Wednesday 7 August 2019

The Asics London 10K, more than a simple race

Iona Campbell is one of the member of the Mojo Running & Fitness, a friendly women's running group based in Sevenoaks, Hildenborough and Otford. Each Monday night run from our store completing a varied and fun training. Recently, Simply Sports & Asics organised a competition and the winner received an all inclusive package to the ASICS London 10k, included a brand new top to toe outfit and pair of runners. The competition was decided by the club. They had to put into 50 words who they thought deserved it and why. Iona was the winner and here she tell us her experience and how she could check her conditions in London after a few difficulties already overcome:  

I took up running roughly about 3 years ago following my second Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL) due to skiing and football injuries. Whilst I was undertaking an MSc in Sports Therapy, which I didn't finish, at the University of Gloucestershire I started doing a Gloucester Parkrun where I meet some members of a local running group called the Hucclecote Harriers. They I suggested I join them for regular runs, which aided with my overall stamina and speed. 

Iona during a training.

Following my time at Gloucester I moved to Sevenoaks, Kent to be closer to my family where I discovered an all ladies running group called MOJO Running and Fitness Club (a friendly women's running group run by the amazing Jo Kingston), where my running improved even more as I was pushed to run in the Kent hills. 

I have joined the club in several 10K runs over the last couple of years (including London winter run, Sevenoaks Weald 10K and Whitstable 10K), along with several Triathlons (I completed Hever castle Olympic distance race in September 2018). I had stated my training earlier this year for Sussex Triathlon and Oxford Half Marathon however that had to be put on hold as at the end of March 2019 I was taken in to A&E at Dartford Hospital due to the fact that I was extremely unwell. Shortly after arriving at the hospital I had a seizure which caused the doctors to sedate me and take me to the Intensive care unit where I was diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis. Thankfully I responded well to treatment and I was back at home after 10 days in hospital. 

However there was some doubt if I would make it to Italy at the beginning of May for my brother's wedding. After about 2 months of being discharged from hospital I returned to running however it will still take a while for me back to normal.

Asics shoes used by Iona during the Asics London 10K.

Taking part in the Asics London 10K run was an amazing opportunity for me to push myself and gauge how well I am doing health wise considering how unwell I was earlier in the year. It was an amazing atmosphere with plenty of people taking part in the event. There was plenty of entertainment around the round along with water and feeding stations. It is an ideal event for those who want a flat and quick 10K run or who are new to that sort of distance. 

Following my recover I have decided to undertake Edinburgh Half Marathon 2020 in support of Darenth Valley hospital as they were really amazing with me whilst I was so unwell. One thing that made the whole event even better has been the support I have had from my family and MOJO runners (I love you all).

by Iona Campbell

Sunday 14 October 2018

Fay Hart, more than a winner

Apart from an amazing sports woman, Fay Hart, key member of YMCA East Surrey Boccia Club player, is an inspiration, although she feels  "that’s quite a strong phrase to use". Recently, she won the Reigate and Banstead Disabled Sport Award, sponsored by Simply Sports, and in this interview she tells us his experience and his next challenge: the Boccia England Surrey Scorpions Academy.

- How did you feel after knowing that you are going to receive the Reigate and Banstead Sports Awards?

I had no idea at all actually. I was totally unaware until arriving at the awards and reading my name in the programme. Once I realised, I was really touched and couldn’t quite believe it.

- How did your friends, family, team members receive the new? 

I’ve had such a positive response from everyone. Especially from my team and coaches, that means so much. My mum and Dad came with me on the night of the awards, along with Emma from the YMCA it was so nice to celebrate with them.
The next day when I went to use the gym at YMCA, quite a few staff were keen to congratulate me. 

Fay Hart after receiving the Reigate Sport Award.

- Why do you think you have been selected for this award?

That’s a tough question. I think it’s because Boccia is my passion and I have a determined approach towards it. After having health problems earlier in the year, I had to take a break from Boccia. I was keen to come back from that and develop further, which hasn’t been easy. You certainly have to have a level of drive about you to be able to do that. It’s important to mention I’ve also had much invaluable support along with my determination, which is a great combination.

- How important is the sport in your life?

It is very important and has become somewhat of a lifestyle aside from the activity itself. I find the whole process of Boccia: playing, training, setting and achieving goals and exercising to get stronger a form of release from life’s other stresses. 

- Do you feel as an inspiration for others?

I feel that’s quite a strong phrase to use. I’m just keen to develop and further my skills and if someone takes something from how I do that, then that’s good.

- Tell us about your experience in the YMCA Boccia Club?

When I came to the YMCA Boccia club, everyone was so welcoming, I was quite tentative and wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to throw the ball. I had played some years before when I was younger and my muscles were less affected by my condition. To my surprise, I was able to throw the ball. I couldn’t throw it consistently though, but everyone really encouraged me and that really did help me to improve. This, along with hard work, not only meant I became able to throw the ball properly, but it also gave me the skillset I needed to succeed to the point I have and to continue doing so. Without  the YMCA Boccia Club, the things I have  experienced so far would not have been possible and for that, I am very grateful.

Fay Hart along Adrian Pointer (Simply Sports).

- Which are new challenges (training, competitions...)?

With regard to challenges, I now have a place at the Boccia England Surrey Scorpions Academy, where I am lucky enough to play and train alongside some of the England players. That’s a massive challenge in itself, because I look up to them and would like to be playing for England myself in the future. Competition wise, I’m entering the Heathcoat Cup in early 2019. Last year I qualified with a gold medal in my category, but wasn’t well enough to attend the finals. This time around, I hope to qualify again and get another chance to go to the finals, because succeeding there could potentially open doors to new opportunities for me.

- Why would you recommend to practise sport? 

I would say that sport isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have the chance to try a sport and enjoy it, then it is worth pursuing.

Thursday 23 August 2018

Your running club for training for the Intersport Run Reigate

Cat and Sarah from Team Mama are the energetic spirit of the Run Reigate Run Club, free training sessions held every Tuesday at Priory Park to prepare people for the Intersport UK Run Reigate Half Marathon, 10k or 5k the next 16th of September. Both coaches lead the sessions along with The Fitness Zone and tell us in this interview their amazing experience with this new running community is being born in Reigate.

- What was the goal to start the Run Reigate Run Club?

Initially the goal was to give people a structured programme to build up their fitness and running technique to achieve a 5k distance. However, this programme has also benefited the 10k and 1/2 marathon runners in improving their running speeds, balance, coordination and strength.

- How is being the experience?

It has been a fantastic experience. The Run Reigate Running Club has been so well received - we have had amazing numbers, and brilliant feedback. It has also been great exposure for our business TeamMama (a leading advanced post-natal fitness provider helping mums to recover their strength and fitness safely in a fun, friendly environment).

The first training of the Run Reigate Run Club.

- How has been the feedback from the community?

We have had really positive feedback from all our runners. The difficulty we had was pitching the session to both novices as well as seasoned runners. The feedback has been that everyone has felt challenged and pushed.

- Did you expect this success?

Yes! Run Reigate is a really enthusiastic team with great social media exposure. They also have huge sponsors who are also actively involved - so we managed to spread the work quickly about our fantastic running club. The Reigate running community are really supportive of both Run Reigate race and also the Run Reigate Running Club.

- What is the running profile you need to join the club?

You just need to enjoy running and meeting people. We are able to adapt the exercises to meet various needs so we welcome all abilities, speeds and ages.

- How are the sessions?

The session are developed on a tried and tested coaching formula. Each week the session focus on the 'all important' running drills, building strength, balance and coordination. We then include a variety of interval, tempo and exercises - varying each week. We then finish with a timed 1k-1.5k run which gives everyone a brilliant benchmark to assess their progress. The sessions are designed and adapted for both novices as well as experienced runners. Everyone can come.

The running sessions are free are held every Tuesday at Priory Park.

- How do you motivate people to run? 

As coaches we try to bring enthusiasm, knowledge, fun and experience to each session. This has helped build a great atmosphere and has made it so popular. Each individual is running for their own personal goal: charity, health, personal best, or just for fun. A combination of all these things is what motivates our runners.

- What do you need if you want to take part in a session?

It is simple - you need a bottle of water, trainers and a smile.

- What tips do you give people training for a race like Run Reigate?

Find your goal...what is going to keep you running and training? Stay focused and don't loose heart. Join a club with like minded runners, and find a friend, who runs at your pace, to run with each week. Most importantly....ENJOY IT! Run Reigate is a fun, friendly and active community that is great to be part of. Whether you are signed up for the 5k, 10k or 1/2 marathon you will become hooked.

Run Reigate Run Club training sessions are held every Tuesday (until 4th of September) at 7:30 - 8:30pm in Reigate Priory Park -in front of the school-. The free sessions are created to prepare for the Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon, 10k and 5k race. 

Saturday 21 July 2018

Simply Sports in the heart of ON Running

In 2010, during a ISPO, the largest trade fair for sports business, we first met a guys from a Swiss start-up company called On Running in the “Brand New” hall. They were trying to be known in a very busy market like running trainers. It was a hard mission, however their product were fresh, original, fashion, and especially light. Besides, they have a great advantage: they love those shoes that they have created.  

A short time later, they were introducing the trainers in our shops with their concept Run on Clouds. That was different, not only for the quality, but their philosophy. In other words, Simply Sports & CHS and ON had a special connection from the very first time. In fact, now they are one of our top brand partners. 

Last week, we had the privilege to be invited the launch of the latest trainers designed by On, the Cloudace, and it was the perfect opportunity to discover the On Running world in their own home for two days.

One of the ON founders, Caspar Copetti, during the ON headquarter tour.

Drew, Alan and Kelly from Simply Sports and CHS were very lucky to be flown out to Zürich, along with a selection of other UK ON stockists for the Cloudace event/Oniversity. Here their adventure.

"We started off after arrival and check in at Zürich with lunch outside the ON HQ. Freshly made Italian Pizza! This was a really nice opportunity to mix with the other Oniversity guests and ON staff.

This was followed by an greeting from the UK ON team and a Brand presentation/HQ tour from one of the founders Caspar Copetti.

ON presented all of us with our own personal ON goodie bags, along with a demo pair of Cloudace to be able to test over the two day Oniversity.

We also had a presentation for the New Cloudace from their R&D team. Which was very informative and really helped to understand all the technology behind the new shoe.

Picture of the presentation for the new Cloudace.

We then took part in the Zürich Zoo Run, which was a charity event in the evening, which also included dinner which was great fun! It was also a great first opportunity to test out the new Cloud Ace!

On the second day of the Oniversity we started with a 6.15am Run through the centre of Zürich, another opportunity to really put the Cloudace though its paces. This was finished with a quick refreshing swim in the river Limmat!

Ready for the Zürich Zoo Running.

We then returned to ON HQ for more product and ON brand training for the morning, before being taken out for lunch.

The rest of the the afternoon was free time to explore Zürich before flying home. We took the opportunity to visit the ON zone in the Jelmoli Department Store. 

The Zürich Oniversity was a fantastic and unique experience. Myself and the rest of the team had great fun on the trip!"

Drew, manager at Reigate store. 

Thursday 5 July 2018

A great Running Gait Analysis makes a difference

Google defines the Running Gait analysis as "a method for identifying biomechanical abnormalities in the gait cycle - in other words it's a way of assessing the way in which you walk and run". At Simply Sports is more than a method, it is the opportunity to know the real runner and probably is the most rewarded Running Customer Service for us because in a natural conversation we can advise you the best way to enjoy running and less likely to have an injury and even we can improve your technique with our tips.

Why a running gait test? Because it is the best form to know your foot strike on the floor and determine what type of shoes you should use.

Normally, the trainers are divided in three categories -although we should not forget that each runner has a unique running gait-:

- Neutral: 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.

- Over pronation / Stability: 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.

- Supination (or underpronation): For runners with the insufficient inward roll of the foot after landing. They do not need to use any support. Neutral is the best option for them.

The Brooks Running Gait Analysis area in Reigate store.

We know that sometimes could be a bit confused the (apparently) simple thing of buying a pair of shoes for running. No worries about words like heel drop, levels of cushioning, support, rebound... because after a running gait analysis your questions will be solved. This is the reason you should invest only 10-15 minutes (we are specialist in analysis during lunch times ;]) of your time, with as much additional time as required to fit and try the various shoe options, in an assessment to run with the proper trainers for you.

Simply Sports (Reigate) and CHS (Tonbridge Wells) have recently installed a gait analysis machine called Currex Monolith that delivers a unique and individualized shoe fitting process. A modern pressure mapping system (more than 4000 sensors) reads foot behaviour 100 times per second then automatically classifies the foot into a support category whilst measuring length and width to ensure the perfect fit. After the test, the global database and our specialist staff could recommend you different shoes from our stock according to your profile.

Currex Monolith is not the standard gait analysis where you run on a treadmill and someone reviews a slow motion video, in fact you don't even need to run, you just walk across a pressure plate a couple of times and the results are tailored to your needs.

The Currex Monolith at CHS.
"Ok, I am interested. What do I need to do?"

- There is no booking required, but any advance notice of an assessment requirement is always appreciated.

- If you have a current pair of shoes that you use, please bring these along. It can often be helpful to see how well a previous shoe has worked for you.

- If you happen to have a preferred style of running sock, it's good to have these with you to assist with the fitting process.  

- Our stores also have a treadmill and customers are welcome to use this to get a better idea of how the shoes feel to run in.  

- We do stock a broad range of shoe options from Brooks, On, Saucony, New Balance, Asics, Adidas and Nike. There are also half sizes available to ensure we can get the best fit possible.

- The gait analysis service does have a fee of £20, but this is then deducted off the price of a shoe when a pair is purchased.

- We can send copy of your results via email.

Enjoy running with the guarantee of doing it with the best shoes for you. (Remember that a gait analysis is a part of your running. Other factor like training, nutrition, hydration influence in your performance).

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.