Sunday, 3 June 2018

Seven reasons to love running

Simply Sports will be celebrating the next 6th of June the Global Running Day, a worldwide celebration of running that encourages everyone to get moving. The idea is have fun, be active and inspire others. Remember that you can inspire running 20 marathons in a row or simply a half mile.

Following the idea of this special Running Day, we have been wondering and looking for reasons why a sport like running, being the world’s oldest sport, is becoming the most popular way to exercise and here are our answers:

1 Free and you can do it anywhere: According to NHS, running burns more calories than any other mainstream exercise and regular running can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.

2 Easy to do: It is simple, cheap and fast. You do not need special equipment, environment or more people. Simply comfortable sports clothing, a good pair of shoes (we could advise you at Reigate, Oxted, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Weels stores), a supportive sports bra for women and, of course, your willpower and staying motivated.

Image taken from Brooks.

3 In figures: More than two million of people  in the UK run at least once a week and an estimated 10m in the US. Here is other datum to understand this phenomenon: more than 1,6 million of runners have completed a ParkRun in UK. 

4 Running as recreation: Nowadays one in ten persons run. Running is the sixth most popular form of recreation in Europe – after walking, swimming, biking, alpine skiing and mountaineering.

5. Sociable and solitary: Running can be the most sociable of sports (running clubs, races...) or if you prefer the most solitary (training and competing alone, run against yourself).

6. Discover the world running: Races and training are a great opportunity to enjoy your town and your county without limits and discovering new areas. It is the perfect excuse to visit another countries making friends as well.

7. Run to calm the mind: Runners focus on breathing, as does meditationpractice of focusing attention in order to clear the mind and reduce anxiety. “It’s a myth that meditation happens only when you light candles or incense and sit cross-legged,” says Chandresh Bhardwaj, founder of the Break The Norms meditation program Instead, he explains, “When you are deeply involved in any activity, you become meditative”. In conclusion, running is an excellent way to develop a meditation and mindfulness practice.

It would be fantastic, if you comment us your reasons to love running. We promise you we add your ideas this post. Thank you! 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The spirit of Jenny Denton in the 30th Hogsmill 5

Next Sunday will be a special day for Epsom Allsorts Ladies Running Club. The club will celebrate the 30 anniversary of the Hogsmill 5, a friendly running race over 5 miles through the Hogsmill local nature reserve. But, if we want to be able to understand this popular event, sponsored by Simply Sports, firstly is necessary to know the figure of Jenny Denton. The club discovers us in this post her influence and her incredible story:

Jenny Denton started the Epsom Allsorts in April 1987. She had moved to Surrey from Nottinghamshire where she had been running regularly for several years and finding it difficult to motivate herself to run on her own she decided to set up a local running group for women.

Start of an Hogsmill 5.

Jenny advertised a meeting in Bourne Hall for women who might be interested in running and in attending regular training sessions. The fliers and posters encouraged women of ‘all ages, shapes, sizes and absolute beginners’ to attend the meeting. The aim was to train women to enable them to enter the Nike Women's Own 10k Run in Hyde Park in the autumn.  

43 women turned up at the first meeting. Five months later they hired a double decker bus and a single decker bus for the runners and their supporters for the trip to Hyde Park. The local Mayor and Mayoress joined the runners in their Rolls-Royce to offer their support and join the picnic in the park after the race. Of the 1305 competitors running that day 59 were Allsorts. They raised over £2300 for local charities. 

The emphasis was always on mutual support and not individual competition. In the training sessions, the faster runners were encouraged to regularly loop around to the back of the field to motivate the slower runners.

Ladies warming up before the race.

The women continued to run together and compete in other races and in 1988 the club organised its own anniversary race. All the runners, organisers and marshals were women. Since then the Epsom Allsorts anniversary race has been organised each year and has seen its members compete in races up to marathon distance including Paris, Bruges, New York and many at London each year.

In 1988 the club held its first anniversary race to commemorate the formation of the Epsom Allsorts Ladies Running Club the year before. Two distances were on offer 5k and 10k. Jo Burford and a band of helpers organised the race for many years. A number of locations were used during these years including: Epsom Baths (before it was the Rainbow Centre), Glyn School, Longmead School.

In later years the race became the Hogsmill 5, a five mile race that continues today and the venue became the Harrier Centre – which was just a cinder track when the club was first formed.

Simply Sports is proud of supporting the race Hogsmill 5 with special prizes:

- 🏆 1st Prize winner will receive free gait analysis and a pair of running shoes of her choice! Plus two pairs of Hilly socks.
- The 2nd placed runner will receive a free gait analysis, a £50 gift voucher and 2 pairs of Hilly socks.
- The 3rd placed lady will also receive free gait analysis, a £25 gift voucher and 2 pairs of Hilly socks.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Dave Roper: "I thought that running as Spiderman was tough, but he has nothing on a Stormtrooper"

The 23rd of April of 2017 Jez Allinson claimed the Guinness World Record for the fastest person to run a marathon dressed as a Star Wars character (4.59.12). That happened at the London Marathon 2017. A year after (less a week), Dave Roper from Reigate completed the Brighton Marathon dressed as a Stormtrooper (#StormtrooperDave) and beat the record by six minutes. Beyond the times, the most important thing he raised over £4,000 for the local charity Autism All Stars
A week later of the race, he tells us his experience which define it as "the hardest thing I have ever done (physically)".


"The crowds were superb from start to finish and I high-fived as many people as I could throughout the course. There were a few times were I thought I was going to pull out, but the crowds really kept me going".


"I purposely took of faster than planned as I wanted to get the half way mark as early as possible. I did the first 10k in 55:55 and the first half in 2:06:14 with an overall finishing time of 4:53:14".

Dave Roper after finishing the Brighton Marathon.

Spiderman vs Stormtrooper

"I thought that running as Spiderman (he ran the Brighton Marathon as this character in 2016) was tough, but he has nothing on a Stormtrooper. In training I thought I had got rid of any problem areas with rubbing/digging in to me......but after running for nearly 5 hours I now know otherwise".

Hot temperature 

"Running in the Armour is so tough as you can't really feel any breeze, and its very hot under that helmet. The restriction of movement in my legs made the second half tough. I also had my left trainer on a little too tight causing my foot to go numb. It is still numb now 3 days later". 


"Having my family and friends around the course great. I knew roughly where I was going to see them and it was amazing every time I saw them". 
Dave drinking water during the race.

A straw for the future

With the full costume on I cannot take of my own helmet as the hands will not fit inside the gap to unclip the chinstrap. This meant that I was only able to have a drink when I saw my wife, Kirsten. I stopped twice for a few minutes at mile 14 and 18 and toweled myself off and enjoyed fluids. For future runs I am going to fix a straw inside the helmet".

Crossing the finish line

"The final 100m finish will be a moment that I will never forget. Firstly the crowds were all roaring at all of the finishers and then over the Tannoys the Imperial March music blasted loudly. This picked me right up and I waved to the crowds. Just before the finish line the Star Wars theme tune blared. I literally had goosebumps. It was a superb way to finish an exhausting race".

Post race

"After picking up my medal I made my way to the beer tent (a fantastic addition) and met back up with my family. We walked up to the train station (minus the helmet) and sitting on that train was the best feeling EVER! I wore the suit from 8:45am - 5:15pm. It was a long day. Taking it off was amazing. Now I cant wait to get it on again and do the next run".

Looking for the Guinness World Record

"I am currently trying to get as many photographs/videos and witness statements to send to Guinness World Records. To top it off, we have raised over £4000 for Autism All Stars which makes every painful step/every cut and bruise worth it". 

More pictures of the #StormtrooperDave here:  

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.
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)