Click the image to join in for some Good Times at the 40th Edition of the Gold Coast Marathon 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

SHiNE Resolution Run 2017

Sun Life Malaysia recently concluded their SHiNE Resolution Run over the weekend which attracted over 3000 runners this year. The run was conceptualised to help promote and jumpstart the New Year's resolution. 

Runners begin their Run after the official flag-off


Additionally, 10% of the proceeds will go to Sun Life Malaysia's charity partners, HOPE Worldwide Malaysia and Diabetes Malaysia. The event was held at Perdana Botanical Garden, Kuala Lumpur and was official flagged off at 6.45am by the Her Excellency, Julia Bentley, High Commissioner of Canada to Malaysia.

(From L-R) Raymond Lew, CEO & President / Country Head 
of Sun Life Malaysia, Her Excellency Julia Bentley, 
High Commissioner of Canada to Malaysia, Claude Accum, 
President of Sun Life Financial Asia, Datuk Joseph Dominic Silva, 
Member of the Board, Avicennia Capital Sdn Bhd, 
Serena Tan, Executive Director, Investments of 
Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Karim Gilani, 
Chief Financial Officer of Sun Life Financial Asia


The run in Kuala Lumpur featured 2 categories to cater for both leisure and seasoned runners - 5km Fun Run and 12km Run. The 5km Fun Run was flagged off at 7.15am and the 12km Run was flagged off earlier at 6.45am.


(Far Left) Claude Accum, President of Sun Life Financial Asia and 
(Second from right) Raymond Lew, 
CEO & President / Country Head of Sun Life Malaysia 
awarding the prizes to the winners.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Skechers GOrun 5 Review

It's been more than 2 years since I've put on a Skechers running shoe. It's not because I don't like the brand but on the contrary. I love the brand but due to contractual agreements, Skechers and just about every other brand was off limits to me. 

But now that I'm able to, I've been putting some miles into the Skechers GOrun 5, the 5th iteration of the GOrun series. I've ran in their first ever performance model, the original GOrun and came to love the GOrun series since then. In fact, the 4th iteration (2015 edition) of the shoe gave me my marathon sub-4 PR and it has never disappointed. 

Sadly, the past 2 year have seen a decline of Skechers performance series shoes in this part of the world. While there are many Skechers outlets around, the number of people in a Skechers performance series running shoes has been declining slowly but steadily. It's sad really cos the brand still has lots of potential. It could be in part that Skechers over in the Asian region seems to be going the lifestyle path.


Back then the brand was slowly but surely making its presence felt over here in the running industry with a lot more people taking to the roads in them. From hardly being able to see a single Skechers Performance series to seeing them just about everywhere during a race event spoke volumes on how good the shoes were (it still is, mind you!).

But these days you'd be hard pressed to spot the latest Skechers Performance series shoes and many good Performance models don't even see the light of day over here. I haven't even seen the Skechers GOmeb Speed 4 till today but I've already read reviews by wear testers for the GOmeb Speed 5 (and what a review it is). There really is a lot of good Skechers Performance series models out there but sadly the only way I'll get to try them is to probably purchase them online.

Anyways, back to the GOrun 5 (GR5). The pair that I've been using actually belongs to my wife (she gets a better fit with the men's version). She's been a fan of Skechers as long as I have and she gets the credit for getting me to try on a Skechers shoe in the first place all those years ago! She decided to pass me the GR5 simply because she thought I'd be able to put the shoe through the paces better than she could, she's such a gem that way, and I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth!


My last experience with a Skechers was with the Skechers GOrun 4 (review here) and there were actually two versions with the second version utilizing the new GOknit™ upper, something that I haven't had the chance to try since back then the knitted version wasn't available here. The only other shoe that I had experienced something close to the GOknit™ upper was the Skechers GOrun Bolt (review here) with its woven FitKnit upper and I personally loved that shoe.

Now, the GR5 employs a non-stretch knit upper called the GOknit™ that keeps the fit and feel of the shoe the same even after running in them for a few weeks. They fit the same as the first day of use and you'll not find any hidden component or surprises in them. I dislike shoes with too much overlays and thick synthetic uppers but the GOknit™ upper of the GR5 is something I truly love. In fact the Skechers Performance series shoes has been seeing the GOknit™ used on a lot of models, for instance the GOmeb Razor and the GOmeb Speed 4.

As I mentioned above, I love the upper of the GR5 which is fully seamless and was practically a picture of comfort! The GOknit™ was so breathable that on a more windy morning run, I could actually feel the breeze flowing through them. The drawback to this was the shoe wasn't at all waterproof in any sense. On days when I ran in the rain, my socks were soaked within minutes even in slight drizzles. I guess you can't win them all and I don't always run in the rain anyway.

The tongue and lacing system has seen a redesign of sorts with the tongue on the GR5 now being padded unlike the more raw version of its predecessor, the GR4. I had no issues with the change and in fact found them to be an improvement as it stayed in place without any slipping during all my runs.


The GR5 uses the same flat laces as the GR4 but the lacing now passes through fabric loops instead of eyelets and cuts down on the number of rows from seven to five. This in turns leads to a lot more space between the rows and is bridged by adding two elastic bands which only spans over the tongue and not around the entire midfoot though I found it didn't do anything for me.

Aside from that, the usual detailing like the fused Skechers logos and reflective elements are carried over from its older sibling. The Quickfit pull tab, something that was actually part of the back heel in the previous version is now located separately on the top of the heel as a synthetic pull tab. I didn't like the Quickfit pull tab on the GR4 and I still don't like it on the GR5. I see no useful reason for it really.


The heel holds pretty firm and there really isn't much changes in the heel mesh and padding. A hard internal counter is added to shape the heel and the collar walls are sparsely padded like before. The GR5 fits true to size and my pair fit like a charm.

While the Skechers GOrun 5 still states 'M-Strike' under the midfoot, the midsole has now been transformed into a more flat design. With the ditching of the rocker-shaped design, the GR4's Resalyte EVA foam has also been changed to the new 5Gen® EVA foam variant instead. The entire midsole is now a single density foam unlike the separate foam component of the GR4.

The compression molded 5Gen® midsole gives the GR5 a more cushioned and responsive feel. The cushioning is actually pretty remarkable seeing as how the GR5 no longer uses the pillar cushioning of its past GOrun models but now features a much flatter profile.


I had mixed reactions about the cushioning when I first slipped them on. They felt really soft and I was afraid they wouldn't be as responsive. I'm so used to running in much firmer shoes that the GR5 felt like I was walking with cotton on my feet. But that fear was quickly put to rest the moment I started running in them. The GR5's cushioning, while feeling a little pillow like but not to the point of sinking into them has just the right amount of firmness and bounce which propels your feet nicely as you toe off.

The Skechers GOrun 5 has shed a little weight from its previous iteration, now weighing 7.5oz for a men's size 9. The GR5 has a stack height of 18mm in the heel and 14mm in the forefoot giving it a drop of 4mm which is something I really like in a shoe.

Skechers Performance has decided to drop the original GOimpulse pillars found on the previous generations of the GOrun series and have gone with a more developed outsole without sacrificing the weight or flexibility of the shoe. The entire outsole has been redesigned and there's a lot more rubber used now. The forefoot and rear are now covered with a thin sheet of rubber save for a small area under the midfoot.

The amount of rubber on the outsole this time around is a lot more generous than the previous iterations of the shoe and the exposed windows cut into the outsole provides a more cohesive cushioning behavior with a much wider opportunity for durability, regardless of how you land, well almost anyway. The outsole lacks any aggressive lugs and while the GR5 grips just great on dry surfaces, you'd have to watch out a little when running in wet conditions.


I've put in more than 80k (not including my wife's mileage in them) with the Skechers GOrun 5 and I've loved every moment of it. Right from the first time I slipped my feet into them, I couldn't find anything wrong with them. I've put them through various paces, from easy runs to tempo and track work, various distances, from 5k runs to 20k runs and they were a breeze to run in. I've always loved the GOrun series right from the very first model and the 5th iteration of the shoe doesn't disappoint one bit!

The Skechers GOrun 5 is a much softer shoe than the GOrun 4 and the new 5Gen® foam has made a huge difference in ride experience. The design features on the side wall of the midsole which has sharp grooves making the midsole easier to compress as you run has also contributed in the feel good experience of the GOrun 5.

Like I said earlier, the cushioning of the GR5 is simply just right. It's not too soft and the softness tapers from heel to forefoot nicely with the rear feeling more cushioned compared to the forefoot where a thinner midsole gives it the firmness it needs. For what it's worth, the Skechers GOrun 5 is a versatile shoe that can be utilized for a variety of runs, be it a 10k or a marathon. Being a minimal 4mm drop shoe, you'd need to be a little careful if you're coming from a much higher drop shoes as you could feel some initial soreness in your legs.


If you're looking for a trainer/racer, I'd say the Skechers GOrun 5 delivers just that. It's a shoe you can go fast in or simply just cruise around in them. If you've never tried a Skechers Performance series before, I'd say it's about time you tried one. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Thanks For The Memories

While the year really isn't up yet and I should really only post this next year but heck, I'll probably be too busy running or going places during the holidays to even bother with my blog let alone sit and write a post so here we go!


The year has been pretty much up and down for me. There's been some good times, some great times, some bad times and some really awful times but through it all, we take what we can from the good times, learn from the bad and move on with life. Nothing really much happened except for three key moments running wise that made me wise up to certain things.

This blog is basically about my running life so I'm not going to dwell or touch on my personal life, after all it's called a personal life for a reason, right? Don't worry, I won't be my long winded self but there's some things I need to jot down so I can go thru them again one day when I hang up my running shoes, sitting on the rocking chair in my verandah (not that I have one yet, mind you) while sipping a mug of hot coffee. See, I have my future planned out already!

The racing year started a little bitter sweet for me. The Seoul International Marathon was on my list of races for the first quarter of the year and I was so excited for it. I would also be turning 50 just days before the race and that added the excitement factor up a notch or two. It would be the first time I would be celebrating my birthday out of the country and for it to be my 50th was kinda momentous.



A training programme was drawn up (Hansons) for the race and I religiously put in the training for it day after day. The training wasn't at all easy, there were times I was so focused on it that I neglected the people around me, namely my wife but she knew how much I wanted to chase that ridiculous dream I have in my marathon quest and stood by quietly cheering me on. 

Sadly, the entire Seoul International Marathon experience was bittersweet. My dreams came crashing down like a ton of bricks during the last quarter of the race. I'm not really sure what happened but to say I was disappointed was putting it mildly. I was devastated! I put the devastation aside for another day and enjoyed the rest of my holiday which was nothing but fun. I've never been to Korea and in fact didn't think I would even like Korea but somehow ended up loving it. Let's not even talk about my wife. She would relocate there if she could ... LOL!


Next up was the Gold Coast Airport Marathon. It was a race that's really close to my heart seeing as how GCAM14 was my first ever overseas race and I fell in love with the race and the place. I almost wasn't sure if I would make it to the race this year as ticket prices and accommodations were not really cheap. My son would be starting his Automotive Engineering course just after the race and that would involve lots of money so I was a little sad that I wouldn't be able to make the trip. 

But fate had different plans for me and through the kindness of Tourism & Events Queensland, I would after all be running GCAM17. I was ecstatic and a training plan was drawn up or rather a plan was drawn up for me. A good friend, a Bostoner at that so kindly said he'd draw up a plan for me to hit the goals I was aiming for and I jumped at the opportunity. I've never had a coach before, albeit one online, and I was excited. This would also be the first time I would not base my training on the Hansons Method. 

I spoke to my wife about it and while she wasn't excited that I was diving into another plan so soon, she knows me so well and how stubborn I can be at times but she also knows what I'm capable of and she threw her support behind me again. I dove right into the training. I was eager to get things right this time without really thinking things through properly. Had I recovered enough? Had I even figured out what went wrong in Seoul? And here I was diving into another strenuous training plan.


The first few weeks went decently. I could keep up with the plan and back and forth updates on my status with my 'coach' kept me going. But I began to feel the lethargy and the lack of purpose soon enough. I was still able to keep to the plan but I wasn't enjoying it anymore. It was a chore, it was something I just wanted to get over and done with and I knew at that instant, something was wrong. This is not what running is all about. I wasn't happy, I wasn't excited waking up in the morning to lace up anymore. I was dreading it even. 

I spoke to my wife and she somehow knew I would be going through something like this. She is after all the only person who witnesses my training close up day in day out and she knows when I'm not able to do something even though I'll be in complete denial about it. The decision was made to pull out of the training plan. A complete reboot of my running was needed. I decided to drop the marathon and instead run the half marathon in the Gold Coast. I informed my 'coach' and he understood, at least I hope he did. 


The weight that was lifted off my shoulder with that decision was enormous. I felt invigorated again. The half was something I could do and was excited about running again. Suffice to say, I started enjoying my runs again. The decision to do the half marathon in the Gold Coast was actually a blessing as I finally managed to collect all four categories of the event, something I'm pretty proud of. The holiday also did help rejuvenate the soul though the sad thing was my wife opted not to follow since we would be needing the funds for the younger fellows college once I get back.

One other major highlight that I was glad to be a part of was being invited to run the Queens Baton Relay around the Bukit Jalil Stadium for the 2018 Commonwealth Games that will be held in the Gold Coast in April next year. I've never ever participated in something like this and was really honoured and lucky to be a part of history. The baton I held for a fleeting moment was the actual games baton and knowing that my grubby paw prints will be all over it as it made its way across the oceans was something I'll remember for a long, long time to come. Seeing as how it's going to end up in the Gold Coast, a city I'm slightly biased with somehow makes it all that much more memorable.


Those were basically my three highlights of the year running wise. I really opted out of running back to back races, something which happens over here on a weekly basis simply because I wanted to concentrate more on actually putting in some real training for key races that I've set my mind on for next year. After all, how many times would I want to run the same race routes for races over here and the exorbitant price of a race these days can be utterly ridiculous. I'd rather save up for another shot at my favourite race #GCM18 which offers a much better race experience hands down!

One other milestone in my running will be seeing its end. I was honourned to be given the chance to be an ambassador for Saucony Malaysia for the past two years. It was something I've never even dreamed of nor expected would ever happen. I've had some good times with the team over here helping build and promote the brand as much as I could. I enjoyed my time as an ambassador but it's time I moved on. I have other challenges and goals that would need my utmost focus with no distractions.

With that in mind, I decided that I would relinquish my position as an ambassador for Saucony Malaysia. It wasn't a decision I came by easily but it was something that needed to be done. I've enjoyed the 2 years and the support from the Saucony team and am grateful for the opportunity to represent the brand but it's time to step down. I wish the team nothing but the best and hope that in my time there, I've managed to make a difference and help bring the brand to the new level of awareness it enjoys today.


Besides I've always been a shoe geek at heart and trying out new brands of running shoes has always been my first love. One can never have too many running shoes. That said, my wife is already giving me the eye at the shoe buying binge I'm currently on! Yeah, Jamie and Choon Yuen, you guys better watch your sixes cos I've been blaming it all on you two .... Hahaha!

That basically summed up my year in running. See, I told you it wouldn't be too long winded. With all that behind me, I've got some goals that I need to focus on for 2018 and it would involve a lot of training to try, keyword here is try, and achieve those goals. All the plans are drawn up and ready to go when the time comes. With the goals and dreams more streamlined (and more realistic), my confidence level is slowly building up to face the challenges ahead.

With that I'd like to wish everyone an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

SAUCONY® ANNOUNCES MOLLY HUDDLE TO RUN 2018 BOSTON MARATHON

Two-time U.S. Olympian, American 10,000m record holder and three-time BAA 5K Champion to make Boston Marathon debut

WALTHAM, MA (December 12, 2017) – Saucony today announced that Molly Huddle, two-time Olympian and three-time winner of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) 5K, will make her Boston Marathon debut at the 122nd edition of the race on April 16, 2018. Huddle, who has earned 25 U.S. national championship titles on the track and roads, set the American 10,000-meter record (30:13.17) with a sixth-place finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics. In her highly anticipated first race at the 26.2 mile distance, Huddle ran 2:28:13 to place third at the 2016 New York City Marathon. Huddle, 33, lives and trains in Providence, Rhode Island.
“At Saucony, our athletes inspire us; they make us want to be better in everything we do,” said Mark Bossardet, head of sports marketing for Saucony.  “Molly is one of the most gifted runners in the world and she’s already had great success on the streets of Boston, having set the American record here at the 2015 BAA 5K. The whole Saucony family joins the Boston running community in our excitement to cheer Molly on in her Hopkinton to Boston debut as she becomes part of the prestigious Boston Marathon legacy.”

In November, Huddle won her 25th U.S. title at the 2017 USATF 5K national road championships in New York City in 15:24, bettering her own course record of 15:27 set in 2013. Huddle’s win came one year after she finished third in her marathon debut there, giving the United States a spot on the podium for the first time since 2010. Huddle has also proved her dominance on Manhattan’s streets by winning the last three NYC Half Marathons.
“I’ve always had a case of major race envy when it comes to the Boston Marathon,” said Huddle. “Every year I’ve been in Boston during the marathon always wishing I was running it. Now that dream is going to become a reality and it’s hard to not get too excited. I’m inspired by the Boston fans and my family at Saucony for standing by me throughout the years.”
The last American woman to win the Boston Marathon was Saucony sponsored athlete Lisa Larsen Weidenbach (now Rainsberger) in 1985.

Huddle is coached by Ray Treacy, who is also the Cross Country and Track and Field coach at Providence College in Rhode Island.

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


SHARON BARBANO
PUBLIC RELATIONS
SAUCONY & WOLVERINE BOSTON

T. 617.824.6126
F. 617.616.6126



SAUCONY. RUN YOUR WORLD.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saucony Zealot ISO3 Review

I've had the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 (Reflex Edition) for a little over a month and have come to love the shoe so much that at the moment it's my go to shoe for my easy runs. This is actually a little surprising seeing as how I couldn't really get its older sibling, the Zealot ISO 2 to work for me. I was a little skeptical about the Zealot ISO 3 but having read some rave reviews about the Zealot ISO 3, I was keen to give it another try and I was glad I did.

Now, if you've run in Saucony's Kinvara series of running shoes, then the Zealot ISO 3 can be described as sort of a Kinvara with a lot more cushioning to it and easily a lot wider in the upper as well. The Zealot ISO 3 is not a replacement for the Kinvara, mind you but more of an add on, for want of a better word, to the Kinvara.


The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 is a completely major upgrade of the Zealot ISO 2. The Zealot ISO 3 sheds almost all of it outer material this time around which in return frees up a lot of the forefoot room making this a much roomier and less restrictive shoe as compared to its older sibling. The lockdown in the midfoot is a lot better with the previous versions ISOFIT panel evolving into a neater twin strap configuration. 

For a shoe that looks this bulky, it's even more surprising that Saucony has managed to reduce the weight of the Zealot ISO 3 down even more to 8.5oz (based on the men's size 9) as opposed to the Zealot ISO 2's 9.5oz. Even my wife was pretty impressed with the weight after she took the shoe out for a run cos she thought the shoe looked pretty bulky. 


As I mentioned earlier, the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 is a completely new shoe. The upper consists of a brand new engineered mesh free from all the layering of the previous version and is now a whole lot less stiffer and breathable than its older sibling. Two independent straps replaces the ISOFIT of the Zealot ISO 2 and is similar to the Prolock found on the Kinvara models. These 2 straps stretches over the inner sleeve and the outer mesh of the shoe and has reduced the number of lacing rows to 5 against the 6 of the Zealot ISO 2. 

Without the added overlays of its predecessor, the Zealot ISO 3 looks a whole lot sleeker now. A short strip of Flexfilm over the toebox, a fused logo and with some reinforcements over the lacing area, there's really not much Flexfilm on the rest of the upper. The rear of the Zealot ISO 3 also gets a facelift with molded mesh being used instead of synthetic with the hard internal counter staying put. A soft 'Rundry' lining is used for the heel collar with a little more padding than before and provides a nice lockdown heel fit.


The tongue doesn't feel as padded as its older sibling and consists of a mesh top and a softer lining below. The tongue is part of the full inner sleeve and has absolutely no slide whatsoever. I prefer this version's tongue compared to the older version.

The midsole of the Zealot ISO 3 is made of a single density injection molded foam and is similar to the Kinvara 8. The Zealot ISO 3 has done away with the SRC crash pad that was found on the Zealot ISO 2's midsole and comes with an EVERUN topsole just underneath the removeable insole and is basically one of the reasons why the Zealot ISO 3 is a full ounce lighter than the Zealot ISO 2.

The outsole is made of soft blown rubber molded into Chevron shaped strips, a design similar to the Ride and Triump. The flex grooves are a little deeper than its predecessor and loses some outsole coverage under the inner heel which now has a smaller rubber piece and the rest just being exposed foam. 


The Zealot ISO 3 is a 4mm drop shoe with a heel stack height of 26mm and a forefoot of 22mm which makes its midsole run a little thick and provides the cushioning while the softer blown outsole runner makes the forefoot landings more muffled and provides great grip throughout your run.

I've put in close to over a 100 kilometers in the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 and have really come to love the shoe. Like I mentioned much earlier, it's like a cushioned Kinvara and I love the Kinvara as well. For me, the Zealot ISO 3 is great for those longer runs when you want a little more cushion under your feet than what the Kinvara can offer yet still want to be able to up the pace whenever you like and the Zealot ISO 3 will let you do just that. Be it a slow, long easy run or a faster paced run, the shoe delivers!


I've taken it out on various surfaces, road, track and even on grass, covering various distances and in all kinds of weather, well we only have three types of weather here anyway which is hot, really really hot and rain and they came true it with flying colours. The upper was so breathable that I hardly felt any hotspots and when it got wet in the rain, it didn't become water logged and drained out real fast. 

I run very early in the morning when it's still pretty dark and my model, which was the Reflex edition, was designed with fully reflective midsoles and 360 degrees of reflectivity all round kept me pretty visible from all sides. And the reflectivity really works cos from afar, it looks like I have lights on my shoe which gives a whole new meaning to being light on your feet!


Would I recommend the Saucony Zealot ISO 3? Yes, I most definitely would. If you're looking for a nice daily cushioned trainer that is light but still offers a decent amount of cushioning, then you can't go wrong with the Zealot ISO 3. Even my wife, who hates bulky looking shoes really likes the Zealot ISO 3!

The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Reflex edition is available at Running Lab 1Utama, TopMan World, Studio Sunway Carnival, Key Power, Stadium KLCC, Stadium Pavilion, Stadium Mid-Valley and RSH 1Utama and retails at RM499.00. The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Reflex is currently only available in the men's version.