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run-cornwall test: running in running shoes you're not allowed to run in & other lessons learnt!

We're baring it all! Our coastal exploration testing our brand new Run-Cornwall trip, which begins with a barefoot journey that goes a step too far!


Writers note: This is not a review of barefoot running shoes. All opinions are directed from Tim’s ‘IT band injury’ (a Dr Google diagnosis) and his unsympathetic colleagues who get to continue adventuring along the stunning coastline.


Here’s an obvious secret - our ‘job’ is a bit of a guilty pleasure. We crave chasing adventures, being outdoors and getting our endorphin fix. So when we have to try our tours out, activities and routes…well we feel pretty jammy that it’s ‘work’.


Our first trip in the test tank is the Run-Cornwall trip - a beautifully mapped out 5-day tour with running routes that trail stompers have boasted to be some of the best in the UK. So Tim and Miranda stepped up to the plate, like raring gazelles* ready to bound through 5-14 mile runs over the next few days…


*Gazelles that have just had a large meal and feeling slightly out of running shape, but are willing to give it a good go…




The runners


Miranda: A surf girl with a serious love of LSD (that’s long, slow-distance running if you’re asking). She doesn’t run for time, but for pleasure. She runs in the moment, taking it all in, and has no time for looking at the watch or worrying about personal bests when the views along the Cornish coastline are all you want to look at.


Tim: An non-regular runner, Tim is more at home in the water than on land! Aside from trying and perfecting the route to the best running experience possible, Tim’s primary aim here is to break in his new barefoot running shoes. What he didn’t know is that they would break him, but more on that later.


Pre-test Prep

Personal prep is where Miranda’s ex-military ways came into their element - never heading out unprepared. She came loaded with a Tupperware of jelly beans, fruit pastels, trail mix and water (not all in one mind). We wish Tim had prepared by reading the booklet his running shoes came with, but again…more on that later.


Our runners had the aim of testing the roads to the route start and end to ensure they are bus friendly, as well as meeting with campsites to make sure runners have decent hot showers and views, and checking that the run trails are well…pretty awesome. So with maps saved, Go Pro charged, campsites poised and Strava downloaded to record that it really happened…off they went!


It begins perfectly imperfect

For the first few days, the weather for the test runs was a wedding day’s nightmare - foggy, drizzly, overcast and a bit chilly. But for Tim and Miranda, it was perfect. Running over eerie grassy hills and misty cliffs added to the element of drama that allowed them to reconnect and rewild with nature. The refreshing mist stopped warm-blooded Miranda from overheating and encouraged a good pace along the beautiful coastline. Passing only a few hikers, the wide expanse and rugged landscape gave our runners a stunning experience and Miranda endless wild wee opportunities. This is despite the routes taking you through gorgeous sleepy villages that have public toilets available, as well as giving runners a touch of Cornish culture and snippets of country life.


Climbing challenging heights made way to fun downhills, as well as a birdseye view of the surrounding nature - watching seals, dolphins and coastal birds flaunt in their natural habitat made the uphill slogs worthwhile. An annoying misdirection into a quarry just made the team become more vigilant and realise that we need to make some lovely clear trail maps and pre-run briefings so you don’t need to do the same hike back up!


By the end of each run, a true sense of achievement and strong endorphin spikes were felt. It’s for certain now, we’re onto something special with this trip! But as the fog lifted and the clouds broke, darkness soon fell on high spirits.




Call in the Dr Google

Tim’s knee twinges on Day 1 turned into dramatic hobbles by Day 3. How can this be!? After all, he has new very trendy barefoot running shoes, regularly runs in slow-motion into the ocean for a sea dip and had pinched a few of Miranda’s jelly beans. After some active pain-killer popping and keyboard bashing, the answer is clear - he shouldn’t be intensely running in barefoot running shoes, and Dr Google says he has now damaged his IT band. Apparently, as stated in capital letters on the website, ‘DON’T RUN IN THESE RUNNING SHOES’ - instead, you need to train before you run in these shoes. You must strengthen the ankles, change your running style and basically ease yourself in…so a 5-day running streak as your first whirl was not recommended.


‘Yea, I'm really gutted - I just want to keep running, it’s so beautiful! I’ve never experienced such a magical route, where every turn you see and experience something new and unexpected. I had no idea the number of historical landmarks we’d pass, with the stunning coastal backdrop. I grew up in Cornwall and this place still surprises me! I can’t wait to get back out there and finish the route!” - words from Tim, dosed up to his eyeballs in painkillers.


Cracking on

Now ignoring her military roots, Miranda leaves an injured man behind and continued on with her sensible trail running shoes and Tupperware. The sun was now shining with fresh blue skies, and soon Miranda forgot about Tim nursing to his sore leg and FOMO pains. Still marking off tricky path sections and good wild wee bushes, she completed the final runs absolutely buzzing and full of feedback for perfecting the route for guests!


What’s more, she made some new friends with some awesome campsites. Despite turning up post-run for a recce and chat, they agreed to a big bus load of runners regularly arriving absolutely honking and filling up their hot showers!


With a hot cup of tea and a good chin wag, we see that we have a few tweaks to make, but what we have is a pretty unique, beautiful and fun running trip that everyone should enjoy.


Takeaways

  • We’re dividing the route! To make sure that every runner of every level can come on the run, we’re giving guests the choice to run the full distance or half distance each day. The trip is a running adventure, not a race, and we want to make sure all guests can comfortably run a distance at their pace.

  • Fuel is key, and can often be overlooked and forgotten. We’re here to take you on adventure tours and to look after you, so we’re going to make sure that pitstops have a little refuel station and that guests make sure they bring their go-to fueling foods too.


  • We’re going to make sure all runners have a very clear idea of the route before arrival as well as heading out. Each day the routes are completely different, so we want you to be prepared for your adventure ahead!


  • We’ll make sure runners have a handy route map to take with them to ensure they have what they need to fully enjoy and complete the run


  • Kit lists for the trip and runs will be fully provided - we want to make sure runners are prepared for all conditions and clear on what we provide, what to bring, and what is just not necessary. We have limited storage so we want over-packers!


  • And final wise words from Tim - "Wear the right footwear…"


So..is the route ready…?

YES!! We have made some little updates on the route and added some lovely photos which you can take a look at here. We’ve locked it down, and we’re ready for any runner, fully fueled with magic beans and proper trail running shoes. What’s more, we’re inviting our very first guests on board in April for a VERY special deal…get in touch and we’ll give you all the inside details.




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