In 2015 my wife Taryn and I decided to take up trail running. We completed the Spur Trail Series and with the introduction of the new year we decided to start 2016 by competing in the Puma Trail Runs.
In preparation we started the year with a few park runs and of course our old favourite, the Jackal Run. We had trained by running 4-6km regularly on the road but nothing prepares you for trail running like trail running. As a result we felt nervous but quite strong ahead of our first challenge of the year.
The race took place at the Bufflespoort Dam so we had an early start to make it to the venue for the 7am start. At least we get to see parts of Johannesburg not usually on our commuter routes.
Our friend Nicola joined us as her husband Vaughn was doing the triathlon, which we are far from ready to do! Taryn does the Dual-X’s but swimming is a next level kind of challenge! We arrived nice and early and were ready for our 7h00 start!
I was also debuting my new PUMA Faas 300 Trail Running shoes, which looked fantastic and I was sure would make a massive difference to the comfort of my run. In the past I had always worn what I call my Warrior shoes – they are old and I don’t mind soaking them in mud when we do the Warrior races. I enjoyed these new shoes and obviously won’t be ruining them in any mud monsters!
The weekend saw quite a bit of rain so the terrain was damp underfoot. Lucky for us the rain had stopped for the morning and we got to rain in damp but dry conditions. It meant the temperature was perfect for running. There was also a lot of running through the forested areas which was fantastic. It was the kind of race you could do over and over again!
What made it an interesting run was the terrain changes. We got to run through forested areas, across open hilltops and struggle through loose gravel. Loose gravel is the worst as it kills your calves! As always getting to the finish line was a wonderful feeling. Especially as the first real test of the year! The start to a proper year of running, a lot of goals for the year.
In the Faas 300’s I could definitely feel the difference though. I must say I really like the dual density mesh, it keeps the shoe light and lets it breathe without it feeling too open and fragile. The shoe itself felt stable and strong across all the different terrains, especially the rocks where I felt I could run through things strongly. The down hills I felt a lot more secure of my footing wearing the Faas 300’s. I was really impressed with the difference they made, hopefully I can push them harder at the next event we do!
We finished in 39 minutes 19 seconds 65th and 66th overall. Taryn came home 11th in her category and 21st in her gender. I managed to come home 12th in mine and 45th in my gender. A good start to the year but itching to go that little bit faster because I know we can!