Moonwalkers/Runners

8 03 2009

Some people reckon Neil Armstrong and his mate Buzz Aldrin took a stroll on the moon a few decades ago. Whether that was true or not, I dig those clunky boots they wore in the pictures. Today’s moonwalkers would probably replace them by Nike’s funky Lunartrainers. If those alleged spacemen had been in these new Nike’s back in the day, there would have been no controversy about the legitimacy of the feat, as you would probably have been clearly able to see that bright glow from the sole’s from the Earth below.

I have been testing a pair of the Nike Lunartrainers and contrary to my first impression (based purely upon visually summing the shoe up) of the shoes attributes as a top road running shoe, I have been utterly flabbergasted to experience the incredible comfort and smooth ‘ride’ of these unique shoes.

The dude at Nike who developed them was locked away for three years in a cell at NASA or something. Only allowed to come out when he had used the space stations technology to develop an extremely light, strong and technologically unique long distance running shoe to put a swoosh on.

Perhaps we should use the same philosophy with Escom, The Stormers, JZ and any other products we feel need improvement – the results you see, were top notch. I am loving the new strange looking, brightly shining, wide based Nike Lunartrainers designed with NASA technology. The unorthodox look will blow you away and so will the smooth and lightweight performance. They are designed to disperse pressure efficiently and the durable new substance is lighter and lasts longer than most others on the market. A winner fore sure.

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Richies Beach Run

2 03 2009

Robberg Run

Robberg Run

I went away this weekend … the destination was Plettenberg Bay and the occasion was my buddy Corley’s wedding. It was just a weekend affair and although I had arranged a ride to Plett, I was not sure how I was getting home. That meant a tiny bag and the tiny bag meant room for just one pair of shoes. For one brief moment while packing, I actually took out the wedding invitation to check out if the dress code was in any way compatible with my thought process at the time which was along the lines of wearing my DS Trainers. The dress code read: ‘Stylish Cocktail Attire’. Not being too clued up with literature in the fashion world, but having recently only narrowly survived the sharp end of a tongue lashing from a brides mother with regards to my apparent total lack of respect to the stipulated dress code (was I really to know that Black Tie meant a tuxedo and NO converse takkies), I decided I would have to forgo my running shoes for my suave black leather pair of footwear.

This was not a train smash and in fact worked out for the best in the end for me, but perhaps to the detriment of the group I was staying with. You see I decided that as we were going to be celebrating on both the Friday evening as all the guests arrived from many different parts of the world, and then the big show on Sat night, I was definitely going to need a run to sort me out between the two sessions of celebration. I targeted Robberg Beach. A trot from the B.I Hotel to the wreck and back to bring on a sweat. About a 7k run which, after half a case of beer and some festive Tequila, equates to about 21km I should think.

Friday night ended at 3am on Sat morning and I had the best man at my door from 7am hounding me to get up and take his mind of the dreaded speech. He had been fretting over his wedding task for some time now and now the day had arrived, he needed a distraction. A superb morning in Plett and perfect time to go for a run, I ordered him to sod off and I went back to sleep. At about 9am not able to take the bumbling garble coming from his speech practicing mouth, we rounded up the group and did that Robberg Beach run. The sand was hard and the water afterwards was perfect for a dip … the dolphins just metres away agreed. It was the refresher we needed to start with a clean slate for the wedding. The rest of the occasion went smoothly. The Best Man delivered a good one and I managed to look the part of a proper wedding guest from top to toe.

Two days after the event though, the group that joined me for the run are all in pain. They were not ready for different type of running the beach demands you see. My only challenge is to get up tomorrow morning after another festive ‘session’. It’s the editors’ birthday which is sure to be a cracker!





Gear Guy Gets Dope Tested

25 02 2009

I must have hit the big time. I never knew it would happen with such understated aplomb. At least some kind words of welcome from the Chairmen of the ‘Top Dogs’ society would have been appreciated, but there was nothing of the sort.

You see on Saturday I competed in a race near Worcester and was happy to finish inside the top 20. Now before I was able to even reach for a finisher’s refreshment beverage and to inform the punk in 13th how fortunate he was that I did not catch him, I was ushered off by a Drugs Free Council for Free and Fair Sport Free in South Africa man whose accusing stare would have had OJ Simpson pleading guilty on the spot. Feeling slightly bewildered, but accepting my dues to the world of the top 20’s, I went along with the chap who handed Worcester’s water quota for February, bottled specially for me and ordered by the accuser to “Drink up, then pee into this cup – no less than 90ml”.

Well 20 min later I was no closer to taking a leak to make sure that justice was adhered to in my country. This despite the fact that the tap nearby was ferociously being turned on and off, I can only assume to simulate some kind of serene waterfall type ambiance to help get the required urges underway. I noticed the temporary detention barracks I was in was right next door to a wedding venue – all done up fancy like for the apparent festivities to come. I told my prison warder that he could just put me in the groom’s seat and I would wet my pants stukkend! This eased the tension … his not mine. I was still finding it difficult to part with what little liquid my body had left after a hard race in the sun. I opted for my sixth bottle of water and envisaged further water restrictions for the greater Worcester Metropolis as I gulped down litre after litre.

30minutes now, and while I was wondering if all Olympians could pee on cue and thinking that they all deserved medals for that, my minder was settling in for the long wait. Not showing any signs of letting me free just because I couldn’t go he looked to be hauling out a 10 000 piece puzzle of Alan Boesak or fireworks over the Statue of Liberty. I was not going to be roped into this extra excitement and I decided to try another technique. I won’t get too graphic, but let’s just say, with a little help from another toilet bound activity that often goes hand in hand with a pee, I was able to provide the precious 90ml for my country. I emerged with my prize possession only to be met by the next victim who was a buddy Martha. Not having many tips to give the fairer sex in this department I just wished her good luck and raised my cup to show her the results of my labour. I then went through the unprecedented methodical and high tech process of bagging my samples (seriously, they do it the same way the chaps at the Olympics get tested) and asked whether they could let me know my IQ while they were at it and if I was still allergic to bees. Not amused, they sent me packing and said I they would be in touch. “Don’t let me read about it in the newspapers first” I cautioned with a wagging finger.

An hour later I saw poor Martha walking towards her car … she was being accompanied by one of the doping officials as she was still to provide what they required! I hope she has an extra room as home as they are persistent creatures to be sure.





Sparks Fly

8 02 2009

I have never been accused of being lazy when it comes to sports. On the other hand, a good buddy calls me ‘sports watcher’ and knows I put in a good session on the couch with no problem. He knows I can sit and watch hours of sport on TV. I enjoy tons of it and lap-up the constant supply from SuperSport. Look, I can’t say I will sit and watch the Volvo Horse Jumping Championships, nor too much of those strange dudes and totally misplaced host presenter chick from the fishing programme, but there is a plethora of eagerly anticipated events most weeks that I make a point of ‘sports watching’.

I must say, I never thought I would be excited about watching a full marathon, from the start till the winner crosses the line. This year however, I can’t wait to see the action unfold in about five or six big marathons. You see, the way the top guys are running them now – there are tactics and drama to enjoy right from the start. If you do some thinking on the subject, you will notice that there are a good few really fast and talented marathon runners out there.

Now the way they go about things is to target the big races with huge pay for winning or breaking records. There are not enough races to go around for all though, so inevitably you get a guy who trains hard all year and comes head to head with another guy who has also put everything into winning just that one big race for the year. The result – FIREWORKS on race day!

Sometimes a runner comes hammering out of the blocks and nobody knows if they should respond or just sit back. During the race, all runners check each other out and wait for the moment to make a move. Tactics fly around, water bottles are missed, tears flow and even the odd sprint to the finish is so close that the contenders dive for the tape!

Ethiopia and Haile Gebrselassie can still claim glory for now, but the pack is hungry and there are youngsters nipping brashly at the heels of old dogs. Selassie is not giving in though; nope he is chasing that World Record as hard as any other. The $$$ incentives are huge … so is the competition.





Gear Guy

1 02 2009

Gear Guy Pi

Gear Guy Pi

As the gear editor for Runner’s World I get to try out some cool stuff, however I was not convinced that jogging perambulators would fall into the category of cool when I got working on the March issue. Well as you ease back into your day job, I have been sheepishly poking my nose into baby shops looking for the latest in outdoor carriers for kids. At Babies Emporium I found some pretty nifty walkie-talkie things. Baby blue they were with pictures of ducks on them. I could swear there was a hint of lavender when I brought the handset close to my face …..uuuurghum …my camo pair at home are looking a bit worn so perhaps when they finally fall apart I will head back to the store with 12 different kinds of nappies and nab a set … of walkie-talkies that is not nappies. I have no need for nappies. No matter what you may have heard about that new years party. This time I however I walked out with just an off-road pram; complete with shocks and extra large 20inch wheels for better travel over hard-core terrain.
Earlier pro photographer Nick Muzik and I had recce a top spot on Table Mountain to put the pram through the test. Before we headed to the mountain though, I had one more stop to make. You see I have not yet had the pleasure of fathering any children (that I am aware off, I decided I would just keep practicing a little longer to get it just right when the time comes) so I had to improvise. The result was a trip to Fruit & Veg City to pick out the closest watermelon looking baby I could find. The result was a beauty for R39.99, extremely well behaved and a clean nose. We were in business.
Nick and I had some good fun up there and not a peep out of the little fella. When I bumped into a downhill mountain biker punk and challenged him to a cheeky race, I did lay the watermelon kid aside just to make sure there would be no tears. It was a good dice and I think I may well have pipped him at the post had he not jumped over the pram right at the end. The testing went well, although I don’t feel any cooler. Check out the review in the Gear Guide – March 2009 issue of Runner’s World





Hedgie!

2 11 2008
Hedgie cruised over these bumps

These bumps did not slow Hedgie down

My Buddy Ryan Sandes has just won the frikkin Sahara desert multi stage race! His Cape Town name is actually Hedgie and he is a surf rat from Llandudno. Hedgie only decided a couple of years ago to run a race as a challenge from a buddy, but although I think his Dad was a runner of pedigree, he has never been psyched to runing. He would rather be on the beach with his buddies enjoying the glorious Cape Town beach vibe – nothing wrong with that! I remember seeing Hedgie at the start of the Table Mountain Challenge in 2006. I recognised him from the beach and asked him what he was doing there:

“Nooit bro, I thought I would give it a go hey.” He answered. I was impressed and gave him some tips, hopefull that he would be okay in this unfamiliar turf. I thought he was ignorant to the ways of mountain running. He was, but he still did really well and came home comfortably in the top 10. I laughed at myself for assuming he would need help. I nearly pulled out from dehydration that day!

From then on he has dominated. This year he won the Gobi Desert Challenge in China which was his first ever stage race! The dude is phenomenal. He has just won the Sahara 6 day stage race by a huge margin which included smashing the legend Dean Karnases from the USA -beautiful! Don’t bother reading the 4Deserts website. They host these cool races and although they seem to be a top race organiser and decent folk, the coverage of the races is nothing short of pathetic and in fact disgraceful in my opinion if you take into account Hedgies specific feats and the lack of interest as well as respect they have shown him this year. Hedgie himself is not phased and has not a bad word to say about them, this is just my opinion I must say.

Anyway I am so stoked for Ryan. Between the Gobi race and the Sahara one he has trained damn hard. This included training in a humidity ‘chamber’ at the sports science institute to simulate the tough desert conditions. He clearly got to the race in much better condition than the rest and won 5 of the 6 stages. That is one of the things that impresses me about Hedgie. His will to do his best which is clearly THE best must be phenomenal. I mean check out the Gobi results. The one stage (I think stage 3 or 4) he won by a few seconds which clearly indicates a sprint finish… in the desert … after over 100 or so km’s racing and with a significant overall lead… our boy is still sprinting to make sure he leaves nothing on the course.

Hedgie you good thing you! Extremely impressive and I love the fact you are so keen to represent your country in a sport that you have made your own and are clearly dominating in bro! Look forward to a cheeky session when you are rested so get those Canterburry compression garments on and rest those tough sticks of yours.





My Boy Blue

29 10 2008
Blue could well be sipping on one of these little beauties

Blue could well be sipping on one of these little beauties

My running buddy, training partner and most importantly great friend, Greg Goodall, has ditched me. For a full 10 days the punk has seen fit to take time out and to head to Mauritius with his family. I call Greg Blue from the movie ‘Old School’ as in “Blue! Blue you my Boy Blue!” take it or leave it… that’s what I call him.

Now Blue is a fine athlete. This year alone he has done some sterling work in the race arena in all sorts of courses. We teamed up for the Hout Bay Challenge and although I was out at favourite drinking hole – Caprice – doping till 1am, and Blue had a cracked Vertebra from showing off on his Mountain Bike the weekend before, together with Rob Broster, we smashed the course record by over 15minutes. Claire, the race organiser, teases that we are soft opting for the team event. 15 minutes Claire! Plus leg 2 and 3 records! Hooo haaa! You can’t turn your nose up at that I am afraid.

Well as I say Blue is now in Mauritius and has left me to take care of business on the training front back at home. Now I reckon if I was living in Detroit, or Perth, or somewhere like that I would be a bit bleak that he was able to change his training space to a subtropical Island (where exactly is this Mauritius place anyway), but being fortunate enough to reside in Cape Town I must say I will continue training with abandon and let me assure you we have had the odd chirp about how I will get some great training sessions in, while Blue languishes on a bar stool or deck chair sipping Mojito’s (while being bitten my mosquitoes! Ha ha) and loosing ground as I get the legs turning over.

The truth is I need the extra training and better get to it. Although we are naturally well matched runners (my guess is Blue has 5% on me) he is in top form and I lost a little ground with a Virus about 2 months back. So now I have to play a little catch-up. Best I stop typing these words and get to it then.