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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > Dec-16 > POWER TO THE STEEPLE

POWER TO THE STEEPLE

Ceri Rees braves beards and brutal hills at the recent Red Bull Steeplechase, a 23-mile race where only the fastest 40 runners make it to the finish

The first thing I notice upon entering the Red Bull athletes’ village is the number of beards on display. I have nothing against beards. I’ve had one and so have many of my friends. But they also seem to speak to the zeitgeist. A further look around me reveals my initial prejudices to be correct: everywhere I look, I see rippling inov-8 calves and sculpted Salomon six-packs.

“These guys are seasoned adventure racers and travellers,” I think to myself.

runners head off at the start
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About Men's Running

The temperature may be dropping but, unlike bears and bats, real runners don’t hibernate. Quite the opposite. The autumn and winter months are, in fact, when the fun begins. To inspire you to take the season by storm, this issue is packed full of adventure-aiding advice. And the good news is, you don’t have to travel far to find it. You could, for example, try your hand at some local fastpacking. (That’s the hybrid of running and backpacking, by the way, not hurriedly cramming your belongings into a suitcase.) For the price of a cheap train ticket, ultrarunner Matt Maynard fastpacked his way along the 153-mile North Downs Way, chopping his toothbrush in half in a bid to cut down any extra weight. On page 52, he tells you all you need to know about the art of travelling fast and light. Speaking of fast and light, we caught up with two Olympians who embody both those qualities: new 400m world record holder Wayde Van Niekerk and rising star of British marathon running Callum Hawkins. Although they specialise in very different disciplines, they both have some lessons for us mere mortals. A lesson that many runners – including this one – have failed to grasp, is the art of the B race. Getting these warm-up races right can be a great launch pad to success, while getting them wrong can be a real confidence-crusher. On page 60, Damian Hall tells you how to strike a balance. So embrace the colder months and enjoy this issue – it’s a brrr-illiant one.
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