Header Image: SportpicturesCymru
Ever watched one of those adventure films about epic mountain runs and wondered what kind of magical kit these people must be using to complete such unbelievable tasks?
Currently available to watch on BBC Iplayer, 47 Copa, shows Huw Brassington as he takes on the gruelling Paddy Buckley challenge, a running route of over 100km that takes in 47 of Snowdonia’s peaks.
It’s one of those challenges where everything can easily go very wrong, with the proof of that being that 30% of those who take it on end up dropping out. If the weather isn’t working for you, if you haven’t planned out the logistics carefully enough, or perhaps more importantly, if your kit fails, then the sub 24 hour goal will very, very easily slip away. (OK, there’s a spoiler on the way so if you’re planning on watching Huw’s film stop reading now.)
So what was in Huw’s armoury that helped him to not only complete the round, but do it with a not-to-be-sniffed-at 55 minutes spare? Read on to find out…
Shoes: Salomon S/Slab Speed 2
This is where the smart money is spent. My pair of Salomon S/Lab Speed 2 were perfect; quick draining, bristling with 8mm knobbles and a central arch section with smaller tread that conjures grip on the slipperiest of boulders. The low profile (minimal drop from heel to fore-foot) provides a very stable platform (like the opposite to running in high-heels) and, more importantly, allows you to feel the ground properly.
This sense of what is underfoot cultivates a subconscious reaction to the terrain which is indispensable when your brain turns to mashed potato after 20 hours straight of fell running. However, smaller tread is better on wet rock and with this in mind i might be tempted to go for a shoe change and less aggressive tread on leg four, from Llanberis to Dyffryn Ogwen. Half of this is over the boulder-strewn moonscape that lies over the Glyderau and if it’s wet (and it usually is!) then smaller tread could be an advantage if, however, you’re used to uneven ground and are partial to nailing it downhill, I’d go for bigger tread for the whole thing.
You stand to gain more hammering it down muddy descents than you would lose slipping on wet stone. But tread carefully – I found out at my own cost that this decision needs to be carefully deliberated. After an ill-timed shoe change, I fell on my face numerous times to the delight of the nearby cameramen.
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