Category Archives: Training & Racing
The first weekend in November some of Team Accelerate headed north to race in the Wooler Trail Half Marathon. The latest addition to the team Paddy sums up the weekend.
I don’t need much persuading to travel to new places, so when a trip to Wooler Trail Half Marathon was suggested, I immediately put my hand up. Five months later, I’m on my way to the far North East of England with Team Accelerate, racing in Scott kit for the very first time, with teammates Harvey, Chris & Hugh.
Over the years, I have been on many away days and weekends playing rugby so I knew to expect some banter from the lads! Light hearted shots were fired before we even got on the road, team bonding had begun.
How much kit and pairs of running shoes would 4 people require for a simple 3 day trip and race? I had guessed at 2. One pair to train/warm up in and another to race in. How wrong was I?! Between Chris and Harvey there were 10 pairs with enough kit for every possible weather condition. As for food, we had enough pasta and rice to feed EVERYONE racing on Sunday! Genius move of the weekend? Harvey brought his coffee machine!
With all our bags shoehorned into the back of Chris’ Land Rover and some new age punk playing on the radio, we hit the road for the 4hr journey ahead. The weekend had begun!
I have been training alongside Harvey, Chris and Hugh for a few months now, under the wise tutelage of Stu. I began this journey wanting to find out if there was still opportunity to improve in my early 40s. I regard Stu as the best Coach I have met over the years and as a Coach myself I wanted to learn more about how I can improve the Coaching I provide, whilst sharing my own knowledge and experience with the Team.
I firmly believe in living everyday like it is a blank page and being willing to learn, change my mind about opinions I have formed over the years as an Athlete, Trainer and Coach. Many training sessions and a few races later, my confidence has grown.
I know I’m not completely there yet, but I also know I am now in a place where I can run well, run happy and begin competing at the front end of races again. Being part of a team that encourages and supports you on your journey is key. Travelling to Wooler to race as part of Team Accelerate made me feel proud of what I had achieved so far and actually took all the pressure off how I might perform on race day.
Harvey was returning to Wooler as defending Champion having made the journey North alone a year ago. This time he came with friends, and it seemed to provide an extra layer of confidence from the second we set off on our recce of the route. Despite the route having been marked out ready for the weekend, with a big yellow arrow directing us along the road, Harvey was certain we were to go off to the left along a well trodden footpath towards the woods. Apparently, he hadn’t read the race info that stated there was an alteration to the publicised route due to tree felling in the woods. We found our way to the route thanks to the little yellow flags and arrows put out by the organisers, checking the first 3k and the final descent where a discussion about vaulting gates would give us food for thought over the next couple of days. Shoe choice? The ground was still relatively firm and with the finish now a longish stretch of road would it be plausible to change to carbon road shoes to finish in? Fortunately, that was a decision we didn’t have to make as out of all the shoes we had brought, those weren’t on the list.
Route check complete, we went to find our accommodation for the next few days. Driving out of Wooler into the middle of nowhere, overlooking the very hills we would be racing on. Cracking job Harvey! Now to settle in and relax, with only one tricky decision ahead of us. What film do we choose?
We had decided to go to the route again on Saturday to watch the leaders of the marathon descend to the finish. It also served as a little leg stretch ahead of Sunday. It was definitely going to be a fast one with the ground firm and overhead conditions looking good.
There are many similarities between Northumberland and the Peak District. Sleepy towns, rolling hills and runnable trails that can take you anywhere.
We all certainly felt very much at home in our surroundings and even though we hadn’t dedicated much racing to off-road this year, we all felt quietly confident about performing well on what appeared to be a fast course.
The weather was set to be kind to us which was a relief. We arrived at the race HQ, Wooler YHA at 7.45am. Numbers collected, mandatory kit checked and plenty of time to warm up and prepare our bodies and minds for racing.
The short walk to the start line helped settle any nerves that we had and with the relaxed starting process of ‘I’ll count you down from 5 and you can go!’ we were off
Harvey took the lead and it is fair to say no one was going to catch him. Chris settled into a solid position, I eased into the race keeping myself controlled having not raced over this sort of terrain in a while, giving it the respect it deserved focussing on keeping my effort even and sustained. Hugh was sticking to his race plan of staying easy.
By the time I got to the turn around point, Harvey had opened up a sizable lead and as we passed each other on the hill into the checkpoint he was looking strong. A simple cheer of encouragement both ways was appreciated especially as I still had to come back up the hill I was descending. Chris had settled into 3rd and as I reached the checkpoint I found myself in 7th with 8th place trying to close the gap. Hugh was showing his versatility on the trails as I saw him in 9th place as I began my ascent.
Now the ascent! Up to this point the uphill sections had been, relatively speaking, a breeze. This final climb would prove the most challenging. Time to dig in and sustain the effort. If you are feeling it, then those behind and in front are too! Once at the top there were some free flowing trails to stretch out on, an opportunity to get the effort level back up and keep the legs turning. There was a short hill up to a final gateway and as I climbed it I allowed myself a quick check to see how far ahead of 8th I was. It gave me the kick I needed for one final push down the descent and onto the finish I needed! There was no way I was giving my place up now! A shout of ‘Focus, keep the effort up’ and ‘You’ve got this’ from Stu was the extra bit of encouragement to stay ahead. Time to empty the tank, which is exactly what I did down the hill and onto the road. By the time I had got to the finish the gap had increased. Seventh place was mine, greeted by Chris who had given all he could give only to be pushed back from 3rd to 5th in the final stages. Still a positive result for him having had his build up disrupted through illness and a niggle. Harvey was looking pleased with himself and after congratulating me for a strong run, he was pleased to announce he’d continued on for the win in under 90 mins breaking his own course record in the process. Hugh was next across the finish line in 9th having hardly broken into a sweat. The wonder of youth!
All in all, a fantastic weekend building relationships as a team and putting in individual performances that we can all be very proud of.
What a team and what potential we all have to look forward to reaching together!
As for The Wooler Trail Half Marathon, Trail Outlaws have put together a great race. A challenging, but manageable route for all abilities with some really fast sections to get your teeth stuck into. Thanks must be given to Scott Sports for their continued support of Team Accelerate, it was certainly a proud moment for this 41 year old to race wearing their kit. Thanks to Stu & Debs for their support on and off the course and for everyone at the APC for support with niggles of body and mind.
See you next year?
Ps…Our films of choice for the weekend? It had to be James Bond Skyfall on Friday & Spectre on Saturday!
Team Accelerate runner and Steel City Strider Dot Kesterton has recently raced in the Bristol 10K road race organised by the England Masters Athletic Keep reading to hear how she got on.
Stuck out on Higgar, can’t get back in time.
Forgot to fill in the entry form.
I didn’t tell the family I’d be away.
It’s the hour before the alarm goes off and all the anxiety half dreams are swirling crazily around. A dozen reasons why I won’t make the start line. With emerging consciousness comes a breath of relief. I’m in the right place at the right time with the right kit, well prepared and have done my homework as thoroughly as I can. Despite the nerves I’m looking forward to it.
Bristol, a bit hilly like home and made rich on the back of slavery sits in late summer sunshine with a breeze off the sea as I walk to the start. I do wish the ‘England’ on my vest sat as comfortably as the ‘Wales’ on the other home international athletes, proud of their heritage. There are times when I’m simply ashamed to belong to a small island nation with small, minded leaders.
The race was organised by England Masters Athletics. The qualifier was Leeds Abbey Dash last October so here I am 11 months later in my new V70 age group to pound city centre streets in search of a new title. The route, snake like in the route map, winds around the Avon, through a small park, over unfriendly cobbles and finishes in Millennium Square, a large pedestrian area overlooking Spike Island and the river. Around 240 England Masters 35+ years old were at the head of a large group of runners looking forward to the Great Bristol 10k.
Tim Rafferty, fellow Sheffielder warming up for the half marathon after the 10k calls a greeting. it’s so good to see a familiar face among a sea of strangers.
My race goes well in that I find my pace in the early stages and settle to around 4.40mins per k. That should bring me in among the leaders without blowing up. Breathing is manageable and my legs are strong. Through the 5k point at 23.22 minutes so if I can hold onto it, I’ll be in around 47 minutes. It would be good to magic up a sprint finish but that eludes me, so I stumble in breathing hard in 47.30 chip time. At that stage I don’t know if I’m leading the age group or not, so it comes as a great relief to learn that I’ve led the group from the outset. Friend and rival, Anne Dockery, a formidable duathlete is next in around 50 minutes with the remaining V70’s a little after.
We relax and chat over the post-race presentations as people from far and near celebrate their achievements. The Masters winner was Matthew Rees, M35 in 31.33. First woman was Helen Gaunt, W40 in 35.41. Full results can be found at Here>>
Dot Kesterton, W70
Team Accelerate athlete and shoe hoarder Harvey has been lucky enough to get his hands on the new Saucony Endorphin Pro 3. He’s been busy testing them, keep reading to hear his thoughts.
I have to preface this review by admitting how much of a fan I am of the Endorphin Pro 1 and 2. For the last few years, they have been my go to road racing shoe from 5k to half marathon. I have run almost all my best races in them, and from the first run to now I get excited and enjoy running in them, a lot.
So when I found out that Saucony we’re updating them, I was a little worried. Well, there was no need.
Version 3 of the Endorphin Pro sees some pretty major changes. First off to the upper. Stripped back to the bare minimum, Saucony have used a perforated mesh to maximise the breathability and stop the shoe from picking up any extra weight if you are running in the rain. Something which happened in the older models. Even the tongue features circular cutouts to reduce the weight.
The next big change is the midsole. Now with an extra 4mm of PWRRUN PB cushioning to look after your legs. They do, however, still use the same S-shaped carbon fibre plate as before. Along with their SPEEDROLL technology to push you up onto your toes for a snappy feel.
Finally, the outsole now uses a new rubber layout. With more coverage across the shoe and deeper tread (1mm lugs) that offer better traction in the wet and hopefully increased durability, I need to run in them more to confirm this.
On foot feel
Slipping them on and straight away they feel light and airy, slightly roomier in the toe box compared to previous models. The new tongue feels comfy even with its cutouts. They feel very secure on my feet even when cornering, which is impressive for such a tall shoe.
While there is now slightly more foam under you they still feel pingy and responsive. Amazingly they have managed to strip weight off too which is always good.
The carbon plate and aggressive Speedroll pushs you onto your forefoot, this is nice and gets you up and moving quickly but takes a little getting used to. If you have had the older models the 3’s have a very similar feel. One of the most noticeable differences is to the outsole, I never thought the older ones slipped much but having tried the 3’s, wow. The new pattern ias much grippier and fills you with confidence, even in the wet.
- The new upper still fits well and feels lighter
- Fast, while this might sound obvious for a racing shoe, they do. Put them on and you want to run quick
- Shaving off 9 grams. While this might not sound like much over the average 55,000 steps of a marathon it can add up
- They are Pink!!! Need I say more
Con’s (There are very few)
- The laces, I’m not a huge fan of. After I switched them over I didn’t have any issue
That’s really it on the cons
I think if you have had an older model and are ready for a new pair you will love what’s been added. If this is your first foray into a carbon plated racing shoe what are you waiting for? The hype around them is real.
Click here >> to get yours today
If you have stepped onto the start line of a road race in the last few years you may have noticed the majority wearing brightly coloured, high stack height, cushioned shoes. This is the latest in a wave taking over the running world, Carbon fibre plated racing shoes. Gone are the days of lightweight minimal racing flats and in their place are highly cushioned, springy racers. Keep reading for a rundown and review of the different options available here at Accelerate.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 2
The Softest Cushioning
Designed use: Road Racing from 5k – Marathon + distances
Drop: 8mm, 35.5mm in the heel and 27.5mm in the forefoot
Weight: 213g in men’s size 8UK and 197g in women’s size 6UK
From its initial launch in the summer of 2020, the Saucony Endorphin Pro has been a stand out performer. Saucony spared no expense in designing them. Starting at the bottom, they created a new midsole foam, PWRRUNpb, their lightest and, most responsive ever. An S-shape carbon plate runs through to push you forward and a super light mesh upper holds you in.
Running experience: Wow, to say these shoes feel great is an understatement. They feel light on your feet, responsive to run in and they certainly keep your legs feeling fresher for longer. The upper is secure yet minimal with very little in the way of plushness, they are designed for speed. Once up and moving you notice the slight roll forward from the combination of carbon fibre plate and Speedroll technology.
For the men’s click Here >> and women’s Here >>
Scott Speed Carbon RC
The Most Responsive Ride
Designed use: Road Racing from 5k – Marathon + distances
Drop: 5mm, 30mm in the heel and 25mm in the forefoot
Weight: 240g in men’s size 8UK and 220g in women’s size 6UK
Scott is famous for testing its products before launching them and the Speed Carbon is no exception. After a long-anticipated wait, they did not disappoint. Scott teamed up with carbon fibre experts CARBITEX in creating the plate for the shoe. It uses a dynamic carbon plate which stiffens with the more force applied, the faster you run the firmer it gets, genius really.
Running experience: Firmer than most carbon shoes but a whole lot more responsive. With the combination of Scotts Kinetic light foam and Carbitex DFX Plate, they take some getting used to. But when you do, blimey they feel quick. Scott also uses their ER2 rocker which helps to keep you on your toes with a high cadence. The upper is noticeably stripped back, with just a thin layer of cushioning around the heel to keep you secure. The rest of the upper is made with a new super-light water-resistant fabric. Ideal if you are racing in wet weather!
For the men’s click Here >> and women’s Here >>
Hoka One One Carbon X3
The Great All-Rounder
Designed use: Road Racing
Drop: 5mm, 37mm in the heel and 325mm in the forefoot
Weight: 222g in men’s size 8UK and 188g in women’s size 6UK
The kind of shoe you could wear all day. Hoka has nailed the fit and comfort of the Carbon X3, most of this is down to the upper. Using a knitted one-piece, sock-like design, it’s easy to slip on and moulds to the shape of your foot almost instantaneously. Hoka has also updated the midsole and is now using a new energised foam for even more energy return.
Running experience: The Carbon X3 is the goldilocks of the 3, it’s firmer than the Endorphin Pro and Softer than the Speed Carbon, A great blend. Running in them you almost forget they are even on. With just enough of Hoka’s meta rocker to propel you forward.
For the men’s click Here >>
Do you like the sound of them?
Well, now is your chance to try all of them on the run. On the 2nd of June, we are hosting a Carbon Test day. A chance to try all the carbon racing shoes we stock side by side along with their training counterparts. For more information on the event follow the link Here >>
Team Accelerate runner and Steel City Strider Dot Kesterton took to the roads of Rotherham this weekend competing in the Rotherham 10k supported by the Accelerate Running Store and Scott Sports. A challenging course full of twists, turns and hills, this didn’t slow Dot one bit. Keep reading to hear how she got on. Sunday 15th May 2022.
An invitation from Accelerate Store in Attercliffe to run a road 10K they were sponsoring in Rotherham dropped into my inbox a few weeks ago. Well, why not, I thought. Nice to be asked.
Still a bit dizzy from last weekend’s Lakelands Trail race, Staveley, I donned my Striders vest and number this morning and headed for Clifton Park. Rotherham Radio, Accelerate and Scott Running were all there to greet the 376 10K runners of all ages alongside hoards of primary school-aged children who ran a fun one mile race while the rest of us panted post race.
The course leaves the park and does a circuit of the town centre on a flattish route before rising a little at the 6K point on Broom Road towards Wickersley Road and home via the Herringthorpe playing fields giving a total elevation of 104 metres.
I do like a nice hill. it breaks up the race and gives you the impression when you summit, lungs busting, that you can go really fast over the descent. Even better is that Rotherham hills aren’t quite as steep as Sheffield hills so it’s worth a little trip out to the east for a change of scene and terrain.
I’d had a disappointment racing in Falkirk a few weeks ago so my aim today was to recover by running a faster 10K and improve my UK ranked position as well as a Striders 10K record.
Once the communal warm up and loud shouts of encouragement were over we were away from the museum in Clifton Park. A tour of the town, well marshalled and with road closures so we had a safe run and then the climb towards Middle Lane began. By that time I had run consistently well, felt strong and was enjoying the race. The final stage into the park gave us a 400m climb up to the finish which I relished as a final challenge before the end.
Happily, I managed to knock a good 35 seconds off my Falkirk time to come in at 46.22 gun, 46.20 chip, 67th runner of 376, 5th woman after some very able Harriers, first FV65 and second fastest vet woman regardless of age. John Rothwell, coach, promptly reported a 96.98% age grading and top of the UK F70 rankings. That’s a very pleasing result.
Slightly annoying then for the results to completely miss me out because I’m actually F70, not F65. All the super athletes got their awards on a stage but I missed that bit and got the F65 award quietly after the ceremony. It’s not unusual for older women and perhaps men? To go under the radar when they get to a certain age. I’d love the organisers to take account of the grey brigade who now feature more in race events than they might have done previously. I wonder why 69 was the cut off age in this event?
My thanks to the race organisers notwithstanding the oversight for a lovely morning out. Thanks to Accelerate for setting the record straight and awarding a shiny voucher for a new kit.
First male was Jamie Hall, Senior, Hallamshire Harriers in 31.45
First woman was Hannah Walker, Dronfield RC in 38.03.
With the racing season only being around the corner, some of you maybe be wondering, how do you prepare for races? What do you eat? How hard do you train? How often do you train?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Team Accelerate athlete and Scott Supported runner Harvey gives you a little run down on his race day routine. Well, race week routine as he talks through what he eats and how he trains on the build up to a race.
How do you prepare for a Race?
‘If we use a Sunday race as an example the week really doesn’t change until the Thursday, all I try and do is keep training easy and make life less busy. Attempt to not eat too much rubbish and avoid any oily food.
Thursday rolls round and it’s time to ease up, my first run drops to 20 minutes and the evening session are much shorter. Normally consisting of some faster 200’s and 100’s to make sure everything is firing. After this session I eat a little more than normal focusing on simple carbs this normally ends up being rice and some sort of veggies.
Friday with either be completely off or a very easy 20 minutes just to get moving followed by some mobility work. I always try and get to bed a little earlier and sleep more. Saturday morning is a very short run, mobility, drills and then finished with some faster pick ups.
Now its time to get my feet up as much as possible. My last big meal is normally the Saturday night and yes, you guessed it. Its rice with some veggies and a form of protein. Very simple but I know it works for me.
Sunday morning rolls around I am normally far too excited and wake up way before I need to then it’s a battle of not eating to much but still having enough. I like to try and have my last meal a good 2 hours before I need to start warming up so a 10am race start I try to eat by 7am. Might seem a long time but it works well. Toast with peanut butter is my go-to for this meal at the moment.
Finally, it’s time to warm up, this really varies depending on the length of the race, the longer the race the shorter the warm up. If we take a race of 40 minutes, I tend to jog for 20 minutes before going through my usual mobility then some drills to make sure everything is turned on and working then finish with some strides starting longer and slow then picking up and getting faster.
After the race I try to cool down normally for at least 10 minutes and then of course finishing the day off with an all-important cookie and pizza, you have got to treat yourself after a hard day right!’
I hope that you’ve found this useful. Any questions about preparation then please email us at info@ acceleraterunningcompany.co.uk and we will be more than happy to answer them for you.
Team Accelerate runner Dot Kesterson has been busy racing and training throughout 2021. Keep reading to find out how she got on and plans to move forward and up her game for 2022.
||Rother Valley relays
||1st F50 team
||Round Sheffield Run
||BMAF North T&F
||12th of 12
1st F65 of 1
||NMAC Preston Road race
||Dig Deep Trail.
|| EA Rep race, Kew Gardens
||1st F65 of 25
||Sheffield Way Relay
||England qualifier. 91.87%AG
||BMAF CC relays,
||1st F65 team
||SYCC league, Penistone
||Derby road race
||1st F65 of 7
3rd UK ranked.
4th UK ranked
||SYCC league, and SYCC Champs, Graves Park
||SYCC F65 Champion.
Annual Review 2021.
This is my last year in the F65 age group. Coach John Rothwell and I agreed it could be a time to enjoy running for its own sake before beginning more focused work for the next age group in 2022.
The first half of the year followed the same pattern as much of 2020 with a solitary run program punctuated with virtual races of different distances and terrains from 1500m to half marathon. I used the time well to increase my long runs as planned. Speed and interval work suffered because of a lack of opportunity to run against others.
The first race with other competitors was the Steel City Striders inspired Rother Valley relays, 23rd June. Teams of 3 runners x 5K. After 15 months since any races with actual people, it was both exciting and daunting. As an F50 competitor with Kate Morris and Kate Scott, the pressure to perform well was as keen as any race. We each ran well to win the category, though it was clear my 5K time at 23:20mins was around a minute slower than before lockdown a year earlier.
Attending the England Athletics Representation 10K race in Kew Gardens gave me a chance to wear my England vest, last worn in Birmingham in May 2019. I had no expectation of winning the age group since I was six months from the end of it but trained and prepared according to my goals and was delighted to win the gold with a relatively slow 47:34mins, 93.03%AG, just four seconds ahead of my nearest rival. An autumn series of 10K races finished with Percy Pud in December. 10K times were regularly around 47-48 minutes so a time of 46:16mins, 95.64%AG was very pleasing.
The South Yorkshire Cross Country league resumed in October, a series of 4 club races in the county, finishing with the SYCC Championships at Graves Park in December. Despite being ill and unable to race at Campsall I won the age group and Championship for the second time, 2019 and 2020. The BMAF Cross Country relays at Long Eaton gave my team of Carol Beattie, Sheila Woodhead and myself victory over the two competing teams in the age group, our second BMAF Cross Country Gold medal.
With the resumption of Parkrun in 2021, I have used the opportunity to work on my 5K and 10K pacing.
Planning for 2022.
My main goal for the year is to attend the World Masters Track and Field Championships in Tampere, Finland in July. The pandemic is still rife with the Omicron variant affecting fixtures but if the WMA fixture goes ahead, I will enter the 10K road race and Cross Country. I will be 70 in April and will compete against a new group of women at an international level. To achieve success at Tampere I will
Train well over the next six months
Prepare well for races
Race smart, pace judgment
Aim for 95%AG in all races.
Raise distance of weekly long run-up to 23K
Raise weekly mileage over the winter up to 50K
Focus on recovery including active recovery
Attend two-speed sessions per week except in recovery weeks.
Revisit Mental Prep modules for stimulus.
Races entered to date.
06th Feb 22: Alsager 5mile race.
07th May 22: Lakeland 10K trail race, Stavely.
There will be an England Home International race in Bristol, but no date had been confirmed yet.
WMA Tampere Website is not yet active.
I will enter other races as the opportunities arise, all as part of my build up to WMA 2022.
Love them or hate them, come the cold mornings and long and dark nights of winter they can be incredible in keeping your running mojo going. As the age-old saying goes, winter miles = summer smiles. Here at Accelerate, we are lucky enough to work with Noble Pro and have both the Elite 8.0 and Elite E8I, If you are looking into getting a treadmill this winter pop down to the store where you can try both out!
We have put together a top 5 list of the best reasons to hop on a treadmill this winter.
- Running in the Warmth: In my opinion, the worst parts of running in the winter has to be the cold. With a treadmill though, you never have to leave the warmth of your home. When everyone else is piling on tights and jackets while you can be happily trotting along in shorts and a vest. No fear of the cold creeping in and a reduced risk of pulling a muscle due to the cold.
- Consistent footing: If you are, like me, a fan of getting out early for your run, then you may have noticed frost and ice creeping across the pavements turning smooth tarmac into an ice-rink. Jumping on the treadmill and there is no chance of slipping on ice.
- Lighting: Night’s drawing in, and many runs in the cover of darkness. Running at night is a valid safety concern. The opportunity to run with others isn’t always an option. No longer do you have to worry, the treadmill is the answer and much safer than running alone at night.
- Training benefit: Let’s not forget the training benefit you can have from training on the treadmill. Program in the speed you want to run at and no longer do you need to worry about having to slow for other pavement users or stop at traffic lights. Broken intervals and stop/start runs are a thing of the past.
- Entertainment: Boredom, this certainly isn’t the upside to treadmills. With the great Noble Pro Treadmills and their built in TV’s. Why not make the most of it and catch up on your favourite TV show, film or podcast, even pop on an album you have been meaning to listen to. Checking your watch to see if you are almost done is a thing of the past, and runs getting longer is the new norm.
And finally, hop off and you are already home, winner!
Don’t be mistaken, on a sunny winter’s day I love getting outside to run, but come wind and rain the treadmill is the place to go.
After reading this do you think a treadmill will help take your winter training to the next level? Pop down to the store and try one of the Noble Pro treadmills.
The Accelerate Running Store is working in collaboration with Noble Pro Treadmills, acting as a local showroom. You can get in touch to make an appointment to see, try and find out more about their range. Call 0114 242 2569 or you can start your research Here >>
Team Accelerate Blog. Flamingos Round up
Well, well. Lots has happened since our last team blog. We have new faces to introduce, and our old and new members have all been very busy.
Let’s begin with Matt’s super performance at the Windermere marathon. The marathon can be a tricky distance, even with specific training. But even hard with ultra marathon training in your legs. However, team member Matt didn’t let this slow him down absolutely smashed the Windermere marathon, running a 20-minute PB in a time of 2hrs 53 minutes for a superb 9th place finish. A few months later Matt found himself in the Lake District once again, this time competing in the Keswick Mountain Festival 25k trail race. Matt has been training hard over the past 12 months, following sound principles, joining the rest of the team for sessions when he can; and the hard work is definitely paying off, keep it up Matt!
Next, we have the second half of the dynamic duo, Chris. Thanks to a late entry into the Alderley Edge 10k, Chris managed a 34:05 10k to finish 26th overall and 3rd V40. A quality run after a “steady start” and horrid conditions. Chris has been juggling parenting and running over the last year making the most of his training, running with the team when he can, and supporting Matt throughout his Ultra-running journey.
Following on, we have the next old’un, Harvey. Over the past couple of months, Harvey has been race mad; running two 5ks at Loxely Lash after a period of little niggles, marking his return to form. Two weeks later he was back with a bang, completing Jane Tomlinson’s Leeds 10k. His sensational time of 32:54 placed him 3rd and was a PB by nearly 2 minutes. This was a credit to all his hard work, and we are all very proud of him.
Next up we have new member Summer who ran in the Derbyshire schools championship. An awesome race by summer placed her 1st in the race, crowning her the new Derbyshire schools champion, a great achievement. Summer has come on leaps and bounds since joining the team and we look forward to seeing her progress this winter.
The other newest member Hugh has also been busy, racing in the English fell running championships. This compiled of four races over 5 months, with Hugh progressively getting higher up throughout the races. During the series, Hugh and fellow flamingo Izzy-Mai picked up Yorkshire vest and represented the best county on the fells. What an achievement for them both! The final round of the FRA Juniors race took place at Ilam. Hugh ran his best race in the championships here, finishing 4t. Nothing like saving the best to last. All that hard work is paying off, nice one Hugh.
Last but not least we have the youngest flamingo on the team, Izzy-Mai. Over lockdown and 2021 Izzy-Mai has been working hard and this is certainly paying dividends during her racing over the summer. The superstar has placed 1st, 3rd and 4th in three of her races this season, finally placing joint 2nd overall in the under 15 girls category even though she is currently only 12. What an achievement! All the fun and hard work from the athletes and coaches seem to be paying off, with Team Accelerate’s reputation growing by the races. This is down to the generosity of the Teams coaches, Stuart and Julie, who give up their precious time and put on a smiley face even when the weather isn’t playing ball. So, from all the athletes, a massive thanks to them and we look forward to some more flamingo-based fun in the near future.
If you want to keep up with the team follow along @teamacceleraterunning on Instagram and Facebook
Worldwide Virtual 10K Masters Challenge Championship.
The running year started promisingly enough for me with a chilly England qualifying half marathon in Helsby, Chester in January. Being freezing cold I nipped round in 1:43:39 so I could get back to my big coat as soon as my legs would carry me, 1st F65 and qualifier for England International in Fleet in March.
Storm Dennis put paid to my February BMAF 10K Championship in Poole. Then, in March, came the Covid-19 lockdown. The England representation half marathon in Fleet was canceled and so, month on month was every other race I had planned to do, even the Home Nations Cross Country race in Dublin, the one I was particularly excited about as I learned after Brexit I can claim my Irish passport, thanks to my lovely Irish mother.
With no particular goal to aim for I turned my attention to the offers of virtual races. Lockdown was going to go on for some time. I would need a challenge to get me up and out, running, training, and aspiring throughout the spring and summer.
The European Masters Athletics (EMA), posted a series of 6 virtual challenges, from 1500m to half marathon aptly named ‘The Road to Madeira’ as preparation for the EMA Road and Trail competition in Funchal in October. At 3 Euros per event, with a whole month to complete each one and little prospect of any real races at home or further afield I registered along with other Masters’ European hopefuls.
Preparation for each race was the same. I put my GB vest and shorts on to remind myself this was a competitive event, I was representing my home nation and I was going to give it everything, whether at Rother Valley or Madeira. A recce of the route and a warm-up session of jogging, strides, and drills helped calm the nerves and get me ready.
It was my job to start and finish the watch accurately and submit the correct time on the website. That was tough for a non-technical person. I had already run 40m short in the BMAF 5K road relays in May so was constantly checking the watch in the final stages of each event.
Six races of varying lengths and six months to train for, prepare, race and record. I had considered 5K and 10K to be my optimum race distances and looked forward to the familiar build up. I have to say that whilst track running is daunting, and not a little boring for a trail enthusiast, I did enjoy the thrill of the two shorter events at the end of the series.
Figure 1EMA 10K, Rother Valley.
The hardest race mentally without a doubt was the half marathon. I hadn’t really trained for the mileage and almost two hours of consistent running, alone and without others to pit myself against, in stark contrast to the actual half I’d done in January was grueling. Added to that I ran it on the TPT Rother Valley to Hollingwood and back on flat shale which was a test for the feet. In the last three miles, I’d gladly have bailed and nursed my burning feet. Thank goodness John Rothwell, coach, popped up at intervals to offer tips and words of encouragement.
The final two events were on track. Now I understand that Sheffield prides itself on being the City of Sport, so I didn’t expect it to be too difficult to find a 400m track. Alas, Woodbourn Road was padlocked, empty, and strewn with litter, a sad shadow of the former more imposing athletics facilities in the Lower Don Valley. I tagged onto the Accelerate coached sessions at Mt. St. Mary’s excellent track at Spinkhill which at least meant there was company if at an appropriate distance. Now how did Mt St Mary’s get such opulent stadia for their (private) school whilst the whole of Sheffield has so little?
As the rest of Europe began to emerge from their respective lockdowns the number of participants at each event reduced. From 429 competitors from half a dozen nations at the first 5K race in May the numbers have reduced gradually as national teams have gone back to their normal competition. The final 1500m event in October drew only 56 competitors.
Table of results.
||EMA virtual race
||EMA virtual race
||EMA virtual race
||EMA virtual race
||EMA virtual race
||EMA virtual race
This series has been very helpful to me. I have continued training and race preparation
through a lovely summer period with often empty trails and lanes. I guess the virtual scene will continue throughout the winter as we endure a second or continuing wave of the virus. There is sadly no chance to go to Madeira at the end of October to collect my award. Perhaps 2021 will bring new opportunities.
Worldwide Virtual Masters Challenge
In the middle of the EMA challenge, I sneaked in a World Masters 10K challenge. The event should have taken place in Toronto, Canada so I saved shed loads of cash by running it at Rother Valley.
||WMA Virtual Challenge
||1st F65 of 6
For those who have not yet considered Masters’ Athletics, this is an opportunity for athletes 35 and over to compete at a national and international level in the traditional 5-year age bands. Age Graded scores give the athlete an idea of how their performance compares with World Records to encourage participation. Go to bmaf.org.uk for more information.
My appreciation and thanks go to John Rothwell, coach, who has encouraged, coached, and supported me throughout the series; Andrew Deery who legged it and round Rother Valley with me in the 10K; Joel Kesterton with son Jacob in the buggy who have plodded around and offered company and encouraging comments; Malcolm Kesterton for being the early morning driver, bag holder, and general dogsbody; Stuart Hale who facilitated the track events and offered help with drills and preparation and Mick Wall for virtual technical assistance, advice, and encouragement.
Winter. Love it or loath it living in the UK its something we can’t get around. When you combine that with heading into the hills. What to carry in your pack can be life saving. Now this list is personal and will vary depending on where about you are running. For instance, nipping up and down the canal toe past you might need to take less vs heading up a snow-capped peak you might pack more. This is simply a guide to work from.
- Waterproofs, both Jacket and Trousers with taped seams
- An extra base layer, Merino is great as its light and works even when wet
- Gloves, Hat, and a Buff
- Map and Compass
- Mobile Phone
- Mini First Aid Kit (Bandage, Fabric Tape and Antiseptic Whips)
- Survival Blanket or Bag
- Food and Water (minimum Water Bottle)
- Head Torch and Spare Batteries
Lastly, you will need a waist belt or pack to carry all this in. Depending on how small and packable your kit is will vary the size of pack you will need. Here at Accelerate, we have a wide range of different running packs, race vest and waist belts to try and give you as much choice when trying on different designs to help find the right one for you. To see our full range of Packs follow the link Here >>
I have been wearing Scott shoes for a while now, and it’s fair to say they have got better and better. From originals like the Trail Rockets, they have kept what was good and thrown away what didn’t work.
My current favorites are the Supertrac RC Ultra, which has basically been my go-to shoes for everything (except rare tarmac outings) for the last couple of years. The latest release from Scott is the Kinabalu Ultra RC. These came out in June and lots of excited people have talked about how good they are in summer, but what about now we’re into the season of cold and sloppiness… will they be any good for winter?!
I recently moved from Sheffield to Cornwall. You might imagine that running down here is all flat hard-packed coast path trails and it’s basically sunny all the time? I did, but apparently not. I took the shoes out for a 20 mile training run last weekend and found almost every type of terrain. So, how were they? Here’s a quick roundup of how I found them on each type of terrain, in the order I found them…
I wouldn’t wear these for a road run, but they are really comfy. Straight out of the box these were a nice shoe to wear. Running on hard trails tends to reveal any hotspots of discomfort and I found none with these. They also feel (and are) really nice and light, which has been a legit criticism of some Scott shoes in the past.
I found plenty of mud! When the whole trail is ankle-deep sloppy mud there aren’t many shoes that are going to cope well, but the key for me is that they shed the mud as you get away from it and you don’t end up with a shoe full of gritty stuff. On this, they score highly. Something with a deeper tread would grip better, but in this stuff, you’re going to slop about whatever happens and I’d rather not have to empty my shoes out at the end!
More one for you Peak district folks than me, but courtesy of Goonhilly Downs I was able to test on this terrain to my heart’s content. Spongy bog with a foot of water on top: Check. Deep sinky bog which tries to steal your shoes: Check. Soft squishy bog with sharp gorse and brambles: Check.
I found good performance in all of these, to be honest, they were grippier than I expected. Again the mud/water shedding is good, my feet didn’t get cold, and the laces didn’t come undone despite only single knots (rubbish laces annoy me so this is a big plus!).
Well, we are in Cornwall! I’ve not yet found a good beach running shoe. These are as good as any. On dry stony beaches, they grip well. I’ve yet to find anything that does grip on a seaweed-covered rock, but I can confirm these don’t.
Coast path (hard trail):
Up on the cliffs on a dry day, trying to run fast, these are in their element. The grip works best on this type of terrain, which reminds me a bit of Derwent Edge. When you’re trying to press on a bit, their lightweight is a great advantage and they feel really stable. They don’t feel like an 8mm drop shoe!
I found the original RC with this tread liked to go fast, but didn’t work so well for plodding. The Supertrac Ultra RC are awesome and can do everything, but they aren’t the lightest.
These new Kinabalu Ultra RC seem to have all bases covered. They combine the best elements of my favourite Scott shoes into a very comfortable, lightweight and fast shoe. I’d pick them for everything from a short fast training run to a winter ultra, unless it was going to be a total bog-fest, in which case I’d go to the Supertracs.
So yes, these can be a fast summer training and racing shoe, but there’s nothing to say they can’t do the same for you all winter. Mine will be. We all have our personal preferences, but lightweight, well designed and good quality shoes are surely a good start for anyone!
A final note on longevity:
This is important these days, as we want our shoes to last for both financial and environmental reasons. I haven’t had these long enough to be sure, but I have been amazed at the lifetime I’ve had from recent Scott shoes, and these seem to combine the life-extending elements of those (particularly the RC sole and the raised edge of the outer from the Supertrac RC), so I have high hopes. One area I’ll be watching is across the top of the toe box, as this seems to be where my Scott shoes all eventually die.
Interested in trying a pair yourself. Follow the link Here >> for the Mens and Here >> for the Women’s.
To keep up with all Stu’s exploits find him Here >>