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Team Accelerate Create A Heatwave in the Cold North

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.

Race day!

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!

Saucony Xodus Ultra, Tried, Tested and Reviewed

Accelerate Community member and Accelerate Trail Runners run leader Graeme has been lucky enough to get his hands on a pair of the new Saucony Xodus Ultra. Now available from the Accelerate store, to find the specs of the shoe Click Here >>. Keep reading to hear how he got on. Spoiler alert, they are good!

I’m not normally a reviewer and I won’t go into too many technical details. I’ll just concentrate on how they feel to run in.  I normally wear the Scott Supertrac Ultra, so this was my main comparison.

 

Straight out of the box

My first thought was that they were a bit big for my usual 10UK. However, slipping them on I realised they could easily be tightened up. The springy laces, along with the super stretchy upper, moulded to my odd shaped feet straight away.  Lots of lovely room for my forefoot and no heel slippage.  So all held in place but would it be too tight?  Well no, the upper stretches where it needs to: around my feet’s lumps and bumps — all good and no ‘squeezing’ of the forefoot even when the foot bends.

 

First run thoughts

So off for a swift 7k run around my local loop. The first of 4 runs in them from 7k to 29k. All on a mix terrain, from mud, packed trails, gravel, tree roots, wet rock and even some quite long tarmac sections.  Nothing bothered them.  On all the runs they felt very plush; especially in the heel. This felt very soft and forgiving.  Would I get the control my iffy feet and ankles need?  Yes again, all felt very stable, so soft and stable. I have no idea how that works, but it does.  The cushioned forefoot, lacking in some shoes, now also became noticeable whilst running. Lovely, and no aching, which I sometimes get after a while wearing a firmer shoe.

With such a high stack height I started off careful making sure not to slip or twist an ankle.  I soon realised I didn’t have to bother, I just didn’t notice it.  With such plush cushioning there can sometimes be a loss of ground feel, however, not in these and they have a rock plate.  The balance between ground feel and ground intrusion seems well balanced.  I even deliberately ran over some sharp rock edges and while I could feel them, they didn’t intrude or hurt.

 

I’ve even run a tarmac Parkrun. Admittedly bobbing onto the grass wherever I could.  With no sense of dragging a big and heavy shoe around, they felt light and easy to run in.  No doubt the shorter distance, ‘fast’ shoes would feel lighter but I don’t normally run in those, I need cushioning, it worked for me.  In all the runs I have done there was no rubbing, or blistering from the off even with wet feet.  The Saucony’s felt much more cushioned and possibly lighter than the Scott though I’ve no idea of the actual weight of each.

 

Conclusion

Pros: well everything; a highly cushioned straight out of the box shoe that can do just about anything bar extremes of terrain (I suspect – but who knows!).

Cons: Nothing except possibly that they run a bit big, but if you’re running long distances and need that extra room then maybe don’t bother going down a half size — it didn’t get in the way for me especially when I ran a longer distance using thicker socks.  Oh, and mine are bright yellow – not a colour I’d normally pick but I’ve worked on that and they now are a muddy, mottled yellow/brown!

 

Has the all new Saucony Xodus intrigued? The Men’s can be found here >> and the Women’s available here >> Or you can pop down to the Accelerate Running Store to try a pair out.

Testing 1-2-3

The Big Running Weekend is only around the corner. We have loads of different activities for all abilities across the entire weekend where you can come to as many sessions as you like. Not only do we have all of these fun activities, there will be a whole range of different test shoes that you can try on at the different sessions which you can find out by reading below.

Test shoes available

Trail shoes

Saucony Peregrine 12 

The Saucony Peregrine is an iconic sight in the trail running world. This incredibly versatile shoe is used and loved by many runners. Version 12 see’s some pretty major updates to keep it at the forefront of the trail running market but without sacrificing what you know and love.

The Peregrine is Saucony ultimate do it all trail shoes, and version 12 does not disappoint. Having received a rather large facelift while retaining the same Peregrinesk feel. Starting with the whopping 75-gram weight saving, even deeper lugs for better grip and finally, a new upper that even uses recycled materials. what a winner.

  • Trail running
  • 4mm drop 26.5mm/22.6mm
  • 275g in men’s size 8UK
  • 235g in women’s size 6UK

Saucony Peregrine 12 ST

The Peregrine 12 ST can handle it all thanks to dig-deep traction and a nimble ride that can outlast messy terrain. Even in the worst conditions, it’s got everything you need. Version 12 see’s a drastic reduction in weight along with a new outsole pattern to increase grip and traction while reducing the amount of dirt and mud that can get stuck.

The Peregrine 12 ST thrives when the path stops, the muddier and more off trail you go the shoe really comes into its own. Thanks to its slightly lower profile design even the most technical of trails won’t feel any trouble.

  • Trail and Fell running
  • 4mm drop 26.5mm/22.5mm
  • 289g in men’s size 8UK
  • 246g in women’s size 6UK

Dynafit Alpine

The latest trail shoe to grace the ranks of the Dynafit lineup is certainly eye catching. Its lightweight stripped backed and racey design is ideal for high speed descents, long slogging uphills andtechnical terrains where being light is key. We feel this is where the Dynafit Alpine really excels.

Dynafit says “Lightweight, responsive Trail Running shoe. Cushioning and a comfort fit make it ideal for diverse conditions on technical terrain. With a drop of 6 mm from heel to forefoot and a mid-volume design, the ALPINE is the ideal shoe for fast workouts and runs of various distances. Standout features are its lightness and a grippy Vibram outsole with the MEGAGRIP rubber blend. Its seamless tongue lends superb comfort. Its rounded Alpine Rocker sole design and well-balanced cushioning achieve a dynamic, responsive ground feel. All told, the ALPINE Trail Running Shoe offers everything that you need for your daily training runs”

  • Trail running
  • 6mm drop
  • 260g in men’s size 8UK
  • 220g in women’s size 6UK

Dynafit Ultra 100

Dynafit say “The DYNAFIT Ultra 100 Trail Running shoe offers maximum cushioning. It was developed for all athletes striving to conquer ultra long distances. The maximum shoe volume guarantees a comfortable fit even after hours of running on challenging trails. Needed cushioning was a key focus during the development of the Ultra 100 midsole. Combined with a POMOCA outsole, runners get excellent cushioning and superb grip on all surfaces and conditions. With the Invisible Lacing system, a stretch lace cover adds increased protection against dirt and pebbles getting into shoes on the trail.”

  • Trail Running
  • 6mm drop
  • 300g in men’s size 8UK
  • 270g in women’s size 6UK

 

Dynafit Feline SL

A very well made bulletproof trail shoe that can get chucked around and keep going strong. The chevron shaped lugs helps to grip the ground in the wet and dry to give your confidence in the shoe no matter the weather. A firm feeling midsole can take a bit of getting used to but they does soften up after the first few run for a smooth and stable feeling shoe.

Dynafit says “With its deep, aggressive tread, the Feline SL running shoe for men guarantees optimum traction on soft and muddy surfaces. The shoe is a proven DYNAFIT bestseller and a true Swiss army knife for every trail adventure. The Feline SL is an impressive, versatile, sturdy companion that will keep you feeling totally great on soft surfaces as well as on mud and snow. In particularly suitable for middle distances, the Feline SL scores big for its responsiveness, ideal traction, and well-balanced cushioning.”

  • Trail Running
  • 8mm drop
  • 290g in men’s size 8UK
  •  250g in women’s size 6UK

Scott Supertrac 3

Back and better than ever, the new Scott Supertrac 3 boasts a new and improved upper while keeping its infamous outsole with all terrain traction. The Suptertrac is grippy enough to handle all kinds of mud and rocks while having thecushioning to go as far as you want in plus comfort.

Scotts says “Our most popular mountain performance shoe with ALL TERRAIN TRACTION to handle everything from the muddiest valley floor to rocky mountain ridges. Featuring a nylon ripstop upper to add higher levels of durability to our best-selling model in the collection.”

  • Trail running
  • 8mm drop 29mm/21mm
  • 320g for men’s size 8UK
  • 290g for women’s size 6UK

Road Shoes

Scott Carbon RC

A long anticipated shoe from Scott is the release of their carbon racing shoe. well, the Speed Carbon has not disappointed. Scott has created a new superlight and responsive midsole, teamed up with Carbitex to make the plate and a new water-resistant mesh upper that stay light even in the wet. Made for road racing, fast!

 

Carbon shoes have taken the road racing world by storm. Scott have been later to the party here making sure they are as good as they can be. Firmer than most carbon shoes on the market they are spanning the gap between a more traditional feeling racing flat but with the technology found in the racing shoes of today.

  • Road racing
  • 5mm drop 30mm/25mm
  • 240g in men’s size 8UK
  • 220g in women’s size 6UK

Scott Pursuit

Any great superhero needs a sidekick, well, super-shoes are no different. The Pursuit from Scott does just this, a lightweight highly cushioned everyday road running shoe, a great counterpart to Scott’s carbon racing shoe the Speed Carbon RC. The Pursuit has been designed as an everyday road running shoe to clock up the training miles, ideal for using on easy days or when you want to pick up the pace.

Scott Says “The Pursuit is our latest performance road running shoe.  It’s dynamic, light and fast. Featuring our new ER2 rocker geometry and our lightest foam in range, the Kinetic Light foam, your foot is nicely wrapped into a breathable mesh meaning you get the perfect ally to run faster for longer.”

  • Road running
  • 8mm drop 30mm/22mm
  • 250g in men’s size 8UK
  • 230g in women’s size 6UK

Saucony Endorphin Pro

New and improved, the all-new Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 has all of the great assets of the 1 but with an updated upper to help improve fit, lockdown and give you that secure feel even when pushing it to the limit. The Endorphin Pro 2 firmly falls into the racing shoe category. In this new age of carbon plated racers, Saucony have stamped themselves firmly at the top with the Endorphin been able to tackle everything from 5k through to ultra distance road races and with a new PB in the process.

Saucony says “Born from speed, the Endorphin Pro 2 was designed to help you step up your race pace, one step at a time. A superior fit and more heel support mean you can keep your eye on the finish line. And with our ultralight PWRRUN PB and a carbon fibre plate, there’s no doubt you’ll get there faster than ever before.”

  • Road racing shoe
  • 8mm drop 35.5mm / 27.5mm
  • 213g in men’s size 8UK
  • 179g in women’s size 6UK

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

A standout performer of 2020 was definitely the Saucony Endorphin Speed, an ideal training counterpart to the Saucony Endorphin Pro. The Endorphin Speed 2 looks to have upped the bar even further. Still using a full PWRRUN PB midsole and an S-Shaped nylon plate with SPEEDROLL technology to roll you forward with every stride. The biggest change is the upper, an improved fit to help with lockdown and keep you secure in the shoe.

The Endorphin Speed 2 is designed to be the training partner for the Endorphin Pro, Used for longer tempo’s or speed sessions, even to race in. The nylon plate is designed to propel you forward with been as aggressive on your lower legs as a carbon version, ideal for smashing sessions in.

  • Road racing shoe
  • 8mm Drop (35.5mm/27.5mm
  • 224g in men’s size 8UK
  • 198g in women’s size 6UK

All of these will be available to try over the course of the weekend, you can swap shoes between runs so you can see what each pair is like. If you havent  got a ticket to the Big Running Weekend yet, then click here

Scott Supertrac 3: Tried, Tested and Abused

Meet the new and improved, do it all, mountain shoe from Scott the Supertrac 3. Team Accelerate Athlete and all round shoe nerd Harvey has been busy putting them through their paces.

Both the men’s and women’s are available in-store and online from Accelerate. The men’s are available here >> and the women’s here >> 

Get to know the Supertrac 3

  • 320g in men’s 8UK 290g in women’s 6UK
  • 8mm drop 29mm in the heel 21mm in the forefoot
  • 6mm deep lugs providing All Terrain Traction

Let’s start with a few specs, the new Supertrac 3 comes in at 320g for a men’s 8 UK and 290g from women’s 6 UK. The 8mm drop combined with Scotts new AeroFoam+ midsole and iconic eRIDE rocker results in a fast and poppy turnover. A new ripstop upper solves lots of the durability issues that have appeared in older versions.

First impression:

Out of the box they have a sturdy and well built feel. The fit through the midfoot feels a little narrower than other Scotts but eases after the first few uses. A padded tongue and heel counter gives the shoe an extra plush feel, ideal for spending all day in them. New for version 3 of the Supertrac is Scotts Aerofoam+ midsole, the same as found in their RC lineup. Boasting better weight to cushioning ratio and having increased energy return is certainly something you can feel. I never got on with the older version they felt heavy, clunky, and cumbersome. Well, all that’s changed, they now feel poppy almost helping your legs to turn over at a faster cadence without trying. Flipping the shoe over is where it gets exciting, chunky 6mm chevron lugs make light work of muddy trails, however, thanks to their larger volume don’t lose out on harder trails or connecting roads. The All Terrains Traction Scott claim certainly fits the bill.

How are they holding up:

After around 90 miles of use, amazingly. I have to admit that I’m not the most diligent with cleaning my shoes. And still, these beauties are showing hardly any signs of wear. I have used them in a real mix of conditions. From hard packed trails, gravel, loose dirt to deep soul sucking mud, the outsole still looks in great nic. A shoe designed primarily for the mud and tougher going trails then I have been blown away by how well they handle themselves on longer road sections. Traditionally with a shoe that has deeper lugs, you sacrifice its ability to run on the road, the Supertrac 3 doesn’t! The upper and in particular where the little toe sits still looks solid, this is very reassuring as this is where previous models have failed.

Who is the Supertrac 3 best for:

If you are after a grippy trail come fell shoe with a good amount of cushioning that can tackle running on the road for a prolonged period. Something you can spend all day in, then the Supertrac 3 could be just what you are looking for.

Sold on them and want a pair right now? The men’s are available here >> and the women’s are available here >>  Or if you are not quite convinced, pop down to the Accelerate Running Store and try a pair out now.

Winter Running Essentials

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.

Layed outAll Packed up

  • 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
  • Whistle
  • 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 >>

Dynafit Feline SL, Tried and Tested

The Feline SL from Dynafit is the first in their new trail running range. It’s the combination of a shoe for high alpine terrain too rough and muddy peak district slopes. Striking colorways isn’t the only reason they will have you turning your head for a second look. While still a relatively unknown brand in the UK, Dynafit has a big presence in the European sky touring seen. We are seeing some exciting things coming from them in the coming season not just in the new shoes they have but also in their high-performance apparel. Ultramarathon runner and Accelerate community Lee has been putting the Feline SL through some of the Peak Districts boggiest bogs.

  1. I bought my Dynafit Feline SL in July and have run around 150 miles in them so far. It’s been a mix of local tracks and trails, on the fells of the Peak District, and the Scottish highlands.
  2. My first impressions, straight out the box. The Feline SL is a good looking shoe, its bright contrasting colors make it really stand out. A great all-round shoe.
  3. I normally run in Inov-8 X Talon Ultra & the Salomon Fell raisers. I would say the Dynafit’s are a slightly heavier shoe than the others. However, once you have them on your feet they feel equal if not a little bit lighter.
  4. It’s a nice snug feel compared to what I am used to. It gives you a good secure lockdown. As soon as you put them on your feet it feels like your wearing slippers. No rubbing or blisters at all!
  5. The midsole is firm to start with but loosens up after a few runs. They have a responsive feel, which is great for the short fast sessions and long slow plods in the Peaks. A really comfy shoe.
  6. The lugs are super grippy on both wet and dry rock. They have good traction on wet and muddy ground. perfect for the bogs of the Peak District.
  7. The quick lace system is good, very secure, and easy to use.  The little pocket to tuck the end in to stop it from flapping around is really helpful.

There you have it if you are looking for a new pair of do it all trail shoes and want to change it up. Why not take a look at the Dynafit Feline SL. A great all rounder with good cushioning and great grip. See the Men’s shoes here >> and the Women’s shoes here >>

Team Accelerate Scott Athlete Stuart Walkers opinion on the new Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

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…

Tarmac:
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.

Mud:
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!

Submerged bog:
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!).

Beach:
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!

Summary:
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 >>

Time to ‘Layer-Up’ & Stay Warm

Say what you like, for me there is nothing much worse than being cold.  Wet and cold is so much worse and if you are out in the hills for a long run-out then this is potentially life threatening.  A slightly different story on the streets of the city, yet the same wet and cold problem can still be relevant.  So what to do?

“Layer up! That’s the key”.

Finding what works for you is key. Not being afraid to invest in some really decent kit can also make all the difference too. Not just to you yet also to the environment as kit will last longer and has the potential to be made with less waste. In addition good quality base and mid layers can be used beyond winter – in the summer too.  Now that has to be a good thing.

A Layering System
Think ‘Angel Cake’ – base, middle and top layers.
The key for me is breath-ability of the clothing I wear, whilst offering insulation. I hate being cold! I also find that if my clothing gets too wet then I get cold. So I actually avoid waterproof jackets because of their less than adequate breath-ability. So where to start…

  1. The Base Layer
    Or sometimes referred to as the ‘Next-to-Skin’ layer – NTS. Yes, I want it all. Insulation, quick drying and breathable. Most of all I want warmth even when a little damp from my own perspiration. So I look for a micro-fiber tee or longsleeve that offers a degree of insulation and breath-ability.  Micro-fibres are better at moving moisture away from the skin. They are also less likely to hang onto any moisture, drying fairly quickly. They are versatile as they can be woven into ‘Grids’ of insulation (pictured below, right). Small squares of tightly knit fibers which are then linked together by more open and breathable channels of fiber. A blend of insulation and breath-ability, coupled with wicking and quick drying.
    Other options include a tighter woven fabric made from microfibres and for some merino wool ticks the box.
    I often find a short sleeve NTS, with a long sleeve version of the same worn over the top can work extremely well.
  2. The Mid Layer
    So the temperature is dropping below 2-3°C and perhaps there is a cooling breeze out on your run. This is the point many will pop a waterproof on.  Noooooo, you’ve just created a sweat-bath for yourself. Add another wicking, warmer layer instead.  Save that jacket for when you really need it. Here a heavier warm layer can work very well. Can help block the cooling breeze and simply provides more insulation, therefore warmth. Larger, thicker ‘Grids’ can work well, as can tops with varying panels of different fabrics that allow for greater breath-ability in high sweat areas and improved insulation in other areas.
  3. Outer Layer.
    This is very much about keeping the weather off you. Windproofs and waterproofs are designed to do this.
    Unless it is raining stick to the windproof. They are more breathable and most definitely dry exceedingly quickly. They also preserve the life of that more expensive waterproof as you will not be wearing it as much. Waterproof jackets (*See note below) are not designed for daily running use. All that movement breaks the membranes down that are designed to protect you – now that is expensive.
    The amount of times I hear of people complaining their waterproof only lasted a couple of years – then they refuse to buy a windproof… My waterproof jacket is seven years old and going strong. My windproof even older and is still like new. Now, that gets hammered!
  4. The Icing on the Cake.
    Yes, there is one, arguable it is a bit of a treat. Yet, if you are a daily runner, especially at higher or more remote locations then the icing can be very tempting.
    So called, Soft Shells. Super nice midlayers that are just marvelous to wear or jackets that blend a windproof panel or two with insulation (pictured in use, left).
    Yes, you will pay a little more for these yet they can be well worth it.
    They tend to last for quite sometime if cared for and can offer that middle ground many seek. Those that have them, swear by them, and generally find they end up with more than one. For high mountain use I personally find they are extremely good, especially when the conditions call for it. Plus,they make for a brilliant spare layer to be carried, for when the need arises. I probably have more of the warmer variety, collected over the years, and just the one windproof combo. That probably says more about me than the jackets!

Clearly in all of this there is going to be a lot of mixing and matching to get the combo right for that days run. On many occasions it will not matter too much if you get it wrong – yet it is always better to be warm than cold – especially on the trails and hills around Sheffield. NTS layers often make for good summer tee’s and they don’t have to be body hugging to be effective – thank goodness.  Planning your running wardrobe carefully can in the long run prove to be more cost effective than just buying random cheap gear.

With all that said, be warned, due to the pandemic quite a lot of the clothing we currently have available, is it. When it’s gone, it’s gone. We have been told there are no restocks available and we are already running out of our winter allocation of clothing.

Oh yes and if you fancy baking your own 3-Layer Angel Cake then follow this link for some direction from Baking with Granny >> 

Some of my favorite winter clothing is as follows:
“For base layers and tee’s I can wear all year I use Patagonia Capilene tops a fair amount.  The same applies to their mid weight range.  I really like Patagonia’s environmental approach to making clothing.  I think that their mid weight tops are also worth exploring as is the Scott Trail Run Long Sleeve top…The ‘Grid’ picture above is from this top.
New kids on the block, Dynafit, also look like they will fit the bill.  One to try when I next need a top.
When it comes to windproofs I am a big fan of the Patagonia Houdini. It packs small and into the pocket of their shorts for a starter.  It just works and I have had mine for around 9 years.
I also have the Patagonia Peak Mission soft shell, It’s excellent although a little pricey. The new Dynafit Alpine Jacket has already received some very favourable comments and is better priced.  For a cosy warm mid layer I am at the moment trying the Dynafit Radical Jacket.  So far so good. This is the most up to date and available warm hoody I have.”

*Please Note: Waterproof Jackets are made from delicate membranes and designed to be worn when it is wet.  The downside to this is that they are fairly delicate and despite everyone’s best efforts are not as hard wearing as we would like. They are light weight and consequently best avoided for everyday use. Hence, the suggestion of a windproof and to preserve the life of your waterproof.

 

New Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

If tScott Kinabalu Ultra RC here is one thing we can be certain of with Scott Running is this: “If it ain’t broke leave it alone”. This day and age that is a rare thing. Too many shoe brands update their shoes every six months or just bring in a new fresher colourway.

Not Scott. Yes, as a shoe gains traction (Yes, that was intended :-) ) they will change the colour or the upper annually. Not a guarantee though.
What you will see is the successful elements of one shoe taken into the next newer shoe. This plus something different and improved to ensure we do have a new shoe.

In this case the new Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC.  Launch date: 15th June 2020.

Take the midsole from the highly popular Supertrac range. It is responsive, protective and extremely well cushioned. Plus it is resilient, it just runs for miles and miles.
Add in the outsole from the existing Kinabalu RC 2.0 that is perfect for summer trails. Grippy, surprisingly so on wet rock, plus it’s holding power up and down step terrain and you get the idea this is going to be a superb shoe.

With an 8mm drop this is a shoe that should suit a wide range of folk. Add in the ‘Scott Rocker’ and you have a shoe that feels like it just wants to be run in. So we have traction and grip, a resilient, protective midsole; all known factors and pretty much guaranteed that we know what we are going to get.

Wow!Except for one major change the upper.  This we did not expect. It is lighter in feel on the new Kinabalu Ultra yet retains the same essential caressing fit that so often typifies the RC range. Straight out of the box and onto my feet. WOW!
That I did not expect, so very very comfy. Definitely a step up in both fit and comfort.

So for a quick run. I normally prefer anything lower in drop than 8mm. Yet, these did not feel like 8mm, if anything more like 6mm. Was it the rocker?  I felt immediately at one with the shoe.  I wanted to run in them. All the characteristics I love about Scott Running shoes were there. The traction, responsiveness and protection. Yep, reckon I could run all day in these. The big step up is in the level of comfort and fit offered by the upper.

If you are in the market for a summer training come racing shoe then I suggest the new Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC should be on your radar. It could be a surprising treat for your running paws.

Out of the Box review by Stu. Photos’ are our own, with a very excited Harvey.

To get your pair now follow the link here >> for Mens and here >> for Womans

Scott Kinabalu Ultra : Traction Matters

New Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

Reasons to run, The Health Benefits of Running

The second installment from Harry Smith in our Reasons to run series, a retired GP and keen runner who regularly attends Running Past 50 on a Friday morning here at the Accelerate store. Harry shares the medical benefits of exercise and how it can keep you healthy and strong whatever your age.

Thomas Edison 1847 – 1931 said “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will involve the patient in the proper use of food, fresh air and exercise.”

Running is one of the best ways to keep fit and boost your overall health. It is a social activity enjoyed in an outdoor environment by thousands.

The Health benefits are numerous.

1. Cardiovascular System ‘A runner must run with dreams in his heart.’ – Emil Zatopek

The heart is a muscle and like any other muscle in the body benefits from regular exercise. Exercise lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major causative factor in heart attacks. Good HDL cholesterol transports fat away from the arteries and back to the liver for processing is increased by exercise which may also reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol which causes arteriosclerosis,  Arteries therefore retain their elasticity.

This increase in cardiovascular health is asso ciated with a decrease in the incidence of strokes, heart attacks and coronary heart disease

2. Respiratory System “Just breath.” Author unknown

Our lung capacity naturally declines with age. Exercise can increase lung capacity by 5 -15% (lung capacity is the amount of air your lungs can hold after one inhalation). Running thus leads to increased efficiency of the lungs better facilitating transport of oxygen to all body cells leading to better stamina and more work for less cardiorespiratory effort.

3. Muscular Skeletal system. “Be fluid and elegant in your movements.” Anonymous

Running and running coaching especially can improve joint strength, mobility, and function. Muscles are strengthened and bone loss reduced. Core exercises train muscles in the pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work in harmony, leading to better balance and stability in daily activities.

Sufferers from arthritis also benefit from appropriate exercise reducing pain and increasing range of movement. The incidence of falls is reduced.

4. Weight Loss. “Sweat is just fat crying” anonymous.

Exercise is the key to weight control. Running for one hour can burn 400 calories. Running is the second-best exercise for burning calories, only second to cross country sking. However, for losing or maintaining a constant weight a balanced diet is also required. Exercise also lowers the incidence of diabetes by 50% by allowing muscles to better process glycogen, afuel for energy. Impaired processing of glycogen leads to excessive blood sugar and thus Diabetes

5. Psychological “Exercise equals endorphins. Endorphins make you happy” Anonymous

Beta-endorphin is released into the circulation from the pituitary gland during exercise,This improves mood and promotes a feeling of wellbeing thus boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Setting and achieving goals can give a sense of empowerment that leaves one feeling happier so fighting depression and stress.

Running is good at increasing social interaction since the running community has many supportive individuals and clubs.Aging is delayed as brain cognitive functions are maintained and decline prevented. New brain cells (Neurogenesis) are also created. There is an increase in vocabulary retention. with better decision making and learning.Miscellany Exercise has also been shown to have the following effects

  • The immune system is boosted.
  • Reduction in risk of breast cancer.
  • Better sleep pattern
  • Increase production of growth Hormone which is required for cell regeneration and growth and maintenance of healthy body tissues.

In summary. Running is incredibly beneficial to the body and the mind. It can leave you feeling more energised, fitter, more focused and better able to enjoy all life has to offer.

Promoting regular running will bring us nearer to Thomas Edison’s prediction.

Movement Matters, A reason to run

Thanks to Laura Hogg for this amazing buzz post, she is a sports therapist for the Accelerate Performance Centre and a keen runner and cyclist. Hear some of her thoughts on the benafits of regular movement.

Like most at the moment, I am incredibly grateful that outdoor exercise is considered essential activity. It’s hard to imagine life without it. But even while we have this luxury, movement matters the rest of the time for the health of our mind, joints, muscles and cells.

Personally, I’m hoping not to slip into sedentary habits whilst working and living from home – even whilst we can run. It’s tempting to think an hour or so of exercise is enough to offset 8 hours of loafing around, but unfortunately not.

Movement Matters is the name of a book by my favourite biomechanist-writer Katy Bowman (I don’t actually know any others). I’ve enjoyed her writing for a while – it’s fascinating and entertaining. Bowman is best known for her book Move Your DNA and her online blog Nutritious Movement.

We might be used to going out of the house for our exercise, and be starting to feel frustrated with a lack of it. But movement more, and more important, than exercise. In Move Your DNA, Bowman explains why your heart and cells needs your body to keep moving in a variety of ways:

  • Blood isn’t only pumped round the body by the heart. Muscles have an important role to play too. The heart pumps blood into arteries, but it is working muscle that draws it into the capillaries through the opened walls of the arterioles (also muscle). By moving, our muscles deliver blood to the tissue that needs it.
  • This blood doesn’t go everywhere in the body though, just where it is needed for the activity. Regular exercise doesn’t guarantee good blood flow to the cells in all of your muscles, only those that are working. For our blood to nourish all of our tissues, we must move often and in varied ways.
  • When we are sedentary, our muscles don’t help our heart. The heart must do all of the pumping by itself – possibly for hours at a time. So by jumping up from a sedentary afternoon at the laptop and heading out for a run, we are asking the heart to work harder than we might realise.
  • Our cells adapt to the way we use our body. Our body responds to the load created by our movement (or lack of it) to create tiny changes in our cells. By standing, walking or running, we create load on our body as it carries our weight. That’s why the bone density of runners tends to be higher than that of cyclists, because runners bodies support their own weight, creating more of a load on the body than sitting on a bike.

I’ve seen lots of ideas recently about how those with spare time in isolation could use it to paint the spare room and read all of the books. But this is an anxious time, made harder for lots of us because our outside hours are limited. Who needs pressure to emerge from isolation with a headstand, a massive brain and a shiny house?

There is loads of moving to do at home, such as standing up from the sofa (that’s a squat, right?!), following pets round the house for attention, hunting for the remote control…

Personally, I’m just trying to not sit for too long, especially on a chair. If I sit on the floor I end up in loads of different and awkward positions, but at least I’m moving! This article about why we sit like we do in the West has a cool image showing different resting postures of the world: https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/your-position-in-life/.

Stay safe everyone!

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