Just hours before the dusty tracks are trampled by man and dog, my feet lead me to Bushy Park where my footprints leave their mark. The golden glow of sunrise long gone, the heat now intensifies the smell of freshly mown grass. The early chirping of birdsong greets me as I beat the crowds. That’s a result!
Another beautiful morning in London! My ‘Comrades’ cap and sunglasses on first and this morning in particular, even my legs feel strong; there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of completing a strenuous workout. As my run nears completion and home is in sight, my breakfast order is on the tip of my tongue; a celebratory flat white and croissant.
If all goes to plan, my next goal is to run the Soweto Marathon this November. Soweto is a township just outside Johannesburg, “a charming sprawl of South African history”. There’s no greater way to explore an area than to run right through the middle of it.
The province of Gauteng is the area that I have least explored in South Africa. Racing in Soweto will give me a great opportunity to investigate more of the coffee shops in and around Johannesburg for some post race recovery! Soweto Marathon 2017 will be the 24th of its kind, now commonly known as ‘The People’s Race’.
In collaboration with Mr Porter, I would like to share an insight into my running and training gear and the distinct difference between them.
For me, running clothes need to have two essential qualities; lightweight and breathable. A perfect example would be the Nike dry-fit tank. Even in winter, running in a vest rather than a t-shirt is more comfortable. Along with some race-day shorts, my essentials include a Suunto GPS watch and Air Zoom Structures. On a very long run, I tend to wear compression socks in an attempt to reduce the strain on my calves and speed up recovery.
Training gear is different for me: it is more about style over stability. Primarily, my training gear needs to be comfortable and attractive. I recently discovered Tracksmith Mesh Tank and shorts which epitomise everything desirable in training and running gear, combining the two essential qualities. Tracksmith is an independent, performance brand of sportswear from New England which features distinctly vintage, old school designs. Besides the classic and rather traditional style, the clothing is incredibly light-weight and most importantly, comfortable.
When it comes to sneakers, I deliberately separate my casual trainers from my running shoes. Kicking off your trainers after a long run is the greatest feeling of relief but also helps to prevent wearing them down unnecessarily. Even if I just switch to my APL sneakers and head directly to the café, that works for me.
Over the past few years, I have worn Nike Air Zoom Structures for the majority of my milage. They have maximum support for a neutral landing runner and fit like a glove. When heading onto the trails, I switch it up and wear my Salomon Speedcross trail shoes. Over time, a variety of Speedcross sneakers have supported me; each version has been more impressive than the previous model in terms of stability and structure.
Does decent running gear have to be boring? Definitely not! Over the past few years Nike has been at the forefront of innovative design, fashionable and athlete centred. However, when it comes to sneakers, it is crucial to make a choice according to your running gait and style, not merely on their appearance.
Tracksmith is the perfect balance for me; a combination of style and substance. A quick change of trainers, a spray of deodorant and I’m ready for my morning coffee…
Photography by my good friend and incredible photographer: Will Chamberlin