Conor's Bandon Blog

Running, Food and Local stuff from a blow-in

Is the Saucony Endorphin Rift my new do-anything trail shoe?

Finally a Saucony trail shoe that doesn't kill my heel
I have a strange relationship with Saucony running shoes. The Endorphin Speed was the first time I’d bought any shoe from them and it instantly became my favourite road shoe of all time. V2 was equally good. My Endorphin Pro 1, whilst flawed, has more miles on it than any other pair of shoes I still have in rotation. And then there are their trail shoes which have been an unmitigated disaster for me.

The Brooks Caldera 7 is a step backwards from the 6

The main benefit of the 6 seems to be gone - smooth wet rock grip
I did most of my trail running over the past year in 2 pairs of Brooks Caldera 6. They did sterling work in my three Ultra DNFs and many training miles. Strangely I don’t think I’ve seen a single other runner wearing them. I gave them a very positive review last year which I updated when I realised they had one terrible design flaw - the two parts of the upper separated during a run because they were only connected via a thin layer of glue.

Owning your own content, part 986

It's still important, no matter how few people embrace it
I’m one of those tech elites, that Ben Evans is digging at on Threads, who thinks everyone should have their own blog (he said WordPress site). I think his artisanal/mass-production angle is missing the point. The issue is about control and ownership, as always. I was reminded once again of the importance of owning your stuff this morning. This is a topic I banged on and on about from 2005-2010 when I finally gave up and accepted that Twitter/Facebook/etc had won.

The Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar - A great watch with one infuriating design flaw

Its sticking buttons make it feel like a $10 Aliexpress special. The customer support is worse.
After a couple of great years with the Forerunner 935, the ever-reducing battery life started to become annoying and I decided last summer to upgrade to the 955 Solar. Overall I like the feature-set and it generally feels like a solid upgrade to the 935. I particularly love the maps navigation. Being able to load up a course like the Beara Way Ultra and follow it via glances, along with some buzzes and beeps for major turns and going off-course, is an amazing time and hassle saver.

The inaugural Beara Way Ultra - Don't bring a knife to a gunfight

You can tell I just watched John Wick 4
Guaranteed finish I’m pretty sure the great Hal Higdon’s training plan for an ultra would be: Do minimal daily sessions Do one long slow amble a week Skip core and glute exercises for a month Don’t get that long-term hamstring issue sorted out DNF after 88K of a different ultra three weeks prior Don’t sleep for the week beforehand Setup for success like this, I headed to Castletownbere at 3am from Bandon to try the first ever Beara Way Ultra.

The Brooks Caldera 6 is an ultra-devouring monster (but)

My absolute favourite trail running shoe for Irish conditions
UPDATE: See below for a major proviso to this post. My entire history with Brooks until a few months ago was one pair of Adrenaline 19s which did not suit me at all. I always associated the brand with big reliable heavy running shoes for conservative joggers. The Caldera 6 takes that reputation and shreds it, in the best possible sense. The perfect shoe doesn’t exist I’ve been on the hunt for the ultimate ultra-distance trail running shoe since I started going longer in 2017.

Having a WTF moment at the Waterville Trail Running Festival

WTF could be our UTMB week if more people knew how doable it is
Waterville To my shame I had never been in Waterville until early 2022 when my Kerry Way Ultra recces began. Despite its remoteness, its position on the Ring of Kerry means it’s always busy and buzzing. And as an absolute bonus, all the tourist traffic means that vegans are very well catered for everywhere in the town! Last year I also learned about the Waterville Trail Running Festival from Yvonne Walsh and vowed to give it a go this year.

The Columbia OutDry Extreme Mesh is the running jacket I've been dreaming of

It is possible to have a waterproof running jacket. But it's not cheap
For someone who runs a lot in bad weather, I’ve bought very few running jackets since I started back in 2009. But once I started running trails, I had to up my game. They can be summarised as: 2009-2017 Various cheap generic windcheaters 2017 - Decathlon heavy running jacket. Not very breathable. Still use it. 2018 - The classic Ronhill Infinity Torrent Running Jacket with the chest pocket square. Still great.

Conor's Top Tips for DNFing The Kerry Way Ultra

Everything I learned whilst failing to finish The Kery Way Ultra
DNF? For non-runners reading this, DNF means Did Not Finish. In my preview post I ended with “Let’s see how I do. Particularly when the rain comes in at night.” On the plus side, the rain came in during daylight hours. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the start. Nope, nope, let’s thank some people first. Thank Yous Elieen - The woman, the legend. Words like “community” and “culture” have become overused and devalued.

Watch your first Ultramarathon online with the Kerry Way Ultra

Ireland's legendary Ultra, the KWU, will be covered live this year. 120+ miles in < 40 hours.
The Kerry Way Whilst millions of people have completed marathons over the past few decades, ultramarathons are still pretty niche. Ireland has a bunch of fantastic ultrarunners and a handful of amazing ultramarathons. The big kahuna of them all is the Kerry Way Ultra, which is about to have its tenth outing on September 2nd and 3rd. The Kerry Way is a wonderful trail that traverses the entire Iveragh peninsula. Many people travel from the US and mainland Europe to do multi-day hikes of the route.