Oh So Close!

So what do you do when you’ve shattered the Comrades Marathon women’s record, won the Two Oceans Marathon in near-record time, and posted the fastest marathon by a South African in years? You go after the SA Marathon record… and you don’t let a global pandemic get in the way. That’s what Gerda Steyn did in the recent London Marathon. – BY SEAN FALCONER

Lucky Miya

Third Time Lucky!

They call it South Africa’s toughest mountain race, a life-changing adventure, and that’s why the K-Way SkyRun 100km is on many a trail runner’s bucket list, and winning it is one hell of a feather in the cap of any runner. And that makes it all the more impressive that Lucky Miya will be going after a third win this November. – BY SEAN FALCONER

Are You The Next Under Armour Elite Runner?

Under Armour is looking for an elite group of long distance runners to join their families of athletes. They know that the rules of engagement have changed, and get that it takes a lot more than sponsorship to build a champion. Submit your application and you could be part of an inspiring group of runners to help you stay motivated and in the lead.

“If distance is your calling, speed is your stride and the podium your destination, you are an Elite Runner.

Apply here to become a part of Under Armour’s Elite group of runners who enjoy the benefits of product and support from one of the best performance brands in the world.

Be. Elite.

IS RUNNING SOMETHING YOU WERE BORN TO DO?

Is it the beat of your heart, the sharp point of your being?
Do the Kilometres build-up effortlessly in order to define the sweet moment of victory?
Because only you know what it takes to be the best, and being in the front is the only place to be.
Under Armour is Looking for an ELITE group of runners to join our family of athletes.

Because the rules of engagement have changed and it takes more than a sponsorship to build a champion.

 

WHAT DO I NEED TO QUALIFY IN ORDER TO BE AN ELITE RUNNER?

WHAT WILL I RECEIVE AS A PART OF THE UA ELITE GROUP

T’s&C’s Apply”

WHAT IT TAKES:

Do you qualify to be one of Under Armour’s Elite Athletes? This is what it takes:

Athletes must have run in a minimum of four official South African marathons per calendar year for the past two years. Be registered to an official running club. 

Able to run in accordance with the following distances and times:

  •  Half Marathon:
    •  Female – sub 1h20
    • Male – sub 1h05
  • Full Marathon
    •  Female – sub 2h50
    • Male – sub 2h25
  • Ultra Marathon (Comrades Time or Similar)
    •  Female – sub 7h00
    • Male – sub 6h10
What You Get

Successfully appointed Elite Athletes will receive the following:

  • R20 000 worth of Under Armour gear per running calendar
  • R5000 worth of race entries and support per calendar year
  • Ad hoc seeding to the latest Under Armour Run technologies for product testing
  • An athlete card which gives access to all Under Armour gear at MVP prices (45% off of the retail price of Under Armour Footwear and 50% off the retail price of Under Armour Apparel/accessories)
Carla1_Andrea Molinaro

To Touch a Signpost

What’s a runner to do when you’ve been training for months for two ultra-marathons, and then suddenly the world goes into lockdown and all events gets cancelled? Well, SA-based British athlete and 2018 Comrades Marathon gold medallist Carla Molinaro went looking for a different challenge, and in the process wrote her name into the Guinness Book of Records. – By Sean Falconer

NEW Live Well Section

Not only have we revamped our look and feel in our September edition, we have also included a new ‘Live Well’ section, providing amazing advice from phenomenal trainers, nutritionists and life coaches! This section is all about living your best life, and we have specifically brought in contributors that offer something relatable to all people. (And we still have all the inspirational ‘people stories’ that you love.) Check it out by reading the magazine below!

Huawei Fit Watch

The New HUAWEI WATCH FIT Reviewed

The newest edition to the Huawei smartwatch family, the HUAWEI WATCH FIT, offers a device that really has something for everyone. Our Marketing Director Roxanne Martin, a sporadic 5km runner, cycling lover, mom of a three-year-old, working 10-hour days entrepreneur, put the watch through its paces to see how it faired in her busy lifestyle.

I’ll be totally honest: I love getting something before anyone else. It’s like getting a pass to a secret party that no-one else knows about! So, when the new HUAWEI WATCH FIT landed on my desk a month before it ‘officially’ launched in SA, I was more than excited to put it through its paces.

Unboxing is ‘Almost’ my Favourite Part

I think it’s part of the human psyche to get excited when you get to open something new, and it was no different unboxing this watch. First impressions on any product are important, so here is what stood out immediately for me:

  • The watch design is sleek – it makes an immediate statement – and being rectangle with rounded edges, it gives you the advantage of having a ‘bigger’ screen without taking over your whole wrist. I appreciated how ‘understated and stylish’ it is.
  • The light pink strap is a beautiful colour, while being versatile enough that it literally can be worn with anything – and yes, this is important to women.
  • Taking it out the box, I was surprised just how light the watch is. In fact, it was so light that when you put it on your wrist, the only way you actually know you are wearing anything is when you look down and see it on your wrist.

I immediately started setting it up, which was as simple as downloading the Huawei Health App and syncing it to my phone, and after a simple update, the watch was synced. Having an iPhone, I was worried about the process, as Huawei is android-based, but I had no issues, and the watch was able to sync with no issues. It even gave me a comprehensive list of notifications that I could select to receive if I wanted to, which I appreciated, as you don’t want every app pinging your wrist every five seconds.

Features and More Features

I love versatility, and this watch offers a lot. In the set-up alone, I did a stress test, measured my SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) and read more about what my sleep actually meant. I wanted to charge the watch fully, as they claim the battery lasts 10 days and being a little sceptical of such claims, I wanted to test this properly. Good news is that the charging took literally no time at all, just over 30 minutes to get to a full charge.

The sleep monitoring really appealed to me, because with a three-year-old and hectic work schedule, my sleep is not great, and my present watch needs to charge at the end of the day, so no chance of sleep monitoring there! Excited to start, I dutifully went to sleep with my watch on my wrist, which thanks to its lightweight didn’t impact my sleep, as I am a light sleeper (no pun intended). After a week of sleep monitoring, I had amazing new insight into not only how many hours I was sleeping, but also how much REM sleep, light sleep and deep sleep, I was actually getting.

The app is incredibly helpful in explaining how much of each type of sleep you should be getting. My deep sleep is low and thus my sleep point score is low, which explains the fatigue I have been feeling. Also, I am now trying to deal better with my stress and anxiety, which is helping my sleep, and this is also thanks to what the watch told me, which in turn prompted me to investigate this important aspect of sleep-management. I would recommend the watch to everybody just based on this feature alone!

Your Own Personal Coach

Gym and exercise have altered a lot since we went into the Lockdown period, with many of us following online exercise programmes, as our ‘normal’ just wasn’t available. So, when I was told the watch featured a workout guide with actual visuals, I was excited – and I was not disappointed when I used it. Not only are there guided cross-fit workouts, but there are also guided running workouts as well as what feels like a million different workout types, covering literally every sport known to man!

The fitness courses are anything from three minutes to 18 minutes, and range from a simple reenergise session to neck and shoulder relaxation for us who sit hunched over our desks for too long. The visual is an animation of a man I now call Steve, who gives you a demonstration of how to do the movements, which was a game-changer for me. Sometimes we are excited to get going with exercise, but we perhaps don’t get the fundamentals right of the correct technique, which could lead to injury. Steve changes that in a big way, as the animation shows the movement clearly, and with enough time to really see how you should be doing it.

The guided workouts give you a demo followed by a countdown, and then a vibration counter to let you know how many reps to do. I did everything from a simple desk exercise to a rather hardcore ab workout. Also, having done cross-fit for six years, I was impressed that you can get in a good workout, safely and with correct technique, without the worry that you may pull something or do damage to joints. There is presently a total of 12 courses, giving you enough combos to work with to get two proper workouts in a week, which is generally my goal.

On the running side it was also great. I have been focusing on cycling on the indoor trainer during lockdown, as it’s not always ideal running alone, and so I enjoyed getting back into running by following the training programmes on the watch. This gave me a constructive guide to get going again without pushing me past where I should have been running as yet. I have gone too hard, too soon in the past, and my knees did not thank me. This watch puts the control on your wrist, and by listening, I found I got stronger a lot faster.

Things that I really liked…

When exercising, the activity screen shows you what heart rate zone you are in, which is incredibly helpful when you should be focused on long slow mileage training and keeping that heart rate down between zones two and three.

I used the GPS tracking during a four-hour bike ride out in the Cradle, it didn’t even use 20% of the battery, so when they say the battery can last up to 10 days, they are telling the truth, and that is even with activities and notifications.

What I didn’t like…

The one and only problem – and I really stress that word only – that I had with the watch was the step counter. In comparison with my other watch, there was a considerable difference in steps, with the Huawei coming in lower, but in retrospect, this could simply be down to the watch being more accurate on steps and not an actual fault. I’m giving the watch the benefit of the doubt here because it impressed me in every other way.

Would I buy it?

While this watch offers a similar ‘package’ to other smartwatches in terms of functionality, I believe that the app gives you a lot more insight into important health factors that are helpful in our busy modern lifestyles. And at a suggested retail price of R2999, the HUAWEI WATCH FIT offers a package that is hard to match, let alone beat in terms of what you get for your money. I would therefore buy this watch, as I feel it provides tremendous value for money as well as a host of features that support my lifestyle. It definitely gets my thumbs up for the Christmas List. (That’s a subtle hint for my hubby…)

Click here to check it out for yourself

Want to win a pair of Huawei Freelace Earphones and a Huawei Bluetooth speaker valued at R2500?

To put yourself in the running is as simple as reading our review on the HUAWEI FIT WATCH and answering the simple question, what name does our Marketing Director Roxanne give to the animation of the man who leads the work-outs?

See entry form below!

Elroy Chasing Record in London

Elroy Gelant is much smaller in real life than he appears in pictures or on television. He is, however, as fast as his reported times. Perhaps even faster now. – By Matshelane Mamabolo

Late on a Tuesday afternoon in September, in the university town of Potchefstroom that he has called home for a little over a decade, I had the privilege of watching Gelant do a speed session that left me in awe. He completed all eight of the 1000m intervals in under three minutes, with the last two flashing by at the lightning fast speed of 2:37 and 2:25 minutes per kilometre respectively.

It is the pace he plans to run at this weekend when he lines up for the highly anticipated London Marathon on Sunday 4 October. Manage to do that and Gelant could become the new South African marathon record holder, replacing Gert Thys, who is the current incumbent with his 2:06:33 set way back in 1999 at the Tokyo Marathon.

It would be a remarkable achievement for a runner who is relatively new to marathon running. While he holds the title of South African marathon champion, Gelant goes into the London Marathon with just two official 42.2km races under his belt, having run the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in 2017 and 2019.

Fast Race Expected

With a Personal Best of 2:10:31 from last year’s national championships at the Cape Town Marathon, many would feel the 2:07 target he has set himself for London is a tad too ambitious. But there are a lot of factors that are sure to work in his favour. For one, the race is certain to be fast – notwithstanding the withdrawal of Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. Also, the race is going to be run on a fast course – around the St James’ Park – that was among those considered for Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge’s historic Ineos 1:59 Challenge last year. Of course, it would be suicidal of him to try and keep up with the top guns who will be in the leading pack. All he needs do is stick with the chasing group and he should be able to achieve his goal.

Another reason to be optimistic is the fact that he is in great shape. “Elroy is in fantastic form. He has really trained well and hard for this. Even though the lockdown impacted on his training a bit, it was not the kind of impact to take him off track. He will do very well in London,” says coach Jean Verster as we watch Gelant fly through another 1000m, followed closely by his training mates from the North West University, a number of them 800m specialists whose speed helps keep the national champion on his toes.

Running in Circles

For the runner himself, it is the fact that the London Marathon is going to be run in loops that he sees as arguably the best factor counting in his favour. “The format of this race is right up my alley,” he explains during breakfast at Die Akkers following an easy 10km jog in the morning. “Because of COVID-19, we are not going to run it on the normal route that goes through the city, but we are going to do 19 laps of 2.1km with an extra 1300m straight going to the finish line. I have always been a track specialist, so it is much easier for me to keep my rhythm on the laps. So, I am pretty confident I will do well in London.”

Gelant’s preparations for the race have seen him mimic the race format and he has done 2km loop running every second week at 3:01min/km – a pace that will see him complete the race at 2:07. Also, he and his coach have picked up that Gelant’s biggest weakness is his finish, and thus they have worked hard at fixing this.

“When I went to last year’s Cape Town Marathon, the goal was to run a 2:08, but I failed to achieve that because I died in the last five kilometres. We realised that I’d done a lot of junk mileage prior to the race, as though I was training for the Comrades Marathon. I had no structure to my training, and I did not supplement properly. I remember feeling very bloated at 32km because I had taken a lot of supplements. To have run a 2:10 having made those mistakes was still a good achievement, and I’m sure I will be able to do much better now that we have trained right.”

Amongst the Best in the World

The mere fact that he is going to be racing with some of the world’s greatest marathoners – Kipchoge, Mosinet Geremew, Marius Kipserem, Mule Wasihun, Tamirat Tola and Shura Kitata – gets the 34-year-old from Pacaltsdorp in George, Western Cape pinching himself in disbelief. “I get goosebumps just thinking about the race. I am very privileged to be going to participate. I have been on a four-year plan towards the Olympics and we all know that to win a medal at the Games, you must race against the best. And the experience I am going to get from London is going to stand me in good stead for next year’s Olympics.”

Gelant has been to the Olympics before, but not for the marathon. “I made the finals of the 5000m in Rio in 2016, and that alone was a great achievement, because the heats were very tough. There were four East Africans in my heat, and it was incredible to have made it from that.”

Coming back to London, there will be a lot of Africans in the race tomorrow. Run anywhere near close to them, and Gelant could well add South African marathon record holder to the South African marathon champion title he already holds. And how they will celebrate that not only in Potchefstroom and Pacaltsdorp, but throughout the country.

Image: Elroy Gelant wins the FNB Maputo 10K CITYRUN in late 2019 – photo by Tobias Ginsberg