A Girl’s Guide to Running Magazines, Part Four: UK Trail Running Magazine

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.

Trailrunning Magazine

UK Trailrunning magazine

 

General Info:

  • 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!
UK Trailrunning magazine
Trail running ideas across the country
uk trailrunning magazine
A two day run mapped out for you

 

  • 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!
Just in case you were particularly keen to see where I feature on the whole spread :)
The time I pretended to be a Bay Area Maria von Trapp
  •  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.
Skirts v skorts
Skirts v skorts

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.
trailrunning magazine
Pretty Autumn UK running

 

Overall thoughts

  • 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.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Nic J says:

    If it recommends trails I can do without getting muddy, then I’m in. I am NOT a cross country runner, and the only mud I like to encounter is when gardening (yes, I admit I’m a gardener. I stop short of a trip to the garden centre being the centre of a day out though…).
    I’m with you on the paper front – prefer that to digital any day!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Mud is always dependent on rain, eh?

  2. Liz Cairns says:

    Well I need to find the Lincolnshire one – I much prefer running off road than on. I may just have to go and buy one in my lunch hour now! Thanks for the report very helpful. By the way hope Arthur’s having a wonderful day 🙂 XX

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’m not sure which edition the Lincolnshire map is in. I’ll have a read through and email it to you if it’s not in the current edition,

      He’s having a great day (in the rain) thanks xxx

  3. Grace says:

    I find this advertising-to-content ratio differential in US vs UK versions of so many magazines! The climbing ones, the women’s mags at the hairdresser, even the Spectator vs the New Yorker (well, ok, maybe not the New Yorker)… Why is that? Do the UK ones just charge more per ad?

    1. Cathryn says:

      I don’t know! I think that Americans are more used to lots of advertising – Brits always remark on the number and length of ads during TV programs when they visit. I’d never realized the scale of the difference until I did this count!

      1. Grace says:

        I barely watch TV, but now that I think about it – you’re totally right about the TV spots too! Though I have to say…the first year I lived in the US, my friend invited me over to her house for a Super Bowl party. “But I know nothing about American football!” “It’s ok, just come for the ads.” She was right; they were the best part.

      2. Cathryn says:

        They’re right about that, Super Bowl is super boring!

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