Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cross Training

Now, I spend a lot of time away from home with work. About 90 nights a year which means a day either side of that night at least.

That equals lots of % of the year and while away I really enjoy getting outside into the fresh air. Sitting around 3 and 4 star hotel rooms may seem glamorous but honestly it doesn't make for a good mental outlook. Every opportunity to look around the town I happen to be in is grabbed with both hands.

For the last 6 months I seem to have been grabbing lots of Townsville and Mackay opportunities. These towns are in the tropics so while southern Australia is shivering in it's ugg boots, these towns are warm and dry. So, I have been walking/running around Castle Hill in Townsville and along the beach in Mackay to help maintain what hard earned fitness I can while I am away.

This brings me in a round about way to the subject of this post, that being my shoes. My cheap Nike runners were just not cutting it on the slippery crushed granite slopes of Castle Hill. I felt an injury, maybe a uber painful knee injury, was just a matter of time if I continued to push my luck. I needed some decent trail running shoes.

But what are decent trail running shoes? I didn't know but kept an eye out for something that looked the business wherever I went.

Well, wherever turned out to be HarbourTown outlet mall on the Gold Coast about a month ago! I was dragging along at the back of the family outing, you know, the dad that carries all the bags and is looking for, no HOPING for, a crazed gunman to suddenly open fire so that everyone has to run away. Yep, that was me.

Anyhoo, we wandered into a North Face outlet shop where some trail running shoes caught my eye. How did I know they were trail running shoes? Well, I took a punt as they had great knobs under them like a tyre on a dirt bike and looked "runner-ish" on top. The next thing that caught my eye was the "over 50% off" price tag. I don't do discounts that don't at least start with a 5, so this was looking good.

Cutting to the chase, I decided to try a pair of North Face Ultra Guide (I just found this link, no research was done beforehand!) runners. They had to be better than what I was using....right?

I have been using these shoes now for about a month and have to say I am very impressed with their performance, especially as I know nothing about running or running shoes! They are very light and comfortable on the foot. The tread on the sole grips like shit to a blanket on the super-slippery crushed granite slopes of Castle Hill. So much so that I have not had one slip, not even a slight slip-grip even while running downhill. That in my books is awesome!

I assumed with the level of grip provided that the lugs might be showing signs of stress, especially after use on sealed surfaces as well. This isn't proving to be the case with no wear evident at this stage with about 50km on the shoes.

Who would have thought I would have any interest in trail running but here I am, getting out at every opportunity that I don't have access to two wheels and raising the heart rate. Oh, and having fun!

As a riding buddy of mine says its great to have the fitness to say "lets go hiking or riding or running or whatever" whenever you might like to and actually be able to do it. Not many 40 something year-olds can do that in this day and age. These shoes are a great addition to my arsenal of gear that lets me stay active and at this stage I would recommend them as no nonsense trail shoes.

Cheers and thanks for reading.


  1. That is a good looking shoe. Trail running is quite popular in our area, but with our rains the mud hampers things a little in the winter.

  2. Nice wun Dave !!! Nice lookin' shuw too !!!


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