Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Run a marathon in the armour of a stormtrooper

Dave Roper (35 years) is an ex soldier from Reigate, a Star Wars super fan and a fitness instructor who loves the sports challenges. With this information, it is easier to understand his new goal: run the Brighton Marathon dressed as a stormtrooper to raise money for the charity Autism All Stars. His two children are diagnosed with autism. In this interview, he tells us the meaning of #stormtrooperdave.

- How did the idea of running the Brighton Marathon dressed as a stormtrooper arise?

I have run the Brighton Marathon as Spiderman in 2016 and achieved my PBs in 3.44.46. I ran a half marathon in 1.29.17 (The Intersport Run Reigate) and a 10k in 39.17. People always like to see a challenge when it comes to sponsoring people. I knew that after Spidey I would have to really up my game.

- Why did you choose this Star Wars character?

I'm a massive Star Wars fan, and everybody knows the character. Whether you enjoy the films or not, if you see a Storm Trooper you know it's a Storm Trooper. I'm also an ex soldier so it's nice to be back in uniform again (haha).

TKUK has provided his armour free of charge.

- Why for Autism all Stars? 

My 2 children, Liam and Lucy are diagnosed with Autism. Autism all stars are a local charity who help and support families living with Autism. They have ĺots of advice and help online and put on autism friendly cinema clubs and various events in and around the area. I love that I can support them in what they do. Being a smaller charity you really know that every donation is making a difference.

- How was the process to create this uniform for running a race?

I actually really under estimated how much work was needed to get this Armour race ready. David Ashcroft at TKUK  provided me the armour free of charge to help me support my cause. Fully assembled these sell for £800 up so you can imagine how much it meant to me getting given one. I've had to make a lot of adjustments and then test run and then adjust the adjustments again. We are almost there.

- Is it the first time you try a similar challenge?

I have run as Spiderman previously, which at the time I thought was super tough....This is another level. I know the crowds are going to love it, which is what it's all about.

Photo of a Dave's training in a park.

- How is being the training in the stormtrooper skin?

I've absolutely loved the training runs. So many people taking photographs and tooting from cars. It's made it so much fun. I've suffered some cuts and bruises along the way but will all be fixed by the main event.

- What is your fears about the costume: the hot inside, the stiffness, the breathability...?

I knew it was going to be hot inside the armour. It's solid plastic so isn't very forgiving when it comes to movement or allowing air in. The good thing is that I'm not running to get my best time so I can enjoy the event and the crowds.

- What is the people reaction when they spot a stormtrooper training like a normal runner?

Some literally freeze and just go woah as you run past whilst others want photographs and high fives. I love the reactions of motorists. Big grins and lots of beeping the horn. Several people have pulled over to get pictures and one person actually put £20 in my hand whilst I was running.

- Have you considered in beating the Guinness World Record for the fastest person to run a marathon dressed as a Star Wars character? (The record time is 4.59.12 and was reached by Jez Allinson at London Marathon 2017).

Yes, I actually went to apply but there is a lot to do when it comes to proving the attempt. You either need to film the entire event showing the costume or have two witnesses to prove that you didn't cheat etc. I'll see how it goes this time and then have a think about it. It would be amazing to be a World Record Holder. I've actually chatted with Jez. He's a lovely guy and is doing some fantastic work for Charity.

Dave finishing the Brighton Marathon in 2016.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Reigate will burn 70,000 calories for Sport Relief

The average says that an active women between the ages of 31 to 50 burns 2,200 calories per day. The next Friday Reigate will have burned more than 70,000 calories at the end of the day. This is the goal of the Speedflexathon, organised by On Premium Fitness gym to raise money for Sport Relief. The challenge will start at 9:00 am and every hour will have a class until the last session at 6:00 pm. The Speedflexathon has generated great interest in the community and the great thing is that everyone can take part in the activity booking a place or simply donating. Lauren Hills, one of the One Premium staff that is organising the event, tell us the story behind this activity. 

- How did the idea of a Speedflexathon arise?

The idea initially came from our West Byfleet Speedflex Studio, a few month ago they completed a 100,000 calories challenge in one day for children in need, which was a huge hit and raised a lot of money. We decided this was a great idea and we’d like to get involved with fundraising! We looked into charities and Sport Relief stood out to us. We want to encourage people to get involved with fitness, as a team agreed this would be a great charity to support, because most of the fundraising Sport Relief do is based around exercising, and that is what we do best!

- Why did you choose Speedflex?

Now that answer is easy, we chose Speedflex because all ages and levels of fitness can participate! Our Speedflex sessions are high intensity, low impact and personal trainer led. You can expect to burn hundreds of calories in just one, 45 minutes Speedflex session.

- What is your goal?

Our goal is to support and raise money for Sport Relief, by using our expert trainers at One Premium Fitness to run a fun filled day, full of Speedflex sessions, a DJ and fancy dress, encouraging more people to get moving!

Image of ON Premium Fitness staff that will participate at the Speedflexathon.

- How many calories do you plan to burn on the day?

We have the potential to burn over 72,000 calories between all of our participants on the day!

- Who can participate in the event?

Everyone can participate in our Speedflexathon, above the age of 16. Speedflex has been designed for any age or fitness level, Speedflex enables everyone to exercise at high intensities, but at levels set by each individual.

- What is being the feedback from the community?

As soon as everyone heard about our event, it has had a spike of interest, we have a lot of members who are interested and constantly asking questions about participating and contributing towards Sport Relief. In fact, one of our Speedflex members has taken the day off of work to participate in all 10 sessions! That is whooping 450 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training... in one day!
We are also holding a raffle, all of the prizes have been donated by local businesses in Reigate; we have received some amazing prizes, from the likes of: Benefit, COOK, DASH barbers, Clove, The Art of Living, Mishikos and Reigate Beauty Room.. We are extremely grateful for their participation in our event, and hope that with their kindness we can raise lots of money for Sport Relief!

- How to join the event?

Find our event on facebook ‘Speedflexathon Reigate – Sports Relief’
To book a space onto a session, please email, call or message us via social medias.
Email: reigate@onepremiumfitness.co.uk
Phone: 0844 543 3636
Instagram: @opf_reigate
Twitter: @opf_reigate
Facebook: One Premium Fitness, Reigate.

The classes are due to be very busy on the day! So please book on to avoid disappointment!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

"We want to change people’s attitude to make exercise like a part of their routine"

"Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE", "Never doubt, only believe"... are some of the inspirational quotes posted on the All Girls Can Instagram and they are perfect to define the spirit of this wonderful initiative, whose objective is "share our passion for getting active and encouraging and empowering others to do the same". Philippa Curphey and Eleanor Lestrange are the creators of this activity based in Surrey. They encourage and help people to run, cycling, walking... using the positive experience of group exercise. They tell us her lovely story in this interview. 

- How did the idea of All Girls Can arise? 

We are mum buddies and great friends who met 4 years ago at their kids nursery gates. Like many women our focus over the last few years had been family and work and as a result not doing any exercise at all. However a couple of years ago over a glass of wine we decided we had to adjust our priorities and make time for own health and fitness. 
After a slow start, our confidence grew and in 2016 decided to take on huge personal challenges. In April Philippa ran the London Marathon and in August Eleanor completed the 100-mile cycling challenge, The Prudential Ride London
Having experienced first hand the positive impact that exercise has on both mental and physical well-being, we now feel compelled to  share what we have learned and so we have put our enthusiasm and passion for sports to good use to create a new initiative ‘All Girls Can’.

'All Girls Can' celebrating the 'International Volunteer Day'.

What are the benefits of doing exercise in group?

We have seen first hand the improvements that group exercise has had on one’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. There are so many benefits to exercising within a group, particularly if you are new to fitness. Our groups are so motivating and the ladies that participate in our sessions work as part of a team to reach their fitness goals always encouraging each other along the way. It is also a fun and very sociable way to meet like-minded people whilst getting fit - we have become a lifeline to many women.

- Is it true that you are happier when you practice a sport?

Yes there is no doubt - 100 percent! Fitness has made us happier, healthier, less stressed and way more energized. Our confidence has grown and those endorphins make us feel like anything is possible which not only has a positive effect on our lives but on our family’s lives too. 

- Do you think all girls (and people) can?

Yes! we want to emphasise that we are a totally inclusive club. Regardless of age, ability or gender we believe that everyone CAN! We actually encourage family participation in one of our running groups - we want mums, dads, kids and  grandparents to get involved- it’s a great way of bringing families and communities together. 
We have focused our initiative mainly on women however, as we have seen first-hand that sports participation rates among women and girls are much lower than men and evidence has shown that  women are significantly underrepresented in sports for reasons that we can help change. 

Eleanor and Philippa, creators of this sports initiative in Surrey.

What is the feedback you are receiving from the community?

We have had such a positive response from our community and we have been overwhelmed by the number of people who are coming forward to volunteer with our 'All Girls Can' groups which means that going forward we can reach out to other communities in the area. 

- What is the most difficult thing/fear/barrier to encourage women to start exercising?

The barriers can vary from financial issues, lack of confidence, the feeling of being judged to injury concerns - many women complain about how lack of time prevents them for exercising  due to prioritising family and work over their own well-being.
Our aim is to break down these barriers by creating free activity groups that are encouraging, inclusive and welcoming where women feel supported and comfortable enough to take their first steps in to exercise without fear of judgement or competition. 

- How can you motivate people who have a normal busy life (family, children, job, shopping...) to start doing sports?

We want to change people’s attitude towards fitness by encouraging women to make  exercise a part of their daily routine and making women realise that at times it is ok to prioritise yourself over family, work and other pressures that may otherwise hold them back from getting active.

Drew (Simply Sports) helping Eleanor choose a running trainers in Reigate.

- After you have started, how can you add the sport in your daily life to avoid quit it in a couple of  weeks? 

By  giving yourself a personal challenge or a sporting goal to aim for, this can really motivate an individual to keep returning in order train and improve performance. Some of our running ladies have already completed 5km runs and are now signing up for 10 mile races. 
By starting off your fitness regime gradually and taking small steps, you’ll find that it won’t impact on your daily life too much.  Even it is something small like taking one less car journey and walking instead - anything is better than nothing and you will reap the benefits very quickly.

- All Girls Can is focused now on running (All Girls Run) and cycling (All Girls Ride). Are you thinking in offering more sports?

Yes, we are launching our first walking group this month and we hope to get more ladies in to a swimming pool too!

(Pictures taken from All Girls Can UK)

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

ISPO 2018: Reasons to love sport

ISPO is like a great window where you can look through it and see what can happen in the future of the sporting industry. Sometimes, it is futurist, incredible or fantastic, but always ISPO surprises you. It is the reason why Simply Sports loves this international event and each year we travel to Munich to visit the capital of the sport for a few days. The insights reflect that anyone who has ever been to ISPO Munich will come back again.

Principal entrance to ISPO in Munich.

We look for inspirational ideas and see the latest of the sporting industry, trends, new products, discover brands, share experiences, make contacts and meet old friends... and almost always we come back fascinated with something and with new ideas for our customers.

We have been attending for so many years and are still always inspired by the enthusiasm, passion and newness of the show. Every now and then you come across brands that just shout “buy me”.

Such was the case in 2010 when we first met the guys from a Swiss start-up company called On Running in the “Brand New” hall, now they are one of our top brand partners. This year we met a group of ladies who were launching state of the art body protection for ladies playing contact sports, this really is the future and takes protection to another level.

ISPO 2018 registered 84,000 visitors.

The 2801 exhibitors of ISPO Munich 2018 or the world's most important meeting place for the sporting goods industry -held at the end of January- attracted 84,000 visitors from 120 countries. It is easy to get lost by the 16 halls, divided into the eight segments Snowsports, Outdoor, Health & Fitness, Urban, Teamsports, Vision, Trends, Innovation & Industry Services and Manufacturing & Suppliers.

Our first great surprise this year was when we were interacting with a magic mirror. We tested this digital/smart mirror that will recommend complimentary products to what you try on. You can contact the sales staff through touching the mirror which sends a request to the store staff's smart watch. You can also place items in your virtual basket for immediate collection or delivery to your home.

The mirror is connected to sales staff. 

In the Fitness hall UFC, MMA and boxing were well represented. OPRO’s tie up with UFC looked good. They were also launching the latest incarnation of their mouthguard range, now called “Generation 4”.

Fitness equipment is certainly a mature market, technology has improved. Now it looks to be all about the technology and the interactive features. The most stunning range by the WaterRower company was finished in wood and would grace any living room.

Best Mannequins stand.

We were knowing the latest models of Altra Running shoes, which will be available in Simply Sports  this month. The US running brand were busy, they were there last year and we are expecting their shoes in to store this month. They are very niche, but a lovely group of people working behind the brand. Nothing was too much at the show and nothing has been left to chance for our launch at our Reigate store.

Adrian Pointer (Simply Sports) visiting the Altra stand.

It is perhaps a paradox that the brands where the stands were busiest were the stands selling premium and niche products.

So many brands, so many new products and so many people to meet. We work in one of the friendliest trades imaginable, everyone has a love for sport which is why we all work in the industry. How lucky are we that our work is also our hobby. (Adrian Pointer)

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Priory Parkrun: 200 runs changing lifes in Reigate

The last New Year's Day the Reigate Priory Parkrun was 200 runs and celebrated it the best way they know: running in the beautiful, scenic and undulating Priory Park course -the 91st most elevated in the ranking of 400 Park Run in  UK-.

Bruce Fordyce, Parkrun South Africa Country Manager, says in the book Park Run: much more than just a run in the park (highly recommended) that Parkrun 'is not a simple 5 kilometre fun run. It is changing  the lives of ten of thousands of people for the better'. In Reigate, the Park Run has changed the live of more than 6,500 runners, who has taken part in this simple and revolutionary concept of run -timed, five kilometre runs, for people of all ages and all abilities, fun, friendly and free- since starting on 22nd of March 2014. The figures of this event are absolutely incredible in around four years: more than 189,000 km of total distance completed or 2 years of time running.    

Image of the beginning of a Park Run in Reigate.

It doesn't matter the weather (sun, rain, snow and mud) or the Park conditions -the course in Reigate is a mixture of gravel path, woodland trail and grass- each Saturday at 9:00am an average of 188,9 runners is waiting with their barcode to run and improve their time. 

But, why the Parkrun is being so successful? Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE, the founder of Parkrun, explains in the book mentioned above his reasons: 'Partly, the obvious it is free. But also lots of other reasons -the socials aspects, the encouraging, welcoming atmosphere for new runners, the simplicity, and because it's fun. More and more, it's because of the relationship with the community'. 

Paul Chandler, who has seen the growth of the Reigate Priory Parkrun as Run Director in these four years and heart of this event, defined the Reigate Priory Parkrun in a interview on our blog as "not a race and there are no winners just a friendly place to run as fast or as slow as you like".

Now, we have tried to compile a few key moments that has marked the history of the Priory Parkrun. (This summary is the result of reading all the post published about the races since March of 2014 from the Reigate Priory Parkrun website. Pictures have been taken from the same page. By the way, it has been a pleasure to experience the history of this great event through these weekly articles).

200th Reigate Priory Parkrun: 179 people complete the course on New Year's Day, which make a total of 6,524 participants and a distance of 188,355 km since first Reigate Priory Parkrun in March of 2014.

200th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

198th Christmas Run: 307 people elves, santas, reindeer, snowmen, a penguin and a surfer complete with surfboard the race at the Christmas Run.

198th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

192nd Reigate Priory Parkrun: Each Saturday, parkrunners celebrate their records of runs: 50, 100, 200... Last November, Catriona Sanderson and Mary Northway join the 50 club.  

192nd Reigate Priory Parkrun.

190th Reigate Priory Parkrun: 4 bats, 2 werewolves, 2 ghosts and a pumpkin complete the race to celebrate the Halloween Parkrun.

190th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

165th Reigate Priory Parkrun: 377 runners gather at the start line for the largest parkrun at the Priory ever.

165th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

131st Reigate Priory Parkrun: Two years ago Reigate becomes in a running capital during a weekend. The Reigate Priory Parkrun on Saturday and the Run Reigate on Sunday, both sponsored by Intersport UK.

129th Reigate Priory Parkrun: 318 runners finish this race, making a total of more than 100,000 kilometres. The person who completed this milestone was Alicia Saunders.

129th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

128th Reigate Priory Parkrun: Laura Gent sets the current female course record beating her own previous mark by 7 seconds to set the new time at 18.19. (Kevin Quinn holds the male record achieved in the event 134 when he ran the 5k in 15:37).

128th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

76th Reigate Priory Parkrun: The event sees the 10,000th finisher since the beginning in 2014. 

76th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

59th Reigate Priory Parkrun: More than 400 clubs registered in four years. In this race, Horley Harriers Running Club makes a group appearance.

59th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

52nd Reigate Priory Parkrun: First year of the Priory Park Run in Reigate. A milestone that would not have been possible without the volunteers enthusiasm.

52nd Reigate Priory Parkrun.

46th Reigate Priory Parkrun: The snow cannot stop this 5k in February of 2015. In fact, this day there are some good performances. 

46th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

1st Reigate Priory Parkrun: 325 runners complete the inaugural course, 83 of them run their first parkrun event. Many parkrunners move from around the country to visit the opening run in Reigate. Ryan Harris and Alice Chandler (Reigate Priory AC) are the first winners.

1st Reigate Priory Parkrun.

1st Reigate Priory Junior Park Run: Last November, 46 young runners (4-14 years old) runthe first Priory Junior Parkrun. Six weeks later, the number of kids is 79. 

                                                           1st Reigate Priory Junior Park Run.  

Monday, 27 November 2017

How to complete 50th Park Run by Catriona Sanderson

Catriona Sanderson remembers that she already loved running when she was studying at school. It was in 2010 when she started running like a routine and seven years later she has celebrated another milestone in her running life. The last 11th of November she completed her 50th Park Run (39 of 50 runs at Reigate Priory). Catriona, one of the more active member of Simply Sports Running Club, tells that she enjoyed a lot that day running over muddy puddles along with her school friend Mary Northway, who reached 50th Parkrun that same day as well. Here is her experience and her running recommendations like take part in Park Run and our lovely running club. Thank you for sharing your experience and now counting down for your 100th Park Run!
Mary and Catriona after their 50th Park Run.

"It was great to do my 50th Parkrun at Reigate sharing it with my school friend Mary also doing her 50th run (she took up park running after returning from living in  Africa a couple of years ago). We both grew up in Margate. I did my first parkrun on 31 August 2013 in Margate, before Reigate had started its own Parkrun. It’s a great run along the clifftops with beautiful views out to sea. I did a few runs down there especially when my father was still alive. The route passes the beaches I went to as a child and looking inland I can see our old family home.

I gradually started to do more runs in Reigate which is much closer to where I live now in Redhill. I have done a few other tourist runs and a memorable one was in Kingston when we moored up our little cabin cruiser on the Thames for the night, I got up in the morning clambered up the bank to the start of the run along the tow path.

I had to take a break from park running for about a year when I got plantar fasciitis. Simply Sports running club helped to keep me going with some gentle runs on Thursday as well as some other exercise and Pilates. Thankfully my foot recovered and I can run a lot more regularly again now. I love being able to run on Thursdays with Simply Sports and then on Saturdays at parkrun. It’s a great way to start the weekend. Sometimes it’s just about getting it done, sometimes it’s aiming for a PB and lately it was wanting to get that first milestone 50 T-shirt!

When I run the course in Reigate I count down the number of “hill climbs” on the second lap – it’s just my way of dong the course, I am sure everyone has little ways to keep going – it’s a really friendly run and I recommend both parkrun and Simply sports running club whether you are new to running or want to make some new friends as you run!"
(by Catriona Sanderson)

Training of Simply Sports Club, directed by Steve, at Priory Park.

Catriona's Running Profile 

Name and surname: Catriona Sanderson

Age: 52

Occupation: Clerk to School Governors.

How often do you run?   Twice a week, sometimes three if I am training for a specific event.

Why do you love running? It's so flexible and quick. I can just open the front door and go. It's great to appreciate the countryside around where I live.

When did you start?  Started in January 2010 - training for a Try-a-Tri at East Grinstead - previously at school I loved 100m sprint and 80m hurdles!

On Road or Off Road: A mixture of both.

Short or Long Distances? 5-10K runs

Park Run or races? Both, I like to do Park Run regularly as well as Simply Sports and when I can will do 10k races - mainly local.

Your running kit essential: Running leggings with a zipped back pocket to keep my keys and parkrun barcode and my Garmin to see how far I have gone. I never run with music.

Your favourite running brand: Ronhill.

Your best and worst running memories: Best moment was doing the Intersport Run Reigate Half marathon in 2014. I loved every minute of it. Worst moment: plantar fasciitis.

How do you motivate to run? Keeping fit as I get older, A chance to think and pray and clear my head and meeting up with friends at club runs and events.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The sound is in your mind, not in your ears

The first question arises when you listen music through an AfterShokz headphones is how can I feel the sound if my ear canal is free? The first sensation is weird, but when you understand this reinvented listening experience and you get use to it, you will love this gadget for ever.

We have selected a few key simple facts to help you to know better the system used by AfterShokz:

1. How they work: Bone conduction technology produces sound via mini vibrations that travel through your cheekbones to your inner ears, bypassing your eardrums completely. 

2. Curiosities: Bone conduction technology has been around for many years as a tool to help those with hearing loss. Even Beethoven, who was hearing impaired, used bone conduction to listen to music by biting down on his composer’s wand that was touching the piano.

3. Industry: Hearing aid(s) users, Military communication, Sports headphones and Scuba diving are the 4 major industries have benefited from bone conduction technology.

4. Safety Open ear design: AfterShokz transmits audio via a pair of transducers that rest on your cheekbones, leaving your ears uncovered and canals unblocked. As a result, you can listen the ambient noise normally, without the traditional limitations (A 2012 study documented a three-fold increase in the number of accidents involving pedestrians wearing headphones, and nearly 70% of those accidents resulted in death).

5. Reviews: 
Everyday Hearing: “Overall, these wireless bone conduction headphones are a great solution for those wanting to enjoy audio without cutting yourself off from everything around you”. 

The Verge: “For people who have a good reason to keep their ears open while listening to music I can recommend the Aftershokz, which were comfortable, had solid battery life, useable controls and are a regular top pick among specialist sites”. 

Trusted Reviews: “If safety, rather than sound quality, is your primary concern then you’ll find plenty to like about the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium”.

Forbes: "These are the headphones I would want to use for outdoor activity. They’re lightweight, provide decent sound with wireless freedom, and let me hear background noise --like traffic. 

If you would like to try out an AfterShokz, feel free to visit us at Reigate, Oxted, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells stores. Besides, we will be offering 20% off on Sportz Titanium & Trekz Titanium AfterShokz headphones on #BlackFriday. Simply use the promo code 'SSBlackFriday' in store the 24th of November and get the discount!