Keep up-to-date, join in the chat!

Follow us on Instagram

Contact Us

Newsletter

The Lady With the Limp – 2017 Review by Dot Kesterton

 

2017 Annual Review.

Dot (Nightingale) Kesterton.

The year started as well as I could hope for. The arthroscopy on medial and lateral meniscus in early December seemed to be healing well. Mr Brown, surgeon, suggested I start gentle training after two months. I took his advice and used the first few months of the year to rebuild and strengthen muscles around the injured knee. it took a lot longer than I expected but by the end of the summer felt ready to enter my first race of the year, Dig Deep 10K trail race. The legs gave me the support I needed but months of forced rest meant my breathing was laboured and heart rate high. I was very pleased to come in at just under an hour, 2nd V50 and 6th female of 69.

Dig Deep 10K

With my confidence slowly returning I pressed on with strength, conditioning and drill work to complement my Accelerate supported training programme and decided to enter the Lakeland Trail ‘Dirty Double’ races over two days in mid October. As a trial I ran the Ten Ten Ten trail race from Endcliffe Park thinking of it more as a training and preparation run. it was a huge surprise therefore to finish first in age.

TenTenTen

The weather at the Helvellyn and Ullswater races was pretty typical for the Lake District. It rained and rained. The massed ranks of the Smiley Paces running club braved the elements and made a huge impression on the event. I had to run smart with this one since I needed to conserve energy for the two day event, both demanding hill runs on sodden terrain. Again, to my surprise I came in first in age in each event. Furthermore there was very little pain or swelling in the repaired knee cartilage.

Lakeland Trails ‘Dirty Double’

The Monyash Trail race was a beautiful 10miler in the Peak District. I had entered late, actually the night before, thinking I could again use it for training purposes. The weather was awful. It had snowed overnight and had begun to thaw so the trail was slushy, slippery and at times icy. I took it very steadily, relying on my reliable Inovate Roclite fell shoes to keep me firm and steady. The course was challenging so I was delighted to finish first in age again.

Lakeland Prizes

Without doubt I found my first road race of the year particularly tough. I rarely run on roads now so it felt harsh and unyielding. I struggled to get any advantage at the start and had to weave through slower runners before the crowds thinned on the dam wall. By then my pace had suffered and I found it hard to recover over the remaining miles. I came in at 47:43, well down on my pb of 44:

Percy Pud 2017

Imagine my total surprise then to hear that my perceived indifferent race placed me at 9th on the UK 10K rankings for V65 in 2017.

Year at a glance

Smiley Paces, still my ‘Spiritual Home’

Catterick Parkrun

So my year ended so much better than it started. The Lady with the Limp is off to the Lake District again soon to see what I can do on the fells in 2018.

Posted in Injury, Team Accelerate, Training & Racing | Comments Off on The Lady With the Limp – 2017 Review by Dot Kesterton

Best in Test 2017: Equipment – Accessories

 

Accessories.  Those little extras.  They add value to your running experience.  Or at least, they should.  While optional, many of them make a big difference when you’re battling extremes of temperature, or terrain.  Some exist merely to add a little fun.  Others can prove so useful, you wouldn’t know how to cope without them.

Here then, is our breakdown of the top three contenders from the ‘Accessory’ category, introduced over the last year:

UD’s Flexform 350

Ultimate Direction Flexform 350:

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I’ve never been a fan of the Soft Flask.  Perhaps because of the time spent previously, with a full size hydration reservoirs.  Removal of that ‘sloshing’ sound hardly makes up for the unruly way in which they squash in your hands, reduce in volume and begin jumping up and down inside pockets once you take a drink.  They crumple when you try to refill them and are a pain to wash.  When all said and done, I always got along perfectly well with hard bottles.  They slot back into their pockets a lot more easily than the softies too! (think magician stuffing a hankerchief into his fist).

But I’m a fickle so-and-so, always secretly envious of the fun others appear to be having.  So while the soft flasks left me cold, I definitely hankered for a slightly more comfortable bottle than my old, cylindrical 500ml affair, which feaured a wide opening for fast refills, hard structure which assists a quick removal of the lid when reaching checkpoints/marshalls.  It also had a brilliant soft rubber bite valve which never leaked once snapped shut.  But the shape meant that they always pressed into my ribs while using half the vests I own.  And the diameter of the bottles was so great that only some of the pockets could accomodate, while designed for the soft flasks now fitted as standard.

Solution – 2017’s Ultimate Direction Flexform 350.  a hybrid bottle that comes in a pre-moulded shape, with a flat side and a rounded side.  Trasluscent of course, so you can tell how much you have/have consumed.  Wide opening, with a very easy to grip top that opens quickly when the time comes, while allowing a super quick refill by even the most inept runner…  Once partially emptied, the shape is maintained, so although easy to squash and assist the flow of drink through that oh so comfy rubber bite valve, the bottle retains its shape inside the pocket and the overall fit of your vest remains unaffected.

Hallelujah!

 

Polar’s M430

Polar M430:

Slightly more sophisticated is the latest GPS run watch from Polar, the M430.

An updated version of their M400 (which I already use and love).  The main, but not only difference being that they’ve added a wrist sensor (six sensors to be precise) and now boast that the watch can be used without the need for a chest strap for Heart Rate Training.  It still works with the optional H10 Chest strap however, which is still by far the more accurate set up.

The exciting update isn’t the hardwear though.  The watch looks exactly the same as the M400 and yet the software has been massively improved.  chief among the improvements – GPS is now recorded in a choice of settings for accuracy.  So instead of either absolute detail or off, we can enjoy a ‘half power’ setting, that records your position every 30 seconds or so.  The result is expanded longevity during activity.  The once disappointing constraint of M400’s 5.5hrs total run time was improved by Polar’s generous update service (regular;y upgrading software and allowing more features to those who’ve already invested in a Polar product), to a much better 7.5hrs by end of summer ’17.

In came M430 and a massive 15hr activity time to those exploiting the all new settings.

So, a more user friendly watch in all sorts of ways, with the freedom to use wrist based heart rate when deemed convenient, or more accurate chest based for serious conditioning.  Longer battery life, via better software, meaning longer activities, or more of them before having to upload/update via the imcredible Polar Flow website.  Ever improving thanks to their update service.

Silva Explore Headtorch

Silva Explore 2:

We saw a frenzy this Autumn, for a lesser know headtorch by the name of Ninox2, by Silva.

But despite that torch’s bargain £30 price tag, for a 200 Lumen torch – the more interesting story was its big brother, the Explore 2.

Explore 2 comes in much the same housing, with a very minimal size/weight and in just the same way, runs on 3 regular AAA batteries.  But with 50 additinal Lumens to throw a littel more light and an expanded array of settings, for its slightly higher £60 rrp, you’ve a much more versatile torch at your disposal.

Brighter and with a deeper range, it also allows amber mode for use with certain navigational mapping where red light confuses the features on your map!  White however can glare and reduce night vision to almost dangerous levels.

It still has a dimmer setting and power indication upon switching off, so you should always be aware of when to swap batteries in advance.  The addde extras in the box….  a ‘lantern bag’ which not only provides a place to store the lamp and spare batteries, but also converts the torch into a lantern when sitched on and placed back inside.  So perfect for camping or group stops along a led route.  Finally, with the Explore 2 – you get a clip thrown in that allows you to mount the torch on a belt, shoulder strap or chest rig, so providing a more appropriate low slung beam in mist or fog (where the glare at head height causes near blindness), so you can still see the ground!  Absolute genius.

 

And the winner for ‘Best in Test 2017’ in Accessories….

Polar M430 takes it for being everything we loved about the M400, with bells on!  Wrist based HR Monitor, without losing the accuracy of the chest strap.  Same tidy unit, with less bulk than many on the market.  Greater battery life and longevity, thanks to the new GPS settings and updated software.  Throw in the usual Polar Flow connectivity, App, Phone alerts, on-screen feedback and more…  well, it’s a no brainer!

There’s even a deal on right now, where for purchasing any Polar Flow compatible product, we’ll hand you a £25 Gift Voucher, which you can redeem immediately for £25 off, or offer somebody else so that they too can treat themself to ‘something Polar’.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Best in Test 2017: Equipment – Accessories

Best in Test 2017: Clothing

 

There’s been plenty of new clothing for 2017.

Inov-8 updated many pieces, improving fabrics and the fit, which has produced an enviable range.

Patagonia continue to do what they do best, with recycled materials and ethics beyond compare.  Their range throughout 2017 has been practical, colourful and comfortable, with the benefit of knowing that the quality and finish are virtually unsurpassed.

Scott revealed a race kit range made of super lightweight fabric and bonded hems, which tied together their entire race collection with a bold black&yellow theme throughout.  From footwear to equipment, they designed everything to look good on its own, but amazing when worn as an outfit, as perfectly demonstrated by Scott supported athletes (including a few of our very own) across the globe.

So without further delay, let’s see which items in particular caught our attention and review the contenders for Accelerate’s Clothing ‘Best in Test 2017’…

Scott RC Run Split Shorts:

2017 saw Scott unveiling their official race kit, after a season of international racing by their top sponsored athletes.  the kit they wore to victory on the world trail scene, suddenly became available off the shelf.  And it flew.  Accelerate were lucky enough to receive a range of such outfits, some shor/minimal, some slightly more substantial and suited to training as well as flat out racing.  All were cleverly body mapped and minimal in weight, but with intelligent welded hems that maintained the shape and fit by subtly pulling the garments back to form when bounced or shaken.  the result when on….you don’t know you’re wearing them!

Flat out – some of the finest running apparel we’ve ever come across – at an affordable price.

– 4 way stretch fabric

– Highlighted, bonded, seamless hem

– Zippered back pocket

– Integrated drawcord at the waistband

– Comfortable inner brief

 

Scott RC Run W/O SL Singlet:

freedom and moisture management encapsulated in a race vest for those in search of ultra light fabric,with a dlicate feel, but high performance under harsh conditions.  Once again part of their Black&Yellow collection, with all the qualities you’d associate with world class athletes, available to the everyday runner who likes the finer things.

– Lightweight fabric

– Highlighted, bonded, seamless hem

– Ergonomic Cut

– Flatlock seams

– Reflective detailing

 

Inov-8 AT/C Stormshell Jacket:

despite several recent attempts to reinvent their jacket range, inov-8 hit their stride this time around with a ver exciting waterproof that could really deliver on the fells, but will happily suit those who take on their local 5k road loop come rain or shine.

– Lightweight & waterproof 150g – 175g

– Pertex Shield Supersoft Fabric

– 20,000 Hydrostatic Head waterproof 20,000 B-1 Breahtability

– Full length zip AquaGuard zip with internal storm flap

– Packs away inside its own pocket

 

Patagonia Houdini Windproof Jacket:

A proven winner all year round, taking the chill off those early starts or late visits, especially compact – being designed to fit inside the pocket on Patagonia’s corresponding shorts!

– Updated for 2017

– Lighter than ever at 102g!

– 100% Nylon Ripstop construction with DWR finish

– Zippered chest pocket hat doubles as stuff sac

– Hood adjustment

And so – to the winner…….

 

inov-8 take the honours, with what we all agree (across the entire Accelerate/APC team), is the best jacket they’ve ever produced.  And what a jacket it is.

Pertex Shield, employed to perfection, allowing breathability like never before in an inov-8 outer shell.  Fully waterproof, taped seams – meaning ‘race legal’ when considering participation in events.  Seriously though, it’s the daily usage that will make or break a jacket and this is where we’ve seen the largest difference.  The Stormshell is now only 175g in weight, a good 53g lighter than Montane’s Minimus (previously our goto jacket and still a very close 2nd).  It features a much quieter texture when on the move, eliminating a lot of the familiar ‘swoosh’ noise that the sleeves can produce when worn.  The ‘crisp packet’ crinkle has also been eradicated, offering a ‘brushed’ feel against the skin.  Elasticated wrists with optional thumb loops and an adjustable hood.  Chest pocket is the topper.  We even like the colour choice.  So when all said and done, this is the jacket which in 2018 is going to prove rewarding for those who took the plunge.

We’ve all had ‘boil in the bag’ jackets that cause so much perspiration it’s like facing the choice between dehydration or hypothermia, but this inov-8 Stormshell allows for comfortable usage in all but warm weather and an easy to carry ‘just in case’ layer for those who desire to race or train with unburdened confidence.

 

 

Posted in Best In Test, Tested & Abused! | Comments Off on Best in Test 2017: Clothing

Best in Test 2017 : Trail Shoes

There has been plenty of new and updated Trail shoes this last year and thinning the list down to a handful of contenders has been tough enough. Sometimes trail footwear has to be so much more than just a shoe for the rough and ready, it also has to be robust and something that can be taken for short periods ‘off trail’. Some are designed for rocky conditions, others for muddy trails and others for longer runs so comfort becoming an increasingly important factor.  The cross over in-fact could be deemed a mind field and time spent deciding on the type of trail shoe you want for the conditions you run over is probably key to a final selection, along with fit and comfort.
One shoe that is not in the mix, yet year after year just keeps on performing is the Saucony Peregrine. The update this year was less radical, yet it is a very popular shoe and is well worth adding to any list of shoes to look at. 2018 sees this iconic shoe get a real update and we are looking forward to getting our feet in a pair.

Inov-8 Roclite 290
Effectively a brand new shoe in early 2017 and one we were very excited about.  It did not let us down either as it is a mighty fine shoe.
– Lightweight and responsive, fast feeling
– Stunning grip over rocky and multi terrain
– META-SHANK provides additional protection against sharp rocks
– Probably the best all rounder on test
For more information Men’s >>  Women’s >>

Inov-8 X-Claw 275
Although the X-Claw was introduced later in the second half of 2016 it was a while before we could get out and test them. It was a surprisingly versatile shoe and a very definite contender.
– Superb across mixed terrain, trail to fell over longer distances
– Great cushioning and protection especially over knarly trails
– Best in Test for grip, open ground to wet rock
– Lightweight flexibility
For more information Men’s >>  Women’s >>

Scott Supertrac RC Shoe
OK, described as a mountain racing shoe yet quite a few have taken to the Kinabalu RC as a training shoe. A brand new design concept for 2017.
– New radial designed outer lugs for multi surface traction, dry or wet
– Lightweight with a stable platform
– Protective yet responsive
– Shorter to longer distance mountain and trail running
For more information Men’s >>  Women’s >>

Altra Zero Lone Peak 3.5
The only shoe here that is a definite update as opposed to being either a new shoe or a radical change. It is also the only zero drop shoe that made the cut.
– High cushioned and protective shoe
– Grip designed for dryer trails to wet harder-packed surfaces
– New and upgraded mesh upper for durability
– Footshaped toe box which is designed to enhance natural movement
For more information: Men’s >>  Women’s >>

So the Best in Test 2017 Trail Running is…

The Scott Supertrac RC!
The reason, it is a brand new shoe. It is pretty radical in design with a no sew construction to the upper and they have stood the test in the harsh soil environment of the Peak District. The grip, which is so important, just works. OK against some of the competition here it is not an out and out mud-grip shoe, yet it copes very well and on rock no question.
The drop is right where you want this type of shoe to be, at 5mm. Cushioning and protection are again sitting right in the sweet spot, not too much and likewise not too little.  All ideal for shorter to longer racing over mountain and Peak District Terrain.
They have certainly proved to be a popular shoe with many coming back for a second pair and are also demanded by our own runners in Team Accelerate, for everything from Skyrunning to local fell races.

Full Review Here >>

Posted in Best In Test, Tested & Abused! | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Best in Test 2017 : Trail Shoes

Best in Test 2017 : Road Running Shoe

When it came to innovation during 2017 there has been little to get excited about. Saucony, have led the way in increasing the distribution of its Everun midsole compound which was launched in 2016. So there has definitely been more options available through their range via a number of updates.

So with that in mind who are this years contenders:

New Balance 1080V8:
We definitely liked this high mileage and ever popular training shoe for its
– Stable Running Platform
– Great fit across a range of feet
– High levels of cushioning
– Availability of widths

On Running CloudFlow:
A new introduction at the end of last year that was aimed at mid mileage runners or those looking for a faster feeling racer trainer.
– Responsive under the foot
– Lightweight
– No fuss upper that is highly breathable
– Surprisingly well cushioned

Mizuno Wave Shadow:
Brand new for 2017 and a very positive step by Mizuno in bringing through an 8mm drop training shoe for mid mileage or faster paced training.
– Stable mid to rear foot
– Transition from heel to forefoot
– Responsive, yet with a higher than expected cushioning level

Scott Palani Trainer:
A completely redesigned shoe for 2017 and a category Scott are less known for:
– Rocker design of midsole enabling a good toe off position
– Ideal for straighter shaped feet
– Good levels of cushioning retaining some responsiveness
– Grip in the wet

Saucony Ride 10:
A go to shoe within the store and one that has proven to be a solid shoe with incarnation. Everun has been added in the form of a piece above the main midsole unit, referred to as a ‘Top Sole’.
– Stable Platform
– Universal fit, especially the women’s specific version
– High levels of cushioning
– Durability

So the Best in Test Road Running Shoe 2017 is… go on someone hit the Drum Roll switch please…

Accelerate Best in Test : On Running CloudFlow

The On Running CloudFlow!
The reason, I haven’t taken them off my feet when road running this year. The others great to test, yes, don’t get me wrong, I just want to run in this shoe.  I also loved the hose pipe technology.
What a great feeling shoe. Cushioned and oh so responsive at the same time. The ‘Cloud Technology’ really shines and works so very well. You land, the ‘Clouds’ (hose pipes) crush to cushion and then stay crushed so you do not lose so much power during the push phase. For me this is the first time that an On Running Training shoe has really hit this concept well and truly for six. The CloudFlow definitely sits in that mid mileage section of the market, or perhaps someone wanting their first longer distance racer. To be honest I reckon I would be just as happy in them over 5k.
Grip is much improved, especially on wetter surfaces and I very much like the no fuss upper which is nice and secure, with top marks for breathability. Perhaps my one gripe would be the width, a little more would have been ideal.
Overall, I think a worthy winner of this category. The blend of cushioning and responsiveness really is where it is at for the CloudFlow and as to the colour options…there’s enough to suit pretty much any taste.

ON Running CloudFlow, Full Review here >>
Men’s Version available here >>
Women’s Version available here >>

Posted in Best In Test, Product News, Tested & Abused! | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Best in Test 2017 : Road Running Shoe