My first pair of off-road running shoes were ASICS Gel Trabuco. I bought them because at the time I was an ‘ASICS Man’ – every pair of shoes I owned were ASICS. So when I needed something tough and grippy for off-road ultra marathons that my best friend and I were going to run, I went for the brand of sound mind and sound body.
The shoes were wonderful and almost indestructible. I must have run close to 1000 miles in the first pair I got, through rain and snow and mud for hours at a time, before they finally gave in and went to trainer heaven (the back of a shed in the garden of the flat I lived in, I think!)
But ASICS never seemed to be about trail to me. For me, they were about nice, clear, flat road races, in Japan, on the feet of lithe, lightweight high-mileage monsters. The trail was reserved for the European brands such as Salamon, inov-8, Walsh or La Sportiva. Indeed once I returned to ultra distance trail running with my wife a couple of years ago, it was those brands (well, maybe with the exception of Walsh) that seemed to be on most feet.
But now ASICS have stated their intention of becoming a player in the trail running scene. They have got an enhanced range of shoes including the Gel Fuji Trabuco and they have just announced that they will be the sponsor for the Lakeland Trail series, which includes races from 10km up to 42km and all in beautiful and hills bits of the UK.
So I for one am excited to see what ASICS can bring to trail running. I reckon the shoes are pretty good and I am hoping to have a pair or two to test out as I start to prepare for the 100km CCC race around Mont Blanc this summer. If that happens, expect a review on this here blog. In the mean time, here is a gratuitous shot of some runners in the hills… lovely!