Archived

SHOE OF THE MONTH – SAUCONY OMNI ISO2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviewed by Chris Mickleburgh - Sportlink.

Chris says,

I’ve been running in this shoe for a few months now. The first thing I noticed when putting this shoe on is how it is both very stable and supportive yet also quite lightweight. Using Saucony’s cushioned yet responsive Everun midsole technology, the Omni Iso 2 delivers a plush feeling ride underfoot. It does so whilst still being able to handle picking up the pace without feeling like you are running in a heavy or cumbersome shoe. I put it through its paces, and it felt surprisingly responsive getting down to low 5-minute mile pace.

Fit wise, it does feel wide so when I’m tightening the shoes up particularly at the base of the tongue, I have to pull the laces tight creating a ruck in the fabric. This doesn’t affect performance as I can’t feel it running. I wouldn’t say I have particularly narrow feet so people with wide feet will like this. The ISO fit does feel good however wrapping the foot and creating a sock like fit. Coupled with a very padded tongue and heel it makes for a very comfortable shoe.

The support in the show is given through a large medial post. This gives it more support than its younger brother the Saucony Guide and makes it an ideal shoe for moderate to severe overpronators. For the indecisive runners among you then you’ll be pleased to know there is only one colourway for men and one colourway for ladies. I’ve been happily using this shoe for my easy runs rather than sessions or races, and once I’m back marathon training this shoe will be ideal to take out on long runs due to its comfort and high level of cushioning.

🏅SPORTLINK 25TH ANNIVERSARY🏅 VIRTUAL CHALLENGE 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

🏅SPORTLINK 25TH ANNIVERSARY🏅
VIRTUAL CHALLENGE 2019
Having recently sat down at Sportlink to discuss our forthcoming 25th Anniversary celebrations and 25 challenges, Nick Applin our brand manager and Chris Mickleburgh our events manager suggested that one of these challenges could be a virtual run.
 
Being a little bit old school, I said “go on, tell me more” for which the store manager Craig (my son) laughed whilst also looking at me as if to say, you really do need to start thinking about taking a step back and let us run this show.
 
Needless to say taking a step back is not quite on the agenda yet. Perhaps in another 25 years’ time.
 
Anyway and having now been told exactly what virtual running is all about, I am all for it. Particularly as it is open to all standards.
 
At the same time and talking of all standards, whilst I don’t see the more established and elite runners perhaps getting too excited by this, we will most certainly be having plenty of other challenges during the next few months which will test even them.
 
However, and for what will now be the Sportlink 25th Anniversary Virtual Run Challenges, we have set three distances of 25k, 100k and 200k which has to completed across the month of October and of course depending upon which one of the three challenges each entrant decides to go for.
 
Why have we set three different challenges at differing distances?
 
Well for those who are just starting out or even thinking about having a go at running and just need that little extra bit of motivation, we think 25k spread across 31 days is perfect for the beginner and novice. It will work out on average of about 3.5 miles per week, so it should be very doable, especially if they mix walking with a little jogging.
 
Then with our 100k Challenge, the average works out to just 2 miles a day. Not that it means you have to run every single day of course and this should appeal to those who have been running regularly for a while covering between 10 and 15 miles per week.
 
And then finally, our super challenge of 200k which will hopefully excite those who have been consistently running a weekly mileage of around 20 to 25 miles a week. This challenge will be looking to extend them by just another 3 to 8 miles per week, so all in all there is something for everyone who take part to get their teeth into.
 
Needless to say it does not matter if you go over the distance, but just as long as you log and record your activity during the month of October, on Strava, Garmin Connect, Polar Flow or any other platform you use and then send your screenshots of your runs to chris@sportlink.co.uk at the end of the month.
 
I really do think the idea of these “Virtual Runs” are excellent, especially as It does not matter whereabouts in the World you are or where you do it. Just as long as you get signed up (details to be announced soon) and are ready to get going on October 1st. Walk it, jog it or of course run whilst doing it in your own time and of course wherever you like. Even treadmills count.
 
For all those who do enter, I hope you enjoy the challenge and at the same time thank you for not only entering, but for also being part of our 25th birthday celebrations. Oh and of course, I must not forget to tell you that there is a really nice medal at the end of it all for which I must say a big thank you to Justin from Medals For All, for the design and production of these awards.
 
Lastly, and for those who know us well at Sportlink, they will also know that not only are we so very passionate about running, but we are also heavily involved with raising money for good causes throughout the year. With this in mind, monies from this challenge will be going to two of our favourites charities, Nelson’s Journey and The Hallswood Animal Sanctuary. They are two excellent causes and if anyone would like to know more, then please do contact us for details.
 
ENTER THE VIRTUAL CHALLENGE HERE
 
Good Luck and of course good running……
 
Neil Featherby.
#25thanniversary #virtualchallenge #25k #100k #200k

Shoe of the Month – Hoka One One Clifton 6

Reviewed by Pete Johnson  - Sportlink

What can I say? In over 30 years of running I have tried many types and brands of shoe, many of them claiming to be the next best thing.

 

The Hoka brand is a totally new “concept” shoe, they’ve been with us at Sportlink for about 5 years. They may look different, but boy do they work. The curved sole unit known as the Metarocker provides a smooth transition from heel strike to toe off, reducing initial impact and propelling the runner to the next step. The heel to toe drop is 5mm which may seem low but due to the rocking motion, it needs no extra strain on the Achilles as other low-offset shoes might. And don’t worry about the look of them; you’re not on a platform as the foot sits in the midsole rather than conventionally on it. As a neutral shoe the Clifton provides a surprising amount of stability and I have found this shoe works for me as well as some of the more supportive shoes in my collection. There are other shoes in the Hoka range, ask the staff at Sportlink if the Clifton isn’t for you.

 

On a run they are a dream. I don’t know I’m wearing them, and the miles fly by -  they really do help you to run. My favourite thing to do in them is a recovery run, when you just need to get some easy miles in and not want to work hard or think about it too much. They are what I consider a high-mileage shoe with the aid of the Metarocker and the high level of cushioning, they are good for shorter runs and speed work due to their lightweight nature.

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX SERIES RESULTS TO RACE 10

We are now pleased to attach the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 to Race 10.  As we have an overwhelming 2620 runners so far, we have just displayed the TOP 20 finishers in each category with the best of your 7 Races.  So if you have done 8,9 or 10 Races, then your lowest score(s) have been deducted.

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2019,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 7 finishes

A full set of results are available upon request

There are now ONLY 2 Races remaining in the Series :   Jolly Jaguars 10K on 22nd September – SOLD OUT, but operating a waiting list and  East Coast 10K on 13 October -  entries are open also at Total Race Timing.

 

Congratulations to the 11 runners who have completed ALL 10 races to date

.

GOOD NEWS

SPORTLINK NIGHT OF CELEBRATIONS:  We will be hosting our End of Season social evening on Friday 15th November at The Assembly House, Norwich.  The ticket prices are as follows and are ON SALE NOW.

Ticket prices are £17.50 per head and this includes a 2 Course Hot  Buffet with a wide selection, Presentation Ceremony for the Grand Prix Series, County Postal Marathon & Road Runner of the Year and music for dancing to the fabulous sounds of a DJ

This evening is OPEN to ALL runners, family & friends, NOT just those that have won a prize.

If you would like to join us for what promises to be a wonderful evening of celebrations, personal achievements and special awards, then please go to the link:

 

http://buytickets.at/sportlinknightofcelebrations/285177

 

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please.

 

NORFOLK COUNTY POSTAL MARATHON.  We are still accepting entries – even if you have already run a marathon this year and intend doing another before 31st October, please let us have your results and we can amend it if necessary.

YOU HAVE BE IN IT TO WIN IT ….. OR COME 2nd/3rd.

 

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK GP Series Race Administrator

 

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS TO RACE 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now pleased to attach the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 to Race 9.  As we have an overwhelming 2500 runners so far, we have just displayed the TOP 20 finishers in each category with the best of your 7 Races.  So if you have done all 8 Races, then your lowest score has been deducted.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS HERE

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2019,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 7 finishes

A full set of results are available upon request

There are now ONLY 3 Races remaining in the Series :  Dereham 5K (which is SOLD OUT, but operating a waiting list), Jolly Jaguars 10K on 22nd September – entries open at Total Race Timing and  East Coast 10K on 13 October -  entries are open also at Total Race Timing.

GOOD NEWS

SPORTLINK NIGHT OF CELEBRATIONS:  We will be hosting our End of Season social evening on Friday 15th November at The Assembly House, Norwich.  The ticket prices are as follows and are ON SALE NOW.

Limited Early Bird Specials £12.50 per head, thereafter £17.50 per head and this includes a 2 Course Hot  Buffet with a wide selection, Presentation Ceremony for the Grand Prix Series, County Postal Marathon & Road Runner of the Year and music for dancing to the fabulous sounds of a DJ

This evening is OPEN to ALL runners, family & friends, NOT just those that have won a prize.

If you would like to join us for what promises to be a wonderful evening of celebrations, personal achievements and special awards, then please go to the link:

http://buytickets.at/sportlinknightofcelebrations/285177

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please.

NORFOLK COUNTY POSTAL MARATHON.  We are still accepting entries – even if you have already run a marathon this year and intend doing another before 31st October, please let us have your results and we can amend it if necessary.

YOU HAVE BE IN IT TO WIN IT ….. OR COME 2nd/3rd

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK GP Series Race Administrator

Shoe of the Month – On Cloudstratus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

?SHOE OF THE THE MONTH?
Reviewed by Chris Mickleburgh - Sportlink

Chris says…

The On Cloudstratus is the first On shoe to have a dual layer Cloudtec system of sequential Cloud elements to cushion the impact of running at any pace. These are directly connected to each other under the heel of the shoe for a cushioned landing when hitting the ground.

 

This is especially good if like me you are a bit of a heel or midfoot striker. Despite this being one of the most cushioned On shoes I have tried on it still isn’t as soft a feeling as other brands out there. I did like how the toe box of the Stratus, which like the Swift, is nice and wide and doesn’t constrict the foot at all even when it gets hot and my foot expands. The forefoot has a nice firm push off so you can pick up the pace if you wanted to.

 

The transition from the dual layer of clouds at the back to the single layer at the front is smooth and almost feels like you are being helped to get up onto your toes. The speedboard in the shoe has a lot to do with this as it helps to encourage you to move naturally through your gait cycle. Having been suffering recently with a sore Achilles I found the heel to toe drop of 8mm more forgiving than the slightly smaller drop of the Cloudflyer and Cloudsurfer which I use a lot. The external TPU heel-counter along with the rippled insole which fires up proprioceptors give great stability, meaning it is appropriate for both neutral runners, and over-pronators. In my opinion there aren’t many shoes that can give such a responsive feel whilst providing so much cushioning. I currently have a lot of shoes on the go but there is definitely space for this pair.

 

GOING THE DISTANCE – JODIE CAUSER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We regularly feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A. 

This month it's our newest team member in the spotlight - Straight talking Jodie Causer.

How is your season going Jodie?
Really well. Course PB's in the last few races.

Have you had any serious injuries?
No. Hopefully it will stay that way.

What is your favourite race distance?
10miles and half marathons.

Favourite pre-race food?
Muesli and a banana.

Do you have any post-race recovery tips, food drink, rest?
Protein, carbs and a few days rest. Lots of water.

Do you have a superstitious colour or piece of kit?
No

If you were able to do any other sport, what would you choose?
Cycling

If you had an idea weather condition and time of day to run, what would it be?
Cloudy with light rain. 9.00am - Breakfast has gone down well.

What shoe are running in currently?
Brooks Ghost 12 and On Cloudflow.

Who’s your running hero?
Paula Radcliffe.

What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink?
You get to talk about running all day. They are a great team to work with.

Jaffa cake, cake or biscuit?
CAKE!

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS TO RACE 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now pleased to announce the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 to Race 8.  As we have an overwhelming 2500 runners so far, we have just displayed the TOP 20 finishers in each category with the best of your 7 Races.  So if you have done all 8 Races, then your lowest score has been deducted.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS HERE

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2019,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 7 finishes

A full set of results are available upon request

There are now ONLY 4 Races remaining in the Series : Worstead 5m (which is SOLD OUT, Dereham 5K (which is SOLD OUT, but operating a waiting list), Jolly Jaguars 10K on 22nd September – entries open at Total Race Timing and  East Coast 10K on 13 October -  entries are open also at Total Race Timing.

GOOD NEWS

SPORTLINK NIGHT OF CELEBRATIONS:  We will be hosting our End of Season social evening on Friday 15th November at The Assembly House, Norwich.  The ticket prices are as follows and are ON SALE NOW.

Limited Early Bird Specials £12.50 per head, thereafter £17.50 per head and this includes a 2 Course Hot  Buffet with a wide selection, Presentation Ceremony for the Grand Prix Series, County Postal Marathon & Road Runner of the Year and music for dancing to the fabulous sounds of a DJ

This evening is OPEN to ALL runners, family & friends, NOT just those that have won a prize.

If you would like to join us for what promises to be a wonderful evening of celebrations, personal achievements and special awards, then please go to the link:

http://buytickets.at/sportlinknightofcelebrations/285177

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please. 

NORFOLK COUNTY POSTAL MARATHON.  We are still accepting entries – even if you have already run a marathon this year and intend doing another before 31st October, please let us have your results and we can amend it if necessary.

YOU HAVE BE IN IT TO WIN IT ….. OR COME 2nd/3rd

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK GP Series Race Administrator

 

THE RIGHT ADVICE – The importance of wearing good running shoes for running.

The importance of wearing good running shoes for running.

Whilst the wearing of good quality running shoes do not cure injuries, they certainly do help to reduce the risk of impact injuries associated with running particularly with those who are new to this very popular past time. More people than ever are now taking up running particularly on the back the Park Runs which has seen people of all ages, shapes, and sizes turning up on a Saturday morning to run, jog, or just take a brisk walk with hundreds of others. However, and whilst it is important to wear good footwear for running, it is also very important to ensure that when purchasing a pair of running shoes they are the correct type for you and therefore just as important to seek out a specialist running store which is staffed by experienced runners. We have a saying at Sportlink “We don’t just hear what you say, we feel what you say”. We also provide a very thorough Gait Analysis so as to be able to not only look at levels of pronation (the inward rolling of the foot upon making contact with the ground) or indeed under pronation, but also look for other bodily imbalances which we feel could potentially lead to issues and specific running-related niggles. Once we have done this, road running shoes designed for training tend to fall into three different categories i.e. 1. Motion Control/Maximum Support 2. Structured and Guidance Cushioning and 3. Neutral running shoes for those who just require cushioning.

To elaborate a little further on this and put these shoes into their categories: -

Motion Control/Maximum Support

These type of shoes are designed for the severe over-pronator so as to slow down excessive pronation and inward rolling of the foot and will have been manufactured with materials which are slightly firmer along the medial section of the midsole commonly termed as dual-density or even tri-density so as to prevent collapsing of the shoe as the foot rolls excessively inwards. However, the level of support required can differ when it comes to bodyweight i.e. someone weighing 8 stone is likely to need less support in the midsole than someone twice their size.

Structured/Guidance Cushioning

This type of shoe is probably the most popular of all as whilst it offers the more cushioned feel of the neutral shoe, it also provides a little bit of support for those that border on being neutral, or have a degree of mild over-pronation (sometimes just on one foot). Whilst these shoes do have a small post built into the medial section of the midsole, it is far less noticeable and prominent to that of the more supportive motion control shoes.

For those who weigh in excess of 13 stone yet are relatively neutral, this type of shoe may also help to reduce the rate of midsole breakdown along the medial section of the midsole particularly for those who are training for the longer distances and may pronate more during the latter part of a long run.

Neutral shoes

Needless to say, neutral shoes are fully cushioned shoes without any firmer materials or posts built into the midsoles at specific points in respect of medial support allowing for a softer feel underfoot and a degree of more flexibility.

It is also worth noting that many of the manufacturers are now producing some very highly technical single-density materials which respond to the pressure of the foot whereby it will react under certain conditions and pressures negating the need for built-in firmer materials into the midsole construction. For instance, at the start of a run, we may be a little more up on our toes with a bit more of a spring in our step, but after a few miles, the tendency may lead to a slightly reduced stride length and more impact around the heel area causing more pronation of the foot.

So What Makes a Good Road Running Shoe

So now we have determined the differences between the types of shoes, what does actually make for a good road running shoe when in many cases they all look similar on the shelves (albeit different colours). It is all to do with the materials which go into the midsole construction whereby they may all look very similar in terms of depth under-foot, the truth is that some of the foams and specific technologies provide far more protection than others as well as holding shape retention for many more miles. A few years ago if you went for a very lightweight shoe then the likelihood is that the shock absorption properties would not be very good and the shoe would be more suited for the faster runner looking for racing shoes. However, during the last few years, many brands have now produced lightweight materials which certainly do offer high levels of cushioning and shock absorption, but always ask the staff as to what has gone into the construction before buying a lighter weight shoe. Be aware that light-weight natural shoes and those determined as Free Running shoes, whilst feeling comfortable will not always feel so comfortable after a few miles of running in them especially on harder surfaces. Also be aware that if you do try out a natural and minimal running shoe, the heel lift will be much lower than that of a normal training shoe for which you may well experience some tightness in your calf muscles and Achilles tendons until you are more used to them.

Are certain brands better than others?

Most people have their preferred brands, but all established running manufacturers have built up their reputation after several years of being at the forefront of producing high-quality footwear with their own specialist technology designed to protect and give comfort for all those many miles of running. First and foremost, find out what type of shoes suit your running style and biomechanics best and then try all the brands on. The gait analysis will determine this and once you have done so make sure you get the chance to have a run on the treadmill and preferably outside of the store so as to get a true feel under-foot with regards cushioning, comfort and support if required. Then after trying them all on, hopefully, one should stand out above all the others. If one pair feels better than the rest, then the likelihood is that this is the shoe for you. If none of them do, then another one of our sayings at Sportlink is “if in doubt, better to leave it out.”

Trail shoes and Off-Road Shoes

Trail shoes are designed with deeper tread for more grip when running off-road and on uneven surfaces and of course when also wet and muddy. The uppers are also likely to be more supportive so as to hold the foot in place and keep it stable when twisting and turning. For hill running the midsoles are also likely to be of a lower profile so as to reduce the risk of turning the foot particularly on steep descents. Many of the manufacturers are now producing hybrid shoes which enable the runner to mix up the terrain so as to take in off-road and road sections during the course of a run.

Racing Shoes

Only for the elite? Well not necessarily, but they are much lighter and firmer for which the emphasis is on speed and feel of the ground underfoot which means far less shock absorption and support. They are also much narrower just like a track spike so bear in mind if running longer distances your feet may swell a little and expand during the run. In truth, unless you are one of those runners at the front of the field or certainly weighing under 12 stone and determined to go for PB’s and feel race shoes will give you that extra edge, then it might be better to go for one of the lighter road running shoes whereby you can still retain the extra cushioning which will certainly be required in distances over 10 miles.

Cost of Purchasing a good running shoe

The saying you get what you pay for is not necessarily correct especially if you have spent a lot of money on shoes which are not designed for your running style. As mentioned earlier in this article, it is all to do with the materials which have gone into the construction of the midsole for which we try to explain the differences between a very light fluffy foam (for the want of a better word) and a more substantial foam (along with other materials) which will not only give more shock absorption but will also last longer. However, this still does not mean that you have to spend hundreds of pounds to get a high quality running shoe. At Sportlink, we suggest that if you spend somewhere between £70 and £100 then you can be fairly confident that you have walked away with a shoe which should give you at least 500 miles (some shoe companies disagree with this saying less) of comfort, support, and protection from the impact forces of running. Needless to say there are many shoes above this cost, but the differences between a shoe costing £80 and £120 is far less than what a shoe costing £80 as opposed to £50 is. However and most importantly, it is the word comfort which is always the most important box to tick as what is the point of purchasing a shoe that ticks all the specific boxes, but still, don’t feel comfortable.

Running is simple and a pretty natural past time and once into it, most people tend to get hooked. There are lots of running gadgets and brilliant accessories on the market, but always remember it is the shoes on your feet which is the most important part of a runner’s equipment.

Two final footnotes: -

  1. Running Shoes are designed for running. To use them for other activities will cause abnormal wear and break down to the uppers and midsoles.
  2. Whilst the gait analysis equipment might suggest that you have over-pronation, if you have previously had or indeed feel better in a well structured neutral shoe, then despite what the GA may suggest and as said earlier, comfort is the most important commodity. I over-pronate quite badly through my right-foot but have always preferred neutral shoes. If at any time I start to feel a niggle coming on which I consider to be down to my imbalances (pelvic tilt/leg length difference), it is then when I will wear a shoe with a little structure for a few days until things settle down. Bear in mind that I normally run twice a day, seven days a week for which I do also alternate shoes. Some experts suggest that alternating running shoes is a good thing to do whilst others will always say stay with what you know works for you. You the wearer of the shoe or shoes (if you like to alternate) are the most important person when it comes to selection and whilst experience really is sometimes the best way to learn, if it feels right, then go with it.

Neil Featherby.

Sportlink Running.

 

 

10 things to help you through 10 days before Run Norwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neil Featherby shares his top tips for runners ahead of the 10km Run Norwich, which takes place on Sunday 21st July.

1. Stick to your routine with regards to diet. Include some extra carbohydrates, but this is a 10k race, not a marathon so don’t overdo it and do not experiment with foods not eaten before.

2. If your longest run going into this weekend is less than 10k, then don’t go all out to run the distance or indeed run longer just a week before the main event.

3. If possible go out for a rehearsal run this coming Sunday whilst wearing race day kit at the same time of day as what the race starts. Focus your mind as if actually there.

4. Check your kit and make sure everything is in good working order. It is not too late to still purchase items if required, especially socks which can be just as important as shoes.

5. For those who get nervous, try to get a little extra sleep during the week just in case you don’t sleep so well the night before race day.

6. Create lots of positive thoughts in your mind. Keep reminding yourself of all the training miles you have put in and focus your mind on ticking off each km with ease.

7.Taper your runs during race week, but don’t stop completely. Lots of people have experienced heavy legs come race day by completely shutting down too soon.

8. Check out the long-range weather forecast as whilst we can’t be too sure what race day will bring, the likelihood is that it will be warm. Drink plenty of fluids so as to stay hydrated throughout the week.

9. Have all items of kit laid out and ready before race day. Make a check list with everything you know you will need to have with you and tick each item off as you pack.

10. Pace makes for the perfect race! After months preparing for your big day, do not spoil it by going off too quickly. Look to get round in the best and most efficient way possible.

All the very best, Neil.

 

SHOE OF THE MONTH – BROOKS GLYCERIN 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

?SHOE OF THE THE MONTH?
Reviewed by Daniel Skinner - Sportlink

Dan says…
The Glycerin is Brooks’ premium cushioned neutral shoe and that is clear as soon as you put the shoe on your foot! With super soft "DNA LOFT FOAM" from heel to toe and a soft upper, everything about the Glycerin screams plush!

I have owned a lot of shoes, but this must be the softest of them all. It is ideal for those longer runs where you want a comfortable shoe to look after your legs but is equally light enough that picking up the pace doesn’t feel like hard work. The softness does mean it isn’t the most stable for those who over pronate, but if you are a neutral runner looking for cushioning, the Glycerin is certainly worth a look.

The toe box is generous, but the 3D Fit Print upper still gives a snug feeling on the foot. I personally like a lot of room around my toes, so the width feels great, but the heel is so padded that I don’t feel like I am coming out of the shoe at all.

Brooks have created a very smooth transition zone between the heel and forefoot with the mid- and out-sole grooves, meaning that push off feels natural and you don’t get the ‘slappy’ feeling that so often comes from such a soft heel.
In summary, the Glycerin is a very comfortable shoe which adds a touch of luxury to the longer runs!

#brooks #glycerin17 #sportlinkrunningfamily

Neil Featherby: Runners must make sure to take precautions against the warmer weather at this time of year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What with the sudden change in temperatures, it is so easy to get caught out whilst out running and suddenly finding that you are struggling far more than normal due to the heat.

When we run, our body temperature rises, even more so when running in warm weathers, whereby the cooling actions of the body diverts blood to the skin surface to help dissipate heat, causing the body to sweat.

However in warmer weather, particularly when the humidity is much higher, the body cannot cool down due to the difficulty in evaporation of the sweat. These actions also result in less blood for the working muscles, meaning the heart has to work harder to maintain effort.

Sensibility says slow down, but many runners especially those who have trained hard for a race will bust a gut trying to maintain planned pace, for which problems can most certainly arise and some very serious if not careful.

With the extra daylight hours at this time of year, try to get out early morning or evening when it is a little cooler. Pick routes where you know there will be plenty of shade; I like running in the woods.

Wear clothing which is light and further helps wicks moisture away from the body and if, like me, you are bald then a lightweight cap is also advisable.

Soak it with water before putting it on your head.

What with the greater knowledge about skin protection nowadays, use a good quality sunscreen and, most importantly, make sure you are hydrated before you go out; even have a small drink just before leaving and, of course, take one with you.

Needless to say if it‘s a long run then make sure you have enough fluid to help see you through the run.

Fluid losses depend upon a number of factors such as the conditions, intensity of effort and a number of individual characteristics such as body weight and level of fitness, but in very warm and humid conditions, it can easily be well over a litre of fluid.

Electrolyte sports drinks are best, but be sure the concentration is correct i.e. six to seven per cent max. Drink small amounts at regular intervals and don’t wait till you are thirsty as that is when it is too late.

Going back to racing, many years ago I felt I was in the best shape I had ever been in for a particular marathon in Minnesota, with all my splits worked out for what would have been a 2:16 marathon PB.

Unfortunately on the day the temperatures soared well up into the 80sF by the start time of the race and despite going through half way on schedule (68:08), it really was game over just after 20 miles.

The fact that I held on to pace for so long and finished in ninth place (2:23:09) in an impressive international field, showed how fit I actually was.

However, when I crossed the finish line, I was staggering all over the place and was pretty incoherent which resulted in me being taken away and hooked up to a drip for the next few hours needing four bags of saline before being released.

When you are fit, it is so easy to think you are superhuman, which can be even more of a danger.

2:17 marathon runner Neil Featherby.

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS TO RACE 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now pleased to attach the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 to Race 7.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS HERE

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2019,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 7 finishes

A full set of results are available upon request.

Don’t forget to make a note of the Celebration Evening on Friday 15th November – this is NOT just for Prize Winners, but a social event for everyone.  Further details will be available shortly.

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please.

NORFOLK COUNTY POSTAL MARATHON

The last few weeks has seen several Marathons – so let's have your entry NOW, if you do another before 31st October – send that in too.

Remember, you have to be in it – to win it – or pick up Silver/Bronze.  It doesn’t matter if you’re pleased with your time or not – you’ve all achieved that medal for 26.2 miles.

PLEASE NOTE

 ALL ENTRIES MUST BE SENT TO :  ctymarathon@btconnect.com

All other emails addresses I use are so busy, that I may not pick your entry up, so have set this new address up for the 2019 entries.

I DO NOT ACCEPT ENTRIES, with a website link – it is your responsibility to print/attach or whatever the result

ONLY CERTIFIED COURSES, are recognised – off road/trail marathons are not included, nor is 26.2 miles of an ultra.

So, I look forward to receiving your entries shortly and keep me out of mischief for a little while … until some more SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX SERIES results come in.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me on:  ctymarathon@btconnect.com

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK Grand Prix Race Administrator

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS TO RACE 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now pleased to attach the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 to Race 6.  As we’ve had an overwhelming 2174 individual runners so far, we have just displayed the TOP 20 finishers in each category for the 6 races to date.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS HERE

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2019,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 7 finishes

Congratulations to the 17 runners who have completed ALL 6 Races to date. 

HUMPTY DUMPTY 10K is Sunday 30th June – Entries are still available, via Active.com

 Entries are now open for the following races and filling fast  -  Worstead 5m, Dereham 5K and Jolly Jaguars 10K

A full set of results are available upon request.

Just one last matter, don’t forget to make a note of the Celebration Evening on Friday 15th November – this is NOT just for Prize Winners, but a social event for everyone.  Further details will be available shortly.

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please.

 WARNING  Over the next 2 weeks we have 2 SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX SERIES races – in addition, I am in the process of organising the HUMPTY DUMPTY 10K – therefore the results for Races 7 & 8 may not be released as quick as I would have liked – please bear with me.  Thank You.

NORFOLK COUNTY POSTAL MARATHON

The last few weeks has seen several Marathons – so let's have your entry NOW, if you do another before 31st October – send that in too.

Remember, you have to be in it – to win it – or pick up Silver/Bronze.  It doesn’t matter if you’re pleased with your time or not – you’ve all achieved that medal for 26.2 miles.

PLEASE NOTE

 ALL ENTRIES MUST BE SENT TO :  ctymarathon@btconnect.com

All other emails addresses I use are so busy, that I may not pick your entry up, so have set this new address up for the 2019 entries.

I DO NOT ACCEPT ENTRIES, with a website link – it is your responsibility to print/attach or whatever the result

ONLY CERTIFIED COURSES, are recognised – off road/trail marathons are not included, nor is 26.2 miles of an ultra.

 

So, I look forward to receiving your entries shortly and keep me out of mischief for a little while … until some more SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX SERIES results come in.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me on :  ctymarathon@btconnect.com

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK Grand Prix Race Administrator

GOING THE DISTANCE – PETE JOHNSON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We regularly feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A. 

This month it's Pete Johnson in the spotlight.

 

How is your season going Pete?

Touch wood, well. I have competed in a number of races this year and although the times aren't where I used to be, I'm satisfied.

 

Have you had any serious injuries?

To date I can only remember my adductor injury, this took me out for weeks. I even know what caused it. I raced three 5000m inside two weeks, that's a lot of cornering. Aside from that I've probably had most of the problems that everyone gets. Oh there was the calf problem which stopped my return to London.

 

What is your favourite race distance?

This used to be the marathon, I still think I'm more suited to the longer distances Ten and half, although I am trying to target more 10kms to keep the speed up.

 

Favourite pre-race food?

None really, I have a sweet tooth so I'll always go for a dessert with custard ha ha.

 

Do you have any post-race recovery tips, food drink, rest?

I always try to hydrate after a race, but basically get some food in during that first ½ hour or so after training/racing. For me, I will probably have a recovery jog the day after. There was  a time when I'd go out later the same day!

 

Do you have a superstitious colour or piece of kit?

Not really, I have favourite race shorts, but more than one pair and as many of you will remember, I have worn a good many vests in my time.

 

If you were able to do any other sport, what would you choose?

I have followed motor sport for more years than I can remember, so that would probably be my choice.

 

If you had an idea weather condition and time of day to run, what would it be?

Early to mid morning, not freezing but not hot. I don't think I run well in the heat, if it starts to rain when I'm out that's ok.

 

What shoe are running in currently?

I have always got on well with Brooks Ghost, now 11th edition, and my other go to shoe would be ON Cloud X.

 

Jaffa cake, cake or biscuit?

Cake.

 

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS TO RACE 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now pleased to attach the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 to Race 5.  As we’ve had an overwhelming 2094 individual runners so far, we have just displayed the TOP 20 finishers in each category for the 5 races to date.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS HERE

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2019,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 7 finishes.

The next race is this SUNDAY – HOLT 10K – Entries are still available via totalracetiming.co.uk

Entries are now open for the following races and filling fast  -  Humpty Dumpty 10K,  Worstead 5m

A full set of results are available upon request.

Just one last matter, don’t forget to make a note of the Celebration Evening on Friday 15th November – this is NOT just for Prize Winners, but a social event for everyone.  Further details will be available shortly.

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please.

WARNING  Over the next few weeks we have 3 SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX SERIES races – in addition, I am in the process of organising the HUMPTY DUMPTY 10K – therefore the results for Races 6 & 7 may not be released as quick as I would have liked – please bear with me.  Thank You. 

NORFOLK COUNTY POSTAL MARATHON DETAILS

The last 4 weeks has seen several Marathons – so lets have your entry NOW, if you do another before 31st October – send that in too.

Remember, you have to be in it – to win it – or pick up Silver/Bronze.  It doesn’t matter if you’re pleased with your time or not – you’ve all achieved that medal for 26.2 miles.

PLEASE NOTE

ALL ENTRIES MUST BE SENT TO :  ctymarathon@btconnect.com

All other emails addresses I use are so busy, that I may not pick your entry up, so have set this new address up for the 2019 entries.

I DO NOT ACCEPT ENTRIES, with a website link – it is your responsibility to print/attach or whatever the result

ONLY CERTIFIED COURSES, are recognised – off road/trail marathons are not included, nor is 26.2 miles of an ultra.

So, I look forward to receiving your entries shortly and keep me out of mischief for a little while … until some more SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX SERIES results come in.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me on :  ctymarathon@btconnect.com

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK Grand Prix Race Administrator

ON – Cloudventure Review

When offered the chance to run in a pair of On Cloudventure, to say I was excited is an understatement.

Having run in several models of other On shoes, I automatically had high expectations when first putting this shoe on. However, and just like all the other On models, it immediately felt very comfortable.

Whilst the padded engineered mesh upper helped create a sock like fit, at the same time this extra padding was not over the top and therefore still gave an appearance of having a fairly lightweight pair of shoes on your feet.

On numerous occasions with other trail shoes, I have had difficulty with the tongue being either too short or narrow causing a twisting movement mid run.  With the Cloudventure, the tongue is slightly more wide and padded lending itself to a much more secure fit.

I was also aware (in a good way) that not only did the heel also have a good amount of padding, but was a little higher adding to a very secure fit in this part of the shoe too. To further this support and protection, the overlays come in an abundance from the base of the heel through to the midfoot and on to the toe box.

There are of course many other features within The Cloudventure such as the patented Cloudtec technology, engineered speedboard which runs throughout the entire length of the shoe and serves as both protection from any sharp objects whilst also supporting the natural rolling of the foot and cloud elements which are made from zero gravity foam.

Unlike other models these cloud elements are either completely or partially closed in so as to prevent any trail debris such as stones entering the centre of them. This doesn’t affect the cushioning or responsiveness in anyway whatsoever and if anything allows for a better push off. They are also combined with an overlay of tough sticky rubber called Missiongrip for extra traction along with zig zag channels allowing for extra traction on a variety of different surfaces.

This shoe is now in its second incarnation and the tag line of soft landing and firm take off can most definitely be applied to the feeling of running in this shoe. In fact it felt even more responsive when I upped the pace.

All in all, for me the shoe really does do what it says on the tin with superb grip and protection across a wide variety of surfaces be it mud, loose gravel and even tree roots. Even when on road sections too for which I can honestly say that I have had road shoes with less cushioning in the past.

If you are a fan of getting off the road and onto the trails this summer, then this shoe really is as close as it gets to getting 10 out of 10 from me.

Oh and despite the common thought that you get stones stuck in On shoes, it certainly didn’t happen to me when running in these new Cloudventure.

Chris Mickleburgh - Sportlink

Going The Distance – Chris Mickleburgh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We regularly feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A. 

This month it's Chris Mickleburgh in the spotlight.

When did you first start to run?
February 2014, the day after having my last cigarette.

What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?
Seeing how far I can push myself.

What’s your biggest running achievement?
Winning Marriotts Way marathon in 2017 in 2.50 despite getting lost for a mile just after the start.

What in the world motivates a person to run long distance?
The desire to test yourself and see what you are capable of.

What kinds of things do you think about as you run?
I really don’t think too much. I try and switch off. If it’s an effort session or race I think it’s important to try and be in the moment instead of overthinking how you’re feeling and performing.

One the day of the big race…how are you feeling? Are you performing any superstitious rituals (like wearing the same unwashed socks you trained in for months)?
I always have the same breakfast everyday of training so I know it will sit ok on race day. My clubmates at BVH brought me a spirit level to make sure my race number is on straight so I don’t embarrass them all again with it being wonky

What’s your next race?
Run Norwich 10K.

What’s your favourite running shoe?
On Cloudsurfer.

Who’s your running hero?
Jim Walmsley and Zach Miller. Oh and of course the legend that is Sportlink’s very own Kathryn Hammond.

What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink?
Being surrounded by people with a shared passion for running.

Going The Distance – Melissa Baker

We regularly feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A. 

This month it's Melissa Baker in the spotlight.

When did you first start to run?
Sometime in 2016 with my first parkrun being at Catton in August 2016.
What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?
Definitely the achievement of what you can accomplish. Seeing how far you can push yourself and the limits you’re at yet the determination to continue through the pain shows how strong a person you really can be.
What’s your biggest running achievement?
My second road marathon was in Bruges last October and I ran my London 2020 good for age time. I was elated because I managed to stay with the pacers and kept focused the whole race of what is set out to achieve.
What in the world motivates a person to run long distance?
Running longer but at a more comfortable pace can almost feel easier than a short distance at a faster pace and once you’ve done a half and then a full marathon it’s almost addictive to continue further...
What kinds of things do you think about as you run? 
I try not to 'think' and just take notice of where I am.  If I do let my mind wonder I always try and positively think about how I am running and imagine finishing the run/race feeling strong, achieving a pb or just generally feeling accomplished with what I have just done.
One the day of the big race…how are you feeling? Are you performing any superstitious rituals (like wearing the same unwashed socks you trained in for months)?
I don’t have any rituals but try and keep a positive attitude, use the pre race nerves to my advantage and to stay focused to run with strategy because they are what makes my races successful and most accomplished.
What’s your next race? 
I have planned an Autumn Marathon and London 2020.
What’s your favourite running shoe? 
I have tried a few brands but always find my way back to my trusty Brooks Ravenna but have just fell in love with the Brooks Adrenaline.
Who’s your running hero? 
My partner Phil, because he started running to keep me company when training for my first marathon and he’s since achieved more than he takes credit for. Somebody else I find inspiring is Fiona Oakes.
What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink? 
Everything!!!!

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS TO RACE 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now pleased to attach the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 to Race 4.  As we’ve had an overwhelming 1874 individual runners so far, we have just displayed the TOP 20 finishers in each category.

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2019,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 7 finishes

We have attached a list of the remaining races in the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series – the next race is Sunday 12th May – DEREHAM 10m

Entries are now open for the following races and filling fast:  Holt 10K, Wroxham 5K, Humpty Dumpty 10K.

A full set of results are available upon request.

Don’t forget to make a note of the Celebration Evening on Friday 15th November – this is NOT just for Prize Winners, but a social event for everyone.  Further details will be available shortly.

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please.

sportlinkgpraces@btconnect.com

 

NORFOLK COUNTY POSTAL MARATHON

This weekend sees the start of the Marathon season, although there has already been a few since 1st November.

I will send out details for submitting your Marathon times very shortly to a dedicated email address – so I hopefully won’t miss any coming through.

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK Grand Prix Race Administrator

HALF MARATHON TIPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half Marathon tips to consider leading up to race day and of course on the day itself:

  1. One of the most important rules to follow….Pace makes for the perfect race!Therefore on race day start at a pace which you know you can maintain as if you go off too quickly you will pay for it later on and be forced to slow up. If anything it is better to start just a little too slowly so as to find an extra surge during the last few miles. There is no better feeling mentally and physically when you know you are in full control and on route to recording a time which befits your true fitness levels.

 

  1. Make a check list of everything you need to take with you on race day. Tick it off as you pack any such items into your kit bag.

 

  1. Eat some extra good quality (complex) carbohydrates with your meals during the last three days prior to the race. This will ensure that your glycogen levels are fully topped up so as to help you maintain your best effort for 13.1 miles. On race day have a light breakfast such as cereal (porridge oats are good) or perhaps some whole wheat toast with a poached egg about three hours prior to the start of the race.

 

  1. Before race day do a dress rehearsal run. The weekend before is usually good. Getup at the time you expect to on race day, have a light breakfast and wear your race day gear. You could even run at the same time of day as to that of when the race starts and even add one or two sections at desired Half Marathon pace so as to get a really good feel for your big day. For the more established athlete, the distance of this run will be dictated by their fitness levels. However, for the first timer, the distance should certainly be no more than two thirds of the Half Marathon Distance followed by a good taper right up to race day.

 

  1. Make sure you are hydrated going into the race and drink little and often throughout the run, 150/200 mls every 20 mins should suffice (a little more if the temperature is above normal). Water is key, but a good quality electrolyte/energy drink will also help to maintain hydration and energy levels. If making your own, always keep the concentration/solution to about 7.5% i.e. 35gms of powder to every 500 mls of water. Please note that it is dangerous to over hydrate. The colour of your urine will dictate i.e. clear or straw like is good. For those who might be out on the course for two hours or more, an electrolyte energy gel taken every 45 mins may also help or indeed a small piece of cereal energy bar with water. Do not take anything which you have not already used to good effect in training though.

 

  1. Even though for some of you 13.1 miles might be your longest run yet, it is still a good idea to warm up beforehand. Perhaps not quite as vigorously as the more seasoned and elite athletes, but so as to gently increase your heart rate and get the blood flowing and oxygen into the working muscles before the start of the race.

 

  1. If you feel a little unsure as to your ability to complete 13.1 miles with regards to perhaps not having done enough training for the race, then do not try and cram extra long miles in during the week leading up to race day. Try to think more positively and be prepared to stick to a walk/run formula, but start the walking sections early on. If you are forced to walk after what may feel like having run into a brick wall, then this will most certainly mean you have gone off too quickly for your current fitness level. A ratio of 15 mins jog to 1 min walk is good. However, if you really do feel that you haven’t done enough training for the event, then perhaps best not to start and look to focus on making sure you get it right next time.

 

  1. After the race is over it is a good idea to have a cool down with some gentle stretching to help offset some of the muscle stiffness which is likely to be felt later on in the day or of course the following morning. Maybe even a gentle jog and walk with some stretching. Also drink and eat a little something fairly promptly. An electrolyte energy or more specific recovery drink containing carbohydrates and protein along with any easily digestible foods which you are used to will also further help kick start the refuelling and muscle recovery processes.

 

  1. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothing with you. Even if the weather is good on the day, you can soon start to get cold a few minutes after finishing and of course if it is wet and windy then even more reason to have some dry clothes to change into.

 

  1. Finally, have a great run and enjoy every moment of it.

Neil Featherby.

 

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS TO RACE 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now pleased to announce the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – to Race 3.  As we have an overwhelming 1559 individual finishers, we have just displayed the Top 20 finishers in each category.  Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2019, therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 7 finishes.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS HERE

A full set of results are available upon request at  sportlinkgpraces@btconnect.com

Please note NEW DATES for Holt 10K – 26th May and Humpty Dumpty 10K – 30th June and the addition of the East Coast 10k on 13th October.

The following race is NOW FULL.  Wymondham 20m.

The following races are now  OPEN for entries  Dereham 10m, Holt 10K and Wroxham 5K via Total Race Timing.  Humpty Dumpty 10K should be OPEN on Monday 18th March.

Don’t delay ….. remember all the races filled fast in 2018 – that’s why we’ve extended the total number of races to 12 with the best of 7 to count – as we listened to runners who were unable to obtain places for some races in 2018.

Just one last matter, don’t forget to make a note of the SPORTLINK Night of Celebrations on Friday 15th November – this is NOT just for Prize Winners, but a social event for everyone. We will also congratulate ALL RUNNERS that complete ALL 12  Races.   Further details will be available shortly.

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please.

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK Grand Prix  Series Administrator

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS TO RACE 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – Races 1 & 2. 

As we have an overwhelming 1250 finishers, we have just displayed the Top 20 finishers in each category.  Category age groups are based on your age as at 31stDecember 2019, therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 7 finishes.

DOWNLOAD RESULTS TO RACE 2 HERE

A full set of results are available upon request at  sportlinkgpraces@btconnect.com

We have attached a full list of all the SPORTLINK Grand Prix races for the complete season – along with the Athletics Norfolk Fixture List v3.  Please note NEW DATES for Holt 10K – 26thMay and Humpty Dumpty 10K – 30th June and the addition of the East Coast 10k on 13thOctober.

FULL RACE LIST HERE

The following race is NOW FULL.  Wymondham 20m.  Ringland Half Marathon has a few entries remaining.

The following races are now or shortly to be OPEN for entries  Dereham 10m & Dereham 5k, via Total Race Timing.  Holt 10K will open on 25 February for affiliated runners with general entries open on 11 March – enter via Total Race Timing

Don’t delay ….. remember all the races filled fast in 2018 – that’s why we’ve extended the total number of races to 12 with the best of 7 to count – as we listened to runners who were unable to obtain places for some races in 2018.

Don’t forget to make a note of the SPORTLINK Night of Celebrations on Friday 15th November – this is NOT just for Prize Winners, but a social event for everyone.We will also congratulate ALL RUNNERS that complete ALL 12  Races.   Further details will be available shortly.

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please.

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK Grand Prix  Series Administrator

TOM BOSWORTH AT SPORTLINK

SATURDAY 16TH FEBRUARY

Tom Bosworth - phenomenal athlete....Can you run faster than this man can walk?

Having spent most of my running career knowing what every minute per mile pace represents when it comes to running a marathon. When I saw race walker Tom Bosworth set a new World 1 mile Record in 2017 at the London Diamond League Games of 5:31:08 which if maintained would represent a 2:24:40 marathon, we decided to use Tom's record performance for our Sportlink Christmas Charity Treadmill Challenge in December i.e. who can run 1 mile quicker than he can race walk one. Needless to say not too many people could, but most importantly it was great fun for all who took part and of course we raised money for The Hallswood Animal Sanctuary and Nelson's Journey. To add icing to the cake, Tom was made aware of our challenge for which he got behind it, whilst encouraging people to have a go. This led to us making contact with him for which we are also now looking forward to Tom making an appearance instore at Sportlink on Saturday week (Feb 16th) where of course he will be on hand to chat, sign autographs and present the lucky winner of the treadmill challenge prize draw with their free pair of On Running shoes. Needless to say and in true Sportlink fashion, he will also be up for having a go at a couple of fun challenges too....

Everyone is welcome, so do please come along and meet the man who can race walk quicker than most can run, for which you may even be inspired to have a go at race walking yourself.

Tom should be with us from about 1pm.

See below some of Tom's amazing PB’s.

1 mile 5:31.08 World Record

3,000 metres track 10:38.28 British Record and World Indoor Record

5,000 metres track 18:28.70 British Record

10km Road 39:36.00 British Record
20km Road 1:20:13.00 British Record - 6TH place, 2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro.

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS – RACE 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX UPDATE from Pat Brightman

We are now pleased to attached the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – Race 1.  We have just displayed the Top 20 finishers in each category.

DOWNLOAD RACE 1 RESULTS HERE

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2019 – please do not hesitate to contact me, Pat Brightman on this email address ONLY please.

sportlinkgpraces@btconnect.com

Going The Distance – Craig Featherby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We regularly feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A. 

To kick-off the New Year it's Craig Featherby.

 

When did you first start to run?

I had been running for as long as I remember, what with growing up around it so much, it was just always part of my lifestyle. However, I didn’t find my passion for running up until age 14. I was fully focused on football until I discovered a love for running on the track.

What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?

I enjoy feeling healthy. It is also great knowing in my mind that my body inside is in good shape.

What’s your biggest running achievement?

I am proud to still hold the record for 800 metres at Hellesdon High school which I set whilst racing at the Norfolk school’s athletics in 2013.

What in the world motivates a person to run long distance?

Personally, I am yet to do a marathon, so I cannot say exactly, but it is something I aim to achieve in the future. The motivation behind that for myself is to

What kinds of things do you think about as you run?

Whilst I run I am trying not to think. I see it as time to get away from any stresses

One the day of the big race…how are you feeling? Are you performing any superstitious rituals (like wearing the same unwashed socks you trained in for months)?

A mixture of nerves and excitement. I have no rituals, I just like to feel 100% prepared. This just means I’m planning my meals days before and ensuring my most comfortable kit is clean and ready on the day so I will have nothing to panic about on the day.

What’s your favourite running shoe?

Currently the ON Cloudace. It’s something which still comes into a fast a light category but provides a great level of cushioning and absorption.

Who’s your running hero?

Neil Featherby

What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink?

I get to work in a friendly environment meeting a large range of new people everyday all with something in common – an interest in running.

SPORTLINK GP 2019 – WYMONDHAM AC 20m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WYMONDHAM AC 20m

Sunday 24th March 2019

The Sportlink Grand Prix 2019 fourth race of the season!

Organised by our friends at Wymondham Athletic Club

The course is the same as in previous years: a two lap route on quiet, rural roads. It again starts in Wymondham’s historic Market Place and finishes in Lady Lane.

Enter now online at http://bit.ly/Wymondham20m

Please email any questions to our Race Director Andrew Lane at wymondhamraces@gmail.com

THE RIGHT ADVICE – The benefits of a well balanced diet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A well balanced diet containing all the essential nutrients is a must for all those who take their running seriously. There are lots of fads and myths about foods, special diets and supplements which will allegedly improve performance, but just like training, if you haven’t got the basics correct then you will be under performing. For those who like to put a lot of effort into their training and running, a diet consisting of a high proportion (60%) of complex carbohydrates, 15/20% protein and 20/25% fat (essential fats) is one that best suits most athletes when it comes to ensuring that the food we eat not only meets our energy requirements, but also assists with recovery after training and racing.

 

Carbohydrate Loading
For those taking part in marathons and long distance events, it is a good idea to increase the amount of carbohydrates in your diet for about three days beforehand. This doesn’t mean you eat more, but by increasing carbohydrates whilst reducing the fat and protein in your diet whilst also reducing your training loads will ensure that your glycogen levels are fully topped up when you stand on the start line. Glycogen storage will also increase water content as for every one gram of glycogen there will be three grams of water. This of course will produce a weight increase for which it is also best to try this out before race day so as to fully appreciate the benefits during the latter stages of marathons and other long distance events.

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are energy providing nutrients so as to provide the body with glycogen during exercise. Glycogen is stored in the muscles and liver. A high muscle glycogen concentration will allow you to train at your optimal intensity whereas a low muscle glycogen concentration will lead to fatigue and sub optimal performances. A well balanced diet containing all essential nutrients is a must for sports people with approximately 60% of the required calorific input coming from Carbohydrates. The highest proportion of these carbohydrates should come from foods that are low to medium on the Glycaemic food ranking list providing slow release energy.
*whilst some have preferred to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in their diet during more recent times, my own preferred personal choice for endurance athletes is still to maintain a high level of complex carbohydrates within the diet.

Glycaemic Index (G.I.)
The Glycaemic Index is a measure of the effects of different foods containing carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. If you need to get carbohydrates into your bloodstream and muscles cells quickly particularly after exercise then foods high on the GI will do this. However and in most cases it is the more slow released forms of carbohydrates which are best and are described as medium to low on the GI ranking of foods. Those that are high on the GI if eaten with fats and protein will also be more slowly released into the blood stream.

Protein
Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair and whilst it is very popular with many sports people to take protein powders and supplements the body only requires approximately 15% of the daily calorific requirement to be made up of protein. Proteins can be used for energy if the glycogen levels become low particularly during exercise which extends beyond 90 minutes of endurance training and competition. However, if muscle glycogen stores are high then less protein is broken down for energy whereby muscle repair and recovery after exercise is more rapid. Whereby it is very popular with some sports people to reduce the carbohydrate content in their diet for extra protein, the body only requires 1.4 gms to 1.8gms of protein per Kg of body weight and is more than sufficient enough for athletes. There are lots of powders and protein supplements on the market which are very popular, but as always the best source of essential nutrients comes from eating the correct foods within a balanced diet.
*For those who abstain from eating meat and fish, then eggs and dairy products are a good source of protein. However, for those who also prefer to follow a vegan diet, it is essential to cross mix an assortment of plant foods so as to obtain all nine essential (complete proteins) amino acids in the diet. Whilst it is thought that no plant food contains all the essential amino acids, this is not entirely true, but the amounts are indeed very small. For the vegan and vegetarian athlete who avoid dairy products, good sources of protein come from soy products and other beans/pulses, nuts and whole grains.

Fats
Fats should provide the body with about 25% of its energy requirements. Fats come from animal and vegetable sources. Whereas carbohydrates and proteins contain 4.1 kcals per gram, fats provide the body with 9.2 kcals per gram. Fats provide the body with several needs and if the recommended requirements are not met, then the body will not be able to function properly i.e. irregularities with hormone production, organ and cell protection, brain tissue, nerve sheaths, bone marrow and body temperature regulation as well as ensuring the absorption of the fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E & K. Fat also provides a huge supply of energy and whilst it can supply an efficient supply of fuel when combined with carbohydrate oxidation during exercise providing the runner is running at the correct pace (the quicker we run the more the body calls upon energy supplied from carbohydrates), once glycogen levels run low as in runners hitting the wall in marathons and long distance events, then fat oxidation becomes less efficient. Despite the importance of fats, it is also important to understand the difference between those which are considered as good fats and those that are known as bad fats so as to ensure that we consume the correct foods i.e. good fats monounsaturated and polyunsaturated as opposed to those that contain the bad fats trans and saturated.
Whilst the body can synthesize most of the required fats, linoleic acid (Omega 6) and alpha–linolenic acid (Omega 3) can only be obtained through eating specific foods within the diet and hence why these group of fatty acids are considered essential. Therefore, great attention should be paid towards ensuring that we consume the correct foods in respect of obtaining these good fats. However, and at the same time, it should also be pointed out that Omega 6 is far more easily obtained within a western diet for which the downside is that if we eat too many foods containing these fats, this can then inhibit the absorption of Omega 3 fatty acids. Good sources of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids come from eating dark fish such as mackerel, sardines, pilchards, tuna, etc, nuts, seeds, oily fish, eggs, avocados, and olive and certain other vegetable oils. For vegetarians and particularly vegans, the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are harder to obtain for which a vegetarian supplement (micro algae) may be worth considering.

Vitamins & Minerals
Whilst Vitamins and minerals do not directly provide the body with energy, without them the body would not be able to function properly. They all have differing roles, but combined they help with growth, energy metabolism, nerve function, vision, wound healing, maintaining healthy tissue, hormone production, red blood cells and oxygen transportation, cell protection, the immune system and to keep our bones strong.

Water
Our bodies are made up of between 60 to 70% water for which all athletes should ensure that they take in enough water throughout the day to ensure that performance levels during training and competition are not impaired. The more energy expended the greater the requirement for fluid replacement. A loss of just 2% in bodyweight through fluid loss will reduce the body’s ability to function reducing performance levels greatly. Severe dehydration can needless to say result in far worse. Urine checks during the day should confirm your needs for water. If it’s clear or straw like in colour then fine, but if not then drink more until it is. About two hours prior to training consume 500 mls of water and consume 150 to 200 mls every 15 to 20 mins during exercise. Do not wait until you are thirsty! Drinks which contain 35 to 50gms of carbohydrate will help maintain carbohydrate oxidation. Those that contain electrolytes which are lost through sweat loss will also help.

Pre event/training meals
Pre event snacks/meals should be easily digestible containing carbohydrates so as to top up muscle glycogen stores and eaten about three hours before your workout or competition. This will allow enough time for your stomach to empty sufficiently and for blood sugar and insulin levels to stabilise. Liver glycogen will also be topped up. Include foods which are low on the G.I. for slow release energy, are low in fat, low in protein and not too bulky. Consume 500mls of water too.
If you are competing late in the day then try to eat sensibly throughout the day at approximately three hour intervals with your last meal 3 to 4 hours before your event. A very small snack about one hour before an endurance event will help to sustain energy and maintain blood sugar levels during the event. However always practice your dietary habits before training sessions as opposed to trying them out first time before competition.

Supplements
Whilst many sportspeople take all sorts of potions in the hope that performance can be improved, a well-balanced diet should meet all essential requirements. However and with the pace of modern day life many sports nutritionists advise that taking a balanced multi vitamin with iron can help safeguard in the unlikely event of there being any small deficiencies. It is advisable to be aware that whist the water soluble vitamins in the B Group and Vit C will be excreted in the urine if taken in excess, the Fat Soluble vitamins A, D, E & K can become toxic if taken in excessive amounts as these will be stored in the body.
Energy and Electrolyte Drinks can help to not only maintain energy levels during long bouts of exercise, but will also help the body stay hydrated. However it is important to ensure that the concentration levels (mix) is at the correct levels. A 7.5 to 10%concentration is normally recommended i.e. 35/50gms per 500 mls of water or in hot temperatures 5% and below.
Recovery Drinks are okay particularly for those that train hard on several days throughout each week. They should predominately contain carbohydrates with a little protein so as to aid with energy replacement and muscle recovery.
The sports nutrition market is huge and whilst there are potions and pills available for just about everything, first and foremost, a well-balanced diet containing all the essential nutrients is far healthier and in most cases far tastier and more satisfying.

2019 – New Year New You

New Year…New You!

Every year thousands of people take up exercise, particularly running by way of a means to get fit and of course fit in with their New Year resolutions. This is fantastic and something we are Sportlink are fully behind. However, we also advise that each person really should follow a plan which is carefully designed to  fit in with their current level of fitness and lifestyle.

For some they will unfortunately give it up before the end of January through either doing too much too soon and becoming over whelmed by it all, or in many cases they will get hurt and have to stop. With this in mind we strongly recommend the wearing of a high quality pair of running shoes which is fitted for each person’s own individual requirements.

We fully understand that many beginners and those new to running will not want to go over board and spend a lot of money on something which they may not continue with, but at Sportlink, you can not only be assured that we will help you find the correct footwear, we will also do our very best to do so at a price which fits in with your budget. At the same time you can also ask us for any other running advice which will help you on your way towards a great New Year and most importantly a great New You throughout 2019.

Winter Running Tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as the clocks go back and the darkness of night out weighs that of the light of day along with a drop in temperature, for many this is off putting when it comes to finding the motivation to open the door and take those first few steps out into the cold and dark of the early mornings and evenings. More often than not once you are out there you soon forget about it and when finished with the steam coming off your body, the thrill and buzz can be even better than one of those beautiful spring like morning runs. However and before the inexperienced amongst us take those first few winter running steps, it is important to pay attention to certain factors that can turn a winters run from what should be a pleasant experience into one that could put you off for good.

Clothing during the winter months is very important with reflective gear being right at the top of the list. Most running gear now has reflective strips and actually use reflective materials during the manufacturing of all clothing and footwear. For those who perhaps don’t want to spend money on running gear just for the winter months then a reflective bib is a must and can be worn over the top of any item of clothing along with numerous flashing clip on lights which are also now available. Visibility really is a must! The saying “Be Seen, Be Safe” is undoubtedly a quote to always remember when running in poor light.

*When out running in the dark, always try to stay on pavements or if forced on to roads then face the traffic. Whilst running with music is a must for some, this is something that perhaps needs careful consideration when running in poor visibility.

Another item for winter running which has become very popular during the last few years are head torches. They really are an excellent piece of equipment  to have when running in the dark by way of visibility and helping to light up the way ahead. However and as with all products, some are better than others so when purchasing always look to try on and check for not only the power output, but to check the beam shape and width spread. Also be aware of the charge and or battery life. At Sportlink we tend to focus on the Silva brand of head-torches which can range in cost from about £20 to £80. Once again I have tried them all out for which they all meet the necessary requirements.

*A good headtorch really will throw out a strong beam of light so remember to dip the light or your head when motorists and vehicles are coming towards you.

Needless to say there are other considerations with regards what to wear so as to meet those potential winter elements to keep you not only warm and dry, but comfortable too. I always start with a base layer made from wicking materials/fibres which will wick away any build-up of moisture from sweat.  Cotton retains moisture which is not only uncomfortable, but can lead to chaffing and a drop in body temperature if you slow down or turn into a cold wind.  Depending upon the conditions I tend to add layers albeit lightweight vests, t shirts or even long sleeve tops. If it is freezing cold then it might not just mean one or two extra layers, but even a third and if it is raining and very windy then a lightweight showerproof jacket too. If out on one of those longer runs and the rain stops and you start to get a little too warm, most lightweight jackets can easily be folded up and carried or just tied around your waist. I also suffer quite badly with cold fingers so more often than not in the winter I will wear lightweight  gloves. A hat is also a must for me what with not wanting to lose all the heat through the top of my bald head. Ladies may want to consider head bands which cover the ears when the temperature drops those few extra degrees. Other items which I like to have available are a couple of pairs of running tights and plenty of high quality running socks. If shoes are the most important piece of a runners equipment then socks have to be the second most important item. Ladies will also point to a good sports bra. For those who don’t like getting their feet wet, then there are several models of running shoes which are made with a Goretex fabric. However before purchasing a “Goretex Running Shoe”, make sure that it also fits all your other necessary requirements as there are several Goretax running shoes on the market whichmay lack in other very important departments i.e. cushioning, shock absorption and support if required. Grip in very slippery and icy under foot conditions also needs to be considered so if your shoes don’t have enough tread on them consider driving to somewhere where the surface is better suited or purchase a set of snow/ice grippers which can easily be fitted on to the soles of your running shoes.

*When it comes to running equipment like everything else you tend to get what you pay for. You don’t have to be able to afford a Ferrari to get a great car and that is the same with running gear. However there are price points which do need to be considered when purchasing quality footwear, clothing and equipment particularly if you want it to retain its capabilities for year after year. You can be assured that we always look to get people in the right gear at the right price and we only sell what we endorse.

Warm up
Always warm up before running whatever the temperature or time of the year. However and during the cooler months a good warm up will certainly make you feel that much better before taking those first few strides when the air temperature is cooler particularly as our muscles do not contract at the same intensity and are less powerful in colder conditions. One other consideration to take on board is that whilst our bodies rely on carbohydrates as a source of energy for distance running, energy consumption from carbohydrates  increases during cooler temperatures and therefore it is advisable to ensure that you have eaten a meal high in complex carbohydrates the night before if planning a long morning run or indeed a light meal or foods containing carbohydrates two to three hours beforehand. This is also another good reason to make sure that you wear clothing which will keep you warm during your run.

Warm Down
As with warming up, the warm down is also very important, but if you are wet and the temperature is extra cold then it only takes a few minutes after stopping for your body temperature to drop to the point where you can start shivering. If you have done a few mins of gentle jogging at the end of your run, then put another top on before doing your stretching exercises. If wet and cold then make sure you take off your wet layers and replace with dry clothing as soon as you can. Consume some water and eat a little food too or consume a recovery drink which will help to replace the fluid and nutrients lost during your run.

Hydration
During warm weather running we all pay attention to staying hydrated, but this is just as applicable to running in the cooler temperatures. Therefore always have a drink before you go and just as you might in the summer months carry a drinks bottle with you so as to top up along the way especially on the longer one hour plus runs.

 

Happy Running whatever the weather and conditions.

 

Neil Featherby.

Sportlink Running & Fitness.

Vegan Friendly Running Shoes….

Vegan Friendly Running Shoes….

With so many people now following vegetarian and vegan diets, we are also being asked as to which brands produce running shoes which  are made without using any animal derived materials.

Whilst most running shoes are made from synthetic materials, some of these materials still contain leather. However, most of the issues appear to be with the dyes and glues with some being derived from animals for which not all the brands can guarantee that their footwear is 100% Vegan friendly.

Therefore if you are looking for a shoe where no animal has been used during the manufacturing processes, please see below information with regards to the brands we stock at Sportlink.

We will continue to update any further information and changes as we receive it.

Asics

According to their website they have a huge selection of vegan friendly shoes. However, they do point out that the brand also produces shoes that are nonvegan as they contain the use of animal leather.

From the information that has been published on their website, all Asics running shoes stocked at Sportlink are vegan friendly.

Brooks

Brooks have for quite some time now produced running footwear that is Vegan and environmentally friendly. Having been able to get a direct response from their sales representative on behalf of the company, please see below.

“Yes, all our shoes are vegan except the walkers due to the leather but all running shoes are vegan.”

Kind regards,

Claire

brooksrunning.com

HOKA

Hello Neil,

I have spoken to our FSR team and I have been told all our shoes are Vegan friendly apart from the below;

Sky Outdoor range

Bondi & Gaviota Leather

Thanks

Jamie Ging

Sales Executive

inov-8

From their website.

This British brand guarantees that all its shoes are made without leather or suede and are vegan featuring a variety of different soles for excellent grip on track or trail.

On the back of their statement, we also assume that the glues used during the manufacturing of their footwear is also vegan friendly.

Mizuno

Hi Neil,

I can confirm that our running shoes are vegan friendly.  We do not use any natural leathers nor use glues or dyes which contain animal derivatives in our shoes.

Regards

Steve Davies
UK Field Sales Manager
MIZUNO CORPORATION (UK)

New Balance

From their website

Many of our models are made with synthetic materials. However, please note that we do use different types of glues depending on what is available. Some glues contain animal products. Although the shoe may be made of synthetic leather it does not mean it will be completely vegan.

On

Direct from their sales representative on behalf of the company -

Hi Neil,

Yes all our shoes are all 100 percent vegan friendly.

Kind regards

Carlos.

On-Running UK

Saucony

Direct from their sales representative on behalf of the company -

Hi Neil,

Our performance range is vegan friendly in terms of materials but we can’t guarantee the factories are vegan friendly as they may use leather etc on other products.

Kind Regards

Pete.

Saucony.

From their website

*This company is unable to guarantee that the glue used in its synthetic shoes will remain vegan at all times, because of potential changes in suppliers and the availability of ingredients. We’ve opted to include it here because its products are widely available and because being vegan is not about personal purity. The more popular these synthetic shoes are, the more cruelty-free options will be made available in the future.

We will continue to update any further information and changes as we receive it.

The Sportlink Team.

SPORTLINK GP 2019 – FREETHORPE TEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FREETHORPE TEN

The Sportlink Grand Prix 2019 first race of the season!

Great Yarmouth and District Athletic Club
BAM Nuttall freethorpe TEN

Sunday 27th January 2019

Race HQ:  freethorpe Village Hall NR13 3NZ
Start 11 a.m.

10 mile Circular road race on quiet Country Roads an ideal training race for a spring marathon.
Extensive prize list including first male and female £200
Course record bonus £50 first male and female male 51:05 male 56:42

Entry Fees until 31/12/2018 - £18 affiliated  £21 unaffiliated.

Enter now online at http://bit.ly/FREETHORPE-TEN

Race Info and Numbers will be sent out after 9th January 2019.

All enquiries etc -  email to gydacraces@btconnect.com

SPRING 2019 MARATHON OFFER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week ballot results for the London Marathon 2019 are announced with acceptance magazines and emails officially starting to drop to lucky applicants from Monday 8th October.

Here at Sportlink Specialist Sports Ltd we’re here for you all the way on your journey to #VLM2019offering 20% off all full priced shoes and clothing in-store between Monday 8th and December 24th 2018 with production of your acceptance magazine or email for London Marathon or any other Spring 2019 marathon including ASICS Greater Manchester MarathonBrighton Marathon WeekendBungay Festival of Running Marathon,Boston Marathon UK and any others you may have entered.

We're here to be part of your journey and want to help every step of the way with advice and experience, but firstly to start you off on the right foot and training in the best shoe possible for you.
We are Norfolk's only independent running specialists, run by runner for runners.

Good luck - The Sportlink Team
#Sportlink #Running #Fitness #Marathon#VLM2019

The Benefits of Compression Clothing

The use of compression clothing in today’s day and age is becoming increasingly popular during both training and competition. Many top sporting brands have designed their own line of compression styled sportswear such as; Hilly, CEP, Nike, Canterbury, the list goes on… but why do we, and elite sports performers across the world choose to wear such products? Surely it doesn’t just serve as an excuse for people to wear tight fitting apparel in a vain attempt to show off their well-trained physiques? Well, maybe there is some truth in that with some cases, but I like to think that the performance enhancing benefits well outweigh the aesthetic purposes and I am now going to try to explain why:

 

Thermoregulation (maintaining body temperature)

The body operates best when kept at a specific temperature. Too cold and the muscles generate less force, tighten up and you become more susceptible to injuries such as strains and sprains. However, too hot and your reaction times slow and increased stress is placed on the heart.

Reduced Muscle Oscillation (reduces micro damage caused to the muscles)

Small tears appear in your muscle tissue every time they contract, it is a combination of this and the build up of lactic acid that create muscle soreness during and post exercise. Through reducing the rate of micro damage to the muscles, muscle soreness is reduced allowing us to work harder for longer. 

Increased Circulation (blood flow around the body)

Increasing the rate of our blood flow means we can get oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles at a faster rate, as well a quicker removal of waste products such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. This will help increase your rate of recovery during rest periods as well as prolonging the effects of fatigue. 

Increased Proprioception (your awareness of the position of your body in space)

Proprioceptors are found within the muscles, they provide us with feedback upon our positions (e.g. your arm position compared to the rest of your body). Compression clothing effectively acts as a second skin, heightening such senses. As well as making the user more aware of their ranges of movement, it also gives added support and helps by reducing the risk of injury.

Increased Muscle Power Output (elastic and supportive properties)

The stretch in the fabric is designed to aid power input by assisting the stretch reflex / shortening cycle. As a result, the muscle power output is increased as the elastic material helps the muscles to contract with greater force.

Fashionable and Concealing (designed with appearance in mind)

Performance apart there are a couple of other added benefits of compression clothing also, such as; it’s comfortable to wear, it hides any imperfections, it maintains an image, allows you to feel your muscles working, and it can also increase confidence.

So next time it comes to buying your technical apparel, whether it be for training or competition purposes, or maybe just to help brave the harsher elements of the winter months? It may well be worth considering compression clothing as another alternative! The physiological and performance benefits are there to be exploited by everyone when it comes to training, no matter how good you are or what level you train at!

RUNNING HADRIAN’S WALL 2018

Neil Featherby: It’s been a tough, rewarding few weeks...but now the hard work really starts
 
As mentioned in my column last week, life has been rather hectic of late what with the new refit at Sportlink, which really does look pretty special albeit still not quite finished.
 
The official opening last weekend was absolutely superb, which I have to thank so many people for their efforts, from the builders to the electrician, decorator and the graphic designers.
 
However, I most certainly have to give a huge thank you to all my staff who worked so hard through the bank holiday weekend and the hundreds of customers and friends who came into see us with gifts and items to add to the weekend’s celebrations.
 
Also in last week’s column, I mentioned that I am at last going to try and complete one of the challenges which I promised to do when turning 60 earlier this year. The challenge being to once again run the full length of Hadrian’s Wall after doing it 10 years ago when turning 50.
 
Having considerably upped my training mileage during the last month, let’s just say delusion possibly does get worse with age or most certainly in my case.
 
Having not done a long run for years, piling in the miles does not come as easy as it used to any more.
 
I also did my first 20 miler in 10 years just last weekend which also confirmed that this old body of mine doesn’t move as efficiently as it once did.
 
Nevertheless, the idea is to try and complete the 84 miles over some pretty hilly and very tough terrain as near to 24 hours as we possibly can.
 
When you think about it, everything in your head says it should be easy as a very slow walking pace of just 4mph will get you home within the time limit, but as any long distance runner knows, it doesn’t work like that.
 
Trying to run so very slowly early on is tough, but after a few hours, once the fatigue of just being on your legs for several hours whilst constantly moving forward up the steep climbs, if we get it wrong and the wheels come off, even 1mph will become mentally and physically hard.
 
On the plus side for me, I am doing it with two really good friends and great runners, Chas Allen and Jason Wright whilst also having support back up from Baz Hipwell and Mark Hewlett. Baz and Mark really will have an important role to play with making sure we stay in one piece and meeting us at various destinations on route to make sure that our required kit and feed are ready for us when we arrive at the check points.
 
Chas is an absolute genius when it comes to talking about fitness, physiology, nutrition and anything else that is applicable to how our bodies function, and whilst I pride myself with having pretty good knowledge myself, I am certainly going to take advantage of picking his brains as much as possible during the long haul.
 
As with every challenge it is always good to have something in the back of your mind to keep you going for which we will also be raising money for The Hallswood Animal Sanctuary and Nelson’s Journey.
 
MORE: ‘New’ Sportlink is up and running
 
I have been a volunteer at Hallswood for several years now and have known Simon Wright, the chief executive at Nelson’s Journey, for some time too. Simon who is usually close to the front of most local races, called me up after hearing of our challenge and of course hearing that we are raising funds for his charity to say how pleased he was. He also went on to tell me a bit more about some of the amazing work they do.
 
Last year alone, 952 children and young people aged between 0-17 years were referred to them following a death of a significant person in their lives. Nelson’s Journey helps provide support for such children whilst also providing further guidance and education to parents, carers and other professionals.
 
Needless to say I don’t have enough space to write about it all in great depth, but that along with the brilliant work done by Lyz Hall and her team at Hallswood, this will most certainly help to drive us on especially when the going does start to get tough.
 
If anyone would like to make a donation towards our efforts, we will be setting up a Go Fund Me page which will go out on social media. Alternatively, just pop into Sportlink where either myself and Chas Allen can be found or at Felthorpe Lawnmowers for Jason Wright.
 
I would also once again like to thank local runner Kelly Beales at Capricorn Campers, Nick Gracie at UNNU Endurance Sports Nutrition, Carlos Rybeck at On Running and Gareth Hickin at Polar for their much valued support.
 
Finally, I must say a huge well done to Nigel Arnold and his team for their brilliant efforts last week when cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats in just six days….phenomenal!

Autumn Running Tips

Preparing for the dark nights

As soon as the clocks go back and the darkness of night out weighs that of the light of day along with a drop in temperature, for many this is off putting when it comes to finding the motivation to open the door and take those first few steps out into the cold and dark of the early mornings and evenings. More often than not once you are out there you soon forget about it and when finished with the steam coming off your body the thrill and buzz can be even better than one of those beautiful spring like morning runs. However and before the inexperienced amongst us take those first few winter running steps, it is important to pay attention to certain factors that can turn a winters run from what should be a pleasant experience into one that could put you off for good.

Clothing

Clothing is very important with reflective gear being right at the top of the list. Most running gear now has reflective strips and actually use reflective materials during the manufacturing of all clothing and footwear. For those who perhaps don’t want to spend money on running gear just for the winter months then a reflective bib can be worn over the top of any item of clothing which will be more than suffice. The saying Be Seen, Be Safe is undoubtedly a quote to always remember when running in poor light. Needless to say there are other considerations with regards what to wear so as to meet those potential winter elements to keep you not only warm and dry, but comfortable too. I always start with a base layer made from wicking materials/fibres which will wick away any build-up of moisture from sweat.  Cotton retains moisture which is not only uncomfortable, but can lead to chaffing and a drop in body temperature if you slow down or turn into a cold wind. You can then add other lightweight vests, t shirts or even long sleeve tops to this depending upon the conditions. If it is freezing cold then it might not just mean one or two extra layers, but even a third and if it is raining and very windy then a lightweight showerproof jacket too. If out on one of those longer runs and the rain stops and you start to get a little too warm, most lightweight jackets can easily be folded up and carried or just tied around your waist. I also suffer quite badly with cold fingers so more often than not in the winter I will wear lightweight  gloves. A hat is also a must for me what with not wanting to lose all the heat through the top of my bald head. Ladies may want to consider head bands when the temperature drops those few extra degrees. Other items which I like to have available are a pair of running tights and high quality running socks. If shoes are the most important piece of a runners equipment then socks have to be the second most important item. Ladies will also point to a good sports bra. For those who don’t like getting their feet wet, then there are several models of running shoes which are made with a Goretex fabric. However before purchasing a “Goretex Running Shoe”, make sure the shoe itself fits all your other necessary requirements when it comes to footwear as there are several Goretax running shoes on the market which lack in other very important departments. Grip in very slippery and icy under foot conditions also needs to be considered so if your shoes don’t have enough tread on them consider driving to somewhere where the surface is better suited or purchase a set of snow/ice grippers which can easily be fitted on to the soles of your running shoes. One other item of equipment which has become very popular during the last few years are head torches which are brilliant when running in the dark and certainly help light up the way and of course ensure that you are seen.

When it comes to running equipment like everything else you tend to get what you pay for. You don’t have to be able to afford a Ferrari to get a great car and that is the same with running gear. However there are price points which do need to be considered when purchasing quality footwear, clothing and equipment particularly if you want it to retain its capabilities for year after year.

Warm up

Always warm up before running be it at any time of the year, but during the cooler months a good warm up will certainly make you feel that much better before taking those first few strides when the air temperature is cooler particularly as our muscles do not contract at the same intensity and are less powerful in colder temperatures. One other consideration to take on board is that whilst our bodies rely on carbohydrates as a source of energy for distance running, energy consumption from carbohydrates  increases during cooler temperatures and therefore it is advisable to ensure that you have eaten a meal high in complex carbohydrates the night before if planning a long morning run or indeed a light meal or foods containing carbohydrates two to three hours beforehand. This is also another good reason to make sure that you wear clothing which will keep you warm during your run.

Warm Down

As with warming up, the warm down is also very important, but if you are wet and the temperature is extra cold then it only takes a few minutes after stopping for your body temperature to drop to the point where you can start shivering. If you have done a few mins of gentle jogging at the end of your run, then put another top on before doing your stretching exercises and if wet and cold then take off your wet layers and replace with dry clothing as soon as you can. Consume some water and eat a little food too or consume a recovery drink which will help to replace the fluid and nutrients lost during your run.

Hydration

During warm weather running we all pay attention to staying hydrated, but this is just as applicable to running in the cooler temperatures. Therefore always have a drink before you go and just as you might in the summer months carry a drinks bottle with you so as to top up along the way especially on the longer one hour plus runs.

Happy Running whatever the weather and conditions.

Neil Featherby.

Sportlink Running & Fitness.

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX SERIES – TOP 20 RESULTS UPDATE

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX UPDATE from Pat Brightman

We are now pleased to attach the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2018 to Race 10.  As we’ve had an overwhelming 2720 runners so far, we have just displayed the TOP 10 finishers in each category. DOWNLOAD HERE

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2018,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 8 finishes

A full set of results are available upon request

There is now ONLY 1 Race remaining in the Series :  Holt 10K on 21st  October organised by North Norfolk Beach Runners and I know that most of you are all eagerly awaiting the entries to open … could be a matter of fastest finger first !!

As you will see, the final top 3 in most categories is still very dependant on the last  race

SPORTLINK NIGHT OF CELEBRATIONS:  We will be hosting our End of Season social evening on Friday 16th November at The Assembly House, Norwich. The ticket prices are as follows: We have less than 15 Early Bird Specials available.

Limited Early Bird Specials £12.50 per head, thereafter £17.50 per head and this includes a 2 Course Hot  Buffet with a wide selection, Presentation Ceremony for the Grand Prix Series, County Postal Marathon & Road Runner of the Year and music for dancing to the fabulous sounds of a DJ.

This evening is OPEN to ALL runners, family & friends, NOT just those that have won a prize.

If you would like to join us for what promises to be a wonderful evening of celebrations, personal achievements and special awards, then please go to the link:

http://buytickets.at/athleticsnorfolkrrc

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2018 – please do not hesitate to contact me, Pat Brightman on this email address ONLY please.

sportlinkgpraces@btconnect.com

NORFOLK COUNTY POSTAL MARATHON.  We are still accepting entries – even if you have already run a marathon this year and intend doing another before 31st October, please let us have your results and we can amend it if necessary.

YOU HAVE BE IN IT TO WIN IT ….. OR COME 2nd/3rd

Pat Brightman

SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series  Administrator

 

Going the distance – Daniel Skinner

We regularly feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A. This month it's Daniel Skinner.

When did you first start to run?

I started training as a sprinter at Lincoln Wellington AC when I was 9 years old (11 years ago) and since then I have moved up the distances to around 1500m-10k where I am at the minute.

What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?

For me, running is an escape. As a mathematician its great to be able to switch off and give my head a rest! Winning the occasional race is a nice bonus though!

What’s your biggest running achievement?

My biggest achievement in running is more of a personal achievement than a physical one. At the 2012 Lincolnshire County Championships I ran the 400m and the 800m in the under 15 age group. My Grandad was very ill at the time so being able to go out and race for him was really important to me. On the Saturday I went into the 400m as the favourite, not realising that two runners who rarely competed in county matches had turned up. I ran a new personal best but came in 3rd. In all the competitions I have done, that was the hardest loss that I have had to take, I was distraught. The next day was the 800m and I knew that one of the runners who had beaten me in the 400m would be in the race. Since the 400m was my favoured event, I knew that it would be tough to win it but I also knew that I couldn’t walk away without the medal to show my Grandad. I sat in second place, just off the shoulder, for most of the race and with 150m to go I pushed hard for the finish. The last 20 seconds seemed to take years but I reached the finish in a new PB, winning by a second. It took a while for it to sink in but the fact that I came from being beaten down in the 400m to come back and win the 800m in probably the hardest run of my life will always stay with me. Also, I had won the medal for my grandad who had always inspired me to keep pushing, which for me made this the biggest achievement I could ever reach in running.

What in the world motivates a person to run long distance?

Every runner has their own motivation, some run to win, some to keep fit, some to escape. I personally run long distance because it gives me the freedom to choose whatever I like. I can run where I like, for as long as I like and go wherever the run takes me. There are no rules, it’s unpredictable and it’s free which makes it the perfect contrast to the mathematics I study on a daily basis.

What kinds of things do you think about as you run?

Most of the time, nothing! Running is my chance to switch off and not have to think about anything in particular, I can take the run as it comes. Sometimes I may be preparing for a specific race or trying to wrap my head around a particular mathematical concept that isn’t making sense, but for the most part I try not to think to much and just run.

One the day of the big race…how are you feeling? Are you performing any superstitious rituals (like wearing the same unwashed socks you trained in for months)?

On race day I do get really terrible nerves. After months of training it can be daunting to think that it all comes to one run! Mostly though I am just excited, its my chance to perform. The race is my domain and it is where I am free to express myself through running. I don’t believe in superstition, however there are a couple of things that I almost always do in preparation for a race. On the morning of the race, I always have scrambled eggs on brown toast for breakfast. There is no particular reason except that it is good nutritious breakfast (and it’s yummy!) and after having it a couple of times it really just stuck! Also, I will always carry my 2012 county championships medal with me (although I don’t usually run with it) to remind myself of what I am capable of if I really push myself and I am not afraid to hurt. Finally, I find that listening to ‘Lose yourself’ by Eminem really gets me into race mode. I’m not sure what it is exactly about the song but it really helps me to get into the right frame of mind where all that matters is the finish line.

What’s your next race?

I don’t have any races planned at the moment as I am currently working thought some biomechanical issues, but I hope to be back racing soon and building my speed back!

What’s your favourite running shoe?

There are two possible contenders for this one. Going on which shoe I would be first to reach for when going for a run, it has to be the ON Cloud. It is light, responsive and fast while still being comfortable both to run in and also just to walk around day to day. The second shoe is the New Balance 1500. This is my favourite shoe for the faster sessions as it fits my foot perfectly and is super responsive. I can’t put my finger on why I love it so much, it just feels like it works perfectly with my running. I don’t think I could choose between the two shoes as they both have their own uses and I can’t imagine running without either of them!!

Who’s your running hero?

As I was growing up, my running hero was my Grandad who himself earned an England vest on the Cross Country. Unfortunately he had retired before I ever got to see him race but the photos and the stories always made me want to run. He was also one of my top supporters and even if he couldn’t make many races, he would always be the first to ask how it went. In recent years my main idol has been David Rudisha as I think he has all the qualities I want to have as a runner. He is kind, sporting and humble but also ruthless and extremely hard working when he get on the track. He has the perfect combination of brutal desire to win but also respect for every competitor on the track. Too many runners think that you have to be arrogant to have a killer racing instinct, but Rudisha proves them wrong.

What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink?

Its difficult to choose a single thing about Sportlink that makes it so special, but I think it’s the customers who really make it. It’s an absolute pleasure to hear peoples running stories, from ultra marathon runners to people training for their first 5k. One thing that always amazes me is the enthusiasm we see for running and the incredible impact it has on so many lives.

Bank Holiday Sale – Now On!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COME AND CELEBRATE!

Norwich’s Only 100% Running Store relaunches this weekend.

Join us this Bank Holiday Weekend (Friday through to Monday) for lots of fun and superb offers with up to 50% off all running shoes, footwear & equipment.

PLUS
HILLY SOCKS - 3 PAIRS FOR THE PRICE OF 2
Polar - 30% OFF
SKINS - 25% OFF

As always the very best service and advice from our highly qualified running staff.

More Space , More Equipment and even more atmosphere….a real running experience!

Refreshments available all weekend so come and join us for a drink and a slice of cake.

Free give away shoes to three lucky winners in our prize draw from Saucony, Brooks Running and On Running

Run By Runners For Runners.

Can't get to us?
01603 868606 or e-mail: sales@sportlink.co.uk.

All offers while stocks last. 
Other discount offers and club discounts cannot be used with these offers.

THE HUGE Hoka One One​ SPECIAL OFFER WEEKEND!

 
 
With just 1 week to go before the official opening of our super new look Taverham store we have a very special Hoka One One weekend offer for you.
 
25% OFF all new Hoka One One Clifton 5 & Cavu.
Including a FREE bag with the Clifton 5.
 
 
Plus UPTO 35% OFF all other Hoka One One shoes.
 
Don't miss out on these fantastic offers. Once they're gone they're gone. Come and grab yourself a bargain!
 
All offers available from our Taverham and Halesworth stores.
 
Can't get to us?
Call Taverham 01603 868606 or Halesworth 01986 475440
or e-mail: sales@sportlink.co.uk.
 
All offers while stocks last.
Other discount offers and club discounts cannot be used with this offer.
 
#hoka #hokaclifton5 #hokaclifton4 #hokacavu #hokagaviota #hokaarahi #hokaelevon
#SportlinkRunningFamily

Neil Featherby: North Norfolk Beach Runner Robin Rush epitomises what running can do for you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sportlink owner Neil Featherby with North Norfolk Beach Runner Robin Rush. Picture: Neil Featherby

Sunday’s Run Norwich 10k saw many people relatively new to running complete the challenge of taking part and finishing a 10k run for the first time.

At the opposite end of the running spectrum, I bumped into an old friend and very prominent local runner from the 1980s and 90s last week.

In fact this old friend has also been around on the cycling and swimming scene too for years, but it was as a runner I know him best for.

Robin Rush, from Aylsham, who coincidentally is also the North Norfolk Beach Runners longest serving member would regularly toe the line at road races around the county back in the day so when seeing him last week my immediate thought was to have a good chat with him about the good old days.

As it happens he came into Sportlink late last year with a paper cutting for me, but I unfortunately missed him so before I could say ‘hi Robin how good it is to see you this time’, with his usual big smile and dry sense of humour, casually sitting there trying on several pairs of running shoes, he beat me to it with a comical comment of ‘so you do still work here then?’

Needless to say I got my own back prior to him leaving when asking him to help unload a lorry with two new treadmills for our extension work which is currently going on at the store.

At 77 years of age, Robin is still so very fit that is for sure. In fact his current fitness levels are probably well beyond what many a person half his age could aspire too. Whilst most of his current day personal challenges are restricted to cycling all over Europe, he has completed ten marathons and taken part in running road races all around the World, which includes places such as Berlin, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moscow, Iran, Jordan and Turkey.

When it comes to cycling, he has cycled through the Atlas mountains in Morocco, cycled over 1,000 miles from Switzerland to Budapest whilst also following the rivers Thames, Danube and Rhine all the way from the sources of these great rivers. He has also cycled from John O’Groats to Lands End and again in the opposite direction whilst also having completed the trip from the most easterly point in the UK, to the most westerly point when cycling from Lowestoft to St David’s.

Oh and I nearly forgot that he has also cycled the length of Ireland too amongst his many feats of endurance. However, the main reason I am writing about Robin this week, is because he like so many other people here in Norfolk, is someone who just quietly and indeed very modestly does so much to help others through his running and cycling. So much so that he has raised a staggering £200,000 through all his many superb efforts during the last 40 years for which lots of charities and organisations, many of them local, benefitting from his efforts.

I think this is absolutely brilliant and once again demonstrates just how running and keeping fit helps to not only keep our bodies in great shape, but our minds too for which Robin most certainly epitomises this.

For those who may not know him, he was awarded an MBE in the Queens Birthday honours list last year for all his charity work, which I know he is very proud of and rightly so.

Incidentally, I have sold him many pairs of running shoes over the years and believe it or not I can still remember the very first pair!

Going back to last Sunday’s city centre 10k, a huge well done to everyone who took part whilst also not forgetting all those people, organisations and businesses who help to make it the super event it most certainly is.

Neil Featherby: Cherish that finisher’s medal at Run Norwich 2018 – you deserve it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Initially there were 14 candidates, but like all projects there will always be a number of twists and turns along the way for which we unfortunately lost three of them due to ongoing niggles. However, as we now approach the big day, I am so pleased and even proud to say that 11 of them will be lining up with 7,000 or so other race entrants for which they will all be taking part in an event which will not only be a fantastic experience for them, but it will also be the end of a very personal journey for each one of them too.

Whilst the very elite will be racing their way round in a little under or just over 30 minutes, for most of the runners in the race it will be anything from 45 minutes to well over an hour. For the Norse Group, we may get one or two under 50 minutes and a couple under the hour, but for the majority it will be around 60 to 75 minutes.

When they cross the finish line and receive their finishers medal, it will not only represent the run they have just completed, but actually represent all those weeks of hard effort which has gone into the training for this run. Running and preparing yourself to take on such a race is like everything else in life, you get out what you put in.

Whilst I have continually used such words as focus, motivation, desire, consistency and determination when trying to describe what it takes during our weekly sessions, those same words do indeed sum up what is required if you want to do something to the best of your ability. When they stand on the start line I am sure everything they have gone through will all start to make sense.

The Norse Running Group at the Field of Pain. Picture: Neil Featherby

In last week’s column I gave plenty of last minute tips regarding diet, tapering and hydration.

However, and whilst preparation is so very important, race day comes with lots of nerves and excitement for which it is so easy to go off too quickly at the start.

In big races such as this, you can also easily get blocked at the start. If you do then stay very patient and gradually pick it up as you work your way round the course and don’t go bombing off the minute you get clear space as you can easily destroy all the hard work which has gone in to getting you to the start line in the first place.

Remember pace makes for the perfect race! Take note Mark Armstrong! Work your way up the hills as opposed to struggling up them and run your own race if you want to cross the finish line in a time which befits your fitness on the day.

The Norse Running Group at the Field of Pain. Picture: Neil Featherby

Looking at the sharp end of the field... for me it has to be Nick Earl who is currently in the form of his life. However, Ash Harrell, is also in great form. I think last year’s winner Mike Kallenberg has been carrying an injury, but if not then he will most certainly be right in there with them as will the evergreen Adrian Mussett. Not too far behind them I can then see local stars Dom Blake, Michael Eccles, Stu Huntington, Gary Crush, Steve Cannell, Sam Coyne, Wayne Lincoln, James Senior, Nathan Risbey and Chris Mickleburgh all scrapping it out for top 10 placings.

When it comes to the ladies race, then it has to be Dani Nimmock closely followed by last year’s winner Emma Risbey, Jo Andrews and Cat Cummings. Nevertheless, the start list suggests that there are 42 sub 35-minute runners entered with many from away, so I also expect a few surprises which will of course lend itself to further excitement on the day.

Good luck to everyone and have a great run.

Neil Featherby: Time to put finishing touches to your training…and think about hydration.

It’s time to think about that race strategy for Run Norwich 2018, says Neil Featherby
With just over a week to go to this year’s big city centre race, the Run Norwich 10k, a lot of first timers will be asking themselves lots of questions with regards to wondering if they have ticked all the boxes to be fully prepared and ready to go when they stand on the start line.
Needless to say there will always be thoughts of “have I done enough?” or “can I squeeze a few extra miles in between now and race day?”
However, in truth, the final week should just be about putting the finishing touches to all the weeks and months of hard preparation which has gone in.
It is now about making sure that you can get the very best out of what you have done with perhaps a few specific sessions during the next few days to put the icing on the cake.
The warm weather has certainly slowed many down during training preparations and of course there have been many warnings about exercising in the extreme heat conditions.
By all accounts the forecasters suggest that August 5 (race day) will also be very warm.
Whilst it is so very important to be careful, I am sure the race will go ahead.
I have been preparing all the athletes in my groups to have a good understanding of running in such conditions and at the same time gently preparing them to run in the warmer weather.
For instance, the London Marathon earlier this year was run in very warm and stifling conditions which had also come on the back of an earlier cold spell. Whilst this spoilt many runners’ plans of hitting target times, those who ran intelligently still completed the race and got round in reasonable times.
The heart has to work much harder in such conditions due to blood flow, hence why the intensity of running can feel much greater than usual.
However, and apart from getting the pace right, hydration is key and whilst we are all so much more aware nowadays to the dangers of over hydrating (hyponatremia), it once again comes down to preparation and intelligence. My concern for people is that so many of them now talk about hyponatremia, that some of them don’t drink enough.
Little and often is the key.
When going out for a run make sure you are hydrated before you start. Any sign of thirst suggests that you aren’t. Providing we drink regularly during the day, all should be okay.
To put it bluntly, if your urine is clear or straw like in colour then you are fine. If not, then you need to drink more.
On race day or indeed when training particularly for those who are going to be exercising for an hour or more, then make sure you have a good drink (approx. 500mls) of water upon waking up or an hour or so before running. Then have another drink of about 300mls just before you start. If you need to urinate during the run then it is more than likely to do with what you drank before that last drink.
On the way round take in small amounts little and often – perhaps 150mls every 15 minutes or so. However, be careful of very concentrated sugary drinks as they could lead to dehydration and even make you feel nauseous if it is very warm.
You can always put an electrolyte tablet in your bottle or use a very carefully balanced out energy/electrolyte drink to take round with you which will also help.
Be sensible with the clothing which you run in. I used to wear a neckerchief in warm weather to constantly pour water on to it which kept the back of my neck cool. I would also pour water over my head and if need be sponge down when possible.
I have even soaked my vest before running.
Many experienced runners will go out this coming Sunday morning and go through a pre-race ritual.
In fact they will probably have the same pre-race meal on Saturday night containing lots of good carbohydrates and then get up on Sunday morning at the same time they expect to on the day of the race and then go through a race day simulation to practice what they intend doing during the race.
It is a great way to focus your mind, go through the motions and tick one of those final boxes to get it all blueprinted in your head.
For the first timer, this does not mean going out and doing your longest or indeed fastest paced run though.
On the back of my recent column about running and mental health, I received lots of private messages and calls from people telling me how running has helped them personally.
This week, I spoke to someone who has completed some amazing feats over the last few years whilst also doing so much for others for which they have now become one of these people who is so greatly admired and people look to for strength.
I have known this person for 30 years and during that time we have had lots of discussions about everything running and similar charity work which we both do.
Just very recently this person had a bit of a low themselves for which once again I received messages asking if I was I aware. Needless to say I made contact and had a good chat with them. I suppose you could ask the question as to who and what motivates the motivator? More often than not the motivator likes to motivate others because they themselves need to have motivation all around them for their own secure feelings.
At the end of the day we are all so very human and once again from what I saw this last week, it represents just how very human the running community are when it comes to offering support to each other when needed. Running is without a doubt a fantastic sport.
But at the same time and as I have said so many times before, it is also so much more than just a sport.

DEREHAM 5K

SUNDAY AUGUST 19TH : The Great War Centenary Dereham 5k - Sportlink Grand Prix Event.

August 19th
Sponsored Grand Prix Event.

Now SOLD OUT ... Thanks to all who have entered.

 

Full race details to follow at the Dereham Runners Website - HERE

10 things to help you through 10 days before Run Norwich

Neil Featherby shares his top tips for runners ahead of the 10km Run Norwich, which takes place on Sunday 5th August.

  1. Stick to your routine with regards to diet. Include some extra carbohydrates, but this is a 10k race, not a marathon so don’t overdo it and do not experiment with foods not eaten before.
  2. If your longest run going into this weekend is less than 10k, then don’t go all out to run the distance or indeed run longer just a week before the main event.
  3. If possible go out for a rehearsal run this coming Sunday whilst wearing race day kit at the same time of day as what the race starts. Focus your mind as if actually there.
  4. Check your kit and make sure everything is in good working order. It is not too late to still purchase items if required, especially socks which can be just as important as shoes.
  5. For those who get nervous, try to get a little extra sleep during the week just in case you don’t sleep so well the night before race day.
  6. Create lots of positive thoughts in your mind. Keep reminding yourself of all the training miles you have put in and focus your mind on ticking off each km with ease.
  7. Taper your runs during race week, but don’t stop completely. Lots of people have experienced heavy legs come race day by completely shutting down too soon.
  8. Check out the long-range weather forecast as whilst we can’t be too sure what race day will bring, the likelihood is that it will be warm. Drink plenty of fluids so as to stay hydrated throughout the week.
  9. Have all items of kit laid out and ready before race day. Make a check list with everything you know you will need to have with you and tick each item off as you pack.
  10. Pace makes for the perfect race! After months preparing for your big day, do not spoil it by going off too quickly. Look to get round in the best and most efficient way possible.

SPORTLINK TAVERHAM REFURBISHMENT AND EXPANSION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you go down to Sportlink today....
Some secrets are just impossible to keep that is for sure. A big thank you to everyone who has been coming into Sportlink during this last week whilst being so patient while building work has been taking place with regards to our new extension and what will be a super new look instore. More space and lots of new equipment for which it really will be everything running for the runner. Needless to say with the same full on service which always comes with a big smile.

 

 

Another big thank you has to also go out to all the local businesses and friends who have been helping us with this project (all runners of course) and to Karen Grapes who turned up with some refreshments for staff and customers yesterday. A B Goodwin Builders, Rock Solid Graphics, Vmit Ltd, Monarc Welding, Jonathan Reader Electrical Services, Jason Wright Felthorpe Lawnmowers and Shaun Hurr. However a special thank you goes to our very own structural engineer Mr Barry Hipwell for which you really must watch this space going forward.

GREAT YARMOUTH HALF MARATHON 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GREAT YARMOUTH HALF MARATHON 2018
Sunday 12th August - 10am
Ormiston Venture Academy, Oriel Avenue, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR31 7JJ

Great Yarmouth Road Runners are pleased to announce that the Great Yarmouth Half Marathon returns again in 2018.

The popular accurately measured route takes you through the undulating lanes to the south of Great Yarmouth and through the stunning grounds of Somerleyton Hall.

The 2018 race is part of the Sport Link Grand Prix

Race memento for all participants - Plus age category prizes and prizes for leading runners available.

There are refreshments, changing and shower facilities available.

ENTER NOW!

All information taken from the GYRR website

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS UPDATE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RESULTS UPDATE

A massive Thank You to Pat Brightman for collating the results.

VIEW THE RESULTS HERE

We are now pleased to attach the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2018 to Race 7.  As we have an overwhelming 2500 runners so far, we have just displayed the TOP 20 finishers in each category.

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2018,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 8 finishes

A full set of results are available upon request
Please email Pat sportlinkgpraces@btconnect.com

There are now ONLY 4 Races remaining in the Series :

  • Worstead 5m (which is SOLD OUT, but is operating a waiting list)
  • Great Yarmouth Half Marathon on 12th August organised by Great Yarmouth Road Runners and entries are open at www.gyrr.co.uk,
  • The Great War Centenary Dereham 5K on 19th August is almost SOLD OUT - www.derehamrunners.co.uk
  • Holt 10K on 21st October organised by North Norfolk Beach Runners, entries opening shortly.

GOOD NEWS

SPORTLINK NIGHT OF CELEBRATIONS:  We will be hosting our End of Season social evening on Friday 16th November at The Assembly House, Norwich.  The ticket prices are as follows ON SALE NOW –

 Limited Early Bird Specials £12.50 per head, thereafter £17.50 per head and this includes a 2 Course Hot  Buffet with a wide selection, Presentation Ceremony for the Grand Prix Series, County Postal Marathon & Road Runner of the Year and music for dancing to the fabulous sounds of a DJ

This evening is OPEN to ALL runners, family & friends, NOT just those that have won a prize.

If you would like to join us for what promises to be a wonderful evening of celebrations, personal achievements and special awards, then please go to the link:

http://buytickets.at/athleticsnorfolkrrc/179520

If you have any queries, on the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2018 – please do not hesitate to contact me on this email address ONLY please.

sportlinkgpraces@btconnect.com 

NORFOLK COUNTY POSTAL MARATHON.  We are still accepting entries – even if you have already run a marathon this year and intend doing another before 31st October, please let us have your results and we can amend it if necessary.

YOU HAVE BE IN IT TO WIN IT ….. OR COME 2nd/3rd

Pat Brightman
SPORTLINK GP Series Race Administrator

GRAND PRIX – WORSTEAD 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worstead 5
Friday 27th July 2018
Part of the Sportlink Grand Prix Series

Organised and hosted by our friends at NNBR.

RACE IS NOW FULL

Race starts 7pm sharp
Race HQ: Worstead, NR28 9RH.

Minimum age17. Race cut off 6.30pm.

The Race is part of the Sportlink Leathes Prior grand prix series.

There will be a groovy 30th Anniversary medal and buff for every finisher.

All funds raised will be split between Worstead Festival, which supports local charities, and NNBR.

For full race detail visit the NNBR website

Going the distance – Meet Emma!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Month we now feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A.

This month it's Emma!

When did you first start to run?
At university as a simple cheap way to keep fit. I used to run to collect my bike the next day after a night out!

What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?
You can push yourself to your limits both, mentally and physically. At the end of the day, your biggest competition is yourself.

What’s your biggest running achievement?
Being the 4th scorer for Winchester and District AC which led us to getting a gold team medal in the 2007 National XC Race.  This race was very tough but is was an amazing team effort for the gold we all race for positions to the line and it paid off.
This result led me and the team to represent England in the European Clubs XC in Portugal this was a great experience mixing with world class athletes.

Emma running pic 2

What in the world motivates a person to run long distance?
Forcing yourself to find it inside yourself to go out and keep going is what I like about long distance. The feeling afterwards you get from a good long run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were doing a long run.

What kinds of things do you think about as you run?
I listen to music a lot so on those runs usually daydreaming to music. Other runs I sometimes have these moments of stuff that I have forgotten to do pops back into my head whilst I am running. So I think running actually helps me to remember stuff.

One the day of the big race…how are you feeling?
Are you performing any superstitious rituals (like wearing the same unwashed socks you trained in for months)? I am a very routine runner.  I like to eat 2.5 hours before the race, check the weather then arrive early so I can then do a 2 mile warm up then 8 fast strides before   every race.

FB_IMG_1458051778652

What’s your next race?
I have local 5k’s and 10k’s coming up over the next few months.

What’s your favourite running shoe?
The shoe I train in is the Mizunio Wave Rider it’s just a shoe that suits me.

Who’s your running hero?
Haile Gebrselassie I had the pleasure of meeting him and he is a kind and sincere man alongside being an incredible international running legend setting 27 WR in his career.

What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink?
Meeting and serving customers and chatting all things running!

It’s time for the fitness and medical industries to come together as one, says Neil Featherby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrying on from where I left off last week with regards to us trying to be more aware of our health and the wellbeing of others, particularly those who supervise group sessions, where the ages and abilities vary greatly, this week local exercise expert Chas Allen lends his thoughts to the subject.

Exercise is fantastic and we all know the benefits of being active. However, we also know how addictive it can and how easy to bury your head in the sand, fobbing off an injury as a little niggle which will go away and an illness as nothing more than feeling a little under the weather.

I understand this as well as anyone and have done lots of stupid things over the many obsessive years of my running career to keep my streak of running every single day for 37 years going. Needless to say this means that I have ran through some pretty bad injuries and even raced at times when I was ill.

With this in mind, I also recognise similar traits of mine in others, but have to be careful when pulling them up for it as they will always point at my own addictive behaviour. Nevertheless and most importantly, when all is said and done, those who come along to my sessions or ask for advice aren’t quite as extreme as I have been and after explaining the pitfalls of trying to run through illness or injury they have taken it on board and taken the sensible option.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here

As it happens, I have had to tell one of my Wednesday group this week that she is not allowed to come along due to her suffering with a cold and I am currently considering whether to pull two runners from another one of my groups out of a big race which they are preparing for due to illness and injury.

When you talk to Chas, it is so obvious that his understanding of the effects of exercise on our bodies is on another level and he has a huge desire to help everyone when it comes to health, fitness and wellbeing. His knowledge of all things medical and the effects of the stresses applied to each and every one of us individually during exercise is amazing.

He can most certainly see potential risks well in advance of them happening and as for running with any form of illness, he has some very strong views on this.

When working in the NHS, one of his many visions was to try and unite the fitness and medical industries to reduce the risk of people damaging their health or getting hurt when partaking in exercise particularly those who may have been more at risk.

However, what with certain politics which existed, as one door opened another would close which needless to say led to much frustration for him. Four years on though and upon reflection he can now see why barriers may have been put in front of him.

“Trying to achieve one driving force and one common goal is not always easy,” he said. “Team work is the key and whilst we know those at the very elite end of sport have a team of professionals covering all aspects of their needs, it is further down the scale where coaches and medical professionals should come together to combine skills and knowledge.

“I am now trying to set up a network whereby there is the right person for everyone and every potential requirement whilst working with specific experts, coaches and those in the medical profession who all have specialised skills in their own fields.

“A good coach or advisor will know that he or she cannot control all the mechanics, the steering or the fuel supply. Nevertheless and before a system can work, everyone needs to be in total agreement.

“The fitness industry is booming which is great, but there is no true regulation for this industry. By simply providing an environment where people won’t die is a poor aim when trying to develop excellence and long term lifestyle change.

“It’s a bit like the silly Ab Cruncher advert which you might see at 4am in the morning on the TV guaranteeing quick success. Such claims are wrong! “Whilst we need to be encouraging everyone to try and do something for the good of their health it is also about people having the right qualifications or indeed knowing who does in any given area hence my earlier quote about team work.

“Be it for the beginner or indeed the people who are having a go after years of inactivity right through to those deemed to be excellent athletes, it is so very important that any guidance given is done so correctly. It is one thing ticking boxes in the short term, but another when making sure that boxes are also ticked in the much longer term.”

Whether his dream of uniting so many people together ever comes true is something which only time will tell, but he will do everything he can to make it happen.

At the same time he has most certainly made me think so much more deeply about my own actions before I now act.

One final footnote, my thoughts during the last week have gone very much towards that of Norwich Road Runner and all round super athlete Sze-Ming from Hellesdon, who was in a tragic accident last week when out training on his bike.

The shock of his untimely death has most certainly touched so many people. Like so many others I send my deepest sympathies to his partner Alex, brothers Jack and Dick and of course his mum and all other family members.

NORFOLK COUNTY MARATHON (Postal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NORFOLK COUNTY MARATHON

(Postal)
If you have completed a Marathon
between1st November 2017 & 31st October 2018
You are eligible to enter the Norfolk County Championships*
*A County qualification is acquired by birth in Norfolk or by nine months continuous bona fide residence in Norfolk.
Medals now being awarded in 5 year Age Categories Senior, then 40 through to 65+

Just send or EMAIL an Official Result or press cutting
(photocopy will suffice) with the following information
FULL NAME & ADDRESS, DATE OF BIRTH, TELEPHONE NO., CLUB, EVENT & DATE OF EVENT TO:
PAT BRIGHTMAN Norfolk County Marathon THORNBURY Main Road ORMESBY ST MICHAEL Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR29 3LW
PLEASE NOTE Unfortunately we cannot acceptEmail/Website“links”

Email: pat.brightman@ btconnect.com
PLEASE NOTE: That it is the responsibility of an INDIVIDUAL NOT the Club to send in the entry.

Please send in your entry as soon as possible
To be received by 1st NOVEMBER latest.

Results will be announced at
NIGHT OF CELEBRATIONS End of Season social evening on Friday 16thNovember at The Assembly House, Norwich.

Presentation Ceremony for the Grand Prix Series, County Postal Marathon & Road Runner of the Year, Hot Buffet &  Music for dancing to the fabulous sounds of a DJ

We will announce the ticket details soon.

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX SERIES – TOP 20 RESULTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's been a fantastic start to the year. Thank you to everyone who's taken part and to all of the clubs and organisers.

Here's the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2018 to Race 5.  As we have an overwhelming 2750 runners so far, we have just displayed the TOP 20 finishers in each category.

CLICK HERE to view and download the TOP 20 results for each race.

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2018,  therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 8 finishes

A full set of results are available upon request from sportlinkgpraces@btconnect.com

There are now 6 Races remaining in the Series :
Humpty Dumpty 10K on 24th June, which has less than 100 entries available,

Harling 10K (which is SOLD OUT), Worstead 5m (which is SOLD OUT,

Great Yarmouth Half Marathon on 12th August – entries are OPEN at www.gyrr.co.uk,

The Great War Centenary Dereham 5K on Sunday 19th August, entries open at www.totalracetiming.co.uk.

Holt 10K on 21st  October organised by North Norfolk Beach Runners, entries opening shortly.

Neil Featherby: It’s not always as simple as putting one leg in front of the other…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it's not always as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Picture: Archant

I also had a few private messages from people wishing to convey their thoughts to me privately – none were rude and all were very constructive to the debate.

Whilst I love watching people progress as better runners, I also get a lot of satisfaction from watching people take part and participate in any form of exercise. Nevertheless and for those who pointed out that my comment about ‘just putting one leg in front of the other’ isn’t quite as simple as that I decided to seek out and research more thoroughly the views of some highly qualified experts in the field of biomechanics.

I have to say my own personal running style has always been pretty horrendous and whilst for many a year I ran over 100 miles each week, I was still able to compete at a reasonable level. As for even thinking about trying to change my poor running gait, back then all I wanted to do was to train as hard as I could whilst running as fast as I could too.

However, there was always in the back of my mind a few thoughts as to why I had a continuous Achilles tendon issue which I knew was probably down to my poor running style and biomechanics.

I ran with my right foot pointing out at an angle whilst also running with a noticeable drop on my right side for which I purchased several books by the American expert, Dr Steven Subutnik, who was and still is a much qualified authority when it comes to the biomechanics of running and walking.

Reading through his books again this week, he states that where running is similar to walking in many ways, there are clear differences.

When walking there is always one foot on the ground whereas when running, for a brief moment both feet float (off the ground at the same time) between toe off and foot contact.

He also goes on to explain the differences in foot plant and position during varying speeds be it from that of a walk right through to a sprint. Whilst that may seem pretty obvious to most, Dr Subtutnik also explains in great depth how changes through impact forces and stride length differ particularly during the latter stages of a long run when fatigued.

When running, the impact forces upon foot strike are between two-and-a-half and three times your body weight, whereas it is less than 50 percent of this when walking.

As already mentioned, during the last few years, thoughts have changed towards running style and how people may benefit from actually learning to run more efficiently by way of posture, foot strike and cadence.

A number of running and fitness experts have demonstrated how running efficiency can be improved along with a reduction in injuries too by learning to run more economically.

Needless to say the footwear manufacturers have also got involved and designed footwear of a more minimal quality than those which are of the more cushioned and supportive conventional running shoe type.

However, and after reading through several of these more current day research papers, many still mirror much of Subutnik’s views suggesting that at least 80 percent of all joggers and long distance runners heel strike just as we do when walking.

With so much information out there, I thought who better to ask than local expert Chas Allen who really does have some very in-depth and fascinating thoughts about how we run and how running affects us all in various ways.

“Jeffing or Fartlek along with many other forms of pace control have been around for a long time,” he said. “Each person is different and as loading patterns change during the different phases of the gait, there will also be many implications which are unique to each individual.

“We must not forget that genetics also have a big role to play here too what with people of a certain build being more successful when it comes to bodily adaptations from the stresses applied during such exercise and this is why I also love Nordic Walking so much as you can play between the two and help convert people much more carefully from one form of exercise to the other without the same risk factors.”

Chas went on to describe the many factors which can affect people who are taking up exercise for the first time especially those who have not exercised for some time. He most certainly thinks that they would all benefit by following a carefully structured plan, be it through Jeffing, running or any form of exercise which places physical stress on the body.

At the end of the day, walk, jog or run, it is about doing what is best for you at any given time. I personally love seeing people just getting out there and having a go whilst achieving their own goals, be it those who just want to follow a walk-run plan for improved health and fitness or indeed those who want to compete at the highest level possible.

At the same time, my views of learning to run more efficiently whilst also doing more strength and conditioning work so as to strengthen areas of biomechanical weaknesses has also changed. If I had my time again then I would most certainly dedicate at least an hour or two each week to working with the likes of Chas Allen who can add a lot more than just some icing on the cake.

One final footnote…. the IAAF states that all competitors who race walk, must have their front foot on the ground when the rear foot is raised. Failing that, disqualification will take place as it will be regarded as running (lifting).

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX – RESULTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dereham 10 Miler. SUNDAY MAY 13TH

 

A BIG thank you the everyone who entered and to all who worked so hard to make this a great event hosted by our friends Dereham Runners.

 

The official results are listed here https://www.totalracetiming.co.uk/raceresults/54

COUNTY-WINNERS

Photographer - Aaron Protheroe 

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Photographer - Aaron Protheroe 

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Photographer - Aaron Protheroe 

 

 

 

 

Gallery images below thanks to Joe Woodley

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SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX HARLING 10K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX HARLING 10K

Location: Recreation Ground, Church Road, East Harling, Norfolk, NR16 2NA
Date: Sunday 1st July 2018
Time: 10:30

After another fantastic year in 2017 the East Harling 10k returns again for a 5th time in 2018.

Whilst taking in the flat roads from East Harling to Bridgham this fast race will then take you through a short forest section before finishing with the final 2km on the roads back to the recreation ground with the opportunity for a fast finish!

Medal and goody bag for all finishers plus trophies for top finishers in each category.
The race is organised by the East Harling 10k Committee with entry management and chip timing services provided by Nice Work.
The 2018 race will be held as part of the Sportlink Grand Prix Series
See Athletics Norfolk Road Running Facebook page for more info.

Based out of Taverham and Halesworth, Sportlink provide
expert gait analysis to enable the most appropriate running footwear
to be recommended by their friendly staff. Their Sport Injury Clinic
also assists runners in the prevention and treatment of a variety of
injuries to help keep you on your feet.

On Site Parking
Chip Timing
Toilets
Baggage Drop Off
Changing rooms
Pre race warm up to be provided by Phil Lambert of Eat Move Mind
Showers
Massage provided by Massagebylouise
Refreshments
First Aid
Epic First Aid or an alternative medical provider will be in attendance on the day and the course will be marshalled to provide assistance. There will also be a sweep marshal following the race to ensure that nobody is left behind and that all runners are accounted for.

For all the details visit the Harling 10k website HERE

Neil Featherby: Training for Run Norwich has already started for this group and they’re embracing it…I think!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norse Group in week one with a few looks of “what is this guy who is training us all about?” Picture: Neil Featherby

Having spent several years coaching and advising runners of all standards, four weeks ago I took on a new running group which has been put together through the Norse Group who are the main sponsor for this year’s Run Norwich 10k on August 5.

EDP6

After sifting their way through several requests from potential candidates, the company came to me with their selected dozen asking me to help train them up for this year’s race which already has 7,000 runners entered for what will be the fourth staging of this big city centre event.

My initial meeting with the group was at the company offices before then moving on to Felthorpe Park to do our first session together.

However, it soon became very apparent that this selected collection of individuals were all at differing levels where in truth some could already run 10k, with others also reasonably running fit and a couple who were starting from scratch.

What with already having a regular running group (The FOP Running Group) of all abilities, my initial reaction was that it will all be pretty standard and will just be a case of giving them a bit more direction and consistency. It’s not quite been as easy as I first thought!

EDP7
Now before I go any further with regards to any details about how the last month has gone, each person involved is absolutely brilliant and there is certainly a great mix of personalities and, dare I say, characters.

However, and what with being used to working with people who consider running to be a huge part of their lives, it is quite clear that for most of my new group, running is very much a hobby which is fitted into a very busy lifestyle with work and other commitments.

They also take part in other activities which are a most enjoyable part of their lives.

Whilst I love most physical sports and have indeed been lucky enough to work with many top sports people, running has always been the number one name of the game for me and getting out and having at least one run a day is an absolute must which at times can make me a little blinkered.

Norse Group at the end of this week's session with satisfied smiles on their faces. Picture: Neil Featherby
Norse Group at the end of this week's session with satisfied smiles on their faces. Picture: Neil Featherby
Anyway, things are now starting to take shape although ringing very firmly in my ears are the words of my good friend Luke Tyce who was responsible for engaging my services when he said at the beginning of this project: “Neil, let’s just say that some of them are going to be taken aback somewhat and won’t know what to make of you what with your ways and sense of humour.”

The many confused looks which I have received at each session certainly confirms his view that is for sure!

The thought of spending the next few weeks working with me in preparation to complete a 10k or indeed run one quicker than before may seem a little daunting to some of them and whilst it is not exactly daunting to me, it is still very much a challenge, albeit one which I can honestly say I enjoy being part of.

Having to adapt and amend is something we should all be prepared to do at times in any walk of life. The group are having to learn to adapt to my ways and training methods and I am also learning to adapt to a variation of mindsets which I have not been used to before.

What is sure is that this is going to be a fun journey with a few detours and change of directions along the way for which sometimes taking a different route can turn out to be more exciting and perhaps even more effective when it comes to getting the very best out of people!

The smiles on all their faces at the end of the session earlier this week confirmed this and before anyone suggests their smiles were probably more out of relief at getting through another session, I am already aware of this!

Neil Featherby: Mo Farah’s British record time at the London Marathon felt like the end of an era

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s London Marathon certainly had its fair share of drama, particularly with it being the hottest one since the very first back in 1981.

As suggested in my column last week, my fears of the heat causing problems turned out to be correct.

I really did feel for all those who had trained so hard through the winter months only to be confronted by 26.2 miles in a heatwave.

Times were well down for so many, that is for sure, with a number of our top Norfolk athletes all recording slower times than what they were capable of.

The trouble with running a marathon is that it takes weeks and months of hard effort to get into peak shape and then on the day it can be spoilt by the weather.

With races of a lesser distance, the recovery rate is one where you can do it again a couple of weeks later, but with the marathon it can take several weeks or even months particularly after running one in such extreme conditions before full recovery is complete.

Lots of advice was given out by the race organisers for which most people did take notice and of course it was still a great occasion with thousands of runners being rewarded with the finishers medal which represented their achievement.

For those racing at the front of the men’s and ladies races, it was as competitive as ever with eyes very much on the Kenyan Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge and British favourite Mo Farah. However, it was Kipchoge who ran a super controlled race, winning in 2:04:17 with Farah finishing in third place in 2:06:21 whilst also breaking the 33-year-old British record by 52 seconds which has stood for 33 years and held by the legend that is Steve Jones.

For all those who go back like I do to the 1980s marathon running scene, Jonesy along with the likes of Charlie Spedding, Hugh Jones and so many others really were awesome for which the respect they all had was immense.

Nevertheless, a huge well done to Mo for breaking that long standing record, but it did also feel like the end of an era in some ways.

The ladies race was won by Vivian Cheruiyot and like Kipchoge, is also from Kenya. She broke the tape in a very fast time of 2:18:31, with the first female British athlete being Lily Partridge who finished in a superb eighth place in an equally superb time of 2:29:25.

On a local front, what a great run too by City of Norwich AC’s Charlotte Rose who crossed the line in 2:48:35.

On the back of Dani Nimmock’s brilliant performance when winning the Manchester marathon three weeks ago, this is a real thumbs up for CONAC and Norfolk running.

A mention also has to go to David Weir who won the mens wheelchair race for a staggering eighth time (1:31:15) and to Simon Kindleysides from Blofield who despite being paralysed, amazingly completed the 26.2 miles whilst wearing an exoskeleton suit in 36 hours. Not only was this a huge challenge for him, but he raised several thousands of pounds for his awesome efforts too.

Moving on from my love of marathon running, on May 12/13, the Norfolk County Track & Field Championships will be held at the UEA Sportspark.

These championships have even more history than The London Marathon what with possibly going back to 1923 when they were combined with Suffolk or so the very knowledgeable and tireless servant of Norfolk athletics Brendon Byrne has suggested.

There will be a full events programme for U13s through to seniors and of course masters. Additionally there will also be events for our para athletes and once again Quadkids featuring sprint, middle distance and field events.

However, and two events which I always specifically look out for is the 1500 and 5,000 metre races.

Both these events have always fascinated me right back to my school days. Whilst we have so many talented road runners in the county, I would love to see some of them turn their hand to having a go at these track events as I wouldn’t mind betting that a few of them have hidden talents and if nothing else the track is a great place to see what you really are capable of.

This week’s column represents exactly one full year of supporting Mark Armstrong with his On The Run and Run Anglia articles.

I really have enjoyed being part of these EDP and Evening News weekly features and whilst I am more often than not late with copy, I just about always get there in the end.

I have tried to write about a number of given topics when it comes to everything running whereby in some cases it has caused debate and at other times just general interest (I hope).

However, and for those who said I will soon run out of ideas, well trust me, I most definitely won’t! When it is about something which has dominated a big part of your life, then it is easy. A big thank you to all those people during the last year who have told me that they have enjoyed reading the columns each week as it really is appreciated.

One final note before I sign off…I am regularly asked as to what is the most inspiring marathon race which I have ever watched. That really is a difficult one to answer, but if I had to say which one I have watched the most, then it has to be the Boston Marathon of 1982 when Alberto Salazar had an amazing battle with Dick Beardsley who as it happens was the first (joint) winner of the London Marathon in 1981. Salazar and Beardsley fought all the way to the very end both recording times of 2:08, which even to this day, the hairs still stand up on the back of my neck when watching it.

Police motorbike riders all around them, streets lined with thousands of spectators and even cyclists all following the event from behind. The noise and atmosphere was electric. For those who haven’t ever seen it, then check it out on Youtube “Duel in The Sun – Boston Marathon.”

It’s guaranteed to inspire you!

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX – GT YARMOUTH 5 MILE SERIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organised and hosted by our friends at GYRR.

A fast, flat course along the seafront with PB potential!

Under UKA Rules Minimum age on race day – 15 years
Licence No Applied for Course Measurement – SE 16/317

Wednesdays 25th April – 9th May – 23rd May

* CHIP TIMED* by NiceWork

All Races Start at 7:15 pm
Race HQ : Marina Centre, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth NR30 2ER

* Refreshments Available* Changing & Shower Facilities*Supervised baggage*
*Age group prizes* * Bespoke interlocking medals for each race*

Enter all three races and see how the medals stack together!

Male and female Course Records awarded only once for the series £50

REDUCED RATE FOR JUNIORS! (age 15-17)

Full details available from the GYRR website - HERE

 

 

MARATHON DISCOUNT WEEK

It's our special week of discount for anyone who has taken part in a Marathon this year including Brighton, Manchester, Bungay and of course London.

Bring in your medal and race number and receive a special 25% discount.
We'd love to see you and we'll post pictures of you with your medal to share with the #SportlinkRunningFamily

PAUL EVANS AT SPORTLINK

THIS SATURDAY 28TH APRIL
Paul Evans will be doing another special promotion day for us, but this time at Taverham.

“Did you run in the London Marathon or indeed would like to next year?”….then come along and meet Paul Evans, two time Olympian, Chicago Marathon winner, Great North Run Runner Up and 3rd place finisher in the London Marathon, at Sportlink Taverham between 11am and 1pm - April 28th.

#Marathon #Legend #Sportlink

Neil Featherby: My advice to anyone running the London Marathon in the heat this weekend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running a 10k in heat is bad enough, but when it comes to the marathon, then things really do change and need to be considered.

As we run and exercise, our body temperature rises and even more so when it is warm. To try and maintain a balance, the cooling actions of the body diverts blood to the skin surface to remove the heat through body sweat as it evaporates.

However, the more we sweat, the more fluid we lose which also causes the blood to become thicker.

Humid conditions make for even more problems as when the sweat on our body cannot evaporate, the cooling down processes of the body becomes even more difficult.

With these actions all taking place and with there being less blood pumped to the organs and working muscles, what may have been a desired set pace is now much more difficult to maintain due to the heart having to work even harder.

For those who monitor their heart rate during the race, they will have the choice to work to a specific effort relating to heart rate intensity, but of course this will also mean that the pace is down somewhat when running in such conditions.

What with the driven nature of serious athletes, many will of course still push on in the hope of hitting the target time which they have trained so hard for.

Whilst there is no way that I would ever want to dampen down anyone’s focus and motivation going into this race, serious attention does need to be considered as our long term health is so important and dehydration can lead to serious consequences.

Twenty-eight years ago, I raced a marathon in Minnesota for which I am sure to this day that I was in as good a shape as I had ever been and knew a PB was possible.

However, the temperature rose to 77F very soon after the start of the race and whilst I stupidly hung on to pace until nearly 20 miles, I completely blew a gasket and finished in 2:23:15.

After crossing the finish line I remember being a little delirious and started going cold and staggering around for which I was rushed off to the medical tent to be hooked up to an intravenous drip, having four bags of a saline solution put back into me such was the state of my dehydrated body.

I can honestly say I felt like I had a hangover for months afterwards as well.

Therefore and if the temperature is what the forecasters suggest it is going to be, for all those running on Sunday, please make sure you start the run hydrated (but not over hydrated).

Drink 500ml of water a couple of hours before and have another small drink (150ml) just before the start. Then drink water or better still a low carbohydrate/electrolyte drink at very regular intervals.

Needless to say body size will dictate, but little amounts and often i.e. approx 150/200 mls every 15/20 minutes should suffice.

Pour water over the back of your head and neck too or wear a neckerchief like many of the greats used to years ago and keep it wet throughout the run.

Needless to say wear lightweight clothing too and have a great run and one which is memorable for the right reasons.

Everyone’s a winner!

After last Sunday’s Larking Gowen City of Norwich Half Marathon, I put a post up with pictures of the race on Facebook.

I also mentioned that I had heard over the PA system that everyone is a winner.

For some reason, some people thought I was taking the mick. However, they couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are those who are very competitive for which their only aim is to race or record a PB.

If they didn’t race to the best of their ability or gain a new PB, there is every likelihood that they would argue that everyone isn’t a winner or not in their case.

Nevertheless and for those who just wanted to get round with perhaps their only ambition being to complete 13.1 miles and get the medal put round their neck after crossing the finish line, well they most certainly were winners.

Mass participation races are filled with a mix of very competitive elite athletes, good standard runners, recreational runners and fitness enthusiasts who perhaps just want to achieve what might be a personal goal for which in the past they thought not possible.

As we all now know, people of all ages, shapes sizes and abilities are having a go and taking part.

It is this taking part which is what helps to make all these events great and keep running the popular sport and past time it is. Long may it continue!

Get well soon Chris

Lastly and going back to taking care of yourself when running in extreme conditions. All the very best to Chris Merrylees who is a most popular local runner and one who I have mentioned several times in these columns during the last few months.

Chris is such a dedicated athlete, be it for his own aspirations or indeed when helping others. Last week he collapsed during the Brighton Marathon and was taken to hospital. Since returning home he has had to go back to hospital again for more checks. He is currently recovering and for all those who know him, they will also know that he is one heck of a tough guy.

However, and at the same time, it does just show how fragile it all can be. Get well soon Chris!

Craig Bowen-Jones Virgin Money London Marathon Run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 DAYS TO GO!
It's the countdown to the Virgin Money London Marathon this Sunday.

Today we feature seasoned runner Craig Bowen-Jones who is coached by Neil Featherby and asked him 3 questions ahead of the big day.

With just 4 days to go, how’s your training been going and how do you feel right now about Sunday?

Training been great and fingers crossed it should be another good run.
How do I feel right now? umm... a bit tired as in the middle of a 24 hour carb depletion.

And how do I feel for Sunday? In a funny way I can not wait to get to the start line and the gun to go off. It has been a long 4 months training and especially over the last 2 months. The anti has gone up and Neil has pushed me harder than ever before but in a funny way I really enjoy pushing myself in each session especially when you reap the rewards when you cross the finish line with another PB (fingers crossed)

On the morning of the race, what routine and rituals will you go through the few hours before the start?

Nothing special really, I have breakfast with porridge which I have all the time before my long runs. On the coach journey to the start which is about 1 hour, I don't speak to anyone and just put my headphones on and listen to music. At the start about 1 hour before I would get changed into my running gear, vest, shorts, socks and trainers and put the Vaseline on in the appropriate places. After that 1 strong black coffee with a sugar. And that’s it bar trying to get as much pee out before I go into the start pen.

What will be going through your mind on the start line?

I will normally be saying to myself “Jonesy don’t go off to fast and keep to the pace Neil said”
As well as that, I try and persuade my bladder that it doesn't need another pee.

Craig's running for TheFeed this year and we all wish him a great run.
If you would like to sponsor him here's the link.

https://www.gofundme.com/craigs-running-for-the-feed
#ReasonToRun #LondonMarathon #RunningForTheFeed

Tomorrow we'll be featuring Stephen Gibbs from Sportlink as he gives us his insight into his training and how he feels about the big day.

Neil Featherby: One the eve of the Norwich half marathon we have real inspiration in Dani Nimmock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My last two columns have been dedicated to marathon running – and this week is going to be no different.

After what was an absolutely fantastic performance by City of Norwich AC athlete Danni Nimmock in winning the Manchester Marathon last Sunday, there is no way I could not give her a mention.

To win any marathon is brilliant, but to win a big city marathon is just something else!

She made it clear very early on this year when she clocked 33:44 at the Telford 10k that she knew exactly what her aims were.

I saw her finish literally just behind the men in fourth place overall at the Freethorpe 10-mile road race just a couple of weeks after her Telford performance and to say she actually looked fresher than the three men ahead of her is not an exaggeration.

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City of Norwich Half Marathon start. Picture: Archant

Not only was it a great win for her last Sunday, but her time of two hours and 38 minutes was also excellent.

She most certainly has a great future ahead of her, in which I can only see her achieving even more success.

At the same time, I am also sure that she will have inspired so many others as we now approach this Sunday’s Larking Gowen City of Norwich Half Marathon and, of course, those who are running in the Brighton and London marathons during the next two weekends.

As always, you only get out what you put in, and Dani has most certainly epitomised this.

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Dani Nimmock crosses the finish line in Manchester. Picture: hollicom.co.uk

The work she has done in the past with Tim and Pauline Ash and now her highly qualified sports scientist and sports physiologist husband Mark Burgess, has been pretty meticulous, to say the least.

Talking of the Larking Gowen City of Norwich Half Marathon, once again this superbly well-organised race has come round again and each year I am so impressed by all the efforts of those taking part and the hard work put in by the organisers to make this such a great event.

Hugh McGill, Richard Polley and Granville Courtnell, along with all their hard-working team from within the club (CONAC), really do go to great efforts to make this race a success and I wish them and all the runners taking part the very best of luck for the 33rd running of this event.

I so well remember running in the very first one back in 1985 when it was organised by Mike Wilkinson and the Duke Street Runners.

With 1,400 runners taking part, I got caught on the line for third place after having a tussle (literally) all the way round with a really tough British international runner by the name of Andy Girling as we both crossed the line together in 66:03.

The race that day and first ever winner was another international, and former London Marathon third-placer, Dennis Fowles from Cardiff, who crossed the finish line in 65:11 with Cambridge Harrier, Keith Penney in second position.

Neil Featherby’s Bungay Marathon Memories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bungay Festival of Running - Neils Marathon win in 89' and Half Marathon in 86

With this weekend’s Bungay Festival of Running, it most certainly takes me back to when I made my return to competitive racing in 1982 after what had been an eight year layoff. However, for my first race back after all those years, it just so happened that I had to travel all the way to the West Midlands for what was the first Wolverhampton Marathon. So where does the Bungay Marathon come into all of this? Well it was during the weeks and months of training for Wolverhampton when I just happened to read in the EDP that there was going to be a marathon in Bungay around the same time. My initial thoughts turned to binning the big race in the Midlands for this one much nearer to home, but at the same time my mind was also geared to starting what I had finished. Anyway, I did indeed line up at Wolverhampton with just the aim of getting round like many others and then settle back into non competitive life again. At the time, I had only ever ran beyond 20 miles once which ended in stress fractures, so for this one I did not dare train beyond 16 miles. The day itself went really well until 22 miles when I really did hit the wall, but at the same time still managed to run just over 2 hours 30 mins which was regarded as a decent time especially with it being my very first and after such a long break from running. Nevertheless, even with the pain of those last four miles, that was it as far as I was concerned. I had done what I set out to do which meant no more marathons for me! However, very soon after that, I picked up the EDP and there it was a full report on the very first Bungay marathon. The race had been won by a local legend Vic Holman from Thetford AC in just over 2 hours 30 mins with his club mate Dave Goodwin just behind him. I was totally engrossed reading the detailed report thinking that I may have been able to get close to those guys and with a bit more training behind me, maybe I could even win this race one day. The thought of competitive retirement was now well and truly gone and a quick call to another local running legend Mike Wilkinson soon had me getting the race shoes out again and the Bungay Marathon (along with others) was now on my radar and “a to do list” so to speak.
To say the next few years of my life were filled with running is an understatement although I didn’t actually get to Bungay until 1986 and even then it was to take part in the Half Marathon as part of my preparations for what I was hoping was going to be a 2:17 clocking in The London Marathon a couple of weeks later. I went into the race off 130 miles that week having also recently won the Bury St Edmunds 20 miler and Rutland Water 17 which were pretty tough races and I was thinking just how tired I was feeling. I looked around at the other runners which included one of my good friends and rival and thought if you can’t beat me today then you never will. I took off from the gun and despite feeling pretty heavy legged, I did win it albeit in a time (68 mins). This was at least two minutes slower than what I wanted to run, which I put down to my tiredness and I think it is fair to say the course, which is not only undulating but pretty open and exposed too. As for London….not a good day finishing in 2:21 which was a blow having run 2:20 in that race the year before and 2:19 in Berlin. As it happens I did indeed run 2:17 a few months later which I do actually put down to all the hard work completed earlier in the year and of course having ran at Bungay too.

Bungay-Half-Marathon-1986-Red-Shirt1986 - Neil Featherby leads the pack  

Whilst the next few years were spent racing all over the place, I finally made it to Bungay for the full marathon albeit seven years after the first. It was now 1989 for which I was thinking if I don’t do this soon, it is not going to happen. I had just run in the Malta marathon finishing 3rd and won the Wymondham 20, but most importantly I had also now started work in the sports trade for which my then boss asked me to take the shop along to the race. “Not a problem” I said “and I might as well now enter the full marathon if you don’t mind working the standing while I am running”. Back then, both races started together i.e. the Half and the Full which was two laps instead of one. I wasn’t too sure of my race fitness having eased off after the races earlier in the year for which I just settled into a leading group of what I knew were half marathon runners. In the group were a number of friends from local clubs who I was chatting a way with until 7 miles when a runner from Nottingham took off. His team mate was also in the group and said he’s away for another win. “Really, who is he”? I said. “He wins lots of races” came the reply. I looked around and said to the Norfolk contingent, “are you going to let him go”, but no one answered, so I went after him and caught him up staring at him as I did so before saying “what time are you looking for today” only for him to reply “about 70 minutes”. I already knew he was doing the Half, but said “oh right, I thought you were doing the full as that is what I am doing” and then put another burst in. Looking back that was pretty arrogant, but it blew his mind and he completely blew up and finished 7th allowing the local lads to make their way to the front. Nevertheless, there was perhaps a deserved payback for my earlier arrogance and whilst I did actually complete the first lap ahead of all the half marathon runners in just over 70 mins to the delight of my new boss, I now had to do a second lap all on my own and it really was a chore. Out front on my own going up and down the hills with a fairly stiff breeze head on as I made my way round the second lap. I just shut off and decided to run this second lap and complete the miles without any pressure. I did look behind a few times, but there was no one in sight and eventually finished the race in 1st place in just a few seconds over 2:30 and as it happens in front of the Anglia TV cameras who had come out to film the event. Ironically, my finishing time was about the same as what the first ever Bungay marathon was won in which at the time had grabbed so much of my attention and I had now ticked one of my marathon boxes off in completing such a well organised race.

Winning The Bungay Marathon 1989
1989 - Neil crosses the finish line

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The winners cup

Since the 1980’s I have seen several running booms come and go whereby many UK marathons have disappeared. However, Bungay has never faulted apart from one year when there was a foot and mouth outbreak. The Bungay Marathon or I should say The Bungay Festival of Running is now very firmly established as part of the local and even UK Race calendar. Hats off and a huge well done to Bungay Black Dog Running Club and all the very best to them and all runners taking part this coming weekend.

 

 

EASTER SALE

It's SALE time this EASTER BANK HOLIDAY weekend!

Grab yourself a bargain from our stores and get...

UP TO 50% OFF a great selection of clearance stock.
20% OFF all Marathon Shoes.
25% OFF all kids gear.

Plus 20% OFF Asics gel sonoma trail shoes.

And you know us...They'll be plenty of Easter fun too!

Sale starts Friday 30th March at 10am through to Monday 28th 4pm.
Both stores closed on Easter Sunday.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Saucony Celebrates 120th Anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saucony Celebrates 120th Anniversary

One hundred and twenty years ago this month, the first Saucony shoe was born on the high banks of the Saucony Creek in Kutztown, PA. It was 1898, just two years after the first Olympic Marathon and one year after the first Boston Marathon. Today, as the waters of that creek continue to flow, so does Saucony’s relentless focus on next-generation running technology.

Saucony will mark its 120th anniversary with a series of events and celebrations in 2018, beginning with the launch of the Shadow 5000 EVR, an advanced interpretation of the brand’s iconic Shadow 5000, one of the most sought-after silhouettes of the 1980s. Featuring a full-length EVERUN™ midsole from the brand’s present line of award-winning performance footwear, an engineered breathable knit upper, and a leather heel counter and badging, the Shadow 5000 EVR celebrates Saucony’s authentic past with an innovative nod to the future. The limited-edition Shadow 5000 EVR launches today in three colorways−Red/Green, Black/Teal and Triple White.

Saucony: 120 Years of History

Saucony (pronounced “sock-uh-knee”) traces its early roots to the banks of the Saucony Creek in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Native American inhabitants of the area coined the Saucony name, which translated means “where two rivers run together.” Today, the Saucony logo represents the endless flow of that waterway, along with its boulder-strewn creek bed, depicted by the three distinct dots within the brand’s “river” mark.
In 1906, the Saucony Shoe Manufacturing Company built its first factory, a solid brick two-story construction along the Saucony Creek. At the same time, on the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Russian immigrant cobbler Abraham Hyde had opened a shoe store manufacturing and selling “carpet slippers” made from rug remnants. By 1940, the Hyde footwear line had grown to include baseball shoes, roller boots, and bowling shoes. During the 1960s, the company produced footwear for NASA astronauts, including the boots worn by one of the first American astronauts to walk in space.
By 1968, the Saucony Shoe Manufacturing Company was now producing running shoes. Hyde acquired the seventy-year-old company and relocated the footwear brand to its Cambridge headquarters. The brand didn’t make waves as a running powerhouse until 1977, when the company’s shoes were recognized with an award for “Best Quality” by a U.S. consumer magazine. This built the launch pad for Saucony to take off as a leading brand for runners everywhere.

Saucony Timeline

• 1898 – Saucony founded on the banks of the Saucony Creek in Kutztown, PA
• 1958 – Saucony launches its first track spike−the 7446−made of lightweight Kangaroo leather
• 1968 – NASA Astronaut Walter Cunningham wears boots made by Saucony for the Apollo 7 mission, the first manned Apollo flight
• 1977 – Saucony recognized with its first award by a major U.S. consumer magazine
• 1980 – Launch of the Trainer 80, the first slip-lasted running shoe
• 1981 – Saucony launches the Jazz, the most technical performance running shoe of its time, later becoming the centerpiece of the Saucony Originals Collection
• 1983 – Saucony athlete Rod Dixon of New Zealand wins the New York City Marathon
• 1985 – Saucony athlete Lisa Larsen Weidenbach is women’s winner of the Boston Marathon
• 1991 – Launch of the Saucony GRID™ system, the first midsole technology to offer both cushioning and stability
• 1994 – Saucony athlete Greg Welch wins the Ironman World Triathlon Championships
• 1997 – Saucony athlete Heather Fuhr wins the Ironman World Triathlon Championships
• 2006 – Saucony launches the Saucony Run for Good Foundation™, established to help end childhood obesity by providing grants to nonprofits that support kids’ running programs
• 2008 – Saucony makes its first vegan shoes as part of the Originals Collection
• 2011 – Launch of the Saucony Innovation & Human Performance Lab
• Launch of Geometry of Strong technology platform
• 2014 – Launch of ISOFIT™ dynamic fit system
• 2016 – Triumph ISO2 named by Runner’s World as “Best Shoe in the World” for 2016; Launch of EVERUN™ continuous cushioning technology
• 2017 – Launch of the Freedom Track Club, a Boston-based elite running group dedicated to developing future Olympians
• 2018 – Saucony celebrates 120th anniversary with launch of the Shadow 5000 EVR

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RACE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENTRIES FOR THE SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RACE  ARE NOW OPEN

We thank our friends at the Great Yarmouth & District Athletic Club for hosting this fabulous race and look forward to seeing you all there.

The HUMPTY DUMPTY 10k takes place at 10:30am on Sunday 24th June 2018!

The 11th HUMPTY DUMPTY 10K incorporates the Norfolk County Championships and is a circular route through quiet country roads.

Cash Prizes for the 1st Male & Female - £100, 2nd £75 & 3rd £50. Course Record Bonus for 1st Male & Female £50 - Male 32:16, Female 35:46 Extensive Prize List with Age Categories, Senior to 39, 40 in 5 year bands to Male 70+ & Female 65+. Every finisher will receive a commemorative memento & a Medal.

TO ENTER VISIT THE ONLINE BOOKING HERE

If you have any questions about this year's race please contact the race director, Pat Brightman, via gydacraces@btconnect.com

Going the distance – Karen Hamilton

Every Month we now feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A.
This month it's Karen Hamilton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When did you first start to run?
I have always exercised. I taught aerobics back in the day when it was all leotards and slouch socks! Running first started in my mid-twenties when I lived in Sheffield. I was a teacher at the time and rather than travel across the city to an exercise class after work, I decided to don a pair of trainers and give running a whirl. I lived right on the outskirts of the Peak District so running involved a lengthy climb up followed by a much quicker run back. I loved it, the freedom, the scenery, the challenge was unlike any other exercise I had done before. Then for many years life got in the way a little and I did not start running again until four years ago. My son was then starting school and I had a little more time on my hands. It was then that I fell completely and utterly in love with the sport. A couple of years later I joined Waveney Valley AC who I run with currently.

What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?
I prefer to run in the morning. You can guarantee that whatever the day throws at you, things always seem a little easier if you have run. The rewards come when you know you have worked hard. One of my favourite sayings being ‘If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you’ve always got ‘. This stands true with running you get out what you put in!!

What’s your biggest running achievement?
I like to think it’s yet to come! Having sustained an injury two years ago that left me unable to even walk pain free for 6 months I am still battling daily pain. I would hope when I am able to train properly that I will get some good times for the longer distances which I much prefer.

What in the world motivates a person to run long distance?
Well why not? In my book if you love something why wouldn’t you want to do something for longer. To run for longer and at great pace well that’s something completely different! I completely admire all the runners out there that are pushing the limits of what their body can achieve.

What kinds of things do you think about as you run?
Haha love this one. When not running my mind is constantly off in a million different directions at once. I would like to say when I am running it thinks of nothing at all, but in fact I am still thinking of a million things, only that those things are more to do with what my body is doing. I think of my pace, my breathing, how far I am going, how my legs are feeling… That is why I love running so much, it reminds you of your physicality. When you hit a spot where your mind and body are in unison, that in itself is pure freedom.

One the day of the big race…how are you feeling? Are you performing any superstitious rituals (like wearing the same unwashed socks you trained in for months)?
I haven’t entered too many races of late, mostly due to the injury that has plagued me the last two years, but the races I have done I get very nervous just before. My very first race was the Larking Gowen City of Norwich Half marathon. I had flu, had been up all night and it was torrential rain. I was so nervous that I thought I might pass out on the start line but like I always say to anyone scared of their first race, as soon as you take your first step the nerves just go. The only pressure is what we put on ourselves everyone else is just focused on their race. I still get ridiculously nervous but I do like to heap the pressure on myself!

What’s your next race?
Bit of a sore subject at the moment as I’ve had to withdraw from so many the past year, but I am lucky enough to have a place in The Great North Run 2018. Also Run Norwich 10K in August. The Ekidon is always good fun to do as well.

What’s your favourite running shoe?
Hoka Vanquish, although I am very much looking forward to trying their new Elevon.

Who’s your running hero?
I was lucky enough to run with Ben Smith when he came to Lowestoft, as he ran his 401 marathons in 401 days. Ben uses his running to make people aware of the impact bullying has on people’s lives after being horrendously bullied at school. Anyone who uses running to the greater good or to carry a message gets my vote.

What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink?
Everything. People continue to surprise me every day with their achievements and aspirations. We talk about running all day and have a good laugh with it. We are all so passionate about what we do and the fact that we all run at different levels means we can relate to every runner no matter what their ability. When I first started working in Halesworth I didn’t realise what a positive impact Sportlink would have on my life. As I say now Sportlink is not a job, it’s a way of life!!!

 

 

Pete Johnson gave his views to Neil Featherby on how running has changed over the years.

Picture: Archant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we get ever nearer to spring and all the road races and marathons, this week I decided to ask a man who is so well known to everyone in Norfolk about his thoughts on the current day running scene.

Having owned the very popular Runners Centre in Norwich for 17 years, we at Sportlink are now so very lucky to have the services of Pete Johnson, who is undoubtedly one of Norfolk’s most popular runners.

After non stop chatter from me, Pete, calmly took a deep breath and answered every one of my questions which I think is fair to say, with a lot of thought and obvious passion for his sport and everything which goes with being a runner.

“Without wanting to sound like an extra in Monty Python’s Four Yorkshire Men,” he said. “After 30 years of running, much of the emphasis has now most definitely changed from when I first took up running in 1986, which back then was considered to be a competitive sport irrespective of your standard.

“Nowadays for many it is very much about running for pleasure and being healthy and there’s nothing wrong with that of course.

MORE: 2018 road race calendar

“In fact you could even say that it is fashionable to run these days.

“Going back to the 1980s and 90s there were far fewer races around which meant you had to travel more widely, which of course meant racing against runners and clubs who had also travelled from afar to be there.

“Needless to say this also meant that you were guaranteed to have a tough race what with the standard being much higher and you would very much run from the heart with not being too sure what the guys running beside you were capable of.

“Nowadays you can almost predict where you will finish in a race whilst of course running against your GPS watch which controls the pace you want to run at.

“Whilst it sounds like I am knocking today’s changes, I most certainly don’t mean to. It is just that you asked me what my thoughts are with regards to back then and now.

“Running for a club as a distance runner very much meant that you were going to compete on the road, with perhaps a bit of track in the summer and cross country during the winter whereas now you have a completely new form of off road running with all these obstacle races being organised which charge quite a lot of money to take part in them.

“It’s the same with parkruns. Whilst it is absolutely fantastic for getting the nation up and running, it really should not be confused with 5k races or 12.5 laps of the track in athletics terms.

MORE: Make the technology advancements work for you

“Even The London Marathon was a case of you either had to be able to run 2 hours 40 mins or you had to queue up in the ballot like everyone else. Unfortunately I can most definitely hear myself sounding like one of the old codgers in my younger days for which if you are going to write about me Neil, please give it the heading of A view from over The Hill!”

Pete is so very much one of those people who has a very realistic outlook on his running and life. He recently turned 64, but can still out run many who are half his age.

Whilst he can boast PBs of 4:23 for 1500 metres, 15:42 - 5k, 32:59 - 10k, 53:40 - 10 miles and 2:32:48 for the marathon, even to this present day he is still turning out times of 19 mins for 5k, and just over the hour for 10 miles.

As for being over the hill….not by a long shot!

SPECIAL MARATHON OFFER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the daylight hours now getting longer and spring just around the corner, it also means that April and the marathon season is nearly here. After weeks and months of getting yourself in the best shape possible, now is the time to make sure that when you stand on the start line, your shoes are also in the best possible shape so as to help you produce a fantastic performance on your Big Day.

20% OFF All shoes this month for those running in the Bungay – Manchester – Brighton and London Marathons.

SAUCONY STRIDE LAB EVENT WEDNESDAY 14TH MARCH

SAUCONY STRIDE LAB EVENT WEDNESDAY 14TH MARCH
We are delighted to announce we are playing host to a special Saucony Stride Lab with Ken Hoye BSc Sports Science (Hons) LSSM Dip. Sports Scientist and Sports Massage therapist.
Saucony Shadow rep.

Each Stride Lab appointment lasts for 45 minutes.

Spaces are limited and totally free on a first come first served basis.
If you would like to book then you will need to register here. http://www.stridelab.co.uk/ Just follow the instructions.

Don't miss out on this innovative gait assessment system providing an in depth analysis of your unique stride characteristics. The high level of feedback provided can improve running advice and footwear selection.
#SauconyStrideLab

Neil Featherby: My tips on how you can beat the Beast of the East and keep your training on track

What a week and when the weather forecasters forewarned us that there was a Beast from the East making his way towards us, I wonder how many of us were really prepared?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDP030318.1
Neil Featherby out with his dogs and his running group. Picture: Neil Featherby

For those who can remember January 1987, they are comparing this current arctic like cold spell to then.

I can most certainly recall it.

I was preparing for the Hong Kong International Marathon at the time and it was an absolute nightmare trying to get the much needed training sessions in whilst sticking to what was a very disciplined schedule which had been put together very carefully with my then training advisor Ian Fowlie and agent Pete Duhig.

Pete kept telling me to drive over to his neck of the woods where the weather wasn’t quite as severe as it was around my home in Hellesdon and Ian kept telling me to relax as I was more than fit enough.

EDP030318.2Neil Featherby out with his dogs and his running group. Picture: Neil Featherby

However, back then my mindset was one of needing to stick to a plan and if I didn’t it would affect my way of thinking going into the race.

Despite my frustrations, I did my very best to get the miles in whilst trying to do intervals and reps in track spikes. I was climbing over cars that had ground to a halt in ten foot snow drifts.

When I took a call from one of the EDP’s writers earlier this week asking me for advice and tips for those who are training hard for one of the many marathons and half marathons which are due to take place during the next month or two, it most certainly took me back to that crazy cold spell.

Nevertheless and after filling him in with all the above details, I then went on to calmly say, providing you wear the right equipment i.e. grippy shoes and just layer up with the appropriate clothing, then all should be fine and it really should be no big deal.

EDP030318.3Neil Featherby has been out with his running group this week. Picture: Neil Featherby

However, back then my mindset was one of needing to stick to a plan and if I didn’t it would affect my way of thinking going into the race.

Despite my frustrations, I did my very best to get the miles in whilst trying to do intervals and reps in track spikes. I was climbing over cars that had ground to a halt in ten foot snow drifts.

When I took a call from one of the EDP’s writers earlier this week asking me for advice and tips for those who are training hard for one of the many marathons and half marathons which are due to take place during the next month or two, it most certainly took me back to that crazy cold spell.

Nevertheless and after filling him in with all the above details, I then went on to calmly say, providing you wear the right equipment i.e. grippy shoes and just layer up with the appropriate clothing, then all should be fine and it really should be no big deal.

 

EDP030318.3Neil Featherby has been out with his running group this week. Picture: Neil Featherby

I also went on to say, if in the “unlikely event” of it being as bad as back in January 87, then runners will have to be just as determined and pragmatic as I had to be 31 years ago.

Needless to say not necessarily going out for 15 mile road runs in track spikes, but look to find trails which are perhaps not as treacherous as what the roads and pavements can become and at least they now have the opportunity to use a treadmill if they can get to one.

Since that call, the so called Beast from the East has very much left his mark and I wonder what I would have said if I had of taken that call all those years ago asking me the same questions.

As for getting out there running in this weather, well I have to say I am loving it.

I live in the village of Felthorpe and I have the luxury of lots of woodland all around me as well as having five, four-legged training partners who are naturals when it comes to running in such conditions.

On this occasion I am making the very most of it as are some of my training group who have been popping round to borrow them!

Neil Featherby's EDP Feature 2nd March 2018

 

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RACE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPORTLINK GRAND PRIX RACE 

The Dereham 10 Miler. Entries now open. SUNDAY MAY 13TH

This will be the 4th Sportlink Sponsored Grand Prix Event and hosted by our friends Dereham Runners.

And also incorporates the Norfolk County Champs.

Prize Money for 1st - £100, 2nd - £50, 3rd - £25, Male/Female.
Course Record £50 M/F.

For further information go to our the Dereham Runner Events page - Here

#SportlinkGrandPrix

Sportlink Grand Prix Race – Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sportlink Grand Prix Race 2. Top 20 results - Results PDF

We are now pleased to attached the results of the SPORTLINK Grand Prix Series 2018 – Race 1 & 2.  As we have an overwhelming 1150 finishers, we have just displayed the Top 20 finishers in each category.

Category age groups are based on your age as at 31st December 2018, therefore you may be in a different category than on Race Day.  The Winners of each category will be based on your top 8 finishes.

Pat Brightman

SENIOR LADIES
Charlotte Neale North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:05:00 97 39:01 99 196
Kate Murrell Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club 1:05:35 96 39:26 97 193
Alicia Lacey Norwich Road Runners 1:08:05 95 40:38 95 190
Jessica Behan Norwich Road Runners 1:10:25 93 42:10 93 186
Sarah Peachey Wymondham AC 1:10:19 94 42:15 92 186
Roisin Marks Norwich Road Runners 1:12:09 92 43:09 90 182
Juliette Watkinson Wymondham AC 1:14:19 89 42:43 91 180
Linzi Geens Norwich Road Runners 1:14:28 88 46:04 85 173
Rebecca Pountain Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:16:34 85 45:03 86 171
Natalie Cant Norwich Road Runners 1:20:13 79 43:38 89 168
Kathryn Head North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:15:55 86 47:42 79 165
Jodie Causer Norwich Road Runners 1:17:46 83 46:36 81 164
Melissa Baker Norwich Road Runners 1:19:31 80 48:30 76 156
Hayley Strivens 1:21:06 74 46:35 82 156
Charlotte El-Labany Wymondham AC 1:20:55 75 48:28 77 152
Emma Fox Bure Valley Harriers 1:26:46 63 48:40 75 138
Emmaalouise Smith Norwich Road Runners 1:27:35 60 50:10 71 131
Katie Mack City Of Norwich AC 1:21:23 72 52:51 58 130
Kaylee Meachen City Of Norwich AC 1:21:22 73 52:51 57 130
Katherine Wright North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:26:08 64 52:31 61 125
LADIES 40-44
Alexandra Smith Wymondham AC 1:08:27 99 41:40 100 199
Deborah English Norwich Road Runners 1:10:59 98 42:23 99 197
Emma Blake Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:12:20 97 44:32 96 193
JOANNA KILLINGWORTH Norwich Road Runners 1:14:27 96 43:48 97 193
Zoe Jones Wymondham AC 1:17:49 91 45:32 95 186
Cassie Barker Wymondham AC 1:16:32 94 47:46 91 185
Louise Grinsdale Norwich Road Runners 1:18:25 89 46:47 92 181
Lisa Pyatt Ryston Runners 1:19:23 88 46:16 93 181
May Wong Lowestoft Road Runners 1:21:33 85 49:07 90 175
Christine Ashton 1:24:42 80 49:58 89 169
Jen Armstrong North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:25:31 75 50:01 88 163
Samantha Appleyard-Smith 1:26:00 74 51:23 86 160
Lisa Hall Norwich Road Runners 1:31:07 66 52:51 85 151
Fay Wheeler Wymondham AC 1:29:35 69 55:25 82 151
Lyn Ottaway Wymondham AC 1:37:51 59 55:38 81 140
Clare Gooch Norwich Road Runners 1:40:46 50 56:23 74 124
Samantha Arterton 1:39:43 52 58:26 70 122
Helen Alefounder 1:39:17 53 58:38 68 121
Cat Cummings Wymondham AC 1:05:45 100 100
Claire Berridge 1:42:05 45 1:08:49 53 98
LADIES 45-49
Sabina Spence Bure Valley Harriers 1:08:44 100 42:08 100 200
Penny Studley Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:16:03 96 44:08 99 195
Kirsty Winter 1:16:56 95 45:52 96 191
Vicky Tovell Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:19:54 92 45:45 97 189
Christina Spooner North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:17:22 94 47:07 93 187
Louise Holland Wymondham AC 1:23:35 89 50:33 92 181
Joanna Godwin Wymondham AC 1:25:35 85 52:05 89 174
Jane Trudgill Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:24:55 86 52:31 87 173
Vicky Day Wymondham AC 1:38:29 69 57:58 81 150
Julie Winner Wymondham AC 1:35:38 72 59:12 78 150
Fran Morgan 1:36:42 70 1:02:54 75 145
Helen Lewis 1:43:40 60 56:35 83 143
Sara Shorten Norwich Road Runners 1:49:21 57 1:02:54 74 131
Teresa Simons Norwich Road Runners 1:48:31 58 1:06:03 72 130
Alison Bilyard Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:51:21 55 1:06:44 71 126
Joanne Mason 1:58:42 48 1:05:38 73 121
Helen Fiske Norwich Road Runners 1:58:24 49 1:13:43 68 117
Theresa Dooley Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:10:33 99 99
Sharon Hurren Wymondham AC 1:11:42 98 98
Rebecca Maun North Norfolk Beach Runners 45:20 98 98
LADIES 50-54
Nicky Dowson Norwich Road Runners 1:21:34 95 48:04 99 194
sally cushing Norwich Road Runners 1:28:13 90 49:26 98 188
Adele Bushell Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:31:50 82 54:28 94 176
Nicola Rands North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:32:14 81 55:24 90 171
Hayley Gerrard Norwich Road Runners 1:35:16 74 54:34 93 167
Debbie Smith Harlow RC 1:32:35 79 56:45 88 167
Samantha Stedman-Jones Bungay Black Dog RC 1:32:26 80 56:47 87 167
Deborah Gillespie North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:46:47 68 59:43 82 150
Rosemary Matthewson 1:45:49 69 1:03:15 78 147
Lisa Rodgers Wymondham AC 1:48:44 65 1:01:25 81 146
Nilixa Devlukia 1:55:12 60 1:08:43 73 133
Dawn Cook Norwich Road Runners 1:58:24 58 1:13:43 69 127
Helen Mian Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:11:50 100 100
Elly Young Coltishall Jaguars RC 43:35 100 100
Sandra Roberts 1:14:53 99 99
Lucy Campbell Norfolk Harriers RC 1:18:16 98 98
Ruth Gaunt Norwich Road Runners 1:19:17 97 97
Sarah Jay Bure Valley Harriers 53:06 97 97
tracy BOWEN-JONES Bure Valley Harriers 53:09 96 96
Ruth Steele Norwich Road Runners 1:20:01 96 96
LADIES 55-59
Anna Coulborn Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:26:29 97 50:40 100 197
pauline leeves Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:22:30 98 53:09 99 197
Louise Adamson Waveney Valley AC 1:33:30 96 57:23 96 192
Valerie Gidney City Of Norwich AC 1:38:01 94 58:16 95 189
Sue Carver Norwich Road Runners 2:05:30 87 1:11:09 89 176
Helen Taylor Norwich Road Runners 1:57:51 89 1:14:04 87 176
Catherine Henery City Of Norwich AC 1:13:25 100 100
Jenny Sheahan 1:17:44 99 99
Jenny Mayne City Of Norwich AC 54:46 98 98
Jackie Eastaugh-king Norwich Road Runners 55:29 97 97
Helen Lloyd 1:34:35 95 95
Wendy Smith Norwich Road Runners 1:02:16 94 94
diane burton Wymondham AC 1:02:24 93 93
Linda Melton North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:38:25 93 93
Catherine Kenney 1:05:39 92 92
Jan Totterdale Dereham Runners & AC 1:40:11 92 92
Christine Ashe Bungay Black Dog RC 1:42:09 91 91
Sally Porter Bure Valley Harriers 1:05:49 91 91
Jayne Cook 1:52:24 90 90
sally kelly 1:06:40 90 90
LADIES 60-64
Alison Stewart Norwich Road Runners 1:21:18 98 48:14 100 198
Doreen Neal 1:28:06 96 52:38 99 195
Elaine Savvas 1:29:23 95 55:32 96 191
Sally Aspin Norwich Road Runners 1:35:18 91 55:06 97 188
Anne Ellen Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:18:55 100 100
Penny Edwards Norwich Road Runners 1:19:00 99 99
Elaine Hudson 52:52 98 98
Bobbie Sauerzapf Bungay Black Dog RC 1:27:01 97 97
TERESA SOLOMON 1:02:21 95 95
Amanda Gray 1:05:28 94 94
Rosemary Jackson Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:33:27 94 94
Susan Moore Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:34:14 93 93
Caroline Tayler Norwich Road Runners 1:34:28 92 92
Elaine Stone Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:36:45 90 90
Jayne Capps-Jenner Bungay Black Dog RC 1:38:56 89 89
Penelope Pullinger Bungay Black Dog RC 2:07:00 88 88
LADIES 65+
Jane Ashby Ryston Runners 1:27:48 100 52:53 100 200
Sheila Smith 1:37:01 99 57:20 98 197
Brenda Kinch North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:43:29 97 1:02:23 95 192
Lynda Moore Norwich Road Runners 1:51:07 95 1:07:03 93 188
gill woodhouse Dereham Runners & AC 55:58 99 99
carole spong Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:41:53 98 98
Jacqueline Wood Dereham Runners & AC 57:48 97 97
Stephanie Madden 1:02:21 96 96
Sandy Wells 1:47:37 96 96
Anita Betts Great Yarmouth Road Runners 2:09:56 94 94
Margaret Faherty Norwich Road Runners 1:04:03 94 94
Annette Galer 1:10:13 92 92
Anita Betts Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:16:43 91 91
SENIOR MEN
Daniel Middleton Norwich Road Runners 54:30 99 34:51 98 197
Christopher Mickleburgh Norwich Road Runners 59:36 96 34:51 99 195
Sean Jermy Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:00:39 91 35:03 97 188
Marc Evans Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:03:22 83 36:30 94 177
Michael Savvas 1:02:25 86 37:29 91 177
John Scoggins City Of Norwich AC 1:03:31 82 36:23 95 177
carl white Norwich Road Runners 1:03:16 84 37:48 89 173
Matt Howard Norwich Road Runners 1:03:56 79 38:34 86 165
Jake Stearman Dereham Runners & AC 1:08:39 71 37:59 88 159
Lewis Spurgin Norwich Road Runners 1:09:52 68 40:44 81 149
Ryan Kennedy Norwich Road Runners 1:11:22 62 40:31 82 144
Scott Williams Norwich Road Runners 1:10:21 66 43:46 68 134
Michal Grucelski 1:11:26 61 43:06 71 132
Luke Guy Norwich Road Runners 1:16:14 42 42:39 73 115
Robert Groves 1:15:07 47 45:11 63 110
Greg Tinder Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club 1:15:42 44 44:21 65 109
Samuel Coyne Bure Valley Harriers 34:04 100 100
Alan Darby Ely Runners 54:26 100 100
Ben Russell Norwich Road Runners 56:35 98 98
Jack Gillick Wymondham AC 57:24 97 97
MEN 40-44
Matt Pyatt Ryston Runners 57:40 99 35:01 98 197
Trevor Gannon Norwich Road Runners 1:04:06 96 37:21 96 192
Kristin Barnard Wymondham AC 1:01:26 97 37:48 94 191
Neil Adams North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:05:00 93 35:49 97 190
Marc Coles Norwich Road Runners 1:04:18 95 40:08 89 184
Dean Blake Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:12:20 77 33:22 100 177
Will McMorris 1:11:05 82 40:06 90 172
Chris Hosier Dereham Runners & AC 1:12:13 78 43:43 86 164
DAVID CROW Norwich Road Runners 1:13:20 76 42:54 87 163
Lee Emmett Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:11:36 81 48:20 81 162
David Foreman Norwich Road Runners 1:13:50 74 42:35 88 162
Alan Dawson 1:18:35 66 44:21 85 151
David Allen Norwich Road Runners 1:22:41 60 52:31 74 134
Joe Woodley Norwich Road Runners 2:05:33 49 1:04:32 66 115
Dominic Blake 55:12 100 100
Gary Crush City Of Norwich AC 34:07 99 99
Chris Merrylees North Norfolk Beach Runners 59:17 98 98
Paul Smith Norwich Road Runners 37:41 95 95
Paul Vincent Wymondham AC 1:04:47 94 94
Richard Johnson Wymondham AC 38:21 93 93
MEN 45-49
Darren Honour Bungay Black Dog RC 1:01:04 98 36:41 100 198
Mark Banfield Wymondham AC 1:01:29 97 36:50 99 196
Chris Haylock Lowestoft Road Runners 1:03:12 95 36:52 98 193
Chris Bullock Norwich Road Runners 1:02:29 96 37:52 95 191
Anthony Alborough Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:04:25 91 38:14 94 185
Karl Chapman Wymondham AC 1:08:03 83 40:14 91 174
Matthew Porter Norwich Road Runners 1:09:10 80 41:30 88 168
James Dunne Norwich Road Runners 1:09:46 78 44:25 84 162
Ashley Yellop Norwich Road Runners 1:13:22 69 44:08 86 155
Neil Walpole Norwich Road Runners 1:12:09 71 44:33 82 153
Mark Stone Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:14:43 65 44:18 85 150
Keith Walpole Norwich Road Runners 1:15:14 62 44:33 83 145
Simon Ottaway 1:17:48 59 44:50 81 140
Heath Alexander-Bew Wymondham AC 1:19:29 54 45:31 79 133
PAUL REEVE Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:18:26 56 45:48 77 133
Cathal Daly City Of Norwich AC 1:18:04 58 46:59 73 131
Robert Crockford Dereham Runners & AC 1:19:43 53 46:54 74 127
Rob Winner Wymondham AC 1:24:03 42 49:57 68 110
Scott Walford Bure Valley Harriers 58:09 100 100
Paul Youngman Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club 1:24:48 38 52:31 62 100
MEN 50-54
Jonathan Cordle Norwich Road Runners 1:05:06 99 38:53 100 199
Neil Button Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:07:39 97 40:02 96 193
Graham Johnson Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:09:14 95 41:38 93 188
Melvyn Porter Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:09:46 93 41:09 94 187
Martin Adcock Bure Valley Harriers 1:11:06 91 42:03 91 182
Thomas Lincoln-Kemp Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:10:05 92 42:20 90 182
Jon Shorten Norwich Road Runners 1:15:49 86 44:29 85 171
Gary Pillar Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:17:28 82 43:29 86 168
Gary Tuttle 1:17:08 84 46:36 82 166
James Nice City Of Norwich AC 1:18:17 81 45:30 84 165
Paul Smith Norwich Road Runners 1:18:21 80 46:29 83 163
Julian Smith Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:20:03 78 47:31 80 158
gavin thouless Norwich Road Runners 1:24:51 73 49:44 77 150
Wayne Ramsbottom Dereham Runners & AC 1:27:12 67 46:52 81 148
david graham Lowestoft Road Runners 1:27:10 68 48:42 78 146
Kevin Clark Bungay Black Dog RC 1:32:31 63 54:36 69 132
Lee Roth Waveney Valley AC 1:33:33 61 53:25 71 132
Kevin Rooney Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club 1:05:00 100 100
Tony Witmond North Norfolk Beach Runners 39:16 99 99
Matthew Pask Norwich Road Runners 1:05:42 98 98
MEN 55-59
Mark Garrett Norwich Road Runners 1:06:05 99 38:36 100 199
Kevin Frazer Wymondham AC 1:09:35 98 38:56 99 197
Stephen Neal Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:13:16 96 43:34 97 193
andrew rowles Dereham Runners & AC 1:19:58 86 47:18 93 179
Martin Perry 1:20:30 85 47:19 92 177
Phil Henry Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:23:52 82 46:07 94 176
Paul Emery Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:35:00 73 45:31 96 169
Keith Morris Ryston Runners 1:26:36 79 50:29 89 168
John Moore Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:00:49 100 100
Mark Griffin 43:21 98 98
Gary Grand Norwich Road Runners 1:09:55 97 97
Warren Newell 46:00 95 95
stephen Sadd Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:13:28 95 95
Leslie Hill Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:15:52 94 94
Chris Chorley Bungay Black Dog RC 1:15:57 93 93
Tom Townsend Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:16:12 92 92
Adrian Ebbs 1:16:32 91 91
Ian Hawkes Waveney Valley AC 47:37 91 91
Keith Brighty Norwich Road Runners 1:17:27 90 90
paul woodhouse 48:29 90 90
MEN 60-64
Guy Shearwood Norwich Road Runners 1:18:24 97 45:39 97 194
John Lee Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club 1:18:39 96 48:10 95 191
Stephen Read Bungay Black Dog RC 1:27:48 86 51:12 92 178
Ivan Lees Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:35:19 81 54:40 89 170
Yitzhak Ben-Aroya Wymondham AC 41:57 100 100
Terry Epps Wymondham AC 1:11:59 100 100
Pete Johnson Ryston Runners 42:34 99 99
Andrew Lane Wymondham AC 1:14:12 99 99
PETER LADDIMAN Norfolk Harriers RC 1:17:57 98 98
Nigel Lambert 45:27 98 98
Paul Evans 46:54 96 96
ROLAND SHAW Bungay Black Dog RC 1:19:24 95 95
Wayne Freeman Waveney Valley AC 1:19:27 94 94
paul Richardson 48:29 94 94
Adrian Dyde North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:20:01 93 93
Phil King 49:50 93 93
Robert Fleetcroft 1:21:55 92 92
Mik Carr Bungay Black Dog RC 1:22:12 91 91
Nicholas Eley Coltishall Jaguars RC 54:23 91 91
Greg Mills 1:23:11 90 90
MEN 65+
Stephen Dady Wymondham AC 1:11:37 100 43:01 100 200
Ken Bowman Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:14:22 98 44:23 98 196
Eamonn McCusker Ryston Runners 1:18:04 95 48:17 96 191
MICHAEL SMITH Wymondham AC 1:31:15 90 53:53 95 185
John Bound Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:42:18 85 59:23 91 176
David field Norwich Road Runners 1:41:51 86 59:52 90 176
Noel Spruce North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:37:40 87 1:00:03 89 176
Alan Varle Waveney Valley AC 1:43:20 84 1:01:23 87 171
Trevor Potter Norwich Road Runners 1:50:59 80 1:05:53 84 164
Neville Clarke Newmarket Joggers 1:13:27 99 99
Glen Nelson Bure Valley Harriers 43:39 99 99
Bill Kingaby Waveney Valley AC 1:15:12 97 97
Sam Weller North Norfolk Beach Runners 46:27 97 97
David Mower Waveney Valley AC 1:17:52 96 96
Philip Bamford City Of Norwich AC 1:21:43 94 94
Frank Ellis 54:49 94 94
Mike Ottley 56:30 93 93
Mark Tayler Norwich Road Runners 1:25:50 93 93
john bone Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:27:52 92 92
Bill Edmonds 59:13 92 92

Neil Featherby: A warning for anyone training for a marathon…it can become very addictive

Here we are halfway through February and while it may still seem weeks away for those who are all geared up for one of the big marathons in April, the truth is they will soon be standing on the start line with all the many months of training behind them.

Whilst it may be a case of so near yet still feel so far away, these next few weeks should be geared to peak mileage, that is for sure. There is no other event like the marathon – even the natural endurance athletes who challenge for the honours at the front of the race will get found out if they don’t put enough work in when it comes to pushing on during those last few painful miles.

For a large proportion of those who take part in the big city marathons like London, this will be their first time whereby their only challenge is to complete the distance of 26.2 miles and perhaps raise money for a great cause.

MORE; Take a look at our 2018 race calendar

Invariably many of these so-called novices will be following a basic programme to ensure they get round and needless to say once they have done so, the feelings of elation are almost second to none.

However, give it a few days and the thoughts of “I need to do this again”, creep in for which they have not only been bitten by the running bug, but are now also thinking that, if they train harder, they can actually achieve a better finishing time.

A few races at shorter distances down the line, along with new PBs popping up each time, they also start to realise that they have some natural ability themselves. As it happens I classify Mark (Armstrong) as one of these. Having completed his first two marathons, he now realises that he too can indeed achieve much more.

These people, along with the dedicated club runners, certainly train hard and for some it can quite easily develop into a situation of where running can take over. It goes from a case of trying to fit your running into your life to fitting your life into your running.

I’ve seen so many Facebook comments and requests for advice this week from non-club runners totally confused after reading so much conflicting information. This is where I fully endorse those who want to progress further to check out the local clubs and of course coaches who can provide the correct advice and keep everything delicately balanced.

MORE: Never underestimate what it takes to run a marathon

At the end of the day, the guys at the front of the field in big city marathons will be running sub five-minute miles for which they are likely to have track backgrounds. Mr sub four-hour marathon runner is highly unlikely to become one of them. But with lots of hard work and careful planning, I do believe there are plenty of first timers, who ‘just want to get round’ that have the potential to get their times down to levels beyond expectations. Perhaps a sub three-hour marathon, which is considered to be very worthy by many a club runner.

Finally, and just to give those that need a little further motivation, a top runner by the name of Steve Brace, who competed in the 1980s and 90s, came from pretty average beginnings. His first ever marathon was completed in 3:23 and he only went under three hours once by a few seconds in his first six attempts.

Steve went on to represent Great Britain in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics whilst also winning the Berlin and Paris Marathons. He also finished with a personal best of 2-10:35.

Keep believing!

Don’t forget to join the new Run Anglia group on Facebook here.

Sportlink Grand Prix Race

Entries now open - Wymondham AC 20 miler

Sunday 25th March 2018 - start 9.30am

Information from Wymondham AC website.

 

We are pleased to announce that entries for our 20 mile race on Sunday 25 March 2018 are now open on the Run Britain website.

This year we have decided not to offer a T shirt but we have instead reduced the price from £23/25 to £16/18 (for affiliated / non-affiliated runners). There will still be a good quality medal but we felt that most of our entrants already had enough T shirts and that we would like to encourage more entrants with a lower price.

The course is the same as in previous years: a two lap route on quiet, rural roads. It again starts in Wymondham’s historic Market Place. We do not operate a cut-off time but please note that almost all runners will finish in under 4 hours.

There will be free tea/coffee and cake for all runners afterwards and we will encourage you to donate to our nominated race charity. Please email any questions to our Race Director Andrew Lane at wymondhamraces@gmail.com

Race HQ: Abbey Hall, 14 Church Street, Wymondham, NR18 0PH

All information here is taken from our friends at Wymondham AC website an can be found here https://wymondhamac.org.uk/wymondham-ac-20-miler/

Going the distance – Steve Gibbs

Every Month we now feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A.
This month it's Steve Gibbs.

 

 

 

 

 

When did you first start to run?
It was during my last year of middle school, so I would have been 11 years old. At this point I was a keen swimmer, swimming for my local club and county. Our PE teacher entered a group of us into the Great Yarmouth Schools Cross Country at Somerleyton Hall. Apart from a few practise laps around the school field I had never experienced a cross country before but was told it would be muddy so ran in my football boots. I managed to win the race and went on to run for Norfolk Schools. After this I was invited to join my local athletics club Great Yarmouth and District Athletics Club, where my passion for track and field and running really took off. The rest as they say is history.

What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?
I love the simplicity and freedom of running. The fact you can just get out there and do it with very little organisation and planning. I do also love the way running mimics so many other things in life, you only get what you put in. There no cheating it. The most rewarding part of running to me is when you have a tough race or session where you push your body way past the point when your mind tells you stop. I love to experience and test myself constantly.

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What’s your biggest running achievement?
I have been very fortunate to have achieved and experience some great things through running and feel fortunate to love a sport that I happened to be ok at. I don’t tend to talk too much about my biggest achievements, but these would include representing Norfolk and Wales in 800m/1500m and Cross Country along with a GBu20 vest for Cross country. Qualifying for the championship start at London Marathon is also up there as I remember watching the Marathon every year as a 12-13-year-old on the BBC telling all my family that one day I will run it. But I do have to say that my biggest achievement by far is being the 2-time reigning champion of the The Braydeston Mile.

What in the world motivates a person to run long distance?

Haha, Who knows! If I could have been a sprinter I would have, but unfortunately, I’m not very fast. Joking aside what motivates me is the total challenge of testing you body and more importantly you mind, seeing how far both can be pushed. Your head will always tell you stop way before your body needs too and I love testing myself to see how far both can be pushed. Distance running can not be cheated. You cannot turn up to a race without training and expect to perform. This is what motivates me to get out and put the miles in, knowing that the guys I will be racing are doing the same. That is why I believe there is so much mutual respect between runners of all levels as we all know how much work and effort each of us has put in to be on the start line.

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What kinds of things do you think about as you run?
Not a lot really. My wife often asks me this question and honestly, I don’t really think of anything. I am not a deep thinker in life anyway. Obviously, I am always listening to my body and how it is performing, thinking about pace, cadence, driving forward through you toe, the normal stuff, but I have also been known to totally switch off on longer steady runs and run past roads I was supposed to turn down, not realising for a mile before turning around or adjusting my route.

On the day of the big race…how are you feeling? Are you performing any superstitious rituals (like wearing the same unwashed socks you trained in for months)?
I do still get nervous before any race. I think this is a good thing as it shows the race means something to you and that the body is preparing itself to work hard. I wouldn’t say I have any superstitions that if I didn’t do would stress me out, but I do like to wear a brand-new pair of socks for an important race. The rest is more of a tried and tested routine that I know works well for me. I will have the same breakfast, wear some compression tights the day before and morning of the race to give me that light leg feel and get to the venue early to have a good warm up. For races like London Marathon where you can buy lots of event t-shirts or items with the event name and year on it, I don’t like to get anything until I have completed the race.

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What’s your next race?
My next goal race is the Virgin London Marathon, where I will be starting on the Championship start. I will race 2 half marathons before this about 5-6 weeks out. These will most likely be the Coventry Half Marathon and Colchester Half Marathon. They are both races I have done before and offer very different challenges on the course which make them ideal for my marathon preparations. If I can find a 10K a couple of weeks out from London I will also race that.

What’s your favourite running shoe?
I am a self-confessed shoe geek so love to have lots of running shoes. I do try and run in several different shoes of differing styles depending on the session or race I am doing. At the minute I am loving my On-Running collection. I train in the On Cloudflyer and On Cloudflow for my longer sessions and the On Cloudrush for more tempo runs. For the marathon I plan to use the On CloudX which a nice lightweight shoe which offers a great level of cushioning for the longer distance.

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Who’s your running hero?
I have lots of running hero’s as I can’t think of anything better than watching track or road races and often sit watching older races on YouTube. In no particular order, Steve Prefontaine, Hicham el Guerrouj, Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Ryan Hall, Eliud Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang, Wilson Kipketer, Neil Featherby and Richard Sales. All honest athletes that work hard and make it a true run race. Not frightened to force the pace and lead when required.

What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink?
What can I say. Where else can you work with a bunch of like minded crazy people who are all totally focused on providing good honest advice about everything to do with running but can also back it up with tons of qualifications, knowledge, and experience. For me it’s the perfect place to work. I get to talk about running all day with a group of people who share my passion. I love hearing and talking to all our customers, hearing about their running goals and challenges as well as helping them progress further.

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You can catch Steve at Sportlink Halesworth where he's based as the manager of the store.

Norfolk running is in great health but don’t underestimate what it takes to run a marathon

Friday 2nd February 2018 - EDP Feature, Neil Featherby.

Neil Featherby discusses what it takes and the sacrifices you have to make to run a marathon
After Sunday’s Freethorpe 10 mile road race, which of course was the first race in the 2018 Sportlink Grand Prix Series, it was so good to come away knowing that road running in Norfolk really is buzzing.

The race itself was brilliantly organised by Pat Brightman for which she did everyone proud. However, and whilst road running is on a high, what about the rest of Norfolk athletics?

Well, the very good news is that this is too. Clive Poyner, the chairman of Athletics Norfolk, recently sent me an email to say that entries were up by 50 per cent for the County Cross Country Championships held at Thetford in early January, whilst Sportshall Athletics is also booming with county entries at record numbers along with the Under 15 Girls also looking to retain their national title for the third year running. There was also a record entry for last Sunday’s County Indoor Championships at King’s Lynn.

Going back to Freethorpe, the racing right across all the age categories (men’s & women’s) was superb with just four seconds separating the first two of Alan Darby and Dan Middleton with third-placed Dom Blake just a further 42 seconds behind. However, I do have to give special mention to City of Norwich’s Dani Nimmock who not only won the ladies race, but finished fifth overall and ahead of some excellent male athletes in a time of 56:42.

She really is in tremendous form right now and 2018 looks like it is going to be a big year for her. It was also good to see the first 20 athletes all finishing under the hour despite the difficult conditions as well as two further ladies finishing just outside the hour with Conac’s Charlotte Rose second in 60:25 and Gt Yarmouth & District AC’s Colleen Mukaya third in 61:19.

Another lady who I would like to give a special mention to this week is Norfolk Gazelles Anne Ellen who was selected as reserve for England at the British & Irish International X/C Masters race in Derry last November. I meant to give mention to her when she won the F60-64 race at the Great Run series at Holyrood Park, Edinburgh.

It is also more than fair to say, the course was certainly one to test each athlete to their limits what with the first 1.5 miles climbing up and around the famous Arthur’s Seat and whilst the views may have been pretty spectacular, it didn’t stop her storming home in a winning time of 23:42. In Anne’s very own words “the toughest 5k I have ever done”.

Finally and as we come to the end of what is always a very busy month for athletics, I have been seriously amazed by the amount of people coming into Sportlink who took up running by way of New Year’s resolutions.

However, through lots of early enthusiasm some of them have unfortunately overcooked it somewhat.

Running is most certainly very addictive and the feelings of wellbeing are what make it so. Nevertheless, it really does need to be done with care during those first few weeks to allow our bodies to adapt to the new found stresses which we apply during such exercise.

More worrying though is the numbers of people who have contacted me direct having all entered marathons in April and are currently experiencing injuries or are just struggling to meet the demands of the workload what with also only having started their training plans at the beginning of this year.

Training for a marathon really is a tall order and whilst it is possible to complete 26.2 miles after just a few weeks of getting in some regular miles, the truth is that this distance is not like any other when it comes to pushing our bodies to the limits.

Ideally, each potential marathoner will have at least one, or better still two, years running behind them as well as also having completed races from 10k up to half marathons before taking on such a challenge.

Taking your first few steps towards running a marathon less than four months before the big day is most certainly testing the body and the mind to the limits never mind actually getting round on the day.

Of course it is a great achievement to complete one and I will do my very best to encourage everyone, but it is also the way you do it and like anything else in life it’s about how well you prepare for it which makes it all worthwhile when you cross the finish line.

The medal is not just for the 26.2 miles, it is a medal which represents all the hard work in getting you to the start line in one piece too.

As my good friend and two-time Olympian Paul Evans always says, the best achievement you can ever have is knowing you got the very best out of yourself!

The first 25 years…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sportlink founder and owner Neil Featherby has been running from a very early age winning several area and county titles during his early teens as a school boy. However, he has also ran every single day of his life since September 1st, 1981 – and it was while pounding the roads during one such training stint that he was given the inspiration to start his unique business, now occupying its fourth home and entering its 26th year.

A chance encounter with a passing motorist led to the former Great Britain and England international athlete and multiple marathon title-winner setting up his new venture in tiny premises in Horsford in 1994, sowing the seeds of today’s thriving enterprise at the Taverham Garden Centre, shopping complex where Sportlink celebrated its silver anniversary on November 16th, 2019.

In addition to being a top-class distance runner competing in events across the world, Neil had a background in the sports shoe and sportswear industry along with an in-depth knowledge of coaching, fitness, nutrition and sports management which convinced him to go it alone in a competitive environment.

"One of my best moments during my running career – with the legend Emil Zatopek in Malta."

He had previously worked as a Sports Consultant for Bupa in Norwich and at the World of Sport store in Grove Road before setting up the Runners Centre with fellow athlete Nigel Arnold in Nelson Street, Norwich, and then managing Norwich City captain Ian Butterworth’s Run Kick ’N Jump sports shop in Timberhill, close to the city centre.

He explains how the Sportlink story all started from a roadside conversation with a local businessman and potential customer who flagged him down that early autumn day over a quarter of a century ago.

Neil recalls: “I had gone out for a run and for whatever reason I decided to head out on the busy main Holt Road when a car came along in the opposite direction, with the driver shouting out of his wound-down window. He drove past and while I was thinking ‘Who was that?’ the next thing I knew was that he had turned round and come back, pulling over just in front of me, so I had to stop. ‘Where am I going to buy my running shoes now you’re not in the trade any more?’ he said ‘Can I come round your house and have a chat?’ I said ‘Yes, if you want’ and told him where I lived before heading off to finish my run. Then, lo and behold, he came round later that day.

“His name was John Russell and he was a director of the ECS factory in Horsford, 150 to 200 yards from where I was living at the time. He said they had a spare room, an old canteen, so why didn’t I set up a running shop from there? It was at the far end of the village in Horsford and I thought ‘Do I really want to go into business? Am I experienced enough?’ Being on my own was quite scary.

“The premises were at Pinelands Industrial Estate, which is now mostly covered by houses. I had a look, the rent was cheap and I thought ‘Why not?’

“They put a new door in and made it all ready for me. The room was just 7 x 5 so not really much space to do too much, but it was worth a gamble.”

Sportlink opened its doors – or door – on November, 16, 1994, and Neil sold one pair of running shoes on the first day. He still remembers his first customer and the very shoe, not untypical as anyone familiar with Neil’s prodigious memory for names, faces, races and events over the decades will testify.

He recalls: “November 16 was our first day of trading and I sold one pair of shoes. I still keep in touch with the first customer, Danny Kelly. I sold him a pair of New Balance shoes and in my desperation, I did it as a trade-in because he had a pair of rubbish training shoes on his feet. He got a great deal and a great pair of shoes and if I am honest, I lost money, but I needed to go home and say I had made a sale.”

From the outset, however, Sportlink was not merely about selling sports shoes.

Says Neil: “I was also involved in sports management at the time and it was seen as an ideal place from which to run my sports management company while selling running shoes as a side-line, along with a few football boots and court shoes. Horsford had a middle school and a first school and lots of other schools in a five-mile radius, so we brought in other items to sell for school kids too.

“Roger Ryan, a friend and broadcaster, was involved with me in setting up the sports management business and he came up with the business name. That in a nutshell is how it all started, and we now had a company called Sportlink.

“It soon became apparent that the unit really was not big enough and even though I suppose the main source of my income was from sports management, my background was still all about trying to give the very best advice and service when it came to selling running shoes along with football boots or any other items of sportswear. We didn’t have computerised video analysis equipment back then, but my experience was still good enough to determine what should be the right shoe for each person. 

“At the same time, the most important component was comfort because at the end of the day, running mile after mile in a shoe most certainly needs to be comfortable, irrespective of what all the branding and marketing says on the box.”

The new business became a magnet not just for athletes, runners and other amateur sportsmen and women, but for the professionals, among them Norwich City’s rising stars, who were looking for a wise head to represent them and to manage their affairs.

Says Neil: “Because I had connections with the footballers, they kept coming to the shop. All the young lads, like Craig Bellamy, Darren Eadie, Keith O’Neill, Andy Johnson, Danny Mills, Daryl Sutch, Andy Marshall, Ade Akinbiyi and Jamie Cureton were coming out to see me almost on a daily basis at times. There were very few football agents around at the time and certainly not in Norfolk.

“There was a lot of talent at the club and the young lads fancied having an agent. The next thing I knew was that I was being asked to represent several of them. I agreed, but if I am honest it all came about just because they asked and I loved football – and of course I was a big football fan. I had my own agents as an athlete so I had an idea of how the business would operate.

 

“It was a different sport, and bigger contracts, but it was more about sponsorship deals initially. They all fancied having boot deals, which was absolutely easy for me, being in the trade.”

There was a spin-off benefit for the growing Sportlink business, too.

“Having all those footballers in the shop brought a huge amount of trade in. As you can imagine it brought all the kids in as soon as school was out,” says Neil.

“They were piling into our little shop in the village of Horsford. Back then footballers only trained in the morning and being young lads of 17, 18 and 19, and a long way from home, they had nowhere else to really go. They used to answer the phone and help the customers and it really did become somewhat surreal. It got to a point where Match Weekly magazine came and did a feature on the Norwich City footballers in the shop. I brought in some of the children from Horsford Middle School to be part of the feature with the players, which went down really well with everyone. Parents also kept asking if their sons and daughters could have a part-time job. Therefore to keep as many people as possible happy, I took one on for each day of the week, giving them a fiver for a couple of hours work after they came out of school.”

In less than two years, Sportlink had grown so fast it had become apparent that the business really did need to expand.

Recalls Neil: “We outgrew the shop and in August 1996 another unit, dead opposite but much bigger, became available. It was basically an old cattle shed which had been modernised of sorts. It was 700 square feet and it was absolutely freezing in the winter, but it gave us more opportunity and a much bigger space so as to work more efficiently and continue to grow the business.”

Sportlink was very much more than the place to pick up the perfect pair of running shoes and first-class advice on fitness and training.

“Here we were, a little business on the outskirts of Horsford, which back then was a small village, and runners were coming from all over East Anglia. We had the woods on our doorstep and I was taking people out for runs at lunchtime or after work. We had also made some brilliant connections with football clubs throughout Norfolk and had also somehow connected with Norwich and North Walsham rugby clubs,” says Neil.

“I ran the business and Steven Halton Farrow was my silent partner. Suddenly we were becoming a much bigger business than we had set out to be, but in truth it was perhaps happening too quickly. Eighty hours-plus had become the normal working week for me, for which I seemed to be spending most of my life at that time working, be it instore or out and about doing promotional events”

At Horsford in 1997 with another one of our sponsorship handovers….25 years of helping local sport.

It was not long before Sportlink was on the move again – and by then the business had a string of new partners.

“In late 1997 a unit became available at Drayton Industrial Estate, which was bigger with two floors. We officially opened for business at the new unit and of course new village on January 1st, 1998, staying there for the next 11 years,” says Neil. “At this point the retail side was going really well. The internet and online selling was still being viewed with suspicion by many back then. It certainly meant that lots of people were making their way to Drayton Industrial Estate for all their sporting needs. The football connection was bigger than ever and Danny Mills and Daryl Sutch had both become partners in the business. At one point I think there were seven or eight partners involved in total.”

It was then that Neil and Sportlink ventured into new territory, climbing into the ring with the big names of the fight game.

“It was then I got caught up in boxing. I was approached to work with the kickboxer Gary Briggs, followed by professional boxers Jon Thaxton and Herbie Hide,” he explains.

NO CHRISTMAS FOR HERBIE HIDE - THE NORWICH BOXER IS KEEPING TO HIS TRAINING SCHEDULE THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAY AND WILL BE OUT RUNNING WITH SPORTLINK'S NEIL FEATHERBY.

Herbie Hide at Sportlink before a training session.

Hide was twice WBO world heavyweight champion in the 1990s and Thaxton became WBF world lightweight champion, as well as winning the British and European lightweight titles, before retiring in 2009.

In store with footballers at one of our many promotions down at Drayton.

Says Neil: “This is all part of the Sportlink history. My work with boxing was initially about nutrition and fitness, but because I had a reasonable idea about business and learned a lot from the football management side, I was now being steered into the management of boxers too, while also promoting professional boxing shows under the name of Sportlink Boxing.

“I have never been scared to have a go at anything and the shows we put on at Norwich Sport Village were a match for any small hall show, even if I say so myself. I remember getting 3,000 people in the Sport Village for one of our shows and never less than 1,500. It was just crazy. I worked well with the media - newspapers, radio and TV – and we made stars of some of the local fighters. In total, we promoted 13 professional shows with one of them at Carrow Road, home of Norwich City. By this stage we also had a small but very good stable of boxers, all trained by Graham Everett. The team behind the promotion was superb too and so very professional. I am under no illusions when saying that if it wasn’t for them, it would have all been impossible. ”

Training Group with professional footballers and professional boxers.

It was here that Neil admits the sports fan in him sometimes worked to the detriment of the business.

He says: “Sportlink was becoming a brand but I took my foot off the gas on the retail side, the more I became involved in boxing, I suddenly found that I was being pulled all over the place. I worked with the boxer Paul Ingle in Scarborough as his conditioner and was promoting shows and training with lots of boxers and professional footballers during the close season. 

“When it came to the football management side of the business, I was meeting some unbelievable people, too. Players who I had admired years earlier and had now turned to management like Kevin Keegan, Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce to name but a few were regularly calling me at Sportlink or at home. As a fan this was amazing, but I also had to try to remember why they were calling me.  

“I travelled the world with my running, but it was now boxing and football which was taking me off all over the place and as I said earlier, the retail side of the business was getting a little neglected.”

The year 2009 brought a move from Drayton as Sportlink switched to its current premises at Taverham, home number four. Neil had foreseen a running boom on the horizon and it was time to re-focus totally on his first business aim – that of providing the best possible all-round service to runners and athletes, a holistic approach that goes far beyond selling the customer a pair of shoes.

“2009 was almost like starting again,” recalls Neil. “After lots of long discussions we decided to move the business to the shopping centre behind Taverham Garden Centre and we sold the unit we owned at Drayton.”

By this time former England World Cup star Mills and Neil were the only partners in Sportlink and the business had by this stage become Sportlink Specialist Sports Ltd.

“It took us 18 months to really establish ourselves in Taverham because people still kept going to Drayton, but we did it. Every day half a dozen people came into the new shop and said ‘We have just been to Drayton’ but for every six that came in and said that, how many didn’t?

“I could see that there was definitely going to be a running boom but frustratingly not too many people around me were listening. I was talking to banks and other potential investors, but let’s just say that most of them thought I was doing my usual and being over-positive about my future plans and ambitions. However, within four to five years of moving, we were completely on track and the running boom really had happened. The business is now at a level even I didn’t think it would get to.”

Three major factors have helped Sportlink to thrive – the Olympic Games being staged in Britain for the first time in 64 years, the emergence of the park run as a means of mass participation in running, regardless of ability, and of course social media, particularly Facebook.

Says Neil: “Sportlink is now totally focusing on running. The year 2012 was when it really turned. A lot of people knocked the Olympics before it ever took place and said it was going to be a disaster and we would mess it up.

“But the 2012 Olympics really were so very special and I can honestly say one of my all-time favourite sporting moments. The whole country came together and as a nation, we did so well in just about every sport. 

“At the same time we organised it so well that the legacy is the fact so many people now take part in sport and are having a go. People who wouldn’t have dared pick up a pair of running shoes in the past are now out there running and cycling while taking part at their own level without the worry of thinking that they would never be good enough. The park runs have been awesome – although I also think that the Race for Life in the early 1990s helped influence more ladies to take up running too. 

“Running means so many different things to so many people. It’s used for well-being, staying fit and healthy, feeling good about yourself, mental health, and of course on a competitive front. At the same time, several people have actually found that even in later life - beyond 30, which used to be considered the time for hanging up your shoes - they actually have a talent and are now competing at a very good level. 

“Most importantly, though, people from all walks of life and ability are now more than comfortable to go out running. Whereas years ago it was a case of worrying about what your neighbours might say, now the likelihood is that your neighbours go out running themselves. Attitudes really have changed, that’s for sure.”

The conscious decision for Sportlink to return to its roots has paid handsome dividends.

Explains Neil: “I really am so very pleased that I made the decision to fully focus on Sportlink as in truth I was getting worn down by all the other activities and the enjoyment was starting to wane. 

“Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved doing all the other things and in many respects it has been an absolute privilege. I look at my running career as a privilege, that’s for sure, travelling the world and meeting so many fantastic people, but to then find my way into professional football and professional boxing was such a huge added bonus, especially as it came about at the end of my competitive running career. 

“To have met superstars like David Beckham along the way or to have gone to the 2002 World Cup and to have been part of a corner team in Madison Square Garden in New York with Paul Ingle, when defending his World IBF Featherweight title as chief support for Lennox Lewis that night, is all just something else. Then of course the very memorable and even crazy adventures with Herbie Hide, Jon Thaxton, Sam Sexton, Danny Smith, Jackson Williams, Gary Briggs and of course Graham Everett, just to name a few, have left me with so many great memories.

“In truth, there are far too many people and special moments, but like all things you need to know when enough is enough. At the same time it really was all becoming more about business than fun and as I said earlier, underneath it all, I am just a fan.”

So despite – perhaps because of – rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in world sport, Neil has the greatest respect of all for the club athletes and keen amateurs who simply want to run, to improve, to achieve new goals or simply to feel healthier, fitter and better about themselves.

“I don’t care how good you are or who you are,” he says “If you want to run I’m with you all the way. That’s what we do. I would have to say 90 per cent of the people who come to us are not elite athletes. Probably 35 per cent on any day of the week are if not complete beginners, then certainly fairly new to running. In most cases, it is obvious that they are a little overawed upon walking in for the first time, but within 30 seconds or so, we have settled them and assured them that they are just as welcome as anyone else. Most importantly, when they leave they have a smile on their face and are far more confident than when first walking in. In a nutshell we have the utmost respect for anyone who wants to put on a pair of running shoes and have a go.”

This philosophy is reflected by Sportlink’s involvement in the community and continued support for events on the running calendar.

“We have our outside running groups and we sponsor the Sportlink Norfolk Grand Prix series as well as supporting about 80 per cent of all the other races in the county, along with the county cross country and track and field championships. We have a great relationship with the running community so it’s another way for us to also give something back at grassroots level” says Neil.

“When it comes to advising on equipment, we most certainly don’t go out of our way to sell the most expensive product. We are only interested in making sure that we get it right for each person by way of their needs and indeed at a price which matches their budget.

“As for footwear, the technology really is now moving at an even faster level. Whereas in the past I have always laughed at the idea that a shoe can help you run faster, many of the brands are all now looking at technology which really will help to give that little extra advantage, particularly on the back of the recent sub two-hour marathon challenge. From a personal point of view, I do not think it is right, as for me running is one of the most natural sports and pastimes anyone can take part in.

“In other sports where mechanical equipment is used, we know that sportspeople are always looking to improve through better equipment, but a pair of training shoes which supposedly helps you run quicker, through aids and extra special materials built in to the midsoles, just doesn’t seem right to me. However, you have to move with the times as there is no way a competitive athlete is going to be happy standing on the start line thinking that the guy beside him has an unfair advantage. 

“At the same time, none of the manufacturers will want to be left behind by their competitors either, so watch this space as they all now push to be the number one running brand with the number one running shoes.

“What I will say, though, is that all runners should always remember the importance of getting the right shoe for them while not forgetting to focus on all the other fundamental benefits you expect from a running shoe.”

So, after trading for one year for nearly every mile of the marathon course, what does the future hold for Sportlink, for those who work in it, and the running community served by it?

“Having now completed our first 25 years in business (Nov 16th 1994 – Nov 16th 2019), for me the future is all about never ever taking anything or anyone for granted as things can change very quickly, even more so nowadays,” says Neil.

“At Sportlink, we will always keep doing our very best to improve on our standards and trying to be that little bit extra unique. I really do have fantastic staff who I rate so very highly. My son Craig is a senior manager and, needless to say, I hope he stays in the business. 

“I still have lots of plans myself for Sportlink, but I am also trying to let others develop their own ideas as well. Chas Allen, who has an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things health and fitness-related, is also on hand as a consultant.

“Our business has gone to another level and this is also down to the amazing staff. Apart from the many qualifications and degrees within the business, it is their enthusiasm and passion for running which all makes for a really excellent service and, I like to think, a truly amazing experience. They are all very experienced runners themselves, belonging to various local running clubs. That is another reason why we always say we don’t just hear what our customers are saying, we feel what they are saying.

The new look superstore in Taverham

“We’re now going into our 26th year. The shop looks awesome and it is also now double the size of when we first moved to Taverham. As a runner, I love what we have done. “Everywhere you look there is running. Not just product, but just lots of great stuff. It really is an amazing place for runners to come to, a real runners’ hub.

“I am also so very proud of all the charity work we have done over the years. I am not sure exactly how much money we have raised, but I do know that it goes into several thousands of pounds. At the same time we have had some awesome fun with our fund- raising efforts, which I always think helps to engage people much more while raising awareness of some of the causes which we support.”

2017 World Speedway Champion Jason Doyle at Sportlink.

Neil’s business aim is as clear as it was a quarter of a century ago.

“I want Sportlink to continue to be the best it can be,” he says “After 25 years, it really has been a marathon and just like any good marathon runner, you have to be durable and roll with the highs and the lows while always retaining the belief that you will get across the finish line, knowing you have done your very best, irrespective of whether you are on a high or most certainly if and when you have to encounter one of those little rough patches during the course of the journey.  

“In business you have to learn to change and evolve and see the changes coming – just as I saw the running boom coming. People say ‘How do you compete with the internet?’ The fact is we don’t want to compete with the internet. We don’t run an internet sales website. I’m not interested in making millions on the internet without any thought or feeling going into the sale. I don’t work like that. Sportlink doesn’t work like that.

“If people say I’m a good salesman I get offended. I’m not. I’m just passionate. It’s all real. That’s important in business. It’s all about keeping to your principles. All our staff are so very genuine too and are more than happy to go well beyond the extra mile when required.

“The refit isn’t finished yet. I want to let others have a bit more free rein in the business and to step back a bit. I’m doing a lot of coaching and have upped my qualifications to allow me to spend time doing more personal things.”

So are there still personal milestones to achieve in business and in running for Neil Featherby? 

“Having run at least once every single day since September 1st, 1981, I think there is only one person in the world ahead of me now,” he says.

He may even be world number one in another sense, according to one trade insider.

“Mark Ash, who works for Saucony Originals, reckons I’ve sold more pairs of running shoes than anyone else in the world. He travels the world. I’ve been in the game more than 30 years and while I know I have sold a lot of shoes during that time, I am also sure that there are many others who have sold more than I have. I think it is perhaps fair to say I am in the top ten in the UK, certainly as far as independent specialists go.

“With regards to the future of the industry, all I am going to say is long may the independent specialists keep going as what you see is most certainly for real and more often than not, run by runners for runners.”

Sportlink Grand Prix Race 1 – Results

Sportlink Grand Prix Race 1 Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OVERALL WINNERS:
MEN
1st Alan Darby Ely Runners 0:54:26
2nd Daniel Middleton Norwich Road Runners 0:54:30
3rd Dominic Blake Reepham Runners 0:55:12
LADIES
1st Dani Nimmock City of Norwich AC 0:56:42
CR
2nd Charlotte Rose City of Norwich AC 1:00:25
3rd Colleen Nicole Mukaya Great Yarmouth & District AC 1:01:19
AGE CATEGORY WINNERS:
MEN
Senior Ben Russell Norwich Road Runners 0:56:35
Jack Gillick Wymondham AC 0:57:24
Chris Merrylees North Norfolk Beach Runners 0:59:17
40-44 Matt Pyatt Ryston Runners 0:57:40
Kristin Barnard Wymondham AC 1:01:26
Mark Banfield Wymondham AC 1:01:29
45-49 Scott Walford Bure Valley Harriers 0:58:09
Tim Topper Wymondham AC 0:59:18
Darren Honour Bungay Black Dog RC 1:01:04
50-54 Kevin Rooney Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club 1:05:00
Jonathan Cordle Norwich Road Runners 1:05:06
Matthew Pask Norwich Road Runners 1:05:42
55-59 John Moore Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:00:49
Gary Grand Norwich Road Runners 1:09:55
Stephen Sadd Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:13:28
60-64 Terry Epps Wymondham AC 1:11:59
Neville Clarke Newmarket Joggers 1:13:27
Andrew Lane Wymondham AC 1:14:12
65 - 69 Stephen Dady Wymondham AC 1:11:37
Bill Kingaby Waveney Valley AC 1:15:12
Philip Bamford City of Norwich AC 1:21:43
70+ Ken Bowman Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:14:22
CR
John Bone Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:27:52
Michael Smith Wymondham AC 1:31:15
LADIES
Senior Charlotte Neale North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:05:00
Kate Murrell Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club 1:05:35
Alicia Lacey Norwich Road Runners 1:08:05
40-44 Cat Cummings Wymondham AC 1:05:45
CR
Alexandra Smith Wymondham AC 1:08:27
Emma Blake Coltishall Jaguars RC 1:12:20
45-49 Sabina Spence Bure Valley Harriers 1:08:44
Theresa Dooley Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:10:33
Sharon Hurren Wymondham AC 1:11:42
50-54 Catherine Henery City of Norwich AC 1:13:25
Sandra Roberts 1:14:53
Lucy Campbell Norfolk Harriers RC 1:18:16
55-59 Jenny Sheahan 1:17:44
Alison Stewart Norwich Road Runners 1:21:18
Pauline Leeves Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:22:30
60 – 64 Anne Ellen Norfolk Gazelles AC 1:18:55
Penny Edwards Norwich Road Runners 1:19:00
Elaine Savvas 1:29:23
65+ Jane Ashby Ryston Runners 1:27:48
Carole Spong Great Yarmouth Road Runners 1:41:53
Brenda Kinch North Norfolk Beach Runners 1:43:29
TEAM WINNERS:
SENIOR MEN
NORWICH ROAD RUNNERS Ben Russell
Daniel Middleton
Chris Mickleburgh
John Hudson
MENS MASTERS
WYMONDHAM AC Tim Topper
Kristin Barnard
Mark Banfield
Paul Vincent
SENIOR LADIES
CITY OF NORWICH AC Dani Nimmock
Charlotte Rose
Julia Parsley
LADIES MASTERS
WYMONDHAM AC Cat Cummings
Alexandra Smith
Sharon Hurrren

The full GP1 race results - HERE

Our thanks to Barry Hipwell for these photographs.

Valentine 10K February 18, 2018

RACE NOW FULL

This is the second race in the Grand Prix series of 11 races, sponsored by SportLink Running and Fitness.

Race start: 10am

Race HQ: Race HQ will be at the Sports Hall and Conference Centre, Easton College, Bawburgh Road, Easton, Norwich (postcode for satellite navigation NR9 5GA )

License: The race will be run under a UKA license, license no: 2018-32264

The Course: The course has been accurately measured by an approved UKA course measurer and will be marked at each kilometre. The race starts from the middle of the Easton College grounds. The course is an undulating loop around the villages of Colton and Marlingford on country lanes. For your own safety you must run on the left hand side of the road at all times, the roads will not be closed to other traffic. Please obey the instructions of the course marshals who are there for your own safety. A water station will be provided on the course at approximately 6 km.

Race Entry: Sorry, the race is now full, and there are no entries on the day.

Prizes: First male and female Trophy £50, second male and female Trophy £25, third male and female Trophy £15. Age groups start at 40 for male and female, ie 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65+. There will be a Trophy for each category winner.

Team trophies: First female senior team (x3 runners); first male senior team (x4 runners); first female master team (x3 runners); first male master team (x4 runners)

There will be a medal for every finisher. Also a pack of snap-lock pinless number fasteners.

Directions to Easton College: Easton College is situated approximately 7 miles west of Norwich just off the A47. There are road signs with directions to Easton College. For SatNavs the College recommends you use the postcode NR9 5GA – this should take you to the Norwich Family Golf Centre close to the College but please check your destination at Easton is correct. Depending on your SatNav either this postcode or NR9 5DX may take you ten miles away. (There is a map on the Norfolk Gazelles website.)

Parking: Parking is available on the Easton College site but is limited, so please car share if at all possible.
There may be other events at the College on 18th February so please park as instructed by the car park marshals.

Facilities: There will be changing facilities and showers, refreshments and a bar. Baggage storage facilities will be provided. Please note that any baggage left will be at your own responsibility, Norfolk Gazelles will not be held responsible should any property go missing.

Race number: Please collect your race number and timing chip from Race HQ on race day. You must not pass your race number onto another runner. Your race number must not be cut, folded or mutilated in any way, and must be fastened securely to the front of your vest or top and not covered.
Please provide the information requested on the back of your race number.

Timing chips: The timing chips are not disposable. Please attach securely to your running shoe, and return the chip to a member of Norfolk Gazelles immediately after you finish.

First Aid: Qualified personnel will be in attendance and situated near the finish area. Half way round the course at the drink station, If you need attention during the race please seek the help of the nearest marshal.

MP3 Players: Please do not bring along your MP3 player to listen to music whilst running. For your safety, you will need to be able to hear and follow instructions from the marshals around the course. Anyone found running with earphones will be asked to withdraw from the race and will be disqualified.

Results: The race results and prize winners will be published on the Norfolk Gazelles website and at http://www.chiptiminguk.co.uk/ps/results.

Courtesy: As noted above, the roads will be open to other users and are popular with local horse riders and dog walkers. Please be courteous to all other people on the race route.

Declaration: By entering this race, you are declaring that you are an amateur runner as defined by UKA rules. You agree to abide by UKA rules and the race referee’s decisions. You understand that neither the organisers nor their servants will be liable for any injury, illness, loss or action claim (howsoever occasioned) resulting from this event.

Data Protection Act: Entering this race indicates your consent to Norfolk Gazelles and their agents to process and communications include: entry list and race results on websites and for media purposes; photographs for publicity purposes; and publicity for future events. Your details will be retained for 12 months after the race and will not be disclosed to a 3rd party without your consent.

Any questions: Please email racedirector@norfolkgazelles.co.uk if you would like any further information.

Race information from our friends at the Norfolk Gazelles https://www.norfolkgazelles.co.uk/valentine-10k.php

Memories of 1987 Hong Kong Marathon and how I learned to never let my motivation drop

Friday 26th January 2018 - Neil Featherby's EDP Feature.
Neil Featherby learned a valuable life lesson 31 years ago this week...

So here we are nearly one month into the New Year already.

So many of us always start out with good intentions and high levels of motivation but once the initial excitement wears off, and reality sets in, some are already struggling to keep up with the early demands they have set themselves.

 

 

More often than not, it is due to a little over eagerness and it then becomes more difficult than they thought. Or, of course, they have hurt themselves from doing too much, too soon.

During the last week or so I have received several messages from people asking me to help them get through this blip.

The first few weeks are exciting with lots of motivation, especially after the Christmas and New Year festivities. But once the reality sets in of the usual day-to-day routine along with short days and the wild and windy weather which we have had this month, it can be easy to find reasons not to go out and of course putting it back until tomorrow.

However, and like everything else, it is so important to build a routine whereby it becomes second nature and if we have built in short, medium and long term goals with a few rewards thrown in, then the desire should be maintained to overcome any earlier blips.

With regards to staying motivated at this time of year, unbelievably for me it is exactly 31 years ago today as I write this column (Jan 25th 1987) when I took part in the Hong Kong International Marathon after a special invitation from the organisers which had been set up by my good friend Peter Duhig after my 2:17 performance in Berlin just a few months before.

However, the weather during January 1987 was absolutely horrendous with temperatures down to minus 10 and below and snow drifts that were 10 feet in height. The roads of my usual training routes were completely blocked in places and trying to stay on my feet was a nightmare.

I was actually doing most of my training on the snow and ice covered roads in spikes. To say I moaned and groaned is an understatement. Flying out to Hong Kong was not the best long haul flight either and despite it being January, the weather out there was very warm and sunny. My outlook was poor, that’s for sure, and I really did have very little desire to run.

hong-kong-7-300x225

Whilst an excellent field of runners had been assembled, in truth my two main rivals were the American Doug Kurtis who now holds the world record of having run 76 sub 2:20 marathons and the Canadian athlete Rick Mannen who was fresh from his 2:19 Toronto marathon win.

I spent most of the days leading up to the marathon doing tiring promotional work with my then sponsors Reebok and the American superstar and pre-race favourite Doug Kurtis whilst Rick spent most of his time with his wife Josie, who had accompanied him out there.

Whereas Doug was very confident and outgoing, Rick was so very polite and most certainly modest. During conversation with both of them I was already showing my hand by telling them about the bad weather which had affected my training for which it was obvious they were taking it all in.

Anyway, race day came and the three of us soon established the lead.

The race was being televised too for which I started showing off by pretending I was just cruising along with ease, but in the back of my mind, I wasn’t happy about what I saw as lost training during those last few weeks going into the race.

Sure enough and just after halfway Rick put in a burst and whilst Kurtis reacted, I just let them go.

I knew I had a good lead on fourth place for which I happily settled into just running within myself and taking the bronze medal position.

As it happens as I approached the sports centre, I could see Doug Kurtis coming back to me having been dropped by Rick Mannen.

However, it was too late and whilst we both finished on the track at the same time it was my fault for lacking the ambition of the other two.

After I crossed the finish line in a couple of seconds over 2:23, I went straight over to shake my opponents’ hands and especially that of Rick who had surprised everyone with his defeat of Kurtis.

During our little chat he quite calmly said it was a shame that I wasn’t in my best shape whilst also telling me about the minus 20c conditions he himself had been encountering back in his home town of Brantford, Ontario for not just a few weeks, but several months.

He not only put me right back in my place, he also made me think about how I had lacked the desire and determination as well as showing my weaknesses which really is not that of someone who professes to be motivated and professional in their approach.

As the saying goes, “where there’s a will there’s a way”.

In Rick Mannen’s case there was a real will to succeed for which he went on to win many more honours as an athlete and marathon runner whilst also representing his country with pride.

I still keep in touch with Rick and his wife Josie whereby we have many common interests i.e. running, coaching and a love for the same breed of dogs.

Thirty-one years on, I now try to instil the lessons I learnt from him into all the athletes who I now advise.

 

Neil Featherby: Age is just a number, isn’t it?

Coming to terms with age is something I have always struggled with.
If anything this is one of the reasons I dedicated my column a few weeks ago to some of those elderly athletes who are still running fantastic times whilst still in their 70s and 80s. However, and as we know, there are certain things we are powerless to change and what with me turning 60 this week, let’s just say I am caught between feeling a little deflated and at the same time perhaps just thinking, ‘let’s see what life there may still be in this old body of mine yet’.

Knowing six months ago this big milestone was approaching, I set about increasing the training load to see just how quickly I could run a mile again and whilst I knew the days of sub-five minutes have gone, I was still confident that with some real hard work I could get close to a target which I set myself, that being 5:14, which is the pace I averaged when I ran my marathon PB just over 31 years ago.

In all honesty this may have been a case of where the brain is willing and the body isn’t, but I was still determined to have a go. I also decided to do a 60-miler which, in truth, was never going to be a problem. However, I went down with a nasty chest infection early November which is still causing me one or two issues, but when the big day arrived on Tuesday it was in my mind to still have a crack at the mile, albeit on my treadmill.

A brief warm-up followed by a treadmill setting of 11.7mph and I was away. Initially it felt comfortable, but after just one minute I could feel the lactic acid building up in my legs whereby the minus button was hit and kept getting pressed for the remainder of the run until it was just over 10mph. I managed a sub-six, but boy was I blowing, which was what shocked me most.

I really do not like defeat, but with the issues I have had during the last couple of months, I have decided to give myself a few more weeks and give it one more good go. If I fail, so be it; I will resign myself to the fact I have many good years of running behind me and will just continue to plod the miles with my five dogs each day whilst accepting the fact I am aging. But failure is not in my vocabulary so watch this space!

Sportlink Running & Fitness Grand Prix Series – Dates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sportlink Running & Fitness Grand Prix Series is a series of established road races at a variety of distances across the county of Norfolk.

Here are the eleven races selected to form the Grand Prix Series in 2018:

Anyone can take part in the Grand Prix Series; members of clubs affiliated to Athletics Norfolk, members of clubs not affiliated to Athletics Norfolk, unattached runners - all are welcome. You don't even need to live in Norfolk - just enter the Grand Prix races in the normal way and then look out for your name in the Series standings ...

Ages are as at 31 December 2018 with masters in five year age groups from 40 to 65+.

At every GP race the winner in each age group scores 100 GP points, second place scores 99 GP points and so on.

The final standings will aggregate your best eight performances from any of the eleven GP races in this year's Series.

If you don't manage to complete the minimum of eight races you will still count in the final standings but it's clearly a good idea to do as many as possible.

At the end of each season the Series awards will be presented at the Night of Celebrations - details to follow.

The Series administrator for 2018 is Pat Brightman - please click here to send her an email.

 

All information here is taken from the Athletics Norfolk website.

Happy Birthday Neil!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the day you’ve been dreading has finally arrived!!!

We know that you don’t want to be 60, that you don’t feel or act like a 60 year old but we can’t let you turn 60 without a little celebration of your life so far.

So, Neil Featherby, sit back, relax, embrace the big 6-0 and enjoy this short film, dedicated to you!

With love from The Sportlink Team, the guys at Rock Solid, your family and  friends and all the many customers and animals that you’ve helped over the years. This one’s for you. Happy Birthday x

 

Going the distance – Kathryn Hammond

Every Month we now feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A.
This month it's Kathryn Hammond.

When did you first start to run?
I have always run for as long as I can remember. I was a sprinter at school. Running in my early twenties, was just part of my fitness regime, alongside aerobics classes, swimming and cycling. My first competitive race, picture below, was The Lowestoft Scores Race, in 1997. Running really became my main sport after the birth of my son. When you only have small windows of time for yourself, it is easy to slip on your trainers and run around the block. My running journey progressed from there.

 

Kathryn Hammond 1997 - Scores race Lowestoft

Kathryn-firsrt-race
What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?
The buzz that I get when I have finished a run, is one of the best things about running. It lifts my mood, clears my head and makes me feel ready to tackle the day. The running community and the amazing people I've met through running, is also a massive part of it.
What’s your biggest running achievement?

My biggest running achievement? Hmmmm, that's a hard one! I guess it's completing my first marathon, at Brighton, in 2012. Simply because of the commitment and level of training that is required for 26.2 miles. I loved every minute of it, the training went well, the race went to plan, the atmosphere was amazing and I was on a high for weeks afterwards.

What in the world motivates a person to run long distance?
I think there are many reasons why people run long distance but mainly because it poses a personal challenge or they run to raise money for a charity close to their heart.

What kinds of things do you think about as you run?
I never run with music. I think about all sorts of things when I run, such as my 'to do list', things that have happened during the day, how's my pace, am I going to make it up the hill without stopping?!

One the day of the big race…how are you feeling? Are you performing any superstitious rituals (like wearing the same unwashed socks you trained in for months)?
On race day I used to get very nervous and would used to joke with my sister about how many times we would visit the toilet before even leaving the house on race morning! I don't get that quite as much anymore. I think about my race plan, I know that I have trained and fuelled well, so I go into the race feeling more confident. I always have a little warm up but I don't have any superstitious rituals as such, I do however always wear my favourite Balega running socks, Brooks bra and a pair of comfortable pants!

What’s your next race?
My next race is Freethorpe 10 miler, the first of the Sportlink Grand Prix races, then Cambridge Half Marathon, in March.

What’s your favourite running shoe?
My current favourite running shoe is the Saucony Kinvara for road and Saucony Peregrine for the trails but I also used the Brooks Ravenna for many years. I wear a Brooks Glycerin for work, which is super comfy.

Who’s your running hero?
My running hero.....Neil Featherby of course!!!

What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink?
The best thing about working at Sportlink, is the team I get to work with. They are a brilliant crew, we work hard but also have a lot of fun along the way. Our customers are great too, all with their own stories and different reasons for running and without them, there would be no Sportlink. I get to talk about running all day, what's not to like?!

Neil Featherby: The future looks bright for Norfolk Cross Country team

Neil's EDP article 12/01/18

After my column back in November about the new regime of Chris Merrylees and Dominic Blake now heading up the Norfolk County Cross Country Team, last Sunday saw what was most certainly an eagerly awaited Norfolk County X/C Championships at Thetford.

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Ashley Harrell won the Senior Men's race. Picture: Tony Payne
Despite the absence due to injury and illness to half a dozen leading athletes, the standard was certainly very high along with an excellent turnout in all the races. I also think it is fair to say that right from the under 11s up to the seniors saw some excellent racing with some close finishes and plenty of toing and froing between the positions during the races.

However, and in the main senior races, it has to be said that the standard was the best it has been for a number of years with Ash Harold taking the honours in the men’s race and Ruth Senior showing her strength as she passed the long time leader Mabel Beckett in the ladies event.

Both Dom and Chris had plenty to say afterwards with Dom also making the cut himself saying: “It was awesome and whilst I knew I was giving my all, at the same time I also loved watching the race unfold in front of me.”

They are both now looking forward to meeting up with the 30 athletes who have been selected for the next squad day on February 10 prior to the Inter County Championships at Loughborough on March 10 where nine men and eight ladies will be selected to wear the Norfolk vest.

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Ruth Senior leads the Senior Women's race home. Picture: Tony Payne
Whilst the Norfolk teams will more than likely be based upon the finishing positions in the Norfolk County X/C, if for whatever reason there are any call offs, those making up the reserve positions are all of a high calibre and will easily fill any vacant slots.

What is so very obvious is that Chris and Dom have certainly fired the enthusiasm up once again to be part of Norfolk’s proud cross country tradition for which I think it only right to give the final word to Chris Merryless.

“This year’s county cross country championships really were a proper County Championships which has clearly been reflected by the fact that 12 different clubs from Norfolk have athletes in our men’s and women’s senior squads,” said Chris. “It also shows that all the clubs this year were keen to be seen and have representation at all levels for which the future really is looking good.”

A special mention has to go to City of Norwich AC’s Dani Nimmock who whilst she was missing from the Norfolk County Championships, she was however competing in the Telford 10k road race which undoubtedly attracts athletes of a very high standard.

Danni not only finished in an amazing third place, she also finished in an equally, if not more so, amazing time of 33:04 seconds. I don’t think that too many people would mind me saying that many a male athlete in Norfolk would love to able to boast such a PB. As Chris Merrylees said…the future of Norfolk distance running, really is looking good.

New Year…New You!

Neil Featherby's EDP article.

So here we are and just a few days into another New Year whereby so many of us have lots of good intentions especially when it comes to health and fitness. As you can imagine we at Sportlink see many people seeking advice at this time of year and whilst we really do our very best to advise, there are times when you can just see that some of those seeking it are not always hearing what they want to hear. There are no magic wands or easy short cuts when it comes to doing it properly. Getting fit and staying healthy particularly for those who haven’t put on a pair of trainers for a number of years is like anything else in life. If it is worth doing then it will require planning and the patience with a mindset to be in it for the long term. The rewards can be immense if you follow a structured plan. Needless to say, have your long term goal, but to ensure that you get there, also set more easily attainable short and medium term goals as well so as to see very gradual gains whilst staying motivated and of course have regular feelings of self-achievement.

In a nutshell, start out by keeping it simple with little and often. Create a habit and routine so as to be able to gradually increase the level of exercise without putting too much stress on the body at any one time! Even just 10 to 20 mins three times a week for a month will help set a pattern and routine towards a new lifestyle. To say 10 mins is not worth it, well it is better than doing nothing that is for sure and if it means you have kept things going particularly on one of those days when you just didn’t feel like it, do I need to say more?

Focus on what you are doing and not others. Just because you may have seen someone of an age or even body shape out there regularly pounding the streets for which you think “if they can then I most certainly can”, just be careful before increasing the load. Apart from hurting yourself, burn out can quickly take hold if you don’t allow for the body to fully adapt to these new found stresses which are being applied.

When it comes to getting the right equipment, no one has to pay hundreds of pounds to get started. However, it really is so very important to get it right whilst also getting it right at a price which fits in with your budget. I have seen on numerous occasions people taking up running whilst wearing inadequate footwear and then six weeks into their programme, they have hurt themselves due to this or of course doing too much too soon. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep it going” is the most used quote whereby they then look to buy a really expensive pair of trainers to put right what has gone wrong. This just does not happen though and it is not then all about spending as much money as you can on top of the range running shoes.

Having advised runners on running footwear for 29 years and despite there being huge advancements in technology, I am still yet to see a shoe which is absolutely perfect in every way possible and I don’t doubt for one moment that in a further 29 years the manufactures will still be producing their so called best range of running shoes ever. At the end of the day, we are all different and have differing individual needs for which it really is important to try and get it right from the start so as to reduce the risk of getting hurt.

Running at whatever level is fantastic and so addictive once you get into it. It is not only great for strengthening our bodies by way of the cardiovascular responses, but also to our bones, muscles and joints too. However, and just as importantly to our minds as the feeling that you get after many a run is only describable amongst those who know.

New Year, New You, means being very patient, very sensible and of course very consistent! Good luck to all those who are about to set out for the first time and of course good luck and best wishes to all runners who will no doubt all have their goals and targets in mind for 2018. Happy Running and Happy New Year!

Sportlink Grand Prix Series – January 28th Freethorpe Ten

The Sportlink Running & Fitness Grand Prix Series is a series of established road races at a variety of distances across the county of Norfolk.

The Grand Prix Series kicks off on January 28th with the Freethorpe Ten.
All race information can be found at the Great Yarmouth and District Athletic Club website.

For the full Grand Prix listings you can visit the Athletics Norfolk Website

The benefits of a well balanced diet

Neil Featherby's EDP Article.

A well balanced diet containing all the essential nutrients is a must for all those who take their running seriously. There are lots of fads and myths about foods, special diets and supplements which will allegedly improve performance, but just like training, if you haven’t got the basics correct then you will be under performing. For those who like to put a lot of effort into their training and running, a diet consisting of a high proportion (60%) of complex carbohydrates, 15/20% protein and 20/25% fat (essential fats) is one that best suits most athletes when it comes to ensuring that the food we eat not only meets our energy requirements, but also assists with recovery after training and racing.

 

Carbohydrate Loading
For those taking part in marathons and long distance events, it is a good idea to increase the amount of carbohydrates in your diet for about three days beforehand. This doesn’t mean you eat more, but by increasing carbohydrates whilst reducing the fat and protein in your diet whilst also reducing your training loads will ensure that your glycogen levels are fully topped up when you stand on the start line. Glycogen storage will also increase water content as for every one gram of glycogen there will be three grams of water. This of course will produce a weight increase for which it is also best to try this out before race day so as to fully appreciate the benefits during the latter stages of marathons and other long distance events.

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are energy providing nutrients so as to provide the body with glycogen during exercise. Glycogen is stored in the muscles and liver. A high muscle glycogen concentration will allow you to train at your optimal intensity whereas a low muscle glycogen concentration will lead to fatigue and sub optimal performances. A well balanced diet containing all essential nutrients is a must for sports people with approximately 60% of the required calorific input coming from Carbohydrates. The highest proportion of these carbohydrates should come from foods that are low to medium on the Glycaemic food ranking list providing slow release energy.
*whilst some have preferred to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in their diet during more recent times, my own preferred personal choice for endurance athletes is still to maintain a high level of complex carbohydrates within the diet.

Glycaemic Index (G.I.)
The Glycaemic Index is a measure of the effects of different foods containing carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. If you need to get carbohydrates into your bloodstream and muscles cells quickly particularly after exercise then foods high on the GI will do this. However and in most cases it is the more slow released forms of carbohydrates which are best and are described as medium to low on the GI ranking of foods. Those that are high on the GI if eaten with fats and protein will also be more slowly released into the blood stream.

Protein
Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair and whilst it is very popular with many sports people to take protein powders and supplements the body only requires approximately 15% of the daily calorific requirement to be made up of protein. Proteins can be used for energy if the glycogen levels become low particularly during exercise which extends beyond 90 minutes of endurance training and competition. However, if muscle glycogen stores are high then less protein is broken down for energy whereby muscle repair and recovery after exercise is more rapid. Whereby it is very popular with some sports people to reduce the carbohydrate content in their diet for extra protein, the body only requires 1.4 gms to 1.8gms of protein per Kg of body weight and is more than sufficient enough for athletes. There are lots of powders and protein supplements on the market which are very popular, but as always the best source of essential nutrients comes from eating the correct foods within a balanced diet.
*For those who abstain from eating meat and fish, then eggs and dairy products are a good source of protein. However, for those who also prefer to follow a vegan diet, it is essential to cross mix an assortment of plant foods so as to obtain all nine essential (complete proteins) amino acids in the diet. Whilst it is thought that no plant food contains all the essential amino acids, this is not entirely true, but the amounts are indeed very small. For the vegan and vegetarian athlete who avoid dairy products, good sources of protein come from soy products and other beans/pulses, nuts and whole grains.

Fats
Fats should provide the body with about 25% of its energy requirements. Fats come from animal and vegetable sources. Whereas carbohydrates and proteins contain 4.1 kcals per gram, fats provide the body with 9.2 kcals per gram. Fats provide the body with several needs and if the recommended requirements are not met, then the body will not be able to function properly i.e. irregularities with hormone production, organ and cell protection, brain tissue, nerve sheaths, bone marrow and body temperature regulation as well as ensuring the absorption of the fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E & K. Fat also provides a huge supply of energy and whilst it can supply an efficient supply of fuel when combined with carbohydrate oxidation during exercise providing the runner is running at the correct pace (the quicker we run the more the body calls upon energy supplied from carbohydrates), once glycogen levels run low as in runners hitting the wall in marathons and long distance events, then fat oxidation becomes less efficient. Despite the importance of fats, it is also important to understand the difference between those which are considered as good fats and those that are known as bad fats so as to ensure that we consume the correct foods i.e. good fats monounsaturated and polyunsaturated as opposed to those that contain the bad fats trans and saturated.
Whilst the body can synthesize most of the required fats, linoleic acid (Omega 6) and alpha–linolenic acid (Omega 3) can only be obtained through eating specific foods within the diet and hence why these group of fatty acids are considered essential. Therefore, great attention should be paid towards ensuring that we consume the correct foods in respect of obtaining these good fats. However, and at the same time, it should also be pointed out that Omega 6 is far more easily obtained within a western diet for which the downside is that if we eat too many foods containing these fats, this can then inhibit the absorption of Omega 3 fatty acids. Good sources of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids come from eating dark fish such as mackerel, sardines, pilchards, tuna, etc, nuts, seeds, oily fish, eggs, avocados, and olive and certain other vegetable oils. For vegetarians and particularly vegans, the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are harder to obtain for which a vegetarian supplement (micro algae) may be worth considering.

Vitamins & Minerals
Whilst Vitamins and minerals do not directly provide the body with energy, without them the body would not be able to function properly. They all have differing roles, but combined they help with growth, energy metabolism, nerve function, vision, wound healing, maintaining healthy tissue, hormone production, red blood cells and oxygen transportation, cell protection, the immune system and to keep our bones strong.

Water
Our bodies are made up of between 60 to 70% water for which all athletes should ensure that they take in enough water throughout the day to ensure that performance levels during training and competition are not impaired. The more energy expended the greater the requirement for fluid replacement. A loss of just 2% in bodyweight through fluid loss will reduce the body’s ability to function reducing performance levels greatly. Severe dehydration can needless to say result in far worse. Urine checks during the day should confirm your needs for water. If it’s clear or straw like in colour then fine, but if not then drink more until it is. About two hours prior to training consume 500 mls of water and consume 150 to 200 mls every 15 to 20 mins during exercise. Do not wait until you are thirsty! Drinks which contain 35 to 50gms of carbohydrate will help maintain carbohydrate oxidation. Those that contain electrolytes which are lost through sweat loss will also help.

Pre event/training meals
Pre event snacks/meals should be easily digestible containing carbohydrates so as to top up muscle glycogen stores and eaten about three hours before your workout or competition. This will allow enough time for your stomach to empty sufficiently and for blood sugar and insulin levels to stabilise. Liver glycogen will also be topped up. Include foods which are low on the G.I. for slow release energy, are low in fat, low in protein and not too bulky. Consume 500mls of water too.
If you are competing late in the day then try to eat sensibly throughout the day at approximately three hour intervals with your last meal 3 to 4 hours before your event. A very small snack about one hour before an endurance event will help to sustain energy and maintain blood sugar levels during the event. However always practice your dietary habits before training sessions as opposed to trying them out first time before competition.

Supplements
Whilst many sportspeople take all sorts of potions in the hope that performance can be improved, a well-balanced diet should meet all essential requirements. However and with the pace of modern day life many sports nutritionists advise that taking a balanced multi vitamin with iron can help safeguard in the unlikely event of there being any small deficiencies. It is advisable to be aware that whist the water soluble vitamins in the B Group and Vit C will be excreted in the urine if taken in excess, the Fat Soluble vitamins A, D, E & K can become toxic if taken in excessive amounts as these will be stored in the body.
Energy and Electrolyte Drinks can help to not only maintain energy levels during long bouts of exercise, but will also help the body stay hydrated. However it is important to ensure that the concentration levels (mix) is at the correct levels. A 7.5 to 10%concentration is normally recommended i.e. 35/50gms per 500 mls of water or in hot temperatures 5% and below.
Recovery Drinks are okay particularly for those that train hard on several days throughout each week. They should predominately contain carbohydrates with a little protein so as to aid with energy replacement and muscle recovery.
The sports nutrition market is huge and whilst there are potions and pills available for just about everything, first and foremost, a well-balanced diet containing all the essential nutrients is far healthier and in most cases far tastier and more satisfying.

Neil Featherby: Running dominates my life – despite what my teachers told me!

Neil Featherby: Running dominates my life – despite what my teachers told me!
So here we are at the end of another year – or should I say, running year?
Whilst my life does not entirely revolve around running, I think it’s fair to say a big part of it does. Just about everything I have ever done or been involved with directly or indirectly would not have happened without some reference to it.

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, Sportlink Running & Fitness is at the forefront of my daily life. However, I am also very lucky to have some brilliant members of staff (including one of my sons), along with some very good friends who are partners within the business too.

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Away from Sportlink, my many years involved in other sports such as football and boxing all came about due to my background as a runner and whilst those days are now gone, I have some brilliant memories.

When I was a kid at school, I was constantly told I should stop day dreaming about sport and focus on my education, as sport was never going to get me anywhere. That advice went over my head and the only thing which basically held my attention during those years were the PE lessons. However, when the time came for me to walk through the school gates for the last time and into the big wide world, I admit it really was a case of thinking, now what? The next few years were a little up and down to say the very least and then one day and just by chance I discovered running again and life had a new purpose.

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Running has given me so many opportunities: I have travelled to many places around the world, met some amazing people and represented my country.

Therefore, and in a nutshell, never give up. Always believe in yourself and don’t be put off at having a go at something if you really want to do it, especially for all those who are goal setting for the New Year.

This time of year for me, also means The Felthorpe Hare & Hounds Boxing Day Charity Run. This event has to be the craziest race in the Norfolk athletics calendar whereby the hare (me) sets off ahead of the pack of runners whilst laying a trail for them to follow. However, the pack are in teams and all dressed in the craziest of fancy dress outfits. I lead them through streams, ditches, the roughest of undergrowth and mud which really is chest deep over a course of about eight miles.

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Those who live in the village wake up each Boxing Day morning having to rub their eyes in disbelief, as do any dog walkers out and about around the surrounding trails and woodland, despite the event now being in its 16th year. Apart from having lots of fun and of course blowing the Christmas cobwebs out, we also raise lots of money for several nominated local causes and the animal charities which I have supported for a number of years.

With this being my last column of the year, I would just like to say that I have really enjoyed being involved with Mark Armstrong’s “On The Run” features this year and look forward to many more in 2018. Happy New Year to everyone.

Don’t forget about our Masters runners…Norfolk has a very proud tradition

With the recent announcement that my business Sportlink Running & Fitness are to sponsor the Norfolk Grand Prix Series for the next three years, I can truly say that all of us are delighted to be given this opportunity.
I have received many positive comments about our involvement which I have to say is very pleasing. At the same time I also think we can help this series of races continue to grow and become even more established. With this in mind, I think it is only right to thank the previous sponsors Orchard Caravans, The Runners Centre and Leathes Prior who have all supported the series during the last 20 years or more.

However, earlier this week I was visited by a very well respected and local runner, Jim Hayes, who made his feelings known when saying that he feels a little disappointed that the Grand Prix series caters for all the age categories up to age 65. It then becomes a bit of a free-for-all in as much as that those who are still competing in their 70s and indeed 80s have to compete with the youngsters who are still in their 60s albeit 65 and over.

I have to say this did make me think. Some local races outside of the Grand Prix do cover these more senior age groups, but not all of them.

As Jim said, people are being encouraged to keep fit and stay healthy and of course are living much longer for these reasons so at the same time they should be recognised for their hard efforts. Jim’s comments are actually not the first time I have heard these grievances for the want of a better word, as I was recently approached after an earlier article of mine about the Norfolk County Cross Country Champs for similar reasons. The County Championships cover age brackets up to 70 years of age.

Let’s make no bones about this, there are far less people competing in the over 70s and certainly over 80s age groupings for which there are times when there may only be just a few runners or indeed none at all. But at the same time, all these athletes are fit and still excellent runners.

North Norfolk Beach Runners earlier this year put two teams of six runners all aged over 70 into the Ipswich Ekiden Relay whilst also having two superstars of Master Athletics in their ranks with Malcom Ball, aged 84, who trains daily and is a former National Champion and Brenda Kinch who finished runner up in the World Masters marathon in Australia in 2016 aged 70 and just 10 weeks after having a pacemaker fitted.

Jim himself also took the Norfolk Marathon gold medal in the 65 plus category this year despite being the wrong side of 70.

Just to really put this all in perspective, see below the World age best times for 5k, 10k and the marathon with the British bests in brackets.

5k
Male – age 70, 18:15 (18:33) / age 75, 19:07 (19:45) / age 80, 20:58 (22:44) / age 85, 24:03 (24:51)

Female - age 70, 20:56 (20:56) / age 75, 23:31 ( 26:22) / age 80, 25:41 (30:23) / age 85, 32:29

10k
Male - age 70, 38:04 (39:24) / age 75, 39:25 (39:31) / age 80, 42:39 (46:10) / age 85, 51:07 (55:03)

Female - age 70, 44:25 (44:25) / age 75, 50:00 (54:44) / age 80, 53:12 / age 85, 86:15

Marathon
Male - age 70, 2:54:48 (3:00:58) / age 80, 3:15:54 (3:47:04)

Female - age 70, 3:25:29 (3:36:30) / age 80, 4:11:45.

To be honest, all the Masters times from ages 35 upwards at all distances from the sprints to the marathon are phenomenal, be it world or British and of course male or female. But this week’s article is more relevant to those athletes who are on the wrong side of 65.

Here in Norfolk, we have some excellent athletes in all the masters divisions for which I am sure many will react to this column with their views. However, and at the same time, I couldn’t help thinking about a great friend of mine, who was undoubtedly a world class Masters runner from Norfolk who we sadly lost back in 2004 by the name of Peter Andrews.

Pete really did epitomise that age is no barrier when it comes to running having competed internationally and won races in times that athletes in their 20s could only dream about. I have always said that when all things are considered he was Norfolk’s best ever and was always more than happy to race against anyone, whatever their age!

With it being just a few days away from the festivities, this time of year can only mean one thing for me….The Felthorpe Hare & Hounds Boxing Day Annual Charity Cross Country Run.

If you are about bright and early on the 26th and going through the village or out dog walking through the woods of Horsford and think that you are seeing things….don’t worry it is likely to be me being chased down by 100 other very wet and muddy runners all in fancy dress whilst having fun and raising money for local charities.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and of course many festive miles of running through the holiday period.

The key to being a good coach is evolving around your runner’s needs

Following on from my comments in last week’s On The Run and keeping with the theme of coaching, earlier this week I had a long chat with a very good friend of mine, Matt Yates, who frequently discusses training ideas with me after reading my weekly columns.

Matt not only competed at the highest level during the 1990s whilst regularly making the world’s top 10 in middle distance events, but also won a bronze medal in the Commonwealth games (1990), a gold in a European Indoor Championships (1992) and represented GB at two World Championships and an Olympic Games. Just as impressively, after hanging up his spikes he also had PB’s of 3:52 for the mile, 3:35 for the 1500 metres and 1:45 for 800. However, and after his retirement it was only by chance that he came back into the sport and has now been coaching and creating elite athletes for the last three years.

MORE: Every runner has to master the mind as well as their training

Therefore and after another one of our long conversations, I asked him how he achieved success so quickly and what is his secret to coaching?

In Matt’s own honest and straight to the point way, he said the answer is simple and in one respect no different to being an athlete.

You can have all the credentials and badges, but if you can’t apply yourself and ideas consistently and be 100pc dedicated, then you will fall short. However, and whereas an athlete requires a certain amount of talent which doesn’t last forever, in a coaching role you can always keep learning and developing. Never be complacent thinking you know it all.

A good coach will know his or her limitations and whilst it is important to have a full understanding of the physiology and training principles for any given event, be it the 800 metres or the marathon, a good working knowledge of nutrition, sports injuries and of course psychology is also required. Therefore always look to learn from those who have expertise in these fields.

In fact it is not a bad idea to also study business management which is exactly what Sir Alex Ferguson said were the driving principles to his success.

Whilst coaching qualifications are one thing, just as importantly, having experience and an understanding of the pressures of daily life and how to plan and manage accordingly around each person’s individual lifestyle is also a must.

In a nutshell, the coach ultimately acts as the CEO and the athlete is the sole product of the business. There are no magic wands!

It is about having a good honest relationship with excellent communication. Know exactly what you want to achieve and plan ahead with all the components in place to achieve peak performances when required. Nevertheless, also be prepared to be flexible and adaptable and of course never lose the motivation to succeed.

This Saturday, is the first get together with athletes and coaches for the recently appointed Norfolk Cross Country team managers, Chris Merrylees and Dom Blake. They will most certainly be applying all of Matt’s points whilst having a very good working relationship with Norfolk’s top coaches.

I wish them both the very best and here’s looking forward to a successful cross country season for Norfolk Athletics.

Christmas film – Ho Ho Ho!

So this is it.....the Sportlink Christmas Film for 2017....As always madness with some of the worst singing ever apart from our lead vocalist Sally Fletcher. A very big thank you to Adrian Fletcher for his superb production amongst all the chaos and of course to every single one of our friends, customers and Taverham Country Shopping Centre. As always watch through to the credits for a little bit of extra madness!!! Happy Christmas and enjoy.

 

Charity Boxing Day Hare & Hounds Cross Country Event

Charity Boxing Day Hare & Hounds Cross Country Event.

It’s Fancy Dress, so each team must have a theme. All monies go to Charity with the main beneficiary Hallswood Animal Sanctuary.
This is a handicap race so teams start in order i.e. those deemed to have quickest runners going off last. The maximum number in a team is 8 and a minimum of four.
This is a 100% Fun Event for teams. Sorry no individuals.

Please bear in mind this is an extreme event and starts early on the 26th!

Many thanks! Neil

Neil Featherby: What makes a great running coach?

Running expert Neil Featherby explains what makes a great coach and why it’s so important to have a wealth of experience to call upon.

When working with runners, I always try to find out what motivates them and what is the real driving force behind any aspirations they have.

However, it is also obvious that whatever the level and ability of the athlete, most of them need support by way of a coach or advisor to give assurance and guidance.

Over the years I have met some absolutely fantastic people who have given up their time to advise and help others to achieve their goals.

I was lucky enough to have half a dozen great guys throughout my running career who were there for me. Whilst I was always fairly limited by way of ability, I was totally dedicated and was prepared to train as hard as I had to. Nevertheless, I also know that without their help I would have fallen short of reaching the half reasonable standards which I managed to attain.

So what makes for a great coach/advisor? Well, most certainly knowledge and understanding of how to apply and structure a training programme to meet the demands of the given event which the athlete might be training for.

Therefore he or she (the coach) will need to have a good understanding of the energy systems and the physiological stresses which are applied to the body whilst planning training sessions and schedules for their athletes, be it for an individual or indeed for group workouts.

Just as importantly they will also need to have a pretty good understanding of people’s personalities and what makes them tick.

Some coaches will be highly educated whilst others may also have a vast background in athletics and are highly experienced. What is sure is that they are every bit as dedicated as the athletes themselves what with being there beside the track or standing at the top of a hill overseeing a session week in and week out. Needless to say in all weathers too.

I have some great coaching and training manuals with all the latest scientific research.

However, I also have several books which date back more than half a century going back to the days of the then top coaches such as the Austrian coach Franz Stampfl who pioneered his own scientific training methods from as far back as the 1940s whilst also helping to guide Sir Roger Bannister to the first sub four-minute mile in 1954.

I’ve also got books from Percy Cerutty, the very eccentric Australian who guided Herb Elliot to Olympic 1500 metres gold and the New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard who really did introduce athletes to his very well thought out training plans which consisted of high mileage even for middle distance athletes like the double gold medal winning champion Peter Snell who triumphed at 800 and 1500 metres.

They, along with many others, certainly laid down the foundations for many a good coach today and whilst we are so lucky to now have all the science and testing facilities which goes with it, there is still many a club coach out there who has nothing more than just their stop watche and sound personal knowledge to guide their athletes by.

Here in Norfolk we are so lucky to have so many excellent coaches who really are dedicated to the sport whilst helping to get the best out of all our athletes, be it at senior or junior level. This week I most certainly salute all of them.

 

ADVENT DEALS ARE BACK!

DAILY ADVENT DEALS

This year our Christmas daily advent deals are back!
You loved them so much last year we're doing it all over again.

Every morning we are announcing the special daily
ADVENT DEAL - Click the links for details!
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM.

Grab yourself a bargain at our stores in Taverham or Halesworth or via mail-order.
All deals available until midnight - After 5.30pm email sales@sportlink.co.uk

Merry Christmas from all of the Sportlink team!

Winter Running Tips

As soon as the clocks go back and the darkness of night out weighs that of the light of day along with a drop in temperature, for many this is off putting when it comes to finding the motivation to open the door and take those first few steps out into the cold and dark of the early mornings and evenings. More often than not once you are out there you soon forget about it and when finished with the steam coming off your body, the thrill and buzz can be even better than one of those beautiful spring like morning runs. However and before the inexperienced amongst us take those first few winter running steps, it is important to pay attention to certain factors that can turn a winters run from what should be a pleasant experience into one that could put you off for good.

Clothing during the winter months is very important with reflective gear being right at the top of the list. Most running gear now has reflective strips and actually use reflective materials during the manufacturing of all clothing and footwear. For those who perhaps don’t want to spend money on running gear just for the winter months then a reflective bib is a must and can be worn over the top of any item of clothing along with numerous flashing clip on lights which are also now available. Visibility really is a must! The saying “Be Seen, Be Safe” is undoubtedly a quote to always remember when running in poor light.

*When out running in the dark, always try to stay on pavements or if forced on to roads then face the traffic. Whilst running with music is a must for some, this is something that perhaps needs careful consideration when running in poor visibility.

Another item for winter running which has become very popular during the last few years are head torches. They really are an excellent piece of equipment  to have when running in the dark by way of visibility and helping to light up the way ahead. However and as with all products, some are better than others so when purchasing always look to try on and check for not only the power output, but to check the beam shape and width spread. Also be aware of the charge and or battery life. At Sportlink we tend to focus on the Silva brand of head-torches which can range in cost from about £20 to £80. Once again I have tried them all out for which they all meet the necessary requirements.

*A good headtorch really will throw out a strong beam of light so remember to dip the light or your head when motorists and vehicles are coming towards you.

Needless to say there are other considerations with regards what to wear so as to meet those potential winter elements to keep you not only warm and dry, but comfortable too. I always start with a base layer made from wicking materials/fibres which will wick away any build-up of moisture from sweat.  Cotton retains moisture which is not only uncomfortable, but can lead to chaffing and a drop in body temperature if you slow down or turn into a cold wind.  Depending upon the conditions I tend to add layers albeit lightweight vests, t shirts or even long sleeve tops. If it is freezing cold then it might not just mean one or two extra layers, but even a third and if it is raining and very windy then a lightweight showerproof jacket too. If out on one of those longer runs and the rain stops and you start to get a little too warm, most lightweight jackets can easily be folded up and carried or just tied around your waist. I also suffer quite badly with cold fingers so more often than not in the winter I will wear lightweight  gloves. A hat is also a must for me what with not wanting to lose all the heat through the top of my bald head. Ladies may want to consider head bands which cover the ears when the temperature drops those few extra degrees. Other items which I like to have available are a couple of pairs of running tights and plenty of high quality running socks. If shoes are the most important piece of a runners equipment then socks have to be the second most important item. Ladies will also point to a good sports bra. For those who don’t like getting their feet wet, then there are several models of running shoes which are made with a Goretex fabric. However before purchasing a “Goretex Running Shoe”, make sure that it also fits all your other necessary requirements as there are several Goretax running shoes on the market whichmay lack in other very important departments i.e. cushioning, shock absorption and support if required. Grip in very slippery and icy under foot conditions also needs to be considered so if your shoes don’t have enough tread on them consider driving to somewhere where the surface is better suited or purchase a set of snow/ice grippers which can easily be fitted on to the soles of your running shoes.

*When it comes to running equipment like everything else you tend to get what you pay for. You don’t have to be able to afford a Ferrari to get a great car and that is the same with running gear. However there are price points which do need to be considered when purchasing quality footwear, clothing and equipment particularly if you want it to retain its capabilities for year after year. You can be assured that we always look to get people in the right gear at the right price and we only sell what we endorse.

Warm up
Always warm up before running whatever the temperature or time of the year. However and during the cooler months a good warm up will certainly make you feel that much better before taking those first few strides when the air temperature is cooler particularly as our muscles do not contract at the same intensity and are less powerful in colder conditions. One other consideration to take on board is that whilst our bodies rely on carbohydrates as a source of energy for distance running, energy consumption from carbohydrates  increases during cooler temperatures and therefore it is advisable to ensure that you have eaten a meal high in complex carbohydrates the night before if planning a long morning run or indeed a light meal or foods containing carbohydrates two to three hours beforehand. This is also another good reason to make sure that you wear clothing which will keep you warm during your run.

Warm Down
As with warming up, the warm down is also very important, but if you are wet and the temperature is extra cold then it only takes a few minutes after stopping for your body temperature to drop to the point where you can start shivering. If you have done a few mins of gentle jogging at the end of your run, then put another top on before doing your stretching exercises. If wet and cold then make sure you take off your wet layers and replace with dry clothing as soon as you can. Consume some water and eat a little food too or consume a recovery drink which will help to replace the fluid and nutrients lost during your run.

Hydration
During warm weather running we all pay attention to staying hydrated, but this is just as applicable to running in the cooler temperatures. Therefore always have a drink before you go and just as you might in the summer months carry a drinks bottle with you so as to top up along the way especially on the longer one hour plus runs.

 

Happy Running whatever the weather and conditions.

 

Neil Featherby.

Sportlink Running & Fitness.

 

Going The Distance – Pete Johnson

Every Month we now feature one of the Sportlink team for a Q&A. We kick off with Pete Johnson.

When did you first start to run?
I started to run in 1986 with a fun run as we didn’t have park runs in those days. They were either 3 miles or 5k for which I managed to get inside 21 minutes for the first one. This is when I suddenly discovered that this was something that was for me and joined the local running club Thurrock Nomads.

What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?
Peace of mind. Me space! No phone or distractions you can just go out and enjoy yourself.

What’s your biggest running achievement?
My 10 mile PB in Oswestry, Shrewsbury. I ran 53.40 which was off the back off the South coast marathon which was the week before where I ran 2.34 (4th) and also a 5000m sub 16 minutes.

What in the world motivates a person to run long distance?
I think it’s just the Marathon. When I first started everyone at the club had their eye on the Marathon.

What kinds of things do you think about as you run?
Sometimes I think about races that are coming up. I think about how fit I used to be! It’s a good way to reset your mind. 30 - 40 minutes running can do that for you. I get very stressed if I can’t go running.

On the day of the big race…how are you feeling? Are you performing any superstitious rituals (like wearing the same unwashed socks you trained in for months)?
If it's a big important race I used to get a little nervous and a little sharp with people as my wife will tell you. If a race is on a Sunday I start to get worked up from Thursday. She can tell that the race is important to me. Nowadays I’m a lot more chilled out. Before a race I now feel more relaxed. I chat to people and don’t warm up quite so much. However, a little run around the field and a little bit of mobility and stretching and I’m ready.

What’s your next race?
I don’t have much planned. I’m running the County Cross Country in January in Thetford and the Freethorpe 10 at the end that month.. Nothing before Christmas.

What’s your favourite running shoe?
Brooks GTS and Saucony fastwitch plus Innovate trail shoes.

Who’s your running hero?
When I started running we did not have as much TV coverage as we do today, so with regards to heroes if that bis what you want to call them, I suppose you could say that one of the people I used to look up to was a local guy called. Mick Bumstead at Thurrock Harriers. He was the runner that I was always behind. Pat Dobbs he was also someone I always looked upto.
I admire Paula Radcliffe especially New York 2007 and whilst we all think Mo is brilliant, when she had that eyeballs out race through Central Park and won the race I was on the edge of my seat..

What’s the best thing about working at Sportlink?
It’s nice to be working with like minded people in a job that’s also your hobby. How many people must go to work and find it a trudge? Here it’s fun and there’s always something going on.

I work with good runners who are passionate about what they do and we’re all like-minded.

Neil Featherby: Forget your GPS watch…THIS is now how to measure a course’s distance

Neil Featherby: Forget your GPS watch...THIS is now how measure a course’s distance

If a reaction gets people talking for the good of the sport then everyone wins.

However, and what is for sure is that whilst the very elite are running faster, the times at the sharp end in the more conventional domestic road races have dropped off during the last few decades.

All sorts of reasons have been put forward as to why, but one which very rarely gets mentioned is course measurement, which I decided to do some research into.

After having spent a number of hours reading documents about the best way to measure courses and the various ways they were measured in the past, a 20-page report by John Jewell of The Road Runners Club of Gt Britain published in 1961, was packed with so much information and attention to detail, it had me glued to its every word.

John not only explained how courses had been measured in the preceding decades leading up to his report, but described the methods used for calibration right back to Roman times.

He, along with Ted Corbitt in the US and Norm Patenaude in Canada, really did pioneer this work back in the mid 20th century for which it has to be said, set the standards for today’s course measurers.

John’s report makes it quite clear that organisers and athletic bodies around the world even back then went to tremendous lengths to ensure that courses were as accurate as possible using a combination of ordnance survey maps (deemed to be less than 1% inaccurate), various measuring wheels (hand held or fitted to vehicles), chains and steel surveying tapes and rev counters fitted to cycles.

Even air temperature was taken into consideration with regards to tyre pressure when using cycles and the calibrated wheel which by the 1960s seemed to be agreed as the best way forward.

However, by 1971 an athlete by the name of Alan Jones refined this even more, manufacturing another piece of calibrated equipment which also fixed to the front wheel of a bicycle.

The accuracy of this new piece of equipment was soon recognised and was used by all race organisers who wanted to ensure that their race courses were spot on. By the time AIMS were formed in 1982, the Jones Counter was being used worldwide in accordance with accurate course measurement.

So whilst that is all in the past, how are the courses measured today?

The IAAF and AIMS work to a very strict set of regulations and whilst also acknowledging the dedicated work which was done by John Jewell and co, 60 years ago and more lately by Alan Jones, it is the Jones Counter fitted to a bicycle which is still the only recognised and agreed form of measurement for road running courses.

With regards GPS watches, while they are great for training purposes, they are not acceptable for course measurement especially when courses need to be deemed accurate to the inch.

Therefore, it can most certainly be demonstrated that whilst participation is up, it is also fair to say that there has been a slowing of times amongst the front-runners in most local road races. Does it matter? Well depending on how you look at it. I personally think that the new found running boom is brilliant and long may it stay what with the many benefits of this type of exercise being felt by so many who perhaps just a few years ago wouldn’t have even considered putting on a pair of running shoes.

However, as a former athlete and one who is proud to be from Norfolk, I also want to see our best athletes develop their potential to the full.

Going into 2018, I feel confident that changes will be made to cater for everyone.

During the 1980s and 1990s a good friend to many of us was a gentleman by the name of Roger Gibbons. Before Roger sadly passed away, I used to talk at length to him about the subject of course measuring for which he really was such a perfectionist when it came to getting it right. Memories of Roger out on the roads with his measuring devices are still very much with some of us older runners here in Norfolk.

Buxton Fun Run – Sunday 10th

A multi terrain scenic run through beautiful countryside in December. There are prizes for the best fancy dress - adults and children, and also a raffle. Check out some of the photos of great outfits from previous years, at http://ianedwardsphotography.zenfolio.com/buxtonfunrun. All proceeds go to Autism Anglia.

This year's race, sponsored by SPORTLINK, takes place on Sunday, December 10, with the main Fun Run starting at 10.30am, and the under-15s race starting at 11:15am. Entry will be £6 for attached club runners, £8 for unattached, with on the day entries being £2 extra.

For all the details visit The Norfolk Gazelles website HERE

TURKEY TROT – December 10th

The 2017 Turkey Trot, kindly sponsored by Galloper Wind Farm Ltd, will place on Sunday 10th December, starting at 11am at the Beccles Sports Centre, Ringsfield Road. The Turkey Trot is an undulating 10 mile road race visiting small villages on the edge of the Waveney Valley.
There will be a prize for best fancy dress, as well as festive fayre for all finishers.

To find out more please visit the Waveney Valley Athletic Club

There is a need to find best of both worlds at local events

Being involved with running and runners on a daily basis, I have to say there has been a fair bit of debate in certain quarters about the decline in standards in so many of our local road races this year.

Upon checking the race results it is also very noticeable that many top local runners are missing from these events. However, it is also quite clear that whilst some of the better runners are missing, all these races have had mass participation and record numbers. This seems applicable to all events, be it city centre or a local village race.

This mass participation has also ensured that all races are pretty much full within days of opening up for entry. Whilst this is good news for those who organise such events, a number of the better quality athletes are suggesting that they are missing out due to not being able to gain entry as in the past, when they preferred to enter races depending upon their fitness levels closer to the race date.

Some of these races are also being used for county championships where the medal places and even top 10 are finishing in times a little slower than you would expect. Having also just checked out the last five 10k races in Norfolk during the last two months, the average winning time is 35mins and 22 secs, with the quickest being 34:27 and the slowest 37:16. This most definitely does represent a drop-off in race winning times over such distances.

Whilst running is certainly on a crest of wave in respect of numbers and in view of some of these suggestions, I decided to speak to a number of high-profile athletes within the county just to see what they all really thought. The consensus of opinion appears to be that as competitive athletes their motivation is to race and not just get around. This, of course, depends upon fitness levels going into such races, as already mentioned – most say it is difficult to predict months in advance due to injuries, illness etc.

With races also hitting maximum numbers well in advance, this, for them is creating a problem. For instance the Broadland Half Marathon next March is already fully subscribed.

In a nutshell the criticisms seem to be as such:

Mass participation causing events to sell out too quickly.

The cost of some entry fees are now over inflated.

Lack of reward for the top finishers despite high entry fees.

Lack of competition at the sharp end of the field.

With this in mind I also had a really good discussion with one of our leading coaches who certainly has several concerns remarking that it is not just Norfolk where standards are diminishing in local road races. He pointed to a number of factors whilst also suggesting the magazines, shoe companies, sports authorities and some of the businesses and organisations who now organise many of these races are more interested in quantity rather than quality.

However, he did also say that those who blame mass participation as the sole cause for the decline in standards, perhaps should also look at what their real ambitions are before blaming what can also only be a great thing when it comes to getting the nation up off their backsides and go for a run. It is all to do with mindset and if you want something badly enough then you won’t let such things get in your way.

From my own personal point of view, I think it is absolutely brilliant that so many people from all walks of life have taken up running. Trying to see it from all angles, I can understand why organisers need to open up entries months ahead and I can also understand why the recreational runners want to get their entries in early so as to have time to train for these races and what for them is a great achievement.

Nevertheless, I also understand the views of the competitive athletes and the coach and fully agree with them when it comes to their views in respect of the decline in racing standards. However, there is an obvious solution so as to get the best of both worlds and that is for race organisers to keep open a number of places for what is seen as Norfolk’s elite.

If, of course, these same runners are then seen to consistently decline any such invitations, well then it does go back to what the coach said – ambition!

Volunteers are the unsung heroes of grassroots running…so please get involved

Funding announcements for Team GB athletes always creates controversy.

There’s the debate over which athletes would benefit most from receiving such grants along with a little criticism about certain athletes who perhaps don’t necessarily need it at this stage of their career. It does beg the question about the two very different ends of the spectrum when it comes to athletics.

Right at the bottom is of course grassroots athletics – it is very much amateur and most certainly done for the love it.

This doesn’t stop there of course as when I say for the love of it, this is also very applicable to all those coaches, helpers, volunteers and officials who are always there when needed to help make things work and keep the ball rolling.

We all know who they are and they really are unsung heroes.

With my recent columns about the standard of cross country running at senior level and the announcement of Chris Merrylees and Dominic Blake being promoted to joint managers of the Norfolk Senior X/C Teams, it appears that there has been a large influx of entries for January’s County Championships hosted once again very ably by Thetford AC.

So much so that I received a visit from one of these hard working officials in the form of chairman of Athletics Norfolk, Clive Poyner.

Thankfully not to tell me off, but to talk to me about all the hard work which really is put in by all those amazing people behind the scenes at club and county level.

It looks like there could be a resurgence in senior athletes wanting to take part in the 2018 champs, which of course is great news. This will also most certainly require a lot more manpower in respect of volunteers to help out from everything from car parking, to marshals out on the course to helping with results.

However, and as my conversation with Clive became a little more in-depth it was quite clear that it went a little beyond also requiring volunteers.

A new co-ordinator who has the skills and knowledge to plan and deploy all cross country activity in the county is also required following the recent step down by the very hard working junior age group team manager Dave Pring to concentrate on his role as co-ordinator for the Eastern Region teams for The London Mini Marathon.

Therefore and whilst Norfolk cross country running at senior level currently looks to have a healthy future, it is also important to provide the support and structure for all the younger age groups to help develop our young talent and help them carry on with their running once they become adults, hopefully in a Norfolk vest. Perhaps one day they could even become a funded GB athlete.

For those who would still like to enter the 2018 County X/C Champs, you can enter online via www.athleticsnorfolk.org.uk and of course for anyone who could perhaps lend their support by way of helping out as a volunteer on the day, or of course in one of the key roles mentioned in this column, then please contact Clive at team@athleticsnorfolk.org.uk

Neil Featherby: Tireless work of Brendon Byrne has been crucial to the Norfolk running scene

The response to the appointments of local athletes Chris Merrylees and Dominic Blake as the new managers of the Norfolk Cross-Country team has been overwhelmingly positive.

So much so that entries for the forthcoming County X/C Champs in January are already flooding in.

This week my thoughts have turned to those who have gone before and every time the cross country season comes round the name Brendon Byrne immediately springs to my mind.

Brendon has seen it all during his many years of being involved with athletics in Norfolk, be it from schools to senior level. My own personal first encounter of this man goes back to when I won the Norfolk Schools Junior cross country title in 1972 when he was one of the managers for the county team.

Whilst that is such a long time ago, during those last 45 years he also witnessed some most notable successes at national schools level over the country which includes the likes of Kevin Steere, Steve Flint, Darren Mead, Mitch Goose, Rosie Betts and Iona Lake.

Whilst Brendon is very much known nowadays for his tireless administration work, he is indeed much more than that. As an athlete he was one of Norfolk’s best and if it hadn’t of been for the great Mike Tagg, who is arguably Norfolk’s best ever and who was around at the same time, then Brendon would have been number one.

Although he is very unassuming about his own athletics achievements, to name but a few, he has won every single county title from 1,500 metres on the track to 15 miles on the road. Needless to say the senior men’s County X/C title too and was reserve for the England Junior team for the International Cross Country Champs (now known as the World X/C Champs) in Belgium in 1965.

He is also one of the original Norfolk Gazelles dating back to the 1960s where he was part of a bronze medal winning youth team in the English National Championships at Leicester in 1964. His race times on the track and road would undoubtedly still be winning most races in this region today too.

MORE: What has happened to our domestic running scene since the 1980s

As a Level Four coach he has a huge range of knowledge, and of course experience, and has guided several athletes over the years to many successes from schools to senior level and middle distance on the track to the marathon on the road.

With this year’s English Schools Cross Country having been held at the Royal Norfolk Showground in Norwich, Brendon was also very much involved with helping to coordinate the planning which went into these championships for which it has been said was one of the best yet when it comes to organisation.

For me longevity in whatever we do in life is the real proof of just how good someone is. Those who are consistently there year in and year out. Brendon is most certainly one of those. Whilst we always need to keep moving forward, looking back and seeing what has gone before is also just as important.

I am pretty sure Chris Merrylees and Dom Blake will leave no stone unturned in the quest to once again lift the standards of cross country running in the county after having also picked the brains of a man who, for me, has always been Mr Norfolk Cross Country.

Neil Featherby: It’s time to put the pride back in the Norfolk vest

With the track season over and done with and most of the road races now finished until the New Year, it’s that time of year again where middle and long distance athletes turn their attention to putting on their cross country spikes for the winter season.

There are several cross country leagues and established races, but it is indeed the Inter Counties and National X/C Champs which are without a doubt the two most prestigious of all the competitions.

For many years the County Championships here in Norfolk also always had a good turnout with athletes striving to finish in the top eight to earn the right to wear the Norfolk vest at Inter County level.

During the last few years though, I think it is fair to say that the standard and desire to run in the senior champs in both the men’s and women’s races has somewhat diminished.

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For whatever reason some of our better athletes have focused on other events or passed up the chance of taking part with the consequences of this leading to us as a county failing to put out full teams at Inter County level.

Ironically there are more people running than ever and also taking part in off road events which see hundreds of runners of all abilities toeing the line for each race and even though these very popular runs can be described as cross country they are also of a very extreme nature.

As opposed to the traditional cross country course which may consist of a water filled ditch or barrier to jump across, these newer forms of cross country running are more of an all-round test of physical and mental toughness with rope climbs, running through burning hay bales and even zones whereby they get a mild electric shock!

Whilst it is quite obvious that people have fun taking part in these races, these events bear no resemblance to what is the traditional English form of cross country running where the history and origins of the sport date back nearly 200 years with the first National Championships being held on Wimbledon Common in 1867.

Cross country running has always been regarded as an essential part of winter training for all distance athletes in the UK and the talent is most definitely out there in Norfolk, but other than that at junior and schools level, the desire amongst some of our seniors just doesn’t appear to be there anymore.

However, and hopefully this is all now going to change after it was announced earlier this week that two of Norfolk’s top athletes, Chris Merrylees and Dominic Blake, are to take the reins of the senior men’s and women’s county X/C teams after both speaking out earlier this year on social media about their disappointment over the lack of support for a full Norfolk team at the Inter County Championships.

This latest announcement has been greeted most favourably by our clubs, athletes and coaches alike and with their support this will most certainly help Chris and Dom to develop the many plans they have.

Having had a fair bit of dialogue with both of them during the last couple of days, it is so very clear that they have a great passion for the sport and are really excited about their new roles.

Between them, they have lots of ideas and plans with part of this planning to have men’s and women’s squads with training days and get togethers with selected athletes and to create a real desire for those athletes involved to not only be part of the squad, but to have a real want to wear the Norfolk vest with pride whilst competing at national level.

One final foot note, Norfolk, whilst not being the biggest county in England by way of population, have had winners and medallists at county and club level in the past, be it at The English Schools X/C through to the Senior National Championships where the great Mike Tagg won the English National Senior Cross Country Championships in 1969 and the international title a year later.

More recently, The City of Norwich Girls U15 team also took the winners medals in this year’s national team event.

Scenic 7 – Sunday 12th November

The most picturesque 7 mile race in Suffolk! The Stowmarket Striders Scenic 7 is a relatively flat 7 mile course with only a couple of undulations. The course starts at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre and heads out through Onehouse and Harleston then makes a three-mile loop back to Harleston before returning along the same route through Onehouse and back to the finish.

More details available HERE http://www.stowmarketstriders.org.uk/scenic-7

Neil Featherby: Why you should consider taking up canicross

After my fairly in-depth columns during the last month, I’ve decided to write about some of the lighter aspects of running, particularly when it comes to the many fun events which have become so popular during the last few years.
Up until the recent boom in running, other than that of track, road, cross country and of course fell running in the north of England, races of a diverse nature were few and far between.

 

However, there are now races every weekend of the year whereby it entails people taking part in events which range from extreme courses to that of being chased by Zombies.

For the athletics purist I am sure they can only manage a wry smile whilst also raising an eyebrow when it comes to such events, but for those who have taken up running with no specific background in the sport, they all seem to enjoy and look forward to taking on the challenge of these runs.

One particular running event which has become very popular is canicross running i.e. racing with your dog attached to you.

CANICROSS-3

In Europe there has been huge participation in this sport for many years, but it has only been during more recent times that people have become aware of this activity here in the UK.

I have been running with my five dogs for many years, but having become friends with dog experts Sindy and Shafi Ratani three years ago, they introduced me to this form of running and even made special belts and harnesses for us.

Being able to run with the dogs attached to your waist whilst having your hands free really was a new experience!

The dogs absolutely love it and despite one or two minor incidents such as when they have decided to pick the pace up to close on four-minute miles and running the opposite side of a tree to me, we haven’t looked back since. We have even set up our own club to put on events.

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These events are for all standards and for all dogs who like to run. It really is a fantastic way to exercise for both owner and canine particularly when running round beautiful woodland and forest tracks at this time of year.

With a few twists and turns over distances of between three and four miles I think it is fair to say a good time is had by all by the looks on the faces of both dog and runner as they cross the finish line.

Our next run will be at Horsford Woods on Sunday, November 5 for an 8am start.

For anyone who may be interested in finding out more, then please feel free to contact me at Sportlink on 01603 868606 or email neil@sportlink.co.uk

Neil Featherby: How healthy is running and why you should be checked out before you start

With the current running boom and recent events whereby two of Norfolk’s top runners collapsed whilst racing, I have been asked by several people who run and of course those who don’t just how healthy running is.

Running is certainly one of the most popular ways to keep fit – the sheer numbers we see running at all times of day confirms this.

Then there are the parkruns for which the numbers are just getting bigger by the week with people of all ages, shapes and sizes taking part.

As for competitive events, be it a road race, off-road ultra or indeed a tough mudder, they are oversubscribed within days.

So just how healthy is running?

Having spent most of my life as a runner I think it is fair to say I do have a problem by way of addiction what with not having had a day off running since my very early 20s. People used to warn me as to what they thought were the hazards of my obsession and whilst on the outside I may not look like a good advert for others to take up this activity, I like to think what is going on inside is all working okay.

My weight is virtually the same now as it was when I was in my 20s, my joints all seem in good working order and apart from hair loss, a few wrinkles and unfortunately a slowing down of my pace, not a lot else has changed.

Anyway and whilst what happened last month to Pete Duhig and Andy Kett is another story, I decided to ask a few deep questions to running guru, Chas Allen, who really does have the knowledge and qualifications to answer just about any question asked when it comes to fitness and health.

Needless to say, to do it real justice it would need a double page feature to get fully at it as Chas really does have some strong feelings about the subject.

MORE: What has happened to the domestic running scene since the 1980s?

His first concern is about the large numbers of people who just throw themselves into exercise without having gone through some safety checks in the first instance. Particularly those who are overweight and haven’t done exercise since leaving school or those who are looking to change their lifestyle completely after spending years doing all the things that aren’t conducive to being fit and healthy.

A few years ago, the first thing anyone was told if over the age of 35 was to go get yourself checked out by your GP before even considering taking up any form of exercise which is going to place specific stresses upon the body.

However, many people who we come into contact with at Sportlink who are just starting out and are well beyond the age of 35 have very rarely had any form of check-up or medical.

It’s fantastic that people of all ages are keen to have a go and why not? I am 100pc behind this all the way and if you feel you can run then do it, and do it before it is too late, but at the same time I do believe a quick safety check should be undertaken first.

Whilst being regularly asked as to what has caused this current boom in running, for me it has to be down to the popularity of the parkruns.

However, Chas also brought up another most relevant point and that being social media where so many of us like to talk about what we have done and what we are going to do to such a large audience which fires up the imagination of others too. Or perhaps thoughts of if he or she can do it, then I most certainly can too. More to the point, if they are doing it, then I need to be seen to be doing it too.

Whilst social media might be a good way to encourage others to go running, keep fit and of course take on challenges, care still needs to be taken before just putting on a pair of shoes and rushing out the door for a run or indeed entering a race which is beyond the current level of fitness and perhaps ability to undertake such a challenge.

Needless to say once the thrill of all the likes and praise of the Facebook post telling the world what they are about to do is over, it then brings the added pressure of having to live up to it.

MORE: Why you shouldn’t be afraid to join a running club

Whilst it is human nature to enjoy a pat on the back for our achievements and perhaps be seen to be as good as the next person, climbing a mountain if done correctly may take several years to get there.

A few years ago races demanded proof that you were capable of completing a distance and whilst this is still so with some, there are others that allow people to enter in good faith that they are capable.

Chas also pointed out how we are all different in respect of our constitution and body shape.

He said: “It’s not just a case of being wary of those who have gone from inactivity to running marathons and beyond all in the space of 12 months. We also need to take on board that some people are just more natural and adaptive to types of exercise than others and whilst your friend or colleague may have taken to running like a duck to water, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should put extra pressure on your body trying to keep up with him or her. First and foremost, it is about staying healthy and leading a lifestyle that not only makes us feel better, but hopefully adds a few extra active years to our lives.”

Going forward, Chas feels that the clubs should definitely have a set of rules which each club member should abide by when it comes to medical health checks.

In other words an annual MOT for all those who want to run for which UKA should perhaps put together some sort of scheme which will help to implement this. Needless to say there is a huge number of runners who don’t belong to clubs, but this is where the duty of all those who promote, advise, or indeed express opinions be it in magazines or newspapers such as this column help to get the point across.

If in the long term this helps to ensure that certain ailments can be detected early on, then surely this can only be a good thing.

At the same time if this also helps to encourage more people who take up running to join clubs or indeed seek professional advice from the likes of Chas Allen to fully experience the benefits of running then absolutely brilliant!

With regards to Peter and Andy, they are both very experienced athletes who have been running for years at a very high level. I don’t think for one moment that running caused what happened to them. However, and if nothing else perhaps, the points made in this week’s article are at least worth considering.

Bakers & Larners of Holt 10km

Bakers & Larners of Holt 10km. 10:30am – Sunday 29th October 2017. Gresham School, Holt NR25 6EA

This popular end of season race, suitable for all abilities, has sold out quickly in the last 2 years, and is a mostly flat course in beautiful North Norfolk scenery, with a mixture of road and trail, starting and finishing in the stunning grounds of the prestigious Gresham School with lots of excellent facilities for changing, bag storage, and toilets.

Find out more HERE http://nnbr.co.uk/events/north-norfolk-10km/

Trowse 10k – 22nd October

This 10k road race is based at the Norfolk Snowsports Club in Whitlingham Lane, Trowse on the southern outskirts of Norwich. The first twelve editions took place on Easter Sunday but now it’s held towards the end of October each year.

Competitors run beside Whitlingham Broad before following a two-lap route along quiet roads through the heart of Trowse and close to Whitlingham Hall. This race has become a real value-for-money event with beautiful scenery and great viewing opportunities for supporters and spectators.

More details can be found HERE https://conac.org.uk/trowse-10k-road-race/

 

Neil Featherby: When it comes to your training sometimes basic is best

My column of two weeks ago created some debate why race standards at club level have dropped off during the last two to three decades despite an upturn in the amount of people now participating in the sport.

Lots of people commented and everyone who did was more than qualified to have an expert opinion.

Most seemed to suggest that people don’t train as hard as in the past or indeed there aren’t enough running groups training together regularly enough.

Well, I do know there are lots of groups that have some brilliant local coaches overseeing the sessions and I do also know that clubs also have leaders who are doing their very best to encourage people of all abilities to have a go at running.

From my perspective, I don’t think as many people train to the same levels anymore by way of quantity and perhaps intensity.

However, this is probably more to do that back in the day it was normal to do 20-mile training runs every Sunday or indeed run 100 miles every week with specific sessions added to the mix whereby running well under five minute miles was also the norm.

I also think back then it really was just a case of getting on with it. Today there is a lot of planning that goes into making a perfect runner i.e. style, technique and other types of training to make us stronger and more efficient.

I don’t necessarily disagree with any of this and having had a really good chat with running expert Chas Allen, this is something I would like to go into more depth about another time.

One of the other things pointed out was that we now rely on far too much technology and look for short cuts.

Possibly so, for which we may have all come to expect far more from less with everything being more accessible nowadays.

The running market is blinded by science, be it through gels and potions to help boost energy levels or the latest shoes on the market which will give you the edge for which I really do believe it is just a question of time before shoes really do help us run quicker.

I have a huge passion for running and I most certainly love the sciences that go with it – I have a huge library on just about every aspect of running.

However, and whilst my extensive range of books covers the very latest research and thoughts by all the experts, my coaching manuals and autobiographies of the greats also go back many decades. Sometimes the most basic and obvious answers can be found in them!

GYRR East Coast 10k

Good luck to everyone running the Great Yarmouth East Coast 10k today organised by or friends at Great Yarmouth Road Runners.

Steve and Tommie will be on site in St George's Park with the Sportlink event gazebo for all your race day essentials.

The popular accurately measured route takes you along the fast and flat pavements and promenade of Great Yarmouth with fast times a guarantee.
Race memento for all participants - Plus age category prizes and prizes for leading runners available.
There are refreshments, changing and plenty of onsite parking available.

THIS RACE IS NOW FULL! But you can still go and support.

For all of the race information visit our friends at GYRR

Marriott’s Way 10k

The 2017 Marriott’s Way 10k race will take place on Sunday 8th October

The 10k race along the Marriott's Way between Aylsham and Reepham is mainly off-road and predominantly flat. This makes it ideal for beginners and the more experienced runners alike.

You can find out all of the race information HERE

Virgin Money London Marathon 2018

The Virgin Money London Marathon 2018

This week ballot results for the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon are announced with acceptance magazines officially starting to drop to lucky applicants this week.

Here at Sportlink we’re here for you all the way on your journey to VLM2108. Ready with trusted advice, shoes, clothing, your running essentials and much more. 
We’re your running partner.

To help get you started, until the end of October, we're offering 20% off all new running shoes to customers who bring in their acceptance magazine for the VLM2018 as we aim to get you into the right shoe to kick off your training.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

You can find out more about the Virgin Money London Marathon on their Facebook Page London Marathon

Good luck - The Sportlink Team

What has happened to our domestic running scene since the 1980s?

Autumn has always been a favourite time for me when it comes to running.

However, it was also one of those times when I used to think about getting in one more good quality marathon.

What with Mark’s Nottingham marathon last weekend, one which I know he is so pleased to have got under his belt, it also reminded me that it is 31 years ago since I set my personal best of 2:17:35 in the Berlin Marathon.

With this in mind and on the back of a number of conversations about the current state of the UK men’s marathon scene, particularly after so many good African performances this year, it brings me on to the same old question of the last few years as to why we once had such an abundance of high quality marathon runners.

More people than ever are running and at the sharp end the elite are most certainly running quicker, but the numbers in terms of depth have most certainly fallen away during the last few years. We now have so much more knowledge and technology too. Be it in sports science and physiology, better equipment to train and race in, nutritional products to help us survive long distance races by way of fluid and energy replacement – yet the times still don’t compare to yesteryear.

In 1983, there were 102 sub-2:20 marathon runners in the UK, whereas we have only produced 103 sub-2:20 times during the last eight years. Steve Jones still leads the way in the UK rankings with his 2:07 from 1985 and within the all-time UK top 20, nine of the best times were produced during the 1980s, with only two during the last 10 years.

Why is this? With all the advancements since those heady days of the 80s, surely we should have more guys out there producing times at least equal to back then.

The opinion of many experts is that athletes don’t train as hard these days. However, if you look at some of our current top athletes, they most certainly do. As each decade goes by, lifestyle changes and that is the only reason I can put my finger on. There are far more distractions nowadays and I am pretty sure we are all under more pressure when it comes to expectations outside of what I suppose you have to say is a “hobby” of sorts. Certainly a hobby for the seasoned club runner.

It was perhaps far easier for club runners to bang out 100 miles a week three of four decades ago whereas nowadays, everything is on the go 24/7.

We could also say we are a lot softer now with far more home comforts and point to the Africans who have to do everything on foot from an early age. We can also say our children are driven everywhere and spend more time in front of computers and games, but there are still plenty of youngsters out there running, be it at junior Parkruns or indeed with their local running clubs.

They, like their parents, are also under more pressure to meet expectations with their grades at school to get that university place or settle into a career upon leaving education.

Whatever it is will continue to be debated, but for those who perhaps haven’t quite been blessed with the speed and talent of a track star, if they want to really apply themselves to training for a marathon, then there are opportunities out there to achieve success as the likes of the current UK number one Callum Hawkins is most certainly proving.

Events over the past week demonstrate why we should cherish every step

Whilst my column this week was going to be dedicated to Mark Armstrong and his forthcoming marathon this Sunday at Nottingham, I feel I have to write about two of Norfolk’s most respected and popular athletes who both collapsed during races last weekend, which shocked the local running community.

Firstly, Peter Duhig who is an absolutely amazing man. He has not only been one of the county’s best athletes during the last four decades whilst holding club records for his club Ryston Runners at distances from 800 metres to the marathon, but he is also one of the club founders.

Pete has always been a tough no-nonsense grafter, be it in sport or business, and has never been scared to have a go at anything. However, and during his life as “a runner” he has won many races and medals which includes international competition. Away from the track and the road, he has also been involved with race organisation with perhaps his best claim being one of the original organisers of the very first Round Norfolk Relay.

Pete is currently in hospital waiting for heart surgery, but with his tremendous resilience and many years of running fitness behind him, I am sure he will soon be up and about and needless to say putting on a pair of running shoes again.

If the news about Pete wasn’t bad enough, earlier this week information started to circulate on social media about Andy Kett of North Norfolk Beach Runners who had become ill whilst taking part in a 50 mile race. After being attended to by medics he was immediately rushed off to hospital where it was established he had suffered a stroke.

Andy, just like Pete has been a really dedicated athlete for several years, boasting some fantastic race times from 800 metres to 100k.

Just five months ago he won the Bungay Marathon and having won this race myself in the past, I can certainly confirm that it is one of the more difficult marathons to run.

Andy is one of those fantastic people who everyone always has a good word for hence the amount of money which has been donated to a fund which has been set up by his club.

This money will help Andy’s wife and young family during the next few months as he battles his way back to health again with him having given up his job as a paramedic two years ago after setting up his own sports therapy business.

Ironically, I will always owe Andy a big thank you after he was the first on the scene after my mother had a small stroke a few years ago. If anyone would like to make a donation visit www.gofundme.com/6ge56-andys-fund

The events of the last week once again most certainly reinforces just how fragile things can be for which I will always appreciate everything around me and every single mile I continue to run.

Finally, I send my very best wishes to Mark for his big day and whilst I know he has a really fast marathon in him in the near future, providing he runs sensibly this weekend, I still expect him to get round in a half decent time for which he can then build upon going forward.
Source: EDP

Autumn Running Tips

Preparing for the dark nights

As soon as the clocks go back and the darkness of night out weighs that of the light of day along with a drop in temperature, for many this is off putting when it comes to finding the motivation to open the door and take those first few steps out into the cold and dark of the early mornings and evenings. More often than not once you are out there you soon forget about it and when finished with the steam coming off your body the thrill and buzz can be even better than one of those beautiful spring like morning runs. However and before the inexperienced amongst us take those first few winter running steps, it is important to pay attention to certain factors that can turn a winters run from what should be a pleasant experience into one that could put you off for good.

Clothing

Clothing is very important with reflective gear being right at the top of the list. Most running gear now has reflective strips and actually use reflective materials during the manufacturing of all clothing and footwear. For those who perhaps don’t want to spend money on running gear just for the winter months then a reflective bib can be worn over the top of any item of clothing which will be more than suffice. The saying Be Seen, Be Safe is undoubtedly a quote to always remember when running in poor light. Needless to say there are other considerations with regards what to wear so as to meet those potential winter elements to keep you not only warm and dry, but comfortable too. I always start with a base layer made from wicking materials/fibres which will wick away any build-up of moisture from sweat.  Cotton retains moisture which is not only uncomfortable, but can lead to chaffing and a drop in body temperature if you slow down or turn into a cold wind. You can then add other lightweight vests, t shirts or even long sleeve tops to this depending upon the conditions. If it is freezing cold then it might not just mean one or two extra layers, but even a third and if it is raining and very windy then a lightweight showerproof jacket too. If out on one of those longer runs and the rain stops and you start to get a little too warm, most lightweight jackets can easily be folded up and carried or just tied around your waist. I also suffer quite badly with cold fingers so more often than not in the winter I will wear lightweight  gloves. A hat is also a must for me what with not wanting to lose all the heat through the top of my bald head. Ladies may want to consider head bands when the temperature drops those few extra degrees. Other items which I like to have available are a pair of running tights and high quality running socks. If shoes are the most important piece of a runners equipment then socks have to be the second most important item. Ladies will also point to a good sports bra. For those who don’t like getting their feet wet, then there are several models of running shoes which are made with a Goretex fabric. However before purchasing a “Goretex Running Shoe”, make sure the shoe itself fits all your other necessary requirements when it comes to footwear as there are several Goretax running shoes on the market which lack in other very important departments. Grip in very slippery and icy under foot conditions also needs to be considered so if your shoes don’t have enough tread on them consider driving to somewhere where the surface is better suited or purchase a set of snow/ice grippers which can easily be fitted on to the soles of your running shoes. One other item of equipment which has become very popular during the last few years are head torches which are brilliant when running in the dark and certainly help light up the way and of course ensure that you are seen.

When it comes to running equipment like everything else you tend to get what you pay for. You don’t have to be able to afford a Ferrari to get a great car and that is the same with running gear. However there are price points which do need to be considered when purchasing quality footwear, clothing and equipment particularly if you want it to retain its capabilities for year after year.

Warm up

Always warm up before running be it at any time of the year, but during the cooler months a good warm up will certainly make you feel that much better before taking those first few strides when the air temperature is cooler particularly as our muscles do not contract at the same intensity and are less powerful in colder temperatures. One other consideration to take on board is that whilst our bodies rely on carbohydrates as a source of energy for distance running, energy consumption from carbohydrates  increases during cooler temperatures and therefore it is advisable to ensure that you have eaten a meal high in complex carbohydrates the night before if planning a long morning run or indeed a light meal or foods containing carbohydrates two to three hours beforehand. This is also another good reason to make sure that you wear clothing which will keep you warm during your run.

Warm Down

As with warming up, the warm down is also very important, but if you are wet and the temperature is extra cold then it only takes a few minutes after stopping for your body temperature to drop to the point where you can start shivering. If you have done a few mins of gentle jogging at the end of your run, then put another top on before doing your stretching exercises and if wet and cold then take off your wet layers and replace with dry clothing as soon as you can. Consume some water and eat a little food too or consume a recovery drink which will help to replace the fluid and nutrients lost during your run.

Hydration

During warm weather running we all pay attention to staying hydrated, but this is just as applicable to running in the cooler temperatures. Therefore always have a drink before you go and just as you might in the summer months carry a drinks bottle with you so as to top up along the way especially on the longer one hour plus runs.

Happy Running whatever the weather and conditions.

Neil Featherby.

Sportlink Running & Fitness.

Nicholsons Solicitors Lowestoft Half Marathon 1st October

Go along and support this great fundraising event.
Kindly supported by Lowestoft Road Runners.
This is the second year of this fantastic race organised by Nicholsons Solicitors LLP, supporting Break Charity to #changeyounglives. Start Time: 10am (Registration from 8.30am)
The course is a two-lap route beginning and ending at the bottom of the Lowestoft sea wall, approximately 200 yards north of Ness Point. Runners will head north towards the turning point at the Corton Inn Pub (also known as the Corton Hut) before returning to the Start/Finish line.
FIND OUT MORE DETAILS HERE

The 31st Round Norfolk Relay

RNR 2017 - 16th to 17th September

The course of the Round Norfolk Relay mirrors the county boundary over a distance of 198 miles, divided into 17 unequal stages. Norfolk's enormous skies, vast sandy beaches, open spaces and picturesque towns and villages, with their attractive cottages and medieval churches, all contribute to making the race a unique running experience.

For the full details visit our friends here - http://www.roundnorfolkrelay.com/home.htm#

SIMPLYHEALTH GREAT NORTH RUN

Gook luck to all of our friends taking part in the Simply Health Great North Run this Sunday. Starting in Newcastle upon Tyne, the 13.1 mile course is lined with supporters all the way from the iconic Tyne Bridge, right out towards the coast in South Shields.

You can watch all of the action live on BBC1 from 9.30am

Sportlink Halesworth Birthday Party This Saturday 9th

It's been a whole year that Halesworth Sportlink has been open and to celebrate we're having a party!

This coming Saturday the 9th September at our Halesworth Store.
Steve and the team, along with Neil Featherby, will be in the party spirit offering:

* Free Gait Analysis - No Appointment Needed.
* 20% OFF all footwear/clothing and socks
* All customers have a chance in the lucky dip. Everyone wins!

 

Extra Free gift to anyone who brings us cake! (As we all love cake)

We're open from 9.30am through to 5.30pm and look forward to seeing you help celebrate our 1st year.

#birthdaybash #1stbirthday #happybirthdaytous

Reepham 10k Sunday 27th August

Now in its 13th year the Reepham Runners summer 10k race is taking place on Sunday 27th August. Set across multi terrain and taking in the quiet country lanes and Marriotts Way this 10k course is suitable for all abilities.

This friendly local event is popular amongst runners but also attracts people who want to experience multi terrain for the first time or who just fancy a nice morning run with like minded people. Changing/shower facilities are available as are tea, cake and refreshments. All finishers received a quality medal and a goody bag packed with treats. More information is available from the Reepham Runners website HERE

AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY END OF SUMMER SALE

It's SALE time this Bank Holiday weekend!
Grab yourself a bargain from our Gazebo in Taverham and get upto 50% OFF a great selection of clearance stock.

In both Taverham & Halesworth stores there's upto 20% OFF all current stock.

Sale starts Friday 25th at 10am through to Monday 28th 4pm
Halesworth is closed on Sunday.

Neil Featherby: Remember Justin Gatlin isn’t the only athlete at the World Championships to have served a drugs ban

After being so impressed by the near 5,000 fun and club runners who took part for the love of the sport in last Sunday’s brilliantly well organised Run Norwich 10k, I have personally been a little disappointed watching what is this year’s biggest major athletics event, the World Athletics Championships in London.

For me the whole event has been overshadowed by controversy, particularly over the drugs issue - a problem that’s gone on for so many years now...

Get the full EDP story here: http://bit.ly/2uNjKKG

Ipswich Building Society Twilight 10k & 5k Road Race

Once again our friends at the Ipswich JAFFA Running Club in association with Ipswich Borough Council, Ipswich Building Society and Suffolk New College are bringing the fantastic Twilight 10k & 5k Road Race to Ipswich.

Friday 18th August 2017

Steve and Tommie from Sportlink will also be attending with a race day essential stall and also working in partnership with Carlos from ON showcasing their range of shoes. We will be handing out a free TORQ gel to people who come over to the stall and says "Hi" Plus a £20 voucher off your next pair of ON running shoes.

Full event information can be found here: http://events.ipswichjaffa.org.uk/twilight/#home

GYRR HALF MARATHON 2017

Sunday 13th August 10am

Ormiston Venture Academy,

Oriel Avenue, Gorleston,

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR31 7JJ

 

 

The 2017 race incorporates the Norfolk County Half Marathon Championships.

Steve and Tommie from Sportlink will be attending and will be manning the Sportlink mini-shop with a selection of running essentials and a selection of winter gear and clothing at special discounted prices.

For full race day information visit the Great Yarmouth Road Runners website here http://www.gyrr.co.uk/great-yarmouth-half-marathon

Good luck to all those who have entered this great race!

MEET OUR NEW TEAM MEMBER – TOMMIE

We welcome our latest team member Tommie. Here's a little about him in his own words...

I have always had a great involvement in running and fitness, whether I am performing, or studying the background science. I have a lot of running experience having been a member of the Bungay Black Dog running club for around 3 years before moving to Beccles and Bungay Harriers where I am a club member and part time coach with a Leadership in running qualification. I have competed in many races, winning the first Wroxham 5k race for the Junior Men in 2015, also representing Suffolk in the Southern England Inter-County’s and other county events.

I am currently undertaking a degree in Sports Health and Exercise with the hope to go into physiotherapy or sports performance analysis. However, before my degree programme I gained my VTCT level 3 Sports Therapy qualification. I attained useful knowledge and vocational experience in massage and rehabilitation, representing my college at multiple athletic events providing free massage treatment.

I have joined Sportlink following a successful 2015-2017 period, working for Sweatshop Norwich providing gait analysis and general running advice to our customers. I believe Sportlink will be a beneficial next step for my career, and look forward to being a part of the team!

10 things to help you through 10 days before Run Norwich

Neil Featherby shares his top tips for runners ahead of the 10km Run Norwich, which takes place on Sunday, August 6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Stick to your routine with regards to diet. Include some extra carbohydrates, but this is a 10k race, not a marathon so don’t overdo it and do not experiment with foods not eaten before.
  2. If your longest run going into this weekend is less than 10k, then don’t go all out to run the distance or indeed run longer just a week before the main event.
  3. If possible go out for a rehearsal run this coming Sunday whilst wearing race day kit at the same time of day as what the race starts. Focus your mind as if actually there.
  4. Check your kit and make sure everything is in good working order. It is not too late to still purchase items if required, especially socks which can be just as important as shoes.
  5. For those who get nervous, try to get a little extra sleep during the week just in case you don’t sleep so well the night before race day.
  6. Create lots of positive thoughts in your mind. Keep reminding yourself of all the training miles you have put in and focus your mind on ticking off each km with ease.
  7. Taper your runs during race week, but don’t stop completely. Lots of people have experienced heavy legs come race day by completely shutting down too soon.
  8. Check out the long-range weather forecast as whilst we can’t be too sure what race day will bring, the likelihood is that it will be warm. Drink plenty of fluids so as to stay hydrated throughout the week.
  9. Have all items of kit laid out and ready before race day. Make a check list with everything you know you will need to have with you and tick each item off as you pack.
  10. Pace makes for the perfect race! After months preparing for your big day, do not spoil it by going off too quickly. Look to get round in the best and most efficient way possible.

LATER OPENING IN HALESWORTH

Due to popular demand Sportslink Halesworth will now be open until 6.30pm on the first Thursday of each month. Steve Gibbs, shop manager says -  "This will give customers the opportunity to come and see us after work with the first later opening on Thursday 3rd August."

The run-walk debate has certainly got people going this week

Featured in the EDP 21st July 2017

One former Norfolk superstar Steve Flint who ran for Thetford AC back in his day and broke the four-minute mile barrier whilst still only a junior athlete, said surely each person should make sure they have got themselves into the best shape possible before taking part in a race.
He also quoted the legend that is Steve Jones (1985 London Marathon winner and former World Marathon record holder) saying many have completed a marathon, but you can only say you have run one when you know you have run all the way.

Flinty’s comments on my Facebook page did provoke a response for which he took them off saying to me later by private message that he was really just trying to get a debate going.

MORE: To walk or to run? It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other

However, I wish he had left them on because it is great seeing how everyone has different opinions and in his case how an elite athlete looks at it.

Where I was coming from was that in respect of the masses whose only aim is to take part in one of the many big city centre type races such as Run Norwich through to The London Marathon, when it is really all about getting to the finish line in the most efficient way possible, it just means putting one foot in front of the other.

Preparation is most definitely so important and if you are committed to a challenge then in truth you should only take it on if you know you have prepared well.

Nevertheless, when it comes to these big mass running events, there will always be many, for whatever reason, that have not been able to get as many training miles in as perhaps they would have liked. However, they don’t want to let their charities, families or friends down. Hence why I have told them to follow the run-walk plan.

Talking about completing a race or run in the most efficient way possible, how brilliant has it been to watch the Para World Athletics Championships on TV during the last week?

I must admit that at times I have been a little confused by some of the categories, but irrespective of this, I have been amazed and inspired by every single person taking part who are most definitely as dedicated as any of our elite athletes.

Local para triathlete and former world champion Iain Dawson is a good friend and I know how hard he works in training, never mind all the behind scenes stuff which has to be managed daily by him and his wife Gill.

The coverage of it has been fantastic as well on Channel 4.

Saucony Saturday Halesworth Run Club

We are delighted to announce that we have Saucony joining us on Saturday 29th July for the Halesworth Run Club.  They will be bringing along a selection of wear test shoes in their latest models for people to experience whilst joining us for our weekly Saturday morning run. The Saucony reps will then be spending a few hours after the run in store to answer any technical questions about their shoes. Event details are listed on our Facebook page - Click Here http://bit.ly/2uzCgd7

RUN NORWICH

It's a sell-out! The Run Norwich 10k road race, organised by Norwich City FC Community Sports Foundation (CSF). This year it's being held on Sunday 6th August. Every year this race becomes more and more popular with runners and spectators alike. There's music and entertainment at the start and along the route. The race starts on Gentlemans Walk at 9.30am. More details of this fantastic event are available here http://www.runnorwich.co.uk/

Photo : Steve Adams

Worstead 5

The 29th Worstead 5 organised by our friends the North Norfolk Beach Runners takes place on Friday 28th July. The 5 mile race set on undulating roads and is suitable for novice and experienced runners alike aged 15 years plus. It kicks off the Worstead Festival which this year is 52 years old.

Start time is 7pm at the village square. More details of this event are available here http://nnbr.co.uk/events/worstead-5/

To walk or to run? It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other

Featured in the EDP 14th July 2017

Working with people of varying abilities, one of the things I notice most is how conscious many of them are to define the difference between what is running for some and a walking pace for others.
Why do some people appear to be circling the track effortlessly at five-minute miles whilst others appear to be busting a gut trying to run under 10-minute mile pace?

Needless to say it comes down to a person’s natural ability and fitness level, as what is perceived as a great effort for some is nothing more than a jog in the park for others.

With this in mind, I am constantly asked by people who say they want to be able to keep running for longer, but get out of breath or want to run in a race without having to walk and what is the best way for them to do this?
Even more so when it comes to those running in marathons or indeed races well beyond the marathon distance (ultra marathons) when in truth they haven’t really completed enough training miles.

My answer is: “Why not mix it with a run-walk strategy?”.

Their response is normally: “But I want to run all the way.”

Whilst I can understand where they are coming from, at the end of the day it is about just putting one leg in front of the other and getting to the finish in the most efficient way possible.

When I also say it is all relative to current fitness levels and I know people who can walk quicker than many can run, needless to say the look I get back is one of doubt.

This was perfectly highlighted by two runners in one of my groups this week who were really blowing for which I said, relax, slow down and just walk for a bit.

Whilst one of them did the other didn’t and ironically the walker was moving more freely and quicker than the runner.

Unless you are in the elite category, good club runner, or of course have completed lots of long training runs with the miles under your belt, it is far better to be realistic about your capabilities when taking on such challenges.

A run-walk strategy of 5, 10, 15 or 20 mins of running followed by one minute of brisk walking can most definitely work out to be far more efficient for those who are extending themselves beyond their normal limits.

This tactic can often result in a better finishing time too for those in long distance races. However, it does need to be adhered to right from the start of the run as once forced to walk or indeed shuffle those last few painful miles that is when you know things are going wrong and the smile turns into a grimace.

Now when saying there are some people who can walk quicker than many can run, a huge well done to race walker Tom Bosworth from Kent who shattered the World Mile Record by just over 5 seconds with an absolutely staggering 5mins and 31.08 seconds at the London Diamond League meeting last Saturday.

Watching him and the other competitors in this race was pretty awesome and when you weigh up that the pace of his record performance relates to that equal of running a 10k in 34:17 or marathon in 2:24:59 proves that whilst race walking itself is technically different to running, when it comes to putting one leg in front of the other be it walking, jogging or running, it is relative to each person’s ability and shape they are in.

Ekiden Marathon Relay

Good Luck to all of our friends running the Ekiden Marathon Relay, organised by Ipswich JAFFA Running Club, taking place in the grounds of Woodbridge School on Burkitt Road Woodbridge on Sunday 16th July.
Runners from all over Norfolk and Suffolk will be taking part in this well established event with a start time of 10am.

More details about this event can be found here on the JAFFA Running Club website. http://events.ipswichjaffa.org.uk/ekiden-relays/#info

Our in-store teams at Halesworth and Taverham are here to give advice on Running shoes, Trainers, Sportswear and Equipment.

The running boom continues but foundations were laid by one man…

Featured in the EDP 7th July 2017

After last Sunday’s Humpty Dumpty 10k and record numbers at the last in the Wroxham 5k series this week, the boom in running really is now at a high.

Sunday’s Humpty Dumpty had so many runners they were set off in two waves. Whilst I am sure this isn’t a first, I can’t think of any other time this has happened at a Norfolk Road Race although I will stand to be corrected if I am wrong.
Ironically my business, Sportlink, are sponsors to both events and one of my business partners flirted with disqualification at the 10k with his over eagerness to get going what with being in the second batch of runners which I have to say I did find amusing.

EDP-7th-July-2017

However, and what with the popularity of race participation, I think this is as good a time as any to mention a man who was instrumental in organising top quality road races to Norfolk back in the late 1970s through to the early nineties.

One being The City of Norwich Half Marathon which is still very much part of the Norfolk Road Race calendar.

Mike Wilkinson, a name perhaps not known by many current active athletes, but for those like me who have been around for a long time, his name is synonymous with road running in the county.

Mike organised the first Norfolk Marathon in 1982 followed by the one off Eastern Evening News Centenary Half and Full Marathon of the same year as well as being race director of the inaugural City of Norwich Half Marathon in 1985.

However, and before any of these races, he also organised the first Norwich Brewery Half Marathon (1978) which used to start on the Green at Trowse which in truth was the grounding for all those other events.

After the first London Marathon in 1981, Mike was approached by a charity to organise a marathon which started in Kelling and finished at the Norwich Cathedral. This was a race which after coming over Fye Bridge the crowds were several deep with a deafening roar as you entered the Cathedral Grounds under the arch of Erpingham Gate.

The course was actually measured at 300 metres over distance, but Mike’s remarks to that was “it is better to be over than under”.

As a runner himself, he was a member of three of Norfolk’s old clubs which no longer exist, Norfolk & Norwich AC, Norfolk Olympiads and Duke Street Runners which he was very instrumental in setting up.

He also represented the Navy and Combined Services at Cross Country and on the track whilst also having a marathon PB of 2:45. He also ran in all of the first 27 London Marathons for which he is a member of the London Marathon Ever Present Club.

Possibly his most worthy mention should be for his one and only England representation when running for his country as an Ultra Distance Runner with a 24 hour race distance best of 116 miles.

Mike’s story is a long one and one which deserves to be told in much greater depth, but in the meantime, a big thank you to a man for all his hard work which is still very much part of today’s race scene here in our county.

I am sure those who make things possible today have all in some way followed on from his efforts of the past.

To fit running into your life or your life into running?

Having seen the state of Mark’s (Armstrong) damaged toe and listening to all the runners in my various training groups this week, it is so blatantly obvious how a runner’s life is affected by everything they do in their daily life.

Be it the smallest of issues to that of something more serious, the first thing always mentioned is how it will affect their running and training. It certainly does take one to know one – that is for sure!

Finally….good luck to everyone taking part in the Lord Mayors 5k this Saturday Evening. A great experience for all!

Wroxham 5k Series – 5th July 2017

The Wroxham 5k Series a series of three fast (if slightly undulating) 5k races taking part over the spring/summer months. The midweek series is perfect for those chasing the elusive 5k personal best, and for those new to running.

Hosted under UK Athletics Rules of Competiton - Permit Number 2017-28018

The dates for the 2017 Series are:

  • Wednesday 17th May
  • Wednesday 14th June (a Leathes Prior Grand Prix race)
  • Wednesday 5th July (a Norfolk County Championship Race)

The event is held at Broadland High School, Tunstead Road, Hoveton, NR12 8QN, and starts at 7.15pm.