Trail Blazer or Trial Blazer?
Join us on our free trail running/ walking groups and enjoy some of Scotland’s great outdoors!
We will meet at Balmaha, drive half the cars to Drymen and then run, following the West Highland Way back to Balmaha via Conic Hill. When we get to Balmaha, there’s a coffee shop, convenience store and the Oak Tree inn where we can grab refreshments. this should take around 2 hrs for beginner to intermediate runners. Over the run we will work on technical aspects of trail running including walking and power-walking techniques for the uphill when needed, as well as running techniques for different gradients. The run itself is 6.5miles (10.2km).
This section of the West Highland Way is really scenic, taking in the start of Loch Lomond and it’s Islands, and you’ll be treated to a stunning view from the top of Conic Hill. the trail underfoot is very well laid and at times just forestry trail. Depending on the conditions on the day, for everything except heavy rain, road-running shoes will be sufficient.
Depending on numbers, we will try and sub-divide the groups into beginner and intermediate, where the intermediate runners will continue along the West Highland Way, past Balmaha, to turn around at Milarrochy Bay with us all converging at Balmaha around the same time. (This additional section would take the Intermediate group to just over 10 miles)
What? a number of group runs and walks on local trails and hills which we hope can help introduce our loyal customers and friends to these great pastimes
Where? Country parks, hills and mountains local to us here in Scotland
When? We will be initially planning to do 1 a month and details of these will be provided to those of you who have registered an interest
Who? These will be completely free of charge and tailored to different levels of fitness, ability and experience. We will also try our best to ensure a start and end point where coffee and cake will be available.
Why? Being so passionate about the beautiful Scottish outdoors we have here on our doorstep in Glasgow , Jonny is hoping these social walks and runs will provide knowledge and confidence when on local routes and will ignite a passion for trail running or hill walking in our stunning surroundings here in Scotland.
What should i wear?
This will really depend on personal preference, the temperature and if it's raining or not. Normal running/exercising clothing including long/short sleeved top, shorts and socks. If it's raining a thin hardshell waterproof outer coat might make things more comfortable. Running shoes and running socks. Trail shoes may have better grip on the sole but with the beginner runs this is not a necessity as an easier route with good underfoot conditions that are non-technical will be chosen.
What do i need to bring with me? Is water provided?
You may want to bring 500ml-1 litre of water in a bottle you can carry or attach to a running belt or vest. This again will be personal preference as some people will not carry any water in a run that is less than a few hours.
What shoes do i need? Do i need specific trail shoes? (what's the difference?)
Running shoes you are comfortable in is highly recommended. Trail shoes will give slightly better grip and they generally don't get damaged on trail as easily as a road shoe does. For the beginner runs however a road shoe will be perfectly fine.
Where can i leave my stuff?
We will try and select runs/routes that start and end at a car park so you can leave your stuff in a car. If you don't have any pockets for very small items such as key etc. Jonny will make provision to carry these for you or store them if you prefer.
Is there somewhere to get changed/ have a shower?
Occasionally there may be a cafe or facility you can get changed in or use the toilet. It is highly unlikely shower facilities will be available. You'll be made aware in advance of the run what is available at our start/end point of the runs.
What if i have to stop and walk but everyone else in my group is able to keep going?
There may be a lot of walk/run sections while on trail and everyone can take these at their own pace. We will be doing routes where we can stop and regroup every so often. This is designed to introduce people to trail running and walking and there is absolutely no expectation of running at certain paces. We will adapt on the day to the needs of the group and everyone in it.
What distance will I be covering?
Generally we will aim for between 4 - 7 miles and as a rule of thumb I would expect this to take 1.5 times how long that would take you on road. Depending on the abilities within the group we may offer different options on the day and allow some to do longer runs than others depending on their prior running experience and fitness.
What if I want to keep running but the rest of my group are too slow/ keep walking?
This will be identified quite early on any run and you may be partnered up with similar standard runners and given slightly longer routes or even trail running drills to practice while waiting for the group. These drills and skills will really help with your trail running.
I'm running late - will you wait for me?
We will aim to leave at the stated time to be fair to everyone. It is advisable to arrive 10-15 minutes in advance of this in order to get ready and introduce yourself.
Can you share the route we'll be doing in advance?
We will try our best to share a map of the route we plan to do and if that isn't possible we will describe it to the best of our abilities.
What happens if it's raining?
If it's raining, which it often can be here in Scotland we advise running in a lightweight waterproof coat. This will not alter our plans at all and we're sure most of you will actually love the experience of running in nature, knowing everyone else is cooped up at home staring at their TV for the sake of remaining dry. Obviously weather will be taken into account before any runs and if adverse conditions look likely we will alter plans accordingly.