Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Featherweight Flock Meetup

Minimalist feet of The Featherweight Flock

It was the inaugural meetup for The Featherweight Flock (TFF), a group of minimalist running enthusiasts at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. It was a nice comfy gathering of minimalist runners who came in their FiveFingers, Minimus Trails, Merrells and Newtons. As we were planning on covering some heavy trails interspersed with real rocky terrain, we were not really expecting any 'completely barefoot' runners nor even the hurache crazies :D

About 13 of us showed up on time, all mostly in our barely broken-in, but real colorful and chio minimalist babes (incidentally, there was only a lady runner in the midst - we want more of them at the next minimalist weekender). A greeting among the runners were followed by quick chatter on the shoes and how they would perform in the trails. A few group photos of the minimalist shoes and people later, we headed up the Northern Route.

I had my green NB MT00 (Zero-Drop) on for this trails test run. I had has a few runs with the MT00 on road up to 12km with good responses and sensory feedback. The MT00 performed well on the more sandy Northern Route this morning. The other runners wearing the MT10 and VFF gave good feedback too. As we ventured on to Terantang Trail, it got more rocky, and a heightened sensation similar to walking on those 'pebbled massage paths' was felt. We slowed down a little and watched our feet and landing more cautiously. If anything, it made most of us land even more on our mid-foot with very little heel-dropping (because of the painful feedback).

As if that was not sufficient, the Rifle Range Link took the cake for the most rocky passage of them all - we had to resort to walking at certain stretches just to be sure no accidents occur to our runners. The VFF guys seemed to be enjoying their foot-massages, while the Minimus runners were getting a bit more support from their thickened Vibram soles. The Merrell and Newton runners too were enjoying the 'rocky' experience. We had lots of good chats at the edge of the Rifle Range Trail, saying 'hi' to many familiar runners who were on the trails training for their upcoming NorthFace 100 race in mid October.

The return trip was back via the rocky path, and it was not till the Lornie Trails where we could try to run on smoother gravel and sandy dirt tracks. The grip and holding of the MT00 worked like a charm over here, and I could pick up speed to run through that 2.4km stretch. I met up with a couple more from the Featherweight Flock and ran back towards the MR Amenities Centre for a good 13km workout.

Joe and an earlier group who did 10km were already back. Winston, Roy and other FatBirds who ran a longer route for NorthFace training also got back around the same time. It was great to meet BTing, JacQ, Irene and the JieMeis out training in their new trail shoes too. Alvin, Johnny and a few who wanted to join TFFs were slightly late and did their own runs.

There was a good round of sharing and exchanging of experiences of running in the trails with the various minimalist shoes. The interest in Minimus was quite high, especially with the new colours of the MT10 just arriving to the stores. Just like the MT00, the VFF were found to be not too suitable to be used in such rocky trails. Most of the minimalist shoes, including the MT00 experienced slightly slippery conditions and loss of good grip on the rocky slopes along the Rifle Range Trails. Overall, it was a good experience for the minimalist runners.

I personally find that the MT00 runs better on road, tarmac and flatter sandy trails rather than the rocky and slippery conditions in many stretches of the MacRitchie terrain. I would not venture in there with the VFF for now, but will probably try the MT10 in other parts of the MR trails at the next TFF Run. Thanks to all who came and share in this inaugural minimalist weekender, and I hope to be able to do more of such minimalist group weekenders in future.

Facebook photos from Steven Tan, Joe Goh

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At 7:53 PM, Blogger MaverickS said...

So sad, I missed this..... Sob! Hope to join on your next run!

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Losetheshoes said...

Looked like a great run, wish I had a group in this part of the world, maybe I'll have to start



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