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Gran Canaria, known for its lighthouse and the home of Christopher Columbus, but in late February best known for the Transgrancanaria. Yet among trail runners. Ali Hamdi descended on the Canary Island to test the Brooks Catamount 2.

Brooks first made an entrance into the trail world as a brand in 2005. The Brooks Cascadia counted as the first chapter of their brand new trail story. Three more specialized models were added in the following years, including the Brooks Catamount. And just as well, because young and old alike have discovered nature in recent years. Trailrunning and walking has become increasingly popular and lures a lot of runners away from the asphalt.

Updates to the Brooks Catamount 2

Runners’ lab advisor Ali Hamdi, years loyal to the athletics track, has made that move all the way. He and Brooks headed to Gran Canaria for the Transgrancanaria, a 45-km trail. The latest Brooks Catamount 2 became his partner in crime throughout the route.

“The TPEE upper has made the shoe a lot stronger,” Ali noted. “The fit is also a lot better around the foot due to the redesigned upper. Thanks to the deeper lugs , grip is improved and the stackheight remains relatively low. In trail running, I find the latter a big advantage, especially toward ankle stability.”

Smoother uphill

An added bonus of the updated Brooks Catamount 2, according to Ali, is the SKY VAULT plate in the forefoot.

“This technical gadget should help run smoother uphill. The SKY VAULT plate did perfectly what it promised. When climbing, the shoe felt very dynamic and
to the foot. I felt like I was running on the street with a competition shoe , although admittedly the pace was slower. The difference from some trail shoes was remarkable. They tend to be a bit more “clunky” so running uphill can quickly feel heavy. That was by no means the case with the Brooks Catamount 2,” Ali said of the renewed piece in the forefoot.

Good grip

Despite confidence in the shoe, Ali’s trail adventure turned out a little differently than hoped. The technical trails proved unfathomable so Ali was forced to drop his pace after only 14 km.

“I had a really good feeling about the Brooks Catamount 2 and was at the starting line with a lot of gusto. From the start, I was immediately in the leading group. Confidence was high and I didn’t shy away from taking risks on the descents. As an untrained runner on a very technical course, with steep descents, loose stones and wet rocks, it was not the very best plan. After barely 14 km, I had bad luck. My ankle made a click and I wisely decided to continue the rest of the race more cautiously. I ended up finishing 50th, but it certainly wasn’t down to the shoe. I experienced great grip on both wet rocks and muddy stretches. The upper is also sturdy enough to bang against a rock or two. Been there, done that.”

Also descending to Gran Canaria was Scott Jurek, a living legend in ultra running. He had one more tip for anyone hesitating to take on the long(er) distances.

“An ultra is 95% mental. And the other 5%? That’s mental too.”

In other words, where there is a will, there is always a way.