Although I’m from a fell running background, I promised myself I’d give running poles a go if I ever got a place in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race. That happened in 2014 and, I must admit, I have been a convert ever since.
My original poles have served me well but are coming to the end of their life, having taken a battering over the last few years. I’ve liked the look of Leki poles for some time so, after some research, I purchased a pair of Micro Trail Pro poles from George Fisher.
The first thing I noticed was how robust they feel. Made from carbon, there is a lovely balance between weight and strength (167g for one 115cm pole). They certainly instil confidence when in use on rough, technical terrain, and especially when power hiking uphill. These are three-section poles which are non-adjustable; you have a fixed length at all times. There are adjustable options from Leki, however I only use poles for ascending and, therefore, don’t require adjustability.
Compared to my previous ones, the speed and ease of assembling and folding these poles is a huge improvement. Assembly just requires you to pull the sections out and a pop-out button locks the sections in place. To dismantle, simply press the button and, hey presto. For trail running this is a significant factor, as the variety of terrain means this process will occur many times during a run or race.
To add to this speed of use, these Leki poles make use of a ‘wrist harness’ which stays attached to your hand at all times. This harness clips onto the pole handle during use, and unclips when you wish to stow the poles. This gives two advantages; you feel more connected to the poles than when using a traditional wrist strap, and there are no straps or cords on the poles to get tangled.
I found that I needed to readjust the tightness of the harness, using the Velcro strap, depending on whether I’m locked into the poles or not. To release, simply press a button on the top of the handle which allows the harness to unclip.
The combination of strength and simplicity of use make these poles a useful ally when out on those trails with significant climbs/descents or if you are going really long in an ultra-marathon. The connectivity via the harness means you get excellent power transfer without really having to grip the handle, reducing the stress on your hands and arms. I will definitely be rockin’ these poles in the Lakeland 100 later this year.