Sunday, 25 September 2011


Question: When is a glove not a glove?.....Answer: When it's an eglove!

The F3 sports glove is a traditional running glove but with a difference, the conductive metalic material on the forefinger and thumb allows you to operate touchscreen devices without the need to remove your gloves, clever eh?

The gloves also have rubber detailing on the remaining finger tips and palm which gives you better grip and the feeling you could climb walls like Spiderman!

I have had the gloves to review for a little while now and was waiting for a colder morning to put them to the test, The British Summer may not be the greatest but does not require the need for gloves so obviously this product is going to be part of your Winter running kit.

Although made of a thin cotton/lycra material the gloves surprisingly gave a lot of warmth, although we're not in Winter yet, I put the gloves to the test by holding a tub of ice cream for a few minutes with little affect of the cold coming through. When I took the gloves on a run I had my touch screen mobile phone with me. The conductive material on the finger worked well on the screen without problems scrolling through menu's even the smaller icon's on the screen did not cause a problem.

The gloves are well made and very comfortable to wear. I personally don't run often with music so have no need to operate a music device but do carry my mobile with me on longer runs, but I will happily use the gloves whether I have my phone or not because of the good thermal properties and comfort of the glove.

With most devices now, whether it be for music or a phone being touchscreen I can see a place in the running market for the product. The gloves are priced at £21.99 but if you use the code OKUK over at you can get 20% off any product.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Farnham Pilgrims Marathon 2011

We found the sign to the car park OK but somehow missed the one with 'Welcome to hell on earth' written on it! Today was the day of the Farnham Pilgrims Marathon, now in it's second year, this is probably one of the toughest marathons the south has to offer, extremely challenging with it's hills. So what better way to take on my first marathon!

There is a famous running quote that says "If I'm still standing after the marathon then push me over because if I've tried hard enough I should not be standing". Well believe me I was close to not be able to stand, so I guess I tried enough.

Like the Spitfire 20 a couple of weeks ago, I ran this race with friends Brian and Tim. Like the previous race Brian started strongly and after the early bottle neck where there was a couple of minutes wait to climb the first of many stiles, soon pulled away from me and Tim.

The upside to the challenging course is that the route takes in some stunning scenery along the North Downs and up to to the halfway point I was able to enjoy the views.
If your not in too much pain, the views are worth admiring.
The terrain of the course changes all the time, one minute you could be running on Tarmac, Sand, Trails and narrow mud pathways through fields. This course really does throw everything at you.
If you are looking for a PB on this course then forget it, however good you are. I say that because of three things 1) The Hills 2) The Stiles 3) The narrow pathways in places, because you just can't pass people until the route opens again.

The course is undulating from the start in the village 'The Sands' through Puttenham and then onto Guildford. But it's in Guildford that the course really gets challenging, in particular the halfway stage which is up St Martha's hill, a long steep climb up to the church, but the consolation is that the views are amazing. I've trained on this hill before and never managed to get up to the top, well today I almost made it but had to walk the final summit. This was a good chance to take a gel though and I recommend good fueling on this course although the plentiful water stops are stocked with biscuits, banana's and drinks.
The good water stops leads me on to praising the whole set up of the race. Brilliant cheerful marshaling, and a well run start and finish of the race. A medal and T-shirt at the finish and while you wait to collect these a choice of drinks and selection of cakes. You can also get a print out of the results there and then.

The hills of Guildford took their toll on me and I finally hit the wall at mile 19. I say I hit the wall but it was more like smashing into it. The legs were gone and even seeing my family at this point could not revive my spirits. The remaining miles were a mixture of mental games and running down and walking up the hills.

I was hit with a massive down pour about 10 minutes from the end but was lifted at the finish with a respectable time of 4:34:02 on such a tough course. I felt like I was walking more than running the final miles and expecting to come in over 5 hours.

Massive praise to Brian and Tim who finished in amazing times of 4:11:27 and 4:12:08 respectively.
Me telling tales of great adventures
 of the journey at the end of the race
A Burger King and a hot bath have gone a long way to take away the pain. To sum up the race, the organisation was second to none but the course was brutal. If you are up for a challenge I would highly recommend this but I am now looking forward to a flat London Marathon in 2012.

Everyones a Winner! Me,Tim and Brian

Monday, 5 September 2011

Spitfire 20

Tim, Me and Brian pre race (and still dry!)

The Spitfire 20 is held at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey and is famous for being the race test track for the popular British TV programme Top Gear. The Aerodrome is a vast open area and made for a totally new experience in running for me. The course consists of 2 laps of 10 miles, 3 miles of which are running around the Airfield, so it gives you a feel for just how large this area is.

I was running the race with friends Tim and Brian, the race was fairly local to us. It was an early start though, race registration opened at 7:30am with the race start at 9:30am. We arrived at 8am which meant we had plenty of time to relax. It was great because we had a chance to meet up with a couple of other runners from Twitter, suddenly conversation had to be longer than 140 characters!!!

As well as meeting Jo and her boyfriend, I also got to meet the remarkable Kevin Betts, a runner attempting to run 52 Marathons in a year, one a week and all must be completed in under 4 hours. Today the organisers had marked out an additional 6 miles for Kevin to complete this weeks Marathon. You can follow and support Kevin on Twitter or his Website 52marathons .

The vast Airfield

The weather conditions were perfect, (to begin with!) overcast and cool. With my first Marathon just 2 weeks away this was my last planned long run and I set myself the target of 9 - 9:30 minute miles. As per usual I went off quicker than planned (as I always do at races) with the first few miles at around 8:20 minute pace. I ran with Tim the whole race, Brian had pushed on after the first few miles which was as expected as he is running strong at the moment. Tim normally the strongest runner out of us all, was coming back from a serious mountain bike injury, and had done little running in the last couple of months, so was happy to 'plod' with me. It was great because we kept the conversation going for the full 20 miles! I'm sure at times though Tim knew when to talk me through some difficult moments of the race (hills and the last couple of miles).

As I said earlier the course consists of two laps, the first 3 miles around the flat open airfield before moving onto country lanes to the village of Dunsfold and the surrounding area before returning to the aerodrome. The country lanes can be described as undulating, some short sharp hills and a longer hill heading up to mile 8 (and 18). The roads are not shut but very quiet and the any cars made their way past slowly. There were plenty of water stops with each stop supplying water, Powerbar energy gels and Jelly Babies. The course was very well marshaled. I didn't stop as I was practising my Marathon fuelling which consisted of Sports drink in my Camelback, mini flapjacks and Jelly Beans.

The dark sky that was threatening most of the race finally decided to down pour around mile 16, by the time we reached mile 18 we were soaked to the bone and my trainers were squelching with every step. After the final hill at mile 18, I was really tired but Tim managed to spur me on to the finish.

I came in at 2:54:52 an average of 8:45 minute miles which would make for a sub 4 hour Marathon, so I was really pleased. I will take this on board when I run the London Marathon next April but my Marathon in 2 weeks time is a different kettle of fish. The Marathon is extremely hilly so I will be happy with sub 5 hours in 2 weeks time.

To sum up this was a great event, a little disappointing that there was no goodie bag at the end, but a great medal made up for that. The course was different and interesting and was a great distance for anyone doing an Autumn Marathon. There was the option of running a single 10 mile lap also. Great company with friends old and new, now for the 2 week taper!

Medal (Worth waiting for)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Run...Dean Karnazes

I guess if you are reading this review, you're here because you like running and because of that reason you probably don't need any introduction to the Author of 'Run...26.2 stories of Blisters and Bliss' - Dean Karnazes.

This is Dean's third book, of which I've read his first, Ultramarathon Man. The first autobiography is very much a structured story following Dean from his Ultrarunning beginnings through to some of the unbelievable achievements he has recorded in the Ultrarunning world. Run although autobiographical, jumps around Dean's life, so you could read any chapter in any order rather than following a story.

That is not a criticism, I felt like I learnt a lot more about the man than in the first book and some of the chapters and the stories within them are just awe inspiring and keep you very much engrossed in the book.

You also get to dig a bit deeper into Dean's life, and a continuing theme throughout the book of his friendship with fellow endurance runner Topher Gaylord, who even gets to write his own chapter. You also see the strong bond he has with his Farther who is also one of Dean's crew on the races.

The stand out chapters are the ones where Dean writes about his experiences during some of the Worlds toughest races. I particularly enjoyed the chapters describing the 4 Deserts races, 4 155 mile races across the Atacama, Gobi and Sahara deserts and the largest and coldest desert Antarctica. These stories give a real insight into what Ultra running is all about.

There are a few 'Book filling' chapters that could easily gone a miss in particular the 'Letters to Karno', a chapter dedicated to fan mail.

Dean Karnazes is without a doubt an Inspiring person and it truly amazes me what the man has endured and achieved.Who else could run for 48 hours non stop, rack up 212 miles and all live in a TV studio!

So it miffs me somewhat, why Dean has as many haters as admirers especially in the Ultrarunning world. The reason behind the haters? From what I understand Ultrarunning used to be very much an underworld sport and people liked it that way. Along comes Dean and puts the sport into the limelight literally overnight. Events then become oversubscribed with runners now relying on lotteries to get them in.

Hang on a minute Ultrarunning world! Dean is not the first or the last to bring the sport to the Public's eye and make money from the sport. I've only just finished an article in Running Fitness magazine written by Jez Bragg about his race report on the Western States 100, and what about the success of 'Born to Run'. Dean may have been one of the first, and has put your sport on the Map, is that a bad thing?

I'm in the Dean camp, he has given the fascinating world of Ultrarunning a high profile and as a man has done so many great work for charity, and that should not be forgotten.

Run is as enjoyable as the first book and a great inspiring read into the realms of Ultrarunning and I would highly recommend the read.