End of the Ski season….? Go Paragliding…or running with Dwain Chambers

603837_10152779177535461_1172166581_n(1)It’s the end of the ski season in Chamonix and plenty of people who live here, year round have been taking their holidays, so the town has been fairly quiet- but more fun and intimate perhaps.

Looking ahead to my plans for summer, I too took a little holiday to Bordeaux where I learned to paraglide in the Dune Du Pyla. You can read my piece for the Daily Mail Online here. With much thanks to Flight Culture, I managed to get my Elementary Pilot and most of my Club Pilot done…. (not too long until I jump off Mont Blanc then;-)

Photos of the trip can be seen HERE and a video of me soaring above the Dune can be viewed HERE.

The Dune itself is a fascinating place, being the  largest sand dune in Europe consisting of 60million cubic metres of sand which is is moving at a rate of five metres a year, pushing back the surrounding forest and covering roads and houses.

More about the Dune can be read in this recent article by the Daily Mail, HERE .


Back in Chamonix and its been end of season party after end of season party – with the highlight- the Grands Montets 50th anniversary celebration. Read my report on it for PlanetSKI HERE.


Despite the partying, I have been trying to build the  fitness base for some of the trail running events I have planned over the summer.  With this in mind I joined the CMBM running club  for a track session where I noticed a very familiar face checking the track out…. Dwain Chambers! So I ended up chasing him down to have a chat-recognising a fellow Londoner!  Turns out he comes to Chamonix once or twice a year for some training at altitude… ( and is planning on some mountaineering adventures soon;-)

268858_10152779042895461_1783318723_nDwain kindly agreed to come along to the first track training session of the season for the Chamonix Alpine Endurance group  and gave some tips and advice useful for whatever kind of running you’re into – from 100m sprint,  to an ultra marathon.

He suggested that as a warm up we all try “back-to back’s” and “dribbles” ( basically  a waddle placing your heel on the ground first.  He explained that the best action for running is to throw your thighs forward and “spend less time on the ground…..don’t bring your knees too high- its more of a skipping action…. and as soon as your foot hits the ground, get it off – as if the surface is hot….running fast feels slow,” he said, ” and you bounce like you’re flying”

Most of us hadn’t really sprinted since we were about 11, so it really was a re-education of our running styles. Back at the MBC ( micro brewery chamonix) we discussed diet and motivation….. no carbs apparently is the way forward…. and we must all no longer say “we can’t” (eg, train-run a marathon)… but ” I want”(to train and run a marathon) We were advised us to read ” The Laws of Attraction” ( by the authors of The Secret.)

I am constantly amazed by the people I meet and the things I learn in Chamonix and am pretty sure now that the summer will hold even more surprises….




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