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Finding races that you can take a buggy to are, it seems, becoming harder. I’ve now been turned down entry to half a dozen 10kms from the start of 2016 through to the end of February. I also came across a message board (http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/general-running/baby/buggy-friendly-races/251971.html) that was a little hostile to a parent looking for buggy friendly races. What gives?

  
From the organisers perspective I can understand it, insurance, liabilities, accidents and the like but the attitude of some of the runners has given me some concerns about the general attitude towards parent and baby/buggy runners.

Issues were raised such as: Baby will be bored; You’re a danger to other runners; this is a race not a nursery. I always believed that running was the most inclusive sport around, some of the things I’ve read recently lead me think otherwise. 

As a parent who runs a lot and runs a reasonable amount with UltraBaby I want her to experience race days, the outdoors, the wind, warmth and rain. I want her to collect medals and be part of something that I enjoy. It’s not the only activity we do together, we paint, walk the dog, build duplo, read, dance, sing, hike and all the other good things that you should do with a child. But I’d also like to race with her. Does that seem to much to ask running community? As my daughter ran around the registration area of Country to Capital this weekend she was fascinated by the huge collection of runners, colours of clothing and insane footwear – we kept her mainly under control but this kind of experience will hopefully leave a positive impression on her for the rest of her life. She didn’t race obviously which is why we look for shorter stuff so she can be a participant.

There was/is a buggy/parent run held at Bluewater in Kent and if it returns I may well enter it – but in truth I don’t want to be segregated – I’d like to be part of normal races. I take my hat off to the Movember organisers who welcomed my daughter and I to the start line with open arms. SVN events should also be applauded for their child and parent friendly attitude. They have always made great strides to accommodate my desire to run with UltraBaby. I’ll concede that there are races out there for those of who want to do something like this but I’d like some choice.

I’ve been lucky I’ve been quite lucky to race with my daughter five or six times since she was born on September of 2014 and we always start at the tail end of a race, we don’t overtake until the race is suitably spread out and we always take the more challenging path round people. I’ve had lovely feedback from other runners while I have been racing, we’ve never caused an accident involving another runner (I have clipped a few curbs with the buggy) and we always finish in a respectable time (5km 21-25mins, 10km 48-56mins, Half 1:50-2:10hrs). Let us in! Damn you!

   

 A dollop of realism? I’m enough of a realist though to know that ‘league’ events or tough muddy events probably aren’t the right environment for parent and baby runners but all the events I’ve been refused entry to have been on paths, parks and the like. I suppose it saddens me a little bit to be excluded. I don’t want to have a go at events that won’t allow ‘UltraTeam’ in, it’s their loss as far as I’m concerned but I’d like more races to consider parents starting out, for whom racing remains part of their daily routine. It’s also worth remembering that these races are often in public spaces where I’d be a much bigger danger out for a gentle run going against the flow of race traffic than in the race itself.

  

Go to a Parkrun I hear you cry! I do. and UltraBaby and I usually run somewhere between 21 and 25 minutes (course dependent) and I’ve yet to take anyone’s legs, nor clip anyone’s heels. The problem is with Parkrun that a) there’s no medal and b) it’s only 5km … and yes I could extend the run out but I don’t really fancy the #GingaNinja using her home craft skills to make me a papier-mâché medal.

Anyway I’ll keep looking but I wonder if anyone else has had similar problems finding running events that you and your young child can share.

  
Buggy running isn’t for every parent who runs but for me buggy running combined my intense love of trail pounding with my new found enjoyment of being a parent. In the months leading up to the arrival of UltraBaby I was very concerned that my running would take a hit and the truth of it is that it has but not nearly as badly as I thought it might and that in part is because of the genius of the Mountain Buggy Terrain.

 

I’ve now been buggy running since the baby was 3 days old and in the near year since we’ve covered a lot of distance together and a lot of hills. I was very careful when I was looking for a buggy capable of taking on the kind of running that I was intending on doing (hills, muddy trails, dry trails, roads). Extensive research meant I quickly discounted the ‘Bob’, MB Urban Jungle and a number of other very high quality transports. So what was it that sold the MB Terrain to me over its competitors?

It basically came down to the fact that every review, video and picture that you saw of the Terrain suggested that this was a mountain buggy by name and nature. When I finally managed to road test one of these I was amazed by the versatility and options.

  
The details below give a breakdown to just how much you get for your money.

  • Age range: 0-5 years
  • Open size: 86-118 x 63 cms
  • Closed size: 109 x 39 cms
  • Weight: 13 kgs
  • Wheels: 16 inch back/12 inch front
  • Chair width: 30 cms
  • Back height: 47 cms
  • Aluminum frame
  • hand and foot brake
  • canopy w/ sun visor
  • Full suspension
  • Removable double cup/running bottle holders
  • Large sealable under buggy storage
  • Fully adjustable handle
  • Five point, multi position harness
  • Suitable from birth (runs flat)
  • Compatible with cot/car seat accessories
  • Running strap

Let’s go back to my first run out with the Terrain – UltraBaby was just 3 days old and my partner was insistent that I used the cot attachment, obviously the Terrain isn’t intended for running with the cot attachment but in my excitement I just wanted to run with my daughter. We bounded out of the house at 3 days old and we came back runners. We went over to the local heritage park a few kilometres from the house. UltraBaby despite lying unstrapped in the cot (and really rather small) remained fairly consistent in her position and simply watched the bright blue sky drift past, I’d have been very happy though to have used the run flat capability of the buggy (and did many times). Feeling more confident we attacked the dusty and muddy BMX trail at the park, including the heavy ascents and descents – with these achieved we banged our way through the muddy wooded trail – it was glorious. The MB was now a tribute to the mud gods but UltraBaby was still as happy as she had been when we left the house. 

The good news is that MB was great on the trail but what about race day conditions? Pops, UltraBoyRuns, GingaNinja and UltraBaby decided to rock up to the fun run element of the Dartford Bridge 10km – a fast, very flat route. The fun run was about 2km and the MB was as good here as it has been on the trail.

We’ve since run every type of condition – mountains in France, Parkruns, road running, winter trail running and so much more. It’s worth noting that it doesn’t matter where we go, how far we go or what the weather is like the Mountain Buggy Terrain takes it all on with great aplomb. It’s light, it’s fast, it’s comfortable for parent to run with and baby to sleep in (and believe me UltraBaby sleeps soundly in it even over the most rocky of ground), the giant back wheels and suspension give great support and I never feel like I have to slow down because I’m secure in the knowledge that the buggy is built for this and importantly on a practical point I’ve got space for everything I know that a baby might need and even two large water bottle holders which hold everything I need on the move.

The one caveat I’ll add is that the buggy is expensive and it’s a specialist item – but we’ve had lots of use out of it, more than we expected but still a price of around £500 means this will be off putting for some. However, as a parent who runs a lot and wants his daughter to experience the literal highs and lows of running I wouldn’t be without my MB Terrain – or as we call it ‘The UltraMobile’.

  

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