Stay in touch

Trail Run Spa; the coolest downhill ever

Left, right, little hill, puddle, small bridge, rocks, mud, trees; everything seems to fly by when I’m racing downhill. It’s technical, it’s hard and it’s fun. So much fun. This has to be the coolest downhill I’ve ever done.

Okay, I had to run a kilometer of 18 to get here, but it’s totally worth it. And those 18 kilometers weren’t bad either. From the Tourist Information Center in Spa I climbed up to the Thermes de Spa, with beautiful views over this little town in the Ardennes, ran downhill over lime stones and through mud, and climbed up again into the forest Bois du Chincul.

There I left the 5 and 10 kilometers trail behind me, and followed my 22 kilometers trail back to Spa. Only to cross the Avenue Reine Astrid and the railway line to make my way to the Bois de Mambaye, a forest on the other side of Spa.

A carpet of brown and yellow leaves

It’s a bit of a boring crossing, 3 kilometers uphill through suburbs and fields, but then, then it starts. The sun shining through the trees on the mossy soil, a carpet of yellow and brown leaves leading deep into the forest, and a little creek, running peacefully on the side of the trail, finding its way around all the big boulders that try to block it. It’s one of those scenes that make you happy you got out of bed early and put on your trail running shoes.

Three kilometers later the forest makes room for the Thier des Rexhons ski slope, which is today literally a green slope. Instead of going down, I’m climbing up, which adds to the weird feeling in my legs. The feeling I had for the last time when I was running in Scotland. That feeling you have after biking hard for kilometers and kilometers, and then running. As if your legs want to do another rhythm, another motion then you want them to do.

Serious climbing

The ski slope forms the start of the last serious climbing of this morning, because after 15,5 kilometers all that is left is downhill. First over a wide, sandy road with big rocks sticking out of it. It’s not the most fascinating part of the trail, but it feels good to run fast for a couple of kilometers. On top of that, it gets my legs ready for the descent through the Bois des Minieres. The one I’m doing now, the coolest downhill ever.

I’m jumping up and over rocks, and little bridges that cross the river, zig-zag over a path full of puddles and big rocks, take sharp turns and laugh out loud. It feels like being on a roller coaster. Just better, because my feet are still hitting the ground. Hitting it hard and fast.

Running together

After 22,45 kilometers and almost 3 hours of running I’m back at the hotel, for a cup of tea, and to pick up Sara for another 10 kilometer trail run. Only this time together, because trail running is beautiful, but it’s even more beautiful if you can share it.

Related Columns

Sign up for more Training Tips & Tricks

Newsletter signup

Please wait..

Yeah, you signed up! Now, you'll get the best training tips and greatest gear reviews straight in your inbox. The only thing you have to do yourself, is keep on running.

Latest posts

UTMB heads for Mauritius and raises prize money

This weekend, June 22-23, 2024 the UTMB athletes will meet in Mauritius, to race each in the heart of the Indian Ocean.

Running an ultra trail race on cupcakes

Let's talk about something yummy and nutritious. Let's talk about running an ultra marathon on cupcakes.

Grand Trail du Saint-Jacques; my first DNF

What was meant to be a confirmation, became a question mark. A story about my first DNF, at the Trail du Saint-Jacques.

Court and Deruaz win Ultra Trail du Saint-Jacques 2024

Sylvain Court and Maëlle Deruaz (both France) have won the Ultra Trail du Saint-Jacques 2024.

Hartmuth and Garner win Trail 100 Andorra 2024

Katharina Hartmuth (Germany) and Zachary Garner (US) have won the Trail 100 Andorra 2024.

Andorra and Saint-Jacques; a double UTMB weekend

It’s UTMB World Series time, with the Trail 100 Andorra and the Trail du Saint-Jacques. We will run the last one.