Author: Altra Elite, Grobler Basson

There’s a lot of debate on changing shoes during ultra-trail races, especially on 100 milers. The reasons for this will differ from athlete to athlete. Personally, I can attest that the effect of a fresh pair of shoes and shocks is much more than the sum of all the parts. Going into Ultra Trail Drakensberg (UTD) 100miler I made sure I had a fresh pair waiting for me at a strategic aid station. The fact that the UTD 100mile route has numerous water crossings and the terrain ranges from rather technical to runnable had me thinking over which ‘horse for the course’.

I had three options on the table. The Lone Peak 5, with MaxTrac™ outsole (nice and grippy), a weight of 318g and stack height of 25mm (most of my miles in the lead-up was done in them). The Olympus 4 with super grippy Vibram® MegaGrip™ outsoles and a lot of cushioning with a stack height of 33mm and a weight of 329g. I however decided to start my race with the rather unassuming (at least compared with the other two) new Altra Timp 3 with stack height of 29mm and weight of 311g. I reckoned it will probably give me the best-fit scenario considering the other two options, a midway between the alternatives if you will. 

My second pair (Lone Peaks) was at the 100km mark. Arriving at the aid station my feet felt great (in context of just running 100km) even though you had to cross a river to enter the aid station and this was around midnight. I opted to continue with the Timps. The same happened at the next three aid stations, every time my seconding crew was ready to hand me the fresh pair, I stuck with my Timps. 164km later, I could not be more stoked with my shoe choice.

Photo credit: Marzelle van der Merwe

A couple of weeks since UTD myself and Stanley Reed got talking around a braai and I told him of my experience in the Timps. He instead opted for the Olympus 4, here is his shoe account of UTD:

‘I opted to start with the Olympus 4. As the race unfolded I never felt the need to change my shoes, this is not the norm as I have always changed into a fresh pair during my 3 previous 100mile races. I am beyond impressed with the Olympus 4, after 34hours of running a 100 hard miles I completed UTD without any feet issues completely blister free!’

Following the above, I would probably be able to replace the word Timp with Olympus in my account and it will have had the same outcome. 

Happy feet = happy runner! 

Kudo’s Altra, one less problem to solve during milers.


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