Having been an on-off and casual running since my teens, I started taking my running more seriously when I joined a group in Bristol, UK, in 2014. I ran a few road 10kms, and a couple of road half marathons. I was happiest, though, exploring the trails I could run from my home – finding my way, getting a bit lost, getting muddy. My long Sunday runs were what I really loved.
In 2017 I moved to the French Alps and was suddenly living in the mountains at 2100m. You could run around the nearby lake – but that soon got dull. So I figured, if life throws you mountains – be a mountain runner!
With really no idea what I was letting myself into I signed up for the 2018 High Trail Vanoise 20km race – the ‘Balcons de Val d’Isère’. We had a crazy winter of snow 2017-2018, so I started my training running in the snow around the lake, around the ski de fond track, and doing interval training on an 80-step staircase near our apartment. The trails were snowy until June; being a complete mountain running novice it didn’t actually cross my mind that I could put on spikes and just head out to run up the mountain on the snow!
Nonetheless, I was doing plenty of skiing, some ski touring and a bit of ski de fond (Nordic skiing). As soon as I could I started extending my running distance and including some power-hiking up a nearby piste plus interval sessions on a weird man-made slope that seemed made for them (I discovered, finally, that the slope had been created for the 1992 Winter Olympics, back when ‘ski ballet’ was still a thing!).
By the end of 2018 I was hooked on mountain running. My racing season was a bit ad-hoc – I had a complicated international house move to make, and it wasn’t until I’d done a few races that it really clicked how much I was loving it.
2018 Trail Running Season
2019 Trail Running Season
Races I’m planning to do so far are:
- 29th April: 21/35km Trail du Laudon, ‘Trail de la Cochette’, 35km, 1780M D+
- 26th May: Ultra Tour du Mole, Distance : 35,6 km, 3200m D+
- 1st June: Trail du Gypaète, ‘La Circaète’ – 31km, 1760m D+
- 7th July: High Trail Vanoise, ‘Balcons de Val d’Isère’, 20km, 1000m D+ (to beat my 3h03 time from 2018!)
- August / Sept tbd.
- Oct: Likely to repeat the Trail des Glières 23km for a faster time, or longer distance.
I’m a V1F (Masters 1 female) and so proud to be a part of the amazing international community of runners over 40 years old. We are a strong, fierce bunch so you younger girls – LOOK OUT. Running is a sport you can excel at well into middle and older age.
Grab your shoes and go
As a mum of two young girls, with a job, a house to run and a husband who’s regularly away on business, life sometimes feels hectic! I love skiing, I’ve scuba dived, we mountain bike… but one of the things I love about running is how easy it is to just do it. Just grab shoes, and go. No fuss, no faff, no gear maintenance.
Although I’m considering using poles now I’m upping the distance and climb in the trails I’m choosing, I’ve resisted partly because it’s MORE STUFF!
Of course I do grab my pack – but that stays ready for the off and all I have to do is refresh my water. I make sure I replace any snacks and nutrition the moment I’m back from the run when I used it.
With no flat tyres, no squeaky wheels, no edges to sharpen – there’s just me and the freedom of the trails calling.
Thanks for reading my page. Do check out my blog too. You might enjoy: