Posted on

Alton Sports Ambassadors – Endure 24 Preview & Mizuno Kit Testing!

The Alton Sports Ambassadors are probably the busiest ambassadors about! Last week saw them go along to Wasing Park, the scene of the southern version of Endure 24. A meeting with Mizuno was on the cards to test out their latest kit and best trail shoes… all on the Endure 24 course (of course!). Here’s what the gang had to say about the day….

Al 

I ran at Endure24 in 2018 and it was an awesome experience, so I was itching to get back to Wasing Park near Reading to get psyched up for the 2019 event! At first It was a bit odd getting back onto the course again, not quite recognising it at first (without all the runners, event village etc…) but subconsciously my legs seemed to know where they were going, having run a total od 6 laps the previous year. Wasing Park was a tad damp, but stunningly beautiful with spring in full bloom, there were bluebells everywhere! Thankfully the sun did come out a bit and brought back memories of the hot, dry weather of last year’s event, fingers crossed we get more of the same in a little over a month’s time.

The course is a great mix of forest tracks, single track weaving through the woods and only a little tarmac. Overall this is a great test of the Mizuno trail shoes we were using for the run. I had be given a pair of the Mizuno Hayate 5 to try out. This is an updated version of the shoe I ran all of my laps in at Endure24 2018. It is designed as a light wieght racing trail shoe, I was really impressed with the v4 shoe and was very keen to see how the new edition measured up. In short although the new shoes retain the same sole with supreme grip, due to Mizuno’s partnership with Michelin, they felt better than ever thanks to a redesigned upper. The upper now has less seams and the fit around the front of my feet felt much nicer. I’m really looking forward to really testing them out properly in racing conditions. I also found the Mizuno trail running top (with 2xgel and zipped back pockets) and shorts super comfortable. The wind/rain jacket did a good job of keeping the elements out when the rain did come down!


As I alluded to earlier I’m going to be back to run at Endure24 2019 this June. The event is fantastic, 4000+ runners, a cool 5 mile off road course and atmospheric start/finish race village. It is billed as ‘Glastonbury for Runners’ which is not far off the mark! After runing in a mixed gender 8 person team last year, in 2019 I’m excited to be upping the challenge by joining a fast 5 man team organised by headtorch makers SILVA. This is going to mean more laps and less rest, but we will be going for it, Bring-it-on!

Sasha
“I am a Mizuno fan!  I have been wearing Mizuno’s road shoes for years.  I find them cushioned and comfortable and they are my go to shoe for longer distances on road.  Nowadays though I am doing less and less road running and more and more trail so imagine my delight when I was invited to the site of this year’s Endure 24 event to trial the Mizuno Wave Daichi 4, the latest incarnation of their hugely popular trail shoe.

This couldn’t be better, I am running Endure 24 this year, as part of a RunFitMum team so I couldn’t wait to have a recce of the course and try out a brand new trail shoe, my perfect day out!

The first thing that grabbed my attention on opening the box was not their gorgeous coral and black colour but the Michelin logo on their sole. These babies mean business! Mizuno it transpires has gone to the experts when it comes to their soles and worked with tyre specialist Michelin benefiting from their years of experience at making mountain bike tyres to create soles with excellent grip, traction and mud clearing abilities. Once I got them out on the Endure 24 course that grip became apparent, they were great on forest trails, rocks, grass and tarmac alike, a real all-rounder.  

Mizuno prides itself on its wave technology, which is an integral part of the shoe structure.  The wave offers wearers both cushioning and support and spreads the impact forces of each step over a broader area, to give a smooth and stable ride.  Certainly I have always found Mizuno’s wave to offer plenty of cushioning and make for very comfortable running. The Wave Daichi 4 is no exception, comfortable from the outset they immediately felt great on the foot and made running the course feel like light work.

I am certainly looking forward to getting them back on that course in June for the Event itself, one lap felt like a breeze in these shoes, although not sure how I will be feeling after 24 hours!!”

Adam 

“Wasing park was the venue for the Alton Sports Ambassador day ahead of the Mizuno Endure 24 taking place in June. As Alton Sports Ambassadors, we were testing out the latest Mizuno kit, which for me included some striking yellow Wave Daichi 4 trainers. There was rain in the air that offered a great opportunity to put the kit to the test on a multi-terrain, undulating recce lap of the 10km Endure 24 course. The Wave Daichi 4 trainers were comfortable, and with their large area of Michelin grade grip on the sole, offered great purchase on the full range of damp surfaces this route encapsulated. Mizuno have done well with their designs and partner Michelin to develop technologies that releases that mud that usually gets caught up in the tread on each stride and therefore maintaining a light shoe during trail running. Good job Mizuno and I look forward to my couple of laps at your Endure 24 event in June.”

Caroline

“Another brilliant Alton Sports Ambassadors Day, this time with Mizuno specifically to try their new Wave Daichi 4 trail shoe. The location for the day, where else but the where Endure24 kicks off in a little over 5 weeks time! To get us in the mood for the big event itself and really put the shoes through their paces, we took to the trail and ran the race route.

The route was varied, we covered tarmac, gravel trails, muddy paths & soft wooded almost bouncy trails but the shoe stood up to it all, transitioning well so there was no massive difference in feel. I felt well supported and cushioned, and confident with my foot placement. To be fair, the collaboration with Michelin might have something to do with that… if they can keep cars on the road then they can keep me on the trails!!! 

For me and where I normally run, this shoe is ideal. As more of us venture off road and to the paths & trails surrounding us, I would say a versatile, durable, all terrain trail shoe such as this is seriously worth considering – oh and I love the seasons coral & blue colour way too!!!”

Debs

“I attended the Alton sports ambassadors & Mizuno promo day ahead of endure24 in June, testing out the Wave Diachi 4 road to trail shoe & new kit.

The Mizuno rain jacket came into it’s own during the many downpours & I have worn this on many occasions since. It’s a great fit, very warm though. I think this will be a great addition in the colder months. I have never completed Endure 24 but the loop we tested out today was stunning & it promises to be so much fun.


The shoe itself, bearing in mind I’m struggling with plantar fasciitis, was really light & very comfortable, something that I usually prefer when mucking about on the trails. The transition from road to trail was barely noticeable compared to some trail shoes that feel heavy & clunky on the road. These surprised me maybe it’s that Michelin connection that’s responsible for the traction of the sole? They held well when the ground became more rugged, not enough mud to really test them yet though. Once my foot is fully recovered, I’m keen to see how well they hold over steeper more rugged terrain.”

Check out all the amazing Mizuno gear on our website and drop us a tweet if you’re running at Endure 24! We will be there and we’re very much looking forward to it – running and retailing all the way.

Posted on

Alton Sports Ambassadors at the London Marathon!

We love London Marathon Weekend at Alton Sports. It starts for us on the Tuesday when we head up the Expo and then finishes on the Saturday night when we have to pack down after a few of the busiest days of our lives. Oh, not forgetting the actual marathon on the Sunday which is the best part. Four of our team were involved in running this year… check out what they had to say about the event!

Dave Warman:

“I may not be elite but I did it!! The Marathon is a challenge at best but with Coach Lambert (Alton Sports founder and 2;18 marathon runner) in my corner I can confirm “Mission accomplished.”

The atmosphere was incredible, there was support on the course from mile 1 to 26. I was using my new New Balance 1080 shoes and with my enhanced gel strategy with the Maurten Gels I felt good and crossed the line with a PB of 4:28, I knocked 21 minutes of my last go at the marathon (Jan 2018) and I beat my all-time best marathon (May 2017) time by 3 minutes & I am two years older!!

So there is still life in my old legs yet.”

Adam Marcinowicz:

“Sunday April 28th saw the 39th edition of the London Marathon take place with a record 40,000+ finishers.  I love London Marathon day, it is the best day, and an event I have attended 10 times since my first running of it in 2003, this was my 7th Run.

To my surprise this year, I was fortunate to receive a ballot place. I had to enter the ballot after the punishing heat of last year’s event caused the wheels to fall off effort to beat my Personal Best time of 3h00m02s.  So, this year, I thought I would take the pressure off and enjoy the run through London at a more leisurely pace and capture the atmosphere of the event on a 360 camera that I chose to carry. No-one had previously captured 360 footage of the event and I saw the great potential this could offer.

As one of the Alton Sports Run Ambassadors, I was asked to help out on one of the stands at the 4 day London Marathon Expo prior to race day. After an enjoyable yet long four days on my feet, the pressure really was off to run fast. The conditions were cool and perfect for all participants to enjoy. I chose to wear my New Balance 1080s on my feet for this run, a good choice as they were so comfortable in my training. To ensure I didn’t run out of energy I chose to fuel with Maurten drinks and gels.

My 7th London Marathon and for the first time I found myself on the Blue Start with some fellow Clapham Chasers. What I soon came to realise was that I would be running amongst and past a lot of the Guinness World Marathon Record Attempts since they start at the front of the green field.  There were all kinds of costumes and since I had my camera, I took the opportunity to chat to most of them on film, from a guy dressed as a unicorn to another as a tent! The day was full of cheer as the spectators turned out in their masses to spur us on.

I comfortable ran through half way in 1h35m whilst going with the flow of the runners.  It was in the second half where I knew so many people on the route including the Clapham Chaser Cheer points. There were high 5s and hugs which kept the spirits up.  This year for the first year I chose not to put my name on my front, I previously found I miss people in the crowd who knew me from the 100s of times I would hear my name being shouted. Everyone got a high 5 this time! The temperature remained constant throughout the day which was a bonus and I cruised up the Mall to finish in a time of 3h30m39s. So happy as for this run the time was irrelevant.

This is the best day that London has to offer, and I would like to say a huge thanks for all the support from the people who lined the route. Going through my footage now, there are some cracking bits to help relive the memories of a fantastic day. Boy, I want to make sure that I get more chances to run in this amazing race in the future.”

Al Pickburn:

“After the hot weather of last year’s race it was a great relief that the temperatures were close to half the 2018 levels. My plan was to aim for halfway in 74 minutes and see how things felt before deciding how to apporach the second half. As it turns out I felt really good running at 2hr 28min pace so kept it going as we entered the Isle of Dogs section around Canary Wharf. The support on course was electric as always (including from my family!) and although the effort gradually got harder I could still maintain the early pace.

I was using a Maurten 100 gels, which were super easy to take, requiring little or no water at the same time. As they form a hydro-gel in your stomach and control the release of carbohydrate into you digestive system I felt completely comfortable even taking 4 in an hour across the middle of the race. I was also wearing the Nike Vaporfly 4% race shoes, which are simply a joy to run in! The combined energy return of the embedded carbon fibre plate and Zoom X foam meant, I didn’t feel any real leg discomfort untill a few miles to go to the finish, when I started to feel the strain in my leg quad muscles. Thankfully everything held together to just squeeze 5 seconds under the 2:28 mark for a 1min 35sec personal best. A fantastic day to remember for long time!”

Jhon Cosgrove:

“My first London Marathon Experience and one I will never forget! I headed up to London on Friday to check out the Expo and see all my Alton Sports buddies who were far too busy to talk to me about how excited I was about running the marathon for the first time. Probably best for them.

After an easy parkrun at Victoria Docks on Saturday and all the carb loading, flat lay pics and generally trying to contain the Zebedee-esque excitement that was burning inside of me, it was time for the London Mara! I was starting in Blue and could see the elites warming up, whilst everyone in my zone were warming up by peeing on the fence. Big Andy started us off and it was go… my plan was to run 6:45/6:50 pace for the first 20 miles and then see if I could kick on for the last 10k and nail a sub 3 time for the first time. 

I loved running through the sites of London – the constant cheering and landmarks made me feel like I was in a computer game. I had a massive smile on my face all the way round as people were hollering ‘go vegan’ at me as they couldn’t read the badly printed DIY attempt at ironing my name on my shirt. I got to 20 miles, ran a couple of faster miles and then even managed a cheeky sprint finish to come home in 2:58:19 and to complete this computer game for the first time. I’d never been so happy and was even happier to run a negative split. I celebrated by eating an apple and stretching on the grass before hiding a few pints inside of me in the evening. Can’t wait for next year! 

I ran in my Hoka One One Tracer 2 and used Maurten Gels and used the Maurten 320 Drinks Mix before.

Are you ready for your next marathon? Check out altonsports.co.uk for everything you need!