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The Saucony Xodus Ultra 2

Accelerate Community member and Accelerate Trail Runners Run Leader Graeme is back again and has been lucky enough to get his hands on another pair of the Saucony Xodus Ultra’s, but this time it’s version 2. Now available from the Accelerate store, to find the specs of the shoe Click Here >>. Keep reading to hear how he got on!

I reviewed the Saucony Xodus version 1 back in May 2022 and have now done over a 1000k on them – The review on the version one can be found Here>>; this review is a comparison of that version so I’ll focus on the differences I’ve noticed after ~50k with runs on mixed terrain (tarmac to fell) ranging from 7k to 26k.  I’m being a bit picky.

Straight out of the box

The upper is stiffer, less stretchy — more protective I suppose — so I was unable to tighten it up in the same way over my lumpy feet.  That said, I did this last time as I thought they were slightly too big – same size this time and they didn’t feel too big – certainly for longer runs where feet need to expand.  The forefoot is spacious as before.  The laces have changed too – round and quite chunky,  not the original stretchy, flat ones.

The ride feels firmer than before – but the sole has not changed!  So it must be me: too used to my now slipper-like v1s – after 20-30k they feel as before, so it was me.  Very comfortable in both heel and forefoot.

That upper…

What I’ve noticed is that there seem to be two versions of the upper – and this is not just a colour thing – mine are a claret colour – interesting – all others I’ve seen are grey.  On inspection the grey ones have a different (softer?) upper, more akin to the v1, plus the inner forefoot gusset seems to be of a lighter / thinner material, plus the laces are the flat stretchy ones.  Most unusual.  In summary the grey ones are much more like the v1s but are still a more robust material.  The inner gusset now covers the whole forefoot – the v1 had it just around the mid foot.

The upper foot shape has changed a bit – see comparison photo – and there is now a useful looking rand around the whole shoe next to the sole – to protect more I suppose.  My concern was that it would keep water in – didn’t seem to make any difference, which was good.  The change in upper shape may be holding my foot more naturally, requiring less tight lacing.

I can only really comment on my claret version but personally, I prefer the previous material but I like the new foot shape change and the welt – I’d prefer a softer, thinner material as previously it only started to fail on me after 1000k, so not bad.

Conclusion

Pros: new grey colour looks good; same plush ride but with good ground feel.

Cons: check out if you want the claret or the grey style; the upper may be a bit stiff for some.

Summary

Fundamentally the same as the version 1 with a more robust upper.  My go-to, long run shoe again.

You can find the Men’s Here and Women’s Here. Alternatively, pop on down to the shop and give them a try.

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.

Race to the stones 100k – Virtually

On July 6th 2020 Accelerate community member Simon headed out what can only be described as a monumental challenge both physically and mentally. Keep reading to hear what crazy feat he attempted.

 

The alarm goes off and I rush to silence it because I don’t want to wake my wife up: not at this hour. I creep through to the bathroom where I find my running kit piled in the corner ready for me and then I make my way downstairs to grab a quick bite to eat. I unlock the front door and in the porch I pull on my trail shoes and look out at the weather that awaits me. It’s raining, not enough to need wet weather gear on a normal day… but this isn’t a normal day. I put a rain jacket on and dig out a pair of waterproof trousers that I’ve never even considered running in before. They are far too heavy for the job but the clock is ticking and I need to be on my way. Already, momentum is everything. I quickly add a pair of gloves and a fluorescent beanie hat to complete the look and at 04:54 I push the start button on my Polar watch as I head down the road on my way towards the Redmires reservoirs. I look at the sky and am amazed at how light it is already – despite the gloom of the weather – and I hope it is still light when I finish… whenever that may be. As I begin my journey down the lonely street, I have time to think about how I ended up here.

It was probably about a year before that I signed up to do the 2020 Race to the Castle, a 100km event from Kirkharle to Bamburgh Castle. I’d run a couple of marathons previously and managed

to run/walk the Dig Deeper 50km as the sweeper back in September 2019 but this was a chance to go beyond double figures! I convinced myself, as I often do, that it wasn’t as far as it sounded. ‘It’s only a 10km run done ten times, isn’t it?’, I would say to anyone who asked. I began training in earnest under Stu’s eye at the start of 2020 and everything was on course until Coronavirus hit. It was inevitable that an event involving over 1000 participants would be cancelled and so in early April we changed the plan and settled down to a more ‘routine’ form of training.

 

However, as lockdown continued and I ran my regular route round the reservoirs I kept hearing that voice in my head saying ‘It’s only this 10km run ten times, isn’t it?’ By late June it was no longer a question of IF I was going to try this, it was WHEN… and then Threshold Sports announced their Virtual Race to the Stones. The running stars had aligned and I had to break it to Stu what was going to happen. In fairness he took it well and within the week I was starting my first of what was planned to be ten laps of Redmires.

 

The first lap was uneventful, other than losing a glove on the way round, but I realised that the mix of a head wind, my height and the wet weather gear was going to be a problem… it was like running with a parachute on. On the second lap I decided a fast walk in to the wind was more efficient and used the wind to help me on the way back… I also found my glove! For each lap from then, it was always a fast walk out and as much running as I could manage on the way back… which was very little after about 60km!

My porch served as basecamp between each lap, with a box of provisions placed there the night before. The routine was to write up my time and distance on a backboard, take a photo to send out on social media, plug my watch and phone in to recharge and then eat and drink what I could. Bananas, apple juice and chocolate featured highly and I aimed to get through all this and back on the road in under 20 minutes, which I usually achieved.

 

I was out of the waterproof trousers after lap four (a marathon in those!!) and after lap six I had a change of socks, shoes and top. I also switched to my road shoes which were kinder on my tired feet when I hit the tarmac but I felt every stone through their softer sole on the off road sections of the route… ouch!

As time passed, so did the kilometres and before I knew it I was well beyond my previous experience. I felt worst on lap eight but by then I had a few running friends joining to keep me going and for laps nine and ten I had quite the posse along… all socially distanced of course. In the end lap ten didn’t need to be the full 10km, as each previous lap was actually 4-500m longer than planned leaving me only 6km to do, so I never made it round the reservoirs the tenth time.

I passed the 100km mark just before I got home, making it back at just after 21:30, 16 hours and 44 minutes after I started… and it was still light! I had done it.

Running and walking 100km on limited training may not be easy or even sensible but it isn’t impossible. It’s amazing what we can achieve if we put our minds to it… and have friends helping too. Fancy doing 100km? Want my advice? Go for it… it’s only doing a 10km run ten times after all!

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