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Our Challenges x INOV8

Every year Girls on Hills is supported by our generous footwear and apparel partners INOV8. We have used the brand's shoes and clothing to guide, race and challenge ourselves in our local mountains of Glencoe/Lochaber. In this blog, Keri, Nancy and Hannah tell us about their favourite local challenge runs and their favourite bit of INOV8 kit from the 2024 range.


If you're looking for a new running challenge, you can pre-order our new 'Running Challenges' guidebook from Vertebrate Publishing at https://bit.ly/3wuzRmq to be in with a chance of winning a hydration vest, a long-sleeve midlayer, a pair of trail running shoes and six pairs of socks worth over £300 from inov-8. Order before 18.07.24 to be included in the prize draw.



HANNAH


My Challenge

Last month I challenged myself to run the Mamores Round; a solo huge day in the hills linking-up all 10 of the Mamores Munros. What a day! These hills are a fantastic playground with loads of runnable ridges, technical sections, and breathtaking views. The challenge also has a history going back decades, so it was great to complete thias goal. It was to be my biggest ever day in the mountains. Just under 3 years ago I set off to run my first Munro and  I'm so proud of myself for working hard to get to the point where I could give something like this a go.


My advice?  Dream big. Keep thinking of ideas that you want to work towards. Change the mindset. I can't do it now, but I can do it in the future. The gains will come!


My favourite piece of kit - the MUD TALON SPEED

When I first put the mud talon speed on out of the box I noticed both how bouncy and how light they felt. Having wide feet I really like the fit of the shoes which feels secure and locks in the heel whilst also having a wider toe box meaning my feet can naturally spread. 


Living in Fort William the mountain running here can often ask a lot from a shoe! Often with a forestry trail approach followed by a big mix of boggy and rocky ground it can be hard to tick all the boxes. 


As well spending lots of my free time running and scrambling in the mountains, my work includes mountain running so it is important a shoe is comfortable and supportive when being used for a full day.  After wearing these shoes on a handful of runs and getting on with them well I put the grip to the test on the Trottenish Ridge Hill Race. I was impressed with how sticky they felt on the boggy sections of the race, feeling sure-footed even in the thick mud and I felt I could easily push the pace on the descents. Despite the grip being aimed at muddy ground, they also performed well on rocky stuff and scree on my local hills too. 


I've worn them with both normal running socks and waterproof socks and I am very happy with the fit with both. Sizing wise I went for the same size as I take in my usual INOV8 shoes and chose the wide fit. I love the extra toe-box space, especially because I will often be wearing them for a full day.  The lacing took a bit of getting used to as they needed to be laced a little tighter than some of my other shoes. Once I sorted this they were great and the padded tongue made them very comfortable on the top of the foot. 


Although the shoe is designed for speed and shorter days I found them also great on longer steadier days. And even at the end of my long day on the Mamores Round, my feet felt comfortable and supported - which I don't always feel in other shoes. This running challenge put them to the test on very varied terrain and they felt really bouncy throughout, even on the hard-packed trails at the start. 


In summary, I find the Mudtalon Speed a highly versatile shoe which can be used on all kinds of rough and technical ground and anything from a short hill run to a big day in the mountains. It's brilliant that you can choose from precision or wide fit to suit different foot shapes. 


NANCY


My Challenge

Last year I decided to follow a flight of fancy on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, which is 50 square miles of beautifully un-spoilt highland landscape west of Loch Linnhe with a wild and remote feel. Just to the east of the white beaches of Sanna Bay there is an incredible geological feature; a ring complex, known as the Ring Crags, which formed part of great volcano 60 million years ago, when Europe and Greenland began to drift apart. It's quite obvious once you're inside it and aerial photos. I had a notion to dash round it, bounding and scrabbling between the grippy gabbro outcrops and slabs!




My aim was to keep a ‘pure’ round that included all the humps and bumps. I ran anti-clockwise, starting up Meall an Fhreiceadain onto Meall an Tarmachan, and round, before descending Beinn na h- Imeilte, then back to start point on road. The 18km loop also took in the high tops of Meall an Tarmachan (405m) and Meall Nan Con (437m). Tough, tussocky hill running with unrivalled views of the penninsula and Isle of Rum.






My favourite piece of kit - the  VENTURELITE MID HOODIE

Since I got the Venturelite Mid Hoodie in slate I wear it all the time. I find it light and warm but breathable, so it's perfect for a running layer on cold days or as a mid-layer under my waterproof shell. It wicks really well when i'm slogging up steep Scottish hills!


I love the longer body and arms which fit well the with thumb loops. I'll often pull up the sleek hood too, which combats the midges a bit and keeps the wind off my ears! It moves well too, so it doesn't feel restrictive or overly tailored to be 'flattering' - it's just a nice athletic fit.


I like pairing mine with comfy jeans too! It's nice enough to wear on and off the hill.


KERI


My Challenge

I spent the last few winters trying to complete the Winter Tranter's Round, a link-up of the the Mamores, the Grey Corries, the Aonachs, Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis (approx 60km, 5500m ascent). It was first completed in 1964 by Philip Tranter as part of his 24hr Munro Record and the current (summer) record is held by Finlay Wild (set recently in Jun 2024).


I had set myself the challenge of completing thisround in winter conditions (and wihtin the 'winter' window of 1st Dec - 1st March). Unfortunately however, the snow conditions didn't tie-in well with good weather windows and my availability (work and childcare etc), so it took me several tries to get it done! Finally in February 2023 I managed to set a new female FKT (phew!) The highlight was experiencing an incredible red sunrise over Aonach Mor and ultimately 'putting it to bed' after all that time! It really was the support of friends on and off the hill that turned that last attempt into a 'success story' of sorts.


This trailer by Friction Collective features winter mounatin running in some of the hills of the Tranter's Round. See below for more information about the project. Credit Friction Collective ©


My favourite piece of kit - VENTURELITE JACKET FZ WOMENS 

I wore the VentureLite Jacket for my winter Tranter's Round because (despite beiong designed for 'fast-hiking), I find it has just what I need of a waterproof shell when running in the winter mountains. It copes well in heavy rain and repels the snowshowers with ease. Despite feeling tought and durable, it's actually really breathable and perfect for the kind of running I do in the hills (i.e. stop-start-stop-start with lots of hiking mixed in!)



Most running jackets don't have very good hoods but this one has a high volume, adjustable hood that can be sinched-in and stays put in challenging conditions. And the reinforced peak helps protect your eyes in heavy rain, snow or hail. The adjustable cuffs are wide enough to cope with thicker winter gloves/mitts, rather than being narrow and elasticated. Two big pluses for me are the big pockets and the really bright colour! -I love that yellow. Currently I have the Navy/Slate one which isn't as visible in poor weather but is a more 'stylish' colour combo instead. I have the feeling this jackets is going to last a really long time...


 

If you have questions about any of the items above, you can call one of the INOV8 stores or email us with your questions at info@girlsonhills.com


In early spring 2023, we filmed some great footage with the team at Friction Collective.


'EOP (working title) is an ambitious project between Friction Collective and Start with Sundays. The basis of this project is the incredible beauty of Scotland and the people that have a strong connection to it. Following different perspectives on different outdoor passions and the drive to explore and interact with the landscape. From the rugged highlands to the raw coastline, the film will capture brutal environments across the country. The Friction Collective crew will live with and learn from Extra-Ordinary People, living amazing lives'.


If the EOP trailer inspires your to find your own running challenge, check out our new guidebook!


Publication date July 18th (available now for pre-order).

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