Monday, 13 May 2013

Langport Miles

This week Langport Runners (left) in Somerset are hosting a festival of Mile running to inspire and engage local kids and adults. There is a full program, starting on Monday with the club's junior section running their Mile races on the grass track at Huish Episcopi school in Langport.

Then on Tuesday afternoon it is the turn of the school itself to have a go before on Wednesday at 18.30 there is an open event for adults from local running clubs and the community. I've been persuaded to dust off my spikes and get my middle distance head on to try and set some sort of a track record though i'm not sure that the school kids won't go faster than i'm capable of these days !

As well as a full out Mile races there will be an opportunity to run a Mile as part of a relay team or in a Parlauf. So it should be a fun series of events. If you want to come along and run or just watch and help out then more details are on the event Facebook page.

15.05.13 Hot off the press from organiser Dave German...
A very wet afternoon for the Academy to get their runners out but they managed one mile and Staff joined in as well. They had also invited Hambridge Primary along and they came with four teams and ran with great enthusiasm.When I get the results and times I'll collate them all and send them on.The Huish Biathlon was also taking place at the same time and I saw
Holly,Will and Dom all doing their run in the rain and wind. Great to see it all going on. So now just praying for a dry evening tomorrow for the last Mile events with Adrian Marriott to set the pace. A team of 5 Juniors achieved 4 min35sec last night so we have to beat that? Weather forcast is for sunshine!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Bristol 10k 2013 results

Just back from Bristol and the 10k which I ran for the first time since 2008. The event has certainly grown since then and there seemed to plenty of support out on the road. I was pretty pleased with my 31.45 clocking as I get back into the swing of things after the 100km. While there was a bit of a swirling breeze along the Portway conditions were good so it was a but surprising that nobody broke 30mins for the men today. After catching early leader Frank Tickner at the 7km, Dave Webb took the win in 30:05 from Anuradha Cooray and marathon specialist Martin Williams. Not far behind me Gemma Steel smashed the women's course record with 32:15 as she just edged out Selan Abere and Katrina Wootton.

Most impressive run of the day without question was Martin Rees who clocked a V60 world best of 32:54 !

Full results listing on Run Britain

Search for individual results 2013 RESULTS

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Odlo - the best kept secret in run clothing ?

I don't know about you but running clothing winds me up on an almost daily basis. Whether it is the uninspired block colouring, the absurd fit with arm/leg lengths out of all proportion to chest/waist or just the mediocrity of much of the construction which results in kit falling apart in no time you can practically be guaranteed disappointment. And over the years I've grown to tolerate this - running in a jacket that either leaks like a sieve or steams me like a sauna, zippered tights with broken zips, and shorts that are unspeakable.

I wonder if this problem stems from the fact that much of the clothing is produced by the shoes companies and as a result is just an after thought (and cash generator) to their main business ? There are a few specialists out there who stick to what they know, 1000mile socks are one brand that springs to mind which always performs. They know socks and do socks. And i've generally had good experiences with Helly Hansen thermals. Which brings me to Odlo.

With a background in nordic and alpine sports they can't afford poor design, cheap fabrics and shoddy construction. This winter I was lucky enough to get my hands on their top of the range Bjørndalen Cross Country Ski Jacket (pictured centre left) at a good price and what a piece of equipment it is !

Starting with the fit it almost feels tailored - correct proportions and constructed to allow proper movement. The fabric is just great. -10C and a wind and it keeps you warm, a warmer day and sun shining and there is enough ventilation to keep you comfortable, just omit the mid layer. And the attention to detail is great, whether it the stretchy lower arms and cuff to give a perfect seal, the flap over the top of the zip at the neck or the positioning of the reflective stips the design folks at Odlo have thought of everything.

So that is skiing, what about running ? Well I used the jacket on many of the cold running days we had this winter and it performed brilliantly, though for a normal spring/autumn day you would want to dip into the running collection. The same attention to detail and quality theme runs through the run clothing that I have seen though it can be difficult to get your hands on it in the UK. The one downside is price, this stuff is not cheap but you get what you pay for. Take a slightly longer term view of how long your important items of running kit are going to last you for and it starts to make sense.

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Friday, 3 May 2013

On Running Cloudsurfer review

For the last few weeks I've been testing out a pair of Cloudsurfer trainers made by Swiss company On Running. It is not yet a well known brand here in the UK though it has built quite a following in Switzerland, Germany and the US.

If you have seen a pair your first reaction was probably similar to mine: "they look weird, that outsole must be a crazy gimic". What strikes you is the series of rubber hoops which make up the outsole and are known as clouds by the guys who designed the shoes. Different models have a different number of these clouds and the Cloudsurfer sports 13 of them.

So what made me overcome intial scepticism and give these a try ? Well at the UK 100km championships my team mate Dave Mitchinson ran the whole race in the stripeed down Cloudracer version of the shoe and had no blisters, blackened toe nails or other foot problems. With that in mind I figured there must be something in the shoes worth finding out about. So when the opportunity came to stop by the On office on a recent trip to Zurich I took it out of sheer curiosity.

Lacing the shoes up the first thing I noticed was the fit which was relatively broad and suits my feet nicely. I've struggled a bit with narrower Japanese shoes and these felt right for european feet. Sizing is similar to normal shoes and I slipped nicely into a UK8.5 and would probably also be fine in a UK8. Take care if buying off US sizes though because my UK8.5 is marked as a US9 and I would usually take a US9.5 in Saucony and Adidas.

First impressions. After walking carefully down the stairs and out of the office expecting to fall off the 'clouds' at any moment I went for a short run up the street with founder Olivier Bernhard. And I have to say the shoes felt pretty good. The biggest thing I noticed on that first short run was how bouncy the shoe felt and while flexible my feet didn't feel out of control or unstable. On top of that, they definitely seemed to push my hips a little bit further forward and helped me to run 'taller' than usual.

Back home I've given them the full treatment including off road, grass, tarmac and whatever the best of Somerset can throw at the them. I've yet to find a surface that they struggle on though some people report the clouds filling with mud when it is really dirty under foot. So far they have done just under 200 miles without any obvious signs of wear and tear (above left) and I'm curious to see how long they retain their dynamic feel before starting to feel crushed and flat.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when you start running in a shoe like the Cloudsurfer is that it will allow your foot and lower leg to move more naturally than when in a normal shoe. So you should transition carefully over a period of weeks and pay attention to where the muscles are working a bit harder i.e. stretch them out afterwards. While not as drastic as going to a zero drop 'minimal' type of shoe, these will give you some of the benefits without many of the risks. I've certainly noticed my right calf feeling different and as a result the hamstrings and glutes working more effectively.

In summary: a good shoe if you are looking for something to help you run more naturally and with better posture but don't want the lottery of going to a barefoot/minimal shoe. Full product details