Oliver Kirwan, Quest co-founder and keen trail runner  gives us the lowdown on some of the newest kids on the block from On.

Trail runners are a must for all Quest Adventure Races. We bring you up all kinds of terrain; forest paths, open mountain, gravel paths and muddy bogs.

We tested out the Swiss Brand On’s new Cloud Venture Waterproof Trail Runner on the type of varied terrain that you will find at Quest.

No better place to give them a road test than Glanageenty Co. Kerry, the trails where Ireland’s greatest ever mountain runner John Lenihan honed his trade. John was the 1991 World Mountain Running Champion and won the famous race up Carrauntoohil an amazing 19 times and still holds the record of 1 hour and 11 minutes, 45 minutes faster than the previous record.

I’m a self-confessed casual runner trying to fit in 2 runs per week in between the hectic work of organising events and 2 small kids. My old Salomon speed cross were looking a bit tattered so when Paudie, our friendly post man, arrived into the office with a package from 53 Degrees North, it was time to hit the trails.

Size and fit

I have a wide foot with a high arch so it can be difficult to find something that fits just right but the Cloud Venture Waterproof Trail Runners felt good straight out of the box and when tested them out for a 7km trail. Usually with new runners it takes a bit of wearing them around the house to break them in but I jumped right in. I would say they are true to size.

Terrain

My judgement of trail runners is how confident I am when wearing them. Wet rocks no problem, grassy downhill sections with mud were also no problem. Admittedly, I’m not the fastest runner, but for me any surface I came across they held up well. What I like about them also was the toe bumper at the front. With big stones & tree roots everywhere, I hit a few on the flat section of my run when I wasn’t concentrating and it gave ample protection so I didn’t go home with a toe injury. What I really liked about them;

  • When I opened the box and saw the new style grips I was a bit sceptical. I’m all up for Swiss engineering and innovation but the grip was great across all surfaces.
  • Wide fitting
  • Comfort 8 out of 10 (some of the best I’ve experienced)
  • Great design

Conclusion

I don’t think John Lenihan would have had access to the technology I had under my feet when he was training across these trails. Time will be the ultimate judge on any trail runners and how they perform during the year. I wonder how they would have held up in Quest Kenmare across the rivers of the Kerry way and the bog at the top of Esk Mountain (oh the memories).

I really like these runners. They are a different design to the traditional runners on the market and I am a sucker for something new and innovative like the Cloud Venture Waterproof Trail Runner by On. I would recommend these for any of our Quest Adventure races, we’ll see how they get on up Carrantuohill later on in the year.

Available exclusively in 53 Degrees North Carrickmines, Blanchardstown or online, womens and mens.