Gear Reviews

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Kasumigaura Marathon 2016

When \\\\\\\"blustery\\\\\\\" wasn\\\\\\\'t even the right word. Read the race report here!

31st Marathon and my 6th Consecutive GCAM. Race report here.

 

Media Release: Jabra Elite Sport Brings True Wireless Freedom to Malaysia

Jabra Elite Sport Brings True Wireless Freedom to Malaysia

I. The first in the new Elite franchise completes Jabra’s comprehensive range of next-generation wireless sports headphones with a product choice for everyone.
II. GN Netcom announces new distributor for Malaysia as part of marketing strategy for Jabra products nationwide

KUALA LUMPUR – June 7th 2017: After the worldwide success of the Jabra Elite Sport – the first in a brand new franchise of next generation wireless headphones, Jabra’s most technically advanced true wireless sports earbuds comes to Malaysia and is poised to take your workouts to “elite” level.

Setting a new benchmark in user experience and technology, the Jabra Elite Sport is the true training aid that delivers ultimate freedom of movement, ground-breaking in-ear fitness analysis and great music for anyone who wants to work out. Among its distinctive features are:

  • Superior sound with four microphones for intelligent switching during calls.
  • Secure, cord–free wearing style with dual or single earbud use.
  • Advanced personalised fitness analysis using in-ear heart rate monitor.
  • Three year extended warranty against sweat* with IP67 rated protection and is sweat and waterproof – tested to work for at least 30 minutes whilst submerged in up to one metre of water.
  • Heart rate app with above 90% accuracy reading.
  • Up to three hours of stereo music and calls, plus six hours additional charge from the carry case

Used with the Sport Life App, the Jabra Elite Sport is the ideal fitness gadget for anyone. Users can gauge their fitness level via the VO2 Max measurement, as well as improve their run timings through the race-time predictor, and plan their workouts for maximum effectiveness with the recovery advisor. The updates are delivered in real-time via the intelligent in-ear coaching, ensuring an uninterrupted workout.

The Jabra Sport Life app also captures and tracks your fitness development over time, providing a range of information to help you improve your fitness level in the future, including distance covered, pace, route, calories burnt and training effect.

Thus far, the Jabra Elite Sport has received a phenomenal response across the world with many sports and fitness enthusiasts making it their go-to device whether in the gym or outdoors. Given the exceptionally strong global following received, the device is poised to also garner a similar reaction from Malaysia.

The device was developed for the 77 per cent** of people preferring to train without wires and the 69 per cent** who regularly listen to music as they workout.

René Svendsen-Tune, CEO of Jabra said: “What truly excites me about our first true wireless earbuds is that they offer an experience that only Jabra can bring-to-life. We’ve used our R&D expertise from across the GN Group to deliver not just the most technically advanced true wireless sports earbuds, but actually the most complete cord-free experience for our customers. Jabra Elite Sport is an example of an intelligent sound solution that delivers calls and music very well, and does so much more besides”.

The Jabra Elite Sport’s call and music functions supports all major smartphone operating systems with Bluetooth, while its performance tracking and fitness apps are available on both Android and iOS devices. Find out more about Jabra Elite Sport at: http://www.apac.jabra.com/elitesport

No Wires No Worries – Complete Freedom
As a true wireless sports earbuds, the Jabra Elite Sport delivers a cord-free audio experience, with outstanding stereo sound for calls and music, as well as full sports functionality. Choose from three ear gels, three sizes of ear foams and three wingtips for the best, personalised fit and comfort and never worry about an earbud slipping out during an intensive workout session.

Join the Elite! The Jabra Elite Sport

Superior Audio Quality with Noise Cancellation
The state-of-the-art earbuds deliver superior audio quality for calls and music sans wires. Featuring two microphones in each ear bud, the ear buds are designed to pick up your voice through the first microphone, while the other aims to pick up external noises. The Jabra Elite Sport can switch between the earbuds receiving the least noise, as well as remove the background noise by differentiating the separate feeds it receives on each ear bud, leaving only the crystal-clear clarity of your voice in any environment.

If a call comes in whilst you’re running, voice controls and audio prompts let you manage your calls without having to touch your phone.

Hear Your Surroundings While Running
When activated, the Elite Sport’s HearThrough technology allows the in-ear speakers to recreate ambient sounds, ensuring that runners are aware of their surroundings including unexpected incoming traffic and other dangers, while plugged in.

Both Mono and Stereo
The Elite Sport comes with two individual earbuds, offering users the option to use a singular earbud for mono playback and calls through its primary (right) earbud which communicates directly to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth. The secondary (left) earbud, which connects to the primary earbud via near field magnetic induction, automatically reconnects when both earbuds are placed within 25cm, allowing for a seamless transition between conversation and stereo music.

Medical Grade Credentials
Pioneers in sound, from sports earbuds to hearing aids, Jabra (as part of the GN Group) has used its unique understanding of high-quality sound in the development of Jabra Elite Sport. Created in collaboration with engineers from ReSound, a specialist in medical grade sound solutions and a world leader in Smart Hearing Aids, Jabra Elite Sport draws on more than 145 years of experience in hearing innovation and fit.

Leading the Next Generation of Jabra Products
The Jabra Elite Sport comes right after the introduction of two world’s first sports audio devices.

These are the optimised for running, Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition (the world’s first sports headphones to feature automatic (and continuous) VO2 Max fitness testing); and the optimised for the gym, Jabra Sport Coach Special Edition (the world’s first sports headphones to feature automatic repetition counting through the TrackFit motion sensor).

Together with these devices, Jabra gives the world a truly comprehensive selection of wireless headsets for anyone who wants to work out. Like the Jabra Elite Sport, both devices come with a reinforced by a three-year extended warranty against sweat. These devices reinforce Jabra’s position as a leading expert in intelligent sound solutions, particularly for those with an active lifestyle.

Linora Low (Left) with KC Yap-GN Netcom Malaysia Country Manager with their Jabra Elite Sport Devices.

New Jabra Distributor for Malaysia
On a separate note, GN Netcom has announced the appointment of AMT PC Distributors Sdn Bhd as its sole distributor for all Jabra products in Malaysia. This is part of its branding and distribution strategies to bring the Jabra brand and its products closer to consumers, especially in the fast-growing sports and fitness niche segment.

Elite Sport Pricing and Availability
The Jabra Elite Sport (RM1,259) is now available at selected outlets from the following retailers and selected Jabra resellers: All IT Hypermarket, ViewNet Computer, Thundermatch Technologies, Mobile Arena, NOP Cellular, HLK Superstore and Lazada.

Exclusive E-commerce Partner in Malaysia
Lazada Malaysia is the exclusive e-commerce partner for all Jabra products in Malaysia. For any purchase of Jabra Sports products (Elite, Pulse, Coach & Pace) at Lazada Malaysia, customers will be entitled to a free Pineng PN-920 20k mah power bank worth RM79. This promo is exclusively for Lazada Malaysia customers shopping during the Riang Ria Raya Campaign – happening from 19 May – 30 June. For more information, logon to www.lazada.com.my

*One-year manufacturer standard warranty, registration required through Jabra Sport Life app to activate additional two-year warranty period
**Global Survey of 5,000 respondents: Jabra Sport Audio Survey, Nov 2015

PR CONTACT (Malaysia)
Mustard Tree Communications
Shanty Dass at ‎012 928 2896 or shanty@mustardtree.com.my
Kelly Lee at ‎012 513 3986 or Kelly@mustardtree.com.my
Jade Wong at ‎012-2195289 or jade@mustardtree.com.my
Joshua Rayan at ‎012-3688042, jr@jr.com.my

About Jabra
Jabra is a leading international developer and manufacturer of a broad range of communications and sound solutions committed to let people hear more, do more and be more than they ever thought possible. The consumer and business divisions of Jabra markets corded and wireless headsets, plus mobile and in-office speakerphones that empower individuals and businesses through increased freedom of movement, comfort, and functionality. Jabra employs around 1000 people worldwide and in 2015 produced an annual revenue of DKK 3,229 million.

Jabra is the brand of GN Netcom, a subsidiary of GN. As part of the GN group Jabra has a reputation for innovation, reliability, and ease of use that goes back almost 150 years. GN comprises a unique portfolio of medical, professional & consumer sound solutions that makes life sound better through its research, insights, and expertise in sound. GN operates in more than 90 countries across the world, has more than 5,000 employees and is listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen. www.apac.jabra.com

© 2017 GN Netcom A/S. All rights reserved. Jabra® is a registered trademark of GN Netcom A/S. All other trademarks included herein are the property of their respective owners. (Design and specifications subject to change without notice).

Saucony Freedom ISO

 

The above is an excerpt from the Saucony blog post about the Freedom ISO. When early photos of the shoe appeared on the Internet last year, the first all-EVERUN (topsole and midsole) shoe from the company generated considerable excitement. Now that the launch in Malaysia is imminent, and that I’ve put in more than 60K in them, it’s time to put out this review.

But first, the specs…

  • Full length EVERUN midsole and topsole.
  • Engineered mesh with ISOFIT.
  • Totally rad translucent Crystal Rubber outsole.
  • Significant toe-spring.
  • Support frame for the heel.
  • Blue-black-citron colorway for men, blue-citron for women.
  • Stack height of 19mm/15mm (heel/forefoot) for a 4mm offset.
  • 9.8oz for my US10.

The Freedom ISO (FISO) comes with a spare set of flat laces. I switched the blue ones out for the yellow purely for cosmetic reasons :) . The shoes look amazing out of the box, the design is one of simplicity. No superfluous overlays and strips. Even the traditional heel counter is absent, replaced by a single thin strip of plastic called Support Frame (a little more on that below). A one-piece engineered mesh upper is a little stretchy and its integrated lace loops complement the ISOFIT system. This iteration of ISOFIT has seen some refinement since the first Zealot, and I’ve not encountered any bunch-ups in all runs. Reflective elements are generous – on the tongue, logo and heel.

The wide tongue has some ribbing which cushion against pressure of the laces. So you can lace up for an even greater locked down feel. Since the tongue is integrated with the ISOFIT system, there’s no chance of it ever slipping.

In your hands, the shoes certainly don’t have the flyweight feel of a racing flat. Although weighing in at 9.8oz (a tad heavier than the Kinvara 8, TPU being heavier than traditional EVA), they’re still what majority will call lightweight. Employing a minimal approach on the upper has allowed Saucony to pare away the unnecessary “fat” and thus offset the TPU “weight gain”.

Flip the FISO over and you’ll see the very colorful take on the full-contact outsole. It’s not carbon nor blown rubber but a compound called Crystal Rubber. I wasn’t able to get more information on Crystal Rubber but it has a translucent look allowing the designers to go a little wild. It’s said to be just as durable, if not more, than the traditional rubber. The shallow lugs are still in TRI-FLEX configuration and the strip of hollowed out section reveals the EVERUN material.

As with the Kinvara 8 (K8), the Freedom is true to size for me. Nevertheless, it’s always good to try several sizes out at the stores. Step-in feel is very comfortable, and you do feel the 3mm layer of EVERUN topsole just under the sockliner. The upper and ISOFIT combines well and it feels like having thin socks with a slab of cushioning on. The stitching around the edges of the wide tongue were executed very well – there won’t be any rubbing around the edges for sure.

You don’t get nor feel much structure anywhere around the upper. Even the so-called Support Frame is not stiff, ultimately minimalist – more of a clip than a full-on heel counter.

At this point, you’ll probably be wondering how the Freedom ISO rides and how it compares to the K8 [reviewed here]. The curiosity is understandable, since both are within an ounce of each other, are light, versatile and have 4mm offsets.

Well, the FISO has more ground contact feel, what with its lower stack heights. Its cushioning is a lot subtler than the softer and bouncier K8. It’s there all right, but it’s not in-your-face. The FISO’s ride is firmer and feels more planted. Those expecting a mushy run will have to look elsewhere. You’d want to go fast in the Freedom.

Transition is silky smooth, offering an assured hold on the road, wet or dry. I’ve took them out in the rain, covered some sections which are pebbly and sandy and have come away pretty impressed with the Crystal Rubber material. It has an almost tacky feel like that of PWRTRAC, Saucony’s other outsole material.

I’ve not had any issues with the breathability in this hot and muggy climate as ours and as with the K8, my preference has been to go with thin socks. However, if your socks collection consists of the thicker variety, I’d suggest upsizing to allow for some room in the toebox area.

The FISO joins the K8 as my go-to shoes of late and both will be in my packing list for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon this July.

The Saucony Freedom ISO will be launched very soon, and will be available in Stadium and Running Lab stores as well as selected RSH outlets nationwide. They will retail at RM529. Do follow the Saucony Malaysia Facebook page (link below) for information about the Freedom’s launch and availability.

Disclosure: I am a Saucony Malaysia Ambassador but the opinions expressed above is based from my own personal experience and miles logged in the shoes. This review is in no way whatsoever influenced by Saucony Malaysia.

Saucony Kinvara 8


I’ve worn a lot of shoes but the one consistent presence in my running the last 3-4 years has been the multiple versions of the Kinvara, way before I was even drafted into the Saucony Ambassadorial role.

It’s hard not to like the Kinvara. Light, breathable, low-drop, cushioned minus the mushiness, making it all near perfect for uptempo running and racing over all but the shortest of distances when a firmer ride works better. I’ve worn versions 1, 3, 5 and 7 of the Kinvara and while the ride changed this way and that over the years, the versions still maintain its legacy of light, cushioned and responsive. This makes the Kinvara a safe bet for a large segment of runners out there.

EVERUN TPU material and TRI-FLEX outsole configuration made their way to the Kinvara line with the version 7, but the casual wearer could be forgiven for not “feeling” the touted EVERUN hype, compared to say the Ride 9, Zealot ISO 2 or Triumph ISO 2/3. That was because EVERUN was used just as a heel insert within the midsole, unlike the topsole layers of the aforementioned siblings. In summary, the expected bounciness was less palpable. Nevertheless, I still found the K7 to be an improvement over the K5 (I skipped the 6 since I already had 2 pairs of K5 in rotation along with the Ride and Zealot) in terms of overall durability. The Tokyo and Boston editions of the K7 are still in active rotation but their usage are now under serious threat due to the arrival of the Kinvara 8!


So what’s the big deal about the 8? A fair bit actually, albeit the black/citron colorway is similar to the K7’s slime/black. Here are the high level specs, with the improvements marked with an *

  • 23mm (Heel)/19mm (Forefoot) for a 4mm offset.
  • Full-length EVERUN topsole*
  • Revamped upper which is super breathable*
  • Simplified use of Flexfilm*
  • Inner sleeve
  • Less intrusive Pro-lock*
  • Tongue is now better padded to take the pressure off the laces. It’s also long enough to accommodate full lacing*
  • Unchanged TRI-FLEX outsole configuration.
  • Slight increase in weight. Still a lightweight at 8.3oz for US10. Comparatively, the K5 weighed 7.5oz while the K7 8.15oz.

I’ve logged just over 60K in the K8 so far, which comprised of a 24K, 20K (at sub-4 MP), and many more shorter ones and I can say that I just love how the shoe feels. Moving the EVERUN from the midsole to the topsole was a stroke of genius. Skeptics will think that it’s just a marketing gimmick but it does work – the wearer gets the benefits of the springy and responsive cushioning right where it matters while minimizing the weight gain of the shoe. TPU is heavier than traditional EVA, so a full EVERUN midsole will need to have a wildly engineered upper like the Freedom ISO (my next review!) to mitigate the weight gain.

The fit is similar to the K7, while not as roomy up front as the Triumph ISO 3, your toes won’t end up scrunched together. There’s certainly enough room for foot swelling right up to ultra distances under 100K. The Pro-lock no longer feels as restrictive and with the improved padding on the tongue, I’m able to lace down further without the added pressure on top of my feet.

The K8 is surprisingly stable, thanks to the semi-rigid medial heel counter as well as the overlay on the lateral side of the midfoot. I found the recent marathon-paced 20K done in the rain to be particularly enjoyable. The legs felt less beat up due to the topsole and in case you’re unaware, the EVERUN material is less susceptible to temperature changes, retaining its cushioning and responsive qualities even in cool/cold weather.

With the K8, Saucony has taken a long-time favorite and made it even better. If I had to pull a shoe out from my rack for a last minute race, this would be it. If I had only 1 shoe to run in, this would be it.


The Saucony Kinvara 8 is already available in Stadium and Running Lab stores as well as selected RSH outlets nationwide, and it best of all, it still retails at RM429, the same as the K7. Unless you’re no fan of the new-found smooth and bouncy responsiveness or the miniscule weight gain, I don’t see why you’d opt the 7 over the 8.

Disclosure: I am a Saucony Malaysia Ambassador but the opinions expressed above is based from my own personal experience and miles logged in them. This review is in no way whatsoever influenced by Saucony Malaysia.

Entries For The Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2017 Are Open!

It’s that time of the year again, and entries for the 2017 Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM17) are open now! The official website has all the details. Happening the first weekend of July, it’s basically a week full of running on the Gold Coast (GC) with not only the Half and Full Marathons on Sunday, there’s the shorter distances on Saturday. The information on various categories can be found here.

While early bird fees run until April 2017, you should really start looking for best deals in flight tickets, and accommodation options. If you’ve a group of 20 and above, it makes sense to go by way of group registration to enjoy discounts on registration fees. Details on group registration here.

So what are your traveling options to the Gold Coast?

  1. Self plan
  2. Travel package by Holiday Travel & Tours

More on the 2 options below. But first, some tips if you’re traveling to the GC for the first time.

Airline
The most direct way to GC from Malaysia is via Air Asia X. Flight from KLIA2 takes approximately 7 hours 40 mins. You’ll arrive at the Gold Coast Airport (the title sponsor!) in Coolangatta, located just 40 minutes away from Surfers Paradise.

A mix of independent and tour package travelers at KLIA2 prior to boarding.

Packing
If you’re going to be staying in an apartment, you’ll be happy to know that apartments on the GC are, more often than not, fully furnished – kitchen, utensils, washer, dryer, etc. So, you really don’t have to pack too much. What you need to pack on top of your running gear and 2 sets of apparels are sun block, hat, sunglasses, and camera! Oh, do bring along some old race tees for layering before the race start. These you can remove minutes before the gun goes off – they’re collected and washed before being donated to charities.

Part of the GCAM16 group which traveled on the Holiday Travel & Tours package. This was taken upon arrival at the Race Pack collection and Expo.

Time difference
GC is 2 hours ahead on Malaysia on the clock during the winter.

Sunrise/Sunset
6:30am/5pm during the winter. Start your morning runs at 6am to catch the sunrise!

Temps
I’ve not experienced anything colder than 8 Celcius in my 6 years there. It gets cooler up in the mountains (yes, GC isn’t just only about the beaches and theme parks). Highest temps during the day are around 18-22 Celcius. Weather’s usually dry in the winter but 2016 has been wet a day after the marathon. It gets warm under the sun and UV levels are high so be sure to wear a hat, sunglasses and have sunscreen applied.

Food
A wide variety, including Halal food. Surf and turf, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Korean and Thai and even Malaysian are easily found in town. I love the take-away options available at the local supermarkets like Coles and Woolsworth though. You’ll see what I mean when you’re there. Take-aways allow you to save a little and besides, you can have a potluck back at the apartment. My family and I enjoyed the fresh seafood at Peter’s Fish Market so much we went there a couple of times when we visited this year. I’m looking forward to checking out the much-touted Chevron Island Seafood after the race!

Shopping
I’m not that much of a shopper but other than the usually touristy trinkets, the newly expanded Harbour Town Premium Outlet offers an extensive variety of brands. It’s located quite near to Surfers Paradise and if you’ve rented a car, it’s even closer to get to.

The friendly folks at Harbour Town gave us a nice welcome back in 2015. Be sure to drop by the Visitor Centre to pick up discount vouchers, complimentary coffee/tea and wifi when you’re there.

Getting Around
Plenty of options. There’s the G:Link tram which runs through up and down the coast, covering the major spots. Surfside buses ply the rest of the areas. If you’re in a group, it make sense to rent a car. Not only is it an affordable option, with a car you’ll be able to explore the beautiful highlands, beaches north and south of Surfers with greater flexibility. Rentals are available right from the airport. Con-x-ion airport shuttle are available for pre-booking, if you’re an independent traveler.

Surfside bus to Harbour Town.

Traveling Options

The travel group was ferried to brunch upon arrival before heading to the expo.

The self-plan option is pretty self explanatory. Basically a DIY and offers the most flexible schedule, it allows you to stay where you like, plan your own itinerary and extend your stay – all according to your budget. GC is easy enough to do all the above and information is plenty on the Internet.

First-timers on a limited time, may want someone to make the call for them. If that’s you, Holiday Travel & Tours is again offering that option for you. On top of the standard packages, do check with them on discounted fares for park entrances,  rides and more. Here’s the link to download the brochure. According to the brochure, the Thursday night flight to the GC has been designated the Gold Coast Airport Marathon flight, with fun and games planned on-board!

And Finally….
Now, if your mind’s made up to run GCAM17, you really need to add yourself to the GCAM17 Team -Malaysia-In-Training Facebook Page here. We’ve kicked off some weekend short runs, all very low key since it’s the holiday period. Things will move up a notch or two when the new year kicks off. The team look to welcoming new and old friends to the group because it’s always more fun and motivating to train in a group, especially for the weekend long runs and track repeats. We’ve over the years added so much information to that page that will hopefully help you plan your stay and race while you’re there. Be sure to also click on the “Files” tab on the same page – that’s where we’ve put up all the pertinent links to tourist hotspots, hotels and fully-furnished and equipped apartments which we’ve stayed before. Malaysia had one of the highest overseas participation during GCAM16 – over 260! If you’ve questions, anything at all, be sure to ask on the page. We’ll be very happy to answer them, like how you can actually run the 10K (or for your kids, the Kids Dash or 5.7K) on Saturday as a fun run before the main event (Half or Full Marathon) the next day!

A Shake Down Run is planned on Saturday July 1st evening. This is sort of like a meet-up photo session, followed by a short 3-5K run to get the mind and body into performing their best. Of course, if you’ve any last minute questions, some of us veterans will be on hand to answer them. We will post details of the Shake Down Run in the same FB page nearer the event.

Before our 3K Shake Down run on Saturday evening.

GCAM on Social Media
Plenty of info, trivia, photos/videos and running tips shared on the event sites below.

That’s a bit much info for now but rather than rambling on, it’s time for you to commit to GCAM17, and make all the necessary arrangements for the July runcation. If you’re like me, marathon training for the first half of the year is easier than the second. Work has a tendency to develop into a deluge from August right up to December. There’s, of course, the unpredictable Quarter 3 and 4 weather too which may throw a spanner into the training.

Many PRs, sub-4s and a BQ performance in GCAM16.

With that, the team and I hope to see you for training soon and over at the Gold Coast!

Saucony Triumph ISO 3 NYC Edition


I’ve not worn shoes weighing 10oz or more for close to a year. Even the “bulkiest” in my rotation i.e. the Ride 8, Zealot ISO and Guide 9 are all a shade under 10oz. With the Ride and Zealot approaching EOL (End of Life), I’ve to line up a replacement quickly since I’ve several races in mind up till July 2017. So I popped over to Running Lab to check out several Saucony models, namely the Ride 9, Zealot ISO 2, Triumph ISO 2, it was the latest Triumph ISO 3 NYC edition (TISO3NYC) that tickled my fancy, despite weighing in at 11oz (312g) for US10.

Here are the reasons why:

  1. Of the models I tried, the TISO3NYC has the most accommodating toebox.
  2. I was looking for a pure trainer, thus the 8mm drop on a thicker stack height was something I’m OK with.
  3. Despite its looks, it’s incredibly smooth and well-balanced (more on this later).
  4. The 11oz felt like half ounce lighter. I only weighed the shoe just before paying for it.
  5. It has all the latest tech that Saucony has put into the market.
  6. It’s slightly more flexible than the Triumph ISO 2.

Please note that I’ve not had prior experience in the pre-EVERUN Triumphs nor the Triumph ISO 2 (TISO2) other than the few minutes of wearing it in-store. Also noteworthy is the fact that the NYC edition was a special release in conjunction with the NYC Marathon and has subtle differences compared to the regular TISO3. The NYC edition has stock exchange design cues all over the upper, outsole, sockliner and even box. The light blue colored fabric around the collar and tongue of the NYC edition feel plusher and more luxurious compared to the regular version. What’s unchanged are the EVERUN midsole and TRIFLEX outsole construction – which means the regular version will share nearly all the wear experience of the NYC edition. For simplicity sake, this review applies both to the NYC as well as the regular version of the Triumph ISO 3. The regular version is only expected to land in Malaysia sometime Q1 2017.

Medial view.

Lateral view.

If you’ve been keeping count, the TISO3 is the 14th edition in the Triumph lineage. Its looks is understated probably due to the classy black and blue colorway combo. The ISOFIT inner-sleeve system which I love in the Zealot is also retained although the TISO3 sees 1 less “finger wrap” than the TISO2’s. The tongue is very well padded as is the collar, and plushness is what you’ll get when you pull them on. Because it’s part of the ISOFIT system, the tongue stays in place all the time. Flexfilm strips holds the engineered mesh upper together while around the heel, an external piece of PU Support Frame, marketing talk for “heel wrap/counter” provides some structure to that area. A large reflective strip runs vertically down the rear of the shoe.

Like the TISO2, the TISO3 also features a full length EVERUN topsole and heel insert. However the midsole of the TISO3 has been hollowed out, creating a center of pressure sweetspot with each footstrike. You can now see the EVERUN foam when you flip the shoe over. It has heel and forefoot stack heights of 30mm and 22mm respectively for a 8mm heel offset. Unlike shoes with high heel offsets (10mm and above), 8mm smoothes out the heel to toe transition and one doesn’t get the jarring effect of the difference in stack heights.

The outsole retains the now familiar TRIFLEX configuration. There’s more rubber used now, with each of the strips noticeably wider. Flex grooves are deeper which ups the flexibility of the shoe. In the case of the TISO3NYC, you get a unique 2-color outsole indicative of the up/down movement of the stock indices.

How does the shoe ride? In 2 words: smooth and plush. Regardless of you’re the sort to heel/midfoot/forefoot strike, you’re assured a very comfortable run. If you’re a heel striker, you will certainly feel the silky transition as you toe-off. It also rides stable for a neutral trainer to me. The stock sockliner doesn’t rub my feet the wrong way, no rubbing nor chafing around the arch region. The TISO3 just feels very balanced, in terms of weight distribution. The heel doesn’t feel much more overly contructed than the mid or forefoot regions – just very even, very neutral. If you were to place the TISO3 on a tip of a wedge right in the middle, the shoe will even out on both ends and not tip over at the heel nor forefoot.

Where the Fastwitch and Kinvara will get you running fast, the TISO3 will put the enjoyment back into your long and easy runs. I enjoy the miles I put into TISO3 so much that I ran in it for the whole week without any shoe rotation, with the longest run at 15K. Since I was coming off the recovery from P78, the total clocked for the week was 47K. Most of the miles were in the 6:30-40 pace range but I had no problems pushing it down to 5:45 as well. There’s a limit to how much you can sustainably push it at that quicker pace though. Its weight will eventually prove a factor. 5-7Ks of 5:30s and a sub 5:00 K tired me out. The 2oz do make a difference over the course of a marathon or ultra!

The TISO3 has no traction problems with concrete, tarmac, dirt, and loose sand but avoid residual mud. Some tiny pebbles were lodged in between some grooves but the TRIFLEX outsole (made up of iBR+ and carbon rubber) performed very well. I reckon 700K to be a reasonable number to hit for the life of this shoe.

I’d say that the TISO3NYC is a great shoe to be logging your slow to moderate miles in. It’s ultra plush and smooth, flexible and stable enough for a lot of people out there. Because it carries an extra heft, it’s best fitted into a rotation with other shoes such as the more responsive Ride 9, Zealot ISO 2 or the ever trusty lightweight and race-ready Kinvara 7 (review here). They’re all EVERUN models.

At RM599, the Triumph ISO 3 NYC edition is positioned as Saucony’s premium neutral trainer and is available on a very limited basis from Running Lab Tropicana City Mall. You’ll be able to check out the regular version of the Triumph ISO 3 in a couple of months’ time.

Disclosure: I am a Saucony Malaysia Ambassador but the opinions expressed above is based from my own personal experience and miles logged in them. This review is in no way whatsoever influenced by Saucony Malaysia.

Toyo Tires Putrajaya 100 Miles (78K) Race Report

When entries for this year’s final edition of the Putrajaya 100 (rebranded Toyo Tires Putrajaya 100) opened some months ago, I didn’t bite. It has been a bruising year at work and I’ve struggled with moving the mileage beyond what’s needed for general fitness. In case you’re unfamiliar with the venue, Putrajaya didn’t get to be infamous for nothing. Even when Nick signed up for the 78K category, he earned more ribbing from the gang than admiration. There was even a hint of sympathy for him too.

So it was unbelievably perplexing, that in the course of  the next couple of months, more of us found ourselves to be part of Nick’s troupe. For the life of me, even now, I can’t believe I was suckered in. And like lemmings, Lum, Cherly and Jeanie came along too! The monies paid, there was really little chance of not turning up, even if all the running I did leading up to that night was just the maintenance sort, fluctuating between 30-50K weeks.

However, at least on the runners’ side, was the favourable weather forecast for the night. Evenings have been stormy (conditions which I love) and certainly beat being put on a slow roast. The list of mandatory items were long and carrying the load presented an equally challenging task for the long haul. But you can’t negotiate on safety.

The plan was to pack as light as I could. Where possible, I brought along alternative gear in my carry box. The red Saucony Palladium packable jacket was eventually replaced by a RM5 Daiso poncho when rain didn’t appear to be on the cards. I also reduced the number of nut bars I carried and ditched the single pack of gel, relying on 2 remaining bars and a bag of mixed roasted nuts for fuel. From my experience in TNF Hong Kong, my primarily nuts fuel plan worked pretty well, staving off hunger while providing denser calories. A single 500ml soft flask was included being a much lighter option, instead of the UD bottle. I decided to bring along a clear lens shade as eye protection from rain, insects and what-have-you.

Book was placed there as a reference for the pack size.

My final load was comfortably packed into the UD SJ pack. The new Salomon 1L race vest would’ve been ideal but there wasn’t much room in that one, unfortunately. Apparels were also of the bright and light variety, Saucony’s Speed of Lite vest and shorts, a buff and a safety vest over all that. Footwear duties went to the Kinvara 7 instead of the earlier intended Guide 9. Again, it was part of the “go light” strategy. Socks were the Pacific & Co ones which feature reflective nubs. No compression wear. Drop bag facilities were extended to only the 100K and 100 milers, so the Petzl Nao will have to be carried throughout my 78K distance.

Frank was kind enough to drive Jeanie and I to Putrajaya and since we were early, we made a short detour to Equine Park for a light snack. I had a large bowl of ABC to stay hydrated and cool myself down but skipped actual food since I wasn’t hungry. It’s never easy running in a heavily stuffed mode. When we got to the race site, and having gone through kit inspection and race number collection, it was just chilling around sipping on the Americano which I’d brought along. It was getting clearer that there would be no rain that night. Thankfully, the air was cooling with a slight breeze going.

Prior to flag off, Arman gave a quick briefing covering the important safety reminders and route updates. Finally, along with 40 or so other runners, I was finally let off. I emptied my mind of any doubts or emotions and just went with the flow. The number of 78K runners was smaller than the nearly 100 52K and close to 140 runners for the 100K categories.

Photo credit: Rany Tan

With Jeanie running strongly, I decided to hang back. Nick, Lum, Cherly, Frank and Leong (who turned up to lend support) were all close by and we took things really easy, walking frequently and not the least bothered that people were passing us. The night was still young and self-preservation was of utmost importance.

Photo credit: Run & Explore

When we got near to the hotel where Nick’s wife was waiting, we put on a grand show of 5:45 surge. Naturally as soon as we passed the section, we resumed our walk break! Nothing like these nonsensical moments to take the mind off pressing matters :) .

Photo credit: Nick’s wife. I was just a blur. 5:45 pace ma….

We got to CP1 pretty smoothly and after a quick refill of the bottle and a bite of 2 slices of bread,  we resumed our journey. Several mouthfuls of ice-cold Coke helped to freshen things up too. Not long after that, we had more company in the form of CY, Richi, Zijill and Julia who biked along. As much as I’d like that ice-cold beer (CY and Richi kept reminding Nick and I), I kept my focus on the task at hand. Thankfully, the McDonald’s along the way was so crowded I wasn’t tempted to head in for a snack!

Photo credit: CY

It goes without saying that with many of the gang present, there would be more than one photo taken!  I felt a little bad as we were proceeding rather slowly, and these guys were on bikes. After CP2, we lost them, thinking that they could’ve backtracked to support Frank, Jeanie and Cherly. It must’ve been difficult for them but they somehow appeared again when we arrived at CP3! We’ve covered 26K, which wasn’t even halfway but I was comforted that we’ve about to start the difficult 13K to CP4, the halfway point, and the same distance back to CP5 (CP3) for a total of 26K.

Photo credit: CY

With the clock past midnight, Nick and I gingerly (and should I say, briskly) got through the Muslim cemetery stretch before the route joined up with the highway to CP4. Along with Nick, we covered another 6K before I spotted someone hustling at great speed towards us. Somehow I knew from the running form, that the person was Frank and I was proven right. He had put in some serious afterburners to have caught up with us. Jeanie and Cherly were still in the game much further back.

As we continued our run-walk strategy towards CP4, egging Nick along, we cheered the returning runners from the 100K category. Then there was Jeff, on his way back and in the lead in the 100 miles category. After sharing some pain management tips with me, we wished him the best as we moved along. Several stretches of this sector were in total darkness, so it was great to have Frank’s powerful headlamp to complement our Petzls.

Status update at approx 35K mark for us, from eventual 100-mile champ Jeff.

CP4 was located at the top of a steep climb but boy, was it a relief for me to get there. Nick was in some pain with his inflammed knee. We urged him to consider resting longer and should conditions turned for the worse, he could at least hitch a ride on any marshall vehicle heading back to the staging area or earlier CP. With some hope that somehow he’d make it, Frank and I departed for the final half of the race. Perhaps triggered by copious quantity of Coke, there was a greater sense of urgency and I felt that the timing was right to focus and close down the distance to the next 2 CPs (52K and 58K respectively) the best we can. My legs were still fine and there was some confidence in my strides and I thought, “Just go with the flow”. With Frank, we made some good progress, passing runners along the way.

Then in the distance, we spotted 2 lights – it was Jeanie and Cherly! So good to see that they were still in it! And with that we went our ways. Our spirits lifted, no doubt. Next party we ran into was Piew, Yan Leng, Kien Siong and Li Leen – our next bunch of supporters. We hit the 2 CPs in very good timing, with pace ranging from 6:10 to 6:30, passing more runners than ever before. Fatigue started creeping in only after the 58K mark, with the discomfort stemming more from the pain in the metatarsals than anything else. I had encountered no cramps, no gas in the stomach, no water retention issues on the extremities, just some mild discomfort in the tummy – nothing a hot drink can’t settle. I’d been fueling well on nuts, bars and some bread slices but a hot drink would’ve been great. But Frank has been kind enough to pace along and we were still power walking!

By the time we embarked on our final 8K, Piew and Yan Leng had had to leave us. The progress was slow but it was already too near to completely stop.

7K to go! Photo credit: Khairul Nizam

With 4K to go, Frank and I were operating on getting to the next lamp-post or bin and so on, but with the spirits lifting as we drew ever nearer to the finish, we ran more than we walked. We passed 2 more of our category before crossing the finish line in 12:55, and not a moment sooner as the day was warming up quickly.

Relieved to have finished. Photo credit: Jeff

All in all, it was a great outing for me. My expectations had been really low, with hardly any significant mileage, but with friends’ support and right fueling, I somehow finished in a relatively comfortable state, with no injuries. Thanks to the GCAM gang, whose names I mentioned earlier, for turning up and Frank for not abandoning me over the 2nd half of the race. We covered the 2nd half faster than the 1st which was a wisely executed strategy, getting us the 5th and 6th position respectively. It was only at the finish that I learnt that Nick has decided to stop at the 52K mark on account of his condition. We were just glad he made the hard call as there are upcoming races to be run – and yes, we need him for more vain shots! I should thank all the volunteers, crew and the PACAT organizing team for the hard work out there. It’s never easy putting everything together and staying out there for the runners for such a long period of time! This year’s edition was the last time we run the roads of Putrajaya and we look forward to finding out where next year’s edition will be held.

Saucony was also a sponsor for the Toyo Tires Putrajaya 100 this year and all 100 mile finishers, over 20 of them, won themselves new pairs of shoes!

Photo courtesy of Frank.

With the longest run done, it’s time to enjoy a little downtime before revving up the legs for an early 2017 marathon over the next few weeks.

Note: I wonder if there’s any leftover Sapporo’s from that night? ;)

Saucony® Launches Freedom ISO™ With Full-Length EVERUN™ Midsole

 

 

Freedom ISO™ Combines One-Two Punch Of Brand’s Award-Winning Tag-Team Technologies, Resulting In Running Experience That Starts Amazing, Stays Amazing

WALTHAM, MA (November 21, 2016) – Have you ever run and felt like you could run forever? The road unwinds effortlessly, the air is crisp and the sunrise perfect.  As the miles click by, you’re brimming with boundless energy, euphoria, and a sense of runaway freedom. Some refer to the feeling as “runner’s high,” others a “second wind.” At Saucony it’s called the Freedom ISO™ and it delivers a running experience that not only starts amazing−it stays amazing−no matter how long your run.

Launching December 1, 2016, the Freedom ISO is the first-ever performance running shoe with a full-length EVERUN midsole. Combined with Saucony’s dynamic ISOFIT™ fit system, the Freedom ISO delivers the one-two punch of Saucony’s award-winning tag-team technologies. The result is the brand’s most technologically advanced shoe ever created.

Starts Amazing, Stays Amazing

“Finding a new way to liberate and expand the running experience−free of boundaries, full of freedom−reflects our relentless commitment to both the runner and innovation,” said Tom Hartge, senior vice president of global footwear for Saucony. “The Freedom ISO sets the course for Saucony to create a whole new running experience that’s unlike anything before. It’s EVERUN unleashed, designed to make you want to run, while fully enjoying the feeling that you could actually run forever.”

 

The Freedom ISO’s full-length EVERUN foam midsole maintains cushioning properties three times longer than standard EVAs while returning 83% of the energy absorbed. Adding to the extraordinary durability and flexibility of the Freedom ISO’s EVERUN midsole material, Saucony is pairing a TRI-FLEX™ crystal rubber outsole that also displays exceptional resistance to wear. Besides being resilient, the crystal rubber compound matches the considerable flexibility of the EVERUN foam, allowing for greater adaptation to different foot proportions and freedom of motion underfoot. In addition to the full-length EVERUN midsole, the Freedom ISO also incorporates EVERUN Topsole construction for even greater energy return and continuous, fluid cushioning with every stride.

 

Weighing in at 9 ounces for men and 8.1 ounces for women, the 4mm-offset Freedom ISO’s lightweight, racing-inspired ISOFIT sleeve creates a dynamic fit system while the breathable engineered stretch mesh upper and streamlined heel support frame add to the shoe’s impressive fit and lightweight performance.

“Our engagement with runners informs our execution,” said Hartge. “Our intent is to bring purpose and thought to every design element. The Freedom ISO, with its full-length EVERUN platform, moves the focus from equipment to experience. The true significance of the Freedom ISO is that all the elements come together in perfect harmony.”

 

For more information on the Saucony Freedom ISO, contact Sharon Barbano at sharon.barbano@saucony.com.

 

About Saucony: Saucony, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, Inc.(NYSE: WWW), is a leading global running lifestyle brand that fuses performance, innovation and style to create compelling footwear and apparel with its widely recognized brands Saucony and Saucony Originals.  Founded in 1898, Saucony continues to inspire runners everywhere with its award winning innovations, including EVERUN™, ISOFIT™, Geometry of Strong™, PWRGRID+™, and the Total Run System™ apparel line. At Saucony, a good day is when we get to run. A great day is when we inspire someone else to run. For more information, go to www.saucony.com.

 

 

SHARON BARBANO
PUBLIC RELATIONS
SAUCONY & WOLVERINE BOSTON
617.824.6126
617.616.6126
500 Totten Pond Road
Waltham, MA

 

 

FIND YOUR STRONG

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