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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.

 

Category Archives: Gear

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.

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.

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

Saucony® Triumph ISO2 Named By Runner’s World As International Editors’ Choice For Best Shoe In The World For 2016

 

Triumph ISO’s Proven Track Record Earns Itself Industry’s Top Performer Of The Year Recognition

WALTHAM,  MA (November 22, 2016) – Saucony, relentlessly committed to elevating the running experience through performance innovation, is excited to announce that the Triumph ISO2, featuring Saucony’s EVERUN™ continuous cushioning technology, has been named by Runner’s World as the International Editors’ Choice for “Best Shoe in the World” for 2016. The prestigious award, selected by the editors of 20 editions of Runner’s World around the globe, was presented to Saucony at the Runner’s World 50th Anniversary Celebration in New York City in early November. All of the International Editors’ Choice Awards are now officially acknowledged in the publication’s December 2016 issue. Click here for the Runner’s World video review of the Triumph ISO2.


The Saucony Triumph ISO has a proven track record in the running community as demonstrated by its ongoing recognition from Runner’s World, the world’s largest media brand in running. Prior to the Triumph ISO2’s International Editors’ Choice Award, the standout neutral trainer was named Editor’s Choice in the publication’s 2015 Winter Shoe Guide. The inaugural Triumph ISO was also recognized with an Editor’s Choice Award in the 2015 Spring Shoe Guide.

“We’re so honored that Runner’s World and the global running community continue to put Saucony on top of the podium,” said Doug Smiley, business unit manager for Saucony footwear. “The Triumph ISO allows us to demonstrate what is possible when you innovate to elevate the running experience. Our ongoing product philosophy focused on every aspect of the runner’s stride continues to drive us, resulting in game-changing technologies like the Triumph ISO’s EVERUN Topsole™ construction. We can’t wait for runners to now try the all-new Triumph ISO3; we’ve taken the EVERUN experience to yet another impressive level.”

The Runner’s World International Editors’ Choice award for “Best Shoe in the World” is part of Runner’s World’s global initiative to find, test and designate the best shoes on earth for its readers in the countries where it currently publishes: Argentina, Australia/New Zealand, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

The Saucony Triumph ISO3, with an increased EVERUN landing zone for maximum energy return, is now available at select specialty run retailers in men’s sizes 7-13, 14 and 15, and women’s sizes 5-12.

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.

SHARON BARBANO
Public Relations
Saucony & Wolverine Boston

  1. 617.824.6126
  2. 617.616.6126

500 Totten Pond Road
Waltham, MA

FIND YOUR STRONG

Media Release: Saucony® Launches The Saucony Stride Lab™ App

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SAUCONY® LAUNCHES THE SAUCONY STRIDE LAB™ APP
Saucony’s Human Performance & Innovation Lab Now Puts The Power Of A Personal Biomechanics Lab In The Palm Of Every Runner’s Hand

WALTHAM, MA (November 3, 2016) – “To keep runners running, it’s not enough to get them in the right shoe; we need to help them build better running bodies,” says Spencer White, head of the Saucony Human Performance & Innovation Lab, the brand’s state-of-the-art running research center focused on empowering runners through performance innovation. Today, the Saucony Lab figuratively opened its doors to runners everywhere with the launch of the Saucony Stride Lab app, the first interactive tool that puts the power of a cutting-edge biomechanics lab in the palm of every runner’s hand.

The Saucony Stride Lab app, developed in partnership with Jay Dicharry, MPT, SCS, author of Anatomy for Runners, empowers the individual runner to build a better running body right from their personal mobile device. The Stride Lab’s innovative interface first guides the individual runner through a multi-step personal evaluation that includes their stance, mobility, stability and stride−all from their iPhone. The Stride Lab then instantly interprets the data, prioritizes the results and delivers to the runner a customized and ever-evolving plan of running-specific exercises and dynamic drills to optimize their running experience. The Saucony Stride Lab app is now available as a free download at iTunes.

“With the launch of the Stride Lab app we’re throwing open the doors of the Saucony Human Performance & Innovation Lab, sharing decades of expertise and research in stride analysis and biomechanics to help runners perform and feel better,” said White. “That information, in combination with Jay Dicharry’s world-renowned expertise in biomechanical analysis and sports athletic performance, has allowed us to create a personal running lab experience, customized for each individual runner and accessible from their mobile device at their convenience.”

“Working with tens of thousands of runners, from the novice to the Olympic level, has shown us that people are different, that they can and should run in a manner that complements their body structure,” said Dicharry. “It’s critical that runners first assess their stance, mobility, stability and stride to determine the best way for them to run. The Saucony Stride Lab app allows runners do just that, and then determines a running-specific plan of BodyWork exercises and running drills that they can follow to maximize their running performance. While other apps track the quantity of your run, the Stride Lab app will improve the quality of your run.”

The Saucony Stride Lab app will be launched to the running community at the Saucony booth at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon Health and Wellness Expo taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City from Thursday, November 3rd through Saturday, November 5th.

 

How Does The Saucony Stride Lab App Work?

1. Get Evaluated: From your iPhone, the Stride Lab app will guide you through a 7-point assessment where we can benchmark your body and identify limiters that stand in the way of your running goals.

2. Get Your Plan: Receive a customized plan of running-specific exercises and drills that address your unique issues to improve your running experience for the long term. The Stride Lab app will give you up to five BodyWork exercises at a time to perform three-times a week. You can go through them all at once or fit them in at your convenience.

3. Get Running: Check in with the Stride Lab app before every run for a series of dynamic running drills to incorporate into your daily run.

4. Get Points: Just like a personal coach, the Stride Lab app keeps track of all the great work you’re doing. See your BodyWorks score rise as you complete your tasks.

5. Get Progress: Every few weeks the Stride Lab app will ask you to re-evaluate yourself to see how you’re improving and whether you are ready to focus on the next challenge.

For more information on the Saucony Stride Lab app, please 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.

About Jay Dicharry, MPT, SCS: Dicharry is a physical therapist, board-certified sports clinical specialist, researcher, author, and coach. He built his international reputation as an expert in biomechanical analysis as Director of the SPEED Clinic at the University of Virginia. Through this innovative venture, Dicharry was able to blur the lines of clinical practice and sports engineering to better understand and eliminate the cause of overuse injuries in endurance athletes. His unique approach goes outside the traditional model of therapy and aims to correct imbalances before they affect your performance. Dicharry literally wrote the book on running gait assessments: he is author of “Anatomy for Runners,” has published over 30 professional journal articles, co-directs the annual University of Virginia Running Medicine Conference, and consults for the US Air Force and USA Track and Field. His research focus on footwear and the causative factors driving overuse injury helps provide his patients with an unmatched level of innovation and success. Having taught in the Sports Medicine program at UVA, he brings a strong bias towards patient education, and continues to teach nationally to elevate the standard of care for Therapists, Physicians, and Coaches. He currently directs the REP Lab in Bend, OR.

SHARON BARBANO
PUBLIC RELATIONS
SAUCONY & WOLVERINE BOSTON

T. 617.824.6126
F. 617.616.6126

500 Totten Pond Road
Waltham, MA

FIND YOUR STRONG

Gold Coast Airport Marathon Race Report

This year’s trip to the Gold Coast was a mixed outing for me. On one hand, I was thrilled to finally have the family along this time, and we also saw a record number of Malaysians in the race. There were also a number of firsts for me: visited a couple of theme parks, a wildlife sanctuary, drove the streets of the Gold Coast and up to Mt. Tamborine and an unforgettable cruise along the calm waters off Runaway Bay.

On the other hand, with the nagging PF impeding a more aggressive approach to training (although I did run the risk of greater issues by hitting 130K over 8 days prior to taper week), I wasn’t able to run the race I wanted to. I started the marathon with a heavily taped foot and an anti-inflammatory tablet post Saturday’s shakedown run when there was still pronounced pain. I really don’t want this to sound like an excuse for a below par performance, so this will be the only part I make reference to the PF being an impediment. The race was run and I didn’t hit the goal time and that was that. After analyzing the past 2 years’ splits and training, some things will have to change before my next marathon.

The HTT group which traveled from MY on Thursday. Photo taken at the Currumbin Life Saving Club adjacent to the scenic Elephant Rock Lookout.

Touching down at Coolangatta late Friday morning after a 5-hour sleep, I could afford a more leisurely bedding-in period, adjusting to the weather and the addictively languid, yet for some reason exciting, vibes the Gold Coast offers. This was my 6th consecutive running of GCAM and I’m ever closer to the 10-year club! There were over 250 Malaysians for GCAM16, so while there were many of us on the same flight, there were just as many independent travelers outside the tour group who were already in Australia. Lunch was at the Currumbin Life Saving Club right next to the Elephant Rock Lookout where the views were just stunning all-round. Next port-of-call was of course the Expo for the race number collection. Everyone was very disciplined and made it out of there on time for the shuttle ride to the Mantra Legends Hotel for check-in. Very smoothly managed by Holiday Tours & Travel (HTT) so far. As much as I wanted to sort out my stuff in the room, a run to stretch out the legs appeared more appropriate at that time and after rounding up a few from the training group, we headed towards Broadbeach before returning by way of the Gold Coast Highway to the hotel. Not before running into superstar Yuki Kawauchi (who would place a second behind the winner Kenneth Mugara on Sunday) jogging in a polo top! He acknowledged my  “Gambare Kawauchi-san!” shout with a big smile and a resounding “Hai!” and a big wave. Such a character! After an early dinner of bacon pizza with Jeanie and family and the training group guys, and getting some drinks from the supermarket, I was back at the hotel to call it a day.

At the expo. A number had gone into the expo hall for the bib collection and shopping!

7K run to loosen up the legs. Included some photo sessions along the way!

Saturday meant the arrival of the photogenic duo of Nick and CY. While CY needs no effort in looking good for the camera, Nick has vowed to hug everything in sight with a vengeance. As arranged, the plan was to meet at the Surfers Paradise arch for the Shakedown Run. Before that, I needed a quick apparel change back at the hotel following a fantastic lunch at The Fishhouse Restaurant. By the time I hustled there, a large group had already congregated and everyone looked set to really enjoy themselves the next day. Plenty of photo ops ensued but we were only able to cover just half the planned distance due to some road works on the way to Main Beach. No one complained though as they probably had an eye on next morning’s race. Dinner consisted of cappuccino and a super-large plate of pasta – in that order. With the race gear packed, there was one final thing to do which was to tape the right foot up before hitting the sack at 10:30pm.

Shakedown Run

I leapt up at the first sound of the 4:15am alarm and after the bathroom rituals, wolfed down 2 energy bars and half a bottle of sports drinks. By 5:20am we were at the hotel lobby ready to move out.

5:20am at the lobby of the Mantra Legends.

Race morning was expectedly cold. As I stood at the tram stop at 5:30am with the guys, I was glad to have layered up very well – a Saucony tri-top, 2 disposable race tees, a Saucony hoodie and EXO windproof jacket. I also had my Saucony beanie and gloves on, so I was warm and toasty. We got on the first tram to arrive and 20 minutes later we were at Southport joining the hordes of runners walking to the race precinct. The Halfies were just flagged off so we had to wait a little before crossing over to the main field. Security presence was strong and there was better human traffic control this time around.

At the Surfers Paradise tram stop @ 5:30am.

It wasn’t quite as windy this year and we could afford to shed our layers earlier before going through the warm up routines. Along the walk to the start corrals, I joined a number of locals in watering a tree. Considering the level I was at, I’d downgraded my original goal to finishing in any timing under 4 hours, which was still dicey given the circumstances. I positioned myself in front of the 4-hour pacers, a position I would maintain until the 38K mark (more later). GCAM is known for being a sunny race, at least all the previous 5 editions I’ve ran have been so. This year would be the same. Temps hovered around 15-17 Celcius early part of the race and peaked at 20 Celcius when I finished. Real-feel was hotter since it was cloudless.

It was approximately 10 Celcius at 6am with temps rising.

As it turned out, I ran very well hitting all the splits necessary for my original goal time (OGT) right up 26K before I started dropping 20 seconds per K. It may not sound like much but with over 16K left to run, that trend would mathematically add up to more than 5 minutes lost. In reality however, one would usually lose between 30 seconds to a full minute per km. Or more.

By 30K I was a full minute behind the OGT. By 35K the deficit had risen to 3 minutes. I was well and truly beaten way before I even hit the turnaround at Runaway Bay. The cramps on both quads and calves were so severe that I thought I’d fall. Since the little steps of the portable toilets could potentially trip me over, I decided to just pee in my shorts. Water was plentiful to wash it off anyway and I needn’t waste anymore time struggling in the toilet than I’d already lost.

I’d stopped looking at the watch for some time but the thought of my kids kept me going. I didn’t want to give up like this. Just when I started to rally myself, the gun-time 4-hour pacer and his charges passed me! Sigh…

Washed and dried!

If you’d seen me then (thank goodness for the absence of photographers along that final part of the route!), you’d agree that my running form was far less graceful than a person in crutches attempting a Swan Lake routine. In the haze of pain and self-deprecating thoughts I was lavishing on myself, a Race Motivator suddenly popped up, urging on another fellow sufferer next to me. Her words of encouragement resonated with me and kept me going.

Along with the many supporters along the course, the kids I high-fived earlier, and the record number of times my name was cheered, I credit this Motivator for getting me across the finish line in 3:57.58 (net time). An implausible yet very fortunate timing given how bad a shape my quads were in. I also think my decision to pee on the go worked in my favor as well. I would have wasted 2 more precious minutes had I ventured to the potty.

Nearly everyone in the photo PR’d, some rather spectacularly!

Once back at the agreed meeting point between the stage and the baggage tents, there was so much happy news of awesome results all round that my disappointment was completed forgotten. Nearly everyone ran their best timings in GCAM16. Jessie got her Boston Qualifier, which really wasn’t a surprise given her standout (albeit compressed) training. Plenty of sub-4 performances by many too. It was a truly wonderful moment to be there listening to their race accounts and I couldn’t be happier for them!

All these ladies PR’d: 1 missed going under 4 hours by a shade, 1 BQ’d, 1 finished under 5 hours!

With my 31st marathon done, I can strongly attest that it doesn’t get easier. You battle Father Time and his baggage – slower recovery, higher chances of injury among them – in pursuit of improving yourself. It’s time to reconsider another approach to training rather than to doggedly pursue the old ways. The marathon remains my focus because I know that I can do better.

All the 2016 medals.

 

A post breakfast group photo back home to wrap up the year’s GCAM edition.

Despite the rather poor personal showing, this year’s GCAM has been a runaway success.

    • Record overseas participation, including from Malaysia.
    • Better race day weather than last year.
    • Crowd support continues to grow.
    • Thrilling finish in the men’s marathon. Looks like Yuki Kawauchi (whose mom raced a 3:48 marathon in the same race!) will be returning yet again next year – he’s obviously hooked to the Gold Coast :D !
    • Greater number of runners in the training group (please join us for training!)- made plenty of new friends with whom I’m sure will continue to train with us. Team Malaysia truly personified the “Come For The Run, Stay For The Fun” tagline! Just check out the photos below!

  • Post-race holiday with family and friends were super enjoyable. We drove, cruised, ate plenty of seafood, trekked (a little!), got close to the local wildlife, and took in the cool and clean air of the mountains and sea.

I would also like to thank Khim, Tourism and Events Queensland and the organizing team behind GCAM for their hospitality and support to Team Malaysia. Not forgetting RSH-Saucony Malaysia and AfterShokz Malaysia for the gear. And of course, much appreciation to my family for their undying support during my marathon training – they may not understand the reasons behind the early morning runs and grouchiness of missed workouts but they’ve always pulled more than their share of chores around the house. It is only fair that I should always do my best and honor their sacrifice in every race that I do. I know the turns along the GCAM course like the back of my hand and I’ll be back to do it justice next year!

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