Product Review – Aqua Carpatica

How much water do you drink? I’m guessing more than the average Joe/Jo, because if you’re reading this you’re probably a healthy(ish) sort. Do you drink bottled water? Or are you (like my Other Half) the sort of person who thinks all water is basically the same, so why pay for something that’s no different/better than what Yorkshire Water sends out of our taps?

Personally I like to drink at least a couple of pints of water every day in addition to any other drinks I have – which are, admittedly, mostly coffee and tea. I find I start to feel a bit tired and headachey by lunchtime if I don’t. I generally drink tap water at home. At work we have a fancy thing that does either boiling or filtered chilled water, which is fine. But I like some mineral waters and I do buy them occasionally. I use cheap Morrison’s Yorkshire Vale water to make a fizzy drink with fruit juice. I love Evian, but usually only drink it when I’m on holiday in France, where it’s much cheaper than the UK. If I need a still, bottled water in this country I choose Harrogate Spring Water if I can because it’s local (and nice) And I like to drink Badoit, which has a slightly savoury tang, with a nice meal if I’m not having wine. My OH thinks Badoit tastes “like farts”, but each to their own! Then again, Vichy water, which many French people swear by for its health properties, is a salty step too far even for me. So when I was sent some new Aqua Carpatica to try I was interested to see how it compared to waters I’m familiar with. Because when you start to dig down into the detail, all waters are not created equal by any means – it’s the varying mineral content of the different waters that makes some taste sweet and others like farts!

Aqua Carpatica comes from the Carpathain mountains in Romania, a rugged and romantic forest landscape full of wolves and bears – proper fairly tale stuff! It’s produced by many years of volcanic action, much like other popular waters such as Evian and Volvic. So far, so standard. But the USP of Aqua Carpatica is that it’s extremely low in sodium and nitrates, both of which are issues for some people. Personally I don’t worry too much about sodium as I have low blood pressure, but obviously if you’ve been advised to follow a low sodium diet you wouldn’t want to drink water that contains lots of it. And if you’re concerned about environmental toxins you presumably don’t want to be consuming nitrates. So from that point of view Aqua Carpatica has a lot going for it.

This stuff certainly tastes good; very clean and sweet – much like Evian in fact. And it comes in a very cool square bottle, which wouldn’t look out of place at a dinner party or in a fancy restaurant. However, I was interested to see how Aqua Carpatica’s mineral content (mg per litre) stacked up against my usual waters, so did a little comparison.




Calcium Magnesium





6.5 80 26 3.7


42 46 13



14.8 71 8.2


Aqua Carpatica 0.6 49 15





165 190 85


Yorkshire Vale


2.2 0.8


Aqua Carpatica 4.9 274 78



I’d never bothered doing this in any detail before and found it quite interesting. I got the analysis of my tap water by simply typing my postcode into the Yorkshire Water website – you may be able to do the same with your water provider. It seems that different waters are good for different things – depending on what you’re looking for!

So how do the scores stack up? Personally I Iike a water that has a good 2:1 balance of calcium and magnesium – hence my preference for Harrogate and Badoit. Aqua Carpatica has a lot of calcium in it, which I guess may appeal to some people. The still version apparently has the lowest sodium level of any bottled water. My cheapo Yorkshire Vale doesn’t have much calcium or magnesium in it – but it’s also low in sodum and nitrates. The tap water certainly has the highest level of nitrates, whilst Aqua Carpatica obviously has the lowest. Incidentally, you can’t remove nitrates from tap water by using a simple jug filter such as a Brita; you need a fancy reverse osmosis system to do that.

I haven’t drawn any major conclusion here, apart from it’s probably worth looking into the composition of any water you’re drinking to see what’s in it; and if you’re looking for a low sodium option Aqua Carpatica seems like a good bet. If you’re interested in trying it, it’s available at Tesco and Ocado.

What do you think about water? I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on how much you drink, what type and why.

Top Tips for Exercising at Home

When I talk to people about physical activity – in both work and personal capacities – lots of them tell me they either don’t have time to exercise or can’t afford to. So when I was asked by Decathlon to review some of their sportswear and blog about how to exercise at home, it seemed like a great chance to offer a few tips for busy and/or cash-strapped people who’d like to get a bit fitter.

It may come as a surprise to hear that – wait for it – I have never been to a gym! The main reason is probably that I’m just not organised enough. But I also think it can be quite expensive and time-consuming. There’s the membership fee for a start; and by the time you’ve got in the car, driven there, done a session and driven back that’s probably about two hours of your day taken care of. One of the many reasons I love running is that it’s a very simple sport and you don’t need to go anywhere special to do it – you just get changed and go! So it’s the ideal cardio exercise to do from home. I often run past a gym where I live, and on beautiful, sunny days I see people running indoors on treadmills. I wonder why they pay to do that when they could be outside in the fresh air! Of course if the weather is bad it’s a tempting option, but if you’re properly kitted out with a decent running jacket and hat there isn’t much weather that can stop you. And it’s free!

“Aha!” you may say, “but running isn’t free – you need expensive shoes and clothes”. Not so! Obviously it’s possible to spend a fortune on fancy sports kit, but you certainly don’t have to. I’ve been really surprised at the quality of Decathlon’s Kalenji running range, and the prices represent amazing value. I have a couple of French running friends who’ve been using Decathlon stuff for years and rate it very highly. So don’t feel you have to go top end to buy gear that does the job! The jacket I’m wearing in these pics is really cool; a fab, bright colour, with some great features like a ventilation flap across the top of the back. The tights are a nice snug fit, made of very soft, breathable material with ventilation panels down the side and have a handy key pocket on the leg.

This base layer is super-warm. With its thumb holes and high neck it’s perfect for winter trail running. It would also be great for winter cycling or walking. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of use out of it!

Sometimes I run to work, which is a great way to build exercise into your day if you’re short of time. It’s only a couple of miles, so I often take a longer route home to fit in a few more. I realise I’m very lucky to have showers and a drying room where I work, but it’s also amazing what you can achieve with a few wet wipes, some deodorant and a pony tail! Cycling or walking can be less sweaty options. If your workplace is far away, try taking the bus or train instead of driving, getting off a few stops early and running or walking the rest of the way. Every little helps, and you might save some bus/train fare too. Active commuting does require a bit of organisation – ensuring you’ve got things like work clothes and shoes where you need them – but it’s an easy way to make exercise part of your regular routine. When you exercise early in the morning you can also feel smug for the rest of the day!

But what if you find it hard to leave the house to exercise? For example, if you have young children and no childcare? It can be difficult to get outside if that’s the case. I know a couple of mums who swap childcare sessions so they can go running – one looks after the kids while the other goes out and vice versa. Or you could consider getting a treadmill. Yes, they can be expensive, but there are often second hand bargains available from people who bought them with good intentions but then gave up – that’s how I got mine, although I only use it as a last resort! Or why not go halves with a nearby friend? If that’s not an option, there are lots of fitness sessions available online that you can take part in at home. Just Google ‘exercise at home’ and loads of options pop up! The NHS and BBC Get Inspired websites both have great short workouts that are the perfect introduction to exercising at home, and you don’t need any special equipment to do them; just a bit of space and some comfy clothes. Why not get a couple of friends round, do it together and have a coffee or healthy juice and a chat afterwards? Or you could simply go for a brisk group walk – with babies in pushchairs if needs be! Much cheaper and more sociable than the gym.

I love going to yoga as a complement to running, but if I can’t get to my favourite vinyasa flow class at York Yoga Studio I try to do a training session at home; usually a combination of some yoga, strength work and stretching. I’m not very good at yoga, but I do love it!

Decathlon also sent me some of their Domyos yoga wear to try. It’s really comfortable and colourful – perfect for this kind of activity – and much of the range is made from super-soft organic cotton. I was very impressed by these breathable yoga leggings, which have clearly been well thought through in the design. The material is really soft and doesn’t go see though when you bend over. There’s a nice high waistband (essential for yoga) with a tiny key pocket, plus a seamless crotch. I love the colour too. Best of all, they only cost £19.99! You’d usually pay much more for this level of quality. The vest is really light and airy – great for a dynamic flow practice – and the t-shirt is so soft and stylish I’d happily use it as normal leisure wear.

I’m not saying nobody should ever go to the gym – far from it! I’m sure there are lots of people who attend regularly and get good value from their membership. But for anyone with little time or money, it’s good to know that you can go a long way to keeping yourself fit without leaving home or spending lots of cash.

Do you have any top fitness tips for saving time and money? I’d love to know.



Competition – Win The North Yorkshire Cookbook

I love food. More than that, I love Yorkshire food. And even more than that, I love local, North Yorkshire food! I really believe that good, simple, seasonal produce that hasn’t travelled far to get to your plate tastes better – and is better for you and the environment – than food that’s been transported hundreds or even thousands of miles. So I was delighted to be sent a book to review that celebrates some of the best food and drink from God’s own county.



The North Yorkshire Cookbook features not just manufacturers of great food and drink, but also the places that serve and sell it such as restaurants, cafés, delis, pubs and markets. It’s good to see a few of my personal favourites in there: Betty’s tea rooms (fat rascals!), the Haxby Bakehouse (proper bread) and No 8 Bistro in York; the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham (where I used to live), Quayside Fish and Chips in Whitby, plus many more. I now feel I need to make a trip to Harrogate to try Baltzersen’s Cinnamon Buns, which I have been obsessed with ever since I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and discovered that Scandinavian people apparently mostly exist on cinnamon buns and coffee.

Le Caveau 63

There are also over 40 mouth-watering recipes from some of North Yorkshire’s top chefs for you to try at home. I’m very tempted to have a go at the Grange Hotel’s Yorkshire Curd Tart and Le Caveau’s Slow Cooked Yorkshire Rabbit in Cider (pictured above). The foreword is by Andrew Pern, who owns the award-winning Star restaurant at Harome, as well as its sister eatery, the Star in the City (of York). Special occasions only for my budget(!) but well worth it.

Ampleforth Abbey 64


This is a great read for lovers of Yorkshire food, being part food guide and part recipe book. There’s something for everyone! To share the love I’m going to give away this copy. Just leave a comment below telling me what’s your favourite Yorkshire food or food outlet and why, and I’ll pick a winner this Friday, 23rd September. Bon appétit!

The North Yorkshire Cookbook is available to purchase in all of the businesses featured, as well as in select local gift shops, book shops including Waterstones and online at RRP £14.95.


Product Review – CocoPro Hydrating Recovery Drink

When I was selected for the Runner’s World/Asics Project 26.2 Paris Marathon competition boot camp about 18 months ago I attended a Q&A session with ultra runner Holly Rush. There were quite a few questions about nutrition, and Holly said she always had a glass of milk after a long run, as it contained the optimum ratio of protein to carbohydrate for recovery. Being a fan of natural products whenever possible, I took this advice on board and have followed it ever since. If I’ve sweated a lot I also usually have a pint of water with an SiS Go Hydro tab in it to rehydrate. However, I was recently sent a new recovery drink to test that offered both recovery and rehydration at the same time.



Billed as the world’s first high protein pure coconut water, CocoPro aims to provide both optimal hydration and recovery all in one drink. We all know that coconut water, which contains lots of electrolytes, is great for rehydration; CocoPro goes a stage further by combining this with whey protein, creating the ‘ultimate hydrating recovery drink’. It also contains 100% of the RDA of vitamin C. The variety I tested contained pineapple juice and the ingredients were listed as follows: Pure Coconut Water, Water, Pineapple Juice from Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Dietary Fibre, Natural Flavourings, Stabiliser: Pectin, Antioxidant: Vitamin C, Sweetener: Stevia. Pineapple is a great anti-inflammatory that would also aid recovery, and I was surprised no mention was made of this.



I drank the CocoPro chilled from the fridge after a long run, and it certainly tasted good; more of pineapple than coconut – a bit like a non-alcoholic Malibu! I thought it would be interesting to see how it compared in terms of carbohydrate and protein with milk (including a non-dairy variety), and also with the High 5 recovery drink that my husband sometimes takes.


Per 100ml

Energy (kcal) Fat (g) Carb (g) Protein (g)



0.1 3.5


Whole Milk


4 4.7 3.4

Semi Skimmed


1.8 4.6


Soya Milk


2.2 0.4


High 5 Protein Recovery 238 0.3 41



You can see from the figures above that the three milks are about the same in terms of protein, whereas CocoPro offers quite a bit more. The dairy milks have a bit more carb than CocoPro, but the soya milk having very little at all. The High 5 recovery drink has much more of both, being specifically designed to do so; but of course it isn’t as natural as the milks and CocoPro. Obviously CocoPro also has more electrolytes than the milks, so is better and rehydrating.

All in all it’s a good product, which I did enjoy drinking; the only catch for me is the price. A 330ml carton of CocoPro costs about £2.75, so it’s expensive, even compared to plain coconut water. On the plus side, it does contain 20g of protein per serving. I think it would be very handy to carry if you were out and about – for example to take at the end of a race – but personally I couldn’t afford to drink it after every run.

I’d be interested to hear what other people use as recovery drinks and whether you have any preference as to natural or ‘manufactured’ products?

If you’d like to find out more about CocoPro you can visit their website here.


Product Review – Flexiseq Sport

Because I’m a runner people often ask my husband Steve why he doesn’t run too. The truth is he’d love to do some running, but is unable to because he has a dodgy ankle. He can cycle til the cows come home – and indeed recently did that quite literally by riding a 178 mile coast to coast route in a single day – but the impact of running on the legs means it’s not really an option for him. He has a problem with the cartilage in his ankle, and despite having had an operation on it a few years ago, which improved the situation slightly, it still gives him grief if he runs or even walks too much. So when the folks at Flexiseq contacted me to ask if I’d like to review a new product that claimed to help with wear and tear on the joints Steve seemed like the perfect guinea pig.

Me and Steve Cycling

Specifically aimed at athletes, Flexiseq Sport is a product that claims to treat the cartilage in joints and relieve the discomfort caused by wear and tear or injury, improving impaired joint function. It’s applied topically, targeting the affected area directly, rather than simply masking the problem as oral pain relief does. This obviously also avoids the gastro-intestinal issues that some people face when they take strong pain killers. Here’s the science bit: Flexiseq contains tiny lipid phosphospheres called Sequessome vessicles. These are small enough to pass through the skin and into the joint, where they lubricate the cartilage, allegedly reducing friction, stiffness and pain. It’s supposed to be particularly good for osteoarthritis. You can read a lot more about exactly how Flexiseq works here. People generally see an improvement after a couple of days, and the difference is said to  be comparable to certain oral pain killers.


So, how did the guinea pig fare? Steve’s now been on the Flexiseq for a couple of months, applying it first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and has found it very easy to use; it just takes a few minutes to dry completely before you can cover it with clothes or bedding. Although it hasn’t taken away his problem completely, Steve has definitely seen some improvement over time, feeling less pain in general – although he does still have better and worse days. I should say that Flexiseq isn’t cheap to buy – a 100ml tube is currently on offer at Treatments Direct for £29.99 – and you do have to keep using it to maintain the benefits, but I daresay if it helps you and you don’t fancy the idea of living on pain killers it’s worth splashing out on. Steve’s keen to keep using it, and coming from a Yorkshireman that should tell you something about its value!

For more information on Flexiseq, including testimonials from athletes, visit their website.

I should point out I was not paid to write this blog post or endorse the product.


Product Review – Keep Me Going Breakfast Cereal

I love breakfast. It might even be my favourite meal of the day. I love it so much I sometimes have two breakfasts when marathon training is at its peak! But I’m not a big fan of breakfast cereals, mainly because they generally aren’t very healthy. I like porridge and muesli (with Greek yoghurt), especially as you can always ‘pimp’ those to make them more nutritious, but most cereals are made from highly refined carbs and contain added sugar; sometimes, unbelievably, more than 30%. Not only does this give them a very high glycaemic index (GI), but they don’t keep you satisfied for very long. I once checked in my local supermarket to see which cereals didn’t have any added sugar, and it pretty much came down to Shredded Wheat. So when I was offered the chance to test a new breakfast cereal claiming to be much healthier than the norm I was very interested to try it. Apparently two years of research has gone into the development of new Keep Me Going from Freedom Cereals. Its aim is to be a wholegrain cereal with a low GI plus added health benefits that actually tastes good!

KMG Pack


You certainly can’t argue with the health credentials of Keep Me Going. It’s composed mainly of whole grain barley, oat flour and rye, so is wheat-free (for those who are concerned about that sort of thing). It also has added vitamins and minerals, including chromium (which helps to balance blood sugar), magnesium and biotin. I was particularly pleased to see the magnesium content, as many people are deficient in this important mineral, which can cause fatigue. I usually take a magnesium supplement myself when I’m marathon training. Even the salt used in it is a special low-sodium sea salt. Yes, it does contain some sugar, but far less than most cereals, and this is probably offset to some extent by its low GI of 50 (compared, for example, to a GI of 82 for cornflakes). If a food has a low GI it releases its energy more slowly, so keeps you satisfied for longer. Out of interest, here’s how Keep Me Going compares nutritionally to some other popular cereals.

There’s lots more information here on the Keep Me Going website if you want to explore this further. Here’s what it looks like out of the pack.

But what does it taste like? Actually it’s surprisingly tasty in a malty sort of way. The texture is quite crunchy, but not too hard. I liked it. And does it really keep you going? I tested it by having it for breakfast on a morning when I knew I’d be really busy and probably wouldn’t get a chance to have elevenses, and it was probably about four hours before I began to feel peckish again. I wouldn’t say it kept me as full as, say, muesli and Greek yoghurt, but it certainly contains a lot less fat than that. If you’re trying to moderate your fat intake it’s probably a decent option for breakfast.

A lot of people seem to give their kids cereal for breakfast – probably because it’s quick and easy on a school morning – and the manufacturers of Keep Me Going have gone to some trouble to try and make the product appeal to children. Each pack contains some trading cards that can be used to play a Top Trumps type of game based on countries of the world, and you can go onto the Keep Me Going website to download a world map and mark the countries you’ve collected. There’s also a secret code cracking game to play.

I wouldn’t say Keep Me Going is a cereal children would choose for themselves, but if you’re the sort of family that already eats quite healthily I’d say they’d probably enjoy it. Weaning kids off the likes of Coco Pops or Frosties might be more of a challenge!

 At the moment Keep Me Going is available via Ocado, priced at £2.65 for a 375g pack. Not cheap, but it is made with top quality ingredients. Apparently there’s a high protein version called Keep Me Strong in the pipeline, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on breakfast cereals? What are your favourites and why? I’d be interested to know.


Product Review – Soreen Malt Loaf


I have a friend who recently ran his first marathon in under four hours. As someone who’s been chasing the elusive sub 4 for a couple of years now I was a) very jealous and b) eager to know how he’d done it. What training plan did he follow? How did he hydrate and fuel for the race? His answer regarding fuelling surprised me somewhat – buttered malt loaf. “Malt loaf?” I thought. “Running at nine minute mile pace? Is he having a laugh? Did he take a flask of tea too?!” Now I’m not averse to a bit of malt loaf. My dear old Irish nana was a great fan of the stuff, so I was weaned on it as a nipper, and it’s still often my go-to afternoon tea snack of choice (unbuttered) instead of proper fatty cake. I love its squidgy fruitiness, which goes down a treat with a big mug of Yorkshire Tea. But I’d never considered eating it on the run – couldn’t imagine coping with anything other than gels during a marathon.

However, when I recently entered my first ultra I realised I was going to have to suck it up and find some real food I could eat en route, because your stomach can only take so many gels before it starts to rebel. Then by sheer coincidence the lovely people at Soreen sent me a hamper of their wares to test and review. It was a sign – a sign that I should go forth and fuel a long run with its fruity goodness.

The Soreen box of delights contained various types of loaf, as well as a Soreen pen and notebook, plus something that looked like a house brick on legs wearing pants, but which turned out to be a replica of the Soreen Loveable Loaf mascot. It feels a bit like a stress toy, so now I keep it on my computer and squeeze it very hard when I see people on social media running sub 4 marathons.

Loveable Loaf


My husband, who like most cyclists, is a total cake monster, couldn’t get into the box quickly enough. We tested the Orange Fruit Loaf and Apple & Sultana Fruit Loaf, which were both really tasty and made a change from the classic Original. The orange one has a nice tang to it, and the Soreen website recommends having it toasted with chocolate spread. With my love of Nutella this was a must-try and turned out to be divine! The apple one is really nice and cinnamony, great with coffee. However, for my run I stuck to good old Original, wrapping a chunk in greaseproof paper and tucking it into the front of my Camelbak.

 I had a long slow run of 18 miles to do, so thought that would be a good opportunity to test eating on the hoof. The Soreen actually went down really well and I had no digestive repercussions. I’ve since heard that quite a few ultra runners eat malt loaf because they find it gentler on the stomach than ordinary bread, and it gives slow release energy due to the dried fruit and fibre. A tenth of a loaf (a smallish slice) apparently contains about 15g of carbohydrate, so I guess a couple of slices an hour would be enough to keep someone of my size ticking over. Depending on what’s on offer at the Calderdale Way Ultra I’ll certainly consider taking some Soreen with me – possibly the lunchbox loaves, which are conveniently wrapped in small portions. I must say I’d never thought of Soreen as food for athletes before, but it seems to fit the bill nicely.

I would love to know what real foods other people eat on long runs, so please let me know if you have your favourites.

Salomon Citytrail and X-Scream Review

From time to time we all reassess our fitness goals, and recently I’ve been considering doing less road running and more trail running next year – taking a break from road marathons, thinking less about times and distances and more about just enjoying the ride. So when the lovely folks at Salomon kindly sent me a pair of their new X-Scream to try and invited me to their Citytrail event in York it was like serendipity – a perfect opportunity to dip a toe into trail! I have many trail and ultra running friends who are completely devoted to their various Salomons, so was really looking forward to trying them out.

My first impression of the X-Screams was that they were very pink – and I don’t normally subscribe to the ‘pink and shrink’ school of women’s sportswear. But I can make an exception for this pink, as it’s a bright, flouro one rather than a pale, girly one. And many of my friends were very jealous I’d received them, which was a bonus! X-Screams are the nearest thing Salomon has ever produced to a road shoe, designed for gentle off-road running on urban trails. The upper is very light and breathable (like a road shoe), but the sole is really supportive and grippy (like a trial shoe). It’s a kind of crossover shoe! The Salomon Sensifit/Sensiflex system combines with the unique Quicklace closure system to provide a really snug fit. I recently had a stressed joint in my upper foot, and my sports therapist said I should wear a shoe with plenty of arch support; the X-Scream certainly offered this and has felt really comfortable on the runs I’ve had in them.

Salomon’s Citytrail events are a brilliant way to try their shoes. Basically they come to a venue near you, spread out lots of different shoes and offer expert advice – then you can test the ones you like by going on a short guided run. It’s much better than just trying them on in a shop. The York event was held in association with Up & Running, which is coincidentally where I bought my first ever pair of proper running shoes about five years ago. The run was a lovely trot along the river in the city centre. 

I would definitely recommend the X-Screams for anyone who does most of their runs on gentle, off-road trails – They’d be ideal for a parkrun too. The combination of comfort, support and grips is perfect for this sort of terrain. They are sized quite generously, so bear this in mind when trying or ordering them.  I also imagine I’ll be wearing them quite a bit when I’m not running too, as they also look great with ‘normal’ clothes! And I can’t wait to take them on my holidays to the Pyrenees in July. Steve is doing L’Etape du Tour, but I’m hoping to find lots of great mountain trails to fit in some Berlin Marathon training runs.

Product Review – Salomon Sense Mantra Trail Running Shoes

A few weeks ago the very kind folk at Salomon sent me some of their Sense Mantra W trail running shoes to try. At the time I was in full-on Yorkshire Marathon training mode so haven’t really had an opportunity to test them until now. I’ve been taking things a bit easy since the marathon, just doing a few short, gentle runs, but with the Leeds Abbey Dash coming up this weekend I thought I’d better remind my legs what 10K feels like. So last Sunday me and the Salomons went for a run that incorporated a couple of miles of off-road along a river flood bank.

 I must admit that in the past I’ve always thought of Salomon more in the context of walking and hiking rather than running. I’ve had a couple of pairs of their walking boots and found them really good. I used to do quite a bit of long distance walking and many years ago bought a pair of their Exit Lo boots that really were as comfy as a pair of slippers. We walked zillions of miles together and I only recently got rid of them when they were virtually falling apart! I replaced them with another pair of Salomon walking shoes with Gore-Tex that are great, but I still kinda miss the old ones…

The Sense Mantras were so pretty and pristine it almost seemed a shame to take them out and get them muddy! I really liked the Quicklace system, which was very neat. So how did the shoes perform on the run? Well, what I liked most about them was that they’re very lightweight. Each shoe apparently weighs 210g, considerably less than my Brooks Cascadia trail shoes which are almost 300g. So even though the Salomons were supportive as I tested them by dodging potholes and running up and down the flood bank they felt no different to road shoes when I was running on the road. I imagine they’d be a good shoe to wear for winter road training as well as off-road running. Admittedly this wasn’t a very long run, but I’m hoping to get up to Dalby Forest in the near future to give them a proper trail workout. I really wish I’d had these shoes when I went on holiday to Brittany in August and did some running along the coastal path, they would have been perfect for that.

I also decided to canvass opinion on these shoes amongst my running friends. One of them, a fast runner who does loads of trail running, already uses Sense Mantras and loves them. Another friend who completed the Al Andalus off-road stage race in Spain this year is full of praise for Salomon trail shoes in general. So people who are much better runners than me are obviously big fans! I’m hoping to do some 10K off-road races as part of my training for the Manchester Marathon in April, so I’m sure these shoes will be seeing a lot more action over the next few months. They will certainly be the perfect holiday running wear in the future, ideal for both on and off-road.

Thank you so much for sending these to me Salomon. Lovely as York is, I am still very jealous that you all get to work in beautiful Annecy! I was there on a cycling holiday a few years ago and tackled the nearby Col de la Colombière. I hope to come back soon. Merci beaucoup!