I’ve been unable to go out running for a few weeks now, as I’m nursing a foot suffering from Plantar Fasciitis – self diagnosed from previous experience and google, so how could it be wrong. However if there was ever a time to not be out running, and avoiding the boredom of TV, then this is it. Everyday, for what seems like weeks, brings new sporting success. From the joy of the Tour de France, and the talents of Team Sky to the excellence of Team GB in the Olympics. Its been great spending time in the garage balancing myself and my bike precariously on the rollers, whilst watching iplayer on my laptop, equally dangerously balanced on boxes in front. Whether its Mo Farah, Victoria Pendleton, Chris Hoy, or Rebecca Adlington, watching the joys and the sorrows as the events unfold has been priceless. Also, on those occasions where the Olympics have taken second place, I’ve still managed the odd spin round County Down, on those rare sunny evenings.
In 1982 Julie Moss was leading the women in the then, relatively new (began in 1978), Ironman triathlon, held in Hawaii: she was a student with limited training, and this was the first event of this type she had ever taken part in. Her finish, caught on camera, and shared across the US and beyond, rocketed the Ironman into the publics consciousness. Well worth a watch to see what guts and determination are all about after swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and running 26 miles. Julie Moss
Walsh began making running footwear in the 1940’s, and during the 70’s teamed up with the legendary fell runner Pete Bland, to produce running shoes that took British fell running to new heights – the Walsh PB. The grip was, and still is, astounding on mud, wet grass, rock and ice: it is a shoe that may see further, renewed interest with the current trend towards ‘natural’, ‘barefoot’ running. As I slipped a pair on for the first time, it was impossible not to be surprised by both the bright yellow and blue colouring, but also the level of comfort, in a shoe that is incredibly uncomplicated. But the only way to judge a fell running shoe is to find a handy mountain. With that in mind we took a trip to Newcastle, and ran down the highstreet, before heading into Donard Park and started the climb up towards Slieve Donard – the tallest of all the peaks in the Mourne Mountains, and indeed Northern Ireland. Check out the attached link which has some good photos of the Slieve Donard, including the Ice house, and the Black Stairs which was the route we took to the top.
As we climbed the temperature dropped, and the wind increased. Underfoot the ground was wet, icy, some residual snow, along with plenty of mud. The Walsh PB delivered a firm grip, and only its owner caused issues due to poor balance and inability to land in the best place. A great, albeit tough, climb, to the windswept top, and a brief respite out of the wind leaning against the wall of the stone hut beside the higher cairn. Whilst there we spoke to a couple of walkers, one of which had bravely brought the smallest of dogs, shivering respendeltn in a bright red jacket. Fearful of seeing the canine blown of the summit we began the descent, trying to avoid any serious falls. Walshes are truly amazing shoes, designed over 40 years ago, and yet as tested on Saturday, a match for anything that is currently out there on the market – and many would say better. I like not only the grip, but also the low profile of the shoe. My feet felt secure, and low against the ground, feeling the mountain underneath, rather than bouncing over the top. I would recommend the shoe for anyone looking a hard working, performance mountain shoe, who is looking flash technical claims, but rather something that delivers.