Wild Ginger Running: YouTube’s Running Star

James’s Word

February 29, 2020

Wild Ginger Running is a YouTube channel that helps inspire people of all abilities to run. The channel was created in July 2017 and specialises in trail running and shoe reviews. The founder of Wild Ginger Running, Claire Maxted, was a writer and co-founder of the UK’s first trail running magazine, Trail Running

James: Why did you start running? 

Claire: I became phobic of running at school as it was always flat out and competitive which hurt, and was embarrassing as I went bright red with the effort and people teased me about it. However at uni I started to get a bit of a beer gut! And I also wanted to do a triathlon and some adventure racing as I was a keen swimmer, cyclist and mountain walker, so I had to start running. I forced myself to get over my running phobia by just doing it. I would panic all day if I had a run planned, but I still made myself do it, slowly. A 10k, a 10 miler, a half marathon, and now I run ultras. Still slowly, but now I enjoy it. 

James: Why did you start a YouTube channel and writing about running? 

Claire: My first job out of uni was at Trail magazine, the hiking monthly. Then the editor at the time […] I founded Trail Running magazine in 2010 as the sport was starting to become popular. Basically it is Trail magazine sped up, with lighter gear and less camping. In 2017 I decided to leave the mag and found a YouTube channel as I felt like the world was heading in that direction and I wanted more of an immediate connection with my audience via film and social media. I still write for TR mag (and more online mags and websites).

James: What advice would you give to beginning runners?

Claire: The main thing I didn’t realise was that you don’t have to flog yourself running as fast as you can on every run. I think this is the main reason I didn’t enjoy it. I thought this as that is the running you do in school – house cross-country, athletics and sports day. So beginners, start with an easy jog! You’re not Paula Radcliffe, you’re just a person enjoying feeling your body move, your heart beat and your breath deepen. It’s like meditation, relaxation and a head-clearing space for normal people like us. Just go out to enjoy the scenery and look about, say hi to dog walkers and other runners, run to interesting locations, stop and look at views. 

James: What do you think about when you’re running? 

Claire: Lots of different things and also lots of nothing! I come up with a lot of interesting ideas for my channel when running, and problems or concerns work themselves out. I also have started listening to podcasts so often I’m thinking about whatever they’re talking about too. Might be a running one, or the Infinite Monkey Cage or the News Quiz. 

James: What’s the hardest race you’ve ever run? 

Claire: The Cape Wrath Ultra. 250 miles over 8 days. I DNF-ed after Day 4 as I got agonising blisters and I was miserable in a beautiful place. I missed 3 days then did the final day which was a cool journey to the north-western-most tip of Scotland. The hardest thing I’ve completed is the Bob Graham Round, it’s not a race but a 65 mile, 42 mountain challenge in the Lake District with over 8,000 meter ascent. You’re supposed to complete it within 24 hours but mine took 26.5 hours. I still did it though. 

James: Who inspires/inspired you to run?

Claire: It’s not really people who inspire me to run but the locations that there are to run in. It doesn’t matter who I see running through some huge mountain vista or on cool forest single tracks, it’s the journey they are taking that appeals to me. Trail running is an inspiring way to explore the world and have an adventure. Having a training plan for a race in a beautiful place, or a multi-day challenge motivates me to run. 

James: What do you think you should do when you feel like stopping but know you shouldn’t? 

Claire: The only time this would apply to me was if I was doing efforts, like hill reps or sprint reps, or a tempo run like at parkrun. I’d think of my goal – why I was training, and think about an elite runner I admired and try to imagine my legs were as strong as theirs, or repeat my goal race in my head over and over again. It depends what you want to get out of your running, and whether you want to batter yourself or enjoy it. As I’ve got older and less speed-obsessed, I now think – why shouldn’t you stop? Stop if you’re not enjoying it, have a look at the view. Get your breath back. Walk a bit. Then start when you feel ready again. I’m done with seeing running as a beasting, as a thing you should overly battle with.

James: Who, in your opinion, is the best runner in the world? 

Claire: The everyday runner. The person who gets their shoes on and goes out when they’ve had a busy, stressful day at work, knowing it will make them feel tonnes better when they come back. The woman who runs when their culture says they shouldn’t. The larger lady who perseveres despite people shouting rude comments at her in the street. The man who uses it to fight sinking into depression again. The guy who set up a running club locally to encourage kids and beginners into the sport. These are the true heroes of the sport and the best runners in the world. 

Taken from wildgingerrunning.co.uk

James: What are your favourite running shoes? 

Claire: At the moment the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 road shoes as they are the only shoes I can run high mileage in without setting off my plantar fasciitis foot injury. Closely followed by the Inov-8 X-Claw Ultra 260s which have football-stud like grip great for muddy mountainsides. 

James: How do you prepare yourself for a race?

Claire: I’m currently training for a 30mile mountain race in April by sticking to a training plan from my coach Dave Taylor from Fell Running Guide. Even though I’m a personal trainer and coach clients myself, I find it easier to stick to a plan someone else has written for me rather than my own. I obey them and not me! I’m running 4 times a week, 80% easy runs, 20% speedwork. I have also added some swimming and cycling as I like to cross-train for variety for the muscles and brain.

Follow Claire Maxted on all her social media! From Instagram to YouTube to her own website!

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