I’ll be upfront and say I got these shoes for free - before the launch earlier this year - to test them out. So before the purists and sceptics jump on their soapbox, I thought it best to reserve judgement until I put them through the wringer. 400 miles of wringing. Even though I fell in love with them instantly.
There was a lot of hype around the launch of the SCOTT Supertrac RC. I’d seen pictures of some of my idols donning the flagship #blackandyellow shoes and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a pair. Obviously I jumped at the chance to try them out. Despite my many years of working in marketing, I’m an absolute sucker the next-big-thing.
My first impression was they are lighter and sturdier than I thought they would be. I wore them straight out the box on the Ben Lawers ridge, a mere seven Munros in the Scottish highlands in December. We pretty much had all terrain and weather that day and the Supertrac RC were a dream.
I look for a shoe that gives me confidence on mud and wet rock. I’ve had so many accidents over the years and every time crash I get a little more timid. Other that the Inov-8 X-Talon I didn’t have much faith in shoes. Especially a shoe that’s designed for trails, rather than fell or hills.
Living and training in Scotland, it’s a great place to put them to the test. I’ve taken them on short hilly muddy runs, long off-road runs, snow-covered wainwrights, rocky paths, lots of bog, compressed trail, grassy descents, wet rocks and icy Munro tops. They’re pretty much a Jack-of-all-trades shoe and perform really well on varying terrains - especially well on rocks and mountainous courses.
I wore them for last month’s Transgrancanaria 125km and boy I’m glad I did. I was debating in the lead up whether to wear them or the Salomon S-Lab sense. I definitely made the right decision, as there were a few muddy sections and the rocks would have destroyed my feet. Even on the notorious dried riverbed section, I didn’t feel anything under my feet. More importantly for the first time in nearly 10 years of ultra-running and almost 40 ultras, I didn’t get a single blister or have any foot issues.
I’ve had a few pairs of SCOTT shoes in the past. I bought a pair of the Kinabalu years ago, because I liked the colours. True story. And a pair of the Rockets – where the lugs fell off (no joke!) after a 30 mile run. At that time I thought Scott were a long way off tapping into the ever-demanding trail running market. Since then Scott have built up their reputation with shoes that perform exceptionally well and the Supertrac RC is their masterpiece. It’s apparent that it’s an athlete-led design and that’s why it’s already a popular shoe.
I don’t like a lot of cushioning and my first choice would always be a lightweight shoe. In 2016, I alternated between Salomon S-Lab Sense, La Sportiva Helios SR and Inov-8 Terraclaw depending on the terrain. That said, I also need to protect my feet from unforgiving terrain. We’re not blessed with miles of dry trails, so I need a shoe that works for soft ground and wet rocks. Most shoes work best on one or the other.
A bit about the grip. The 360 traction outsole was developed in partnership with SCOTT athletes such as Andy Symonds, Jo Meek and Ruth Croft and The Technical University of Munich and was tweaked and fine tuned before it was eventually released in January. SCOTT are using the term “controlled power” The size and positioning of each stud has been laid out to provide good traction in multiple directions, twist and turns. Most shoes have lugs designed for forward movement.
The main outsole is made for racing on (wet and dry) rocks and therefore probably not as secure on mud as say some of the Inov-8 range, but it still holds up pretty well. Of course, I’m less concerned about sliding on wet grass than I am at landing on my coccyx on a wet slab of rock. They really excel on rocky technical terrain, and I’m sure it will be popular shoe choice for Skyrunner and mountain races this year.
The lightweight mesh upper has been bonded together, rather than stitched, to reduce the possibility of irritation. As previously mentioned, it’s the first time I’ve never had any issues with my feet during a race. The overlays act as a great support as my feet feel stable, but it’s not restrictive and feels really comfortable.
There also a sturdy toe cap. After kicking many rocks over the months, I can say it’s not only effective but perfect.
400 miles on the clock
The lacing system is pretty simply, but works just fine. Maybe I prefer the Salomon S-Lab system with the lace pocket, but I think I’m just trying really hard to find something to say that’s not completely gushy. Is it worth changing? Probably not. The laces didn’t cause any discomfort and didn’t come loose. A lace pocket just looks neater.
They are protective and cushioned enough (17.5/22.5mm of AeroFoam) for everyday training, but light and responsive for racing. I’m a mid-forefoot striker, so the 5mm drop suits me.
So, 400 miles later the shoes are starting to show some wear and tear. There's some slight splitting on the side bend (I'm sure there's a more technical term for that), which happens to all my shoes. I put that down to forefoot landing. Loads of miles left in the lugs though - even after many routes that have involved some road miles. They'll be good for another few months for sure.
If you train on hills and mountains in the UK, you’d be hard pushed to find a better multi-terrain shoe. Retailing at £125 they’re not cheap, but they do live up to the hype.
It’s a course that notoriously
chews up and spits out the most hardy and experienced of competitors.Even with 10 years of ultra-distance
running under my belt, I was stepping into the unknown.With a climbing equivalent shy of Everest
across 125km of unforgiving terrain, it was very much out of my comfort zone.
I had trained specifically for
this race for the previous for three months, so had every intention of giving
it my best shot.I had no major
aspirations other than finishing with a performance I was happy with.And preferably in one piece.
So my first Euro mountain
adventure at Transgrancanaria found me in starting pen in the harbour town of Ageate behind some of
ultra-running’s finest athletes.On what
is believed to be one of the toughest courses.My initial thoughts were everyone looked so fast and svelte, and so very
sponsored.There wasn’t the same mix of
of sizes and ability you find in UK races.
Ageate to Tamadaba 9.8 km (4767ft)
The atmosphere was electric and
everyone seemed so happy, although slightly shivering from cool air and fear of
what lay ahead. Tightly penned in listening to the call of the elites, the Gran Canaria song and then the
countdown. And we were off. I ran along with Johnny Fling, through the
town and then up the track. I lost
Johnny. It wasn’t a decision to push
on, it was just really busy and I didn’t
It was eerily silent.Until the poles came out.I’m sure there was something in the rules
about poles not allowed during first few kilometres.If that was the case, it wasn’t long
enough.It was far too busy and cramped
for flying poles.
I was pinned in a four way of
pole owners who had a blatant disregard for anyone around them.I tried to push away but just using up
unnecessary energy.Before long we
were on a narrow hill track and things settled into a groove.I was trying to eat early in the race, but
ended up nearly choking on a sandwich.
Following the long single file of
runners, we turned around the hilltop.I
looked up and saw a vertical line of headtorches. It looked liked plane was
dangling some christmas tree fairy lightsMy first thoughts were: Feck that’s high; Feck that steep;And how did they get up there that fast?
Stuck on a dark narrow path, all
packed in, it was hard to see where I was placing my feet.I was so busy looking up at the daunting
headtorch line that I tripped and my right arm hit a rock.I couldn’t do anything but get up as quickly
as I landed or I was danger of being trampled on.Or thrown off the hillside for stopping the
My arm hurt and felt dead at the
same time.I hadn’t really broken the
skin, but I was concerned I’d broke the bone (drama).Although (no shocker) I have broken both my
arms in the past so knew it wasn’t that bad, just not something I wanted to
happen four miles into a long race.
The route zig zags up, so the
climb was fairly easy.Other than a few
sneaky overtakes when it was safe to do so, I kept in line.No point burning up unnecessary energy to
shave off a few seconds or minutes.I
got poles out and my arm started to ease.I figured by daylight a bruised arm would be the least of my worries.
Johnny Fling said when you hit
the trees you’re nearly at the top.It
was a couple of miles of running/hiking, but I could hear the cowbells in the
distance.I passed through the timing
mat, then the aid station and met Marco a short while later.Thankfully Cairn was sparked out on the
backseat.He doesn’t like to miss
anything, so I had fears he would stay awake all night. I picked up some
Tailwind and Shotblocks and pushed on.
Tamadaba to Tirma 18.8km (1423ft ascent)
It was pretty blustery and fresh
at the top - it was after all nearly 5000ft up - but I was still comfortable in
my vest and arm warmers.If I was to
stop though, I would chill down real quick.
The descent was pretty
steep.I had been warned that the first
descent can make or break the race, so I was trying to keep everything in check
as not to destroy my quads too early.Although the initial descent was on a wider path, it soon narrowed and
we were back in single.Didn’t want to
feel under pressure to go faster, but the pace was dictated by the line and I
didn’t want to step off or upset the flow of traffic.
The trails were amazing and I
know I was missing out on some spectacular views.Although flicking my head torch down, I know
I was also missing out on some serious drops, so maybe ignorance was bliss.One false move on the narrow path and it was
a long way down.
After a fairly arduous descent,
my legs felt like jelly.I scoffed a
Trek bar and some Shot Bloks.After
seeing some of drops I least wanted to keep my brain alert.
I passed quite a few runners on
the hike up to the small village of Tirma. Even though it was a mostly downhill section,
there was still 1500ft of climbing.I
arrived at the aid station in Tirma with one of their local runners, so there
was a massive noise and lots of cheering.
Tirma to Altavista/Alterera 33.2km (4868ft)
I picked up some water and left
Tirma pretty sharp.Along the wide
track, I overshot the route and got shouted back.It was only 100 metres or so, but I had a
stern chat with myself about paying attention.Although the course was well marked, my mind has a tendency to wander.
Another pole frenzied long hike
commenced.I side-stepped a girl
projectile vomiting, thinking it was pretty early on for that, and then runners
sitting down.I stopped to ask if
everything was ok and if they needed anything (in my best broken English) only
be told they were just having a rest.I
know if was my first Euro race, but you are doing what?Sitting on a hill have a “little rest” Weird
Again I was caught in a line of
traffic.Mentally I was removing UTMB
from my bucket list.Already a few hours
into the race and it was so busy and not breaking up.It was ok on the hikes, I accepted that.But when they continued to hike on the flat I
nearly lost the plot in my head I was screaming “IT”S FLAT.F*CKING RUN”. At least I hope it was in my
Heading down into Artnera, we
dibbed in at a timing point - even though it was obvious from the first
checkpoint my timer on my race number wasn’t working.Thankfully everyone had a second chip which
they had to attach to their backpack.
On the way down - with a few more
ups for good measure - I was toing and froing with a chap in Inov-8s.In a race that involved cautious foot
placing, you become quite acquainted with people’s feet.For the best part of a hour, I used up all
be courtesy/civil Spanish … Hola, Gracious, Bravo...I knew.Hey, I’m British and therefore as ignorant as
f*ck.I’m not even sure Bravo was
relevant, but it sounded pretty universal.
So when Inov-8s and I got lost
heading into the town of Artnera, we were communicating in some kind of grunted
sign language.I asked him he spoke
English.“I am English.I’m from Leamington Spa”.So Inov8s became Rich from Leamington
Spa.We chatted heading into the town
before he stopped to pick up supplies.
Arnera to Fontanales 42.5km (1450ft)
After dibbing in, I ran straight
through.Up the road, along the track
and round the hilltop.I hit the road
and just kept going.I could see
headtorches along the bottom of the valley, so presumed I was heading in the
right direction.And there were
headtorches behind me, so all ok.After
about half a mile I realised I hadn’t seen an signs, but kept looking.
Coach Paul had told me if you
think you’re off course, you are.Go
back and find the last post.The chap
following me checked his GPS and confirmed we’d gone off course.We heading back up the road (of course it had
to be up!) and picked up about four others who followed us.We’d missed the post on the left down to the
I passed a few runners who’d got
a ahead on my detour and then caught up with Rich again.We chatted for a few miles and I really
enjoyed the company.There were a few
really muddy descents and some sections, which explain the mandatory red
flashing light on backpacks.
I lost Rich on the last long
mudslide into Fontanales - thanking my lucky stars I’d chosen shoes with grips
and not the Salomon ruby slippers.
This was the start of the 80km
race at 7am, so I was glad to get a 30 minute head start before the speedster stampede.I picked up some supplies from Marco and
headed into the checkpoint.I saw Gav
and Noanie waiting for their race start.Gav went into for the high-five and I realised my arm and shoulder hurt
more than I thought.It was really
frantic at the checkpoint, so I was glad to make a quick getaway.
Fontanales to Vallesco and Teror 56.2km (2420ft)
Even with a 30 minute head start,
it didn’t seem that long before the speedsters caught up.I side stepped to them passed and cheer them
on.Jesus they were fast - even with all
the mud!And very polite too.Even when I stepped to the wrong side and hit
Sebastian Chaigneau with my poles.Didn’t
do him any harm though, as he went on to win it.
The sun was up around 7:30 so it
was great to take in some of the views.Shame to have run the length of an island and miss most of the it, so I
intended to make the most the daylight scenery.
Arriving in the town of Vallesco,
I couldn’t find Marco.We agreed that if
he wasn’t at a checkpoint then I would just push on in case he was having
travel issues.On the hill out of the
village I phoned Marco to just make sure he knew I’d gone through to discover he’d
got there just after I left.He may had
mentioned once or twice that the journey was a bit cumbersome and time
consuming - he chose more colourful words.Of course Coach Paul - running the 80km - chose the moment to pass me
when I was walking.Of course I had to
There was a long hike through
some lush green countryside and I chatted to Gerard from Germany for most of
it.He had a pretty impressive race CV,
so it was nice to mindlessly chat away the hike.I lost him on the descent and caught up with
a chap from Barcelona.It wasn’t long
before the speedy ladies passed us.It
was lovely to see my ever-smiling Beta Running teamie, Sophie Grant.There were three ladies packed in tight going
up the hill.Sophie in third, like a
little fierce terrier not willing to let go from the two in front.It made me smile seeing the sheer
determination on her face.
With daylight it had started to
heat up a bit.Barca guy joked about me
being in a vest and skort and he still had his jacket, gloves and buff on as he
found it really cold during the night.I
knew by noon he’d be in his comfort zone and I’d be falling apart though.
I met Marco just before Teror
checkpoint and picked up a bit more, as I’d missed him at last support
point.Stupidity I forgot to give him my
headtorch.Of course I could have put it
in my pack but I didn’t.Just wore it for
about three hours after sunrise like a total pleb.
Teror to Cruz de Arinex 64.3km (3320ft)
Teror was a bustling little place
with lots of people out supporting and cheering. Well, maybe a few hundred so
not quite NYC marathon standards, but it was nice to see.I, again, just pushed through which caused the
marshals mass confusion.NB:Must learn “I don’t need anything.I have my own support” in Spanish.Even with two seasons of Narcos, all I
learned was “Rata” and then discovered it wasn’t even the right Spanish.
Then the next hike began.BIG hike number three.Three of four.The rest were just big hikes. I had been
warned that Arinez never seemed to end and it was indeed the gift that kept on
giving.Every corner there was
more.Every peak there was another
peak.Even when I got to the hill with
massive cross thinking that would at least signify the top, there was even
When I passed the aid station,
there was more up, and weather had started to close in.Grey, cold, foggy, blustery and damp.Others runners were piling on the layers, I
just pulled up my arm warmers.Even though
I was cold, I couldn’t be bothered to get my jacket out and hoped we would be
heading out soon.
Cruz de Arinez to Tejada 71km (958ft)
Climbing through some forest
trails until I reached a road which I assumed was a visitor point, I passed two
guys in the 80km race and exchanged some mutual encouragement.At the time, I didn’t realise I would see
that same two guys on and off until the end.
The views down to Tejada were
simply breathtaking.I nearly broke my
own rule on taking photos during races, but I didn’t.Kinda wished I had now though as I can’t put
into words the beauty of the course.
Tejada to Garanan 81.7 (3605ft)
Leaving Tejada it was starting to
get warm and I was kicking myself for not picking up extra water.Rationing was not something I wanted to do,
but I had to if I didn’t want to die on my ass half way through the section.
On the initial ascent of Roque Nublo
(BIG climb number four), I was chatting to a Spanish guy - who I think just
came out the local pub - dressed in a kilt and see-you-jimmy hat.Definitely a bizarre moment.Then I was hiking alongside another chap who
kept farting.I think he felt the need
to excuse himself to me in the best English he knew, so every time he farted he
said: “bless you”.Mate, my pelvic floor
is not what is used to be.Quite
literally nearly wet myself laughing.
This was by far the hottest part
of the race, but the most amazingly breathtaking views.Everything around was massive and
beautiful.Near the summit, it
flattens out before the final ascent.I
was admiring the view when my foot hit a rock and crash.Skinned hand, knees and elbows.I really wanted to cry, but the two aforementioned
80km guys came to rescue and I tried to hold it together.They were being really helpful, but I ushered
them on as I just needed a moment to compose myself.
I was pretty dehydrated at this
point and was almost tempted to ask some tourists for water, but didn’t have
the brass neck.I knew I was nearing the
top, but I was starting to drag myself.
The summit of Roque Nublo was quite
simply stunning.I would go back to Gran
Canaria just to that section again and spend time taking in the views.Unfortunately that wasn’t going to happen
during a race, so I timed in and headed back down - passing runners on the
short out and back section to the summit.
The trails and tracks were
amazing, but really dry and rocky.I was
super conscious of the fact I was dehydrated and bit woozy, so was really
careful on the descent.It wasn’t too
long before I saw Marco and Cairn, when I downed some sparkling water and
topped up on some Tailwind and Shotbloks, which I’d finished before I even hit
Garanan was the main aid station
- where runners had their one and only drop bag.It was a busy place with runners resting,
eating and drinking.Crew and supporters
were cheering some the sidelines and mashals were buzzing around tending to
everyone’s needs.It also the place
where you can lose a lot of time.I know
even just dropping a few things into my bag, replacing my bottles and emptying
some rubbish probably took about 10 minutes.
Garanan to Tunte 94.2 (1627ft)
Leaving the checkpoint through
the park, I met Marco again who was panicking that I didn’t have enough for the
section.I reassured him I’d picked up
my drop bag stuff and had more than enough, but he still went up the the next
hilltop checkpoint at Nieves.Didn’t
need anything there either, which I felt bad about.
By this time my glutes had pretty
much given up the ghost and my quads were aching.Every footstep on the descent was like a
The paths en route to Tunte were
amazing.Obviously a lot of time and
money had been spent on the trails, but they were still rocky, rugged and in
keeping with the surrounding area.Unlike the UK where H&S come in and bulldozeand routes and put in ugly metal gates.
My glutes and quads were
screaming at me on the roads into Tunte, but it was nice to arrive there to see
Cairn’s standing poised at the roadside.For once he ran alongside me rather than trying to outsprint me.I swear he had a look of pride, rather than
inconvenience, on his face.But I was
on the darker side of spaced out.
I was feeling pretty good and
upbeat there.And was even happier to
realise that my goal of sub:20 was still doable - if I didn’t mess around.
Tunte to Ayaguarus 106.3 (1541ft)
And I was off.Only one big hill and one aid station to
conquer.I was less excited about the
1800ft climb out of the town, but I knew I just had to keep picking away at it.It did seem to go on for longer than I
thought, with switchbacks and false peaks.But I needn’t have complained, but the descent was way worse.My legs were tired, but my head was
worse.I kept catching my toes on rocks
and nearly decking it, so I lost all confidence in running downhill.So it became a slow jogging motion gingerly
making my way down.
It was a long way down to
Ayaguarus.You can see the town for a
few miles out, but it never seems to get any closer.There seemed to be never-ending switches and
lots of rocks.Lots of rocks.It certainly didn’t help I was moving at
snail’s pace, terrified I would fall. But emotionally, I was fine.I wasn’t willing it to be over and I was
still gushing at the amazing course, so I was still enjoying it.
I passed a few runners on the
path down and then heard a mighty crash behind.A British guy, Rob, had fallen hard and cut his head.I tried to fix him up with a baby wipe and
told him it was alright.It probably
wasn’t, but he couldn’t see it.And he
hadn’t broken his sunglasses, so all way well.I made him promise he’d get it checked at the next aid station.
The dam into Ayaguaras finally
came and I crossed into the final checkpoint.I was going to drop off my poles, but Marco told me there was still
another hill as he’d run the course the day before, so I kept hold of them.Even though the race looked like it was all
down for last 20km, I had learned the profile was a little deceiving.Little bumps that look cheeky little mounds
are actually fairly hefty climbs.
Ayaguarus to Maspalomos 125km (767ft)Total ascent 26746ft
My sub 20 was looking unlikely,
but that was fine.Too fine.I didn’t even want it any more.I was too content just chipping away and getting
the job done.
I left over the dam and turned
into the last hill - the one that looked teeny tiny on the profile.A French guy I’d be toing and frong with all
day passed me and kept signalling at me to stick with him, which I did for a
bit but fell off the pace.Once you hit
the the top the route switches back, which annoyed me because we were moving in
the opposite direction from where we should be heading.
Then I hit the notorious dried
river bed, which everyone speaks so highly of.I didn’t think it was too bad, as I’d built it up in my head to be much
worse.Yeah, it was horribly rocky but
not too dissimilar to some of the paths in Scotland.
The problem was my legs and brain
were so tired I kept falling.I didn’t
have the reflexes to break the fall, so I seemed to fall really hard.My knees hurt so bad.After my 5th fall of the day (I didn’t count
the ones on mud, as they didn’t hurt) I just couldn’t handle another one.Rob (cut head Rob) picked me up after my last
fall.I think I sobbed something
pathetic about not being able to stay on my feet.He said I was stumbling all over the place and
should take a gel.Genius!No it really was.My brain wouldn’t have worked that out.Five minutes after taking the gel, I was more
alert and picking off the runners who’d passed me on the river bed.
Before we hit the town I decided
to stop for a comfort break, as I hadn’t peed for nearly 12 hours. Again it was bright red. It seems to happen every race now. Last time
was at the Euro 24 hour, I got it checked by the medic who confirmed it was
muscle wastage and not blood, but I really need to get it sorted.
I reached the final aid station
(Parque Sur)in daylight.Only a few miles to the finish at the
expo.I knew the route as I’d walked
there the day before.Except that wasn’t
the race route, so ended up getting lost.Retracing my steps I buddied up with another French guy - I’d just
worked hard to overtake - and we got more lost together.Met up with another few runners and we
eventually got back on track with the help of a few dog walkers and a clown.True story.
The French guy out kicked me at
the end, but I didn’t care.He did.My boy was waiting… who also out kick
me.It’s definitely his thing.
The aforementioned 80km guys were
at the finishing line. They had passed me again on the riverbed and winced at
my knees.They duly informed
Cairn:“Your Mum is a badass Mother
F*cker”I don’t know whether he looked
shocked or proud.
I finished 14th female in 20:35. Results tell me I moved up over 200 places from CP1 to the finish.
It was amazingly wonderfully
brutal.I know I’ve harped on about it,
but the views are truly stunning and the trails are beautiful.The course is so well marked, you’d have to
be a complete numbnut like me to go wrong.I simply cannot fault the race, the organisers and the energy it brings
I don’t really want to go
rehashing races to chase times, but I will definitely do this one again.I don’t really like surprises and that’s why
I usually make big efforts to recce courses as it make race day so much easier
and more enjoyable.After taking a few
wrong turns, I had to be super vigilant, but if you go 400 metres without
seeing a marker you know you’re off.So
knowing the route now, I might just sign up for 2018.I haven’t told Marco that yet, so keep it
under your hat.
Thanks for Marco and Cairn for
amazing support on the day.From what I
gather, it’s easier to run the drive, so know it was a tough day out.Probably not as tough as the apartment I
booked having the world’s shittest wifi. But it did have a pool (even if Cairn
was the only one there to brave the cold water) and Marco didn’t complain about
the hire car - so all in all and pretty successful trip. Once my bruises healed ;-)
Thanks to coach Paul for guidance
and throwing in the casual “try and hit 10,000 feet” training runs.Thanks to Renee McGregor for the food plan -
I had no stomach issues at all!And last
but not least thanks to Montane, Ultimate Direction, Petzl, Drymax and Scott
for all the gear.