You may remember that last summer, I spent a few weeks reviewing some of the different running magazines out there in an effort to vary my running reading from the ubiquitous Runner’s World! (NB: I have nothing against RW at all, I just fancied a change). I reviewed – Running Times, Trailrunner Magazine and Women’s Running. AKA: the fast, the bearded and the fluffy!
Today, I’m doing a one-off review of a UK-based magazine – Trailrunning Magazine. Quite a few of my readers are Brits and actually, I really like this magazine so some US runners might fancy getting an online subscription, so it’s relevant for everyone.
- In the UK, available in big newsagents. Here’s a list of current stockists.
- Available for US distribution as printed materials or via an online subscription, which is what I have.
- Cover Price: 4.50 GBP ($7-ish)
- Issues reviewed here: June/July, August/September, October/November
- Pagination – 114 in all issues
- Advertising pagination - J/J – 20 (18%), A/S – 17 (15%), O/N – 15 (13%). Compare that to the 50% advertising content of US Trail Runner Magazine!
- Annual subscription price – UK 12 GBP ($15ish), US printed copy – 36 GBP ($50ish), Digital subscription – 15 GBP ($22ish)
What did I like about it?
- Plenty! From what I can make out, trail running is growing quickly in the UK. The country has a rich history of fell running (basically running up mountains with no trails and through bogs) but trail running’s popularity is fairly new. As such, this magazine caters very much to new trail runners. Whereas the US’s version is SUPER hard-core, focussing on those legendary 100-milers and their superhero winners, the UK version is much less elitist.
- My favourite thing is a 12-page section each edition with suggested trail runs across the country. They range from an easy 10k in flat Lincolnshire to two or three-day mountain stage-runs in Snowdonia National Park. Each run comes with a proper Ordnance Survey map and advice about the best views and the best tea shops. I find myself poring over these pages here in California, wishing I was in the UK to run!
- There’s plenty of reader interaction via FB and Twitter and plenty of opportunities to get your photo in the magazine, which is kind of fun. It gives the sense of a friendly, open, thriving community, and who doesn’t love to get their photos in a magazine? Clearly I do!
- There are plenty of really readable, usable articles about how to train. Hills, fueling, strengthening ankles to avoid sprains (!), how to go from one race distance to the next.
- As I mentioned above, the advertising % is less than 20%. This is GREAT – I’m not paying for pretty adverts! There is a good amount of content in this magazine.
- The gear reviews are excellent. Comprehensive, fair and varied.
What was I not so keen on?
- The downside of being non-elitist is that sometimes the magazine comes across as fluffy. Sometimes the language is a little ‘girly’ or clunky. I suspect that the grizzled fell-runners of old would wipe their bottoms on this new publication. But they’re not the target market anyway.
- Also, as it seems to cater more for the mid-pack runner or the newer trail runner, it probably isn’t great for those people running 100-milers on a regular basis. The US Trail Running Magazine seems to fit that niche better.
- Of all the trail magazines I own, these are the ones I find myself coming back to on the loo. (TMI?). The US magazine inspires me but also intimidates me. I’m never going to be an ultra runner, I’m never going to do Hardrock or take off in a Winnebago for the winter. The UK magazine is much more realistic and approachable and is also suitable for my particular level of trail running expertise (or lack of).
- I have had no technical issues with my digital subscription but I don’t like it, I will be renewing with a paper subscription even at the increased cost. This is no reflection on this particular publication, just a note about how I like to consume media generally, I guess.
- If you live in the UK and like running off-road at all, I’d definitely recommend this magazine.