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Alton Sports Ambassadors – Testing the Salomon Speedcross 5!

We like to keep our ambassadors busy. Very busy in fact! It doesn’t seem two mins since our last Ambassadors’ Day but another one has rolled along, and this time the mighty Salomon have found ‘Time To Play’ with us, and for us to test out the awesome new Salomon Speedcross 5! The Speedcross series have been one of our most popular selling trail shoes for years and the team were very excited to trial / trail their latest incarnation! It’s one of our go to shoes when people come in store looking for something aggressive with great grip!

Where better to host a day of trail running than QE Park in Hampshire… which leads on to the South Downs Way and has some of the best (and muddiest!) trails that Hampshire has to offer!

Here’s what the team had to say about the shoes…

Dave:

“My first thoughts of the day were “I don’t do Mud” – however after being given the a shoe that looks like the shoe the Black Panther uses, things changed very quickly. I really have discovered a love for trail running that I was just flirting with, there was no crowd, no music, no tarmac, just me and the trail, the grip was very good, I stuck to the mud paths and even the sticky mud and puddles were not a problem, I actually felt quite nimble, more importantly the shoes were bouncy and gave me some good feedback and absorbed all the loose ground to give a smooth feel, thus no fatigue in the balls of my feet, I can see where the development has gone, they felt like a road shoe that has been in the gym all winter and is now Beech body fit. So in conclusion, I now do Mud!”

Debbie:

“The new Salomon Speedcross 5. I have owned the Speedcross 3 & 4 previously, so I was eager to test the 5 out.  I always go a size up.

I had a couple of short trail runs and a few walks prior to a 20 mile trail run along the North downs way to test them to their fullest.  It was multi terrain, very muddy, steep ascents and descents too.
Upon first look you can see there a quite a few changes and all for the better.  The material on the upper, around the toe box & the laces blend together more seamlessley for a sleeker look.  
The toe box is reinforced and my narrow feet fitted quite snuggly inside with still enough room for movement on the trails ahead.  I loved the 3 previously but the 4 felt overly generous in the toe box, almost like the upper had stretched over time.  
My midsole and arch felt like they had more support than the 4.  The Achilles support was much improved, higher than the 4 and soft to prevent any rubbing.
The best bit, the lugs!!  Much wider apart than the 4 so that the mud falls off easier rather than being held on the sole and it did.  They point in the direction of the gradient to either help as a brake on the descent or aid the forefoot drive uphill.  They held their own through the thick mud, puddles, sand and even on partly chalky areas.  The sole feels different, lighter and more responsive especially on the steep descents when negotiating tree roots, stones and fallen branches from Storm Freya.

My only reservation was whether they would be provide enough support over long distances. I think I would still prefer a little more cushioning but for fast, shorter trail runs or events through the harshest of conditions these are amazing!”

Caroline:

“Ever since getting the Salomon Speedcross 5, I’ve been determined to get another run in them before the spring/summer really arrives… yesterday’s club run was the time! Admittedly not the best day to go mud hunting when the recent has dried up most of it. So it was a case of enjoying them for their comfort & grip on such varied sandy/muddy terrain.

Really like the moulded ortholite liner inside, gives a very comfy secure fit. And let’s talk grip, well its as good as a toddlers on a biscuit!! I felt as confident on the loose soil/mud as I did on the sand, with barely any need to adjust pace. Great shoe for those that love the trails, and this offers versatility in being sound on both rough and soft terrain! Looking forward to more off-road adventures in these shoes especially if they are all as sunny as yesterday!”

Adam:

“The Salomon day to test their newly released Speedcross 5s was insane. The wind was howling and luckily for us the rain just about held off.  This did however provide ideal conditions to put the Speed Cross 5s to the test. The colour scheme is simple, either all red or all black.  The undersole sports 30% larger lugs to increase traction in the softest of surfaces while at the same time designed to allow mud and debris to fall away between strides. This minimises the weight you find yourself pulling through between each step. Salomon have wisely kept their Quicklace system allowing for a speedy put on and go. I personally like the fact that the large grippy lugs continue up the front toe of the shoe for maintaining strong traction during toe off. These front facing lugs also allow the shoe point and grip and aid climbing on steep rocky boulder fields. I find the Speedcross 5 a comfortable snug fitting shoe, and make me feel very secure and in control on all types of mountainous terrain. I am very impressed with what Salomon have created with their version 5 of the Speedcross model.”

Sasha:

“I have never run in Salomon shoes but their reputation precedes them and I was really looking forward to giving the Salomon Speedcross 5 a try. This shoe didn’t disappoint, when I first pulled it on I was a little unsure of the heel cradle, which I worried would feel uncomfortable once I was on the move, In fact once we hit the trails it gave a real sense of security, particularly as the terrain became more challenging. That combined with the deep lugs meant I have never felt more secure and confident in my footwear. Whatever mud I threw at this shoe, it responded with great grip and reliable traction. An absolute winner in the mud. Looking forward to lots more miles in these beauties.”

Thanks very much to Salomon for coming to see us and to our ambassadors for trying the shoes out! You can come and try them in-store or check them out online right here.

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The Miracle of March – London Marathon Training with an Alton Sports Ambassador!

After the highs of ‘focus February’ the training continued with Toby (Alton Sports founder and super quick runner) always a text message away giving advice and encouragement.

The month started with a nice parkrun sandwich, I ran 3 miles to parkrun, did the parkrun, scored a PB of 25:23 & unbeknownst to me I did my 50th Parkrun all in a nice neat package. I then had a slow 8 mile run home, Marathon day felt so far away & yet it is closer than I thought.

The week carried on with standard training runs with speed targets thrown in, I also got to attend an Ambassador Day presented by Salomon & we got to try out the Speedcross 5 shoes – I am really warming to trail runs and it’s good to mix up the types of surface you run on.

Sunday 10th March brought the official warm up race for the marathon. I was running in The Big Half in our nation’s capital! I travelled to the event with some other members of my running club and as some of them were a bit quicker and we were all starting in different starting waves Due to the bad weather I was really cold, I was taken pity on and I was given a plastic bin liner to wear before the race, I started to try and maintain some body heat.

This was the second race I have attended and Sir Mo has been competing, however this time I was free to cheer for him, I started about 25 minutes after he started so by the time I got to see him on the other side of the course he had already done six miles, however I made sure I gave him a big loud “Come on Mo” that was obviously what he needed to spur him on to win the whole race.I did have to stop for the first time in a race for a comfort Break but actually once I was back in the race I knew I was against the clock so I really did run as hard as I could. The March Miracle came at the finish when I came in with a chip time of 1:52:13, I had a watch time of 1:51:22, and I even made it on the TV. 

The course was awesome, flat, fast and part of the London Marathon course. The next target Toby has set for me is a sub 1:50 half marathon time, I believe with the right attitude and hard work this is achievable. Sadly the good result I had achieved at London had taken its toll on my ageing body and I walked away with a hip & a knee injury.

I knew I was in pain the moment I tried to do my recovery run and it felt like I was kicked in the rear the further I ran. After consulting with Toby he changed my training plan and instructed me to foam roll, stretch and rest. With my training runs dialled down I was willing my hip to stop hurting. The following Saturday I went for a Toby approved 3 mile run with my running buddy  & chief medical advisor, Nurse May, she said the same thing as Toby and we still managed a fast run covering 5K in 25:10. I was happy with that pace.

As time moved on I found the hip feeling better & I attended an interval session on our local running track, I am not a track person but I did enjoy the session and I gave my hip a good test.

The Friday night came bringing a message from Toby, 18 miles split into three:

  1. Run to parkrun
  2. parkrun as fast as I can
  3. Run home 

I put my big boy shorts on and tried my hardest, I achieved a second parkrun PB of the month in 25:11, looking back it’s only a few seconds but at the time it was a big deal and I was waiting for the award ceremony. Sadly I still had to run a further 8 miles home.

The final week of March presented itself with a personal challenge for me, as always I give Coach Lambert the options my running club have and he chooses if I run with the club or on my own to his targets, this time he picked an 8 mile club run with a much faster group than whom I normally run with. On this night I did 8 miles with the “wolfpack” – I was fortunate because Richard (The speedy Swede and Alton Sports team member) was running that night and like he did at Farnborough he paced me perfectly, to the point that I wasn’t the last “wolf” back to the meeting point. 

March has been a miracle, I have clocked up 110 training miles, overcome an injury and I am looking forward to being on the start line of the London Marathon in Amazing April.

Dave Warman – Alton Sports Ambassador