• Running Legend Kathrine Switzer Completes New York City Marathon 2017

    While leading a group of 13 dedicated runners from Team 261 Fearless through the five boroughs of New York, women’s running pioneer Kathrine Switzer completed the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon today, posting another amazing milestone in her legendary long-distance running career by running the NYC Marathon and this past April’s Boston Marathon in her fifth decade of competitive running. At the age of 70, she ran a time of 4:48.

    About Kathrine Switzer

    An iconic athlete, author, and advocate for sports and social causes, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially enter and then run the Boston Marathon. Switzer has been honored for her achievements, most recently for running the Boston Marathon on the 50th anniversary of her historic run in 1967 and for her induction to the USA National Women’s Hall of Fame which recognized her for creating positive social change throughout her storied career. The ramifications of this work is both joyful and profound, changing forever the face of sports, health, creating opportunities for women around the world by fearlessly empowering millions beyond the finish line, and it is all activated through the recently launched non-profit 261 Fearless, so aptly named after her bib number in Boston back in 1967.

    Switzer started the race by crossing the famed Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn with a group of 13 charity runners representing the 261 Fearless organization, including 10 American women from seven states, and one each from Canada, Belgium, and Switzerland. Together these women raised $55,000 to help fund educational programs to train women to become 261 Coaches and form 261 Fearless running Clubs around the world. Their efforts were supported by adidas and Bose, the global sponsors for 261 Fearless.

    Since becoming the first woman to officially enter and finish the Boston Marathon in 1967 and then going on to win the New York City Marathon in 1974, Switzer pioneered an era of participation by women in all sports, not just running, and her story has inspired a generation of women athletes. Switzer recently launched the non-profit, 261 Fearless, with the mission to use running as a vehicle to empower and unite women globally through the creation of clubs, education opportunities, a new communication platform and special events.

    “It’s been 43 years since I ran my first New York City Marathon,” said Switzer. “It’s been an absolute honour to run through the five boroughs alongside 13 women from six countries representing 261 Fearless. I am so grateful to the New York Road Runners for their support in creating this fantastic day.”

    Caryn Kelly of Edina, Minnesota was one of the 13 runners. Today was her ninth marathon.

    “What an amazing experience! I ran my first marathon with my husband at the age of 40,” said Kelly. “I cannot thank Kathrine Switzer enough for the opportunity to help women around the world experience the sense of accomplishment I’ve felt through running.”

    About 261 Fearless

    The mission of 261 Fearless is to unite women through a global running network, creating a supportive community, while allowing fearless women to “pass forward” a new strength gained from running to women who are facing challenges, sparking a revolution of empowerment. “261” is the symbol that unites women as empowered runners. Women of all abilities, cultures and social backgrounds are welcome to participate. For more information, please visit http://www.261fearless.org.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • New Research Finds Walking And Running Can Improve Spinal Health

    A new study in Nature Research Journal Scientific Reports has found for the first time that there is a positive link between exercise and a stronger, healthier spine.

    "Running exercise in men and women is associated with better IVD [intervertebral disc] composition" says lead author Daniel L. Belavý of Deakin University, Australia. "We further find that accelerations at fast walking and slow running (2 m/s), but not high-impact tasks, lower intensity walking or static positions, correlated to positive IVD characteristics." This means that a brisk walk or gentle jog really can improve the health and strength of your spine and help to prevent degenerative issues later in life. This groundbreaking research is important as there was previously no evidence to support the claim that exercise can improve the quality of the intervertebral discs in the spine.

    Intervertebral discs, or IVD, act to absorb shock in the spine as well as maintaining its alignment and allowing for free movement in the back. Whenever you twist, stretch, and turn, your IVD are working hard to keep your back and spine moving well. It was previously thought that high impact exercise like running would eventually cause wear and tear to the intervertebral discs thereby damaging them, so this new research shows an important enlightenment.

    The results of the study found that long-distance runners and joggers had healthier IVD tissue than non-exercisers. The long-distance runners showed slightly improved results than the casual joggers, but not much. So your daily or weekend jog is still important!

    This research has important implications for spinal health in relation to exercise and the guidelines set out for patients with spinal pain. "IVD degeneration and herniation is one important contributing factor to spinal pain. Knowing that the IVD can respond to certain kinds of loading, and understanding what kinds of loading are optimal, will result in better exercise guidelines for the prevention and management of spinal pain." State the authors of the paper. What this means is that as damage to the IVD is one of the biggest reasons for spinal pain, knowing that exercise can benefit back pain sufferers and reduce their pain means it's important to set out exercise guidelines for their rehabilitation and recovery.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Garmin Forerunner 30 Running Watch

    Garmin Forerunner 30 Running Watch

    Garmin has announced the Forerunner 30, a simple-to-use running watch with built-in Garmin Elevate™ wrist-based heart rate technology that delivers streamlined running, activity tracking and connected features. Whether out for a jog or training for a 10k, the Forerunner 30 tracks how far, how fast and where athletes are running without the need to carry a phone. In between runs, it doubles as an all-day activity tracker, keeping count of steps, calories and intensity minutes so users can record progress and activities even when they are not running. The Forerunner 30 will be available exclusively in Europe, Middle East and Africa but will work outside of these areas if you travel.

    “The simplicity of the Forerunner 30 means athletes can easily take their running to the next level – all they have to do is put the watch on and go,” said Andrew Silver, Garmin EMEA Product Manager. “With a variety of built-in features, the Forerunner 30 is the perfect tool for runners who want to stay fit, stay connected and share their progress.”

    Runners using the Forerunner 30 will get a better idea of their fitness level with the addition of VO2 max, a measurable indication of aerobic performance or fitness level, while training tools like Auto Pause®, Auto Lap® and pace/speed selection help provide athletes with an essential running experience. Garmin Move IQ™ technology will also detect and automatically categorise activities including running, walking, cycling and more.

    Vibration alerts for incoming calls, voicemails and text messages help Forerunner 30 users stay connected without having to dig a phone out of their purse, pocket or bag. Throughout the day, the Forerunner 30 automatically uploads to Garmin Connect™ where users can share their workouts with friends and family in real time with Live Track, join fitness challenges, analyse training progress, set and track goals and much more.

    The Forerunner 30 features up to eight hours of battery life in activity mode and up to five days in smartwatch mode. It is available exclusively in Europe in turquoise, amethyst and grey and has a suggested retail price of €149.99.

    The ever-expanding Garmin fitness segment develops technologies to enhance and promote healthy and active lifestyles. Whether users are runners, cyclists, swimmers, multi-sport athletes, or simply looking to stay active throughout the day, there is a product that can help them reach their health and fitness goals.

    For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 6 Marathons In 6 Days

    Running coastal marathon scenery UK Britain

    Sundried ambassador Harry Kleiman is an endurance runner who decided to tackle the challenge of running 6 marathons in 6 consecutive days to take him 156 miles along the stunning Jurassic coast of the UK. With his friend Adam Swycher, they ran from Southampton to Exeter with no GPS trackers and all their provisions carried on their backs. Here's how they go on! This report is written by both Harry and Adam.

    Preparation

    We had always wanted to do an intense running expedition but we never thought that we would finally settle on running six marathons in six days. We are both long distance runners and we wanted to push ourselves to our limits and achieve something memorable.

    Choosing the route was easy. Adam has driven along the scenic south west coast of the UK between his home in London and university in Exeter many times. However, he had never really explored the coastline that he had driven so many times before and felt it was time to change this.

    Route Google Maps Sundried Planning Marathon Trek Hiking

    Training for specific races isn’t an alien concept for us because we have both competed in races and stuck to strict training plans in the past. However, we had only allowed ourselves about three and a half months to train for running six consecutive marathons while carrying a bag which weighed about a third of our body weight. We started with long training runs and slowly introduced a weighted bag. We also included sessions with steep elevation gain as the coast would be hilly. We followed similar routines to most marathon training plans, running a variety of distances throughout the week at varying speeds with a long run at the end of the week. What did differ, however, was the fact that we ran the full 26.2 miles on multiple occasions before we started as we wanted to feel comfortable with the distance.

    We planned to carry all our food, clothes, essentials and camping equipment on our backs and to do it as simply as possible - no support, just the two of us. We knew that we would have to pack light for our run and found that Matador’s Beast28 Packable Technical Backpack was ideal as it’s light but sturdy, making it perfect for running the distances that we were travelling. 

    We pondered for a long time how we would be able to get the best night’s sleep whilst carrying the least amount of equipment on our journey. I decided that hammocks would be more useful than tents as, not only are they lighter, we wouldn't have to worry about uneven, damp, or rocky flooring. Hammock Bliss’ Sky Tent 2 and two single hammocks were perfect because those three items weighed just under 1.7kg. The Sky Tent 2 is a waterproof and bug-proof tent that is suspended and two hammocks are hung inside bunkbed style. 

    The Run

    After catching an early train from London to Southampton we began our first marathon, running through the New Forest - we were absolutely buzzing. Without knowing what exactly we were in for or where we would be sleeping, we headed west and followed signs within the forest. The first day went without any problems and we found the perfect place to wild camp. We set up our hammocks with ease and started cooking. We had bought tins of tuna, beans, instant porridge sachets and rice for a hot dinner/lunch. We packed enough food for the first three days and then restocked for the last three.

    New Forest Adventure Running Trekking Hiking

    After a good night’s sleep, we packed up and started running southwest towards the coast when our first setback hit after two hours of running. We realised we had about 20 ticks all over our bodies. Ticks are small insects that live in long grass and can carry Lyme Disease, a potentially serious virus. Not wanting to take a risk, we visited a local doctor who was able to remove them and reassured us that we had no more ticks on our bodies, albeit we had to forgo about three hours of the day.

    Camping that night, however, we realised that some of the ticks had found their way to some very questionable areas of our bodies. So, with a torch in one hand and tweezers in the other, we took turns, solidifying our friendship as we went…

    Our third and fourth marathons were undoubtedly the hardest, both physically and mentally, with our bodies really put to the test and the realisation that we were only just passing the halfway mark. I started to suffer from blisters just before midday, but Trail Toes had provided us with enough blister cream to last a lifetime and pushing through the pain was easier than stopping to then start again. Adam also developed a pinched nerve in his shoulder, but with enough padding, we were able to push through the most scenic part of our journey. Our determination and long-distance training started to pay off during this period and we gave each other the spirit to continue.

    Washing Clothes River Natural Eco

    As we woke up on our fifth day, spirits suddenly jumped back up again because we knew we were close to completing the challenge. Our clothes had been cleaned thanks to Scrubba, a portable ‘washing machine’, so we were feeling fresh and ready to go. We had not been able to find two suitable trees to hang our hammocks between, so we used our Sky Tent 2 as a normal tent on the ground. The base of it is waterproof, so we just attached one side to a fence and pegged the other in the grass.

    Tent Camping Adventure Field Outdoors Nature

    Day five felt sluggish, but that was expected, as our bodies continued to resent us for the pain that was developing in our feet and backs, but we were determined to keep a good pace. Energy levels were running low, but we had lots of snacks that mostly consisted of Clif Bars and Clif Shot Energy Gel for protein and energy.

    We were waking up at about 6 am on the last couple of days so we could finish our marathons earlier. Our “relaxation and rest” time after the marathons consisted of swimming and rock climbing and then eventually some cooking and falling asleep from exhaustion at about 8:30 pm. We wanted to explore the areas we were running through as well, so it was great that we got to have some fun along the coast.

    Climbing Rocks Sea Ocean Adventure Sports

    Day six was finally upon us and it felt great. We blocked out the pain and exhaustion as we ran the whole of the last marathon smiling whilst discussing what our first proper meal would be. Once we saw the first signs for Exeter, we knew we were almost there. We knew there were a house, a bath and a beer waiting for us not too far away.

    We finally made it and we had completed our challenge. We successfully ran six marathons in six days from Southampton to Exeter whilst camping each night and carrying all our gear on our backs.

    Running Bridge Outdoors Trees Forest

    Afterthoughts

    Spending a couple of days resting in Exeter was much needed to get us back to our normal running routine. I am currently training for the Amsterdam Marathon in October and it’s great because the long runs now seem a lot shorter and less painful than they used to!

    We’re both very chuffed that we managed to complete our 6 in 6 challenge and we will definitely be doing similarly intense challenges in the future - maybe completing a marathon on every continent? Running to Paris? Or maybe an Ironman? The possibilities are endless and we can’t wait.

    We decided to do a challenge so extreme to simply put our physical and mental strength to the test, but to also encourage other young people to get out and do something active. We know not everyone can simply put on a pair of running shoes and run six marathons in six days, but we want to show people that there are much better things than sitting on the sofa watching Netflix. We’re nothing special - just a couple of guys who decided to go on a run!

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • Bearbrook Running Club 10k Race Report

    Bearbrook 10k Running Race

    Bearbrook Running & Triathlon Club is based in Aylesbury and boasts 300 loyal members. Each year the club hosts the annual Bearbrook 10k running race which starts and finishes at Aylesbury Rugby Football Club near Wendover in the Chilterns region. This was my first race away from my home county so I was excited to see what was on offer.

    The Course

    The course was one of the best I've ever done for a 10k race! It is described as 'fast and fairly flat' but I was in for a treat. My home county of Essex is deathly flat and running can become a bore, so undulating hills are something I enjoy to mix it up. The first 2 miles of the 10k took us runners through beautiful countryside and an idyllic village reminiscent of the Cotswolds. As we took a left turn out of the village, the marshalls uttered the dreaded words "That's right! Up the hill you go!" and I thought okay, time for a challenge. I do like running uphill so I wasn't too worried. The hill was a long, gradual incline which meant it didn't take the wind out of my sails too much and none of the runners were having to walk it. Upon reaching the top there was a short downhill stretch which was a nice reward. However, the next marshall I passed then said something I wasn't ready for: "Great! Just 3 more hills and then the home stretch!" Three more hills! I was up for the challenge. The great thing about the hills was that they weren't too steep and they meant the time flew by. There was always a slight descent after each one so that I could get my breath back a bit before tackling the next one.

    After reaching the top of the final hill I felt great, and when a marshall said "That's it! Downhill all the way now!" I looked at my watch and thought, "Really? 2 whole miles all downhill?" and that was absolutely the case! 2 glorious miles powering downhill a gentle decline which meant my joints and muscles were not put under too much pressure but I was able to run at my fastest pace and make up the time I had lost slogging up the hills.

    The final 0.2 miles are back inside the Rugby Club grounds and are round the field. It was reminiscent of school cross country which was not pleasant and was on grass so I had to consciously keep pushing round. I could hear the announcer over the speakers from around a mile away from the finish so it was very encouraging to get to the end. The support at the finish was great and it made the perfect end to a perfect race.

    Organisation

    I was utterly impressed by how well organised this race was. There was an abundance of marshals which meant every road crossing was safe and I never had to hesitate or slow down my pace. They were all incredibly friendly and supportive and it added a great atmosphere to the race. The announcer at the start line was witty and put the racers at ease before the big race. There were ample toilet, parking, and food facilities on offer meaning everything was taken care of.

    Results and Prizes

    The winner for 2017 was Matthieu Marshall of Southampton AC in a time of 00:32:42. I thought I might get a PB as the last 3 miles were so fast but I was 1 minute off thanks to taking the hills a little too slow in the first 3 miles. There was a branded mug for every finisher but no medal which I was rather disappointed about! There were free sports drinks, water bottles, and snacks for every finisher too which was a lovely touch.

    I was hugely impressed by this race and I thoroughly enjoyed my time here! I would definitely recommend this race to others and I will probably make my way back for next year! Bearbrook Running Club is hosting its inaugural duathlon in September which should also make for a great race.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren