(Photo courtesy of Alastair Tye)
Vibram Five Fingers fan, Steve, recently put his black KSO Treks through their paces, running the Llantysilio Fell Race in Wales. Wikipedia says that fell running dates back to 1040 in Scotland. A bit from Steve on fell racing and the Llantysilio course:
A fell race is an extreme trail race, usually taking competitors from a valley up to one or more high peaks via un-runnably steep tracks, and then returning to the valley with an almost suicidal descent. Routes are typically rocky, muddy or both, there's some limited freedom to choose one's own path, and the emphasis is on vertical gain. This video gives the general idea.
In this particular case, the short 6.2 mile (approx 10km) course featured a whopping 2100ft (approx 650m) of climbing, and an equal descent back to the start.
Steve comments on how his Black KSO Treks performed:
(Photo courtesy of Lightning)
Steve met another runner in KSOs at Llantysilio:
Given that the Treks are unavailable in the UK, and that I'd therefore imported them from the USA, I was very surprised to find a second runner in the field of around 104 also wearing Treks. He sported brown leather Treks before the start, but switched to a pair of Trek Tex for the race itself. Blogging as "Methuselah", his account can be found here. We chatted excitedly about the shoes, of course, and Methuselah's running friend "Lightning" described this historic moment on his blog:
"When we were there Methuselah bumped into a fellow "Vibram Five Finger" wearer. It was interesting to see them interact. Almost like rare zoo animals that had been separated from their own kind all their lives. There was great excitement in the air. Anything could have happened ;-) Thank god it didn't."
There was a great deal of interest in the Treks among the fell runners, who are a practical bunch generally favouring minimal trail shoes such as Inov-8s. At least one other runner said he already runs on the roads in FiveFingers, so I think we can expect to see a growing number of Treks out on the fells in years to come!
Thanks Steve, for giving us a look at old school trail running!