Sunday, 7 December 2014

The funny challenge of Holly Run 2014

By Donna Barrington-Smith (Reigate Priory Holly Run race director)

The HOLLY RUN is a fantastic Christmas time Cross Country Event for the whole family in Reigate’s Priory Park, RH2, organised by Reigate Priory Athletics Club and sponsored by Simply Sports! With all abilities welcome, both club runners and fun runners, the Holly Run Cross Country Event, which will take place on Sunday 14th. December, is now in its 32nd year. 

Run wholly within Priory Park, the eight races vary in distance from a sedate one mile lap for the 8–11 years old (boys and girls) to 6 miles of challenging parkland for the senior males, and a mixed terrain course of 3.6 miles for the ladies.

Everybody who completes the course is presented with a finisher’s medal, with the top three finishers of each category receiving bronze, silver and gold medals. Not only this, but the top three teams also win special medals, based on the first three finishers of each club/team/group (must have run in the same category/race).

                                                Peter Chambers, the winner of The Holly Run 2013.

NEW FOR 2014: The under 11s will be asked to count the hollies as they run around the course. On completion of their race they will need to write the number of hollies that they have seen, on the back of one of their own race numbers and pop it in a special Holly Box at the finish line. In Race HQ, after the presentation of the individual and team U11 medals, the selection of winners will be drawn (prizes donated by Simply Sports will only be presented to those present, or numbers will be redrawn).

We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Support your local shops!

On Saturday 6th of December will be the second Small Business Saturday an idea that started in 2012 in the USA and received backing from none other than President Barack Obama.

To try and encourage shoppers to support their local shops and high streets this campaign has also been heavily backed by American Express (From 6 December until 21 December 2014 the company will be giving a £5 statement credit to American Express Cardmembers who spend £10 or more on their cards at participating businesses).

Shop Small Saturday 2013 in Oxted.

Small local shops can add so much to a community, not only are they more likely to employ local people unlike online businesses but they also contribute to local fundraising events something that companies such as large internet firms, mentioning no names, also struggle to do.

We hope that this event in the UK is a huge success and helps restore health and faith in the High Street and keeps the towns they are in vital to the community. We look forward to seeing you in either Oxted or Reigate on Saturday 6th of December.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Be seen, be safe

By Steve Young

As well as being effective and fun training needs to be safe.

Whilst trying to get the most out of the light evenings it is easy to get caught out too far from home before night falls. Our tried and tested safety tips are:

- Carry a headlamp or a small LED with you red or white, they are a great way to ensure you are seen.

- Face the oncoming traffic (unless on a blind bend).

- Wear bright clothing with reflective strips.

- Stay on a route that has street lighting or a well-known route for you.

- Carry some ID, if you are going to carry your phone make sure you have ICE (in case of emergency) in your contacts.

- Take your cell phone.

- Ear always open. Do not be distracted with the music or the radio.

- Pay attention to your surroundings.

- Find someone to run with and if you decide to run alone share your plan. What better way to do that than join our friendly running club (Ask us about Simply Sports Running Club in Reigate)?

And finally…

Do not forget to enjoy running, enjoy life!


Friday, 26 September 2014

Rubber or aluminium football studs?

It is surprising how hard the ground can become when it hasn’t rained and a good moulded sole, ideal for playing on harder grass pitches, will save you a lot of pain (it is common ankle injuries).

Screw in boots are for soft ground or muddy surfaces and different length studs (12 to 18 mm) can be used if the ground is very soft. Always make sure you tighten your studs before every game.

If the pitch is varied in its firmness then you can always put rubber studs in your screw in boots though make sure they are tight as they can become loose very easily.

Pro Touch - Simply Sports

Other football boots options are Astroturf, with many short studs to play on astro-turf ground, and Indoor, with a rubber flat outsole, good grip and stability to play on wooden surfaces.

Despite that very few boots are made of leather, using a good quality polish or Dubbin will help keep the boots waterproof. Always remember to put newspaper in the boots if they become wet and never dry them out in an airing cupboard or near a radiator.

Make sure you check the pitch conditions before you take the field, you could be the only player left standing at the end of the game!

Do not forget that using the wrong boots on hard or soft ground can result in:

      1. Injury.

      2Damaging the boots beyond repair.
      3. Poor performance.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

"If you are determined, you can run a half marathon"

The 26th of April was the launch of the Adidas Run Reigate Half Marathon and was a historic moment of being with two Olympic running legends Shireen Bailey (British Olympic 800 and 1500m runner) and the grandfather of British distance running Ron Hill (European and Commonwealth  marathon winner). Both signed autographs, were taking photos and shared their sports experiences in Simply Sports. They are the Race ambassadors of the first Run Reigate Half Marathon, will take place at 9.00am on Sunday 21st September 2014, just a month for this great event!!! Bailey and Hill were interviewed by Simply Sports.

Why do you recommend the Adidas Run Reigate Half Marathon?

Shireen Bailey: Because running is a great way to run off stress, just relax and enjoy yourself. It is good for you. And Dave Kelly (the race director) who I run with regularly each week has been so enthusiastic about it.

Ron Hill: It is a beautiful course lots of country lanes, the weather should be good in September which make easier for the runners to get a good time and also to enjoy the race.

                                Ron Hill, Dave Kelly and Shireen Bailey during the launch of Run Reigate.

Why do you recommend running?

S. B.: Running is my passion and I kind of want everybody to do it. Does not matter how slowly but everyone is capable of doing the 13 miles training properly. And actually enjoying it and feeling a sense of achievement.

R. H.: Because it is the easiest form of exercise that you can take. If you want to be a running you can just go outside your own front door and start and come back and finish and it is as simple as that.

Why a half marathon can be special in Reigate?

S. B.: I think Reigate is a lovely little town. Beautiful grounds to start off in the park (Priory Park) and to finish in the park (the route). Nice way of getting round, seeing parts of it that you might not see. And it will be an amazing day.

Are you going to take part in this race?

S. B.: I am not going to take part because I am going to help do the training. I am going to be there on the day encouraging and supporting everybody. It would be hard for me to train and be enthusiastic for everybody else so I would give this one a miss.

R. H.: I do not think so. I am flying in from France, but I will be here to watch the race.

                                       Shireen Bailey in Simply Sports.

Can everybody run a half-marathon?

S. B.: I think everybody can as long as they don’t go mad, build up their training gradually. This is the key, otherwise we get injured or get a lack of motivation but it is a great thing to do. If done sensibly everybody can do it.

R. H.: It may be possible I mean if you look the London Marathon some of the people at the back are very old people running seven or eight hours so that is very good. If you are determined it is possible.

What are your tips?

S. B.: My tips would be depending on where they start from so if you have never run before like I have said take it slowly minute on minute by gradually building up, taking your time. Obviously, if you can run that distance anyway and you want to do your best do some interval training, but take time to train, correct footwear, and kit and enjoy.

R. H.: If they are training for a marathon, I always recommend people to keep a training log. In my training log I have every run that I have done since September 1956, everything is in there. This is so that you can see what kind of training works for you. Generally, the more miles or kilometers you run, the better you would do the marathon.

Do you continue running? Every day?

S. B.: I do. I do not run every day I do a lot of running clubs with people. I run properly four or five times a week.

R. H.: I have never missed a day of training for over 49 years. And for 26.2 years I ran twice a day and once on Sunday. I have never missed a run, 13 times a week.
What is your motivation?

S. B.: I just love it. It is in my blood I have done it since I was twelve. It is my way of beating stress, mentally it makes me feel great. That is not to say I always want to do it, it is very hard sometimes getting out the front door but you can guarantee on thing once you have done it you feel brilliant.

R. H.: In those days when I was running twice a day my motivation was to be the best runner that I could. Now my motivation, I only run once a day, is to get this feeling of being with nature, being healthy in the mind and also healthy in the body. And I still compete.

What is your next challenge?

S. B.: My next challenge is to get as many people running the Reigate Half Marathon as I possibly can. Go for it!

R. H.: My next challenge will probably, maybe a park run or maybe a 10k.

                                     Ronald (Ron) Hill has run more than 100 marathons. 

Do you miss the top level competition?

S.B.: I did it for ten years. To be honest then I gave it up because I had children that took my mind off it. I do not miss it because I still keep it up not top level competition obviously, but I still keep running. I have moved on now and I try to encourage everybody else.

R.H.: I am in the over 75 group. Honestly, there are some people who can beat me easily in that group. Maybe they have not run as much, or have not stressed their bodies like I have, I have run 115 marathons, only one was three hours only three at the most were two hours fifty. So I think this may have had some effect in my body but I still feel I am very healthy and will continue running for ever.

Do you follow the top level competition?

S. B.: Yes! I love watching it when I can. I do not sit indoors watching it all the time, but all the big events I will be there watching the Commonwealth Games and everything then I will hop back and think oooh lovely!

R. H.: About the marathon, Mo Farah ran 2:08 and people in the 80’ ran this time. 44 years ago, I ran 2:09, so it is somewhere in Britain we have lost this depth of running quickly, where by quickly I mean below 2:20. I do not know what has gone wrong, maybe lifestyle changes, maybe the Africans have scared off our marathon runners but I would say it is worth training, forget the African runners, it is worth training to get a national best, to get an England best or a British best, and you can wear it proudly.

How do you live with your legend?

S.B.: Well, I just feel that I was very lucky I am really pleased that I can still run now and you know my joints are all still there so I look back on that time it was a wonderful ten years travelling around the world and racing. I feel very lucky.

R.H.: I believe I am a normal person. I am sometimes embarrassed when you say I am a legend. I am a regular guy. I enjoy running, I feel I am very humble. They say I am a thick neck or red neck or whatever. I am an ordinary person.

Do you see yourself such an inspiration to runners?

S. B.: Well, I try to motivate. I love it. Some people have to learn to love it. And that I feel it is my job: ‘Come on give it a go you may not like the first few sessions you will get addicted if you keep on going’.

R. H.: I think I am a good example to people but just on ordinary guy that had inspiration from a comic book character. Love running, never expected to be a champion, so just get improving slowly, slowly, slowly. I think at one stage at one marathon. I was the best in the world and I ran 2:09:28 in Edinburgh in 1970. I thought I was the best in the world so it was a nice feeling.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Everything you need to know about Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is the name given to a condition that causes pain on the outside of the elbow. The medical term for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis or common extensor tendinopathy. Tennis elbow is caused by repeatedly overusing the muscles of the forearm that attach to the elbow and move the wrist. The muscles and tendon become strained so that small tears develop in the tendon near the bony lump at the elbow (epicondyle).

Symptoms of a tennis elbow

Tender painful area on the bone on the outer part of the elbow.
- Pain on gripping even small objects such as a pen.
- Pain when twisting the forearm such as opening a jar.
- Pain when lifting a weight.
- Pain when using a keyboard.
- Difficulty in straightening the elbow.

Tennis balls in Simply Sports.

Early stage treatment

- Rest. It is important to stop or change the activity that is causing the pain.
- Ice pack. Apply a cold pack to the painful area for 10 minutes every two hours. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Either wrap ice in a wet tea towel or cloth or use sports gel pack that can be placed in the freezer.
- Strap or braze. Some people find tennis elbow splints helpful. These should be worn only when doing activity and should be removed at night.
- Over the counter medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen gels can help with pain relief.

Later stage treatment

- Exercise. It is essential to regain full flexibility and strength of the forearm muscles. A physiotherapist can devise a programme of exercises to recondition the forearm muscles. In some instances tennis elbow is caused by weakness in the shoulder girdle muscles and strengthening these muscles is part of a rehabilitation programme.
- Manual treatment. If the condition is persistent specific soft tissue manipulation performed by a physiotherapist can be helpful.

                                               Treating Tennis Elbow by Randy Woodman

When returning to sport the following should be observed:

- Take adequate rest between sessions.
- Do not play sport if your arm is painful.
- Do not return to playing sport until you have regained the strength in your arm muscles.
- Get professional advice on your technique and the equipment you use.

Preventing a tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is usually an overuse injury and can be prevented by taking simple precautions.

- Do gentle warm-up exercises before activity to prepare the arm for the stresses and strains normally experienced when exercising.
- Take regular breaks if you are doing a repetitive activity.
- Stopping the activity that’s causing the problem or find a different way to do it.
- Seeking advice early from your GP or Chartered Physiotherapist if  symptoms do not settle with self management.

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Monday, 21 April 2014

How to know the right grip size in your racket tennis

One of the most important things to get right when buying a racket is the grip size. If it’s too big or small you can sustain injuries like tennis elbow.

There’s a simple way to test that you’ve got the right grip size – when you hold the handle, there should be a 1 centimetre gap between your thumb and first finger.

In other words, you should be able to slide the forefinger of your free hand between the tips of your fingers and your thumb.


If the grip isn’t quite the right size then you can buy an overgrip to put over the top which will enlarge the grip size slightly.

Minis & Juniors

You also need to make sure you get the right size of racket for children. Check out our size guide, which gives you an idea of what you should be buying for your child based on their age.

Please note that these are just a guide and it’s also a good idea to ask a coach if possible.

              17’’     3-4 years

              19’’     4-5 y.
Our tennis area in Reigate.

              21’’     5-6 y.

              23’’     7-8 y.

              25’’     9-11 y.

              26’’     11-13 y.

              27’’     11+ y.


Much like driving a car with bald tyres a tennis racket with old strings will not perform as well. While strings can break at anytime, (there is no guarantee against this) even if they don’t break they become dead and will adversely affect your game and enjoyment. Dudley Gill our restringer has years of experience in playing racket sports and restringing rackets and will gladly give you good advice if you need it.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Tips for the maintenance of cricket bats

Cricket bats are made of willow. It is to be expected that the condition of the bat will deteriorate during its usage.

Irrespective of make or finish of a bat, superficial face and edge marks will almost certainly appear, together with indentations or bruising of the willow. This happens especially when ‘poly type’ coverings have been used, when the covering (a man-made fibre) does not react in exactly the same manner as willow (a natural fibre). In these circumstances there is no need to worry or concern as the durability and performance of the bat will be unaffected.

Preparation for play

We recommends the following principles for the preparation and maintenance of cricket bats. Following these procedures will significantly reduce the possibility of damage occurring.


Oiling: All natural faced bats MUST be treated using raw linseed or a specialist cricket bat oil. The main purpose of oiling is to maintain moisture levels within the blade, and hence reduce the chances of cracking and splitting. Light coats should be applied to the face, edge, toe and back of the blade –taking care to avoid the logos and the splice area. Generally two or three coats should be sufficient. Each coat should be allowed to dry into the blade in a horizontal position before the next is applied.

Alternatively. It is possible to fit a clear anti-scuff or similar cover. This does not negate the requirement to ‘knock in’ the bat. The cover may assist the durability of the bat, but under no circumstances will it totally prevent surface damage.

Knocking in. All bats are pressed, however ‘knocking in’ is VITAL. This is the process by which the fibres of the willow in the face and edges are compressed together to form a barrier, which protects the bats against the impact of the ball. Effective ‘knocking in’ will significantly improve the performance and increase the lifespan of the bat.

Bats in Simply Sports.

Stage one: The ‘knocking in’ process should be undertaken carefully, using a special bat mallet or an old, quality cricket ball. The bat should be repeatedly struck (with gradually increasing force) in all areas where one would normally expect to hit the ball, this conditioning must be performed with patience. Particular attention should be given to the edges, although the edges or toe should not be struck directly at right –angles to the blade. This would be likely to cause damage.
This stage should take in the region of six hours, although it may vary as every bat is different.

Stage two: The next step is to graduate to the use of the bat to hit short catches with an old, quality cricket ball. However, if the seam marks the blade, it is necessary to return to ‘Stage one’ for a further conditioning. This stage should be performed for at least another hour.

Many bats come ‘PKI’ or pre-knocked in. This is where the manufacturer has oiled and knocked in the bat in the factory. Although this means that the extensive six hours of knocking in isn’t required, we still recommend that you still take care and knock your bat in for between 2-3 hours. Followed by Stage 2 above, either catches or someone throwing gentle underarm ‘bowls’ which are hit gently back to the bowler, this will ensure the bat is well prepared and ready for you to score tons of runs!!!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Why wear a sports bra?

Did you know that there are no muscles in the breast? Your breasts are made up of the suspensory Cooper's Ligament which, when unsupported during exercise, can stretch beyond repair and lead to irreversible breast sag. Your breasts can bounce up to 9cm when unsupported during exercise!

A good sports bra is as essential a piece of sports kit as a good pair of trainers. Yet why are 73% of women who exercise regularly not wearing sports bras? If you are in any doubt as to how important it is to give yourself a lift, we clear up some well-known myths here.

Myths and Facts

Myth 1: There are muscles in the breast.
Fact: Female breasts are primarily composed of glandular tissue and fat, held in position by the delicate Cooper's Ligament. Any excessive amount of breast movement or bounce, as happens during exercise, puts strain on these ligaments and can cause them to stretch. In the long term this leads to breast sag.


Myth 2: Specific exercises will return your breasts to their former shape.
Fact: Once breasts have dropped because of stretching these ligaments, nothing can naturally restore them to their former position.

Myth 3: Small breasts do not need support.
Fact: Even among 34As/75As, tests found that breast movement ranged up to an average of 40mm away from the resting place of the body, which can lead to breast sag.

Myth 4: Running, in itself, always leads to sore and tender breasts.
Fact: Inadequate breast support, coupled with excessive breast movement, is the most likely cause of sore and tender breasts after exercise. In a survey, 80% of GPs questioned agreed that with the specialist support of a sports bra, stress on the ligaments is reduced. This helps delay the long-term sagging of breasts.

Myth 5: Your ordinary, everyday bra is good enough to use when exercising.
Fact: Tests showed that breast movement is reduced by 38% when wearing an ordinary bra but this rises to as much as 74% with a Shock Absorber sports bra.

Read more about our research with the Shock Absorber Sports Institute (SASI) in The Science of Shock Absorber.
*Source: Omnibus December 2004.

Friday, 7 March 2014

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, celebrated every year on the 8th of March and in the sporting world equality has been no less a topic of conversation than anywhere else.

From the prize money at Wimbledon to the inclusion of women in all teams at the London 2012 Olympic Games the topic of equality in sport has been consistently on the agenda.

However, in areas such as participation, authority, reward and recognition the fight goes on to continue to level the playing field and there is still some way to go.

In participation more still needs to be done in countries where women’s lack of rights go way beyond being able to play sport, having a token athlete at the Olympics is just a tiny step but sport can be the catalyst for change.

In authority until 1981 the IOC was exclusively a men’s club and even today only 20 of the 112 IOC members are women. It is not for lack of role models, organisational skills or candidates that these numbers are so low, sporting bodies need to push for a greater balance in the IOC.


No one would be so naïve as to suggest that sex has not been used to sell women’s sport and the riches achieved through product endorsement have disguised the fact that the rewards for female sports stars do not match those of their male counterparts. However, bums on seats is what attracts revenue either at the events themselves or watching on TV, a greater exposure to women’s sport on TV would help a great deal to change this. We can only hope that in time the achievements by female stars are not compared to their stronger male counterparts, accept it for what it is. In some sports there is less comparison, no-one compares Laura Trott’s times with the male cyclists, she won gold and that was all that counted.

Success needs to be recognised and only last month the ECB announced that the women’s England Cricket team would go full time. This has to have been as a result of a consistently brilliant performance by the team both on and off the field of play, no dressing rooms bust ups, no errant tweets and from what I can see no ego’s getting in the way of the team ethos. Our women’s cricketers thoroughly deserve this recognition, now we just need the fans to pack Lords to the rafters for their next home match.

Progress has been made in sport and sport can continue to lead the way for the rest of society.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Types of Running Shoes

We have prepared a Running Shoe guide to show you the variation in running shoe types in relation to your individual running action (gait).

- Over pronation / Stability (1st in the photograph): For runners with an less stable foot strike, rolling from the outside edge of the heel inwards through to the ball of the foot. These shoes incorporate a stability structure along the middle of the arch to help control this movement.

 - Neutral (2nd): For runners with a more stable and straighter heel to toe foot strike. These shoes will offer a balanced level of support and cushioning for the whole of the foot.

- Minimalist (3rd): For runners wanting a more natural bare foot running experience, forcing a more forefoot landing running gait. These are very light but with less cushioning and under arch support. Lightweight Race day shoes can also fall under this category, and are available in both neutral and stability versions.

- Trail (4th): For runners looking to run off-road in woods, fields, over muddy ground and loose rocky surfaces. They have a more aggressive and deeper tread for better grip, with tougher materials used for shoe upper. Some maybe made waterproof for added comfort (Available in both neutral and stability versions).

- Cross-Trainer (5th): These are for people who do a mixture of running, gym classes or other indoor activities. These shoes offer more support for twisting and sideways movement. Many will often use less mesh material on the upper of the shoe, favouring leather or synthetic leather panels.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a free Running Shoe assessment service at both Stores. Where you can be assessed using our Motion Quest Cube, to help us identify the best type of shoe in relation to your individual running gait.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The retirement of Kevin Pietersen from International cricket

By Adrian Pointer

So it’s goodbye to one of the most exciting and entertaining batsmen in the history of international cricket. Many have described KP as a maverick, but the best usually are. They are different from the rest, they do things that others cannot and they do things that others wish they didn’t, that is what you get with a maverick. I will count myself lucky that I was alive to see him bat.

Source: AP

The greats who play individual sports such as John McEnroe or Cassius Clay as he was when he shocked the world of boxing manage themselves, but within the team environment it takes a special talent to manage brilliance. Perhaps this is why we ultimately recognise great managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough or even Jose Mourinho.

As the saying goes “there is no “i” in team but there are five in “individual brilliance”

We will miss KP remembering the first time we ever saw that switch hit for six and wish good luck to the batsman that has to fill his shoes.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Giving your stick a longer life

Hockey sticks can be very expensive items and as with any consumer product, it is reasonable to expect the owner to care for and maintain his or her stick. The players who do this correctly can expect the stick´s performance and life-span to be significantly improved. Here is some specific advice.

It is recommended that players should tape the lower part of the shaft of the stick with cloth tape. Not only does this help protect the stick from the effects of stick clashes, it also helps to control the ball when receiving, and thus improving play. Firstly apply several lengths along the flat face and then one wrapping only, to produce a cushion which help control the ball. This will also prevent the shaft from becoming too wide to pass the 51 mm ring test. Players should look to replace this tape as it wears and its effect diminishes.


Repair kits and maintenance:
All sticks wear with use. If wear is unchecked it can lead to further head problems. Good hockey retailers can supply various stick repair kits. When such materials are applied correctly and on a “little and often” basis they can counter wear to the head.

Toe and Edge hitting:
Rules now allow for the ball to be hit off the edge of the stick. It is not possible to completely prevent damage to the edges of sticks and also if the toe is grounded during the attempt to play such a shot. We strongly recommend that players use an old stick to perfect this technique.

Anyway, if you have any other questions, please ask us (Hockey at Simply Sports).