In the past couple of years running has become more popular in the UAE, both in terms of the numbers of people running and the amount of events and running tracks on which to run. Trail running as a form of running is following this trend, with established runners getting to know trail running is and where it can be done.

Columbia Peak Freak

Trail running involves running on hiking trails instead of running tracks and paved roads. This means that it appeals especially to adventurous people and explorers since there are no limits where you can run. The equipment needed is very similar to normal running equipment and you don’t need much. You can start with normal running shoes but it is advised to get some specialised trail running shoes. The shoes differ mainly in the sole, depending on the terrain you are planning to run.

Built for any adventure, this rugged, waterproof, leather Peak Freak Mid will take on any challenge that comes its way. The upper is made of full-grain leather for support and durability, while the Techlite midsole provides long-lasting comfort and superior cushioning and the Omni-Grip, non-marking outsole gives it a grip that just won’t quit and makes it perfect for mountain trails. With more ridged soles to protect the foot from sharp rocks and punctures as well as an agressive sole to ensure best grip on rocks and loose gravel, the shoe is also durable enough to withstand the harsh conditions whilst a normal running shoe might tear apart after a short time. The ankle support provides great protection but it is a bit heavy to run on long trails.

Columbia Razor

The Ventrailia Razor is a lightweight, flexible, trail shoe with welded textile and mesh uppers for maximum breathability, cooling and comfort. The Techlite lightweight midsole offers superior cushioning and high-energy return. It is a lighter version which is good for desert trails in soft sand or even for running on the beach or the road.

Columbia Outdry

The waterproof and breathable Conspiracy Titanium Out Dry with FluidFrame multi-density underfoot support and a TechLite midsole for high-energy return is ideal for wadis where you might need to wade through water since it is water proof.

If you are not sure where to start running, just drive to the mountains and follow a wadi or a trail, but make sure you can find your way back in case you’re not sure about the trail. Alternatively, you can also join one of the many groups on Facebook to find a starting point. Trails in the desert are usually much easier to start with since the way finding is easier and you can also build your skill level to progress to more demanding trails.

You should start with easy trails and progress to more challenging trails once you and your body gets used to running on uneven and often loose surfaces. To minimise the risk of injury, start at a suitable trail level for you. You should also take a mobile phone with you and ideally a GPS. Trail running requires a lot more concentration than road running, so it’s also advised to take a small first aid kit with you. If you go on longer trails, take a day pack with enough drinks or a hydration pack with you which you can find together with the shoes and clothing you will need in your local Columbia store.

Products are available at Columbia stores: Dubai – The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Center & Ibn Battuta Mall; Abu Dhabi – Al Wahda Mall and Dalma Mall

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Words by: Daniel Birkhofer