OUR RUNNING EXPERTS ARE IN-STORE AWAITING YOUR QUESTIONS
Running is an addictive pastime, so say our running experts, and if you need help and advice about the best running shoes or clothing for your chosen terrain, you'll find them eager to share their experience. Between them they've run up and down most of the hills and dales across the UK, taken part in marathons and even ultra marathons, so whatever running gear you're after, they'll be able to help.
Martin Bell - Store Manager
Martin started running 9 years ago. Since then he has completed various Ultra Marathons some of which include the CCC 100km from Courmayeur to Chamonix, The Wall 70 miles from Carlisle to Gateshead and The Great Glen 72 miles Fort William to Inverness.
He has tested out equipment such as inov-8 and Salomon, giving them feedback. Many years’ experience selling running gear to customers and listening to what they want from a product which is then fed back to the companies themselves. He has attended running workshops from top athletes to improve his knowledge. And has also experienced a long term injury so can relate well to most runners!
A moment that stands out for Martin would be getting to the top of the last hill on the CCC the ‘Tete aux Vents’ after a really low period on the climb, to witness the sunrise and get a new lease of life all the way to the finish!
Next June Martin will be running the South Downs Way 100 (miles) and at the Beginning of September he will hopefully be running the ‘Ring of Fire’ 135 miles around Anglesey. During the rest of the year they’ll be a few Munros and Corbetts getting ticked off to keep him busy.
Chamonix. "Most of the time I’m in Scotland enjoying the trails and hills but I always love running anywhere new, Chamonix will always be a favourite though."
Store: COVENT GARDEN
A true running veteran, Des has competed at local, national and international levels.
He participated in his first ultramarathon in 2005, tackling the Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc (UTMB). He has gone on to undertake another seven ultramarathons, and considers the 2012 UTMB to be a highlight.
For all his own achievements, Des loves to help others reach their goals and ambitions, no matter what scale they’re on. In his spare time, he is a race performance trainer for King’s College London, and has helped countless people achieve their targets, making him a fantastic contact for any running advice you might have.
This year Des will once again be taking the UTMB head-on, will be running The Fellsman ultramarathon in the Yorkshire Dales, and is determined to complete a marathon sub-three hours after his 50th birthday in April - a feat most younger athletes would shy away from!
The Alps. "I'd like to run in North America and the Himalayas, but so far my favourite place to run is the European Alps."
Phil Crowhurst - Store Manager
Skiing & Running Expert
Phil's first skiing experience came at the age of 19, when he went to Glen Coe in Scotland to do a 3 month BASI instructor training course. During the next three years spent at Chester Univeristy doing a Sports Science degree, he managed to get out to the Swiss Alps a couple of times and rapidly fell in love with the sport.
As soon as university was over Phil lined up a season in Meribel, which was unfortunately cut short by an injury picked up skiing off piste (you can ask him what happened if you see him in store – too gruesome for the website!) These days Phil still manages to get out on the mountain for 2-3 weeks per year.
Whilst at Chester University Phil also got into running, to help keep fitness levels up and secure a place in the Uni hockey team. This also became a bit of an obsession and he's now got several full marathons and a Highland Ultra marathon under his belt. He tries to run every day, and if training for an ultra can rack up over 100 miles per week. So if you're looking for ski gear, or running kit, or both, come in and talk to Phil.
Jungfrau, Switzerland. For skiing, my favourite resort is Jungfrau region in Switzerland. Apart from the fact that I Know the resort very well, it’s great if you like fast downhill skiing, with a huge variety of terrain. The powder is particularly good. If I manage to get away for a run, I like the Brecon Beacons. The scenery is beautiful and there’s a huge scope for differing terrain.
Alan started running in his schooldays taking part in X-Country runs and events. He ran his first marathon at 19, coming in at a spectacular 2hrs 40min!
Nowadays Alan is still running and taking part in Triathlons and is also the head coach of the 'Cairngorm Runners', the local running club in Aviemore. He also has two events lined up for this year – the Salomon Kielder Marathon which he took part in last year, and the Alpe D’Huez Triathlon which is one of the toughest events on the Triathlon calender. Extensive knowledge of local trails and routes within the Cairngorm National Park and first hand experience with many models of running shoes makes Alan an ideal person to help you with all your running queries.
Glenmore Forest, Aviemore.
"It has to be an early morning run from my house in the Abernethy Forest through the Ryvoan Pass to Glenmore. It's 11 miles with amazing views of the mountains and the fresh air sets you up for the rest of the day!"
Michael has been running for six years now. But he doesn’t just enjoy running, he also enjoys kayaking, caving, climbing and mountaineering. Having a diploma in coaching, personal training and out outdoor adventure sports makes him far from a one trick pony…
In the last 6 months Michael has taken up barefoot trail running and has even started his own running club, open to anyone who wishes improve their fitness and isn’t scared of a little hard work! Michael runs a half marathon (13.1 miles) every Sunday and gets out at least three times a week. With each run consisting of around 8-10 miles it’s not just a simple walk in the park. He does all this just to keep his fitness up.
For this season Michael hopes to complete a trail marathon with his fiancée and also hopes to run a trail half marathon barefoot!
The Pennines. "The Pennines are my favourite place to run, there’s plenty of fresh air and hills to take in. There’s nothing better than a long uphill challenge to test the legs."
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