While many of my friends and colleagues raced in a muggy, hot London this weekend, I was in France (and Switzerland, and Italy) for Asic's Outrun the Sun challenge – a race between two teams to run the entire way around Mont Blanc between sunrise and sunset on the same day. More on that on the blog later today – look out for tales of astonishing athletic achievement, a lot of fondue and a goat in distress.
While the race went on, I got to do some running myself – though the steepness of the trails out of Chamonix and Courmayeur was such that staggering slowly uphill would be a more accurate description. While the scenery is breathtaking, I was reminded again of how trail running – or indeed fell-running – can be two different sports depending on the gradient. Uphill running (or walking) is a fairly straightforward test of your cardiovascular system. But downhill running is a technical sport involving – for those who are any good at it – the feet of a mountain goat and an apparent ability to turn off gravity. I may be the only person in history to run up trails quicker than she descends them. It's not something one can practise a lot in London, admittedly, but I suspect that you have also to be born in this kind of terrain (whether hills, fells or mountains) to be truly fearless. It certainly seemed to be a common factor in all the runners who flew past me, while I was gingerly hopping over a mountain stream or stumbling over boulders.
Though I didn't run many miles by my usual weekend standard, I certainly worked some muscles, as on my return last night I barely managed six of a scheduled 13-mile run. Though the previous day I'd run in the heat of the day in a baking Chamonix, it was a reminder that tarmac and city grit radiates heat to a far greater degree than the thermometer indicates. So if you raced this weekend, did you suffer in the heat? As always, share your exploits, questions and achievements below the line.