18 Oct The creation of Foxy Trail Runners – by Ali Wyllie, Owain Williams and Mandy Williams
Having met at the Foxtrail winter races, it was clear that many of the series entrants were as keen as us to get their trail fix during the summer months, until Foxtrail returned in the Winter.
We created the group The Foxy Trail Runners to encourage runners to come together to enjoy running off-road and exploring new trails around Edinburgh and the Lothians. The aim was to create a group for all levels with a view to building up confidence in trail running, learning new routes and meeting like-minded people.
The main aim we wanted to get across was that the runs were all fun, friendly, free and inclusive. The three of us have different levels of trail running experience and so we wanted the group to cater for beginners, but equally the experienced and speedy trail runner.
We decided that all the routes would be circular, no more than 10k, and have toilets and refreshment facilities at the start and finish to keep that social element. We agreed and published the dates in advance so that people could plan for them and the final runs were as follows:
28th May – Foxlake, Dunbar
25th June – Foxlake, Dunbar
30th July – Newbattle Abbey
27th August – Flotterstone, The Pentlands
1st October – Foxlake, Dunbar
We deliberately chose to hold a few of the runs at Foxlake to allow members to become more familiar with the terrain there before the start of the Winter series.
We weren’t really sure what to expect in terms of numbers and have been blown away by the interest. For our first run we managed about 25 runners and that number steadily increased for each of the runs. We managed over 40 runners for some of the runs. What surprised us was the amount of new runners joining us – even at the last one. A special mention must go to Rebecca Laing who was the only runner to join us for all 5 runs.
We were really pleased to see a mix of abilities at all the runs. As there were three of us, we were able to ensure there was a front runner, back runner and someone in between so that folk were never on their own (although that still didn’t stop Mandy getting lost in her tail running duties).
With the mix of abilities we did have to learn on our feet a bit in terms of trying to keep the group together and having listened to the comments from the group, we hope we got the right balance at the end, with the faster runners doing out and back sections – or stopping for a wee break while the back runners caught up.
We even managed to get each of the runs sponsored with free giveaway from companies including Runderwear, Performance Sports Therapy, Flipbelt and Run the Sights. We think this goes to show how trail running is becoming a force, bridging the gap between road running and cross country.
For us, the best bit has definitely been the feedback from the runners. Some of these wonderful comments include:
Aasim said “The FTR was also a great way to meet other trail runners and have a chat over coffee and cake following each of the runs”
Jennifer said “I joined FTR after seeing FB posts. Main reason was to gain confidence to explore new areas in safety of group run setting. It has definitely helped to encourage my enthusiasm for trail”
Ross said “I signed up to the Foxy Trail Runners because I wanted to explore new routes around the country and meet a few local runners. I’ve loved every single run that I’ve attended and made a few friends along the way”
All the comments we have received mention fun and friendliness – which is exactly what we set out to achieve!
We got Foxy Trail Runners t-shirts and hoodies printed so that we were easily identifiable for anyone coming along to the run for the first time and the biggest compliment has to be the amount of interest we have had in others buying the kit. It is great that people want to be linked with the group.
Look out for the invasion of the Foxy Trail Runners at the Foxlake Winter Series!