Speedo celebrates 90 years with the extension of its Waterbaby Forever campaign.

The campaign is headlined by a renewed partnership with renowned endurance swimmer, Lewis Pugh, who is aiming to become the first man to swim the length of the English channel.
Lewis, who famously completes his sub-zero challenges wearing only a Speedo brief, cap and goggles, is completing ‘The Long Swim’ to highlight the need to protect oceans and British coastlines.

The partnership ties in with one of the core aims of the Waterbaby Forever campaign to preserve the world’s oceans so in the next 90 years and beyond the new generation of water babies can still enjoy them.

Underlining this commitment, Speedo is partnering with campaign group, Surfers Against Sewage. The group, also a partner of Lewis Pugh on the Long Swim, is working with Speedo to complete five beach clean-ups across the south coast to further highlight the dangers of materials like plastic entering the oceans. The Speedo x Surfers Against Sewage Beach Cleans will take place at key stops along Lewis Pugh’s journey.

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Photo credit: @kelvintrautman

Available June 30th, New Balance launched the 247 on a world tour inspired by young culture. In the UK, the tour visited the city of Liverpool for an immersive experience. Guests were treated to a traditional ferry trip across the Mersey, stop at Lost Art skate shop, visit to home of Liverpool FC which included a terrace talk by Mundial magazine followed by boardroom dining experience, and finally a special night of music at local supporter’s pub The Solly featuring exciting talent Tom Misch.

For more information about the new 247 and to connect, follow New Balance: @newbalanceuk; @nb_lifestyle; #lifein247; www.newbalance.co.uk

 

 

 

In 2018, to celebrate the legendary MADE 990, New Balance released 1,500 pairs of the limited edition MADE 990v4 “1982,” which retailed at the original $100, available at pop-up locations in select cities across the globe on Saturday, 14 April. To mark the launch of the 990v4 in the UK, sneaker fans were invited to a New Balance and END. celebration on Ebor Street, London to enjoy a ‘one day only’ 990 exhibition curated by New Balance Gallery. 

#990 #LEGENDS 

 

Last week New Balance teamed up with renowned British photographer and filmmaker Ewen Spencer to create an original photography exhibition in celebration of the brand’s iconic 574 silhouette – Ewen’s portraits on the night featured up and coming UK music artists, Conducta, Jesse James Salomon and Flohio. DJ sets from Mike Skinner and Star.One

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Photography by: @sophographylondon

#NBGreyDay #NewBalance #NBLifestyle #574

In May of this year we travelled to Joshua Tree. The wildlife, array of plant and fauna, geological significance and spirituality of the desert was inspiring. When we had the opportunity to return to California and enough time to venture further from Los Angeles, the natural inclination was to travel north. The Sierra Nevada had long intrigued. An adventure, climbing and hiking enthusiast, Yosemite had for a long time been on bucket list. As my partner Kit would need to be in Ojai and Big Pine during our trip to the US, a quick online mapping exercise showed that Yosemite, King’s Canyon and Sequoia might also be doable during our short stay. Time to see what else California had to offer…

 

Pasadena to Ojai via Sequoia

It’d been a busy Summer with work and family commitments, and we were soon meandering between coffee spots in a no-place-to-be kind of way. We had one night in Highland Park before we set out on our adventure and were making the most of civilization whilst it was on our doorstep. Whilst we could have stayed on in the comfort of this leafy LA suburb, the lure of wild was calling. It was time to hit the road.

First up was a stay in Ojai at the foot of the Los Padres National Forest. Not quite the wilderness we were in search of, but beautiful all the same, the setting a valley in the Topatopa Mountains. I needed to find my legs as consecutive days of running and hiking were looming large, so headed for the Sulphur Mountain Road with its sweeping views over Santa Paula and the Santa Clara River Valley, with hot sun and hot spring abundant.

Tip – if you are travelling North from LA and your destination is the Western Sierras travel on Route 33 through the Los Padres. It’s a stunning drive even if you soon arrive in the baron wasteland of Maricopa and Bakersfield oil fields in the San Joaquin Valley. We decided to drive as much of this as we could and overnighted in Visalia en-route to Sequoia.

Up real early the next morning keen to secure a pitch amongst the giant trees, we were soon barreling through Three Rivers and into the park, Moro Rock looming over us. Despite being larger than neighbouring Yosemite, Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks are less frequented, with half the visitor numbers annually.

Lodgepole Campground was still bustling despite being end-of-season, but we got a pitch overlooking the Kaweah River, with Wolverton Creek high behind us. We were soon off exploring, ambling around the Big Trees Trail and visiting General Sherman. Our day was cut short as the wind picked up, and we made it back in time to camp before a storm rolled over, lightening flashing through the dark clouds as they rolled over us and on into the night.

The next day, we were woken by a family of deer coming down through the forest to drink from the river. We spied on them through a gap in the tent, keen not to emerge too early into the cold elevation air, but we kitted up and followed them to the Kaweah, and then along the river bed to the Topokah Falls, before heading back to pack up and drive North into King’s Canyon.

 

 

King’s Canyon and Yosemite

King’s Canyon was closing down for Fall, but we were able to secure a spot at Azalea by Grant Grove. We spent the night wide awake listening to fellow campers shouting away bears and when they quietened down, were spooked by the howl of coyotes up the canyon.

We awoke and cooked up a pot of coffee before heading out of the park north to Yosemite stopping quickly in a Fresno for supplies. Only a day earlier, Route 41 was opened up again following fires, so we were able to enter Yosemite from the South via Wawona. Arriving at Tunnel View, the gateway to Yosemite stretched out before us. My first encounter with Half Dome, El Capitan and the Valley I will never forget.

Upon arriving at Camp Curry we settled in and took in our surroundings before being greeted by another storm. It seemed to be a common theme, nature’s reminder that despite the civilization around us at camp, we were entering another wild domain. When we emerged from our cabin, a rainbow arched high over Half Dome and soon Glacier Point was lit up in yellow and orange. It was dawning on me how the Ahwahneechee people must have felt when they settled here amongst the mountains thousands of years earlier. This was a special place.

Taking our time hiking in and around the Valley was a treat. The First People had been replaced by some gnarly outdoors enthusiasts. Beatnik climbers in their element, some climbing walls for the first time, some travelling in on a monthly pilgrimage. Wet and weary hikers would come down from or set off on the John Muir Trail, showing up at all times of the night to drink beer and refuel, shedding mud and muck around the ski-lodge eateries and forking out $5 for a long awaited shower.

Mirror Lake, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls then back to Happy Isles was a stunning day. A moment of calm looking up at Liberty Cap, Broderick and over the forest floor and it dawns on you why nature is as important for human evolution now as it has ever been. It physically and psychologically rejuvenates in a way that nothing else does. The sprit soars in Yosemite, technology becomes irrelevant, your first instinct is to breathe adventure and seek more from life.

We left the Valley to head for Mammoth Lakes, following the Tioga Road to Tuolomne Meadows, stopping at Tenaya Lake and toying with the idea of a dip. The wilderness here was different again. We were too late for Summer wildflowers, but the Meadows were still in bloom, Lembert Dome watching over the flatlands and naturally bubbling springs. Near enough inhabitable in the Winter, we felt fortunate to be able to sit in the sun surrounded by pine forest not yet a wall of white.

 

 

Mammoth and Owen’s Valley

And so on to Mammoth Lakes and Ansell Adams wilderness, having left the forests behind the mountains start to become more strung out, but higher in the Eastern Sierra and no less spectacular. Mammoth Mountain dominates the skyline when you exit the 395, but once you pass the main resort, some of the most amazing back country makes itself available. I spent the day running out alongside the San Joaquin River for as long as I dared. Following the Ridge Trail the canyon flanking me, topped by Mount Ritter, Banner and the Minarets. Arriving at Thousand Island Lake and navigating back to Agnew Meadows was simply stunning. Blue glacial water, white tipped peaks and grassland in its last flourish before the snows arrived.

You could stay a lifetime in Mammoth exploring the mountain and neighbouring John Muir and Sierra National Forest. I tried to venture as far as a full stomach would take me, Devil’s Postpile, Rainbow Falls, Red’s Meadow, Twin Lakes and Crystal Crag… Just when I thought my desire for backcountry was fulfilled, and before heading back down to the warmer climes of Bishop and Big Pine venturing South through Inyo County, I remembered the words of some travellers stocking up on supplies in Mammoth. That no trip in these parts would be complete without exploring the back and beyond of Wheeler Ridge.

I found myself on a whim pulling off at Tom’s Place and heading for Rock Creek. There were countless trailheads, but I ended up at the end of the road at Mosquito Flat and the Little Lakes Valley Trail. It was a 10 mile out and back walk I’ll never forget. Towering 13,000ft peaks on either side, streams gurgling from one sparkling lake to the next. Not until the end of the trail at Morgan Pass did I start wondering how far I’d hiked and whether I should turn back.

It’s funny when you’ve limited water supply and rations how quickly those granite monoliths turn from something you want to climb into something indomitable, an ominous reminder that this isn’t typical human habitat. That’s what I started feeling and unfamiliar to the territory I headed back. Walking back through that hidden paradise wasn’t a bad alternative.

 

A time for reflection

Regretfully my stay in the mountains was coming to an end, dropping 5000ft from Mammoth down into Owens Valley through Independence and Lone Pine, with the highest peak in the US, Whitney not far away but an expedition too far. I had a four-hour drive back to Santa Monica to reflect upon my Sierra Nevada experience. Soaring mountains, crashing waterfalls, deep unrelenting forest, dusty trails. Our travels had created a portfolio of memories in words and pictures.

But this trip also left its indelible mark on the spirit. A feeling that can be called upon always, when the wind blows, the sun glares, a river roars, lightning strikes. For all the tourism, commercial venture and change in and around the Sierras, like Joshua Tree, it remains a spiritual place. One I shan’t forget and look forward to returning to.

Thanks to Alpkit for the camping equipment. And to Kit for being my travel buddy.

TBR

REVIEW OF THE NEW INOV-8 TRAILROC 270 & 285

IN THEIR WORDS

The TRAILROC trail running range has undergone a complete redesign and is now back with a bang this season. The lighter model of the TRAILROC™ series, the TRAILROC 270 mens trail running shoe is perfect for fast running over hard and rocky trails. More protection, more support, more comfort, greater energy return and improved grip. The new TRAILROC 270 & 285 are now better equipped to deal with all hard-packed trails around the world, no matter how rocky. Supreme grip and underfoot protection, with a cushioned midsole and lightweight upper combine to deliver the ultimate shoe for running at speed over hard and rocky trails.

STATS

TRAILROC 270
Fit Standard
Drop 4mm
Footbed 6mm
Lug Depth 4mm
Midsole Stack Heel 15.5mm / Forefoot 11.5mm
Product Weight 270g / 9.5oz

TRAILROC 285
Fit Medium
Drop 8mm
Footbed 6mm
Lug Depth 4mm
Midsole Stack Heel 21.5mm / Forefoot 13.5mm
Product Weight 285g / 10oz

IN MY WORDS

OK so having put at least 50 miles in both iterations of this shoe, here is my verdict on the ‘new and improved’ TRAILROC. Disclaimer – I worked extensively with inov-8 on the activation of the shoe over the Summer, so picked up both pairs having worked with the brand. Don’t let that stop you from reading this honest and independent review though!

Personally, I think the 270 is the superior shoe because the slightly lighter weight, narrower fit and lower drop. And that suits my running style better. Would I wear the 285 regularly? Probably not, I’m not 100% convinced on the construction of the shoe and/or the breathability. Not to say it’s bad, it’s just not as good as the 270. On to the review.

I will be wearing the 270 a fair bit over rocky terrain in Chamonix (in a press capacity as I didn’t get a place in the OCC) and in Mammoth Lakes (training at altitude as I couldn’t make it out to Utah for the TNFEC). I think the 270 runs really well over hard-packed rocky technical terrain. The grip is good, but if it were wet I’d probably plump for an X-Talon depending on the mileage I had lined up. Also if the terrain were mixed, ie some road, some grass, dirt, mud, I would 100% choose the ROCLITE 290. That shoe is just a winner and by far the most comfortable, all-terrain trail shoe – of any brand – I have ever worn. You could also wear that shoe over ultra distance (as I chose to for the Peak Trails 50k).

Wait so why are we talking about other inov-8 shoes in a review of the TRAILROC? Because the inov-8 shoe line-up needs a little explaining! Here is a summary of the shoes I own and have run extensively in…

This is of course personal experience and totally dependent on a number of factors – weather, conditioning, mix of terrain etc. But how does the TRAILROC measure up?I have found all of the inov-8 range of trail shoes to be grippy, but the TRAILROC doesn’t do brilliantly when wet so it gets docked points. As for comfort, I’m not sure why, but the X-TALON212, TRAILTALON and ROCLITE are just winners. The shape of the upper and the way it locks-in on the foot is spot on. The TRAILROC is good, but perhaps could be a little roomier in the forefoot, and also the lacing system won’t stop debris getting into the shoe… literal room for improvement.

So in summary, I wouldn’t wear the 285 simply because it’s slightly too much shoe and too higher drop (8mm). Also I find it stiff and not particularly indicative of what inov-8 normally represents in its shoe range – minimalist, flexible, high-sensory footwear with excellent traction. The 285 would probably score a 5 or a 6. The 270 performs really well on rocky hard terrain, but there are a few glitches which means it doesn’t score much higher… it’s still quite stiff, not particularly comfortable to wear over 10 miles let alone north of 30. But the ride is still good, it still feels fast – as most inov-8 shoes do… personally though if I had a mountain ultra I’d run in ROCLITE and if I had a shorter mountain race I might even be tempted to wear X-TALON. Which relegates the TRAILROC 270 to last place in our chart. But still, if it sounds fit for purpose, I advocate trying this technical lightweight mountain runner from inov-8.

*** UPDATE *** Since this article was written I have worn the TRAILROC 270 a lot in the US trails in California. It was superb in these conditions. I had zero problems with fit and the shoe runs really well on dry pack trails, several of which had rocky descents which the shoe performed admirably on. Basically if it’s dry out and you have a trail run scheduled, wear the Trailroc if it’s technical and the Trailtalon if it’s not!

Available now at inov-8.com.
Here’s me on Cat Bells in the Lake District, photos thanks to Hilary Matheson.

 

The Beer Mile World Classic, London, Summer 2016. An article for Like the Wind magazine and a preview of what’s to come this weekend (August 12, 2017)…

Drink a beer, run a quarter mile.
Drink a beer, run a quarter mile.
Drink a beer, run a quarter mile.
Drink a beer, run a quarter mile.

Four beers. Four laps. Easy right? What originated as an underground tradition amongst college kids and enthusiast amateur track runners has turned into a global phenomenon.

Following the formalisation of rules by a group of Canadian runners lead by John ‘Sparkle’ Markell, we find ourselves on the in-field of an athletics track in London waiting for events to unfold. It’s the Beer Mile World Classic and we are joined by the Australians, Americans and Canadians, all flown over for the big day. And they are taking it seriously. Headphones are in. Bottles of beer, flown over specifically in luggage, are being taped up in various identifiable colours. I say seriously, most are taking it seriously. The Swedes, who were up partying naked until 4am the night before, maybe not so. But for some, this is the main event.

It’s almost as simple as drink a beer and run four times. Except the drinking has to take place in a transition zone, aptly named the ‘chug-zone’. Chugging is the name of the game. Chundering is not. That will incur a penalty lap at the end of the race, thus adding to your time and to be avoided. Unfortunately, as demonstrated from the day’s early heats, a ‘reversal of fortune’ is fairly common place.

There are other rules and regulations around beverage type and volume that I won’t bore you with. Basically, our invigilators are keeping stern watch between lap – chug – lap. No backwash here please. The most important rule is that come the end of the race, when the winner is declared and the chasers are in, the leftovers are totted up and if the sum of your dregs is more than 4OZ, you are disqualified.

Let’s talk tactics. Fan of the beer mile Chris (who flew in specially from Bangalore), insists that it is all about timing your effort and technique. “Being able to breathe and drink is important, otherwise you hold your breath and go out gassy… Lap 3 is the worst. Mentally the thought of ‘oh shit I’ve got to do this one more time over’ and my stomach is expanding. But then lap 4 is like any work out, you’re home stretch. And you can vom afterward without penalty, so that’s no problem.”

“Never again. Never again.” Was the verdict from a chap in a Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. shirt after experiencing what turned out to be a clearly distressing 10 minutes. In the same heat ‘I hate beer Harold’ was a casualty. He stumbled over the line in 17 minutes. Probably the slowest mile he’d ever run. And probable the most beer he’d drunk in 17 minutes. It was a marathon not a mile effort for Harold.

Winner of elite women race Erin O’Mara from Michigan, reigning FloTrack beer mile champion, had a better time of it, “Beer miling is a volatile sport. There’s a lot that can go wrong on beer mile day, but things went right for me! What advice would I offer a newcomer? You just wanna make sure you stay cool and keep pushing around the track!”

Easier said than done Erin. As competitor, James the ‘Beast’ Nielsen (the first person to ever duck under 5 minutes for the beer mile) found out – “Man I’m so bummed right now. It was a fast track and great conditions, running was not going good in training but beer drinking was on point, so I’m pretty disappointed. Damn it, mostly because I yakked!” We didn’t have the heart (or the nerve) to break it to the Beast, but sadly, James was also disqualified.

The winner of the Elite Men’s Race on the day was Corey Bellemore in a new beer mile world record of 4 minutes, 34 seconds. An inconceivable feat, given that is only 50 seconds slower than the world record for the mile set by Hicham El Guerrouj. And Hicham didn’t have to down 4 bottles of Miller ‘High Life’ between each lap. Corey’s tactics? ‘I just chugged the beers as quick as I could and then tried to keep it down!’

The festivities didn’t end there, with the after-party – that’s right, 4 beers just isn’t enough – lasting well into the evening. On the walk home, I quietly contemplated over kebab. The spectacle, the highs, the lows. What did it all mean? For drinking, for running, for world peace? The overwhelming take-away was that beer is indeed the great equalizer. Very good runners sharing the track with very good drinkers. Men and women sharing the same start line. All nationalities able to compete without animosity but with the same level of pride and a similar goal in mind – run a mile, try not to hurl. It brings a literal tear to the eye. The Beer Mile World Classic was a celebration of the universal appeal of running, beer and togetherness.

Long live beer, long live the mile. Long live the beer mile.

 

Skiddaw is a mountain in the Lake District. It stands at almost a kilometre high, way over 3000ft, looming over the sleepy town of Keswick with Derwent Water at its foot. It is the first summit of a Bob Graham Round when undertaken in anti-clockwise direction. A Bob Graham is made up of 42 fell peaks, this being the first. In partnership with inov-8, we came up with the idea of climbing Skiddaw with a team of enthusiastic trail runners that had been invited from all around the world to experience a traditional fell race.

Fell running is hard work for hard men and women. We spent the weekend with inov-8 in Staveley and Keswick, learning about the history of fell running from the team and regaled by stories from fell running legend Kenny Stuart. Kenny holds the record for the Skiddaw Fell Race. In 1984, Kenny managed to get up and down Skiddaw in record time, covering nearly 10 miles of trail, loose rock, scree and summit in a little over an hour (1:02). My personal goal for the weekend was to try to master the basics, navigate my way up and down the mountain and to not come last.

We were fortunate enough to have the help of several inov-8 ambassadors over the weekend. These were hardened runners from Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire; legs of steel, fearless in the face of downhill and uphill struggle. Ben Mounsey and Mary Wilkinson were with us for the weekend and were joined by local phenomenon Ben Abdelnoor to teach us how to run up and down a fell without burning out or taking a tumble. Thanks to their guidance and reassurance, our seven globe-trotters felt ready for whatever the mountain (and the weather) had to throw at us.

Race day upon us, it was time to gear up. inov-8 very kindly kitted us out with a choice of shoe – the newly incarnated TRAILROC (available in August), or the traditional fell running shoe of choice the X-TALON – and of course with all the gear we would need on the day including some awesome light-weight apparel. Disconcertingly there was also a mandatory kit list – emergency food, full waterproof gear, compass, map… Would we really need all that stash for an hour or so run? At the summit of Skiddaw it would become apparent as to why all this outdoor paraphernalia is a must.

A jovial and warm reception from the local Lakeland folk welcomed us at the start of the race in Fitz Park. They gave us a few pointers and knowing nods, before a ‘ready, steady, go’ set off a bolting group of men in short shorts, off the front through the woods to the foot of the ascent of Jenkin Hill. It was at this point I realised what I’d gotten myself into with the start of the steep zig-zag paths and then round the back of Little Man. Straight up. I hiked most of it, feebly transitioning to a momentary shuffle when encountering a spectator or a fellow runner to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to move my feet at any sort of cadence without coughing up a lung. But before I knew it I’d blindly, agonisingly reached the summit plateau, a rough, rocky, cold, unwelcoming place, shrouded in cloud and threateningly exposed. Ahhh, it dawned, this is why all the kit is necessary! And this is why the Keswick local I was following left the path about a mile before me into the cloud to skirt the mountain along the scree, thereby sheltering himself from the wind before rounding the cairn from a different angle. Clever fell runner…

What wasn’t so clever was my descent back down to more temperate climes. Descent is perhaps too technical a term, more like a blind panic with the sole aim of keeping my shoulders above my knees and not plunging to a rocky demise. Somehow I made it. Somehow we all made it. A couple of the magnificent seven took a tumble, but then apparently this is not uncommon. A couple of hardy local club runners had done the same, and were even sporting a splash of claret, although not enough to stop them washing down cups of tea and kendal mint cake at the end of the day!

I can’t thank inov-8 enough for their hospitality over the weekend. You can see from the video above (and the gallery below by James Carnegie) how much we all enjoyed the weekend and how much our guests from around the world threw themselves into it. I personally can’t wait for my next fell. Maybe if I bag a few more peaks by way of reconnaissance, that Bob Graham mightn’t be a pipe-dream? Meet you at Moot Hall?

STANCE RUN VISITS HAMURG FOR THE FINAL LEG OF ITS 6 CITY EUROPEAN STREET ART TOUR

Having breathed life into a category that had been ignored, taken for granted, looked over, and dismissed, Stance sought a way to show how their socks perform brilliantly whilst looking great. Running events are the ideal way to do that. Combining running with street art perfectly demonstrates the position Stance takes at the intersection of creativity and performance.

The Stance European Street Art Tour visited London, Copenhagen, Paris, Milan and Amsterdam. It has now concluded in Hamburg. Hamburg received the final tour visit of the campaign and running crews were gifted a pair of Stance Performance Run before the half marathon weekend.

www.stance.com
www.youtube.com/stancesocks
www.instagram.com/stanceeurope

When your favourite sock brand teams up with one of your favourite athletes, the result was only gonna be pow pow.

With Anton Krupicka’s style and ode to his hometown Boulder, Colorado and the technical performance attributes of the Run Crew the ‘Krup’ is a total win for any discerning trail runner! Working on Stance campaigns with the team in Europe, I am seriously hoping we get to partner up to help get the word out… maybe in Cham?!

Available at: Stance.com
Or check ’em out in person at: The Running Works

 

STANCE RUN VISITS AMSTERDAM FOR THE 5TH LEG OF ITS EUROPEAN STREET ART TOUR

LAST WEEK STANCE VISITED AMSTERDAM TO INTRODUCE RUN. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.

Having breathed life into a category that had been ignored, taken for granted, looked over, and dismissed, Stance sought a way to show how their socks perform brilliantly whilst looking great. Running events are the ideal way to do that. Combining running with street art perfectly demonstrates the position Stance takes at the intersection of creativity and performance.

The Stance European Steet Art Tour has already visited London, Copenhagen, Paris, Milan and Amsterdam. It will conclude in Hamburg at the half marathon weekend.

www.stance.com
www.youtube.com/stancesocks
www.instagram.com/stanceeurope



 

STANCE MILANO

STANCE RUN VISITS MILAN FOR THE 4TH LEG OF ITS EUROPEAN STREET ART TOUR

Last week Stance visited Milan to introduce RUN. This is what happened.

Having breathed life into a category that had been ignored, taken for granted, looked over, and dismissed, Stance sought a way to show how their socks perform brilliantly whilst looking great. Running events are the ideal way to do that. Combining running with street art perfectly demonstrates the position Stance takes at the intersection of creativity and performance.

The Stance European Steet Art Tour has already visited London, Copenhagen, Paris, Milan. It will visit Amsterdam in June, before concluding in Hamburg at the half marathon weekend.

www.stance.com
www.youtube.com/stancesocks
www.instagram.com/stanceeurope

 

This weekend Stance went to the trails to create some content for their Performance Run range. Stance have proved that they work wonders for road running. Think comfortable, supportive, blister free style. Well they also work for trail running. I’ve taken them into the mountains for 7/8 hours at a time and my feet have emerged totally unscathed. Stance want to start showing that off whilst also celebrating the people behind the lens – be that a professional sports photographer or a star of Instagram. And so we created ‘Capture Trails’. 

We partnered up with Runners Need and took runners to the beautiful trails of the Devil’s Punchbowl, a natural wooded amphitheatre and fantastic backdrop. We invited pro-sports photographer James Carnegie  who hosted a fabulous workshop with advanced tips and tricks. We’re talking pro advice that can be applied to an iPhone and the VSCO app to help us do away with the ‘running selfie’ forever! 

Our thanks as well goes to the National Trust  for permitting us to use the Punchbowl for the morning. If you want to learn more about some of the other fantastic trails you can discover on NT land, please do visit their website. 

You can see some of our guests photos here on Instagram.
James also joined us on the trails and took some fantastic shots. A selection of which are below. 

Kai Heuser

a feature on running tattoos for Like the Wind

The smell of nervous sweat on skin, a dull throb during a two-hour session, low sugar levels, that weird feeling of euphoria when it’s over and the subsequent kick of adrenalin that can often become addictive.

The physiological effects of getting a tattoo and going for a run are seemingly similar. One can also draw parallels between the outcomes: once a marathoner, always a marathoner — in the same way, a tattoo will last a lifetime. With both comes a significant commitment. So I ask why? Is there a reason why people give up their hours to run? Is there a reason why some choose to be indelibly marked? And is there a commonality between tattoos and running beyond the physical?

For some, there is a misconception that tattoos are aesthetic, to be observed, a trend, for fashion, a flight of fancy. For others, for runners, they are symbols, icons, landmarks and reminders of why they run and who they are. Behind each runners’ tattoos, there is a story — as there is a story behind their running. They are identifiers and help shape them as a person. Body art proudly on display alongside the post- race medal. Mementos, memories and moments collected.

Here are a few of those we featured in Issue #10

 

“I am from Paris and live in London. My first tattoo is the logo for my crew in London — Run Dem Crew’s running man — holding an upside down Eiffel Tower — the logo of my other crew, Paris Run Club — as an Olympic flame. They are the reason I took up running and they changed my life for the better. “You don’t win silver, you lose gold” are words used by a mentor, Charlie, in one of his songs and they describe my race day motto perfectly. Trying isn’t enough; being the best you can be is the only possible result. The “+” and “-” on my legs are my way of keeping strong, they hold my power. The IronMan logo in the colours of the French flag I had done after my first IronMan in my home country — it had to be engraved on my body!”

 

 

“Not all of my tattoos have a meaning. Some of them are for fun, because of my passion for tattoo art. But some of them are significant to me. I never thought I would tattoo my legs, because I didn’t like them. I always used to cover them with long dresses, leggings, jeans, everything in L or XXL. But since running, I slowly regained confidence in my body. The word ‘PRESENT’ was my first real running tattoo. I now like my legs, no body shaming anymore. I got faster, distances got longer. A kind of meditation, because running is so much a mental thing and it is so important to stay in the here and now. Running has made me stronger in so many ways, how I interact with people, remember to focus on the self and be ‘present’.”

 

“I got my first ever tattoo one year after founding “Run Pack” with friends Kathi and Flo. We all decided to get our logo — a “bear-dog” designed by a friend, Björn. For us it was a statement of how important our running family had become. I got the RUN! tattoos [see above] on my legs after completing my first marathon in Berlin. I wanted something that reminded me of that marathon achievement. That constantly pushes me when I look down. I designed them to be upside down so I can always read them while running; when having a tough time at 37km, or even while being lazy on the couch! They turned out to be a pretty bold statement. For bold adventures.”

 

I was touched by the meaning that running brought to the lives of our contributors. Some of their stories were funny, some were sad. Some up-lifting. All enlightening.

Every tattoo and story we featured in Issue #10 showed purpose; a reminder of life and why we are here. They demonstrate that runners quite literally wear their hearts on their sleeves (and shorts, and shoes, and everywhere else). Living, breathing examples of #WhyWeRun. Thank you to all who offered their stories. You are all totally rad.

Originally published in www.likethewindmagazine.com on September 30, 2016.

Why do we do it? The winter wet, heartbreak hills, muddied morass?

Runners gather in club colours, young and old, brimming with trepidation, stretching twitchy hamstrings. On a day that started with monochrome skies, wind and hail, the sun seems desperate to break through and help brighten this cold corner of the Heath. A croaky announcer updates us as to who is out on the course, which runners have dropped, who is pushing; mums and dads kept in the loop whilst temple greying coaches in long jackets check stopwatches and tot up scores.

I fully expected a black and white montage of toil and no man’s land trudgery. But after stationing myself between start-line, finish-line and race area – in the trenches rather than out on the battlefield – the whole thing becomes apparently clear and colourful. 

U15 and U17 girls and boys races are a highlight. In cross country, as with most running events, there are individual prizes for placing first, second and third. But there are also team prizes; with four of each troop scoring according to finishing position i.e. runner four as important as runner one when it comes to the final result, the lowest collective score winning. Perhaps we become focussed more on individual performance as we age. Perhaps these youngsters, still finding their footing in life, identify more with the success of the group rather than focussing on the unknown of what they might or might not be able to achieve solo. 

I listened to runners young and old at the end of their race. Some bemoaned the conditions – the hills, the wet, the cold! But others laughed at tumbles taken, congratulated, consoled. When a young runner came over the line wearing more of the course than kit, not just her team-mates but five or six others gathered around, asked how she was and praised her for recovering and finishing. Then it clicked. 

We run cross country because of pride. Because of teamwork. Because of failure. Because of triumph. When watching the start line stampede, the muddied canter for home, the nervous wait at the finish, you realise that stories are being written. And then a rainy Saturday morning in the mud becomes something a whole lot more enlightening. 

Results from the Southern Cross Country Championship 2016 can be found here.
Photos and words by Alex van Oostrum.

I’ve been running recently. And a lot of my time has been spent running in Stance Socks. Not heard of Stance? You have now. They are soon to launch in stores in the UK. Having been lucky enough to get my hands on a couple pairs, I’ve done the hard miles in them for you and this a review as to why, when they do hit the shelves, you should go check em out.

OK so let’s start with the tech. Here is some jargon broken down for you and then a nice pic of where this technology features and what it looks like:

  • ‘Superior wicking’ – they stay dry when your sweaty feet sweat (yummy).
  • ‘Thermo regulated anatomical venting’ – they are knitted to provide ventilation where your feet need it.
  • ‘Maximum durability reinforced’ – more fabric at the locations which wear down (toe and heel); important note here these areas aren’t bulked up massively, they are just constructed differently to take wear and tear.
  • ‘Air channel cushioning’ – cushioned but ventilated underneaths.
  • ‘Anatomically correct footbeds’ – basically the sock is constructed differently for men and women, somehow, to fit the shape of your foot properly.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.53.09A quick word on a technical feature not mentioned above – ‘gradual compression’. Basically the theory with compression wear is that bloodflow is increased via the tightness pushing deoxygenated blood away from the injured or recovering areas. The compression being gradual as it is tighter at the ankle than at the calf. ‘Medical grade’ compression is basically when an item is really tight and in my experience several brands produce this compression wear as a form of post-run recovery and I personally wouldn’t run in it. The compression in Stance socks is notably less than medical grade yet graduated compression nonetheless. What you end up with is something that fits, supports and feels amazing. They come in three lengths; ‘TAB’ (no-show), ‘CREW’ (ankle) and ‘OTC’ (full calf), the compression works a treat in the latter two models, with just the right amount of support, I personally love the feel of the ‘crew’ shape…

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.17.38

Quick word on colour ways, 5 for men, 5 for gals. Stance’s line is that the men’s and women’s versions are made differently to fit the difference in anatomical foot shape. But I reckon you could probably slip on a women’s or men’s colour way depending on what takes your fancy and get away with it! The design suit the brands creative ethic, I won’t go into this as ultimately I’m not so fussed about the history  or who’s wearing em, I wanted to tell you about how they feel, but visit the website anyway to know who’s taking the same Stance (get it) as you when it comes to sockwear.

And there you have it, I’ve run multiple miles in Stance now and shall continue to do so. I think they get the balance just right between designing a product which is lightweight and race ready, with additional features such as compression, a little padding at the toe and heel and engineered arch support. They really do fit the contours of the feet wonderfully and they are super comfortable whilst retaining running sock specific technology. They feel and look premium basically whilst not coming with the lofty price tag of ‘compression’ wear. If you’re in the market, Stance will be dropping at a local retailer soon, you gotta check em out!