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Press Release: Saucony® Unveils Game-Changing Technology- EVERUN™


Delivering Continuous Cushioning to Runners, No Matter How Long the Run

The All New EVERUN Technology
Global performance running footwear and apparel brand Saucony pulls no punches in writing the next chapter of its performance innovation success story. Maintaining its relentless commitment to elevating the running experience through innovation, the brand announced today the launch of Saucony EVERUN™, its most advanced technology to date. Brand-new for Spring 2016, EVERUN represents a new era of cushioning innovation, delivering a continuous cushioning experience to runners, no matter how long the run.

First launched at the New York City Marathon, Saucony’s Triumph ISO 2 and Guide 9 are the first models is the Saucony line-up to be powered by EVERUN. The technology will later be incorporated into the newHurricane ISO 2, Kinvara 7 and Peregrine 6 which is set to be available in Malaysia February 2016. EVERUN will be supported by the brand’s biggest marketing launch to date and will coincide with the retail launch of the Triumph ISO 2 and Guide 9 at the New York City Marathon.

“EVERUN is not only a game-changer for us but for the industry as well,” said Patrick O’Malley, senior vice president of global product for Saucony. “Runners are once again responding to the benefits of cushioning, including increased energy return and underfoot comfort. One of the primary objectives in the development of EVERUN was to deliver a continuous cushioning experience to runners, combining smoother landings in the heel with reduced pressure in the forefoot.

“Our designers came up with a fundamentally new approach we call Topsole™, a breakthrough construction process that positions our best cushioning material closer to the foot. The result is that EVERUN delivers the same plush feel in mile one as mile twenty, continuously giving back to runners, especially at the end of the run when they need it most,” added O’Malley.

EVERUN Delivers Two Key Benefits
Lowers Peak Pressures:
EVERUN’s patent-pending Topsole construction process positions a 3mm layer of Saucony’s revolutionary EVERUN foam material closer to the foot, directly under the sockliner, instead of embedding it in the midsole below a layer of rigid cement. This construction process distributes propulsion force over more area, reducing local peak pressures while delivering a dramatically more lively and responsive ride.

Absorbs Impact:
The EVERUN Landing Zone and heel insert provide remarkable impact protection, maintaining cushioning properties three times longer than standard EVAs while returning 83% of the energy absorbed, according to research in the Saucony Human Performance and Innovation Lab.

Typical EVA foam heats up, getting softer the longer the run just when the body fatigues and needs impact protection the most. The EVERUN technology addresses this breakdown of cushioning and consequently, joint protection, in running shoes during the course of a run.
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Introducing Max And Miles
The Saucony EVERUN Series of performance running shoes will be supported by the biggest marketing launch in the company’s history.

“Not only is EVERUN a breakthrough in cushioning and construction technologies, but this is also the first time that Saucony is using video animation in a marketing campaign,” said Mary O’Brien, vice president of global marketing for Saucony. “We’re always looking for the best way to tell our story. We knew that video animation would not only be entertaining and fun, but it would make a rather intricate technology story clear and meaningful to runners everywhere.”

The launch campaign focuses on the ground-breaking idea behind EVERUN, occurring in a secret laboratory in an undisclosed location. The new multichannel global marketing campaign features an animated video starring fictional lab technicians Max and Miles, the purported inventors of EVERUN.

The conversation between Max and Miles provides a unique and amusing take on their eagerness to share their newly-discovered continuous cushioning technology with runners everywhere. While Max delivers a serious high-tech explanation of EVERUN’s myriad benefits, Miles eagerly gives his own perspective of EVERUN in excitably unscientific terms: “There’s this stuff we came up with … amazing stuff! You should see the stuff this stuff can do!”

The EVERUN Product Lineup
Triumph ISO 2
The new Triumph ISO 2, the successor to the Triumph ISO (named “Editor’s Choice” by Runner’s World; Spring 2015 Shoe Guide), is the brand’s super-plush neutral trainer now featuring a full-length EVERUN Topsole and EVERUN Landing Zone, TRI-FLEX outsole and ISOFIT upper.
RRP: RM 529

Guide 9
The lightest Guide ever (9.7 ounces in men’s size 9) has been completely updated for Spring 2016. With an SRC Landing Zone in the heel, a Dual Density medial post and a full-length EVERUN Topsole, the Guide 9 provides an efficient stride while also delivering a lively, resilient ride. A new TRI-FLEX outsole helps prevent late-stage pronation while a seam-free toe box provides comfort and allows the toes to splay during the latter phase of the gait cycle.
RRP: RM 469

Hurricane ISO 2
The Hurricane ISO 2, heir to the Hurricane ISO (named “Best Update” by Runner’s World; Summer 2015 Shoe Guide), blends the benefits of a premium stability shoe with unparalleled cushioning. An EVERUN Topsole and EVERUN Landing Zone along with a PWRGRID+ platform provide shock attenuation and set the foot up for an efficient transition. The ISOFIT saddle is engineered to provide additional stabilizing support. A Dual Density medial post offers superb guidance while a lightweight Support Frame secures the heel upon foot strike.
RRP: RM 529

Kinvara 7
Lockdown fit, a quick, resilient ride, and a great underfoot feeling are the calling cards of the awardwinning Kinvara running experience. The latest edition gets an EVERUN Heel Insert for cushioning where it’s needed most, while the sleek, FLEXFILM-infused upper supports the foot with every stride. A new outsole configuration that includes TRI-FLEX and wider lugs delivers more ground contact and increased flexibility and durability.
RRP: RM 429

Peregrine 6
With a protected upper, heel and forefoot rock plates, and a new PWRTRAC outsole, the Peregrine 6 gives runners the means to conquer any terrain. EVERUN in the heel delivers shock-dampening cushioning, while the highly flexible midsole allows runners to adapt and react to uneven surfaces.
RRP: RM 429

For more information on EVERUN, visit: www.saucony.com/everun | https://www.facebook.com/saucony.my/

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About Saucony: 
Saucony, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, 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.

About RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of RSH Limited., which is the leading Pan Asian marketer, distributor and retailer for sports, golf, active lifestyle and fashion products; with over 60 international brand names and a wide distribution network. RSH Limited has a over 420 free-standing stores and 570 shops-in-shop in 11 countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand.

For more information, please visit www.rshlimited.com, www.facebook.com/RSHMY.
For more information contact:
Advertising and Promotions Department
Tel: 03-5123 2668 Fax: 03-5637 0531
Yi Xuan Lai, Executive Advertising & Promotions │yixuanlai@rsh.com.my
Kiki Lee, Manager Advertising & Promotions │kikilee@rsh.com.my

Chiang Mai Half Marathon

Those who know me will tell you that I’m a stickler for race packing when it comes to overseas events. My bag will be ready to go 2 weeks to the race. This time around though, I was still throwing things into the luggage the morning of my flight out. This year would be my 2nd trip to the northern Thai city, with the first about a year ago for the same event. Another difference other than the distance I’d be running was the fact that my wife would be accompanying me for a getaway.

Since I couldn’t get great rates at the Amora Tapae where I put up in 2014, I opted for the Rom Po Boutique Hotel off Tapae Road which in hindsight was a nice rustic place to stay. Located in between the popular Walking Street and the Night Bazaar, heading out in both directions was quite easy.

Race pack pick up was a little haphazardly organized for a 10-year old event. I was given a non-personalized bib but the goodie bag stuffing consisted of things we could actually use instead of vouchers and sample cream. After the race pack collection, we went off in search of a very late breakfast along the walking street but nearly all eateries we passed weren’t opened. So we settled for a plate of mango sticky rice for 60 Baht and a large fried chicken drumstick.

I needed to get some bread, sports drinks and canned coffee for next morning which resulted in a 6K shopping walkabout. Before retiring to the hotel, we paid a visit to a nearby massage parlor (a massage joint is always nearby wherever you are in Chiang Mai!) to help loosened some tight joints and muscles. I can’t remember when the last time I visited such an establishment so you can be sure it was a painful experience. After an early dinner I was ready to call it a night.

The alarm buzzed at 4:10am and I rolled out of bed feeling very glad to have registered just for the half. 3 bites of a dry corn bun and a small can of black coffee later I was out into the cool morning. I had an old tee over my vest but once I started my jog to Tapae Gate merely 400 meters away, I was already warmed up. Some marathoners were still running past the section, having been flagged off at 4 earlier and there appeared to be a cozy crowd for the half.

Proceeded with some dynamic stretching before heading to the start which was just in front of Top North Hotel. As mentioned, the crowd wasn’t that large, probably a thousand or so. Considering a weekly mileage of 30K with a smattering of 16Ks on weekends, I was in two minds on how to run the race – do I go out hard or take it slow and finish in 1:59? I wanted to run in honor of a friend back home. A few seconds later, I had my decision. I knew that the only way to honor anyone or a cause will be to do my best in whatever circumstances. When the gun went off and the race started to the energetic beat of traditional drums, I was mentally fully engaged in the race. Instantly, a plan started forming in my mind – keep things under control until I exit the Old City for the suburbs and go on from there depending on feel.

Whatever pain the massage brought about, it certainly prepped the legs and hips. They felt loose and my strides were smooth and efficient. The only niggles were the shoulders which were still sore. First K was a relaxed 5:31 but it gradually lowered from there. As we headed out of the Old City, I found myself in a pack of 3 runners, and an annoying guy running fartleks. Fartlek guy sped up each time we passed him and then slowed down only to be caught. The other 2 guys, one of whom was in a tri top, were moving the same pace and chatting amongst themselves. Having some folks to anchor myself to made things easier and a little more interesting in a race. I was able to tap into the group’s energy and I thought that if I maintain control over my pace, I could actually test my fitness and see how fast I can push things after the halfway point.

By the 7K mark, the pace had quickened, averaging 5:20 with a surge here and there. As the race progressed, I dared to be a little more adventurous. Somewhere along the highway, after a typically quick grab at a cup of water, I surged ahead to clear the 4 runners around me and after 100 meters of so, I expected the duo to reel me in but they didn’t. I kept the pace and was game for a good race the more ground I covered. The elites were already on the way back and it was pretty thrilling that they were within arm’s length had I reached out. In Chiang Mai, the roads weren’t fully closed to the traffic and the returning runners were actually just half a lane apart from the slower ones.

I was feeling really good but wanted to hold back at least until the u-turn before kicking things up. However, seeing that I was still on course to run a decent race despite not having done the training was just too tempting. With 12K covered, I threw caution to the wind and just had a go. The pace averaged 5:05 the next 5K as I tried to press down the overall average as much as I can. When it hurt, I kept the thought of my friend even stronger in my mind. The town was just starting to wake up and get busy as I closed down the remaining miles in low 5s and 4:51s. When I re-entered the Old City perimeter, I was in another “battle” with 2 other runners but just couldn’t find another gear, managing just to drop one and let the other go. The 2015 finish line was moved back to the original location near Tapae Gate which I very much prefer as the runners have a longer straight to kick after rounding the final corner. I crossed the line in 1:51:00 ecstatic inside with my effort and after being handed the post-race pack (McD’s never tasted so good), I kept the thought of my friend in mind as I walked back to the hotel to freshen up. At that time the 10K runners were still awaiting flag off, so I could’ve  run in 2 categories had I registered!

Photo credit: Jimrunner

My wife and I would return to the race site in 30 minutes to partake in the street food the organizers had laid out for us runners. To not redeem the food vouchers would’ve been a waste! Plus the ice-cream and herbal drink were heaven sent. We took the opportunity to hang around the area to cheer the incoming runners before walking another 4K to check out the Central Mall.

Dedicated photogs.

Finishing gantry.

 

The race wasn’t my best by 4 minutes, but it was the very best I could muster with no significant running done prior to the race. I was engaged in the race, in my thoughts and in my heart, and if that’s how I race my future races, I wouldn’t have any reasons to be dissatisfied about. The only downer was my result wasn’t captured and published despite my emails to the race director. No responses either. Looking at the results, my age-group position would be 27.

Would I run Chiang Mai again? I think so, although I’m not sure when. It’s a nice laid back place to visit to cap off the year. It’s reasonably cool in the AM and night, and close enough where the wife and I could escape to without the kids and the massage worked wonders! I’ve never run Chiang Mai for timing, so this year’s misstep by the organizers is not something to scream the head off about.

Footnote: My friend passed away peacefully on Christmas Eve, after I got home. We ran with him for the final time on the day of his funeral. He had had run an extraordinary race.

Skechers GOrun Ride 5 Review

Just when I thought 2015 was a wrap, along came a text from Skechers Malaysia announcing that the GOrun Ride 5 (GRR5) just hit their warehouse. The news was a huge surprise since I was expecting the updated versions of the GOMeb Speed or GOTrail. Fellow shoe geek and GCAM Alumni Nick was kind enough to help with the pick-up and within a few days, I was already logging some miles in them. If you’re expecting the GRR5 to be yet another  same old shoe, you’re in for a surprise.

Old and new.

The GRR5 retains the 6mm drop with the sockliner and 4mm without the sockliner.

If the GRR4 saw a brighter colorway, the GRR5 upped that factor a bit more. Some may opine that the look is anything but exciting but I quite like the snazzy looks of the 5. The next thing you’ll notice will be the somewhat tapered look of the updated version. I’ve always found the GRR4’s fit to be somewhat sloppy in the forefoot. There’s just too much space up front and my toes had acres to spare even when compared with the Altra Torin. I’m happy to report that version 5 has the forefoot fit issue corrected by trimming excess areas. Visually, the GRR5 looks to have a constricted fit up front but fret not – your toes won’t be packed together like sardines with this one. How did they do it? The answers can be found in the photo below.

  1. Move the first row of the laces backwards -
  2. Widen the gap between the laces – nearly 50% more across
  3. Remove the 2 rows of stitching on the vamp

These tweaks ensure that while a narrower last may have been adopted, the shoe remains adequately roomy.

The GRR5 has a more tapered forefoot but with several smart tweaks, the area is still roomy enough. Without the sloppiness.

Elsewhere on the upper, 3D printed overlays are now widely used and an additional lace eyelet was added, increasing the count to 7. Be advised that you’ll find the laces too short to fully secure all the 7 eyelets through double-knotting. Nevertheless I find the added set of eyelets to be redundant personally. If that addition is important to you, you may need to swap out the stock laces for a longer variety.  The Quick-Fit Portal (QFP) is not only retained but it appears to be 50% larger on the GRR5. The downer is that the 2 large reflective strips on either side of it have been dropped, making the empty spaces appear rather awkward.

The Quick-Fit Portal is retained but the reflective strip is reduced to a little thread.

The changes are also extended to the Resalyte midsole. Firstly, the squishy feel of the earlier versions is gone, replaced with a firmly-tuned foam. The firmness is very obvious as you press down on the external midsole area with your fingers. It almost felt like the GOMeb Speed 3. The 3D design elements on the lateral side is a matter of preference, though. I thought it looks pretty neat, flashy even.

Moving on to the outsole, the GRR5 now bears an uncanny resemblance to the GOrun 4 (GR4), right down to the the midfoot cluster. Just like in the GR4, the lugs are deeper with 14 rubber plugs (the GRR4 had 11) adding a bit more durability to the high wear areas. Elsewhere, you can expect the exposed foam to wear out just as quickly. I can spot several nooks and crannies that will snag some small rocks. Have a look at the next 2 photos where you can see how different GRR5 is from the previous version and the similarities it shares with the GR4.

The GRR4’s outsole design (above) looks entirely different from the 5. Also notice the much wider forefoot of the 4.

GR4 on the left. Notice the similarities between the 2?

As a result of the tweaks, the GRR5 now wears a different persona. It now has an palpable performance feel to it even if the weight sees a nudge upwards (GRR4’s 8.65 oz vs GRR5’s 8.80 oz ). The denser midsole foam and the closer fit both conspire to change the character of the shoe. It still offers a cushioned ride except that it’s much more responsive than pillowy. I’d go as far as calling it a cushier version of the GOMeb Speed 3, instead of a cushier option to the GOrun. Needless to say, the GRR5 now feels great for uptempo sessions and Half Marathons. Efficient runners will be able to take it all the way to the Marathon distance.

A tinge heavier than the GRR4 but still under 9oz

I’ve not logged many miles in the GRR5 as I’m nursing a stubborn PF brought about by the Adios Boost. A smattering of 5 to 8Ks are all I can manage in firmer shoes for now as my base building continues. But as I wrap up this quick review, I wonder that with the new firmer take on a cushioned model, where is Skechers going with this series? There’s very little that separates the GR4, GRR5 and GOMeb now and the shopper would be advised to give all 3 a try at the stores before deciding. Give each a good skip-around in the store and let your feet be the judge.

Disclosure: The Skechers GOrun Ride 5 is a media sample provided by Skechers Malaysia. The GRR5 will be available very soon in Skechers stores in the country and retails for RM439 and RM399 for the men and women models respectively.

Jabra Sport Coach Wireless Review

Jabra, one of the world’s leading producers of headsets and earbuds recently added the Jabra Sport Coach Wireless (SCW) to its range of great-sounding, tough-wearing Bluetooth earbuds. Having put it through some sessions, I can now share some of my experiences with you. It helps if you’re familiar with their Sport Pulse Wireless and Sport Rox Wireless but if you aren’t, you can read about them by following the links provided. With that, let’s get going.

The SCW is optimized for cross-training and indoor workouts when paired with the smartphone but it works perfectly fine as standalone Bluetooth earbuds should you work it with your other Bluetooth enabled devices such as the iPod. The SCW rides on the Jabra Sport Life app on the smartphone, the same as what the Sport Pulse Wireless works with. But because the SCW is geared towards indoor workouts and drills, you’ll be prompted to update the app the very first time the SCW is paired with the smartphone. The update presumably includes additional voice prompts and programmed workouts.

The SCW shares the same design queues and battery life (5.5 hours) as the Sport Pulse Wireless (SPW). It’s lightweight, comes with different sets of EarGels and EarWings for a custom fit. Likewise, a FitClip is bundled for the wearer to secure excess length of cable behind the head such that the cable doesn’t flop around at the back. Once you’ve found your fit, the earbuds stay put – I can’t emphasize how important this requirement is, given how the SCW is intended to be used. A flat unit charges up to the max in 2 hours and this is done via a micro USB cable. The charging port is cleverly hidden away under the right side earbud. Connectivity with the smartphone or media player is made either via Bluetooth or NFC and like any sports earbuds worth mentioning, the Sport Coach is IPX55 certified for water and dust resistance.

So far, everything that has been covered is pretty much the same features you’d find on the SPW (minus the heart rate monitor) and Sport Rox Wireless. Now comes the feature-set that’s unique to the SCW, and that’s the audio coaching features. The SCW comes with the TrackFit motion sensor which measures distance, pace, steps, cadence and calories burned. Geared towards the fitness crowd, the SCW has more than 40 exercises built-in, catering to beginners and advanced enthusiasts.

A sampling of the workouts the SCW can handle.

Each workout comes with static images and descriptions.

The workouts are grouped into several circuits, 5 of which – CardiCore, TakeOff, BellyBurn, PushPerfection and MadCore – comes preset with the Jabra Sport Life app. Since I’m the curious type, I poked into the MadCore circuit just to see what’s in there. You can see from the screenshots below that it consists of a single set of workouts based on timing and reps, with 10 seconds’ rest in between.

If you’re mad enough, just hit the “Use Circuit” and you’ll get started right away.

If the preset is a bit much or still too mild for your liking, you can go ahead and duplicate the preset and then customize it according to your needs. You can tweak parameters such as number of sets, rest time, and add additional workouts. In the example below, I duplicated the MadCore circuit.

And since MadCore didn’t sound badass enough, I went ahead and created a circuit called Get Hammered. Just because I could :D

“Can’t touch this” would be a nice track to be included in this playlist.

Thankfully I checked myself before I got started and promptly changed my workout to CardiCore, albeit the modified version. I kicked things off with a slow jog, drills and some ROM routines. I selected Running as the activity and had the Jabra Sport Life app playing from my iTunes playlist. It was just a short run on the warm sunny morning yet I was sweating like I had just completed a 10K. The SCW performed as expected – it sounded just like any Jabras that I’ve worn, which is a good thing. The ROM routines didn’t dislodge the earbuds as I bounded here and there. Ending the warm up will bring up the summary screens. You can add a photo and share your session on several social media sites, no different from the usage experience as the SPW.

Then, it was time to get down, literally, to the circuits.  Press the Sports button located on the left earbud to call up the Sport Life app on the phone. Then on the phone, just select the desired circuit. I kept things relatively straightforward but over-estimated my fitness! In the course of performing these workouts, I also discovered that overall strength was unevenly distributed – something not surprising since running is just about the only sport that I do on a regular basis. Therefore the 20 reps of lower body routines were QED since squats and lunges are already part of my weekday post-run regimen. The push-ups are another thing, though :(

Now comes the part where my rating of the SCW drops a couple of notches. Conceptually the on-board TrackFit motion sensor should allow automatic tracking, progression and guidance for the athlete. It should be able sense how many reps have been executed and therefore knows when to move along to the next phase. The SCW, however, didn’t realize that potential. For example, it was able to track the time-bound routines but found itself at sea with the repetition-bound ones. What this means to the user is that she will need to count the number of push-ups, crunches executed and upon completion of those tap on the phone to progress the workout to the next routine.

Try doing that when you’re huffing and puffing, and trying to get into the zone and you’ll understand how frustrating the user experience can be. On the other hand, the transition screens were functional. Enough visual cues on your routine and the remaining time till the next one will keep you apprised. As will the audio announcements, inter-playing with your music playlist. However, since the SCW is unable to track certain types of routines, slowing down when completing a particular routine (for example, as you’re tiring) will not trigger a motivational message. It’ll be nice if the voice could scream out, “C’mon move it, you slug!” in full Dolby quality sound when you’re struggling 3/4 into your session!

Once you’ve completed the required sets (I only managed 3), you’ll be able to get a snapshot of what you’ve just accomplished. I seriously doubt that what I did burned only 55 kcal even though I rarely pay any attention to that measurement.

I’ve since used the SCW without the Sport Life app a number of times, pairing it with the iPod 7th Gen and the iPhone 6+ with no problems. In fact, switching between previously paired devices seemed easier with the SCW – I just needed to hold down the multi-function button for 5 secs till the blue light comes on for a new acquisition.

So is the SCW for you? It depends on the type of athlete you are. As a runner, I can see incorporating it as part of an overall fitness or post-run regimen. It works well as Bluetooth earbuds and if Jabra can work out the kinks in the tracker (not sure if it’s sensor or firmware related), the SCW will present a good buy for those seeking their first wireless earbuds. The other option is of course the cheaper Sport Rox Wireless, which is a solid alternative.

Pros

  • Retains the good stuff that Jabra is known for – build and Dolby sound quality, lightweight construction, custom fitting courtesy of EarWings and EarGels.
  • Less finicky pairing and repairing process in a multiple device environment compared to the Sport Pulse Wireless and Sport Rox Wireless.
  • Conceptually good, catering to the fitness crowd and the cross-training athlete.
  • Customizable circuits with a wide variety of routines that the user can mix up.

Cons

  • Tracking of repetitions is not quite there, resulting in a less-than-desirable user experience.
  • Battery life is still constrained to 5.5 hours.

Disclaimer:  The Jabra Sport Coach Wireless is a review unit courtesy of Jabra Malaysia. It retails for RM649 (including GST) and is now available at IT Hypermarket Sdn Bhd, Harvey Norman, Machines, Radioshack and Viewnet Computer Systems. Jabra is an official partner of International Triathlon Union events. For more information please visit: http://my.jabra.com/Products/Bluetooth/JABRA_Sport_Coach_Wireless/Jabra_Sport_Coach_Wireless


Thinking of running your best marathon on a scenic and flat course? Well, entries for the 2016 Gold Coast Airport Marathon is now open! With public holidays slated at that time of the year, join many fellow Malaysians and I in Gold Coast next July where you and your family can run and then enjoy what the world-famous holiday destination can offer. For details, please refer to my blog post here where I’ve shared some important info for you to plan your travel and race!

 

2015 Favorite Running Gear Wrap-up

As I’m getting ready to catch some really long-overdue break, I thought I’d put out a quick post to recap the notable gear that I’ve had the chance to try the past 12 months. My running are done almost exclusively on roads, within sane distances and timeframes, making my gear needs rather simple. I’ve no need for hydration vests, 50-hour GPS watches, trekking poles, whistles and space blankets :P ! While it’s not surprising that the resulting list came out rather short, it was eye-opening to discover that my favorites were nearly all old releases! It is true that good stuff need not be the very latest gear to come out into the market nor be the most expensive.

You’ll see that all my favorite shoes, aside from the lime-green colorway preference, were released in 2014, with 2 arriving on our shores early this year. In no particular order, here they are…

Shoes

  1. Saucony Kinvara 5 (Q2 ’14). Marathon PR shoe for 2 consecutive years. I didn’t review the regular K5 but did one for the Runshield version which you can read here.
  2. adidas Boston Boost 5 (Q3 ’14). Its forefoot fit is a little narrow and rides firm up front but I’ve enjoyed my races in them. Reviewed here.
  3. Nike LunarTempo (end ’14/early ’15). Looks like the Lunaracer but it’s not the Lunaracer. An all-round shoe for speedwork, long runs, Half and Full Marathons. This is one of the best shoes of the year and I rank it higher than the Zante for all the mentioned versatility. Plus the LunarTempo has a forgiving ride and even an accommodating forefoot! Reviewed here.
  4. NB Zante (end ’14/early ’15). Love it for shorter races. It just edges out the GOmeb Speed 2 due to its softer feel and sock-like fit. Reviewed here.

The observant runner will notice that the mentioned shoes retail between RM399 to RM450. With the price of goods ever soaring, that price range appears to be the sweet-spot for performance shoes nowadays.

Watch
I’ve worn the 405, 620, Fenix 1 as well as the Polar RCX5 over the years but where technological advancements progressively make better equipment can be seen on what we wear on our wrists. The Garmin Forerunner 225 is a simple watch, has no annoying bugs like the Fenix, easy to use, and has a built-in Mio-based HRM sensor which is accurate (as cross-verified during an ECG test). The sweetener was the fact that I bought it at the GCAM15 expo at a price that’s cheaper than in Malaysia (with a TNF backpack thrown in!) means this watch is a keeper. In case my wife reads this, I’d like to state that I’ve sold off all the older watches!

Special mention
Sony Smart B-Trainer. I don’t think I’ve seen a single piece of gear which can do this much. Your smartwatch definitely can’t spin your tunes without a paired phone, can it? Well, this Sony can. It plays music, tracks your activities with a built-in GPS, measures your heart-rate, reads out your run metrics via a plethora of sensors, takes voice memos, works in the pool, connects via Bluetooth and NFC. That feature set alone warrants a special shout-out. Last I checked, the price has dropped to RM799. Reviewed here.

Looking Ahead
Shoe geeks are already rubbing their hands in glee with the teasers coming out of the Outdoor Retailer expo in the US. But my wishlist is pretty simple. I’ve eyes on the Saucony Kinvara 7 and the Triumph ISO 2 which will be updated with the Everun material. If the K7 fits anything like the K5, my racing shoe of choice for GCAM16 is already a foregone conclusion! I’m also curious about the Skechers GOTrail Ultra 3 (moving away from the GOrun Ultra nomenclature) and other FitKnit models from the company.

What about you? Any gear in particular that you’re eagerly awaiting? What are your favorites of 2015? Let me know in the comments.


Thinking of running your best marathon on a scenic and flat course? Well entries for the 2016 Gold Coast Airport Marathon is open now. With public holidays slated at that time of the year next year, join many fellow Malaysians and I in Gold Coast next July where you and your family can run and then enjoy what the place can offer. For details, please refer to my blog post here where I’ve shared some important info for you to plan your travel and race!

 

Entries For The Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2016 Are Open!

Photo from the GCAM website www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au

In case you’re unaware, entries for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2016 (GCAM16) are open now! The official website has all the details but you can also hit the link below for details on the categories available, entry fees, and race pack collection locations.

VIEW ENTRY INFORMATION

For Malaysians, 2016 presents a unique opportunity to visit and run Gold Coast by virtue of the school and Raya holidays. As a result of the good fortune, my family will be joining me for a long-overdue holiday there. Our tickets and apartment are booked and we’re already looking forward to July next year!

Photo from the GCAM website www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au

See the photo above? Spot the runners? That’s just after the start at Southport. From there, runners will be heading south, firstly across the bridge before hooking left towards Main Beach (where the yachts are moored) and then keeping right towards Surfers Paradise, always with the beach just on your left right up to Burleigh Heads before doubling back to Runaway Bay to the north. A short but challenging 6K from there will then take you to the unforgettable finish by the water!

What to expect in the Gold Coast in July? It’s winter but pretty mild and dry in comparison with, say Japan’s winter. Thus it’s easy to pack and with temps between 10 to 20 Celcius, there’s really no need to bundle those thick jackets into the luggage. A fleece jacket would typically suffice as a warm top. You can even get by with a t-shirt when walking around during the daytime. It’s also sunny with clear blue skies, so don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses and caps. For the race, it’s practical to go with a cap, sunglasses, short tee or vest, and shorts. You can keep warm before the start with layers of old event t-shirts which you can discard for charity.

Now, if your mind’s made up to run GCAM16, you really need to add yourself to the GCAM16 Team -Malaysia-In-Training here. Training will start after the year-end holidays and the team look to welcoming new and old friends to the group because it’s more fun training 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, love the washer-dryer facility!). 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!

Then, if you’ve not done so already, you’ll need quickly contact Holiday Travel & Tours to find out about the travel package they’ve put up for Malaysian travelers. If you’re traveling with a group of friends or with families, it may make better sense to start looking for your flight tickets (only Air Asia X flies to Queensland) and accommodation (the tips and links found on our FB page will be helpful on where to look).

Many of us will be running GCAM16!

A Shake Down Run (a short 3-5K) is planned on the eve of the race too. Details in the same FB page. While there’ll be a little running to get the mind and body into the racing mood, there’ll be plenty of photo ops too.

That’s a bit much info for now but rather than rambling on, it’s time for you to commit to GCAM16, and make all the necessary arrangements for the July race-holiday. If you’re like me, marathon training for the first half of the year is easier than the second. Work have 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.

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

Jabra Malaysia Celebrates 9th Anniversary – Discounts & Promos!

Enjoy special storewide discounts nationwide and promos – 9 lucky winners win 9 smartphones in 9 weeks

KUALA LUMPUR 30th November 2015 – Jabra, the leading manufacturer of innovative audio solutions, marks its 9th year in Malaysia and it looks to celebrate with you – the consumers who have helped make it the premium audio Bluetooth brand it is today.

In commemorating its 9th “birthday” to reward customers, from November 15, 2015 – January 15, 2016, Jabra is offering special discounts on all products nationwide throughout all stores.

In addition, to the discount, 9 lucky buyers will have the unique chance to win 9 smartphones in 9 weeks under its Jabra Rewards programme. This includes an iPhone 6S 16GB, a Huawei Honor 7 and many others. Check out Jabra Malaysia Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/JabraMalaysia/) for more details.

Click to enlarge image!

Click to enlarge image!

There is also the #Jabra9 photo contest. Just take a cool / unique or exciting photo related to music or sports. Upload it to your Instagram or Facebook account and hashtag #Jabra9. Now, you’re in the running to win a Jabra Sport Pace.

There are nine to be given away so don’t delay, get your photos up today! Just check out Jabra Malaysia’s Facebook page weekly to see if you’ve the lucky winner.

Click to enlarge image

Click to enlarge image

“The 9th Anniversary End-User Rewards Program is just our way to say thank you to all of you who have been with us on this incredible journey. Since our beginnings in Malaysia since 2006, we have grown from strength to strength and progressively have become a household name here thank to you.

We’d like to celebrate this success and reward all who have given their vote of confidence and approval to Jabra. Here’s to many more milestones ahead,” said Ann Goh, GN Netcom’s Sales Director, Central Asia, Consumer Solutions.

About Jabra
Jabra is the brand of GN Netcom, a subsidiary of GN Store Nord A/S (GN) – listed on NASDAQ OMX.

A world leader in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of a broad range of communications and audio solutions, Jabra has a reputation for innovation, reliability, and ease of use that goes back more than two decades. Jabra’s consumer and business divisions produce 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 close to 1000 people worldwide and in 2014 produced annual revenue which amounted to DKK 2,871 million. www.jabra.com

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Distributed for and on behalf of Jabra by Mustard Tree Communications.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Jade W. at 012-219 5289, jade@mustardtree.com.my
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Kelly Lee at 012-513 3986 or kelly@mustardtree.com.my

© 2015 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). Dolby® and the double D icon is the registered trademark of Dolby Laboratories.

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