014 20:05:00 GMT Rjukan Ice Trip 2014: ParadICE! <p>Day 1 of Jake's Epic Ice Climbing Series in Norway</p> <p>So the trip started off with every climbers nemesis when they fly abroad to climb, baggage weight limits!</p> <p>Taking two ropes, a set of ice screws, crampons and axes, really eats into that 20KG limit and the night before we were really struggling to get the weight down, solution?... Wear everything on the plane, big boots, down jackets, the lot! So after a very sweaty few hours at the airport, (30 minutes of which were spent undressing at security!) and another 2 on the plane, we landed in Oslo at midday with a slight shock. For some reason I think we had all been expecting regular UK style winter conditions, but instead we were greeted by what looked like a scene from the movie "The Day After Tomorrow"!</p> <p>Luckily, Joe hooked us up with an upgrade at the car rental desk and before we knew it we were cruising along the Norwegian roads in a brand spanking new "ninja black&rdquo; Toyota Rav 4, which Joe nicknamed "The Weapon".</p> <p>4 hours of driving through a blizzard, and a few dodgy skids later, we arrived at our accommodation for the week, Rjukan Hytteby, a nice little village of huts containing bunk beds, a kitchen and a bathroom (with underfloor heating!) as well as a place to dry kit and hang climbing equipment. Check it out if you're ever looking to stay in Rjukan: <a href=""></a></p> <p>So now comes the time to flick through the guide book, check the ice conditions, and sharpen the tools. We head to bed looking forward to what the first climbing day has in store!</p> Wed, 29 Jan 2014 04:20:00 GMT Winter Training Blues <p>Faith Shorney explains how she stays motivated to train through the winter months</p> <p>For some people, like me, training in winter can be a pretty gruelling task. Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, I love a crisp winter morning run when the air is frosty, when the sunrise is cloaked in a veil of mist and the frozen earth beneath your feet crunches with each stride. But when it rains, the wet and the cold can seem harsh and interminable during those long, hard hours of training, when your feet ache and your body turns numb against the bitter, drenching cold.&nbsp; The other issue, in the UK at least, is that 5 or 6am in winter, feels like the middle of the night, and getting up on a dark, wet winters morning can be a task in and of itself.</p> <p>But still, we soldier on; we prevail against the odds because we have a goal to reach. Whether you&rsquo;ve set yourself the task of running the London Marathon, or any other race that falls in the months of spring, you&rsquo;re likely to be training right through Christmas and the worst parts of winter. You&rsquo;ve probably set yourself a few New Year Resolutions that somehow make this thing seem more achievable. You may also be giving yourself a hard time for not training as much as you should have, or would have liked to, over the festive season. A word of advice then; don&rsquo;t be too hard on yourself, don&rsquo;t worry if your training plan has strayed a little off course or if you&rsquo;ve slept in on the weekend. Find ways of training that work for you, not against you &ndash; the occasional session on the treadmill, or my personal winter favourite, the WattBike, will do you a world good and give you respite from the days when braving the cold seems like an impossible task.</p> <p>Try new things too; I cannot tell you how beneficial yoga has been to my running practice, and how comforting a warm, softly lit studio feels at 6am on a dark and dreary winters day. Lift some weights if you&rsquo;re feeling energetic, or go for swim &ndash; at least the pools are heated! My winter training programme includes a lot more indoor work, weights, yoga, indoor cycling and swimming than perhaps I would like it to, but it means that I can really enjoy the clear days and the long, dark morning runs don&rsquo;t seem like such a struggle, mostly because I don&rsquo;t have to do quite as many of them.</p> <p>Give yourself a break, try something new, and when the sun does shine, or the rain lifts even for a few hours, it&rsquo;ll give you all the more reason to get your shoes on and hit the ground running, so to speak. This is a marathon after all, not a sprint.</p> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 18:46:00 GMT Doc Andrew Murray and Donnie Campbell win Endurance Life Anglesey Ultra <p><span style="font-size: small;"><em>"The conditions were worse than horrendous"</em>&nbsp;but Andrew and Donnie came joint first!</span></p> <p><a href=";location=267">The Endurance Life Costal Series Anglesey Ultra Marathon</a> is known as one of the most beautiful short ultras in Britain. The course features national park, towering cliffs, hill top scrambles and a jaunt around the beautiful Anglesey coastline. Having actually managed to get off my back side and do some training this winter it offered the perfect chance to stretch the legs and get a little competitive action.</p> <p>Read more here <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/1/photo 1.JPG" alt="" width="396" height="508" /></p> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 17:50:00 GMT Q&A Faith Shorney <p><strong>What is your earliest memory of enjoying time outdoors?</strong><br />I grew up in Africa, so every day was spent outdoors from the time I could walk. Weekends on my mountain bike or climbing hills with my dad just outside Johannesburg, were probably my earliest and best memories. Oh, and early morning swim training before school was another firm favourite.</p> <p><strong>Being so well travelled can you pick out one place which has been your favourite in all of your travels?</strong><br />My favourite place in the world has to be Kenya, and then most parts of Africa, but so a close second would have to be Italy. It is a fantastic running and cycling terrain &ndash; lots of hills and beautiful scenery, not to mention amazing food.</p> <p><strong>What is your favourite outdoor activity you take part in?</strong><br />Running is probably my favourite, although I am keen on most extreme sports and I love water so swimming, Kitesurifng, Kayaking, Stand Up Paddleboarding all come in close behind.</p> <p><strong>When taking part in outdoor challenges where do you draw inspiration from? </strong><br />Nature seems to be one of my biggest inspirations because being outside just feels good, but I think I also draw inspiration from following some of the great outdoor athletes like Kilian Journet, or the adventurers who inspire me like Dave Cornthwaite and Roz Savage.</p> <p><strong>How do you prepare yourself for adventures?</strong><br />It depends on the adventure I guess, but the most important thing is making sure you&rsquo;re mentally prepared, physically conditioned and have a back up plan for the things you can&rsquo;t prepare for.</p> <p><strong>What is the most satisfying thing about your time spent outdoors?</strong><br />Being outdoors in itself is the most satisfying part, nature lends itself to just about anything you want or need it to. There&rsquo;s something incredibly humbling about being in nature.</p> <p><strong>What advice would you give to anyone who wants to do more outdoors but is intimidated or does not know how to go about it?</strong><br />Find people who are already doing it and join them, there are plenty of groups and small expeditions you can join which will give you the support of being around people with more experience, and others who are also just starting out on their journey who you can share the experience with.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 06:26:00 GMT New Year to Get out and Get active <p>2014 will be a huge year for sport in Scotland, and one that I&rsquo;m looking forward to enormously.&nbsp; There will be fairly major personal challenges from a running/ adventure point of view, and some great stuff going on at work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/1/AM blog.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p>(photo: Sports Motivation)</p> <p><br />My first outing race wise of 2014, is the <a href=";location=267 ">Anglesey Coastal Trail Series</a>. It&rsquo;s a 34 odd miler, with about 1000metres of ascent and descent in a fabulous part of the world.&nbsp;&nbsp; I&rsquo;m usually one to pick races based on a place I fancy going and the seaside villages, coastal tracks and stunning beaches as well as the customary hills sound an ideal way to spend a Saturday morning.&nbsp; As a bonus it is on a Saturday, so we can go climbing in nearby Snowdonia the day after.&nbsp; The last time I was in Snowdonia, I did the Welsh 3000 feet peak challenge in winter, climbing all the 3000 peaks consecutively and running between them. The itinerary on Sunday might be a little less hectic.</p> <p><br />The weekend also offers a chance to race in some new kit. My principal sponsor for 2014 are <a href="">Merrell UK</a>. I&rsquo;ve enjoyed working with them last year, partly due to the top quality of their footwear and clothing but also they are good people- for example donating 150 pairs of new trainers to <a href="">Running Across Borders </a>during last year&rsquo;s Africa trip.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m delighted to be a brand ambassador for both footwear and clothing this year, and a <a href="">Merrell Pack Leader. </a></p> <p><br />Both weekends so far have offered the chance to do what I enjoy best- Get outdoors. Last Saturday we had some fairly variable (glorious sunshine to white-out) weather up Beinn a Ghlo and a few of the Perthshire mountains and felt we&rsquo;d earned a beer at the finish. In preparation for an epic challenge this summer, both Donnie Campbell and myself will be spending a load of time in the mountains.&nbsp; This weekend I&rsquo;m up in Crieff with the family enjoying some outrageous sunshine and doing a load of outdoor things.</p> <p><br />Last year I had the chance to climb, run, bike and hike in a load of cool places, from the Dolomites to East Africa, but actually many of the amazing days were in the UK- running along the Giant&rsquo;s Causeway and immense adjacent rock formations to days in the forests, on the coast, or in the mountains of Scotland. We also had some almost perfect weather for a week in the Lake District.&nbsp; This year will be no different, with trips planned at home and abroad- it is incredible what you can see in even a day</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/1/IMG_2229.JPG" alt="" width="784" height="123" /></p> <p><br />Work wise having largely worked in sport for the last year, I&rsquo;ll start to direct more efforts into getting more people more active more often. For some of the reasons why check out a cool video called 23 &frac12; hrs here <a href=""></a> whilst January means that 6 Nations Rugby is round the corner, where I&rsquo;ll be assisting Dr James Robson with the Scotland team during February as well as doing ongoing work with European Tour and Challenge Tour Golf, and the SportScotland Institute of Sport.</p> <p><br />I&rsquo;ve also started writing my second book- which will offer insights and smart solutions into the Science and Medicine of running for longer, and faster. I&rsquo;ll share excerpts from this on my blog. <br />I&rsquo;m speaking at a few (public) events in February, these ones feature some great line ups:<br /><a href="">Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival</a>&nbsp; <br /><a href=" ">Sports and Exercise Medicine Symposium</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 19 Jan 2014 18:48:00 GMT Q&A with Jake Thompsett <p><strong>1. We can see that you have a great deal of enthusiasm, experience and skill in a range of sports and outdoor activities, but do you have any one sport that you&rsquo;re particularly passionate for?<br /></strong>That&rsquo;s a tough one! It&rsquo;s a joint first between fell running and climbing, when all the mountain races are going on (in particular when the Original Mountain Marathan is approaching) I&rsquo;m utterly addicted to fell running and discovering the minimalist style of running in the Merrell barefoot range only increased that addiction, but as soon as the weather is warm and sunny, or the Scottish winter rolls in, I can&rsquo;t keep away from climbing. My ideal weekend would probably be a long morning fell run, followed by an afternoon of Scottish winter climbing, then a day of sunny rock climbing on Sunday&hellip; perfect!</p> <p><br /><strong>2. What inspired you to pursue your enthusiasm for outdoor sports to the extent that you set up your own expedition company JT Expeditions? <br /></strong>&nbsp;I have a real passion for challenge, always looking for new experiences, and developing people through the use of the outdoors, this is what lead me to pursue a career in the outdoors as an expedition leader and instructor. There is rarely a moment where you aren&rsquo;t being either physically challenged in the jungles and mountains, or mentally challenged whilst trying to resolve a situation, and I&rsquo;m yet to meet someone who hasn&rsquo;t been positively affected by getting outdoors!</p> <p><br /><strong>3. As an Expedition Leader and Outdoor Instructor, what skills do you think are important for these roles?<br /></strong>On top of good all round leadership skills, it&rsquo;s very important to have the ability to work efficiently under pressure, when problems start arising in a dangerous environment it can be very difficult to maintain a clear head and resolve situations so having the ability to stay calm, analyse the situation, and then give precise and effective instructions to your group is vital. There&rsquo;s nothing worse than seeing a leader panic and &ldquo;flap&rdquo; when things starts to go wrong, sometimes you just have to take a step back and think!</p> <p><br /><strong>4. Having travelled the world for various expeditions and adventures, what has been your most enjoyable and rewarding experience?<br /></strong>It&rsquo;s going to sound cheesy, but the most rewarding experience I&rsquo;ve had is probably whilst out in Iceland, the group I had with me were young (15 years old) and went from having no experience in the outdoors and no idea of how to stay safe in the mountains, to a self-sufficient team with an impressive set of expedition skills, all in the space of 8 days! It&rsquo;s one of the main reasons I work in the outdoors, seeing people challenge themselves and go through some real tough times and experience some real lows, to eventually overcome and adapt to their environment to become self-sufficient in the mountains, awesome!</p> <p><br /><strong>5. Following on from this. What has been the most challenging expedition you&rsquo;ve embarked on? It what way was it challenging?<br /></strong>A challenging expedition moment for me was in Borneo during my first expedition, my group accidently walked too close to a large wasp nest in the jungle causing the wasps to attack, several group members suffered a large amount of stings to some pretty nasty places, luckily we hadn&rsquo;t trekked too far into the jungle at this point and were able to get back to base camp for medical attention pretty quickly.</p> <p><br /><strong>6. As an outdoor instructor it&rsquo;s imperative that you stay at the peak of physical fitness. What&rsquo;s your training regime to ensure you stay at this fitness level?<br /></strong>It&rsquo;s very difficult for me to stick to a set program as I am rarely home, especially when I go on expedition, therefore a big part of my training involves always trying to stay active, and always taking any opportunity to get in a training session wherever I am. Whether that means a pull up session at home in between working on the laptop, or stopping off at a local hill for a run after working in the Brecon Beacons, my Merrell Ascend Gloves travel everywhere with me at the moment! A big part of my work involves taking adults climbing, trail running and training them for mountain races and marathons so that also keeps me in shape.When I do get the opportunity to do more formalised training (in particular the winter and the months approaching a race) I tend to opt for several mid distance runs during the week, coupled with long hill runs and climbing sessions on the weekend. Most importantly I always try to mix it up to prevent getting bored (which happens very easily!).</p> <p><br /><strong>7. What&rsquo;s in store for you over 2014? What are your goals for this coming year?<br /></strong>&nbsp;So far my schedule is slowly getting busier and I&rsquo;m trying to fit as many races and climbing trips in as possible! At the moment, I&rsquo;m spending Christmas and New Year on expedition in Thailand and Laos before heading to Norway and then Scotland for some Ice and winter climbing. I&rsquo;ll then be off on expedition again in the summer to take a group along a famous trail in Iceland. My main goals for 2014 are to compete in this year&rsquo;s OMM Iceland and to climb a peak that I have been eyeing up for a while in the Himalaya with a group of friends.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 23:40:00 GMT The Couch is Killer <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 16:33:00 GMT Sean McFarlane - A Merrell Pack Leader Sean McFarlane is one of Scotland&rsquo;s pre-eminent off road long distance triathletes and adventure racers. But for him, high performance racing only serves to help him quench his thirst for fantastic and unforgettable outdoor adventures. Sean and Merrell share a passion for encouraging and assisting as many others as possible, irrespective of background and ability to enjoy and share their most memorable outdoor experiences.&nbsp; A nine time ironman finisher, Sean has amassed numerous multisport titles and claimed runner up spots in both the inaugural Celtman and City to Summit extreme ironman triathlons. Having lived and competed in the US, New Zealand, Sicily and Sweden, Scotland remains and always will be his favourite adventure playground. A practicing corporate lawyer, he works to live and not vice versa. Sean also writes articles for a variety of outdoor publications and works closely with world famous adventure sports photographer Andy McCandlish. He acts as a race consultant for a range of local multisport races and has also appeared on several occasions on the BBC&rsquo;s Adventure Show programme. Wed, 15 Jan 2014 22:36:00 GMT Make 2014 the Year for Adventure! <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2014/1/Widehorizons Blue logo.png" alt="" width="423" height="112" /></p> <p>Do you remember your first outdoor adventure as a child? <br />We were recently contacted by Ceri, who works as the Events Coordinator at the children&rsquo;s charity Widehorizons, and she shared her first adventure with us:</p> <p><em>&ldquo;My first adventure was at the age of two, when I climbed onto the roof of the reception venue at my grandparents&rsquo; wedding. I don&rsquo;t remember how I got up there but I imagine I conquered the challenge with the same stubborn determination (and clumsiness!) that I have carried forward into my adult life.</em></p> <p><em>I&rsquo;m choosing to share this story with you because, now at age 23, I work as the Events Coordinator at the children&rsquo;s charity </em><a href=""><em>Widehorizons</em></a><em>. We use the outdoors to provide life-changing adventures to disadvantaged children and young people. One of our core beliefs is that great adventures don&rsquo;t have to be about climbing Everest or trekking to the North Pole &ndash; they can be as small as rolling down a hill for the first time, exploring the magic of a forest, or hitching up your party dress and heading for the roof!</em></p> <p><em>For example, at </em><a href=""><em>Widehorizons Environment Centre</em></a><em>, our nine-acre site in South-East London, we often have children visiting us who are upset about getting their wellies dirty, but by the end of the day will be happily sticking their hands in the mud and smearing it across their faces! For them, this is an adventure!&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>Sadly, children in the UK today often don&rsquo;t get to experience even the smallest of adventures like these &ndash; over 80% of the population now live in urban areas. In London alone, 4 in 10 children are living in poverty. They will never have the opportunity, or means, to venture beyond their own doorsteps."</em></p> <p>However on Saturday&nbsp;21st June you can help to make a difference to the lives of these children by taking part in the Widehorizons <a href="">Nightline</a> event, a 50km walking adventure by night.</p> <p>Beginning at Widehorizons Environment Centre, participants will travel some of the most famous trails in London and Kent including the Green Chain Link, London Loop, Darent Valley Path, and North Downs Way. Each Nightline participant will be raising funds so that Widehorizons can give adventures to children who couldn&rsquo;t otherwise afford them.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s more? Anyone who signs up to Nightline before February 28th has a chance to win one of 10 pairs of Merrell shoes!&nbsp;Take part in&nbsp;the Nightline adventure&nbsp;to enable a child to have an adventure too.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;So here&rsquo;s our challenge to you: Make 2014 the Year for Adventure.</p> <p>Register here <a href=""></a><br />&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 13 Jan 2014 06:39:00 GMT Jake Thompsett - A Merrell Pack Leader <p>The Outdoors is in Jake Thompsett&rsquo;s blood. He has been participating in outdoor sports and activities ever since he can remember. Starting out in sailing, by 17 he was a highly accomplished fell runner, climber and mountaineer. Happy doing anything outdoors, Jake is now an expert in ice and rock climbing, kayaking, surfing and of course, fell running!</p> <p>Working as an outdoor instructor and expedition leader based in South Wales, he has successfully lead expeditions to the jungles and mountains of Borneo, India, Iceland and Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. He was also competing in several mountain marathons and adventure races, such as the OMM, Questars and Open 5 series.</p> <p>Jake also founded JT Expeditions, an organisation which trains adults in the skills required to get out into the mountains and show them that they can achieve much greater than they believe and to constantly push the boundaries. It is very difficult to really experience the challenges, enjoyment and exhilaration of the outdoors if you don&rsquo;t have skills necessary to get out in the first place. That&rsquo;s where JT Expeditions step in and opens up that gateway for people. JT expeditions currently provide training and guiding in activities such as trail running, rock climbing, hill walking, adventure racing and mountain marathons.</p> Mon, 13 Jan 2014 01:46:00 GMT Faith Shorney - A Merrell Pack Leader <p>Self-confessed nomad, outdoor enthusiast and relative newcomer to the adventure community, Faith is on a mission to change the world, using adventure as a medium to get her message out there and help inspire others to spend more time outside. From ultra-distance running to climbing, kite-surfing and kayaking to triathlons, Faith is always searching for ways to experience the world and for the next great adventure.</p> <p>Faith is not only an adventuring ultra-runner and travel writer, but is also fiercely passionate about people and the planet. She is a nutritionist and &ldquo;wellbeing warrior&rdquo; whose mission is to seek out the best ways of combining her love of the outdoors with her passion for social change and sustainable development.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve loved travelling for as long as I can remember and it&rsquo;s great to have a real purpose driving my adventures. I have so many places I&rsquo;ve yet to visit, but my heart will always belong to Africa; I&rsquo;ve never known anywhere to be as beautiful. I am on a mission to change the world and the way people think about their health, their environment and each other. I want to help people achieve their full potential and make the world a better place along the way. There is no greater motivation for doing something extraordinary than knowing it has the potential to change someone else&rsquo;s life. Or better still, many lives.&rdquo;</p> Sun, 12 Jan 2014 09:37:00 GMT NEW Ladies Azura Hiking Shoe for 2014 <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Wed, 18 Dec 2013 03:54:00 GMT Merrell Grassbow: Featherweight and Versatile Approach Shoe <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Tue, 17 Dec 2013 05:10:00 GMT Doc Andrew Murray looks ahead to 2014 <p>There&rsquo;s talk of the Scottish pistes opening early up there in the Glens after a steady pasting of snow in recent weeks. Winter has truly arrived. For some, that means dusting off the skis and salopettes while, for others, it means grabbing the 13.5 tog duvet from the loft, buying a Radio Times and battening down the hatches.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/11/am winter.JPG" alt="" width="328" height="270" /></p> <p><br />I did a little channel surfing the other day but my mind quickly drifted from what&rsquo;s on in front of me to what&rsquo;s ahead of me next year. The past 12 months have been epic &ndash;a record 7 ultras in 7 continents on 7 consecutive days, an Antarctic marathon and my RunHighAfrica experience where I ran more than 50km each day including Mount Kilimanjaro in one day along with a few other races and wins.</p> <p><br />It&rsquo;s all driven by a thirst for new experiences and a natural curiosity. For me, that&rsquo;s what winter brings. With the seasonal change comes a whole new outdoor experience. I&rsquo;d be lying if I said it wasn&rsquo;t harder to get outside as temperatures plummet but I still enjoy the chance to cycle, play football and snow brings new opportunities including skiing and some winter routes in the mountains.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/11/am winter2.JPG" alt="" width="466" height="258" /></p> <p><br />You could say winter is my &lsquo;down time&rsquo; but all this stimulates my mind for something suitably challenging in 2014. I&rsquo;m toying with various options but 2014 will include World Championships, an epic in Britain, and even an ultra in Iran from sea level to the summit of Mt Damavand (5,610 metres).</p> <p><br />I&rsquo;ve been asked to write a second book in 2014 too, looking at what I&rsquo;ve learnt from not just elite athletes but some incredible people who have their own inspiring stories to tell.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 05:16:00 GMT Tom Forman: My first Barefoot Ultra Marathon <p>It may have not been my fastest ultra marathon nor my longest ultra marathon, but the Round Ripon was my first Barefoot ultra marathon.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/11/tomforman.bmp" alt="" width="239" height="417" /></p> <p><br />&nbsp;<br />Organised by Go Beyond Ultra <a href=""></a>, this ultra marathon takes participants on a circular route up in North Yorkshire taking in the sites of woodlands, Yorkshire towns and a world heritage site. Such a mix of terrain coupled with the recent rain provided a perfect opportunity to try out my Gore-Tex Barefoot trainers and my feet on such a distance. <br />&nbsp;<br />The race was a busy affair and appealed to all a abilities, this was probably due to the event organisers being well known for hosting great events, with relaxed cut off times, regular aid stations and minimum navigational requirement. For me this was ideal also as it meant I didn't have to push my feet to quickly and could merely plod along whilst enjoying the scenery (which was in abundance).&nbsp; I&rsquo;m also bad at navigating!<br />&nbsp;<br />The course started off on road and after a few miles descended into a mix of trail and fields and although not as rural as I was anticipating, it provided an ideal surface to run on. This running environment however provided a prime opportunity to test the footwear as be it tarmac, mud, puddles, rivers or even ankle deep manure, the trainers ran through it.<br />&nbsp;<br />And run through it they did! Although I didn't hang around in the puddle or river, my feet did stay pretty dry whilst running through them. I spent even less time in the ankle deep manure for obvious reasons, although a concealed effort was made to remain upright.</p> <p>Coupled with the fields, trails and footpath the last mile was through a deer park which was beautiful and although it would be difficult to prove, I'm pretty sure the colour of my trainers and their smell protected me from these wild beasts.</p> <p>I completed the race uninjured and happy with an added confidence in my trainers which made me look forward to my final two races of 2013.</p> <p><strong>The Final Countdown -</strong>With this race now complete I've turned my efforts to preparing for my remaining two races of this year which are The Piece of String and The Hill.</p> <p><strong>The Piece of String-</strong> although advertised as a 'fun run' is of an unknown distance that is over an indeterminate amount of time. I know two things about this race, firstly that it starts at 10am Friday 30th November and secondly, I was required to book an entire week off from my day job.</p> <p><strong>The Hill</strong> - which sounds like a horror film title - is a 160 mile race in the Peak District and has a 48 hour time limit (which is more information than I have about the PoS). The mental challenge of this will be huge, starting at 8pm runners are required to complete a 3ish mile lap 50 times with no more than a 30minute stationary period (to minimise the chance of hypothermia).</p> <p>Either way the next few weeks are going to be interesting!</p> <p>Follow me: @cairnhunter for race updates</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 11 Nov 2013 02:33:00 GMT Get Outdoors This Winter <p>Fight the temptation to stay inside over the cold winter months. The temperature may be dropping, but the opportunities for getting outside certainly aren&rsquo;t. So no matter whether you&rsquo;re a city dweller or living in the countryside, get wrapped up and get active. Here are a few suggestions for what you could be getting up to over the next couple of months...</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/11/arcticfox_snowshoe.jpg" alt="" width="428" height="313" /><br /><strong>Winter/Ice Climbing</strong></p> <p>Who says that you have to take the climbing indoors when the seasons change? When the temperatures drop and snow sets in, Britain&rsquo;s collection mountain ranges offers outdoor enthusiasts some fantastic locations for winter ice climbing. Many argue that these winter months are the best time to experience regions such as Snowdonia and the Cairngorms. So pick up your ice axe, put on your crampons and relish in the breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains. Even if your past climbing experience is limited to rock faces, you may have more of the necessary skills for ice climbing than you&rsquo;d think. As an activity which has evolved from rock climbing, many of the techniques and skills from rock climbing are transferable to ice climbing. However, if you haven&rsquo;t tried winter climbing before make sure you are accompanied/guided by a well experienced instructor. As winter approaches many outdoor pursuit companies in the mountainous regions offer courses on ice climbing and winter mountaineering skills.</p> <p><br /><strong>Skiing &amp; Snowboarding</strong></p> <p>Planning you next skiing holiday...considering Austria? Canada? Switzerland? How about the UK? Opt for a &lsquo;staycation&rsquo; skiing trip this year with great skiing and snowboarding slopes up in the Scottish mountains!&nbsp; The Cairngorm, Nevis Range, Glenshee and Glencoe areas have become incredibly popular locations for skiing in Britain. These northerly regions are the perfect spot for short skiing breaks between January and April. Without the need to jump country boarders, there&rsquo;s no necessity for much forward planning, no need to book flights, and what&rsquo;s even better, everyone talks English! Weekends and holiday periods at the resorts here can be extremely busy, so opt for a mid-week break if possible.&nbsp; Beginners and families ought to try out the resorts at Lecht, with its more gentle slopes and shorter runs.</p> <p><br /><strong>Walking and Hiking</strong></p> <p>The cold winter air may not seem the most tempting conditions for a days hike, but don&rsquo;t let it put you off. The winter months can be one of the best times to appreciate Britain&rsquo;s stunning scenery. So long as you make sure you&rsquo;re layered up with sensible clothing and wearing appropriate footwear, there&rsquo;s no reason you can&rsquo;t face the elements and get outdoors. The Lake District is ever more beautiful and dramatic in the winter months, as the mountains are transformed under a covering of snow. However, it goes without saying that weather changes can be extreme in these regions so make sure you&rsquo;re prepared for rain and wind as well as freezing temperatures. To help avoid torrential downpours wherever you are, ensure you check the weather forecast before heading out. If you&rsquo;re looking for something a little less challenging this year, the Brecon Beacons national park in South Wales offers more accessible routes over a more gentle and expansive landscape.</p> <p><strong>Sledging</strong></p> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re five or fifty nothing gets us more excited than wrapping up and zipping down the hills on our sleds. It&rsquo;s the perfect family outing when the cold weather sets in. Within moment we&rsquo;ve forgotten how our fingers and toes are dropping off, as we drive through the snow trying our best not to topple out of the sledge. What's more is that the greatest sledging spots are sometimes on our doorstep! Londoners need not fear about their distance from the countryside, Greenwich Park and Hampstead Heath are fantastic sledging spots. Heaton Park is another popular city spot for our Northern friends in Manchester. Although, the UK&rsquo;s truly best sledging spots will be found more further afield in areas such as Tunbridge Wells, the North Yorkshire Moors and even the dedicated sledging parks at the Scottish ski resorts!</p> <p><br /><strong>Ice Skating</strong></p> <p>Long gone are the days when it was safe to skate on British lakes and even the Thames River. However, we can still enjoy outdoor ice skating in most city centres this winter. So if you&rsquo;re struggling to get into the countryside to enjoy the true winter wonderland, head down to your local inner-city one. For a truly exquisite experience visit Cornwall&rsquo;s Eden Project which between 19th October and 2nd March is transformed into an incredibly festive ice skating venue. Londoners are spoilt for choice as the Christmas season creeps upon us. Ice Rinks are all over the city in locating including The Natural History Museum, Somerset House, Hyde Park and the London Eye.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/11/DSC_6369 1a.jpg" alt="" width="439" height="316" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 23:18:00 GMT Ascend Glove Gore-Tex Wins Gold in Men's Running Awards 2013 <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">Merrell Ascend Glove Gore-Tex wins Gold in the Barefoot Shoe category in Men's Running Awards 2013!&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"><em>''The whole look &amp; feel of the shoe gave me the reassurance that it was going to be tough and up to the game of long trail runs. The toe box was wide and deep enough to prevent injury to the toes. the 6mm thick sole was impressive; I ran a 20-mile race in them on a disused railway line and the clinker and sharp stones caused no issues.''</em></p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"><em>''Excellent running shoes. They fit nicely and are light, but have plenty of protection. Ideal for off-road running with the extra support it gives.''</em></p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/11/MRL-W41757-100412.jpg" alt="" width="429" height="381" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 03 Nov 2013 12:59:00 GMT Merrell's Top 10 Packing Tips <p> <p>It might not be long before you&rsquo;re off on your next adventure, your friends and family are incredibly jealous, but the looming task of packing is generating stress rather than excitement? Packing light can be a confusing and conflicting job. Determined to shed the weight but all the while scared you&rsquo;ll eliminate items you&rsquo;ll be begging for later? Fear no more, the Merrell team want you to enjoy your travels and not be stressing about the size and weight of your bag, so we&rsquo;ve kindly put together a list of our top 10 packing tips!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/10/MRL_F13_Camp03_LowRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="472" height="274" /></p> </p> <p><br /><strong>Merrell&rsquo;s Top 10 Packing Tips:</strong></p> <p> <p> <p><br /><strong>1.</strong> Pack your bag, unpack it and half it. You won&rsquo;t need half of that stuff, it&rsquo;s likely you&rsquo;re just being over cautious. We always seem to come back from holiday with unworn clothes and unused toiletries, so think about what you really need and only take that.</p> <p><br /><strong>2.</strong>&nbsp;Plan out your clothes carefully. Make sure you have the right clothing with you and that you can make a selection of outfits out of them. Does that top go with your trousers and your shorts? Yes? Great, get it in! Clothes that can be dressed up and down with the addition of some jewellery or a scarf are also a winner.</p> <p><br /><strong>3.</strong>&nbsp;Roll up your clothes. You&rsquo;ll be pleasantly surprised how much place this saves compared to folding. Don&rsquo;t ask me how this works, but it does! This also reduces the amount of creases in your clothes.</p> <p><br /><strong>4.</strong>&nbsp;Throw Out Packaging. You&rsquo;ve probably brought yourself lots of medicines and drugs for the trip. Don&rsquo;t keep these in their cardboard boxes, take them out and put them all in a bag. However, make sure they&rsquo;re labelled and that you include the instructions.</p> <p><br /><strong>5.</strong>&nbsp;Label Your Luggage Well. Make sure you have a luggage label on your backpack in case it&rsquo;s lost in transit. It&rsquo;s also worth putting a second copy of your name, address and contact details inside your bag as it&rsquo;s not too difficult for luggage tags to get detached and lost.</p> <p><br /><strong>6.</strong>&nbsp;Decant your liquids into smaller bottles. Unless you&rsquo;re travelling for a few months, it&rsquo;s unlikely that you&rsquo;re going to polish off a whole bottle of shampoo etc. Grab yourself a couple of smaller travel sized toiletry bottles and decant enough of your shampoo, conditioner and body wash into these. Even if you are planning a longer trip, don&rsquo;t take full-sized bottles. Remember that no matter where you&rsquo;re going, at some point you&rsquo;ll be able to pick up replacements.</p> <p><br /><strong>7.</strong>&nbsp;What not to take. If you&rsquo;re unsure about something, then the general rule is not to take it! So long as you&rsquo;re not heading some remote spot hours away from a shop, it&rsquo;s likely that you can pick up extra items while you&rsquo;re away if they&rsquo;re needed. This is more applicable for those inexpensive items such as Aloe Vera gel, extra sun cream and a hand-held fan. Items such as city maps can also be picked up locally from Hotels, Hostels &amp; Tourist Information Centres</p> <p><br /><strong>8.</strong>&nbsp;Leave the suitcase at home. If you&rsquo;re planning some serious travelling and really are looking to get about and see lots of places, then don&rsquo;t think about taking a suitcase. A suitcase is great if the only moving it&rsquo;s going to be doing is from the airport to the hotel. However, it&rsquo;s likely that you&rsquo;ll have to jump on and off busses, get your bags up steps and even walk for a little while with them. Having a bag you can carry on your back makes all this a lot easier!</p> <p><br /><strong>9.</strong>&nbsp;Secure your bag in a Secure Pack Bag. This is essentially a zip-up cover to pop your bag in while travelling, particularly on airlines or if you have to leave your bag in a hotel lobby. This helps to avoid anyone tampering with your luggage. Although this is incredibly unlikely, there have been plenty of scare stories where apparently innocent travellers have had items planted in their backpacks or had personal belongings stolen.</p> <p><strong>10.</strong>&nbsp;Leave some space free. Don&rsquo;t go packing your bag to its brim! You&rsquo;re going to find plenty of souvenirs and gifts you&rsquo;re going to want to buy, but unless you have spare space in your backpack you won&rsquo;t be able to bring them back.</p> </p> </p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/10/MRL_F13_Camp02_LowRes_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="454" height="301" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 20 Oct 2013 23:33:00 GMT Proterra GTX Connectfit Explained <p> <p> <iframe width="300" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> </p> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 06:26:00 GMT Tom Forman: Third week barefoot and I'm still running! <p>The work life balance - like a baseball &ndash; is a hard thing strike right, granted it is always better to play it safe than strike out, But sometimes this means that I just can&rsquo;t run as much as I would like.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/10/Tom Forman5.bmp" alt="" width="353" height="451" /></p> <p>The outline of this week has been a tale of small post-work sanity runs coupled with a nice relaxing 13 mile trail run at the weekend. As with the previous week, the aforementioned post-work runs were around the usual 4.4 miles in length and allowed me to rotate my trainers on a daily basis. The weekend run was the furthest I had undertaken since the transition to a more &lsquo;naked trainer&rsquo;, so I was pretty nervous at the outset as with a number of events upon the horizon, I didn&rsquo;t want to injure myself.</p> <p>Having said that, unlike the Eagles I&rsquo;m not known for taking it easy, so the concept of jumping from 4 to 13 miles as a step-change seemed like a good enough way to test my progress, after all should the pain start I could always stop and walk home&hellip;</p> <p>The majority of this thirteen mile route was trail; my partner &ndash; who is also migrating to a Merrell Barefoot trainer - had prepared a route that covered track, field and public food path, which was perfect. Firstly, I spend so much time running on roads during the week, that at the weekend it&rsquo;s refreshing to experience the &ldquo;green&rdquo; and secondly, the softer ground would be nicer to my feet.</p> <p>As the main purpose of this jog was to test my feet, we took it steady and therefore took a number of hours to complete, the weather was surprisingly acceptable for a September and it was great to spend it on my feet and outdoors.</p> <p>Now possibly due to my short-attention span or because I have spent the last three weeks solely in Merrell trainers, I feel like I&rsquo;ve always ran in them. Quite a surprising statement so early on, I spent my first 5 years of running in other branded trainers so I was expecting to miss them a little at least. But to be honest, I haven&rsquo;t looked back.</p> <p>Upon completing this run and waiting a few days to check there wasn&rsquo;t a delay, I can honestly say that after my longest run to date in my new footwear, I neither ache nor do I hurt anywhere! This is a little disappointing as I wanted to fill this blog post with tales of woe and photos of swollen ankles, but alas, all is going well and I&rsquo;m injury free.</p> <p>This however sets me up for my next step-change this weekend, where I&rsquo;ll be running my last long run before the Round Ripon in a few weeks. This training run will be a 40 mile mix of trail and path thus giving me opportunity to get my&nbsp; feet&nbsp; used to longer distances on the black stuff. I am looking to take a gentle 8 hours to complete this and really confirm that my body has adjusted to the newly found running style.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/10/tomforman6.bmp" alt="" width="488" height="260" /></p> <p>Got a question and want an honest response? Then follow me at @crazyrunnertom or email me at</p> <p>Please note Tom is an experienced runner having competed many ultra events. This is his story of transitioning from traditional running shoes to barefoot and as a result we would not recommend that anybody copies his training regime directly. This is what works for him and for more information on how to make your own transition please see <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 14 Oct 2013 02:24:00 GMT Warm Weather Travel Essentials <p>The traditional holiday season may be drawing to an end, but we know that many of you intrepid travellers will already be planning your next adventure. Your trip may not be next week, but why not get some of your holiday shopping done early? Especially since some of it will be in the end of summer sale at the moment! To give you a head start, we at Merrell have made you a list of Warm Climate Travel Essentials.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/10/MRL_ss13_bazaar1974_LR.jpg" alt="" width="515" height="360" /></p> <p><strong>What to Take:</strong></p> <p><br /><strong>Money &amp; Travel Cash Cards:</strong> Take with you enough currency to cover you for the first couple of days. For the rest of your travel money it may be worth getting a Travel Cashcard which you can pre load prior and during your trip. There are a number of different providers (including STA, CaxtonFX, Post Office) which generally do not charge a fee for withdrawals and transactions.</p> <p><br /><strong>Selection of Clothes:</strong> Don&rsquo;t pack your whole wardrobe, but do make sure you have a varied selection of clothes suitable for your trip and the activities you expect to be doing (a pair of trousers, shorts, a few tops, a hoodie/jumper, a skirt or dress for the ladies and of course enough underwear to last at least 5days before needing to do washing). Don&rsquo;t forget your swim wear if you&rsquo;re heading somewhere hot! Merrell recommends our popular Belay Shorts as a travel must-have for women.</p> <p><br /><strong>Long Skirt/Wrap around/Sarong:</strong> Essential for avoiding unwanted attention in certain countries and also for exploring many religious sites, Cathedrals and Temples<br />Lightweight fleece: Even in hot climates, airplanes and excessive air conditioning can leave you freezing. Merrell&rsquo;s Fractal fleece, made with extremely soft conductor fleece to keep you warm, is the ideal choice for guys.</p> <p><br /><strong>Lightweight waterproof:</strong> Always try and keep one of these in your day bag. The heavens can open at any time without as much as a hint. Our women&rsquo;s Aquatia jacket offers waterproof and windproof protection as well being highly breathable!</p> <p><br /><strong>Lightweight/versatile Shoe:</strong> forget your bulky, cushioned trainers at home and grab a lightweight alternative for getting around. Our minimalist shoes including our Pace Glove and Trail Glove are a great companion for your trip. Not only will these take up less packing space, but both shoes are highly breathable, fast drying, machine washable and offer a comfortable glove like fit!</p> <p><br /><strong>Approach Shoe/Sports Sandals:</strong> Planning on exploring outside of the city, taking a few long walks or embarking on day excursions, make sure you have a pair of sports sandals or approach shoes such as our new Proterra styles. Designed for a full days outing on rugged terrains, these shoes will keep your feet comfortable and pain free. Less robust shoes will almost certainly result in a few aches, pains and maybe even blisters after a long day out. Make sure you bring a&nbsp;good pair or walking/hiking socks and liner socks to get the best results.</p> <p><br /><strong>Comfortable Day Bag:</strong> Bring a small rucksack to carry around your daily essentials such as your camera, water, a packed lunch and waterproofs.</p> <p><br /><strong>Waterproof Cover for Your Bags:</strong> Don&rsquo;t get caught out in the open rain with your backpack getting soaked. Drying each item will be a right pain, especially without a private room to spread your belongings out safely. While some bags come with waterproof covers as standard, others don&rsquo;t, so be sure to check this before you set off.</p> <p><br /><strong>Water Bottle/Water Bladder:</strong> Don&rsquo;t waste your precious budget on buying water each day. Take a plastic bottle or a water bladder for your backpack and fill up in the mornings. Watch out though, as mains water is not always safe to drink in some countries, particularly as you head toward South East Asia and so check with a reliable source before you drink local tap water.</p> <p><br /><strong>Sleeping bag liner:</strong> Keeping your sleeping bag fresher for longer, a sleeping bag liner is far easier to wash that your actual sleeping bag. This will also be pretty useful if you&rsquo;re staying in hostels as it can save you the need to rent bedding and using one of these will minimises the likelihood of contracting bed bugs.</p> <p><br /><strong>Security Pack Bag:</strong> This is a secure bag to pop your bag in while travelling, particularly on airlines. This helps to avoid anyone tampering with your luggage. Although this happening is incredibly unlikely, there have been plenty of scare stories where apparently innocent travellers have had items planted in their backpacks.</p> <p><strong>Travel/Trek Towel:</strong> A lightweight, microfiber towels take up much less room than your usual fluffy towel and will also dry at light speed in comparison!</p> <p><br /><strong>Small First Aid Kit:</strong> For those bumps and scrapes. Typical kits include essentials like plasters, bandages, dressings, antiseptic wipes, tweezers etc. Where possible it&rsquo;s advised that travels take care of their own cuts and scrapes to reduce contracting infections from others.</p> <p><br /><strong>Eye Mask &amp; Ear Plugs:</strong> You never know where you&rsquo;re going to have to sleep, noisy trains, crowded hostels, airport lounges. Make sure you can drown out your surroundings and at least get some sleep with these two items.</p> <p><br /><strong>Hand Sanitizer:</strong> The last thing you want is an upset stomach. You&rsquo;re going to want to be out exploring the outdoors, not the ins and outs of the nearest bathroom.</p> <p><br /><strong>Flashlight/Head-torch:</strong> There are many uses for the old torch, whether it&rsquo;s getting yourself home from pub after dark or avoiding waking up your fellow sleeping roommates in the hostel by turning on the main lights.</p> <p><br /><strong>Duct Tape:</strong> Great for repairing damaged bags, rips in coats etc. The list of where this item will come in useful is endless!</p> <p><br /><strong>Pad Lock:</strong> For securing your backpack in lockers or even keeping your bag secure when it&rsquo;s left in lobbies or hostel storage rooms.</p> <p><br /><strong>Drugs:</strong> Stock up on Laxatives, Rehydration Sachets, Pain Killers, Anti-diarrhoea pills.</p> <p><br /><strong>Travel Wash &amp; Washing Line:</strong> If you&rsquo;re planning on doing your own clothes washing. This is a lot cheaper than using the hotel or hostel services if you&rsquo;re trying to save the pennies.</p> <p><br /><strong>A Couple of Plastic Bags:</strong> For storing dirty or wet clothes and also for keeping liquids surrounded in case of leaks.</p> <p><br /><strong>Power adapters and chargers:</strong> Before embarking double check what type of plug(s) is used in the region you&rsquo;re travelling too.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A Good Book:</strong> Get stuck into a book on those lazy afternoons in the sun or rainy days inside. If you&rsquo;re planning a long trip and thinking of taking a few reads with you, don&rsquo;t! Take one book which you&rsquo;re happy to leave or pass onto a fellow traveller. Most hostels have a book exchange system or other travellers eager to get their hands on another book, so you&rsquo;ll have no problem picking something up while you&rsquo;re out there.</p> <p><br /><strong>Insect Repellent &amp; After-bite:</strong> During the daytime protect yourself from mosquito bites by opting for a Deet based mosquito repellent. A higher concentration of Deet will offer you a greater level of protection, the only downside being that it will need to be reapplied slightly more frequently.</p> <p><br /><strong>Mosquito net:</strong> Annoying and unattractive, no one wants to be covered in mosquito bites. Avoid being bitten at night by sleeping under one of these, particularly in hostels or rooms poorly sealed from the outside.</p> <p><br /><strong>Malaria Tablets:</strong> If you&rsquo;re heading to a tropical location, check whether the region(s) you&rsquo;re travelling to is malarias. For further advice on malaria tablets, talk to a healthcare professional at your local travel clinic ideally 4-6weeks before you depart.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/10/MRL_ss13_bazaar7359_LR.jpg" alt="" width="528" height="347" /></p> Tue, 08 Oct 2013 01:40:00 GMT Lowri's epic experience at the Ring O' Fire <p>I was a little nervous.&nbsp; It had been awhile since I'd run a long (100km+) race. I hadn't raced a stage race since the Arctic's 6633ultra in 2011.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now I was standing on the starting line for the Ring O Fire, advertised to have 13,695 feet of vertical ascent making the 3 day 135 mile epic race around Anglesey, Wales a mammoth undertaking for even the most hardy of runners.</p> <p>Before the race started, I had the privilege of meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since they were the official Royal race starters. I had an interesting conversation with them both about the dedication needed in training for these kind of events and also the mental&nbsp; strength one needs in sometimes putting simply one foot in front of the other when times are tough during a race or even a training session.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/10/Lowri Morgan and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge 1.PNG" alt="" width="254" height="354" /></p> <p>I mentioned in my earlier blog that my aim for this race was purely to get around it and to collect the 4 points needed. I had not trained properly and felt like a student going into an exam without having done the necessary revision&nbsp; - and I hate that feeling. In a race and in life in general, I'll never be the cleverest, strongest, fastest or the experienced runner on the start line, but I pride myself on being one of the best prepared. However, on this start line, I knew it wasn't the case!</p> <p>So my plan was to take it easy.</p> <p>William and Kate officially started the race and the stampede began.&nbsp; By now, I am no longer amazed how hard everyone runs from the get-go....including myself! It was faster than I was used to.&nbsp; Soon I was gasping for air.&nbsp; I'll slow down a touch I thought. But again I was comfortable. Or was I?</p> <p>This is my disclaimer - I admit, that I might get timings, distances, minute per mile wrong in this blog, purely because I am not a runner who is governed by logistics. I listen to my body - to my heart rate, my breathing. I'm constantly analysing the feeling in my legs and feet. I felt good; wasn't pushing and wasn't being lazy either. This race, I kept reminding myself, was a chance for me to test myself against myself. I was happy. I was even happier when I heard that I had settled into 11-12th place overall .&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite running briefly with a friend, we separated and I spent most of the stage on my own. I enjoy the company of others but also am quite content with running on my own. I enjoy the freedom it gives me and the space to be by myself.</p> <p>I have raced most of my races abroad, but being able to race one of the UK's toughest Ultra marathon in my own beautiful country is a privilege.</p> <p>Another advantage of running in my 'green gym' was that my parents were able to came see me race an ultra marathon for the first time. During my cross country athletics days, they drove me around the Uk and supported endlessly. It was wonderful to see them at check points with the same enthusiasm and encouragement.</p> <p>I felt good, wasn't tired and felt strong with only 4 miles left of the 36 mile stage. So, I plugged my headphones in and started cruising. I was in the zone. I had just passed a few runners.</p> <p>Little did I know, that behind me, there was a kind member of another support team chasing and shouting trying to get my attention. Then the father of another runner in his car flagged me down. He had jumped into his car to catch up with me, because I had missed the turning.</p> <p>How careless of me! I had worked hard to overtake a few runners. Now they were in front of me again. And that's when I realised that my competitive edge was reborn. I sprinted back and worked hard to regain my place again. Think I must have lost around 10mins. I finished 10th in around 6.15hrs - ish (everything is approximately, because by the time I cross finish lines, I'm so relieved, excited and happy to see people, I always forget to stop my watch!)</p> <p>I set up my sleeping bag in the corner of the gym. My brilliant support team ( Mam and Dad) arrived to give me some words of encouragement and to make sure I was digesting enough fuel and calories for the following days's 67 miler.</p> <p>As I watched them take in all of the amazing atmosphere at the check point, I sat back and had this surge of excitement. I am always very grateful of the experiences that running gives me - to race in beautiful places, to meet amazing people and to have a family who make you dig deeper and believe in yourself.</p> <p>The second day was to be a monster of a day, but I did not see it like that. For me it was going to literally be one foot at a time.</p> <p>Early into the run, I knew something wasn't right in my stomach. I felt nauseous from the out set but put it down to nerves and breakfast settling. I have experienced this feeling before and thought it would settle. The most important thing for me was that my feet in my Merrell's were fine. No blisters. No pain. That to every ultra runner is always good news.</p> <p>This stage feels a bit of a blur. We ran through picturesque country sides, beautiful coastal scenery. I had made a conscious decision to walk the uphills. As I did this, my heart sank as I saw the pack in front of me disappearing in front of me. It took strength and a great deal of patience not to sprint up to catch these runners. I was just trying to keep moving at a reasonable pace.&nbsp; I had to have faith that I would catch up with them - eventually.</p> <p>I usually move through aid stations as quickly as possible, and I feel that by walking the uphills, I did not need the resting period at the check points. I also found that I could run quickly down&nbsp; roads and I started feeling a little better when the support teams would tell me that I was closing up with the front runners.&nbsp; So the combination of some downhill and scaling back the pace a little bit seemed to be paying dividends.</p> <p>However, my stomach was not better at all. I was trying to embrace the pain, then trying to ignore the pain. I tried to drink water, eat food but could not. I knew this was not good. So, I occasionally looked around and tried to be inspired by the gorgeous views of mountains, sea, beaches and bright blue sky and it was nice to have so much mental stimulation during the climb, which could be quite brutal.&nbsp;</p> <p>I ran, then hiked, then ran, then hiked, alternating on shallow and steep grades and using my breathing as a guide as to when to settle into a pow-hike.&nbsp; I actually really enjoyed this stage as I felt I had a good grinding especially on the technical trails.&nbsp; I even enjoyed the asphalt and loose rocks on the beaches!</p> <p>I passed several more ultra marathoners. I went the wrong way ... Again. And cursed myself ... Again. You certainly do not want to add more metres or miles to an already long race.</p> <p>I'm a fairly good downhill runner, especially when I'm in the mood to take some chances.&nbsp; I took some chances. This was evident as I passed 3-4 other marathoners on the descent, including the runners who had climbed so well up to the top of passes earlier in the day.&nbsp;</p> <p>The support during this race was absolutely amazing. Check points were my motivation. It was, to me a place where I'd be greeted with smiling faces full of encouragement. I loved it!</p> <p>On the stage's last check point, I was told that I was somewhere around 6th or 7th place, so I decided to let it all go on the last 10kms. But how tough were those last 6.2miles?! As I closed in on the days finish line, and as my soul was being stripped bare, I saw my father and heard my mothers voice, 'Come on Lowri - nearly there'. My soul started to rebuild and the smile returned on my face. I was 'home'!</p> <p>I was so happy and relieved, not with my position, but because I had finished in 13.15ish hrs, and before it had gotten dark. I couldn't navigate myself properly in daylight let alone in nighttime - that is why I have the utmost respect for not just the front runners in these races, but also the ones who take twice three times as long to get to the finish line. They are the ones who spend longer on their feet, who have to cope with darkness and lack of sleep. Respect to them, I'd say.</p> <p>I knew as I quickly got into my sleeping bag, that I was struggling. I had struggled with stomach problems through out the day. I was white as a sheet. Apparently, according to medical opinion, I had burned the stomach lining by taking some powerful pain killers on an empty stomach. This resulted in me finding it hard to swallow water, food. I was glad that I had my other sponsors liquid post race fuel Daionic to force down.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/10/anglesey ultra marathon.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="222" /></p> <p>At this point, I've run enough races to know my body and that the next stage, the last day was going to be interesting.&nbsp; I felt weak, and my lack of long runs during training was going to pay.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>My plan was go out and see how I could push my personal boundaries. I was running strong but mentally didn't feel strong as I knew I didn't have the backing of those training miles in the bank. So I was taking a risk, but risks are there to be taken. If I go too slow, I regret not pushing. It's all about finding a balance.</p> <p>I joined forces with the front 6 for about 15 miles but eventually left them to get on with their own battles. I was quite happy to run my pace in my own world. The only drawback for something like that, is that when I zone off, I don't concentrate and when I thought I was lost, I reached for the map.</p> <p>My map wasn't there. It had fallen out of its side pocket. I was so annoyed, and it was just at a point in the race when we needed to follow the map due to some changes. I felt sick (literally) and started to loss patience - with myself. I had no signal on my phone. I had really messed it all up. Nobody else's fault, but my own.&nbsp;</p> <p>By now, even my forte - the downhills was letting me down. I had no energy and was putting everything I had into the last couple of miles, but as I couldn't see anyone in the distance I let up on the pace for a tad and tripped over some rocks.&nbsp; OK, lets finish this out strong I decided.&nbsp; So I hammered my legs into oblivion running uphill and downhill at 10/11 minute pace.&nbsp; I ignored my screaming legs (my feet again were fine) as I had reached that point where you don't care about pain and just want it to be over.&nbsp;</p> <p>I could see the finish lime. I had 35 miles on my clock. Unfortunately I realised I was running on a parallel trail to the finish line. I managed to cross the line but in a slight variation to the official one. I had finished 12th out of around 130ish runner. I was pleased. My aim was just just to finish the race and didn't care as much about the overall placing nor running time. I was also pleased to see that my feet were in perfect condition (considering what I had put them through) so thank you Merrell!</p> <p>It was a great social environment with all the finishers being extremely friendly and congratulatory.&nbsp;</p> <p>The race was a challenging one; the high mileage, the tough terrain and the navigation making it one the UK's toughest endurance events. I wouldn't have had so much mental pleasure out of it if it had been easy! I can only blame myself for getting lost and running those extra miles. I need to practise what I preach - nobody plans to fail, they just fail to plan.</p> <p>So, Ring O Fire ... I WILL be back!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/10/Lowri Morgan and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge 4.PNG" alt="" width="341" height="477" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 07 Oct 2013 00:46:00 GMT Tom's Journey to Barefoot continues.. <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">My second week of Merrell 'barefootness' was my first week of norm, by norm I mean that I had to work during the daytime instead of sitting by a pool and enjoying mid-day sun hill-rep session.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">However that is not to say it was not filled with surprises. Firstly I managed to spend my previous week in a new pair of trainers without injury and secondly upon my return to work, I was greeted with a box, a box of Merrell Barefoot trainers!&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/9/tomforman2.bmp" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">This surprise delivery meant that I had a number of trainers that I could adjust too throughout the week, adjusting was a two-stage approach whereby I wore them around the office &ndash; to the amusement of some of my colleagues &ndash; and then once comfortable with them, I ran a 4.5 mile route to the train station.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">The aforementioned plan I hoped would provide enough time throughout the working day in order to prepare my feet for the run post work. I adopted this plan based upon the success of my initial week in barefoot styled trainers.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">So with that, I spent the week walking around the office in my trainers and managed four 4.5-mile test runs in the evening, each evening taking the opportunity to try the following models:</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"><strong>Ascend Glove</strong></p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">My initial pair of Merrell barefoot trainers (aka my orange trainers) that I have spent the most time in over the recent weeks. Lightweight and surprisingly flexible, to look at they look more like a traditional trainer but that&rsquo;s mainly down to the aesthetics rather than the actual build.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">They felt great to run in and rather connected to the ground whilst running on the wet London paths.Although these are a trail trainer they feel perfect for running on the hard black stuff. Although I'm not sure how long it will be before I wear the tread down, but until I do, I'll happily be using them on a weekly basis.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"><strong>Bare Access 2</strong></p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">Initially I found these 'green ones' more of a challenge to run in, the sole of this trainer promoted me to run quite flat footed, which I now realise was intended. However due to me having always been more of a heel-2-toe kinda guy, it initially sounded like my feet were playing pat-a-cake with the pavement. Having said that, it did encourage those other people to move out of my way, which was refreshing as I was starting to think I was a 6'3" 14stone invisible runner.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">These are also the only pair that I decided to run in without wearing them in first throughout the day. It is important to note though that when wearing a pair of trainers for the first time, it is never recommended to run 4 ish miles in the rain and without socks on in order to "try them out". However they have felt just as good as the various other trainers I've been wearing recently.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">I think these are going to last me longer than the other pairs, the tread is obviously constructed for road running and isn't going to degrade due to over use on the tarmac, whereas the other trainers are designed for the trail and as such have a more proactive grip, which I think will get worn down by the roads. Just like I do.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"><strong>&nbsp;Ascend Glove GTX</strong></p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">Staring out of my office window on a dark, wet and rainy Wednesday evening, I desperately hoped for the chance to entertain my bored legs with a post-work 4.5 mile sanity run. Eventually, my parole was granted and the evening was mine, and with that I scanned my trainer drawer for an appropriate pair of trainers.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">The more intellectually nimble readers will not be surprised to read that I chose the Ascend Glove GTX trainers for the evening jaunt. Until now, I hadn't owned a pair of Gore-Tex trainers, and I was severely hoping that maybe, just maybe they would stop my shoes becoming a paddling pool if I had been an organised person, I would have probably used a pair for the Ocean Floor race earlier in the year, however being organised is one of the many things I choose not to embrace.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">Obviously these are more cushioned than a road trainer, but somehow they&rsquo;re still pretty lightweight (not sure how that&rsquo;s actually possible), the tread is better suited to trail or fell but they handle the road adequately.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">So how did I find these trainers? Brightly coloured, remarkably waterproof and a pleasure to run in. Which lets be honest are three attributes all such trainers should have and I'm looking forward to taking these out in the Round Ripon in the next few weeks.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"><strong>Trail Glove</strong></p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">These yellow trainers are one of my favourites, although it maybe just down to how I have laced them, they hug the sides of my feet a little tighter than the others and therefore, I almost forget that I'm wearing anything on my feet at all. Having said that be it running over trail paths in Herts, or glass in London, I'm glad that I am wearing footwear.</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">I think these will be my preferred trainer of choice for most of my training runs and general walking around the office whilst I'm suppose to be wearing shoes. They're just so comfortable,&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">So with, that I'll wrap up my progress on the Journey to Barefoot and simply say that it is going well. My shins and calves still aren't hurting. So the plan is to up the mileage in week 3 and to start preparing for my first ultra-marathon in October.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;">Thank you, and good night! #journeytothefinishline&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/9/tomforman3.bmp" alt="" width="259" height="351" /></p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"><em>Please note Tom is an experienced runner having competed many ultra events. This is his story of transitioning from traditional running shoes to barefoot and as a result we would not recommend that anybody copies his training regime directly. This is what works for him and for more information on how to make your own transition please see:<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span><a href=""></a></em></p> <p style="text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; white-space: normal; letter-spacing: normal; color: #000000; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 29 Sep 2013 23:48:00 GMT Merrell GORE-TEX Connectfit Product Testing <p> <p> <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> </p> Wed, 25 Sep 2013 05:27:00 GMT Cold Weather Travel Essentials <p>We&rsquo;re all a little sad that summer is clearly over and gone for another year! But let&rsquo;s not forget that this also means that winter isn&rsquo;t far away. The season of snowy landscapes, frozen lakes and hot chocolate in front of the fire. No matter where you&rsquo;re going this winter and no matter how far you venture into the snowy mountains, be prepared and stay warm with our cold weather travel essentials list.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/9/MRL_FW13_0348_LR_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="388" height="261" /></p> <p><br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">What to take:</span></strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><br /></span><strong>Money &amp; Travel Cash Cards:</strong> Depending on access to ATMs, take with you enough currency to cover you for the first couple of days at least. For the rest of your travel money it may be worth getting a Travel Cashcard which you can pre load prior and during your trip. There are a number of different providers (including STA, CaxtonFX, Post Office) which generally do not charge a fee for withdrawals and transactions.</p> <p><br /><strong>Selection of Clothes:</strong> Don&rsquo;t pack your whole wardrobe, but do make sure you have a varied selection of clothes suitable for your trip (a pair of trousers, a few tops, hoodies/jumper, and of course enough underwear to last at least 5days before needing to do washing). Merrell&rsquo;s Big Sky Hoodie is a must-take for guys. This hoodie offers windproof protection while also being breathable! Our insulated Ladies Soleil Mixer is a great option for women, and can be slipped on underneath bigger outer layers for those especially cold nights.</p> <p><br /><strong>Base layers/ Thermals:</strong> These items may well be the most important on the list, designed to wick moisture away from the body, keeping your skin dry and warm during your activities. Base layers are available in a number of materials from synthetics to merino wool.</p> <p><br /><strong>Down Filled Jacket:</strong> Protect yourself from the icy winds with good quality and fill down jacket. If available, a high fill power is more desirable as it&rsquo;s more likely to fit underneath your waterproof if necessary. Women pick up one of our feminine but functional Astor Down Jackets. Synthetically insulated jackets are a perfectly suitable alternative. For you guys out there we recommend Merrell&rsquo;s Adventure Rest Insulated Hoodie. This jacket will not only keep you toasty warm, but also packs up into a neck pillow, ideal for always on the move travellers!</p> <p><br /><strong>Balaclava/ Scarf / Neck Warmer:</strong> A balaclava may not be the most flattering accessory but you&rsquo;ll certainly prefer this look to having a chapped face! Neck warmers will also help to keep the cool chills from finding their way down your neck.</p> <p><br /><strong>Waterproof Hiking Shoes/Boots:</strong>&nbsp; A waterproof shoe is essential for colder climates where rain is almost certain. Pack yourself a pair of sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes which will keep your feel comfortable and dry. A Gore-Tex shoe will offer you exceptional protection from the rain, although many brands offer their own waterproof membranes at a cheaper price. Guys check out our Chameleon 5 Gore-Tex, and for the ladies we&rsquo;d recommend the Chameleon Arc 2 Rival Waterproof!</p> <p><br /><strong>Snow Boots:</strong> Heading to the snow capped mountains? Ensure you&rsquo;re fully prepared for getting around and able keep your feet toasty warm with a pair of insulated waterproof snow boots intended for freezing conditions. Merrell&rsquo;s Snowbound is ideal for women; these fleece-lined boots are packed with 200grams of insulation, keeping you warm in temperatures down to -40c</p> <p><strong>Waterproof Jacket and Trousers:</strong> Certainly try and keep a waterproof jacket on you at all times, and additionally a pair of trousers if you&rsquo;re out on a longer trip. Our women&rsquo;s winter coats have been popular year on year; look out for our Haven and Ellenwood jackets! Booth are available in insulated and waterproof styles.</p> <p><br /><strong>Gaiters:</strong> Protect the bottom of your legs and ankles from snow, rain and debris with a pair of waterproof gaiters.</p> <p><br /><strong>Gloves:</strong> A good pair of insulated or thermal gloves is a no brainer. Opt for a waterproof pair for snowy regions.</p> <p><br /><strong>Reactive Hand Warmers:</strong> End up sitting about in the cold too long and you&rsquo;ll soon find your fingers turning blue. Avoid this painful experience with reactive gel hand warmers which rapidly heat up on demand. Other uses for these implements include pre-warming your sleeping bag, melting iced up water bottles and warming up sore muscles.</p> <p><br /><strong>Sleeping bag liner:</strong> Keeping your sleeping bag fresher for longer, a sleeping bag liner is far easier to wash that your actual sleeping bag. This will also add another layer to keep you a little warmer at night</p> <p><br /><strong>A Good Book:</strong> Get stuck into a book on those lazy afternoons in the sun or rainy days inside. If you&rsquo;re planning a long trip and thinking of taking a few reads with you, don&rsquo;t! Take one book which you&rsquo;re happy to leave or pass onto a fellow traveller. Most hostels have a book exchange system or other travellers eager to get their hands on another book, so you&rsquo;ll have no problem picking something up while you&rsquo;re out there.</p> <p><br /><strong>A Couple of Plastic Bags</strong>: For storing dirty or wet clothes and also for keeping liquids surrounded in case of leaks</p> <p><br /><strong>Drugs: </strong>Of the medical type. Stock up on Laxatives, Rehydration Sachets, Pain Killers, Anti-diarrhoea pills.</p> <p><br /><strong>Duct Tape:</strong> Great for repairing damaged bags, rips in coats etc. The list of where this item will come in useful is endless!</p> <p><br /><strong>Flashlight/Head-torch:</strong> There are many uses for the old torch, whether it&rsquo;s getting yourself home from pub after dark or avoiding waking up your fellow sleeping roommates in the hostel by turning on the main lights.</p> <p><br /><strong>Waterproof Cover for Your Bags:</strong> Don&rsquo;t get caught out in the open rain with your backpack getting soaked. Drying each item will be a right pain, especially without a private room to spread your belongings out safely. While some bags come with waterproof covers as standard, others don&rsquo;t, so be sure to check this before you set off.</p> <p><br /><strong>Security Pack Bag:</strong> This is a secure bag to pop your bag in while travelling, particularly on airlines. This helps to avoid anyone tampering with your luggage. Although this happening is incredibly unlikely, there have been plenty of scare stories where apparently innocent travellers have had items planted in their backpacks.</p> <p><br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/9/MRL_FW13_0451_LR_RGB.jpg" alt="" width="376" height="249" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 22 Sep 2013 19:56:00 GMT Tom Forman's Journey from Stability trainer to Merrell Barefoot <p>By way of introduction, let me start by saying that I am not a professional athlete. Nor am I particularly great at running. What I am - I guess - is a middle aged man, who for a number of reasons finds himself running a bit here and there. I never take myself or my events too seriously and I've been known - on the odd occasion - to 'aeroplane' down hills.&nbsp;I'm known by many names, but for professionalism and politeness sake, we'll stick with Tom.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Author Bio<br /></span>Name;</strong> Tom Forman<br /><strong>Age:</strong> 30<br /><strong>Fastest Marathon:</strong> 3:36<br /><strong>Longest Race:</strong> 160miles<br /><strong>Std Training Distance:</strong> 10k<br /><strong>Aims:</strong> To finish more races than he DNFs</p> <p><br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Social Details<br /></span>Twitter</strong>: @crazyrunningtom<br /><strong>Facebook </strong><a href=""></a> <br /><strong>E-mail:</strong> <a href=""></a><br /><strong>Personal Blog</strong>: <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/9/tomforman.JPG" alt="" width="221" height="288" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Tom: A Brief History Of Running</span></strong></p> <p>The running started back in 2008 with the odd 10k whilst training for a half marathon (Run to the Beat). Although not the quickest by any means, I fell in love with running and was convinced I could run further.</p> <p>In 2009 I ran my first marathon and completed this in around 4:30. Convinced I could run faster, I entered a few fell races in order to improve upon my fitness. This lead to wanting to improve upon the fell race times, so with that decided to run further than a marathon, in order to train for them.</p> <p>Boom! January 2010, my first ultra marathon. I nearly died (maybe a slight exaggeration), but I did end up in A&amp;E with a very poorly ankle (Photo).</p> <p>I have been hooked ever since and am always convinced that I can run further.</p> <p>This brings my running history up to the present day and with that I should probably explain why I'm even blogging at all!!</p> <p>I have been asked by Merrell to feed back progress and any thoughts whilst I make the transition from 'normal trainer' to 'Merrell Barefoot'.&nbsp;</p> <p>And as this information may help others make the change, we thought a public blog would be a good idea.</p> <p>In the near future I will be posting about the general transition, reviews on the trainers used, running style / stride changes and more.</p> <p>The aim is to be 'barefoot ready' for my ultra marathons in 2014, but I will discuss those later.</p> <p>For now, I will say thank you for reading my first blog post and should anyone have any questions feel free to contact me through any of the details above.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/9/tom forman.JPG" alt="" width="457" height="298" /></p> <p><br />&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 03:23:00 GMT Piers Stockwell - Merrell Natural Running Technique Seminar <p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> </p> Mon, 16 Sep 2013 10:04:00 GMT More than 6 Marathons in 6 Days - Katie Roby <p>I was back at work this week after my summer &ldquo;holiday&rdquo;.&nbsp; Colleagues have been asking the usual questions &ldquo;where did you go?&rdquo;, &ldquo;what did you get up to?&rdquo;.&nbsp; I didn&rsquo;t really know how to answer without sounding like a running obsessed freak.&nbsp; I tried to normalise it with words like ice-creams, fish+chips and sea swims.&nbsp; I hoped this would make the fact that I spent my precious week of annual leave running the entire length of the very breathtaking Pembrokeshire coast path slightly more acceptable.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/9/IMG_478711.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />I blame Tim.&nbsp; It was his idea.&nbsp; 186miles with 5000m of ascent over 6 days.&nbsp; He too threw in the words &ldquo;holiday&rdquo; and &ldquo;ice-cream&rdquo; and I fell for it.&nbsp; Hook, line and sinker.&nbsp; Aside from the lure of ice-creams and sea swims I found the concept of a multi-day run intriguing.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m relatively new to this ultra-marathon running business and so far I&rsquo;ve found single day events challenging enough.&nbsp; To date they have left me hobbling, exhausted and swearing that I am never running again.&nbsp; The concept then, of waking up the next morning, putting the trainers on and going again, and again, and again, was something new for my running brain to come to terms with.&nbsp; <br />I&rsquo;m going to jump straight to the bit I most want to forget.&nbsp; That way I get it over and done with.&nbsp; It happened on Day 4.&nbsp; Day 4 has been renamed day 0.&nbsp; Day 0 was sick day.&nbsp; I woke up to a full on bout of &ldquo;Delhi belly&rdquo;.&nbsp; I lost my dinner and couldn&rsquo;t face breakfast.&nbsp; Available fuel to complete a 30 mile day = nil.&nbsp; Running soon became a slow, lethargic walk and after only 2 miles I succumbed to the foetal position.&nbsp; Tim reminded me this was a &ldquo;holiday&rdquo; and that ended day 0.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/9/IMG_4808111.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />The whole idea of this trip was to explore the Pembrokeshire coast path, to have a go at multi-day running and to enjoy a summer holiday.&nbsp; The path was, as I had heard from many people, fascinating.&nbsp; A journey through such a variety of geological features, from the jagged, gnarly cliffs in the north, the wide sweeping bays further south and the tiny, tucked away coves that were dotted all the way along.&nbsp; We were teased by turquoise blue water that screamed &ldquo;come for a swim&rdquo;, but quickly reminded ourselves that salt water might not be so good for chaffage.&nbsp; I spent miles and miles on the lookout for seals and dolphins, and after numerous rejected &ldquo;spottings&rdquo; I finally learnt to correctly distinguish the difference between black buoys and the real deal.&nbsp; I enjoyed the urban areas too.&nbsp; The quaint seaside villages with cafes and ice-cream huts, the &ldquo;traditional&rdquo; Welsh caravan parks and the monstrous oil refineries that provided an interesting contrast to the relative tranquillity that we had been running through.<br />Physically it was an interesting journey too.&nbsp; From the fresh but nervous legs on day 1, to the exhausted but &ldquo;path&rdquo; conditioned legs on day 6.&nbsp; Energy ebbed and flowed.&nbsp; Mood and enthusiasm peaked and troughed.&nbsp; Aches and pains moved daily from hips to knees, from feet to shoulders.&nbsp; Eventually, I think my body just accepted that it would have to run 30 miles a day, and actually I felt my strongest on the last day.&nbsp; Pretty amazing what bodies can do if they are asked!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/9/IMG_4747111.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Once again Wales has come up trumps.&nbsp; The weather helped, as it would have been a different story in gale force winds and horizontal rain.&nbsp; The path provided a brilliant setting for 6 days of running.&nbsp; It kept me engaged and distracted from what was a physically exhausting trip.&nbsp; Most importantly though, it was a brilliant holiday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 11 Sep 2013 02:16:00 GMT Lowri prepares for one of the most extreme ultra marathons in the UK: the Ring O' Fire <p>Merrell Ambassador, TV Presenter, and ultra marathon athlete Lowri Morgan discusses her physical and mental preparation for one of the toughest ultra marathon's in the UK: the Ring O'Fire.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/lowri.jpg" alt="" width="339" height="503" /></p> <p><br />In just a few days time, I'll be racing the Ring O&rsquo; Fire.</p> <p>It's a 135 mile footrace following the Wales Coast path around the Isle of Anglesey. Staged over three consecutive days this epic foot race follows the rugged and spectacular Anglesey Coastal Path around the Island. It has a 60% drop out rate. The distance and variable terrain makes Ring O&rsquo; Fire one of the most extreme ultra marathons in the United Kingdom. You can find out more about the route and challenge here: <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/ring o fire.jpg" alt="" width="434" height="213" /></p> <p>So I am nervous. I am very nervous. Have I done enough training? Have I put enough hours in? Is my body ready for 135 miles? After all, ultra running training is not just about speed. It's about getting the body used to running 10 plus hours. I feel as if I'm like a student going into an exam without having done the preparation.</p> <p>For the last few months, the Ring O&rsquo; Fire has completely taken over my life. It's the first 100 kms + race I've ran for 18 months. The training, the necessary equipment, kit and its weight has been a lingering thought in the back of my mind.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/ring o fire2.jpg" alt="" width="590" height="125" /></p> <p>Unfortunately, I've not had the most ideal training preparation for this event. There have been good running days and bad &ndash; more bad days if I&rsquo;m completely honest. Trying to fit in training with a busy working life is quite difficult and is a challenge in itself - as I'm sure many would agree. Despite completing a 52 mile race in 8 hours in May, the long 5+ hour runs following have been sparse. Not due to lack of wanting but because of lack of time. The way I've tried to compensate for this is by running up to three times a day - before work, during my lunch hours and then after work. Yes, ultra running and the training that comes with it is a way of life.</p> <p>Am I ready for this challenge? I honestly do not know. I had hoped to push my body one last time before starting my tapering. But during that period we were told sadly that our loving golden Labrador - Bronwen Morgan - had only a few days left to live. Instead of spending hours on the trails, we spent hours trying to make Bron as comfortable as possible. Training was put to the side. And I have no regrets for doing that.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/lowri3.jpg" alt="" width="271" height="402" />&nbsp;</p> <p>We had an extra 3 weeks with Bron before she passed away last week at only 2 years old. She became an integral member of our family. A beautiful dog - on the inside and out, she helped each one of us in different ways. For me, she was my faithful running companion. As I&rsquo;d sit in the kitchen dreading a run in the rain and thinking of excuses why not to drag myself out, I'd take one look at her and she knew! She knew I'd be thinking of running and her tail would start wagging. How would I then be able to resist her! She'd start wagging her tail even more when she saw me putting my Mix Masters on.</p> <p>Bron loved exploring. And so do I. That is why I love ultra running.&nbsp; It's not for the winning or glory. It's purely for the adventure, the sense of freedom that comes with being in the outdoors. I'm continuously inspired as I run along the Wales Coast Path especially at home on the Gower Peninsular. The innocence and excitement Bron showed when she found a new trail, the peace and tranquillity she oozed as she happily trotted along the paths was contagious and she taught me many important lessons whilst we spent our time bounding over rocks, paths, fields, mountains and beaches for hours on end.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/lowri2.jpg" alt="" width="425" height="271" /></p> <p>I am often asked who my inspirations are. Well, this month, it's been Bronwen. I had a few days off from work and after losing her, decided to do what she loved &hellip;.. running and running and running. I ran 100 miles that week with some sessions carrying a weighted sack so as to emulate the weight I'd be carrying during the race. And ironically it has been a good last week of running. However, I fear it might be too little too late. But I'll soon find out if I'm ready for this race.</p> <p>I always get nervous before races &hellip;before anything that challenges me to be honest. I'll be walking into the unknown. But we shouldn&rsquo;t be afraid of the unknown &ndash; things like this only make us stronger. When I'll be on the start line and when that gun goes off, there'll be a switch inside me that will light up. I'll be so excited and focused.&nbsp; I'm not looking to break any records or compete against others, I just want to push my physical and emotional limits and see how far I can go.</p> <p>Ultra running is much more than a run. It is about tradition, overcoming obstacles, commitment, goal setting and accomplishments.&nbsp; Extreme racing is to put yourself on the line, to look deep inside yourself, to push your limits and to find new ones. It commands respect. It can hurt you too &ndash; physically, mentally and emotionally. I go to places in my head where I believe that we, as humans, do not go often enough. And I'm looking forward to going to that place in my head again during the Ring O&rsquo; Fire!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/lowri4.jpg" alt="" width="331" height="472" /><br />&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 27 Aug 2013 20:08:00 GMT Doc Andrew Murray's 'Lessons from Africa' <p>Merrell Ambassador &amp; endurance athlete Dr Andrew Murray, recently completed his epic journey across East Africa in search of the secrets behind what he labels &ldquo;the single greatest, most concentrated production line of world class talent in sport.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/47831_474714855956496_65944124_n.jpg" alt="" width="443" height="308" /></p> <p><br />Him and former Royal Marine Commando Donnie Campbell ran up and down the 5895metre/ 19341feet Mt Kilimanjaro in a day, did the same with 4985 metre Point Lenana, running over 50km at significant altitude every single day for 18 consecutive days and over 900km in total, traversing national parks, tropical rainforests as well as running and spending time with the athletes and coaches that make Kenya the pre-eminent force in middle and long distance running globally.</p> <p>Murray also spent time with Olympic and World Champions such as John Ngugi, Yobes Ondieki and Edna Kiplagat, and experts including Colm O&rsquo;Connell who has coached over 20 world champions. Additionally, he observed the 2013 Kenyan World Championship trials, where Olympic and World champions like Ezekiel Kemboi and Linet Masai both finished 6th, behind emerging stars. At the previous Athletics World Championships, in Daegu 2011, Kenyan athletes won a remarkable 17 medals, with 11 of those going to athletes resident in Iten, a village of only 4000 people.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/Andrew Murray Image.JPG" alt="" width="441" height="347" /></p> <p><br />Dr Murray comments:</p> <p>&ldquo;Running Mt Kilimanjaro, and covering fairly chunky distances each day at considerable altitude are difficult, but applying knowledge from the Kenyan champions, and the made it a fair bit easier. Seeing buffalo at close quarters makes you run faster also.<br />Because Kenyan athletes are so dominant in middle and long distance running people assume you have to be from Kenya or East Africa to be be successful in these events- that success is based on genetics and where you are from.<br />Neither myself or any experts I spoke to can find any truth in this. There is no secret, it&rsquo;s about doing absolutely everything right, coupled with some natural ability. British athletes like Mo Farah have been competing with and defeating the best in middle and long distance events- maybe Britain can dominate these events in future...<br />Ironically despite the world class talent in Kenya, most aspiring athletes have inadequate footwear, so it was great to take 500 pairs of shoes across, including 150 new pairs from Merrell.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/Image 4.JPG" alt="" width="384" height="277" /></p> <p>John Ngugi, a 5 times World Champion, and Olympic Champion who now coaches leading prospects added:<br />&ldquo;It is not easy to be the best. It is necessary to be disciplined, to eat well and to train hard with no excuses. My moto is &ldquo;train hard and fight easy&rdquo;- if you have trained hard the race will be easier. Scottish and UK runners can win also, if they do these things&rdquo;</p> <p><br />Edna Kiplagat, the current World Marathon champion stated:<br />&ldquo;Discipline, determination, and heart are key factors in achieving success. Eating well and being dedicated are also important.&rdquo;</p> <p><br />Colm O&rsquo;Connell added:<br />&ldquo;Most of the Kenyan champions come from poor, rural backgrounds, and there are many fine, dedicated athletes here, but the UK dominated middle distance running for a while, with Coe, Ovett, Cram, and Tom McKean, while British Cycling have shown a talented group, all doing well. &rdquo;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/Iten Fartlek session.JPG" alt="" width="383" height="260" /></p> <p><br />You can find out more about Andrew Murray's epic challenge and&nbsp;adventures on his website: <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 14 Aug 2013 20:58:00 GMT A little bit about me and JT Expeditions… <p>Jake Thompsett&nbsp;talks about his inspiration and passion for outdoor adventures.</p> <p><br />I&rsquo;ve always loved anything that involves the mountains and the outdoors and it was inevitable that I would take on a job that was a little less average. After leaving school I decided to study for a degree in Outdoor Leadership and Management during which I achieved qualifications in mountain leadership and rock climbing instruction. I realised that I was spending any available time doing anything to do with the outdoors, whether that meant travelling up to Scotland in the winter months to ice climb, spending hours on the internet and in the books searching for the newest training techniques and skills for fell running, or finishing late night dissertation sessions and driving out to the Brecon Beacons to trail run into early hours of the morning, I was hooked!&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/down.jpg" alt="" width="454" height="287" /></p> <p>This lead me to think &ldquo;how can people live their lives not experiencing the thrill, challenge and rush of the outdoors environment!?&rdquo; As my final year was coming to a close and with that question in mind, I realised I wanted to work for myself and do something a little bit different - at that point JT Expeditions was born. In September 2012 I set up the company to provide invaluable experiences and tuition that not only prepare you to survive the adverse conditions of the mountains and outdoors, but also help you to translate these to everyday life challenges.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2013/8/Top mountain.jpg" alt="" width="456" height="269" /></p> <p><br />At JT Expeditions we train people in the skills required to get out in the mountains and show themselves what they are really made of, that they can achieve much greater things than they believe, and to constantly push the boundaries. It is very difficult to really experience the challenges, enjoyment and exhilaration of the outdoors if you don&rsquo;t have the skills necessary to get out in the first place! That&rsquo;s where JT Expeditions step in and open up that gateway for you!</p> <p><br /><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/Running down.jpg" alt="" width="454" height="243" /></p> <p>A huge part of the JT Expeditions ethos involves adopting the &ldquo;I can&rdquo; way of thinking, and always taking any exciting opportunity. There is so much fun to be had in the outdoors whether that means competing in adventure races and mountain marathons or generally just going for a walk in the hills or a climb at your local crag!</p> <p>Win a trail running course with Jake <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/8/JT_Expeditions_Logo.jpg" alt="" width="243" height="168" /></p> Thu, 08 Aug 2013 13:19:00 GMT KATIE BREAKS THE LADIE'S RECORD AT THE SOUTH WALES TRAVERSE <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I&rsquo;d heard tales of this South Wales Traverse thing. I&rsquo;d eavesdropped as fellow MDC runners reminisced, if that is the right word, about previous attempts. It sounded like a bit of an adventure. A chance to do a bit of exploring. So when Gary asked if I fancied giving it a go, I said yes, a very naive yes, but a yes all the same.&nbsp; And that&rsquo;s how it started.</p> <p>What followed was a slow realisation that I had no idea what I had said yes to.&nbsp; I did what all well informed ultra marathon runners do in preparation for an event and Googled it! 73 miles, 31 &ldquo;summits&rdquo; over 610m, totalling 5000m of ascent; all in less than 24 hours. Yikes.</p> <p>There were three of us; Gary the mastermind behind it all who produced spreadsheet after spreadsheet of timings, Chris the long legged one who made the steep slogs up and down look irritatingly effortless and myself.&nbsp; We had raced most of the route on some superb evening runs and somehow managed to persuade a small group of people from the club to give up their spare time to support us.&nbsp;<br />Some last minute nerves regarding the unusually high temperature (28 degrees in Wales &ndash; we couldn&rsquo;t believe it either!) meant we made a tactical decision to bring the start forward to Friday evening after work to run as much of it as possible in the cooler temperatures.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/7/IMG_0451.JPG" alt="" width="451" height="277" /></p> <p><br />I always find it difficult, when reflecting back on events and runs to remember what actually happened! It becomes a bit of a blur, the miles mush into each other, the hill that I trotted up at 8pm starts to look a lot like the hill I dragged myself up at 3am.&nbsp;&nbsp; I have a tendency to cherry pick the good bits and conveniently forget the bad.&nbsp; <br />I remember a few things very clearly.&nbsp; Looking back over the first section with the sun silhouetting the ridge we had just run on as it went down.&nbsp; A very atmospheric, big, bright moon with a wonderful sprinkling of stars as we went over Penyfan.&nbsp; Watching the sun try and poke itself out from a layer of low cloud up over Talybont reservoir.&nbsp; Trying to stop myself from falling asleep whilst running.&nbsp; Seeing sea horses in the hedgerows in one of my particularly delirious moments.&nbsp; Drinking beetroot soup at transition.&nbsp; Waddling along the final ridge, thinking &ldquo;nearly there, keep waddling&rdquo; and then seeing the steep descent into Llantony and hearing my knees scream &ldquo;noooooo&rdquo; at me. Finishing; the relief, elation, tiredness and pain.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/7/IMG_0457.JPG" alt="" width="445" height="302" /></p> <p><br />We all completed it in 19 hours and 53 minutes, which beat the previous ladies record of 22 hours 40 minutes.&nbsp; Our total distance was 75 miles with 5150m ascent.&nbsp; Physically it was hard going, the hills were relentless and terrain exhausting.&nbsp; 20 hours is a long time to be on the go, and mentally it was draining, constantly having to override that part of you that wants to stop and give up.&nbsp; This was certainly no Sahara desert crossing, but it is all relative, and for me this was my longest and hardest run so far.&nbsp; Aside from all the misery, pain, blah blah blah, it was a brilliant run.&nbsp; I got to explore parts of the Beacons I had not been to before, took in some pretty impressive views and had 20 hours of lovely company!</p> <p>Check the GPS log from the tracker&nbsp; <a href=""></a></p> <p>A week later my swollen knees and ankles are back to normal, I&rsquo;m still eating for Wales and I have almost much forgotten how much it hurt &hellip;..<br />Now it&rsquo;s my turn to reminisce about the South Wales Traverse 2013...</p> Sun, 28 Jul 2013 03:10:00 GMT Dr Andrew Murray's Epic Adventure begins... <p>On 1 July, Merrell Ambassador Dr Murray was joined by former Marine Commando Donnie Campbell to run more than an ultra-marathon (50km) every day in an epic 18-day run across East Africa. The journey includes running up and down Mt Kenya and Mt Kilimanjaro, through wildlife-filled game reserves and tropical rainforests, including several mountain ascents. The pair will also be running with world-record holders and world champions.</p> <p>Dr Murray&rsquo;s objective for this year&rsquo;s challenge is to discover the secrets to the prolific success of East African athletes &ndash; home to the best endurance athletes in the world. Remarkably, at the 2011 Athletics World Championships, Kenya won 17 medals, with no fewer than 10 medallists coming from the tiny village of Iten. This remains the single greatest, most concentrated, accumulation of talent in the world of sports.&nbsp;</p> <p>Dr Andrew Murray said:</p> <p><em>&ldquo;There is no better way to find out what makes these athletes so fast, than to spend time in their company and take on some of the biggest challenges East Africa has to offer. It&rsquo;s all about learning from Africa. 66 of the best 100 marathon runners in the world are from Kenya &ndash; is this due to the training regime, genetic factors, the food that is eaten, the altitude, or other factors?</em></p> <p><em>&ldquo;When you are running such a distance in challenging terrain such as over Kilimanjaro, through rainforests, keeping your feet healthy and comfortable is crucial and so it&rsquo;s important to wear the right shoe.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>Not only is Andrew Murray wearing his Merrell Mix Master during the challenge, Merrell is also donating a 150 pairs of shoes to the charity Running Across Borders as part of the Lessons from Africa challenge.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Mt Kilimanjaro- 1st challenge- completed in 7 hours!</span></strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/7/andrewmurray.jpg" alt="" width="330" height="427" /></p> <p>The beginning of the challenge started with the pair running up and down the 5,895 metres of Mount Kilimanjaro in a day. They ascended then descended through 5 distinct zones &ndash; the rainforest, cloudforest, moorland, desert and glacial zones. From the summit they were afforded views across the Tanzanian plains, and much of the region before descending via the Mweka route.<br />Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, and the highest free standing mountain in the world. Trekkers usually take 5 to 7 days to summit, with many suffering from high altitude sickness. Doctor Murray described the experience:</p> <p><em>&ldquo;What a phenomenal day, climbing through rainforest, montane scenery and finally glacier before topping out. It feels like my feet have been through a lawnmower, and we are pretty tired, but we took quite a scientific approach with advice from colleagues at SportScotland helping us get there. It&rsquo;s on with the rest of the challenge, tomorrow we are off to Amboselli National Park.&rdquo;<br /></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/7/Andrew-and-Donnie-running-up-Kili.jpg" alt="" width="394" height="248" /></p> Fri, 12 Jul 2013 00:02:00 GMT LOWRI MORGAN - INSIDE THE MIND OF AN ULTRA-RUNNER <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ultra-running is much more than a run. It is about tradition, overcoming obstacles, commitment, goal setting and accomplishments. Extreme racing is to put yourself on the line, to look deep inside yourself, to push your limits and to find new ones. It commands respect. It can hurt you too &ndash; physically, mentally and emotionally. I've been to places in my head where I believe that we, as humans, do not go often enough.</p> <p>I was never the brightest or cleverest pupil and I had failed in some of my exams. My mother reminded me about the tortoise and that it always gets there in the end. If I was willing to work hard, persevere and was determined enough, I could reach my potential.</p> <p>And that's my motto during the dark times of a long run or race. Keep plodding &ndash; the plodders always get there in the end. Keep going. That might sound obvious but when your soul is stripped bare and you feel at your lowest ebb, putting one foot in front of the other is very hard to do both physically and mentally.</p> <p>Every time I think of giving up, I remind myself why I run? Quite simply, it&rsquo;s because that&rsquo;s who I am. I love the freedom it gives me, the space to be by myself, the beautiful countries I've had the privilege to race in, pushing boundaries beyond what other people consider normal and lastly the people I have met along the way who have inspired me, made me dig deeper, strive to be better and believe in myself.</p> <p>Many times during a race I've found myself thinking I can no longer carry on, but I constantly tell myself that putting one foot in front of the other means being one foot closer to the finishing line.&nbsp; In the Amazon for example, the pain eventually disappeared and I'm convinced that this is when my body gave up and my mind took over. It&rsquo;s amazing what mental strength can do.</p> <p>Whilst in the Arctic Circle I often questioned myself, whilst facing my demons, if the experience was really worth the pain and emotional torture. I had sacrificed so much and had received so much support leading up to the event - Could I return home with my head held up high knowing that I had given up? &hellip;Yes, I could - I was the only one left in the race. I had proven enough but failure was not an option. I kept telling myself that the pain of failure would last much longer than the pain I was going through in the race.</p> <p>I'm not a huge competitor but run high mileage and thoroughly enjoy a personal challenge. I don't look to break any records or compete against others. I just want to push my physical and emotional limits and see how far I can go.</p> <p>Challenges drive us all - for some this can be a bigger house, smarter car or raising children, for others it is seeing how far they can push their minds and bodies. In my opinion, ultra-running is more about completing the challenge and personal achievement.</p> <p>Many do not understand the mentality of people like myself, who constantly push their physical and mental boundaries to the extreme.&nbsp; Everyone is entitled to their own passions - be it Mathematics, Motorsport, Art or Literature. The medium I have chosen is Adventure and travel.</p> <p>Despite the physical, mental and emotional pain of ultra-running, it has given me the most adventures, humbling and awe-inspiring experiences of my life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<a href=""><span style="font-size: small; font-family: Calibri; color: #0000ff;"></span></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 07 Jul 2013 18:48:00 GMT Q&A with Merrell Pack Leader Katie Roby <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Katie Roby Q&amp;A</span></p> <p><strong>1.&nbsp;What drew your interest in fell running and when? </strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;ve always done a bit of running, joining local clubs as I&rsquo;ve moved around the country.&nbsp; When I moved to South Wales 2 years ago I was keen to try something a bit different and found a fell running club called MDC who have provided the inspiration with their great series of Tuesday night fell runs.</p> <p><strong>2.&nbsp;How did you become an ultra marathon runner? Did you run a lot of marathons before and how did your experience in fell running help you?</strong></p> <p>Well, it sort of happened by accident.&nbsp; There are a brilliant series of ultra-marathons in Wales, organised by Might Contain Nuts, and I was nudged by a couple of people from the fell running club to have a go as they were on my doorstep.&nbsp; After a bit of resistance (i.e no way, I can&rsquo;t run that far!) I caved in, entered and am now completely hooked! I&rsquo;ve not done too many marathons; a couple of road ones which weren&rsquo;t my cup of tea but had my eyes opened to a whole different world of running when I did the Monte Blanc Marathon in 2010.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3.&nbsp;Is there any specific area or terrain you enjoy running the most? </strong></p> <p>I really, really enjoy the off road stuff.&nbsp; For me, running is an excuse to do a bit of exploring, see some views and get some fresh air!&nbsp; Put me on a rocky path, with a few hills and a bit of mud and I am completely distracted from the fact I am actually running.&nbsp; There are some lovely long ridges in the Black Mountains that I particularly love; especially on a quiet summer&rsquo;s evening.</p> <p><br /><strong>4.&nbsp;What inspired you to work for the Mountain Rescue team and did your job as a physiotherapist have any influence on this decision?</strong></p> <p>The Mountain Rescue team is a really invaluable resource who provides a brilliant service to those who use the mountains.&nbsp; As someone who uses them regularly I was keen to get involved and see if I could use my outdoors skills a little more constructively than for my own self-ish enjoyment.&nbsp; There was also an element of wanting to use my medical skills outside of the hospital environment.</p> <p><strong>5.&nbsp;Tell us more about the training for the mountain rescue team?</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;m currently nearing the end of my initial training with the team.&nbsp; We train one evening a week and then one Sunday a month.&nbsp; On joining our navigation was required to be of a certain standard but other skills such as searching techniques, rope work, casualty care and radio communications have been covered during our weekly evening training sessions.&nbsp; Once deemed competent, we become &ldquo;probationers&rdquo; where we are given pagers, can attend call outs but are under supervision of another team member.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>6.&nbsp;What expeditions have you done and which one was the most challenging?</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been fortunate enough to go on a number of expeditions with the Officer Training Corp, one to Peru and the other to the Himalayas and have recently got back from an independent trip to Kyrgyzstan.&nbsp; The most challenging was the expedition to the Himalayas, mainly because I was involved in the planning and leading of the trip.&nbsp; Suddenly there were 18 other pairs of feet and dodgy tummies to be worrying about . . . .</p> <p><strong>7.&nbsp;What skills does it require to lead Officer Training Corp expeditions?</strong></p> <p>All your standard leadership qualities are important but the ability to deal with strong characters, particularly as a small female, was a skill I developed pretty quickly! Your own personal skills/fitness/organisation also needs to be spot on so that you can be of use to the rest of the team!</p> <p><strong>8.&nbsp;Is there any location you're dreaming of going to one day or any race you would like to participate/win?</strong></p> <p>Where do I start?! At the moment there seem to be an endless supply of fantastic UK based races to choose from but would love to attempt some more multi-day events, maybe even in warmer climates!!&nbsp; Am always open to suggestions!</p> <p><strong>9.&nbsp;Tell us more about the Pembrokeshire coast path you are planning to do this summer? </strong></p> <p>St Dogmaels to Amroth, 186 miles, 35,000 ft of ascent/descent over 6 days, aprox 30 miles per day.&nbsp; Some superb scenery if the wonderful Welsh weather allows us to see any of it.</p> <p><strong>10.&nbsp; What are your plans for the rest of 2013?</strong></p> <p>In mid July I will be attempting the South Wales Traverse with some friends.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a 73 mile route, taking in 31 summits over 610m (2000ft), totalling 5000m of ascent.&nbsp; The challenge is to do it under 24 hours and I am tired just thinking about it.&nbsp; I will also be doing the final Might Contain Nuts Ultra marathon of the 2013 series, the OMM and the Brecon 10 Peaks!</p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 00:19:00 GMT Monty Halls' Top 10 Getaways <p>If a recent study is right, two of the key things to a &lsquo;happy life&rsquo; are spending time outdoors and enjoying two holidays every year. Whether your sights are set close to home or further afield, Monty Halls gives you his top 10 outdoor getaways to whet your appetite and help you tick these two boxes!</p> <p><strong>UK &amp; Ireland Destinations</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Western Isles:</span></p> <p>The Isles of Uists, Barra, Berneray and Eriskay really do have it all. Long, white beaches, a convoluted coastline, soaring eagles, stag, otters, and genuine solitude. If you want peace and quiet, this is the place. There is also the bonus of St Kilda on the horizon - the UK's only double World Heritage Site.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/Western isles.jpg" alt="" width="517" height="128" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Connemara, Ireland:</span></p> <p>&nbsp;The name derives from an ancient expression for the Community of the Sea, and the link with the ocean is plain to see. This is a veranda of Europe, staring straight out into the Atlantic. Dolphins, whales, basking sharks, and a warm welcome stemming from a vibrant local culture.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/connemara-430x244.jpg" alt="" width="411" height="235" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Applecross, Wester Ross:</span></p> <p>Climb up over the Bealach na Ba - the highest road across a mountain pass in the UK - and you drop into another world. Applecross is a tiny village perched on the edge of a golden bay. The Applecross Inn serves the best food on the west coast (in my humble opinion), and yet it is only a short stroll to a wilderness of steep hills covered in heather and populated by red deer.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/applecross-campsite.jpg" alt="" width="337" height="253" /></p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/applecross.jpg" alt="" width="338" height="218" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall:</span></p> <p>&nbsp;Jutting like an arthritic finger into the wild waters of the eastern Atlantic, the Lizard Peninsula is a special place indeed. The South West Coast Path wends its way through small fishing villages - a stop off in Cadgwith is absolutely essential - and yet the grandeur of the peninsula is never too far away. Cornwall at its magnificent best.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/The lizard pen.jpg" alt="" width="385" height="203" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Dartmouth, Devon:</span></p> <p>I would say this, because I live here, but it really is a beautiful little place. An ancient harbour town, dominated by the magnificent Royal Naval College on the hill, it is steeped in history and many centuries of proud tradition. That close connection with the sea is shown by some of the best seafood restaurants around. You only have to nose a boat out of the river mouth - passing the castles that stand sentinel en route - to be in another world, one of seals, cormorants, passing dolphins, and nesting peregrines. Magic.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/Devon.jpg" alt="" width="422" height="207" /></p> <p><strong>Overseas</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Poor Knights Islands, Tutukaka, New Zealand:</span></p> <p>14 miles offshore, these islands are sacred in Maori culture. As well as this traditional protection, they have also been established as a nature reserve by the New Zealand authorities. The real magic of the islands lies beneath the waves, with a dazzling array of marine life - Cousteau himself described it as the best temperate dive site on earth - but for the non-divers there is Rikoriko Cave, the largest sea cave in New Zealand. It translates as "The cave of dancing light and echos", which says it all really.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/Poor-Knights-Islands.jpg" alt="" width="430" height="206" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Cape Town, South Africa: </span></p> <p>&nbsp;Dominated by Table Mountain on one side, and the cold, wild waters of the Benguela Current on the other, Cape Town sits proudly on the very tip of Africa, a glorious mix of cultures as befits such a key historical trading post. It's not far to the Cape National Park, and indeed the small harbour of Gansbaai - launch point to encounters with great white sharks, surely the greatest predator of them all.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/Cape-Town-South-Africa.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="197" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Great Barrier Reef, Australia: </span></p> <p>Only 7% of the Great Barrier Reef National Park is coral, the rest is islands, rainforest (the most ancient rainforest on earth incidentally), mangrove, and lagoons. This World Heritage Site stretches for 2,000 km, and contains a lifetime of exploration. A true global jewel that offers so much more than pretty reefs and crowded boats.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/great b.png" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/great b 2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Galapagos, Ecuador:</span></p> <p>There are very few places that are truly unique, but the Galapagos is one. Indeed their traditional name was The Enchanted Isles, so called because mariners were baffled as they fought the seven different ocean currents that beset the islands from all sides. Tiny penguins, marine iguanas, and giant tortoises - the wonder begins as you step off the aircraft, and continues throughout your visit.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/galap.jpg" alt="" width="320" height="195" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Yonaguni Island, Japan: </span></p> <p>A slightly eccentric choice, but then again this is a slightly eccentric island. Yonaguni is tiny, and yet - paradoxically - is home to the largest moth on earth (the Atlas Moth), and has its own unique species of horse. It also has an undersea structure that continues to divide the scientific community. A strange, mystical place that just has that little something atmospheric and special about it.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/japan.png" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 18:13:00 GMT Merrell teams up with Action Challenge! <p><strong>Great News! </strong></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/actionchallenge_logo.gif" alt="" /></p> <p>We have teamed up with Action Challenge, a group of International Challenge Event Organisers, that have a variety of challenges available; sometimes tough, often life changing, usually unforgettable, and always rewarding.</p> <p>Action Challenge prides itself on offering a high quality experience for walkers and runners.&nbsp; Each event is split into a four stage course with major rest stops at every 25km and check points at every 12.5km where drink and energy snacks are provided.&nbsp; In addition:<br />&bull;&nbsp;Every route is fully signed &ndash; with maps and GPS downloads provided<br />&bull;&nbsp;There is a tented village at each start-line providing aerobic warm-up and refreshments<br />&bull;&nbsp;Hot food stops are provided at 50km, 75km,100km stops<br />&bull;&nbsp;Support walkers, masseurs, medics are provided along each route</p> <p>So, whether it's climbing Kilimanjaro with some friends, walking the 100km to Brighton overnight with 3000 other adventurers, cycling 1000km from Lands End to John O'Groats, or as part of a speeding peloton heading out from London to reach Paris within 24 hours &ndash; Action Challenge will have the challenge for you!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/TransPenine_RGB.JPG" alt="" width="260" height="133" /><br /><strong></strong></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Trans Pennine Challenge 2013</span></strong></p> <p>The countdown is on until the first annual Trans Pennine Challenge, taking place this June! The historic routes&rsquo; FIRST 100km endurance event. Set in the magnificent backdrop of the Peak District, you could also choose the 50km option from Manchester to Penistone.</p> <p>This stunning route sees participants make their way along the historic Trans Pennine Trail, leaving one vibrant city for another. Alongside 750 fellow walkers and runners, the atmosphere is sure to make for an unforgettable challenge &ndash; made all the more memorable by the dramatic landscape that surrounds.</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/Actionchallenge.jpg" alt="" width="396" height="240" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Get Involved!</span></strong></p> <p>All of Action Challenge&rsquo;s charity fundraising places on the Trans Pennine Challenge are now fully allocated, and we&rsquo;re delighted to have over 180 charities involved for 2013. <br />But it&rsquo;s not too late - you can still enter the challenge! An extra 150 &lsquo;self fund&rsquo; places are now available to those wishing to fully pay their costs. There are two options: 100km or 50km&nbsp; so you can choose what suits you!<br />What&rsquo;s more is we are offering you a unique discount code to receive 15% off entry! Simply use trans15 and visit <a href=""></a> to sign up to the challenge &ndash; deadline for entries is <strong>20th June 2013.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/6/actionchallenge2.jpg" alt="" width="368" height="235" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 10 Jun 2013 04:50:00 GMT Dr Andrew Murray's training for his next epic challenge... <p>Merrell Pack Leader Dr Andrew Murray is taking on an epic challenge this Summer 'RunHighAfrica'. Here he explains all about this upcoming adventure he faces and his typical training for such an extraordinary ultra marathon...</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/AM.JPG" alt="" width="366" height="286" /></p> <p>This year I&rsquo;ll be doing several races, with many 50 kilometres or more in length. I&rsquo;ll also be taking on an epic adventure in East Africa this summer. This involves making a film about what makes the Kenyans so fast and spending time with some of the fastest athletes on earth, as well as actually doing a fair bit of running out there myself.</p> <p>RunHighAfrica will take place over 18 days through East Africa running a minimum of 50 kilometres each day, all at altitude. The altitude does make a difference, as rugby players going to South Africa will testify, but I will test myself with hill after hill and mountain after mountain. This includes running Mount Kilimanjaro in a day, as well as Mount Kenya, Mount Longonot and many more. The trip will however be rewarding as it is challenging. The snow-capped peaks, the abundant wildlife in world famous national parks, spectacular geysers, and the stunning history and scenery offer much to me as a running tourist, quite apart from the quest for knowledge.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/AM2.jpg" alt="" width="269" height="367" /></p> <p>Training has started to crank up with this challenge just eight weeks away. I&rsquo;m currently mixing up running with playing football, tennis, and pretty much any other sport at the moment, but will need to put the big yards in soon.</p> <p>I tend to run to and from work, getting in about 60 miles a week and will throw in a longer couple of runs at the weekend or after work. Because I&rsquo;m training for the mountains of Africa, as well as the European Sky Running Championships the hills will become my training ground. Each hill in Edinburgh will no doubt hear my Merrell&rsquo;s coming most days, as I look to build up to doing a peak mileage of 180 miles. Part of the beauty of the runs I&rsquo;m doing this year is they are mostly trails and I love getting off the beaten track, splashing through puddles and seeing new things.</p> <p>There is also the question of staying fit. Eating well and having comfortable footwear are the two key components to getting this right. If an injury happens, I&rsquo;ll often try and run on softer surfaces for a few days or cross train. The winter leaving us behind leaves me running out of excuses to train. It&rsquo;s not dark or cold anymore and the trails are calling!</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/AM3.jpg" alt="" width="354" height="266" /></p> <p>Find out more about Dr Andrew Murray's incredible challenge on his blog: <a href=""></a>&nbsp;and also watch his latest video here&nbsp;<a href="">Lessons from Africa </a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 30 May 2013 16:12:00 GMT KATIE ROBY - A MERRELL PACK LEADER <p>Katie Roby is a recently converted ultra-marathon runner, completing her first event 18 months ago and is now officially hooked.&nbsp; Inspired by a move to South Wales and some gentle nudging from her fell running club she has found something that seems very natural to her, already winning a number of the Welsh ultra races, and she is keen to test her self further, in longer multi day adventures later this year.<br /><br />Whilst Katie will openly admit how fiercely competitive she is when it comes to running and adventure racing, she also relishes any opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors and is often seen up in the Brecon Beacons on her bike or walking.&nbsp; When not out &ldquo;playing&rdquo; in the hills Katie works as a physiotherapist in South Wales.<br /><br />Katie has been involved in a number of overseas mountaineering expeditions to the Himalayas, the Andes and more recently to Kyrgystan.&nbsp; Her skills are being put to the test at the moment as she completes her training with the Brecon Mountain Rescue team</p> Wed, 22 May 2013 04:47:00 GMT Insane Terrain- 3rd Stage Get Entering Now! <p>Stage 2 of the 2013 Insane Terrain Running Series, supported by Merrell, took place at the idyllic yet extremely challenging surroundings of Grange Farm in Wansford, just north of Peterborough.&nbsp; The venue is used for horse cross country and off road driving experiences making it an ideal venue &ndash; and a very tough one!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/ITR Wansford2.JPG" alt="" width="347" height="238" /></p> <p>Approx 150 people braved the cold conditions and there were some stunning times submitted, both in the 5k and 10k runs.&nbsp; With competitors having to conquer numerous obstacles from hay bale sky scrapers to spiders webs and cargo net crawls , 11 water challenges and muddy water tunnel crawls it was pure cruelty on the part of the organisers to add in the punishing hill climbs, particularly the brutal ascent at the end of the course.</p> <p>BUT THEY DID!!</p> <p>In fairness, they did add in some lighthearted elements to ensure everyone had fun and the human slide at the very end of the course was a welcome relief to those exhausted runners brave enough to enter.</p> <p>As with their first event in Woodbridge, the organisers set up the course to be firm but fair and make it an event that appeals to the elite athlete, the fun runner and the fundraiser; indeed there were a number of groups racing for charity and all of them commented on how much fun it was and that they&rsquo;d managed to get lots of additional sponsorship when people realized what they were going to have to endure.</p> <p>The 3rd stage of the series takes place back in Woodbridge on SUNDAY 9TH JUNE and the organisers have promised it will be bigger, better and tougher than ever!&nbsp;</p> <p>SPECIAL MERRELL DISCOUNT</p> <p>We&rsquo;re delighted to be able to offer you a special 10% discount off the entry fee and suggest you click <a href="">here</a> to register for the next event.&nbsp; Remember to use our code MERRELLWD13 when applying and feel free to share this code with friends and family.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/ITR Woodbridge 3.jpg" alt="" width="390" height="252" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 12 May 2013 18:47:00 GMT Piers Stockwell's 10 Commandments to Barefoot Running <p>Whether you&rsquo;re a barefoot aficionado, a relative newcomer or still pondering whether or not to make the switch, learning the correct barefoot running technique is essential. Research about the benefits and &lsquo;how to&rsquo;s&rsquo; on barefoot running are aplenty, but here Merrell Pack Leader and barefoot running specialist, Piers Stockwell, gives you his bite size top 10 tips on how to achieve the perfect Merrell Bareform running technique.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/2.Merrell-ThePack-PiersStockwell-Apr13 small.jpg" alt="" width="406" height="270" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">1.&nbsp;Increase your distance slowly<br /></span></strong>Barefoot running will put more strain on your calves and feet to start with. To begin with, run 5 minutes every other day for the first week, 10 minutes every other day the second week, 15 minutes every other day the third week and 20 minutes every other day the fourth week. After this increase your mileage by about 10% a week. It&rsquo;s fine to keep your mileage up by switching shoes to carry on training but as you increase the barefoot, decrease the cushioned shoes. A full transition to minimalist barefoot shoes will take around 3 months.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">2.&nbsp;Take a few rest days if you feel any foot pain<br /></span></strong>From wearing cushioned shoes, the muscles and tendons in your feet will have become weak and will take a while to strengthen in order to hold your foot bones properly. It&rsquo;s better to stop before you do any damage.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">3.&nbsp;Pick your feet up<br /></span></strong>It is very difficult to get your feet to land underneath you if you are shuffling.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">4.&nbsp;Posture, posture, posture<br /></span></strong>Keep your stomach strong and imagine you have a handle on top of your head which someone is pulling upwards. If you slouch, your body will become unaligned causing your feet to land in front of you.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">5.&nbsp;Make sure your heels very lightly touch the ground after your mid-foot underneath you<br /></span></strong>This will spread the pressure through your feet. Don&rsquo;t run on your tip toes as it will hurt!</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">6.&nbsp;Don&rsquo;t push off from your ankles at the end of your stride<br /></span></strong>Simply pick your feet up off the ground at the end of your stride.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">7.&nbsp;Use a foam roller regularly on your calves <br /></span></strong>This will help with the soreness by pumping blood to places where there is less blood flow. This helps to heal and mend as well as improving flexibility.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">8.&nbsp;Stretch<br /></span></strong>Pay attention to stretching your leg muscles regularly; not just after exercise but mornings and evenings as well. You will gain flexibility through giving your muscles stimulus to grow longer by stretching. If you are inflexible then it&rsquo;s difficult for your legs to move into the correct position to run efficiently.</p> <p><br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">9.&nbsp;Run completely barefoot regularly<br /></span></strong>Even if you don&rsquo;t run far, it will help to feel what is going on with your foot placement. Your body will tell you quickly if you&rsquo;re doing something wrong. If you become sore or blister on your heels, then you are heel striking. If this happens on the tips of your toes, then you are pushing off at the end of your stride. Make sure you run on pavements or smooth paths so that you will get proper feedback; grass is very forgiving and can allow you to cheat (and you can&rsquo;t see any nasties that might be lurking in there).</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">10.&nbsp;Make sure your arms are swinging properly<br /></span></strong>Your hand and elbow should pass by the top of your pelvis and your hands should not cross your centre line. Using your arms effectively will provide your legs with more power by aiding muscle contractions down your back to your bottom muscles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 07 May 2013 10:20:00 GMT 10 Best Walks in the UK <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">1. Ingleton Waterfall Trail &ndash; Yorkshire</span></strong><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><br /></span>Distance:</strong> 4.5m/7K <br /><strong>The Walk:</strong> Ingleton Waterfall Trail is one of the most stunning walks in the Yorkshire Dales, offering walkers a combination of beautiful waterfalls and ancient woodland. This famous walk has been a popular attraction since its opening in the late 1800s, in its early years 3&rsquo;500 people were recorded visiting the site on a single day. Thankfully the trail is less busy now, allowing its walkers a peaceful and enjoyable walk. Beginning in the village of Ingleton, the general circular route follows up the River Twiss and back down the River Doe along a fairly well-defined path. Keep an eye out for some of the trails most impressive waterfalls in the higher area of the Doe Valley. The path covers areas of incline, however it remains accessible for most as steps are provided where necessary. Unfortunately, this deems the path unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.&nbsp; Please be aware that this is not a free trail, admission is &pound;5 per adult, &pound;2 per child or &pound;11 for a family ticket.<br /><strong>More info:</strong> <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/ingleton.jpg" alt="" width="237" height="326" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">2. Ystradfellte Waterfall Walk &ndash; Brecon Beacons <br /></span>Distance:</strong> 4m -9m / 6k -15k<br /><strong>The Walk: </strong>Situated in the south of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Ystradfellte Waterfalls is a beautiful location to spend an afternoon walk. Unlike much of the barren mountainous areas of the Brecon Beacons, Ystradfellte is rich with wooded valleys. The river mellte cuts through the limestone land forming impressive gorges and picturesque waterfalls. Visitors can leave their vehicles in the village of Pontneddfechan and follow a well signposted route, to the rear of the Angel Pub, where the walk begins. Numerous routes can be pursued, with a range of distances and difficulties. A popular attraction of this walk is to wander behind the waterfall at Sqwd yr Eira, although this can be slippy so take care! This site is also popular for gorge walking and caving. The surrounding limestone makes this location rich in caves. Porth yr Ogof, boasting the biggest cave entrance in Wales, is located near the path and well sign posted. During dry seasons it is possible to enter the cave entrance following a series of steps. Although, this is not advised after periods of rainfall. <br /><strong>More info</strong>: <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/Ystradfellte.jpg" alt="" width="283" height="196" /><br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">3. Welsh Coastal Path &ndash; Pembrokshire<br /></span>Distance:</strong> Various Lengths 1m-13m / 2km- 21km<br /><strong>The Walk:</strong> Officially opened last year, the Welsh Coastal Path offers enthusiastic walkers 870 miles of uninterrupted coastline. Pembrokeshire coast national park boasts some of the most scenic landscape in wales, and is the only coastal park in Britain. The area is rich with history, wildlife and breathtaking beaches that can be enjoyed as short strolls or long hikes. During the summer months this location attracts a variety of dolphins, whales, orcas, sharks and turtles. Popular walks include that of Martin&rsquo;s Haven to Dale, a 10mile walk across fairly level ground with the occasional short climb. Prepare for some impressive cliffs weathered by ferocious Atlantic storms. Then catch glimpses of the windsurfers towards the end of the walk as you approach Dales popular watersports centre. For a shorter walk of 3.5miles try Deer Park to Marloes.<br /><strong>More info:</strong> <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/wales coast path.jpg" alt="" width="462" height="203" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">4. Derbyshire tops and bottoms<br /></span>Distance</strong>: 13m / 21km<br /><strong>The Walk:</strong> A favorite 13 mile circular walk from Monyash across upland scenery to Youlgreave and via river valleys back to the start.&nbsp; There are distinct differences between the stark, dry tops with their dry stonewalls and the vegetated valleys with clear flowing rivers.&nbsp; The rivers are home to brown and rainbow trout and grayling and have been famous for fly-fishing since Isaac Walton&rsquo;s book The Compleat Angler in the seventeenth century.&nbsp; Watch out for Dippers, Kingfishers and Herons.&nbsp; There are plenty of geographical features and signs of old lead mining industry in what is now idyllic countryside. The river Lathkill emerges at different levels in the valley depending on the water level underground, and may disappear again further down its course.&nbsp; The contrasts between upland and valley bottoms and the past and present scenery add spice to a route which is good value at all times of the year.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">5. Aberdaron &amp; Ffynnon Fair, Lleyn Peninsular, Wales<br /></span>Distance:</strong> 8 m / 13km<br /><strong>The Walk:</strong> The area west of Aberdaron has been inhabited since Neolithic times, evidenced by standing stones, earth works and remains of hut circles.&nbsp; Bardsey island, almost 2 miles off the coast was a major centre for medieval pilgrims and now owned by the RSPB.&nbsp;&nbsp; Narrow lanes lead to the end of the peninsular where there is a network of tiny fields above the cliff tops.&nbsp; The old pilgrim trail leads past the outline of an ancient church and down steps carved into the cliff to an inlet where there is a well of fresh water covered at high tide.&nbsp; The return route to Aberdaron follows the coast and has wonderful views inland towards Snowdonia and across Cardigan Bay.&nbsp; If dead saints don&rsquo;t interest you look out for seals, porpoise, dolphins, basking sharks, gannets, choughs, marsh harriers and peregrines.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/aberdaronfromsea.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">6. Old Harry Rocks, Dorset<br /></span>Distance:</strong> 3.8m/6k<br /><strong>The Walk:</strong> As part of the South West Coastal Path this circular walk from Studland follows the cliff-top path, with great sea views, and finally returns with a slightly inland route. A brilliant walk, particularly for spring and summer months, where views across the Jurassic coastline will be at their finest. From Studland follow the path towards the coast sign posted for Old Harry Rocks. Formed after the last ice age, these famous chalk stacks are a popular attraction in the area. Old Harry, the furthest stack, derives his name from the medieval term for Satan, who is believed to have rested here. Further chalk stacks litter the coastline until the trail begins to turn inland along Ballard Down. As the path veers inland, keep an eye out for the remains of a WWI rifle range. The remainder of the route follows a countryside road, passing through Glebeland estate. Ending back in the village of Studland walkers can rest, and enjoy the rest of their afternoon soaking up the sun in the pub gardens that overlook the cliffs.<br /><strong>More info:</strong> <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/old harry.jpg" alt="" width="356" height="227" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">7. Lairig Ghru, Highlands<br /></span>Distance:</strong> 19m / 30km<br /><strong>The Walk:</strong> This mountain pass, traversing through the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, is perhaps one of the best-known hill-passes in Scotland. The route between Deeside and Srathspey was historically employed as a droving route up until the 1870s. Naturally the path is well defined and fairly straightforward to navigate.&nbsp; The walk can be approached from many different start points, however the most popular is that from Colyumbridge and ends at the Linn of Dee car park. Early sections of the walk pass through some scenic old pinewoods. Once the edge of the forestry is reached walkers will see the Cairngorm Mountains towering ahead; at this point continue along the path signed posted for Lairig Ghru. As the path continues and begins to ascend, vegetation slowly dwindles and the landscape opens up. Along 810m accent breathtaking views of great trenches and soaring mountains catch your eye at every moment, making this walk truly spectacular. Ensure you are prepared for all weather kinds as most of this walk follows particularly exposed routes. In winter, the path becomes snow bound and should only be approached if prepared with ice-axes and crampons.<br /><strong>More info:</strong>&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">8. Latrigg &ndash; Lake District National Park<br /></span>Distance:</strong> 6m/10k <br /><strong>The Walk:</strong> Latrigg may be one of the lowest fells in the Lake District but don&rsquo;t let this put you off. This walk is located behind the idyllic market town of Keswick, Cumbria, a popular tourist location, which boasts marvelous surrounding fells and lakes.<br />The general route begins at Keswick&rsquo;s tourist information center, Moot Hall, where further information on the walk can be obtained. The viewpoint at the 368m summit looks southward over Keswick and Derwentwater Lake. Northward views display remarkable sights of the Lake District, particularly the impressive rising flanks of Blencarthre and Skiddaw. While most visitors pursue this as a linear walk, the circular route is a fantastic alternative that traverses across the top of Latrigg and finally follows the old railway line back towards the town.&nbsp;<br /><strong>More info:&nbsp;</strong><a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/hd_mws38_latrigg.jpg" alt="" width="479" height="180" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">9. The Pennine Way <br /></span>Distance:</strong> 268m/ 431km 7+ days, although small sections of the trail can offer great day walks.<br /><strong>The Walk:</strong> This famous trail is widely recognized as the &lsquo;Backbone of England&rsquo;, and is on the &lsquo;to-do list&rsquo; for many outdoor enthusiasts who have not yet tackled it. From Edale to Kirk Yetholm, The Pennine Way was Britain&rsquo;s first National Trail offering 270miles of awe-inspiring British countryside. Its reputation as one of the best walks in Britain can be defended for numerous reasons. Passing the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland, across the Cheviots and finally arriving in Scotland, this varied trail climbs over mountaintops and strolls through idyllic villages. However, this hike realistically needs a week to complete. For a brilliant taste-bite, might we suggest Jacob&rsquo;s Ladder to Kinder Scout? A popular day trip set in the heart of the Peak District. Setting-off from The Old Nag&rsquo;s Head pub, in Edale, this walk offers its visitors a true variety. A short but steep climb leads walkers to fantastic viewpoints across the peak district. This area is also rich with wildlife; housing birds such as the Short Eared Own, Merlin and Golden Plover. Lucky hikers may even catch a glimpse of the mountain hares that inhabit this countryside.<br /><strong>More info:</strong> <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/5/pennine.bmp" alt="" width="268" height="242" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">10. The Broads &ndash; Norfolk &amp; Suffolk <br /></span>Distance:</strong> Varied Distances (Wherryman&rsquo;s Way up to 35m / 56km)<br /><strong>The Walk:</strong> As Britain&rsquo;s largest protected wetland, the Broads host over 300km of footpaths and over 200km of navigable waterways. This scenic location is perfect for both short wanders or long hikes. The Broads are not only a place of incredible beauty; this site is also rich with fascinating history. Contrary to earlier belief, the waterways that span the Broads are not in fact natural. In truth they are evidence of peat excavation during the medieval (and later) periods. As the sea level gradually rose, these trenches begun to flood, forming the landscape that we see today. Wherryman&rsquo;s Way is a fantastic walk in this area and suitable for all. Visitors can mix and match their route with the option to throw in a boat or train ride. With a National Cycle Route running alongside the River Yare, this trail is also popular for cyclists.<br /><strong>More info:</strong> Visit <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/files/2013/5/wherryman.jpg" alt="" width="305" height="228" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 30 Apr 2013 21:10:00 GMT 10 Best Trail Runs in the UK <p>Using high-tech straw polls of fellow Merrell &lsquo;outsiders&rsquo;, we&rsquo;ve selected the top 10 UK runs and races&hellip;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 1:<br /></span>The Run:</strong> The Coniston 14<br /><strong>County:</strong> Cumbria<br /><strong>The Route:</strong> The hilly route follows the road that circles Coniston water. The race starts with a gentle three-mile climb, followed by a quick descent, before rising again. It&rsquo;s a pattern repeated frequently as the route follows the picture perfect road that circles Coniston Water.<br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> Lots of long climbs followed by sharp declines.<br /><strong>What Makes It Great:</strong> Being surrounded by mountains makes you feel like a hard-core mountain runner &ndash; but you don&rsquo;t have to climb them. The Coniston 14 race is held on a Saturday, great for anyone who&rsquo;s visiting the Lake District and wants to relax for the rest of the weekend &ndash; or maybe go for another run on the Sunday!<br /><strong>Distance:</strong> 13.875 miles.<br /><strong>Find out more online: </strong>Check out the race on the Coniston 14 race site for more information, <a href=""></a> held in October.</p> <p>&emsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/pic7w-9.jpg" alt="" width="345" height="187" /><br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 2:<br /></span>The Run:</strong> The West Highland Way<br /><strong>County:</strong> Dunbartonshire to Inverness-shire<br /><strong>The Route</strong>: The 96-mile (154km) route starts at Milngavie is a favourite of Blogger and ultra runner, John Mackintosh (<a href=""></a>). The route passes through Mugdock Country Park, follows the shores of Loch Lomond, passing Ben Lomond, through Glen Falloch and Strathfillan, crossing Rannoch Moor, past Buachaille Etive Mor to the head of Glencoe, climbing the Devil&rsquo;s Staircase, descending to sea level to cross the River Leven at the head of Loch Leven before entering Lairigmor and Glen Nevis and finishing at Gordon Square in Fort William.<br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> The weather is very unpredictable, as the West Highland Way Race info says: &ldquo;Weather. There will be some. When the sun shines, it&rsquo;ll be hot. When it&rsquo;s raining, it&rsquo;ll be cold and wet. If it&rsquo;s windy, there&rsquo;ll be less midges.&rdquo;<br /><strong>What Makes It Great:</strong> Stunning scenery including beautiful lochs and at the end of the West Highland Way you can even add in a climb up Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles (as long as you haven&rsquo;t run the entire route).<br /><strong>Distance:</strong> The total distance of the Highland Way is 96 miles. Sections of it are used for some epic ultra runs, and you can opt to run sections of it over a period of days. It&rsquo;s typically broken up into around eight sections from two to 20 miles each.<br /><strong>Find out more online:</strong> The West Highland Way plays host to three different ultra marathons: <br />&bull;&nbsp;The West Highland Way Race (<a href=""></a>) 95 miles including 14,760ft of ascent 1am on Saturday 22nd June 2013, to noon on the Sunday 23rd June 2013. <br />&bull;&nbsp;The Highland Fling (<a href=""></a>), 53 miles 27th April 2013. <br />&bull;&nbsp;The Devil O&rsquo; The Highlands (<a href=""></a>) 43 miles, 3rd August 2013.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/map.jpg" alt="" width="326" height="609" /></p> <p>&emsp;<br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 3: <br /></span>The Run:</strong> Ashton Court and Leigh Woods<br /><strong>County:</strong> Bristol<br /><strong>The Route:</strong> Just two miles from the centre of Bristol, Ashton Court Estate, where this run starts is surrounded by Somerset countryside. The run is a favourite of runner, cook and author of Go Faster Food, Kate Percy, who opts for six to eight miles. Leigh Woods has been described as the South West&rsquo;s most historic and beautiful woodland and is found on the plateau above the famous Avon Gorge, boasting superb views across the city to downland beyond. <br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> The trails in this area are favourites for mountain bikers, and like any trail, the uneven terrain makes this a fantastic run and great workout for the core.<br /><strong>What Makes It Great</strong>: Spotting wild red deer, and enjoy the tranquility of running through picturesque woodland.<br /><strong>Distance:</strong> Any, six to eight miles is best.<br /><strong>Find out more online: </strong>Check out this blogger&rsquo;s account of running the route. <a href=""></a><br />&emsp;<br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 4:<br /></span>The Run:</strong> Eastbourne to Beachy Head, taking in the Friston Loop (South Downs National Park)<br /><strong>County:</strong> East Sussex<br /><strong>The Route:</strong> This is a favourite run of The Running Bug, editor, Fiona Bugler, and her training partner, ex-international athlete Julia Armstrong. Starting at the foot of the South Downs (also the start of the Beachy Head Marathon) head out the reverse way to the Beachy Head Marathon, taking in the stunning Seven Sisters. At Birling Gap turn right through the fields to Friston Church, cross the road and take in a loop of Friston Forest, then head back via the &lsquo;gallops&rsquo; (training ground for race horses) towards Willingdon Hill, across the Golf Course and back into Eastbourne.<br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> Thigh-screaming climbs across the cliffs and covers every sort of terrain you could wish for (grass, woodland trails and chalky paths) for a total body workout.<br />What Makes It Great: Stunning views of the sea and white cliffs, fantastic trails in the forest (also used by mountain bikers) followed by rolling hills across the fields back to Eastbourne.<br /><strong>Distance:</strong> 15 to 20 miles, depending on how big a loop you choose to run through the forest.<br /><strong>Find out more online:</strong> Check The Beachy Head Marathon website, which is held in the last week of October, (<a href=""></a>) and choose a section of the course to run and <a href=""></a><br />for more about the national park.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/marathon-2011-start-380.jpg" alt="" width="336" height="255" />&emsp;<br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 5<br /></span>The Run:</strong> Liverpool Prom To Crosby Beach<br /><strong>County:</strong> Merseyside<br /><strong>The Route: <br /></strong>Run along the Mersey in Liverpool. This route takes in the Otterspool Prom, frequented by kite flyers on a windy day, through Liverpool, past the Liver Buildings, with the famous Liver Birds at the top, and other historic Liverpool landmarks. The run continues through the industrial docks (interesting rather than scenic here) and finishes on Crosby Beach where you can take in the famous Anthony Gormley statues, part of the permanent Another Place exhibition.<br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> Twists and turns in the industrial docks, and keeping your eye on the road, rather than sight-seeing &ndash; and a good marathon long run challenge. Can be exposed to headwinds, too.<br />What Makes It Great: You get to check out a fantastic city&rsquo;s key landmarks and sights, and finishing at Crosby Beach is a real treat.<br /><strong>Distance:</strong> The whole run is 18 miles &ndash; and you can get the train back into Liverpool from Crosby.<br /><strong>Find out more online:</strong> <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a> <br />&emsp;<br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 6<br /></span>The Run:</strong> The North Devon Marathon<br /><strong>County:</strong> Devon<br /><strong>The Route:</strong> <br />With Woolacombe Bay as a central point, this coastal route is tough and taking place in the North Devon area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, its scenery is stunning. Runner&rsquo;s World reviewers rated this race at an amazing 93 per cent, with an incredible 100 per cent saying that they would do it again. At the start of the course the coastal path is on headland with a sheer drop on one side. And, blogger, Barry Griffin writes: &ldquo;I get a bit excited as we run across the beach and have to run through a stream leading across the beach to the sea.&rdquo; The route follows a figure of eight around stunning coastal scenery, and is described my many as the toughest marathon they&rsquo;ve ever done!<br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> The route includes steep coastal paths and steps, and a 649ft elevation at 20 miles. <br />What Makes It Great: A tough race, that brings with it a real sense of achievement &ndash; and stunning scenery all the way.<br /><strong>Distance: </strong>26.2 miles.<br /><strong>Find out more online:</strong> <a href=""></a><br />&emsp;<br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 7<br /></span>The Run:</strong> Richmond Park<br /><strong>County:</strong> Surrey, Greater London<br /><strong>The Route:</strong> There are a whole host of routes through this fantastic park. The most popular is the man-made perimeter, Tamsin Trail, which is 7.35 mile (11km) long. It&rsquo;s a hard-packed sandy and stoney man-made trail that takes in some reasonable climbs en route.<br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> There are a few climbs and twisty trails and it&rsquo;s great for Londoners wanting a taste of the trail. Just be prepared to share the path with walkers and cyclists, and if you go off course, you may meet some deer settled in the fern.<br /><strong>What Makes It Great:</strong> Richmond is essentially London, and so there are lots of sporty people using the park giving it the feel of a huge outdoor gym for endurance athletes. Add to that the wild deer and leafy parkland and it really is the perfect oasis for city-based athletes.<br /><strong>Distance:</strong> The Tamsin Trail is 7.35 miles and forms part of the multi-lap Richmond Park Marathon.<br /><strong>Find out more online:</strong> Check out <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a> which is held in May.<br />&emsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/richmondhillview.jpg" alt="" width="344" height="227" /></p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 8<br /></span>The Run:</strong> Sand Point Run<br /><strong>County:</strong> North Somerset<br /><strong>The Route:</strong> This route covers wood, beach and the Sand Point National Trust headland. The stunning stretch of coastline around Sand Point and Middle Hope sits north of Weston-Super-Mare.<br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> Some steep sections through the woods and on the headland.<br />What Makes It Great: Good view of Wales and the Bristol Channel and you can spot plenty of birds on the headland, and not only seabirds. You'll also find swallows, greenfinches and skylarks.<br /><strong>Distance: </strong>8.54 miles<br /><strong>Find Out More Online: </strong>Check out The Good Run Guide (<a href=""></a>) for details of this run and check out <a href=""></a> for more information about Sand Point.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/218_927_4987431270_70f360c3d9_thumb_460x0.jpg" alt="" width="375" height="235" /></p> <p>&emsp;<br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 9<br /></span>The Run:</strong> The Terminator <br /><strong>County:</strong> Wiltshire<br /><strong>The Route: </strong>A hellish mid-winter, multi-terrain race, organised by Pewsey Vale Running Club. The course is mainly off-road to the east and south of Pewsey Vale village, and takes in the Kennet and Avon canal, and the hills to the south of Milton Lilbourne and Pewsey. <br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> Hills, puddles and unpredictable weather. Includes the infamous &lsquo;Gully&rsquo;, a narrow tree-lined path lasting 500 yards or so which is stony in places and can often have a stream of water running down it. And it finishes with a monster climb to the Pewsey White Horse.<br /><strong>Distance:</strong> Originally about 10 miles, the course was revised and is now nearer 11 miles; and the original two energy-sapping climbs having been increased to four.<br />What Makes It Great: The website says it&rsquo;s the post-race cakes. A fantastic run for weekend warriors who don&rsquo;t mind getting wet, muddy and taking in some serious climbs!<br /><strong>Find Out More Online:</strong> The race is held at the end of February, find out more at <a href=""></a>.<br />&emsp;<br /><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Run 10<br /></span>The Run:</strong> London by The Thames</p> <p><strong>County:</strong> London<br /><strong>The Route:</strong> Run from the Embankment to Tower Bridge, cross over the bridge and head back on the other side of the river. <br /><strong>Challenges:</strong> Tourist-dodging.<br />What Makes It Great: A flat and easy to follow route that takes in some of London&rsquo;s finest sights, including: Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, The Tate Modern and The Globe Theatre.<br /><strong>Distance: </strong>5.1 miles.<br /><strong>Find Out More Onine:</strong> Check out the Good Run Guide (<a href=""></a>) for a map of this route.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 21 Apr 2013 05:30:00 GMT Piers Stockwell Bareform Tips- Strength & Flexibility <p>Spending many hours seated at desks or in front of a TV has allowed our bodies to grow into the shape of a chair &ndash; tight hip flexors, weak gluteal muscles and no ankle flexibility. This week&rsquo;s post will explain postural issues, how it affects our running stride and how to fix it. Remember, the more often you stretch in the day &ndash; ideally for 15-30secs &ndash; the quicker your muscles will grow longer.</p> <p>To run with Bareform effectively it is vital we help our body get back to its original design, allowing us to run with our feet underneath us, using our body&rsquo;s natural suspension system. At first it will put some stress on our calves, which are shortened slightly from wearing heeled shoes so stretching regularly is important. Bareform will help us to fix any postural issues associated with sitting down for many hours though strengthening and flexibility is helpful for the transition to Bareform.</p> <p>TIGHT HIP FLEXORS: These are the muscles that attach to the upper inside of our pelvis and to the inside top of our leg bone, they are responsible for lifting our leg up in front of us. When these muscles are very tight it causes difficulty in pushing our stride out behind us which in turn shortens the part of the stride which propels us forward. It also pulls our stride out in front of us helping the inefficient and impact rendering heel strike. Try kneeling on one knee on the ground and push your pelvis forward diagonally to stretch the hip flexor muscle.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/IMG_9662.jpg" alt="" width="384" height="286" /></p> <p>WEAK GLUTEAL MUSCLES: These muscles are responsible for stabilising the hip and driving our knee behind us. Try squatting and keeping your weight on your heels without leaning forward. If you can&rsquo;t do it, it could mean these muscles are not functioning properly.</p> <p>If these muscles aren&rsquo;t working you are only using your quadriceps muscles when running, missing a whole muscle group which will provide you with more power and strength. To help strengthen them, lie with your neck on a Swiss ball or edge of a bed, drop your hips down then push them up towards the ceiling clenching your bottom muscles. If in doubt that the muscles are working poke a finger into the side of the glute to make sure it is solid.</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/IMG_9658.jpg" alt="" width="326" height="193" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ANKLE FLEXIBILITY: Our ankles are an often forgotten part of our body. We lose our ankle flexibility by walking with our feet in front of us and never have them in a position behind us to stretch. That&rsquo;s a result of tight calf muscles and shortened tendons around the ankle joint. When running, it shortens our running stride unnecessarily by reducing our propulsion phase and spitting us up in the air. Stretch the ankle joint regularly in the straight arm plank position with a bent as well as a straight knee. Due to the number of tendons in the ankle, unfortunately it is a slow process.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/IMG_9663.jpg" alt="" width="315" height="183" />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/IMG_9664.jpg" alt="" width="312" height="167" /></p> <p>LEG STRENGTHENING- To deal with the forces of running it is important to strengthen our leg muscles. A simple exercise is squatting. You can use a Swiss ball on the wall to help keeping your weight on your heels. If you find it hard to squat due to ankle inflexibility, put a book under your heels ensuring your knees move forward so you stay in an upright position using your gluteal muscles more effectively.</p> <p>Running is a one legged sport. Standing on one leg clenching your glutes or doing one legged squats (small movements to start with) are extremely beneficial in improving leg strength for running.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/IMG_9670.jpg" alt="" width="333" height="187" />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/IMG_9671.jpg" alt="" width="321" height="196" /></p> <p>More of my blog articles on Bareform can be found on: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Hopefully see you then, Piers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/4/6.Merrell-ThePack-PiersStockwell-Apr13.jpg" alt="" width="482" height="318" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 13 Apr 2013 23:01:00 GMT We support Insane Terrain Running - The Fun Way To Get Fit <p>We have teamed up with Insane Terrain Running Events!</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/3/ITR Woodbridge.jpg" alt="" width="298" height="190" /></p> <p>Unlike your normal road runs, the races are designed to excite, challenge and thrill. You'll find yourself wading in water, climbing over obstacles and sliding in mud.&nbsp; Insane Terrain Running provides a range of off road trail running and obstacle race events held over various locations in the UK. All participants have the option of both a 5km or 10km route and all races are professionally chip timed by race timing systems UK with live results available at the finish line as well as on our website. Suitable for complete beginners, experienced athletes, fitness enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies, groups of friends or even someone who just wants to try something new, Insane Terrain Running ltd have the ideal event for you.&nbsp; All participants will be presented with a good quality dry fit t-shirt at the end of the race, printed with the Insane Terrain logo along with a few other items of branded merchandise.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/3/ITR Woodbridge 1.jpg" alt="" width="411" height="268" /></p> <p>Sponsored by Merrell, all entrants are in with a chance of winning some fabulous prizes whether it be for the fastest time or the muddiest finisher!</p> <p>Not only this, but as part of our relationship with Insane Terrain Running we're delighted to be able to offer you an exclusive special discount when you register for the next event.&nbsp; Follow this link <a href=""></a> for details about the venue and how to enter.&nbsp; Once there, simply enter the code and you will automatically enjoy a great deal.</p> <p>Code: WF13 MERRELL</p> <p>Discount: 10%</p> <p>Visit <a href=""></a> for more info about their events coming up!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2013/3/ITR Woodbridge 2.jpg" alt="" width="351" height="223" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 10:57:00 GMT Lowri Morgan - A Merrell Pack Leader <p>Lowri Morgan is an adventurer and ultra-endurance marathon runner, having competed in some of the most extreme races in the world. She is one of only six people to ever complete the notoriously difficult 6633 Ultra in the Arctic, a 350 mile non-stop footrace over eight days. Despite being told she would not be able to run competitively again after a serious knee operation, she has since competed in numerous marathons as well as the illustrious Ironman Challenge and Jungle Ultra Marathon in the Amazon Forest.</p> <p>An out-and-out adrenaline junkie, Lowri can often be seen sky-diving, skiing some of the toughest mountains and scuba-diving in dangerous waters. She is one of only 80 people in the World to have dived to the wreck of the Titanic and has produced and presented various programmes on her adventures.</p> <p>Lowri is also a BAFTA award winning TV presenter and broadcaster having worked on the World Rally Championship for the last 10 years, with BBC Sport and is also the presenter of the ITV series - Helimeds. Recently she spent a month in the Namib Desert living with Namibian tribes for a special documentary aired on S4C and the Discovery Channel.</p> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 22:26:00 GMT Q&A With Merrell Pack Leader Lowri Morgan <p><em></em></p> <p>Lowri Morgan Q&amp;A</p> <p><strong>-&nbsp;Where did your love of the outdoors and new challenges come from?<br /></strong>Like a lot of people, my inspiration came from my parents. They taught me that adventure is only a state of mind so I like to think that every challenge I set myself is some sort of adventure. My first and some of my best memories are of our family adventure holidays, caravanning, surfing on the Gower and travelling across the Dordogne. I wouldn&rsquo;t know what life would be like without adventure. I&rsquo;d be lost without it.</p> <p><strong>-&nbsp;What would an average week of training look like when you&rsquo;re preparing for an ultra-marathon?<br /></strong>There are three core things you need to prepare: mental strength, physical strength and personal administration (i.e. your systems). When I prepared for my ultra-marathons in the Arctic and Jungle, I trained for three years, sometimes with the Special Forces, and covered close to 10,000 miles. For the Arctic I was running 150 miles a week with 15kgs of sugar on my back. That&rsquo;s hard but getting your systems right is also key. That means fine tuning the practical things like getting into your sleeping bag, putting your face mask on and learning how to cook blindfolded.&nbsp; When you&rsquo;re exhausted and dehydrated the simple things are a nightmare.</p> <p><strong>-&nbsp;Where do you get your motivation from when your body and mind are being pushed to the limit?<br /></strong>You need to believe the experience is worth the pain and know the pain of failure will last much longer than the pain of the race. When I had to remove my toenails in the Arctic, it was the pain of failure which spurred me on. I do these things because I want to push my mind and body, it&rsquo;s not something I fear. I also don&rsquo;t train to race. I train because it gives me the freedom and tranquillity, I get to meet some inspirational people and enjoy our beautiful world up close.</p> <p><strong>-&nbsp;Where in the world would you most like to take on your dream endurance challenge?&nbsp; <br /></strong>I&rsquo;m fortunate to have travelled the world through racing and my work and I can honestly say there is no one place I&rsquo;d single out. I&rsquo;m on a constant learning curve because the beauty of the place never ceases to amaze me.</p> <p><strong>-&nbsp;What&rsquo;s the best piece of advice you could give to someone thinking of attempting an ultra-marathon?<br /></strong>You will always have good and bad days but you can&rsquo;t give up. Embrace whatever comes at you and if you&rsquo;re faced with the option of taking a calculated risk, take it.</p> <p><strong>-&nbsp;If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?<br /></strong>Someone who was willing to face her fears and do things to the best of her ability without ever giving up.</p> <p><strong>-&nbsp;What projects have you got lined up in 2013?<br /></strong>I&rsquo;m currently planning and training for a new adventure which will take me into some of the most remote areas on the planet. More to come on that so watch this space!</p> <p><em></em></p> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 20:17:00 GMT BAREFOOT TOP TIPS <p>If you think you can&rsquo;t get more out of your walks, runs or hikes, think again. Merrell Barefoot can help tune up your stride and turn on your adventure. Discover how to stimulate your senses and awareness, develop stronger muscles and find a more balanced posture in the shoe designed to move you.</p> <p>Before you get started, here&rsquo;s a list of things you should know:</p> <p><strong>Start at the beginning. </strong>Whether you&rsquo;re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, barefoot training should start with the fundamentals. Build on them step by step to get the most out of your barefoot experience.</p> <p><strong>Practice good form</strong>. Proper foot strike, and other factors can optimize barefoot performance. You can learn correct training techniques from our experts<a href=";ls=1"></a>.</p> <p><strong>Build endurance gradually. </strong>Barefoot works muscles in your feet and legs that you may not be accustomed to using. If you usually wear socks, your feet may also be tender in the first days of training. Take it slow and easy for better results.</p> <p><strong>Pay attention to your body&rsquo;s signals.</strong> With any new training regimen, some soreness is to be expected. However, if soreness persists or worsens, take a break.</p> <p><strong>Choose familiar terrain at first. </strong>Different types of terrain can affect your training. Steep ups and downs and areas filled with obstacles, like roots or rocks, should be avoided until you&rsquo;ve built up greater endurance and strength.</p> <p><strong>Set achievable goals.</strong>&nbsp; If you&rsquo;re struggling with soreness, blisters or other limitations, don&rsquo;t hesitate to shorten your training times or modify your activities.</p> <p><strong>Raise your game.</strong> The more you put into barefoot training, the more you can get out of it. Barefoot helps develop greater strength in your feet and legs and may increase your agility and balance&mdash;benefits you can put into play for your favorite sport or adventure.</p> <p><strong>Be smart.</strong> Barefoot frees your feet to develop natural strengths and a closer connection to your environment. It can be an awesome feeling. In the beginning of your training, you can avoid the temptation to push too hard, for too long by sticking to a set training regimen.</p> <p><strong>Find the right shoe.</strong> Sure, we might be a little biased, but we think the lineup of <a href="">Merrell Barefoot shoes</a> are the best on the market. Try on one of our low-profile designs. We think you&rsquo;ll agree that our 0 mm heel drops, flexible designs and mapped cushioning make for a great ride. We invite you to take a pair for a spin at a store near you. Just use our <a href="">store locator</a>.</p> <p><strong>Have fun!</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>TIPS FOR BAREFOOT WALKING</strong></em></p> <p>Develop greater strength. Get connected to the terrain. Experience new adventure. It all starts with Barefoot. Free your feet!</p> <p>There has been a great amount of interest in the benefits of good running form in recent years, but not nearly as much with respect to walking. At Merrell, we believe that many of the same elements of running form can and should be applied to walking. With a slight modification to the ABCʼs of Merrellʼs Bareform Running, we have developed a series of similar principles for what we call Bareform Walking.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The ABCʼs of Bareform Walking</span></p> <p><strong>A</strong>lign your posture</p> <p><strong>B</strong>alance your foot-landing</p> <p><strong>C</strong>ondense your stride</p> <p><strong>Aligning</strong> posture is a basis for all human movement, so it should come as no surprise that proper alignment is the foundation for walking with good form. The ability to &ldquo;stack&rdquo; your joints from the ground up, center your hips and align your upper torso, neck &amp; head serves as the foundation for healthful movement whether you are walking, hiking, jogging, running or biking.&nbsp;</p> <p>Bareform Running and Walking both utilize a &ldquo;<strong>balanced</strong>&rdquo; foot-landing, but in slightly different ways. The Bareform runnerʼs foot will land nearly flat on what we refer to as the mid-foot - or with a slight forefoot-to-mid-foot &ldquo;roll&rdquo; - with the support knee being quite flexed. The Bareform walkerʼs foot, by contrast, will land slightly heel first and then roll forward with a slightly flexed or &ldquo;soft&rdquo; knee. The heel lands with a more subtle impact and softer knee during Bareform Walking than during conventional walking form.</p> <p><strong>Condensing</strong> - or shortening slightly - the walking stride is the third piece of the Bareform puzzle that allows the foot to land less out in front of the hips. This softens the landing, and makes for a smoother transition from one step to the next with less stress and strain on the various foot, leg and hip muscles. These muscles take the brunt of the pounding from &ldquo;hard-heel&rdquo; foot-landings that can occur with conventional walking form.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 12:29:00 GMT Q&A with Merrell Pack Leader Piers Stockwell <p><strong>What sparked your interest in barefoot running?</strong><br />I first became interested in barefoot running to improve my efficiency for long distance events. I looked at efficiency in terms of biomechanics and realised that we run most biomechanically efficiently when we are bare foot. This is the way our bodies are designed to be as our bodies haven&rsquo;t changed much since caveman days! For a long distance event, the more efficient you are, the more energy you will have at the end of the race where it matters most.</p> <p><strong><br />What are the benefits associated with barefoot running?</strong><br />There are many! First of all it allows me to be more efficient so that I can travel further, faster. By encouraging our bodies to behave in the way we were designed, it helps to minimise injury. Modern living affects our posture detrimentally and bare foot running can help improve it.</p> <p><strong><br />How did you prepare your feet for barefoot running?</strong><br />I was very careful how I increased my mileage to start with and ran on grass to get used to being barefoot. I then moved to pavements since grass allows you to get away with poor foot placement as it is a forgiving surface. By wearing minimalist shoes (<strong><a href="">Merrell Trail Gloves</a></strong>) in everyday life, I strengthened my feet to withstand the stresses of being barefoot.</p> <p><strong>Tell us about the Natural Running School and what it&rsquo;s like to educate others about barefoot running. </strong><br />It&rsquo;s very interesting to see so many different types of runner from ultra distance athletes to beginner runners running their first 5K race and their motivations to improve their running. I particularly enjoy the &lsquo;light bulb moments&rsquo; when my clients understand the movement pattern they are being taught and why it is relevant to them.&nbsp; Often the motivations are due to recurring injury which physiotherapists &lsquo;can&rsquo;t seem to sort out&rsquo;. Almost always these problems are due to the way they are running and, by improving their running gait, it allows them to pursue the sport they love, injury free.<br /><strong><br />You also regularly compete in ultra-distance running events. Have you participated in any races lately and do you have any favourites?</strong><br />I particularly enjoyed the Might Contain Nuts Welsh Mountain Ultra Series for spectacular courses and well run events in the Welsh mountains. I was lucky to have won the series last year and I&rsquo;m looking forward to this year&rsquo;s events starting in March. There are a few very tough contenders this year which will certainly make it interesting.<br /><strong><br />How do running long distance events with minimalist footwear aid your performance?</strong> <br />By being more efficient in my running stride, it allows me to run further, faster as well as not having to take on board as much food and water through lower exertion levels. I tend to race in shoes with a little more cushioning on the heel as it allows me to run down hill faster though training is always in minimalist shoes.<br /><strong><br />Did you have to change your training in preparation for long distance events?</strong><br />Long distance events are about time and patience. The difficulty is finding the time to get out for 5 Hr+ runs. In long distance events, the most important factor is maintaining a good average speed and running at a fairly moderate exertion level. If you push too hard, you will suffer later in the race. This being said, patience is needed to run for extended periods at this level of exertion as it can become taxing on the mind. I manage this by doing project runs where I will map out a route to run that I have not run before such as sections of the Cotswold Way (or all of it!). Project runs allow me to see new routes and keep it interesting. An iPod helps too!<br /><br /><strong>Where / how do you train and what&rsquo;s your favourite terrain to run on?</strong><br />My favourite terrain is as mountainous as possible. Having lived in the mountains in various regions of the world, topography is important to me. Living in Bristol, I find myself in Wales regularly, particularly Brecon Beacons and the Quantocks in Somerset. For day to day running, loops of Leigh Woods up and down the Avon Gorge are great for training. The Cotswold Way and Mendip Way are also particular favourites. Further afield, the Lake District is fantastic!<br /><strong><br />What are your plans for the rest of 2013?</strong><br />The rest of 2013 will involve pushing the distance and fitness boundaries and entering as many races as possible! I&rsquo;m very active in the adventure racing circuit as well and am looking forward to putting together a fast (Merrell) team for 2013.</p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 08:05:00 GMT Q&A with Merrell Pack Leader Monty Halls <p><strong>What inspired you to become a Royal Marine Officer?</strong><br />It was a fortuitous route actually. I travelled for a year in Australia after school working and learning to dive. I then made my way to Cyprus and worked as a dive instructor for a year or so, before coming back and joining the Royal Navy with a view to becoming a mine clearance diver. However, after a few days&rsquo; experience with the Royal Marines I transferred straight away and loved it. I spent the next 8 years with the Royal Marines.<br /><strong><br />What was your most challenging adventure with the Marines?</strong><br />Working for Nelson Mandela on the peace process in South Africa would probably be my most challenging adventure with the Marines. We had to assist with the guerrilla army being integrated into the South African army with the whole world watching and worried about how things would shape out.<br /><strong><br />You left to pursue a career leading expeditions. What prompted this change?</strong><br />I was 29 years old and having a great time with the Royal Marines but was really missing the sea and diving. I had always wanted to lead expeditions, explore and dive so I decided to take a chance and went off to study Marine Biology.<br /><strong><br />What&rsquo;s the greatest expedition you&rsquo;ve ever led?</strong><br />It&rsquo;s difficult to say really, there have been many projects over the years that are all so different. I&rsquo;d say the most momentous was the discovery of a sunken city off the coast of Tamil Nadu in India. The initial feeling was one of disbelief. The sheer scale of the site was so impressive, and the fact that it was so close to shore. This gradually gave way to absolute elation.<br /><br /><strong>What leadership qualities are required when heading up an expedition?</strong><br />You have to be well organised and lead from the front. Everything has to be well planned out and you can&rsquo;t take any shortcuts. Some people experience genuine pressure and stress when out on an expedition so you have to be sympathetic and listen. Everyone has their own style but I always make sure I&rsquo;m approachable to everybody in my group. <br /><br /><strong>How does it feel being able to share your experiences with millions on TV?</strong><br />It&rsquo;s amazing! I go to some very special places, meet incredible people and see some fascinating animals. It really is incredible to be able to showcase my experiences and share them with others. I love it and am very lucky to do what I&rsquo;m doing.<br /><strong><br />Tell us about your dog Reuben.</strong><br />Reuben is a big part of my life; he&rsquo;s my right-hand-man and constant companion. He was abandoned twice when he was young so when I picked him up we spent six months alone together in Scotland. He&rsquo;s the perfect travel companion and makes me laugh my head off. Everyone knows him now too which is great and he gets all the adulation.<br /><br /><strong>What&rsquo;s been your career highlight?</strong><br />Being among bull sharks, tiger sharks and great whites in Aliwal Shoal, South Africa was amazing. I&rsquo;ve swum with baby humpbacks in Tonga and seen seven sunfish at once in Bali. However I&rsquo;d have to say that I hope the best is yet to come!</p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 03:01:00 GMT Q&A with Merrell Pack Leader Andrew Murray <p><strong>Where did the idea of the 7 ultramarathons come from - was it yours?</strong><br />I was out racing in the Ice Marathon in Antarctica anyway- I&rsquo;m always keen to max out any trip and thought I&rsquo;d take the long way home, seeing some of the most epic places on earth. However as a doctor we get pretty short holidays so I had to do the 7 ultra marathons in a week<br /><strong><br />You obviously do long distance events regularly, did you have to change your training much in preparation?</strong><br />I ran a maximum of 185 miles per week, for a fortnight. I also deliberately did a few night runs to prepare me for the jet lag. The severity of the weather was difficult to prepare for. Even Aberdeen is no match for Antarctica temperature wise</p> <p><strong><br />Is it true you only slept for 5 &frac12; hours in the first five days of the challenge? Did delirium set in?</strong><br />Yes, I slept 5 hours in the first 4 nights, and the fatigue was harder to deal with than the miles. And actually you never put your feet up, even when you are sleeping so my feet were pretty swollen by the end. You are either walking through check in, getting transport, or running. I was fine when running but had major problems staying awake when in airports going through security and the like<br /><strong><br />How much does being medically trained help when injuries/fatigue set in?</strong><br />Being medically trained is a mixed bag. You know what to expect, so can plan for it and adjust, but you also catastrophise, and think of all the things that could go wrong. I didn&rsquo;t really get injured, but the fatigue hit pretty hard. I eventually prescribed myself 2 spoons of &ldquo;get on with it&rdquo;- which seemed to work<br /><strong><br />Did you have a favourite out of the seven? Or was one much harder than the others?</strong><br />Antarctica was my favourite. It&rsquo;s an absolute frontier, I had miles and miles to myself, and the mountains are stunning. It&rsquo;s also a genuine challenge running/ wading through the snow in fairly parky conditions</p> <p><strong>How did you get into long distance events in the first place? Is it something you&rsquo;ve always done?</strong><br />No- I never used to run- I played a loads of sports but I love travelling, exploring, and testing myself and this fits the bill on all 3. Running gives you the opportunity to see the world differently, at the pace you can run- and gives you a chance to think and take time out of work mode<br /><strong><br />How does your training go on a day-to-day basis? Is it purely running-based?</strong><br />No- I play a load of sports with friends, and run to and from work, and run in the hills at weekends<br /><strong><br />What does your job as Physical Activity Champion for the Scottish government entail? What are your main roles/objectives?</strong><br />I worked for a year as the Scottish Government&rsquo;s Physical Activity Champion. A lack of fitness kills more people than smoking- a little known fact- we are making tackling this a national, local, and community priority in Scotland- I worked with politicians locally and nationally, with health professionals, and communicating key messages . <br />You also ran from northern Scotland to the Sahara, any favourite places along the way?<br /><strong><a title="Scotland to Sahara" href="" target="_blank">See blogs on</a></strong></p> <p><br /><strong>Do you know what the next challenge will be yet? Have you got a list you&rsquo;re ticking off?</strong><br /><strong><a href="" target="_blank"></a></strong></p> <p><br /><strong>What are the biggest differences between casual running and ultra/longer-distance events? Is it just a case of increasing the miles you do in training?</strong><br />Pretty much anyone can run ultras, but it&rsquo;s a question of building up to it gradually and wanting to do it. My advice is if you want to do ultras, it&rsquo;s possible, but build up to it.&nbsp; Take advice from those that have made the jump. However if you haven&rsquo;t done the training you will be found out. <br /><strong><br />For those who want to take up running, or simply get fitter, what is a good way to start or get involved?</strong><br />Start small and set achievable targets. The first few weeks are the hardest. By sticking with it you&rsquo;ll be healthier and happier. I find running with someone is always easier.<br /><br /><strong><br />What are your plans for the rest of 2013?</strong><br /><strong><a href="" target="_blank"></a></strong><br />work wise im working for Scottish Rugby, European Tour Golf, and Scottish Institute for Sport. I&rsquo;ll probably write another book, as &ldquo;Running Beyond Limits&rdquo; seems to have been popular<br /><br />Thanks Andrew</p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 21:52:00 GMT Monty Halls - A Merrell Pack Leader <p>Monty Halls embodies the Merrell mission to increase participation in the outdoors, with his passion for getting outside, discovering more about the natural world and enthusing others to join him.<br />A former Royal Marines officer, Monty left to pursue a career in leading expeditions, circumnavigating the globe four times on various projects, leading multi-national teams in some of the most demanding environments on earth.</p> <p><br />Monty&rsquo;s remarkable expeditions have included an anti-poaching project in the high montane grasslands of the Nyika Plateau in northern Malawi, the discovery of a sunken city off the coast of Tamil Nadu in India, and a successful attempt to find and photograph a rare crocodile species in the mountain pools of the Raspaculo Basin in Central America. His achievements were honoured with Monty being awarded the Bish Medal by the Scientific Exploration Society for his services to exploration.</p> <p><br />Monty has also enjoyed a successful career as a television presenter, hosting various series and documentaries for the BBC, Channel Five, The Discovery Channel, The National Geographic Channel and the History Channel.</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><strong><a title="Q&amp;A with Monty Halls" href="">Read our Q&amp;A with Monty</a></strong></span></p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 21:46:00 GMT Piers Stockwell - A Merrell Pack Leader <p>Piers Stockwell is a natural running expert who shares the Merrell Barefoot ethos, educating people to run the way your body was designed to. <br />Piers started the natural running school to teach people to run more efficiently and to get away from the trend of heavily padded running shoes to reduce injuries from poor running styles.</p> <p><br />Piers is also an elite ultra-endurance athlete regularly competing in adventure races, showing the benefits of minimalist running first-hand by winning races and running efficiently. He discovered barefoot and minimalist shoe running some years ago and has found that not only does he not get injured but he can out-run most runners in ultra-distance events.</p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: medium;"><a title="Q&amp;A with Piers Stockwell" href="">Read our Q&amp;A with Piers</a></span></strong></p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 21:44:00 GMT Dr Andrew Murray - A Merrell Pack Leader <p>Dr Andrew Murray<br />Pushing himself to the limits, staying active and sharing his passion with others, Dr Andrew Murray symbolises everything a Merrell pack leader should. <br />Andrew has won endurance races in some of the most spectacular and hostile locations imaginable, including the North Pole, the Jungle and the Himalayas, as well as completing a 2,659 mile run from north Scotland to the Sahara Desert. Last year he completed an incredible world record, running 7 ultra-marathons in 7 continents on 7 consecutive days. In his most ambitious challenge yet Andrew will head to East Africa, running more than an ultra-marathon each day and over 1000 kilometres in total at altitude.</p> <p><br />Andrew is also a Sports Medicine doctor having worked with UK Athletics, the European Golf Tour, international football and rugby teams, and at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. He also works for the Scottish Government as their Physical Activity Champion promoting exercise for health and championing the Merrell spirit of being active in the outdoors.</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><strong><a title="Q&amp;A with Dr Andrew Murray" href="">Read our Q&amp;A with Dr Andrew Murray</a></strong></span></p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 21:37:00 GMT Why Merrell Barefoot! <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Merrell guest blogger Piers Stockwell tells us why Merrell Barefoot works for him.</p> <p>As an ultra runner, I am looking for complete efficiency and strength to keep me from getting injured and push me further and faster on less energy. Merrell barefoot shoes keep my form efficient and strong by giving me the proprioception I need to keep a good circular movement pattern with my feet underneath me. Durability of the shoes is fantastic and capable of dealing with high mileage over rough terrain without falling apart. Wearing Merrell shoes daily helps keep the bones and connective tissue strong in my feet, reducing my risk of injury and keeping my feet healthy. The soles of Merrell barefoot are just the right stiffness to let me feel the ground under my feet while still protecting me from the rocks coming through which is an aspect often over looked by other barefoot shoe manufacturers designing barefoot shoes that can only be used on road.</p> <p>As a personal trainer Merrell shoes help me to keep balanced and fully connected to the ground underneath me while lifting and moving weights around the gym. By spending many hours in Merrell shoes, they help me to keep my gluteal muscles strong by preventing me from walking on my heels and keep my posture correct and my movement patterns efficient. The shoes provide me with enough arch support to keep my foot from collapsing and helping to make the arch muscles (plantar facia) stronger.</p> <p>Merrell shoes keep my feet healthy as well as allow me to run efficiently and injury free so that I can win races of any distance.</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 02 Sep 2012 18:28:00 GMT What is good running form? <p>In his second guest blog, ultra runner and personal trainer Piers Stockwell outlines what he believes makes good running form:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>1.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Our feet must land on the ground underneath our centre of mass to allow our suspension system of our ankles, knees and hips to work effectively. The feet will land on the fore foot first but then kiss the ground lightly with the heel.</p> <p>2.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>We drive our leg backwards using our glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps muscles. Our stride power comes from underneath you to behind you not infront of you.</p> <p>3.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Our foot needs to be picked up off the floor without extending the ankle which forces us to get our stride from the powerful gluteal muscles and hamstrings.</p> <p>4.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>We return our leg forwards while keeping the knee bent creating a shorter lever arm and moving our knee forward enough so that we can drive our foot back down underneath us. If the knee doesn&rsquo;t come far enough forward it is difficult to drive &nbsp; down underneath us and will result in extending your leg in front of you.</p> <p>5.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>We must have good core strength to maintain a good posture. If we slump while running, it causes our pelvis to tilt resulting in putting our feet out in front of us again. By keeping a good posture, we will be able to drive our legs underneath us.</p> <p>6.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Arms are often forgotten about but play a key role in providing power to your legs through a cross of muscle from our shoulder to the opposite buttock. Arms must have approximately a 90 degree angle swinging forwards and slightly across us &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; but not crossing our centre line.</p> <p>7.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Our head should be pulled slightly back with our chin down to get our head centred on top of our body to maintain good posture. A 7kg head pushed forward will eventually pull the rest of your posture down with it.</p> <div><br /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 19 Aug 2012 08:06:00 GMT Ten Reasons to Get Out of the Gym and Into the Outdoors <p>Here is the first in a series of guest blogs from Ultra Runner and founder of the Natural Running School Piers Stockwell. First off here are ten reasons to get out of the gym and run outdoors.</p> <p>1.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Alleviate boredom of running on the treadmill- Lets face it, running on treadmills is not that exciting!</p> <p>2.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Start training your body to run naturally. Treadmills artificially move your legs for you and will not develop the strength and muscle for running out doors, particularly if you plan on racing.</p> <p>3.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Discover new areas on and off road. Make project runs into areas you have not been to before.</p> <p>4.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Rediscover the joys of running outdoors by trying barefoot running. Start to get your body moving biomechanically more efficiently and help your posture at the same time.</p> <p>5.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Meet new people by joining a running club.</p> <p>6.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Improve your fitness by giving your body new stimulus to adapt to, such as varying terrain or hills.</p> <p>7.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Enter a race and give yourself focus by being outdoors.</p> <p>8.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Give your body some Vitamin D derived from natural sunlight.</p> <p>9.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Increase your mileage and endurance by making progressively longer runs.</p> <p>10.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Avoid the gym bodies building muscle for purely cosmetic reasons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 14 Aug 2012 08:42:00 GMT Win a walking break to Jersey: 1-28 Jun 2012 <p>From meandering country lanes and woodland trails to dramatic coastal paths beside stunning granite cliffs, Channel Island Jersey packs plenty of walking opportunities into its compact size. <br /><br />Now you can experience it for yourself, as this June Jersey Tourism are giving away a walking break on the isle, complete with walking experience with Blue Badge guide and Jersey local Arthur Lamy.<br /><br />As well as this 3 night stay, which includes flights and 5-star accommodation for two, there&rsquo;s also a chance to win prizes every day &ndash; including technical footwear and clothing from Merrell.<br /><br />Visit the Jersey Tourism Facebook page to enter &ndash; <strong><a title="Win a walking break to Jersey" href="" target="_blank"></a></strong></p> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 21:07:00 GMT Merrell Guest Blog - Mike Raffan ( Barefoot Ultra Runner) <p>I started running in August 2008 when I was asked to join a colleague to run the Lochness 10k - we had ten weeks to train. Enthusiastically I rushed off to the local running shop, had my gait analysed and was advised on a pair of support shoes to stop my overpronation. The shoes had a heal that felt about 5cm thick and I had an extra spring in my step because they were so bouncy. Ten weeks on I crossed the finish line in Inverness and a friend who was running the marathon on the same day asked me to join him for his next marathon in six months time. At that point I was hooked, so of course I said yes. Marathon training didn&rsquo;t come as easy as it was for the 10k; my knees started to hurt along with pain on the outside of my thighs. I went through lots of combinations of knee strapping and orthotic insoles to try to correct my knee pain. I even tried acupuncture. Every one of these worked for a short period but the pain always came back. I found changing my shoes helped, but after a few hundred miles in them, I was back to square one. Still, I stuck with the training, lost about two stone in weight, raised over &pound;1000 for Diabetes UK and ran Edinburgh Marathon in 2009. The sense of achievement was great but I had struggled with the heat and knee pain during the race, therefore I was disappointed with my time; I knew I was capable of better. I felt like I had to do another marathon just to prove something to myself.&nbsp; So I ran Lochness Marathon later that year. The training was paid off with a 31 minute PB. I &ldquo;treated&rdquo; myself to a sports massage and was told the pain I had suffered up until now was ITB syndrome.</p> <p><br />In the pub after Lochness Marathon, some friends were taking about ultra-marathons; crazy, mostly off road races out in the countryside.&nbsp; Having a bit of a hill walking background before running, I found this interesting and soon started to train with these guys. I bought myself a pair of trail shoes and noticed that the pain in my knees lessened. I was advised this was due to the irregular landing on the off-road terrain. I was also getting 500 miles out of the shoes (less if I took them on road), before the pain started. I could easily tell when my shoes needed changing as I could visibly see that the cushioning had started to go and was no longer getting any support from the shoe.<br /><br /><br />After training with the like of George Reid, a seasoned ultra-runner, I was soon signed up to the 55 mile Montane Highland Fling 2010 and even before that came along the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series was announced. Scotland was about to get a bunch more ultra races and first up for me would be the D33, a 33 mile race perfectly timed as a training run for the Fling. I was going to be an ultra-runner. Two ultras became five in my first year of doing them, with a marathon to top it off. Going back to Lochness again was a good benchmark and showed me how much ultra-distance races had improved my shorter marathon distance times.</p> <p><br />The extra training required for longer races meant I was getting through shoes at a rate of about one pair every three to four months and being a tight Aberdonian my wallet wasn&rsquo;t impressed! I then began to read online about other people&rsquo;s experiences with running techniques such as barefoot running, POSE technique etc. I read <a title="Christopher McDougall" href="">Christopher McDougall's</a> &ldquo;Born to Run&rdquo; - I didn&rsquo;t quite go as far as George with some homemade huarache sandals but I did get a pair of Five Finger minimalist shoes. I found the Five Fingers comfortable and quite natural. However the looks that you get from other people might suggest otherwise. Against the advice from most barefoot supporters, I didn&rsquo;t really take it easy to begin with and went straight to doing 20 mile runs in them. I got away with the shock introduction to minimalist running, but would suffer sore calves and Achilles tendons afterwards - pain that I reckon I would have got no matter what the distance.</p> <p><br />I find that my feet would really smell if I didn&rsquo;t wear socks with my trainers. But of course with the Five Fingers these had to be toe socks. That became too much hassle and so took some of the enjoyment out of running. Because I found the shoe a hassle I decided to take a step back towards conventional shoes, with what I would describe as a transition shoe - similar to <a title="Merrell Bare Access" href="">Merrell&rsquo;s Bare Access</a>. They have less than normal cushioning, but enough to know it&rsquo;s there when you need it. I found I could get 700 miles out of the transition shoe including road miles without pain or signs of degradation.</p> <p>In 2011 I started to take my training even more seriously, running most days while supplementing that with trips to the gym and a little cycling. This was just what I needed to complete seven ultras, including the 95 mile West Highland Way race from Milngavie (Glasgow) to Fort William. During winter I signed up to a challenge, called a &lsquo;Marcothon,&rsquo; to run every day in December. I used this as a foundation for base fitness for 2012 and continued for a total of 75 days in a row without a rest day, averaging 10.3 miles per day.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2012/4/mikeraffan_trailglove.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><br />In January 2012 I had the chance to try on a pair of <a title="Merrell Trail Glove" href="" target="_blank">Merrell Trail Gloves</a> which a friend had bought online. Instantly I thought that these were the most comfortable shoes I&rsquo;ve ever worn and ordered a pair that afternoon. I use them for road and trail, mud and mountains. I have owned <a title="Merrell Trail Glove" href="" target="_blank">Trail Gloves</a> for a month now; already they have done 322 miles and been through the washing machine twice. Other than a little expected wear on the tread they look as good as new. I would describe them as like wearing slippers - they are lightweight and natural. The problems I have had with other shoes was the disintegration of the cushioning and support - this can&rsquo;t happen with the trail gloves as there is no cushioning. People have been asking what the shoes are and have said that they didn&rsquo;t think I could run an ultra in them. Well, they have done a 38 mile training run and survived. I expect to be wearing them for many more miles and races throughout this year. They have stood up to the battering I have given them in the first month and have come out the other end asking for more.</p> <p>You can read more from Mike Raffan at his blog - <a title="Blog" href="" target="_blank"></a></p> Tue, 10 Apr 2012 13:39:00 GMT Visitor Passport <p><strong>Guest blogger for UK National Parks, Nancy Webb, explains how a new initiative is your passport to inspiring outdoor adventures. </strong></p> <p>REMEMBER that spectacular view you had from the top of Snowdon last summer? Or maybe you were lucky enough to see a rainbow over the North York Moors? Perhaps you spotted a kingfisher during a boat trip in the Norfolk Broads or a red squirrel in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs&hellip;<br /><br />You&rsquo;ve probably got photos of your trip, you may even have shared them with us on <strong><a title="Facebook" href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a>&nbsp;</strong> &ndash; we always like to see them! Now there&rsquo;s another way to help you remember your travels in National Park &ndash; the National Park visitor passport.</p> <p>We&rsquo;ve launched an updated passport with the help of our brand partner <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Merrell</a></strong>, who we teamed up with in 2011 to help inspire a new generation of outdoor adventurers to explore and enjoy Britain&rsquo;s family of 15 National Parks.</p> <p>You can pick up a copy of the passport (or download one from our <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Facebook page</a> </strong>or website, <a href="" target="_blank"><strong></strong></a>, and pack it in your rucksack along with the Kendal mint cake and your compass. Then simply pop into one of our National Park visitor centres and get it stamped as a memento of your trip.<br /><br />From now until March 31, if you send us your details, we&rsquo;ll also enter you into a competition to win some fab Merrell footwear into the bargain.<br /><br />As well as getting your passport stamped there, you&rsquo;ll find our National Park visitor centres are great places to pick up local tips and advice about activities and places to visit in our National Parks.<br /><br />Staff there will know the area like the back of their hand. They can advise on walking routes for different abilities, places to go boating, biking, horse riding, climbing, canoeing and all many other activities people of all ages and abilities can enjoy in our family of 15 National Parks.<br /><br />If you&rsquo;ve got young children, you&rsquo;ll find our visitor centres often run free activities for children, including nature hunts and art and crafts. Speaking from experience, the little ones will definitely enjoy getting the passport stamped. <br /><br />But visitor passports are not just for youngsters. Some National Park enthusiasts have been known to attempt to get stamps from parks at different ends of the country &ndash; from the Cairngorms to the South Downs. <br /><br />We&rsquo;ve not heard of anyone getting all 15 stamps &ndash; yet &ndash; but we&rsquo;d love to hear from you if you have, especially if you&rsquo;ve hopped on a train or bike to do it (we love green travellers). Happy stamp-collecting!</p> Tue, 28 Feb 2012 06:38:00 GMT terrybnd - Hiking and Wild Camping in the Peak District <p>I have a passion and interest for the outdoors which is second to none. Growing up in rural Nottinghamshire I spent much of my youth exploring Sherwood Forest and working alongside my grandfather in the countryside. We often travelled to far flung scenic landscapes and I&rsquo;ve no doubt this proved to be a major influence in shaping my love and appreciation for all things outdoors.<br /><br />I recall spending many happy days out amongst the fields and woods birdwatching, seeking flora and fauna while spending nights out under the stars in D.I.Y shelters and it may come as no surprise I&rsquo;m now an avid backpacker within the UK. Along with this passion of&nbsp; mine, I have a keen interest in film and video too and so in time I began as a hobbyist to record the sights I see at my camps out on the mountains, hills and moors.<br /><br />And so roll on a few years, a health scare and a redundancy propelled me on a new career in life - producing videos of the great outdoors. It&rsquo;s now my job to film the wonderful landscapes we all take for granted in the UK. The past year has involved me spending much of my time in the Peak District National Park which has lead me to create <a title="Peak District TV" href="" target="_blank"><strong>Peak District TV</strong></a>. A portal for all things great about Britain&rsquo;s most popular national park via web based video.<br /><br />Needless to say, much of my time is spent lugging around a large rucksack with my filming gear and camping equipment up onto the windswept moors or plodding down and around gorgeous limestone dales. And consequently my choice and selection of outdoor gear becomes of great importance. Any reasonable weight savings is a must but more importantly durability and comfort and so thanks to Merrell they&rsquo;ve equipped me with products that help me to achieve my filmmaking goals.<br /><br />Be it insulating jackets as I stand around watching and waiting for the right light to kiss a distant hill or boots that keep my feet comfortable from the elements - and all the miles I have to undertake seeking out new pastures and views.<br /><br />My favourite two items of Merrell gear from recent trips have been the synthetic insulating <a title="Intercept Jacket" href=""><strong>Intercept jacket</strong></a> and the <a title="Chameleon EVO Mid Syn GTX" href=""><strong>Chameleon EVO Mid Syn GTX</strong> </a>boots. The jacket is really quite trendy which helps when I&rsquo;m meeting clients when having spent the night on the hills - but it&rsquo;s functional too. Not only does it keep you warm in temps down to 0c but it can fold into itself to form a camping pillow!<br /><br />The mid-cut boots have proven durable after 400 miles, gripped well on varying terrains from the Lake District mountains, to the tops of the Yorkshire Dales and of course the bogs and gritstone of the Peak District moors. So, it goes without saying kit in general tends to be put through the mill somewhat when out and about with me - there really is no mercy when exposed to the elements.<br /><br />So to finish this blog post off - I bid you farewell as I&rsquo;ve now got to plan my next trip out into the Peak District filming. You can read more about what I get up to on my blog: <a title="terrybnd - hiking and wild camping in the UK" href="" target="_blank"><strong>terrybnd - hiking and wild camping in the UK</strong></a> where you may be inspired to spend nights out under the stars too - there&rsquo;s no better way to enjoy the great outdoors in my opinion.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Watch the video: Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill, Peak District National Park</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 00:07:00 GMT Become a Merrell Student Ambassador <p> <p>Calling all Students</p> <p>Do you Get Outside? Merrell are looking for students to help represent us as a Student Brand Ambassador.</p> <p>We are looking for individuals to become our eyes and ears around town. You will be responsible for increasing brand awareness and educating staff on our product range. You will work closely with the National Training Rep to ensure all stores are kept up to date with marketing campaigns. Additionally to this you will help promote the brand to your peers through university clubs and societies.</p> <p>Students have gone on to work for brands within marketing and sales roles. This is a great opportunity to work with a global leader in footwear to drive sales and promote innovative products.</p> <p>The role is for 6 hours a week in and around the city limits and includes the following:</p> <p>&bull; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Full training</p> <p>&bull; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Competitive rate of pay</p> <p>&bull; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Footwear and Apparel supplied</p> <p>&bull; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Monthly Bonus scheme</p> <p>&bull; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Potential &nbsp;Internship in London HQ</p> <p>&bull; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Flexible working schedule</p> <p>If you are interested please contact me on the below details.</p> <p>Let's Get Outside!</p> <p>James Maslin</p> <p>If you have any questions please contact me on:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 00:18:00 GMT Have yourself a Merrell little Christmas... <p><img style="float: right;" src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2011/11/blog_image.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>With Christmas fast approaching and the number of shopping days quickly dwindling it&rsquo;s time to decide what presents you&rsquo;ll be buying for friends and family.</p> <p>Merrell has the perfect solution &ndash; with our <strong><a title="Gift Guide" href="">gift guide</a> </strong>you will be able to find gifts for all the adventures on their list.</p> <p>We have great looking styles that stand up to the demands of the outdoors giving the wearer stylish warmth and protection for the winter months.</p> <p>From our <strong><a title="Women's Winter" href="">Women&rsquo;s Winter Boots</a></strong>&nbsp; to our <strong><a title="Treid and True Classics" href="">Tried and True Classics</a></strong> there is something for all those wanting to get outside this Christmas.</p> <p>Order before midnight on Sunday 18th December for delivery by Christmas.</p> <p>Merry Christmas everyone!</p> <p>The Merrell Team.</p> Wed, 30 Nov 2011 01:34:00 GMT Merrell Origins Lookbook <p>Click on the image below for some seriously inspiring outdoor photography featuring our new <a href="">Origins Collection</a>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2011/9/blog_origins.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>You can shop the collection by <a title="Collection Origins" href="">clicking here</a>.</p> <p><img style="cursor: pointer; z-index: 1000000; position: absolute; padding: 2px; left: 183px; top: 300px;" title="Click to edit this image in Aviary" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABAAAAAQCAYAAAAf8%2F9hAAAB30lEQVQ4EZVTSy8DURT%2BZjpm6GhL0pKQphYeCZF4hIVEWLDowsaCxMJC8AP8AMI%2FsBQWFhKPxMpGbIgFK6vWe0WoRVOPPihth3vmTm%2FTUuEs7r3zzfnO950zdySw6Nz6%2FKT9v3EyIknSX8idHiZSBRzcA1fP%2BTK%2FFiDiXBdQo%2BdI%2Fp00wklFALI4FRxm2oCl%2FnwypXS7E8gYGZH9YwFSHWvgOUehd0zsPYJ2CqcqI5lK8pdszXmxICIP1fGHueMXLAcS0BQNTW4bemqAu1gGhmElsy2vAKkWkl12F3RNR2UpJwUjKSisYDZEC44SYKqFw2SXlLNkQvuZ%2Bn3cwFkkzYppkCWeKwqQMhWhWAly26RMQV%2BhsQLYvXmHqqgwIMOwbo5ooa%2FWzDUXFxuUXmp5ZgjNhWLjIg67Wo50sRnwNGC%2Bx4mnwxQ%2BmMp0M7tEHjY8Zv%2BU9V%2FtUmG5N9OFg1CCJxJKn2p1IDcowm6jbHiygnaPzXRw%2FgRQF2IG69dAlCSLhNehYKpVx2Iv4PcBUuEQ6Y5P7mdMm1Qj%2BmFg8%2BoVg9thE%2FM6bBiu1zC%2B94a1ixSyv5%2B0cDmaJxtP6jh%2FaADtii0Nt%2BMR3sqQwJxlMXT4AswBp5lGCosU6eIbPNu0KX0BMmqe8Db%2Bbr8AAAAASUVORK5CYII%3D" alt="" /></p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 15:58:00 GMT Merrell Origins Lookbook <p>Click on the image below for some seriously inspiring outdoor photography featuring our new <a href="">Origins Collection</a>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2011/9/blog_origins.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>You can shop the collection by <a href="">clicking here</a>.</p> <p><img style="cursor: pointer; z-index: 1000000; position: absolute; padding: 2px; left: 183px; top: 300px;" title="Click to edit this image in Aviary" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABAAAAAQCAYAAAAf8%2F9hAAAB30lEQVQ4EZVTSy8DURT%2BZjpm6GhL0pKQphYeCZF4hIVEWLDowsaCxMJC8AP8AMI%2FsBQWFhKPxMpGbIgFK6vWe0WoRVOPPihth3vmTm%2FTUuEs7r3zzfnO950zdySw6Nz6%2FKT9v3EyIknSX8idHiZSBRzcA1fP%2BTK%2FFiDiXBdQo%2BdI%2Fp00wklFALI4FRxm2oCl%2FnwypXS7E8gYGZH9YwFSHWvgOUehd0zsPYJ2CqcqI5lK8pdszXmxICIP1fGHueMXLAcS0BQNTW4bemqAu1gGhmElsy2vAKkWkl12F3RNR2UpJwUjKSisYDZEC44SYKqFw2SXlLNkQvuZ%2Bn3cwFkkzYppkCWeKwqQMhWhWAly26RMQV%2BhsQLYvXmHqqgwIMOwbo5ooa%2FWzDUXFxuUXmp5ZgjNhWLjIg67Wo50sRnwNGC%2Bx4mnwxQ%2BmMp0M7tEHjY8Zv%2BU9V%2FtUmG5N9OFg1CCJxJKn2p1IDcowm6jbHiygnaPzXRw%2FgRQF2IG69dAlCSLhNehYKpVx2Iv4PcBUuEQ6Y5P7mdMm1Qj%2BmFg8%2BoVg9thE%2FM6bBiu1zC%2B94a1ixSyv5%2B0cDmaJxtP6jh%2FaADtii0Nt%2BMR3sqQwJxlMXT4AswBp5lGCosU6eIbPNu0KX0BMmqe8Db%2Bbr8AAAAASUVORK5CYII%3D" alt="" /></p> Thu, 29 Sep 2011 10:02:00 GMT Waterpro Ganges voted "Best in Test" in Trail Magazine <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2011/4/Trail_review.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Try them for yourself, <a title="Waterpro Ganges" href="">click here to buy</a></p> Thu, 14 Apr 2011 09:54:00 GMT QFORM® COMFORT - Because women move differently to men <p>It&rsquo;s a fact that women are anatomically and biomechanically different from men. unfortunately, these differences are all-too-often ignored . Working with Sport Biomechanics, Inc., a leading sports medicine organisation, we spent years studying how these differences contributed to discomfort and in some cases injury for women wearing &ldquo;men&rsquo;s&rdquo; shoes. So we specifically engineered the midsoles in our Women&rsquo;s shoes to provide the proper support, cushioning, and corrective positioning women need to make possible<br />a more balanced, natural stride that ensures longer-lasting comfort and reduced wear for each shoe.</p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2011/3/Q_form_diagram.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Try it for yourself - <a title="Womens Sandals" href="">Shop Women's Sandals</a></p> Wed, 23 Mar 2011 21:22:00 GMT Merrell Barefoot: As seen in the Times <p>*Extract from the Times, Tuesday March 8 2011.</p> <p><a title="Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove" href=""><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2011/3/News_march_times.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> Tue, 08 Mar 2011 13:00:00 GMT Do you want an Internship with the UK Merrell Marketing and sales department ? <p>Hello to all you aspiring Marketeers</p> <p>Would you like to work in the Merrell marketing/sales department?</p> <p>Well it might be your lucky day, we are searching for someone who is looking to pursue a career in Marketing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Do you have good commercial awareness, the ability to execute multiple projects while maintaining attention to detail, excellent organisation and planning skills, creativity and a strong work ethic.....have a passion for the outdoors, whether it be climbing, running or kayaking.?</p> <p>If you think you tick all the above skills...please email <a title="Email Sophie" href="" target="_blank"></a><br /><br /><strong>Location</strong> : You will be working in the UK Head offices of Wolverine Europe, in King&rsquo;s Cross London</p> <p><strong>Start</strong>:&nbsp; Immediately</p> <p><strong>ONLY CANDIDATES WHO HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO WORK IN THE UK WILL BE CONSIDERED.</strong></p> Mon, 07 Mar 2011 03:47:00 GMT It's snowing!& Your orders <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Hi!&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"></span></span><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">We hope you are enjoying the snow as much as we are here at Merrell HQ in London, time to dust off&nbsp;your down jackets and get into your Thermo boots.</span></span></span><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Just to let you know that whilst we will endeavor to deliver ecommerce orders as quickly as possible we might be hampered by the snow as certain regions are already snowed in. We will do our best but please be aware that deliveries in certain areas might experience a small delay.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Let&rsquo;s get outside!</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The Merrell Team. </span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 30 Nov 2010 05:18:00 GMT CHRISTMAS AT MERRELL <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">Christmas Shopping information</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US">Hi!</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: medium;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Here is our Christmas shopping information:</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Order before the 15<sup>th</sup> December to guarantee delivery before Christmas (Weather Depending!)</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Any orders placed throughout December can be returned Unworn up to the 15<sup>th</sup> January Free of charge.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Let&rsquo;s get outside!</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The Merrell Team. </span></span></span></span></p> Mon, 29 Nov 2010 19:31:00 GMT THE TIMES MAGAZINE <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">Merrell the Brand to Watch:The Times Magazine </span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;"> <p>&nbsp;<img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2010/11/Times.jpg" alt="" width="293" height="587" /></p> </span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">If Merrell fans would like to purchase the Mammoth jacket&nbsp;or Westward boot please visit one of our key outdoor retailers or alternatively you can search and find a Merrell stockist near you by <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="">clicking here</a></span>.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Let's get Outside!</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">The Merrell Team</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 29 Nov 2010 04:36:00 GMT WIN AN EXCLUSIVE SHOPPING TRIP TO NEW YORK <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;" lang="EN-US"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;" lang="EN-US"><span style="font-size: large;">GIVE WINTER THE BOOT</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span lang="EN-US"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">At last, high performance outdoor boots that take winter in their stride. Practical water resistant finishes with faux fur trims to give a fun twist to winter layers.</span></span></span></p> </span><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span lang="EN-US">Exterior boast on trend detailing: buttons, laces and contrast stitching. Inners offer pure luxury with warming textures on rugged soles to give you a firm grip on city style. So get outside a give winter the boot!</span><span style="mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2010/11/FusionPD-FusionPD-IMG_4281.jpg" alt="" width="671" height="427" /></span></p> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;" lang="EN-US">To celebrate the launch of the Merrell winter boots collection, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN">Merrell are giving people the unique opportunity to win a once in a lifetime trip to New York courtesy of Merrell.</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><span style="font-size: medium;">Simply visit: </span><a href=""><span style="color: #800080;"><span style="font-size: medium;"></span></span></a><span style="font-size: medium;"> to enter for your chance to WIN </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><span style="font-size: medium;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2010/11/schuh logo.jpg" alt="" /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">&middot;<span style="font-weight: normal; line-height: normal; font-style: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-variant: normal;">&nbsp;</span></span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN">3 night stay in a top hotel in New York</span></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">&middot;<span style="font-weight: normal; line-height: normal; font-style: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-variant: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN">Ice skating in central Park</span></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">&middot;<span style="font-weight: normal; line-height: normal; font-style: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-variant: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN">Personal shopper experience at Macy&rsquo;s</span></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">&middot;<span style="font-weight: normal; line-height: normal; font-style: normal; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-variant: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN">&pound;250 spending money</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><span style="font-size: medium;">Good luck!</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><span style="font-size: medium;">The Merrell team</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN">*</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;" lang="EN"> </span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;" lang="EN-US">The prize draw is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and their immediate families, of the promoter, Schuh, their agents or anyone professionally connected with the promotion.*Closing date 12/12/2010 </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><span style="font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span> <p>&nbsp;</p> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 28 Nov 2010 23:05:00 GMT Marketing & sales Merrell Internship program <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif';"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt;"><span style="font-size: large;">Get Outside by becoming part of the Merrell marketing &amp; sales team in the UK</span></span></strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif';"><span style="font-size: small;">How would you like to come and work for Merrell as part of our new internship program. We are looking for aspiring marketeers to join our team and get valuable experience in the marketing and sales discipline as a short term intern, for a period of either 3 or 6 months. Starting on the 10th January 2011.</span></span></p> <p class="NormalWeb15" style="margin: 12pt 0cm; line-height: 16.8pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif';"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">If you have <span style="color: #454545;">good commercial awareness, the </span><span style="color: black;">ability to execute multiple projects while maintaining attention to detail. If you possess excellent organization and planning skills, Creativity and a strong work ethic as well as a</span> passion for the outdoors, whether it be climbing, running or kayaking then this may present the perfect opportunity to get the experience required to progress your career. </span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">For more details please contact Sophie Hickerton:</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; line-height: normal; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">Location: London, Kings Cross</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; line-height: normal; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">You will be working in the UK Head offices of Wolverine Europe, in King&rsquo;s Cross London </span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; line-height: normal; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">(Only Candidates who have the legal right to work in the UK will be considered)</span></span></span></span></p> Tue, 26 Oct 2010 22:54:00 GMT A BREAKTHROUGH SUCCESS FOR MERRELL AND RETAILER PUREKIT <p><span style="color: #2a2a2a; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 13px; line-height: 17px;"> </span></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><strong style="line-height: 131%; font-weight: bold;"><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 131%;">A MERRELL SUCCESS STORY FOR RETAILER PUREKIT.COM</span></strong></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><strong style="line-height: 131%; font-weight: bold;"><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; line-height: 131%;"><br /></span></strong></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 131%;">The drive to raise awareness of breast cancer is just one example of how Merrell has helped champion the cause of &lsquo;getting outside&rsquo;. It is a drive which has proved popular with customers, with the range of Merrell Siren providing a donation of 10% to Breakthrough Breast Cancer adding to their appeal. The campaign sparked a rush of sales which has seen undecided purchasers make the switch over to Merrell, and in the process do their bit in the fight against the killer disease.&nbsp; The campaign has helped to highlight easy steps which can be taken to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer later in life, and has been a motivation for women to take active steps to improve long term personal health.</span></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 131%;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 131%;">As with Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Merrell, PureKit have also long championed the cause of taking up a more active and healthy lifestyle to improve personal wellness and long term health prospects, and Merrell has been the perfect partner for the online retailer. The range covers the full spectrum of outdoor activities, with a level of comfort, quality and technology which is fast winning new fans. The exceptionally comfortable design and stylish looks are backed up with solid performance, and it has proved to be a winning combination with customers.</span></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 131%;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 131%;">The introduction of Merrell as a premium supplier has given their customers a much more comprehensive footwear choice, and has seen sales volume grow considerably. The brand has fast become the number one choice for outdoor performance footwear at the online store, with both male and female outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to start up a new, healthier lifestyle.</span></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 131%;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 131%;">The women&rsquo;s Merrell range has caused the biggest stir, with first time customers amazed at the comfort offered by the shoes, in no small part due to the exceptional Q-Form fit. The commitment to the comfort of women&rsquo;s feet and the range of feminine styles has proved too tempting for many customers to pass up. With the added commitment by Merrell to help do their bit to stamp out breast cancer, the shoes have proved to be an unbeatable package. The commitment to the cause makes Purekit proud to offer Merrell footwear to its customers. With the latest Merrell products now on-line and available to buy at Purekit, it&rsquo;s likely that the success of Merrell will long continue at</span></p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="ecxMsoNormal" style="line-height: 131%; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 131%;"><br /></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 16 Sep 2010 21:30:00 GMT MERRELL ANNOUNCES BREAKTHROUGH BREAST CANCER PARTNERSHIP <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 16pt;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">MERRELL TEAMS UP WITH BREAKTHROUGH BREAST CANCER TO HELP STAMP OUT BREAST CANCER</span></span></strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Merrell has joined an impressive list of companies to form an official partnership with Breakthrough Breast Cancer, a pioneering charity committed to fighting breast cancer through research, campaigning and education.</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">With research showing that regular exercise helps reduce the risk of breast cancer, the alliance represents a natural progression for both Merrell and Breakthrough Breast Cancer who both champion the various benefits of pursuing an active lifestyle. </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">The statistics surrounding breast cancer are alarming, with nearly 1,000 women dying each month from the disease while 1 in every 9 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. However, more women than ever in the UK are surviving breast cancer owing to better awareness, screening and treatment. Merrell is creating an integrated marketing campaign that will envelope Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October to help </span></span><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">generate awareness and communicate the charity&rsquo;s key messages.</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Launching in September, Merrell will leverage its official outdoor partnership with an </span></span><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">in-store campaign that will focus on selected pink styles from the women&rsquo;s Siren footwear range, when 10% of the retail price will be donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer with every purchase. To further harness the campaign&rsquo;s key messages, a research-backed PR campaign will be rolled out nationally across all media channels, supported by targeted Merrell and Breakthrough media promotions.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Breakthrough Breast Cancer is committed to the prevention, treatment and ultimate eradication of breast cancer and has partnered with a select number of companies to bring the issue to the top of the public&rsquo;s consciousness.</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Jonathan Pennington, UK Marketing Manager, Merrell, commented:</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span><em>&ldquo;Merrell is proud to partner with Breakthrough Breast Cancer because it&rsquo;s a charity that shares our firm belief that an active outdoor lifestyle helps stimulate wellbeing. The statistics surrounding breast cancer are alarming however we believe our partnership campaign will help not only to provide valuable financial support but perhaps more importantly, help communicate vital breast cancer messaging to new audiences.&rdquo;</em></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><em><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></span></em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Adam Colling, Head of Corporate Partner, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, added: </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">&ldquo;<em>We&rsquo;re thrilled to be working with Merrell this year and encouraging people to get active, whilst supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer. The money raised through the sales of the Merrell products will enable us to continue".</em></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><em></em></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><em></em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2010/8/Breakthrough logo full colour screen (RGB).jpg" alt="" width="286" height="161" /></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 09 Aug 2010 03:51:00 GMT MERRELL & GARMIN FORGE GROUND-BREAKING ALLIANCE <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"></span></strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt;"><strong>TO INSPIRE A NEW GENERATION OF OUTDOOR FANS</strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: small; font-family: Times New Roman;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;">We are delighted to announce we have teamed up with </span><span style="color: #272b2f; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;">the World&rsquo;s leading mobile navigation device company and a global manufacturer of in-car sat navs, portable navigation devices, handheld GPS units, and GPS products for the marine and outdoor sectors, Garmin. </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="color: #272b2f; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">The partnership will draw on the extensive heritage of both brands and passion for getting outside to encourage exploration of the great outdoors, seek adventure and exhilaration as well as encounter new experiences.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">The partnership will see Merrell and Garmin undertaking joint campaigns, promotions, collaborations and much more. The exciting alliance will play a focal part of encouraging more people to &lsquo;Get Outside&rsquo;. </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">This is what Garmin had to say about the partnership &ndash; &ldquo;Partnering with a footwear and clothing company is a first for Garmin and represents an exciting new phase in developing the Garmin brand and its offering. Not only does Merrell have a great name in the industry, but the alliance also gives us the opportunity to marry our understanding of the outdoor market, our product capabilities and our passion for people&rsquo;s enjoyment of the great outdoors with theirs. &ldquo;Adding &ldquo;Both brands want to ensure that young and old reap the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle by using our products to the full.&rdquo; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">To celebrate the partnership Merrell and Garmin are giving 3 lucky people a chance to win a Garmin Dakota 20 GPS (RRP &pound;289.99) by signing up for our monthly newsletter. <a href="">Click here to join our mailing list</a> and for the chance to win (closing date May 31st 2010)*</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">For more information on Garmin please visit:</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><a href=""><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></span></a></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;"><span style="font-size: small;">*Not open to employees, the family or friends of employees of Wolverine World Wide and Garmin.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span></span></span></p> <p><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2010/4/garmin.jpg" alt="" /></p> Thu, 15 Apr 2010 23:07:00 GMT MERRELL ANNOUNCES US NATIONAL PARKS PARTNERSHIP <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>MERRELL LAUNCHES US NATIONAL PARK&rsquo;S PROMOTION IN THE UK</strong></span></span></span></p> <p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">As a proud partner of the US National Park Foundation we are celebrating with a nationwide promotion across key outdoor retailers. The promotion, which coincides with US national Park week (17<sup>TH</sup> &ndash; 25<sup>TH</sup> April), will run across retailers such as Blacks, Ellis Brigham, Go Outdoors, Tiso, Nevisport and lots of excellent independent retailers.</span></span></span></span></span></p> </span></span></span></p> </p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2010/4/blog opicture.jpg" alt="" width="512" height="384" /></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">We are giving people the unique opportunity to win a once in a lifetime trip to either The Grand Canyon and Yosemite national park&rsquo;s courtesy of Merrell.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In addition runners up can win Olympus Tough camera&rsquo;s and Garmin Dakota 20 GPS systems, courtesy of official campaign partners Olympus and Garmin. All you have to do is visit one of our participating retailers and try on a pair of Merrell&rsquo;s &ndash; easy! </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">In addition we have teamed up with The Independent to give lucky readers the opportunity to win the perfect kit to get you outside! </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Simply visit: </span></span></span></span><a href=""><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></span></span></span></a></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Where you can win fantastic Merrell product as well an Olympus Tough Camera and Garmin Dakota 20 GPS system to make sure you&rsquo;re well equipped for the outdoors! All you have to do is fill in your details for the chance to win. What&rsquo;s more is that the runners &ndash;up will receive a Merrell aluminium water bottle. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">What are you waiting for? Visit one of our key outdoor retailers and The Independent for your chance to win!</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">See you outside!</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">The Merrell team </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></p> Wed, 14 Apr 2010 00:42:00 GMT Marketing & sales Merrell Internship program <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt;"><span style="font-size: large;">Get Outside by becoming part of the Merrell marketing &amp; sales team in the UK</span></span></strong><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"></strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;">How would you like to come and work for Merrell as part of our new internship program. We are looking for aspiring marketeers to join our team and get valuable experience in the marketing and sales discipline as a short term intern, for a period of either 3 or 6 months. </span></span></p> <p class="NormalWeb15" style="margin: 12pt 0cm; line-height: 16.8pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;">If you have <span style="color: #454545;">good commercial awareness, the </span><span style="color: black;">ability to execute multiple projects while maintaining attention to detail. If you possess excellent organization and planning skills, Creativity and a strong work ethic as well as a</span> passion for the outdoors, whether it be climbing, running or kayaking then this may present the perfect opportunity to get the experience required to progress your career. </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">For more details please contact Sophie Hickerton:</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; line-height: normal; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">Location: London, Kings Cross</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; line-height: normal; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">You will be working in the UK Head offices of Wolverine Europe, in King&rsquo;s Cross London </span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; line-height: normal; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size: small;">(Only Candidates who have the legal right to work in the UK will be considered)</span></span></span></p> Sun, 28 Mar 2010 15:10:00 GMT Welcome to the New Merrell Website.... <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: 26pt; line-height: 115%; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Courier New';"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-large;">Welcome to the New Merrell website</span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Welcome to the brand new Merrell blog where you can keep up-to-date with all the latest news, events and all things Merrell. </span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">You can also view and buy your favourite Merrell products from the latest footwear, clothing and accessories ranges on the new site. Alternatively you can search and find a Merrell stockist near you by <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="">clicking here</a></span>.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Did you know you can also be kept updated with recent news about the brand, campaigns by joining us on </span></span><a style="FONT-FAMILY: " href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Facebook</span></span></a><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"> </span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">and </span></span><a style="FONT-FAMILY: " href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Twitter</span></span></a></span></span><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">So keep an eye out for news on things like product launches, brand events, competitions, brand partnerships and various ways you can be involved with the brand. Here at Merrell we love your ideas and feedback so please share yours with us below! </span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">At Merrell, we believe that active people inspire performance products. It's a belief that defines our business, strengthens our brand and reaffirms our commitment to delivering you exceptional footwear and Clothing for all your needs be it running trail or walking a mountain or just kicking back down the pub with your mates.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Most of all, it provides us with a better understanding of what you expect from a quality outdoor product helping you Get Outside!</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; color: black;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Thanks for checking out our new site!</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; color: black;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">See you Outside!</span></span></span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><img src="/~Uploaded/Blog/MRUK/files/2010/3/Bison Convertible 1209.jpg" alt="" width="535" height="344" /></span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: "><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> Tue, 23 Mar 2010 20:37:00 GMT