Claire Maxted perhaps better known as Wild Ginger Running, has gone from co-founder and editor of the UK's Trail Running Magazine to running her own You Tube channel packed full of advice, gear tests and inspiration for trail and ultra runners of any ability, shape or size. Getting people outside and running trail is her passion and when she isn't dashing around the country interviewing the superstars of trail she is equally happy on her own home turf with her local club, Stamford Striders. We caught up with Claire ahead of the UK's National Running Show to find out what makes her running tick.
What3words (like the location app) describe you right here right now?
- Happy, friendly, lucky
Who / what got you into running off road?
- Me! I signed up to a Lakeland Trails trail race in the Lake District and never looked back. I used to be big into hill walking so it just sped that up a bit, carrying less gear and feeling smug about being fit! 😉
What does a typical run look, feel, smell like in your house?
- Typically I run round the very very muddy fields surrounding Stamford, but my fave thing is to explore new trails in mountainous areas in the UK like the Peak and Lake Districts, and abroad like Chamonix. The shoes stay outside as they smell too bad!
You were one of the founders and the editor of Trail Running Magazine. How did that it all start and what was your greatest achievement there?
- Yes, I co-founded Trail Running mag with the former editor of Trail where I worked, Matt Swaine, who now teaches journalism at Cardiff Uni. He taught me very well and under his tutorage I won Bauer Media's Best New Writer award in 2008. Matt noticed a gap in the market and I was the person on Trail who did a bit of trail running, so it was a development project for me that turned into editing a super popular magazine. I'm most proud three things on TR mag; 1. Creating the Ethical Gear award for our gear tests to highlight brands and products doing their bit for sustainable working conditions and caring for the environment. 2. Covering male and female achievements equally in the news and within features. 3. Filling the magazine with photos of normal runners of all shapes, sizes, ages and colours (where possible) to promote inclusion.
How have you seen the sport of trail running change since those early days?
- So many more races! And the establishment of some high profile international races on British soil, attracting the world's best athletes, which is brilliant. There is also now a great deal of kit, which can be extremely confusing to a newcomer. All you really need is some grippy shoes (and sometimes not even that if the trails you are running are groomed like canal tow paths!).
Wild Ginger Running is all about giving advice and inspiration for trail and ultra runners. What is your favourite part of doing all that you do?
- My absolute fave part without a shadow of a doubt is chatting to my audience members. They are all super awesome, and amazingly friendly and supportive to each other, which doesn't always happen when social media is concerned. They range from complete newcomers here for the advice, to old hats watching the elite athlete interviews and gear reviews and commenting to help others less experienced than themselves. Every time someone messages me saying the channel has helped them with training, buying gear or just inspiration when they've been low, I feel very happy I've made this my job.
How do you balance your own running with the demands of Wild Ginger Running?
- I'd be lying to say my own achievements haven't taken a back seat with setting up my own business, but I run now for pleasure rather than competition, so I'm happy to just run when I can and keep my fitness at a level where I can crack out a slow marathon if needed. The great thing about working for yourself and from home is that I can run in the day, so I really appreciate that during the winter months.
What is the thing which has changed the most about your own running?
- Less pressure. I used to put a great deal of pressure on myself to be hardcore and finish races whatever the cost to my body or the pain I was in. Now, while I applaud anyone who has these goals for themselves, I don't think there is any point in being in so much pain you become a miserable companion, stressed about cut off times and can't appreciate the views. So now I'm not as keen on pushing myself physically any more and I'm happier because of it. This doesn't work for everyone though!
If you could run chat with anyone in the world, who would it be (they don't need to be a runner) and why?
- My husband's dad. I only met him once before he died and I would have loved to know him so I could share more memories of him with Steve and his family. He was a very keen hill walker so I'm sure he could have kept up with me in his day!
What is the funniest /weirdest thing you have seen whilst out on the trail?
- A microwave in a dry stone wall. That was a photo sent to me by some Trail Running magazine readers exploring Welsh trails. So I didn't actually see it, does that count...? 😉
Follow Claire on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and take a look at her YouTube channel