Vår trailkock Billy gillar att kombinera matinsamling och träning, speciellt i höstskogen.
It feels like a lot of my running is dual purpose, the majority of my weekly miles come from either the daily work commute or to pick up the kids from school. Necessary ways to get in a decent weekly mileage whilst juggling full time work, a wife, two kids and a fast approaching 100 mile trail race.
But for a few weeks of the year, dual purpose running is something different. Early on a couple of misty autumnal mornings every year I don an empty hydration pack and head to the forest with mushrooms on my mind.
I’ve got my spot, as do most people round here, a secret patch of forest where with a little luck there’s a bounty of glorious autumn chanterelles, black trumpets, maybe even a few ceps if I’m really lucky. An off trail 20 km (12 mile) loop where constantly watching your footing, trying to avoid stumbling over roots and rocks doubles up as a perfect way of scanning the ground for some seasonal treats. The pace is slow, the mist is lifting, blue sky is visible through the trees. What better way is there to start the day?
The first mushrooms show themselves. A few black trumpets, difficult to spot a first but once your eyes have become accustomed there is hundreds of them. I barely make a dent in the patch, just a couple of handfuls. Considering the extremely dry summer the amount of mushroom varities I meet on the trail is a surprise. The pack slowly begins to fill up with foragers delight, after a couple of hours I start to pick up the pace I’m ready for an early lunch.
I spot many of my favourite ceps, but I’m met with disappointment as everyone is worm addled by the time I’ve found it. You need to be early to beat the worms! With barely 200 metres (yards) until I’m back at the car I see another poking it’s plump head out from under a fern. It’s perfect, untouched. And another and more still, six of the most perfect ceps I’ve ever seen. A very happy ending.
After a steady two & half hour run punctuated with many breaks spent on my hands and knees inspecting the forest floor, I can’t think of a better lunch than yesterday’s sourdough toasted topped with a fried egg and the lightly sautéed mushrooms with a generous glug of good Italian olive oil, a touch of garlic and a little crushed garlic.
And best of all there is still some left for dinner.
Get out there and find you food, while getting a good run!