Ultra Running & Reviews

Archive for February, 2012

Hoka Mafate Unisex Trail Shoes £130

by on Feb.18, 2012, under Kit Reviews


too bright? they do others

I’ve been looking forward to trying these new Hoka shoes. It seems everyone is raving about how good they are & to be honest I had my doubts. They look like some Hi-Tec trainers I had in the 70’s for a start, not like proper running shoes. I normally wear Brooks Adrenalin GTS, they have a good balance of durability, fit & stability. The Hoka’s seem to have no built-in stability & instead rely on the depth of the sole which your foot sits into to stop your foot from twisting.

Cushioning & comfort

This seems like a new concept & it seems to work. The first time I ran in them I didn’t notice the massive amount of cushioning others had mentioned. Maybe this was my weight (12st) or maybe it was my running style (or lack of it). I tend to run more on the middle to front part of my foot on my long runs & only use heel striking on faster 10k type runs & speed sessions. On the faster (heel striking) runs I do feel the extra cushioning over my Brooks. As your foot rolls forward though I think the cushioning effect lessens. One thing you will notice though is the small sizes, I needed a 81/2 & normally take an 8. Even with an extra half-size they still rub slightly on the ends of my toes. I got the unisex version though as these were the only ones available then. I’ll update this review when I get another pair for testing. I do a lot of off-road and trail running & have noticed the Hoka’s are very good at keeping the stones out. This could be down to the height of the sole or the design. I also noticed I’m kicking the sides of the shoes a lot less than I would in other trainers. I checked the width of the Hoka’s along with some of my other shoes & they aren’t as wide as I though, the only place they are wider is in the middle where it won’t matter as much. The fronts don’t stick out as much where your feet would hit, if that makes any sense.

The ultimate test of a pair of trainers is over a long ultra so I’ll update this report after the Thames path 100, see how they do with 100 miles none stop running.


after 300 miles

I thought they would fall apart pretty soon after taking them on the moors around my home, the mud generally kills a pair of trainers in around 300-400 miles. Even on the road I don’t keep them for over 500 miles which sounds like a lot but during training I do this mileage in a month. After 300 miles in the Hoka’s they’re still very good & look like they could easily do another 200 miles. They do have some wear on the soles but have plenty left. As far as the quality of the shoe goes they are equal if not better than a lot of the well-known brands, which for a new manufacturer is very impressive.

heel wear


The shop I bought my pair from gave me a decent discount which worked out at around £25 & threw in a very nice shoe bag to keep them in. I paid £96 for them which is a lot of money for a pair of trainers. My favorite Brooks cost around £80 a pair. Whether you think they’re worth the extra is your call, I wont be buying them on a regular basis but for races where the extra comfort plays a part they may be worth it. I do like the style & look of them though, maybe not in the colour I got though,

Second thoughts

Having used the Hoka’s  over 80 miles at the weekend & having to finish the 100 mile race at 80 miles due to a knee injury & losing a couple of nails I’ve removed a couple of marks from the final score as I think at least some of the injury is directly attributable to the Hoka’s. At the front of these shoes in the middle is a ridge of hard material which over long distance comes into contact with your toes. Eventually this rubbing gave me blisters and pulled two of my nails off. This is the first time I’ve ever had to finish a race due to injury so I feel this is a fair assessment of the shoes.

I try to be as honest as possible in these reviews as you never know someone may make a buying decision after reading a review. I feel the Hoka’s would be a good shoe for someone who just runs a few miles but to run any distance I’ll be sticking with my Brooks Adrenaline.

whats good?

high quality

very good comfort

keep small stones out

whats bad?

small fitting

take some getting used to

knee injury and lost a couple of nails over 80 miles

whats ugly?

the price £130!



Happy Running!



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Building the miles

by on Feb.18, 2012, under Blog

It’s been a busy last few weeks for me in preparation for my return to ultra-running. I’ve spent most of my time doing longish runs along the Leeds to Liverpool canal. It’s been quite eventful as I’ve been chased by dogs & near the end of one of my runs a group of young lads tried to mug me for my iPod & watch (I must have looked rougher than normal!)

I’ve been mostly injury free apart from slipping a disk in my back a couple of weeks ago after a dog chased me & grabbed hold of the back of my jacket. I twisted around to knock it off & slipped a disk. I left the owner in no doubt about the way I felt about him.  It’s still giving me some jip but hopefully it will sort itself out because I’m running 100 miles along the Thames path in a couple of weeks.

My weight has been going down fast after going on a 1,000 calories a day diet. I wouldn’t recommend this as  a healthy way to lose weight but I’d been overeating for the past year & to be honest left it too late to do it any other way. I started on January the 1st at 13st 10 lbs & am now at 12st 1 lbs so hopefully I will meet my 11st  6lbs target in two weeks ready for my race.

I don’t do much tapering & do my last long run about 3 days before the 100 miles race. I know this isn’t the accepted way but I tend not to pick up injuries & it works well for me. The most important part of my preparation is working out my food and water strategy. I always have a main plan if all goes well & a fallback plan if it doesn’t. That way barring a serious injury I can finish even if I have a bad race.

It’s been great getting back onto the moors around my home over the past few weeks as my fitness has improved, this is where I feel most at ease running. I like running the hills & it’s great strength training.

Looking forward to the Thames Path 100 which will be my first time running of this race.  I have run parts of the Thames before on the Thames Trot & Country to Capital ultras. It’s a great place to run and almost flat. The only thing I’m struggling with at the moment is my core stability, it’s been hard doing my usual sit-ups with a slipped disk so I’m looking at other core exercises to do.

Happy Running!

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