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Alton Sports Ambassadors: A day with Saucony & Maurten!

You know how it is, you wait for one awesome brand to come along to our Four Marks Store and you get two at once! Our first Ambassador Day of the year, saw Saucony and Maurten come along with some running goodies for our Ambassador Crew. They braved the snow and took their new Saucony shoes out for a spin whilst going back to the classroom for a talk about how the Maurten tech works!

Here’s what our ambassadors had to say about it all…

Adam

“The other week the Alton Sports Ambassadors got together for a Saucony day which featured a playful day in the Snow and an opportunity to learn about the latest Everun technology incorporated into their design.  The slick fashionable appearance of the Saucony Triumph Iso 5 makes it a trainer for every occasion. The integrated Everun layer under the insole offers a comfortable ride from the impact of running many miles on the road.

I have recently been introduced to Maurten at a recent Alton Sports Ambassador day. Being a long distance runner, I understand the importance of nutrition during a run to maintain levels to maximise performance.  I was amazed by the scientific research Maurten have done to develop their product to what it is today. Having learnt about the science to minimise tummy upsets and maximise the absorption of carbs during running, it is hard to believe Maurten is such a new player in the field. I was really impressed by the brands simple, black no frills packaging of their products, which indicated to me that they don’t need to shout to get your attention, have some amazing advocates performing at their peak in the world of running, such as Mo Farah, and the boys attempting to break the sub 2 hour Marathon. This is definitely a product ahead of its time and one you need to get your hands on.”

Dave

“I was given a really cool pair of Triumph Iso 5 and I really quite like them, I have nicknamed them “Spitfires” not after the WWII plane but after the flame red Triumph Spitfire my dad used to own in the seventies before I came along. I have now done quite a few miles in them – they’re comfortable, the grip is good and I love the look of them. 

They feel very hard wearing and sturdy like they can deal with anything, this explains why the rep said they can be used for road and trail. On that basis they don’t feel as bouncy but then if they are a bit on the aggressive side that’s not a bad thing. I love the design and the colour and they size up well. I am very particular on shoes that are a bit bigger because it always looks that I am wearing oversized shoes, but I don’t get that feeling with the Triumphs. 

On the subject of the Maurten sports drink, ….. it works ! I drank half a litre of it before I went training with Toby (Alton Sports boss) on Friday and I knocked 2 mins of my 5K PB, I was saving the rest of the stuff for the marathon because if it works that well, I will certainly need it on marathon day. It is easy to drink and does not have any nasty after-effects, I like it.”

Georgie:

“It’s very refreshing to have a 5 ingredient nutrition option available for our runners, and I am excited to introduce Maurten to other runners and bring in this very forward thinking brand as an option for our endurance runners.”

Debs:

“I have worn my Saucony long sleeve top & jumper constantly. I absolutely love the fit of both in particular the thumb holes on the sleeves of the top. The Triumph ISO 5 are incredibly comfortable & supportive with great space in the toe box. They have been my go to for shorter runs with my clients & dare I say ‘everyday’ wear too.

I used the Maurten drink prior to Hampton court half and only needed one gel during race. I didn’t need more as it was sufficient to keep me going from 10k. It had no flavour but was sweet, jelly like in consistency which took a little getting used to but it was easy to take & digest. No adverse tummy upset or sugar spike which was great as it meant no crash. I have since used the gels on long trail runs too & as my stomach rules my head so they are the perfect accompaniment to real food.”

Al:

“I used the Maurten gels in last year’s Bournemouth Marathon. They were easy to open/take and didn’t cause any stomach issues. The flavour is pleasant without being overly sweet. I’d say they are my go-to race energy source now and will be using them for this year’s London Marathon.”

Caroline:

“I’ve been wearing the Triumph ISO 5 a lot recently and find them super comfy and supportive.  I’ve not ran in a shoe with a mesh upper before and like it, think it’s ideal for summer as I can tell my feet won’t get too hot, I can almost feel a breeze as I run! The long sleeve top is fab, worn it heaps both skiing and running! For something so light it’s actually incredibly warm and I love the coral colour. Not had much of a chance to wear the hat as the temperature has warmed up so much since but think it’ll be a winner for colder runs. Love the pony tail hole!

In terms of Maurten – haven’t done any long distance stuff recently but will be using it for Endure 24 in the summer. The science behind it is fascinating and clearly works!”

You can shop Saucony and Maurten on our website or feel free to come into any of our 5 stores and talk to us about both brands!

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Silva Explore More Tour UK 2018 – Queen Elizabeth Country Park

We sent one of our Ambassadors along to the Silva Explore More Tour UK 2018 – take it away, Al….

Back at the Endure 24 race weekend I’d heard from the guys at Silva that they were planning to bring the concept of the ‘Explore More’ Tour of night runs to the UK in the Autumn of 2018. Tim Young, Silva UK Sales Manager, explains;

“The Explore More Tour is all about exploring new and challenging trails at night. The SILVA Explore More Tour nights are special runs: they are guided, they take in tough terrain and challenging trails. The latest generation of high powered running head torches are so good that you don’t have to be limited by darkness. The products we are running with this season are the SILVA Trail Runner 4, Cross Trail Ultra 5 and Exceed 2. We always finish up with a sticky bun and a hot drink and we invite a mix of industry people, athletes, ambassadors and event organisers” 

The first stop of the tour in 2018 was at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park in the South Downs National Park of Hampshire on fireworks night, there weren’t any bangs and flashes of the explosive type, but plenty of bright flashes from a gaggle of runners equipped with hyper-bright headtorches. 

QE Park is the venue for the next Maverick Dark race series on Saturday 24th November, where I’m planning on running the ‘long course’ race, so this more casual foray into the woods would hopefully serve as a good introduction to running there in the dark. Check out their site for more details. Silva will be at the races too with head torches to try out.

 We met up in the park main car park and straight away got on the coffee supplied out of the back of a cool Landrover Defender run by Brian from ‘HitchnHop’. The group was a great mix of trail running enthusiasts, all excited to be getting out on some great trails in the dark! Tim from Silva got everyone kitted up with the latest high tech headtorches. I donned an Exceed 2 light which boasted a maximum light output of 1500 lumens and an impressive minimum burn-time of 4 hours (@-5DegreesC, even better if it’s warmer!). The battery pack is a little chunky, but isn’t a problem to carry in a rucksack or technical vest, which is what most of the runners were doing. This approach does make the light on your head really nice and light though!

 After a quick intro to the lights from Tim and a run briefing from our guide Sam from Run With Karibu, who was in charge of making sure we all went in the right direction in the dark, we set off up into the park. Straight away it was clear that we weren’t lacking in light power, with the trail lit up like a stadium from the output of a dozen slightly car-like headlights! The first mile and a half were spent warming up nicely as we climbed steadily before hitting the first singletrack section. This where the running got interesting, with a bit of space between the runners the lights really showed their capabilities. I now had the Exceed 2 into max mode and the light it now put out allowed me to run as fast as I dared along the narrow, slightly greasy, rooty and leaf strewn trail. It still required 100% concentration to stay up right, but the feeling of speed as the trees whipped past in the dark was awesome! 

 We continued on stopping off for a quick spot of obstacle course play in the middle of the woods! An another stretch of climbing took us up to the high point of the run at just over 750ft. Now we were over in the back section of the country park which contains some of the lesser known but more technical trails! What followed simply wouldn’t have been possible at any sort of speed without the assistance of a lot of light… It was steep, loose, off-camber and rooty. Words don’t really do it justice, so check out the video (slightly epic music, but I think it deserves it!)…. It was a blast, such a cool feeling of zipping between the trees and even over a jump. The light was brilliant allowing me to pick out all the details on the trail in enough time to put my feet in the right place!

I was also getting a lot of confidence from the excellent Salomon Sense Ride shoes I was wearing (thanks to Scott at Alton Sports for the loan!). The Sense Rides were gripping plenty much everything, including the greasy chalk surfaces which are characteristic of the South Downs. The ability to put my foot down and know that it would most likely stay there coupled with the Exceed 2 light was a winning combination. The Sense Rides are also insanely comfortable to wear, plus they feel good on the road too, so all in all a great shoe. Definitely one on my Christmas list.

The remainder of the run was more gentle as we followed the South Downs Way and loop round back to the main car park, where great coffee buns and pastries awaited us! Everyone was buzzing and super impressed with what the Silva head torches enabled us to do in the dark. I can’t wait for the Maverick Dark race in a couple of weeks’ time!

Shop Silva on our site

Buy the Trail Runner 4 headlight here

You can follow Al’s running achievements on Strava / Instagram Twitter.