Newton Distance- Weird Science.

I enrolled to be a Lab Rat. The University of Newcastle are doing a study on shoes and injury. I volunteered.

After 4 weeks of logging a diary I was enrolled and randomised. This was dangerous, some God awful shoes were on offer. I am talking Hoka One One here and things with springs in them. Brands I had never heard of, 10mm plus heel drops. I was lucky enough to get the Newtons.

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My main shoes for 12 long months.

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Heel looks big but is relatively low.

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4 lugs. I think they now have 5.

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Lugs.

They are a lowish trainer, 2mm drop but no advertised stack height, I think it’s about 12mm. They are pretty standard fare but for one thing. They call it POP or ‘action reaction’, it is one of those energy return ideas. If it worked we would all use it. Energy for free! Yay! Any way there are 4 big lugs in the fore foot that go in and out with your foot strike, it is meant to bounce you into the next stride.

 

Well, it might do that but what it mostly does is feel weird. You have to strike in the forefoot or you are going to fall over. I do, more so than the shoe would want so it is easy for me to adjust. I have no pain, they are fine to run in even if I feel a bit like I am wearing Japannese flood clogs. They fit well and have a very ‘look at me’ colour scheme, Fluoro everything.

 

What more can i say? They are gizmo shoes. I hope the feeling of stepping on a rubber square goes with time and they disappear like I desire. Skora shoes are the very opposite of this, the Newtons are talking the same talk but not walking the same walk. You can’t walk in these things anyway.

 

I suggest Newton do away with the rubber lozenge, or minimise it. Focus on low, fast design and they will go on. It is a question of finding your niche in a thick pile of shoes hence the lozenge will stay and I wont. Come the end of the study I am GONE! at 9.98 m/s/s.

Newton Home page.

The Pinnacles Trail Classic 2014- Upper Brookfield.

How can I write a race report without disaster? What went wrong? What was interesting?

Well, my dog and daughter kept me up the night before, leading to an evaporation of the lift I was promised. Young Harman tried to eat my race vest as I stumbled out the door in the dark. Not very impressive???

Beagle sabotage.

Beagle sabotage

The race description sounded tough, a real brute. Starting at the Gold Creek Reserve it takes an 18km loop around the reservoir. Clockwise this year. I don’t know if that makes it easier or not. It was not easy. The signature feature of the race is the short sharp climbs, 18 in all. A mini Ronde Van Vlaanderen, or Tour of Flanders for the cyclists out there. Not a lot of climbing in all, 900m or so in 18km but the rapidity/frequency and grade of these beasts was telling.

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Wave 1.

 

 

 

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Profile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 120 starters took off in waves from 6-30. After a pretty low-key address from race director Peter Holles you knew it was a TRAQ race, friendly, informal, relaxed.

 

Sensible shoes.

Sensible shoes.

I took the final group as I was late after parking a way down the road, I was not carpooling and have a conspicuous vehicle. Best not alienate myself further with my fellow trail runners. It all went ok from the gun, I was soon passed by almost everyone and overtook one sole runner requesting a ‘new leg’ due to cramp. Up and down we went, I ran most this time. Walking to the crest of only half a dozen. The scenery was stunning, wide eucalyptus forest with spots of grass trees and a quaint hippy/yuppy house made of stone along the way. This is mountainous country and I knew it well from past adventures on the MTB.

I was wearing some sensible shoes, New Balance numbers designed by Anton Krupicka, they are not available anymore but are low, fast and very minimal BUT with a rock plate! Wow, this course needed it.

After a while a question did come up. There are 18 climbs right? I had lost count and was starting to swear. The colourful signs along the way didn’t give a number, was ‘The Beast’ 8 or 9??? Still, the km were coming down and I knew the last 3-4 km had to be down hill. At this point, Ms New Leg came past me, bummer. I caught her up again going down the penultimate hill but debated the chivalry of this sort of thing. This internal monologue lasted all the way to the final dash when I made a run for home. chivalry be damned!

Rough trails.

Rough trails.

Standard steep fare......

Standard steep fare……

It all went well. There is no way I could have gone any harder. I was not last and had a great time. The family were there to greet me, even the Beagle (No domestic pets allowed). The organisation was as always perfect and the winners awesome. A great local race. I will be back! I even donated my massage to Lesley, who looked like she needed it more. A beagle pup can do that to you!

A big thank you to TRAQ for putting on another great race and to all the volunteers who make these things happen.

Support crew.

Support crew.

 

TRAQ- Link to results.