The record-breaking fell and ultra runner gives her advice for taking things off the beaten track
Jasmin Paris is a record-breaking fell and ultra runner, so who better to turn to for advice on taking to the trails?
In 2016 Paris smashed the record for the Bob Graham Round, a challenge which consists of tackling 42 of the highest peaks in the Lake District, covering 66 miles and 27,000 feet of ascent. She then improved the overall best time for the Ramsay Round, an event which involves 58 miles, 24 Scottish peaks — including Ben Nevis — and a circuit taking in 28,500 feet of ascent. Finally, she completed the triple crown by recording a women’s record at the Paddy Buckley Round in Wales – an event which takes in 61 miles, 47 Snowdonia peaks and 28,000 feet of ascent.
For good measure, the 33-year-old also threw in some extreme skyraces and an impressive sixth-place finish at the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc.
Here are her top trail running tips:
Find your path, whichever route you take
My background is hillwalking – I didn’t really start running until I left university – but I found even when I was much younger that I was able to go for a long time and seemed to get much less tired than other people.
I think that the running I do now is just an extension of the hillwalking I did. All the footwork and things – I’m sure I developed that when I was walking as a teenager and in my early twenties. I think the ability to move over rough ground — that comes through experience and having grown up with it. Not that you couldn’t learn it later on but you have to spend time on it.
Switch off your brain
I often think that descending is where people lose more time than climbing. You might not be a good climber and you’ll lose, say, 10 metres on the person in front of you. But, downhill, you could easily lose a couple of hundred metres quickly.
When you’re descending you have to be able to think several metres ahead. You have to be able to process information quickly and think about how your feet are going to land but you also need to switch off your brain a bit.
If you’re worried about it and you’re thinking about it too much then you sort of freeze up. You need to be able to make a move without feeling too inhibited. It’s difficult to be fluid going downhill otherwise. You need to be able to just let it go, almost.
Enjoy the great outdoors
I love being outside and I love being in wild places and among mountains. It’s who I am, I guess. The mountains put everything into perspective — not only do they look beautiful but all the things that worry you…it makes it seem insignificant.
You do need a fundamental love of the landscapes. If you’re fit and well then you get a real buzz from it and occasionally you’ll get that moment where you feel like you could run forever.
» The October edition of Running Monthly, out with the October 5 edition of AW, is a trail running special. Featuring an exclusive interview with trailblazer Kilian Jornet, it is packed with features and product reviews