Author Archives: TrailRunMag

Shoe Review: La Sportiva Jackal II BOAs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEWER: GILES PENFOLD

THE JACK(AL) OF ALL TRADES

REMEMBER WHEN MARTY FROM BACK TO THE FUTURE II WAS STOKED AS HIS SELF-TYING SHOES WRAPPED ABOUT HIS FEEL?

I felt the same when I first unboxed a pair of the Jackall II BOA’s, twisting my fingers to tighten the dials on their new lacing system.

The La Sportiva Jackal II BOA is a new addition to the range, adding panache(!) and exciting new features as compared to its predecessor, the Jackal I. I’ve owned a pair of this original model and thrashed them around for a while now, so I was eager to find out how the latest changes faired on my feet.

THE LOW DOWN
GREAT FOR: Technical terrain, medium to long distances
NOT SO GREAT FOR: Short distances, speed work
TEST CONDITIONS: Rocky, dry, technical terrain
TESTER: Giles Penfold
TESTER MECHANICS: Neutral

The new model is high-performance designed specifically for sky races and off-road technical terrain spanning medium to long distances. Born from the collaboration between La Sportiva and BOA Technologies, the shoe embodies a fusion of stability, precision and a secure yet comfortable fit.

For context, I mainly tested these shoes on long trail runs (2hrs+) as well as throwing in a few faster hill sessions into the mix. The majority of the terrain was quite rocky and technical, and I was pleasantly surprised as to how they held up. Zero foot issues and slippage combined with relatively dry feet proved themselves early on.

Weighing in at 300g, this is about the standard for a solid trail shoe, and goes without saying that the BOA lacing system adds a little extra weight: a compromise which is well worth it in the scheme of things. Needless to say, if this were a track shoe (captain obvious to the rescue), or even a fast short distance trail shoe, its heft would be concerning. Good thing it’s the opposite – a work horse shoe designed to attack rugged landscapes.

The BOA lacing system looks cutting edge, and I eventually found myself questioning how it would perform on the trails. I put 250km into this particular pair and can honestly say the lacing system is more than mere eye candy. Their simplicity and ease of use is impressive, and serves as quite the paradox compared to its high tech futuristic appearance.

Some direction for users: to tighten the shoes, you simply push the dials and twist them in a clockwise direction. Seeing as La Sportivas usually run quite snug (Helios model excepted), I opted to keep the laces loose most of the time. When approaching a downhill, I’d quickly tighten them in a fraction of a second and go bombs away with confidence, in place of toe carnage.

In terms of drop, the shoe’s 7mm remains the same as previous models, with a moderate stack height of 29-22mm. This gives it enough protection to take on technical terrain but also doesn’t numb things to the point where your feet have no idea what’s beneath them. Its 3.5mm diamond shaped lugs feel tough and are convincingly cut out for dry, rocky conditions. I’ve been flogging these through seriously arid, rugged terrain and few other shoes I’ve used would better suit this landscape.

The outsole also features La Sportiva’s signature FriXion XF 2.0 rubber, which is their stickiest and grippiest compound. The trade-off is presumed to be lower durability but so far, the sole on my pair has shown only trace amounts of wear and tear. As long as the upper holds up, expect these to last anywhere between 800km and 1000km. Solid.

The midsole is a combination of EVA and Infinitoo PU inserts, giving it that long distance cushion and trail stability. I found it quite firm, which inherently means it isn’t as pliable and responsive as other models – makes a lot of sense for a long distance technical cleat though. Compared to its original version, the Jackal II BOA has a more flexible and breathable upper that uses recycled fabrics. Big thumbs up there.

The built-in gaiter also does a great job at keeping out debris, offering subtle support to the ankle. I initially saw this as an unnecessary feature but the more I used them, the more I enjoyed this feature.

Overall, La Sportiva have nailed the updated features on the Jackal II BOA. Its traction and fit are of the highest calibre, and alongside its long distance cushion, the shoe is an excellent option for the most technical of trails.

VITALS
RRP: $319.95 AUD
WEBSITE: lasportiva.com/au
CONDITIONS: Shoes provided for testing by La Sportiva

Running Nutrition: Diary of a Runner

Our bodies generally have enough reserves for up to 60-90 minutes of exercise so for longer endurance events there is a large deficit of energy and hydration. As the duration of the event increases, so does our bodies requirements which can result in many nutrition challenges along the way. How do we fill the deficit? Sports nutrition, but which one? It can be a very personal decision, is it too sickly sweet, do you like the flavour, does it sit well in the stomach, does it even have what you need in it?

We talk to registered Sports & Exercise Nutritionist (BAppSc, University of Otago) and co-founder of PURE Sports Nutrition, Marewa Sutherland and Kate Southern trail runner and PURE ambassador. Kate takes us through her nutrition diary and how she uses the PURE range to her advantage.

A runner’s nutrition plan should start well before race day and Sports Nutritionist, Marewa, always recommends to her athletes to trial, trial, trial “you need to know what works for you.” For trail runner, Kate, her race day nutrition plan starts around 3-4 days prior, but every athlete is different so this will differ for some, especially those who are beet loading (beetroot is high in a naturally occurring compound called nitrate. Once in the body, nitrate is converted to nitric oxide which in simple terms helps to open up our blood vessels), you’ll need to think about it 5 days out.

Preloading + Before the Race

When we talk about preloading, we are adding extra into the body in preparation for the big day. So, you’ll be looking to increase carbs, protein and loading up on electrolytes, I’m also making sure I’m really hydrated so I’m using the PURE Electrolyte Hydration Low Carb 3-4 days leading into an event. I find that works really well for me and it also means the morning of the event I’m not trying to drink heaps.” Kate explains. Marewa adds “this is going to ensure an athlete is fully hydrated to race and you could also choose a sports drink that has carbs to provide fast absorbing carbohydrates for carb loading muscles and it also helps maintain electrolyte levels. It’s also a good idea to begin drinking as soon as you wake up, on race day, to allow plenty of time for your body to hydrate. Eat 2-4 hours prior to allow for digestion and to top up blood sugar levels, a gel 15 min before go time is perfect!”

During

“For ultras I will fuel to a schedule alternating between gels, on the hour, and solid fuel (I really like the OSM bites), on the half hour, to keep energy levels topped up and avoid any slumps. It works for me. It feels like a lot at the time, but it just means you never dip in your energy levels. If you don’t keep topping up and you get into a hole, its quite hard to get out I’ve found. I like to mix gel flavours; lemon lime and apple cinnamon are my favs and I use the caffeine ones later in the event so I’ll have the cola ones cause they’re just yummy. If I can’t be bothered eating towards the end, I’ll have another gel instead of solids. I drink 300-400 ml of hydration, for ultra’s mostly I use the PURE Endurance Formula”. The Endurance Formula has added protein to help prevent muscle breakdown in exercise and aid faster recovery. 

Marewa stresses “Your carb aims for endurance exercise are around 30-60 g per hour, but it can be upwards of 90g, everyone is different, and you should mix your carbohydrate sources. Kate is also a bit of a unicorn in respect that she doesn’t suffer from cramp, but many runners will need more electrolytes than their hydration has so taking extra, like PURE Electrolyte Replacements Capsules, is a good idea”.

Kate notes that she doesn’t use aid stations but instead carries servings of hydration to mix with water at the aid stations. “I know what works for me so I’m not going to add in anything that I haven’t trialled!” Marewa again adds that it is super important to trial your nutrition in training, so if you are going to use the aid stations get onto the event website and find out what’s on offer and incorporate it into your training to make sure it sits well with you.

Recovery

PURE Exercise Recovery is Kate’s favourite from the range, and she uses it as part of her recovery routine, it’s a complete recovery solution with natural sources of protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes. The powder can be mixed with water so its very convenient for on the go. “The Exercise Recovery gets me on the recovery track and it’s super easy so why wouldn’t you? I love the flavour and how well it works. I place a lot of importance on recovery, I always include a serving in my bag for at the finish line of events.” Kate will also continue with her hydration if needed.

Marewa’s recovery tips “It’s important to get 20 grams of protein within 30-60 minutes of your run to help build and repair muscles and hydration is an often-overlooked part of recovery. Adequate fluid and electrolyte replacement ensures nutrients can be delivered around the body, via blood, to promote recovery.”

Why PURE?

Kate has the last word on why she chooses PURE: “Before I switched to PURE, the brand I used previously was okay, but I noticed I would fatigue very quickly of the flavour and sweetness and I therefore wouldn’t drink as much and usually ended up dehydrated. Plus, nausea, towards the end of a long run and an unsettled stomach for hours after the end of a run, was not uncommon. A friend suggested PURE and I haven’t looked back, and even just on that first run with it I just enjoyed that it wasn’t too sweet, it was a nice flavour. With the gels the texture is really nice, it’s more like a thick juice than a gluggy gel and it’s easier to get down. I feel like PURE works for me, and I like that it’s natural tasting and I really like that it’s made in New Zealand.”

Visit www.puresportsnutrition.com to view the full range!

 

 

TRAIL CREW – LIVE TO RUN TRAIL

WRITTEN BY: EMILY HUNT
IMAGE BY: BART MORAWIEC

TRAIL CREW TIME WITH LIVE TO RUN TRAIL IN NZ

Where does the crew run mostly?
We can be found every Thursday, rain or shine, in the epic terrain that is the Port Hills in Christchurch. We take different routes each week and mix up the distances and vert. In the summer we start at Victoria Park and then through the winter we move around and sample other locations around the city including the forest and varying trails in the hills.

What is the crew’s favourite local trail and why?
There are too many to choose from! I would say people love the variety we have access to in the Port Hills. It seems there is always a new trail to discover and in different lights or weather conditions they bring a plethora of challenges. By encouraging rock hopping, zigzagging across open paddocks or picking out a carefully disguised sheep track, the variety is truly limited only by the imagination.

What single piece of advice would you give a newbie joining your crew?
Go and see Oska or Sam at Frontrunner Colombo and get a decent pair of trail shoes that are the best for you and your goals. Sam is one of our runners and knows a thing or two about shoes. We are very fortunate to have this store in Christchurch as Frontrunner Colombo has the biggest range of trail shoes in the country.

If your crew was an animal, what would it be and why?
This took some thinking, but we all agreed it would be African Painted Dogs. This is an animal that is continuously chatting, has a big heart and has a whole lot of energy. The crew is like a pack animal and they never leave their sick or injured behind. Also, our members have cool hair styles and stylish outfits just like their canine counterparts.

The world is ending. Nominate a trail anywhere on the planet that your crew must run. It’s the last trail you’ll ever see. Where is it?
We would have to run up into the Port Hills and bag a Sugarloaf summit. Nothing beats the feeling you get from a pounding heart and a view shared with friends. If someone was to appear with a couple of bottles of champagne or some craft beer to toast the end of the world that would top it off nicely. From up there we would probably have a good seat to watch it all unfold below us.

How have you seen participation in your group change people and lives?
The whole purpose of this club was to build a community. We wanted an inclusive and completely accessible club for anyone who has a pair of (well-fitted, appropriate) shoes and a spare hour. On speaking to the coaches, the main feedback is they love the enthusiasm and the sound of people chatting and laughing every Thursday evening. A bad day can be turned around by the warmth of the group. Confidences have grown in running trails, running in the dark and extending distances. Everlasting friendships have been created, businesses grown and networks built all because of the beating heart of the crew Live To Run Trail.

NAME: Live to Run Trail
BIRTHDAY: Summer 2020
REGION: Christchurch, Canterbury, NZ
MEMBERS: 600+
AVERAGE RUNNERS AT EACH HOOK UP: 70
AVERAGE HOOK UPS EACH YEAR: 50
SHOES OWNED IN TOTAL: Too many to count (Sam owns the most pairs)
UNOFFICIAL CLUBHOUSE Moon Under Water, Somerfield, Christchurch

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Shoe Review: The North Face Enduris 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEWER: GILES PENFOLD

THE ENDURIS 3 ENDURES THE TEST OF TIME

IN NEED OF AN EVERYDAY TRAINER THAT GETS THE JOB DONE JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE? Meet the new Vector Enduris 3.

Hot off the press, this shoe is part of The North Face’s latest line-up, a star studded bunch that was tested at UTMB by top athletes and amateurs alike. I haven’t experienced their shoes until now, but given the brand is synonymous with quality outdoor gear, my expectations are high. I still remember how stoked I was about receiving a TNF jumper hand-me down as a kid…and I’m pretty sure my younger cousin now wears it.

According to their website, this third version of the Vectiv Enduris is all about versatility, balanced stability, cushioning and traction. With this in mind, I went out and pounded the pavement, ran some trails, and heck, even dragged them along to the gym a handful of times.

In terms of feel, I’m a sucker for a more minimalist shoe and the Vectiv Enduris are by no means a barefoot shoe. With that said, I gradually warmed to its generous cushioning. The 31mm/25mm stack height feels really supportive and has a springiness that I’m not used to (plus it doesn’t cook your achilles or calves). I also noticed its generous toe box, something that a lot of brands are starting to catch on to, with this model genuinely letting your feet splay and grip the trails when necessary. It took me a few jogs to get used to the Enduris’ high cushion but once acclimated I actually surprised myself, describing them to a friend as ‘damn comfy’. First box: ticked.

‘How are the Enduris performance-wise?’ the same mate asks me. The short answer? Solid. The longer answer? Solid with a caveat. Let me explain.

As the most approachable and beginner-friendly shoes of the TNF line, their purpose isn’t to be flogged or redline on a speed 25k or 50k trial race. Instead, their objective is as an all-rounder, and who doesn’t love an all-rounder? After a few weeks of becoming acquainted, I found myself nonchalantly wearing this pair all over the shop. If you really want to scream ‘I’m a runner!’ to the world, I suggest wearing the neon colourway to your local gym.

Bonus points if you wear skimpy split shorts as well.

Jokes aside, the Enduris 3 held up just fine during my sets of calf raises, Olympic lifts and plyometrics. Side note: If you’re a more experienced runner looking for a high performance shoe, I’d go for something like the Vectiv Sky or Vectiv Pro (both pairs are carbon plated).

By now, I’ve hopefully insinuated that the versatility on the Enduris 3 is epic! I tested these on slow road runs and also picked up the pace on non-technical trails. For context, the longest trot I took them on was 22k, and by the end of it I felt like I was gliding on clouds (more on this in tech specs below). The verdict though? They held up considerably better than I’d anticipated and felt easy to run in.

Here’s the low-down on the shoe’s tech specifications. First things first, they’re quite light compared to similarly cushioned shoes from competing brands (Men’s 307g, Women’s 257g). The 6mm drop remains the same as previous models of the Enduris, however notable changes include an extra 2mm of stack with a revised EVA formula and a more comfortable overall design. The rockered midsole is definitely a highlight, ‘delivering forward propulsion’ according to TNF. I was initially sceptical about this feature, but found that once I got in the groove on a run, the rocker genuinely did its job, propelling me forward and making things feel easy (also referred to as ‘gliding on clouds’, patent pending).

The outsole carries 3.5mm lugs which held up well on the trail, although I didn’t wear these through particularly muddy terrain. The upper feels roomy and yet, the foot locks in nicely.

Overall, the Enduris 3 is a great all round trainer and runner that won me over. It’s a no frills, dependable shoe that has a strong combination of cushioning, traction and versatility. It’s also the most affordable pick of the Vectiv range, and comes in two striking colourways. An excellent update from The North Face.

THE LOW DOWN

GREAT FOR: Everyday training, terrain variety
NOT SO GREAT FOR: High performance races
TEST CONDITIONS: Hard-packed dirt, paved road, pea gravel
TESTER: Giles Penfold
TESTER MECHANICS: Neutral

VITALS

RRP: $250 AUD
WEBSITE: thenorthface.com.au / thenorthface.co.nz
CONDITIONS: Shoes provided for testing by The North Face

Taking Trails To The Olympics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY: KATE DZIENIS
IMAGE: DOMINIC CHAPLIN

IF YOU LIKE IT THAN YOU SHOULDA PUT AN OLYMPIC RING ON IT

With an estimated 20 million participants since 2010, trail running has become one of the world’s fastest growing sports (according to International Track and Field Federation). With the basic requirements only being a pair of shoes and having the great outdoors somewhere close by, there are now more than 25,000 races across 195 countries with nearly 2 million registered competitors. So with the numbers so large, isn’t it time we get the sport recognised at an Olympic level? Kate Dzienis delves into the potential of introducing trail running to the Olympics and the Paralympics, and discovers a push has already started, hard and fast, to get the sport into the 2032 Brisbane Games.

***

On April 10, way back when in 1896, a group of 17 male runners gathered at the start line of the first modern Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece to run 24.8mi, or 39.9km, to the Panathenaic Stadium.

After doing a bit of research, I had to chuckle to myself when I’d learnt that 3rd Place finisher Spyridon Belokas was disqualified for ‘hitching a ride in a carriage along part of the race course’, and the winner – a Greek man by the name of Spyridon Louis – became a national hero, only to return to farm life and never race again.

I guess Louis ticked that off his bucket list and was happy to leave it at that.

It wasn’t until more than 100 years later that women were granted an addition to the marathon program, at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, with gold medal winner Joan Benoit clocking in an amazing time of 2:24:52 and inspiring women everywhere to follow her lead.

Cross country running made its appearance (for men only) in the 1912, 1920 and 1924 Games, but was quickly cancelled off the program. In 2020 there was a push by World Athletics to re-introduce it at the 2024 Games in Paris, with suggestions of a 5km event that would see two men and two women per nation compete in a mixed-gender race – but it was rejected. There was also news doing the rounds in 2017 that ultra running (regardless if it was meant to be track, road or trail) was successfully campaigned for and due to appear at the 2024 Games, but looking at the preliminary schedule of events dated April 2023, sadly I don’t see it listed.

It’s now 2023, and trail running has, as you’re all well aware, blitzed itself on the athletic scene and is continuously gaining faster momentum than Japan’s bullet trains. From my point of view, there are a barrage of reasons why the sport deserves Olympic status, and local organising committees have incredible opportunities here to help make it happen.

But it all starts with International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition, where criteria needs to be met; and of course, campaigning hard and fast to officials can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars so there’s a bit of a downside to that one. One of the best things to do, though, is to introduce trail running to officials in the year a country hosts the Games – and in our case, it’s Brisbane 2032.  

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY – AND MORE – IN TRAIL RUN MAG #48 (AUG-SEPT 2023). 

Conquering Trails & Adversity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY: KATE DZIENIS
IMAGE: THE EVENTURERS

FIGHTING THE DEMONS WITHIN

Tom Dade is young. He’s got a fire burning through him that’s hard to control, and it served him incredibly well when he took on one of Australia’s gnarliest races, the Down Under 135, earlier this year. The Victorian left behind a blazing trail so hot, he was this year’s only finisher, crossing that brutal finish line in an astonishing 53:07:53. Tom’s life as a teenager shaped who is today, but it was an outright assault of his mortal being as he battled an eating disorder that saw him land in hospital for treatment. Kate Dzienis discovers the vulnerable side of Tom as he opens up about his demons to spread the message and break the stigma that eating disorders are rare in males.

CW // Mental Health, Eating Disorders
TRM would like to advise that this article focuses on Tom’s lived experience, and therefore discusses mental health and eating disorders, in particular Anorexia Nervosa. We understand that this discussion may be difficult for those in our community who also suffer from an eating disorder, and have included support services at the end of the article.

***

At just 23, Tom Dade from Mt Martha in Victoria has entered the ultra running community in a blaze of glory. In September 2019 he ran his first ultra, the 100km at the Surf Coast Century, and went on to run a further three ultras before taking home the top podium spot in the New Year’s Eve Rock Around The Clock 50km that same year in December. 

But it wasn’t all podium finishes and glory. In fact, Tom faced an ultra race of a different kind earlier in life – one that involved fighting through an eating disorder.

About one million Australians live with an eating disorder in any given year; that is, 4% of the population, and despite the stigma associated that they only affect women, eating disorders can indeed affect people of any gender.

But there’s been an under representation of males in eating disorder research, and research with males is almost exclusively with cisgender males and may not be inclusive of people who identify as trans or gender diverse. So official figures and statistics are tricky to come by.

It’s only estimated that one-third of people reporting eating disorder behaviours in the community are male, with research on the perceived barriers towards help-seeking for people found that stigma and shame were most frequently identified as barriers for accessing treatment.

And today, Dan wants to share his story to help break the stigma that eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa mainly affects women and girls…(cont’d).

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY – AND MORE – IN TRAIL RUN MAG #45 (NOV/DECEMBER 2022). 

Creating the next generation of sports climate leaders

Image: Kurt Matthews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRAIL RUNNING & CLIMATE LEADERSHIP, TOGETHER AS ONE

WORDS BY: SIMON HARRIS

Rather than despairing about the state of our planet, a small group of motivated runners with a deep passion for wild places have launched a new climate leadership camp in Australia. 

Initially developed and launched in the US by trail runner Dakota Jones, Footprints is making its way to Australia in partnership with Patagonia, with the very first camp being held from April 20-25 (2023) in Warburton, the lands of the Wurundjeri people, Victoria.

The premise is simple: the camp brings together 20 exceptional people who love to run for five days to bond, develop environmental knowledge and leadership skills, and connect with grassroots organisations that are active in conserving and protecting wild lands through the creation of the Great Forest National Park (watch Episode 1 here).

Each morning, campers go for group runs, then spend the afternoons and evenings workshopping their group projects through immersive, collaborative sessions.

Campers will be challenged, have fun, advance climate solutions and eat delicious home-cooked food whilst working closely with world-class mentors and inspirational speakers such as Beau Miles.

Footprints Australia co-founder Simon Harris said campers will be inspired by what others are doing and by what they can do.

“They will come away feeling prepared to take action on climate change. We want to provide them with the inspiration, know-how and confidence to be effective climate action leaders,” he said.

Image: B Hynes

The Footprints team will be joined by Patagonia to support the campers to create projects and initiatives for local environmental groups including Friends of the Earth Melbourne and Wildlife of the Central Highlands, who have been advocating for the protection of the area for years through the creation of the Great Forest National Park.

Patagonia’s community sports manager Majell Backhausen encouraged attendees to bring their ideas and share for development.

“We want runners to bring their ideas, initiatives and projects to the camp for development to contribute to the ongoing campaigns to protect an additional 355,000ha of native forest through the Great Forest National Park proposal,” he said.

“As this community of runners and the sport of trail running grows, so too will the number of runners who, once they experience and understand our wild places, choose to act, give back and protect them.”

Applications for the first camp in Victoria are now open until February 22.

Apply here.

TRAIL RUN AUSTRALIA | SNOWY MOUNTAINS

WRITTEN BY: TRM editor KATE DZIENIS

SNOWY MOUNTAINS, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA

Discover the iconic snowy mountains with one of the most scenic and challenging trail
run courses found in Australia! 

Australia’s home-grown trail running series Trail Run Australia heads to the Snowy Mountains for Round 3 of the National Series. The 2-day festival includes courses for every trail running craving you have – from hardcore ultra runners to beginners and the littlest mud rats, there’s something for everyone.

Events include Ultra, Marathon, Half, 11k, 5k and a FREE Kids Mud Rats run. Before and after your run, it’s luxury all the way with full facilities at 4.5 Star Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa, which is the home base for the festival. Enjoy a true high country welcome, and experience your very own Man From Snowy River along the way.

Join all the action at in2adventure.com.au but be quick because entries are limited and standard entries close very soon. Trail Run Australia is proudly Australian owned and managed.

REGISTRATIONS CLOSE 17 FEBRUARY, 2023

For more information visit trailrunaustralia.com.au

THIS TRAIL RUN AUSTRALIA EVENT AND ALL ITS ACCOMPANYING STUNNING PHOTOGRAPHY IS FEATURED IN TRAIL RUN MAG #46 (JAN/FEB 2023).

There’s More Behind Felix Than Meets The Eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY: KATE DZIENIS
IMAGE: SUZANNE POLI

MEET FELIX, WHERE HE’S MORE THAN JUST…FELIX

To the average adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, forms of physical activity may take a back seat to almost all other activities. Studies have shown, though, that exercise is as important to the brain as it is to the rest of the body’s physicality, and it can change the brain’s neurotransmitters, protein growth and neurogenesis. Kate Dzienis got an insight into the world of ADHD whilst speaking with Andrew ‘Felix’ Polifrom Ellenbrook, WA who lives with the diagnosis and explains how he manages trail running, race directing, and living life to its fullest potential.

***

There’s always been something about Andrew Poli that draws people to instantly think he’s quirky and unconventional. Felix, as he’s widely known in his social circles, has a heart of gold – always raising his hand to help in times of need, whether it be pacing a fellow runner he’s never met, joining you on a recovery run, volunteering last minute if the time arises, and having a good ol’ chat full of positivity and motivation.

I first met Felix at my local parkrun probably about eight years ago now, and gradually got to know him and his wife Suzanne over the course of that time. At that stage, Felix was a beast on the trails, and his name would pop up as a participant at most local events in the longest distances. He was, and still is, renowned for ‘Felixnav’ – where he gets so wrapped up in the environment around him during a race, he loses his way and at times gets lost, having to backtrack and get back on course. It’s a term of endearment amongst those who know him, and Felix has taken it on with gusto, never shying from finding his way back and catching up to secure himself a spot in the top half of finishers.

The birth of Felixnav (now a hashtag in its own right) takes place in 2014, when at the 6 Inch Trail Marathon in south west WA he decided to take a ‘short cut’ to Aid Station 2 – not once, not twice, but three times.

The race is 47km…his GPS read 60km+ at the finish.

It took me a few years to learn of Felix’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and it dawned on me that trail running for him was his ticket to better function. But the acronym doesn’t tell the whole story – it’s not so much a deficit problem as it is a regulation problem, and there’s increasing evidence that a single session of exercise can lead to immediate improvements in ADHD symptoms and cognitive functions…(cont’d).

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY ABOUT FELIX – AND MORE – IN TRAIL RUN MAG #45 (NOV/DEC 2022). 

DREAM RUN: Lake District Grand Tour, UK

WRITTEN BY: TRM editor KATE DZIENIS
PHOTO: SAM HILL

GLORIOUS, AND EVER SO BEAUTIFUL, LDGT IN THE UK

If there’s ever a Dream Run recommendation to put on your wish list, it’s the freakingly beautiful Lake District Grand Tour (LDGT) in the UK. Lake District in itself is England’s largest national park and now a World Heritage Site, so running through here means you’re in the presence of incredible natural history.

Here in this stunning photograph by Sam Hill, runner George Foster runs through the northern fells of the English Lake District above Crummock Water. Fell running often involves off-trail running across heather, tussock, bog, grass and loose rock, and although not very big in this particular area (about 900m above sea level) the mountains can be technical and demanding – no run, or foot step, is ever the same.

If you fancy yourself a trip to the land of the Angles, do it so that you can combine the LDGT with your holiday, so pack your running shoes, your poles and be prepared to be a bit sleep deprived because if you’re someone who’s up for a challenge of sheer brut and strength of both the mental and physical kind, then this is the event to register for.

It’s a 400km ultra trail race that will give you about 17,000m+ elevation gain plus a decent 30 mountain passes, links to all 13 valleys, a visit to 10 out of the 16 lakes and only 42km of tarmac.

Let’s just say that the LDGT is not a flat race!

In 2023, if you’re not up for a 400km, race directors will have available a 55km race in the Northern Fells of Skiddaw Forest, but in 2024 there are plans to see the first ever editions of a 170km in the Eastern Fells around Ullswater and Haweswater, and a 110km in the Western Fells around Wasdale, Ennerdale, Crummock Water and Buttermere.

The LDGT 400 is an unforgiving race for the ill-prepared, but don’t let that turn you off.

For more information visit ldgt.co.uk

THIS DREAM RUN STORY AND ALL ITS ACCOMPANYING STUNNING PHOTOGRAPHY IS FEATURED IN TRAIL RUN MAG #45 (NOV/DEC 2022).