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Up & Running Blog

  • Stafford Ironman 70.3

    I did the Stafford Ironman 70.3 last sunday, it was a sweltering 29 degrees so there was plenty of ice going down the back of my trisuit on the run !! The marshalls were outstanding as ever, staying out all day in the heat offering encouragement and fluids. The swim takes place in Chasewater reservoir, a lovely dip on a hot morning. The bike course winds its way through some super countryside with the luxury of all closed roads. The run is a mixed course around the Shugborough estate, one of the small villages turning out in full with a live band, pom-pom girls and a totally London marathon-style atmosphere. I got a trophy and a podium finish for coming 2nd place in my age category (60 - 64) :-) Gill


  • Run-Fast Birmingham’s elite squad

    Run-Fast Birmingham’s elite squad join the race against Parkinson’s disease

    The Run-Fast Birmingham squad took time out of their busy schedules to show support for Bud’s Run 2017. Run-Fast Birmingham is an initiative that supports a team of eight elite middle and long-distance runners based at the University of Birmingham. The team is the brainchild of Run-Fast Sports Management Agency and marks the first time that a British university is partnering with a management agency for the purpose of establishing a more professional training environment for its elite athletes. The team is currently sponsored by Adidas, and all eight team members are aiming for selection for the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.

    “Bud’s Run” is a 5k fun run around the University campus and will take place on Saturday 21 October 2017. Bud’s Run was the idea of much-loved athletics coach Bud Baldaro, the former UK Athletics Marathon Coach who’s been based at the University for over a decade. Bud’s encouraged and helped hundreds of distance and middle-distance runners of all standards and ages, in a career spanning over forty years. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009, Bud’s determined to use his love of running to help fund research into this long-term condition. Now in its fourth year and having raised just over £53,000 for Parkinson’s UK, Bud’s Run aims to reach £70,000.

    Peter McHugh De Clare, Director of Run-Fast says, “Our partnership with the University of Birmingham, simply would not have come into being without Bud’s vision, enthusiasm and passion for running. The performance of the team in year one exceeded our expectations, with three athletes achieving Olympic qualifying times (‘A’ standard), and three competing at the 2016 European Athletics Championships. Those achievements are in no small part down to Bud, who has dedicated a large part of his life to helping athletes reach their full potential. He continues to be a source of inspiration to all of us. With that in mind, it is only fair that we give this year’s Bud’s Run our full support. We hope that the 2017 edition is the biggest and best yet”.

    Alison Leonard, 800m athlete and Run-Fast Birmingham team member has been heavily involved in Bud’s Run including running in fancy dress and baking delicious cakes to sell at the events! Alison says, "Bud's Run is one of my favourite days of the year; running around our beautiful campus and having a great time while saying a huge thank you to Bud for all his help and support, and at the same time raising lots of money for Parkinson’s UK. What's not to love? "

    Entries are now open for this year’s run and along with the 5K, there will be a fun run for the under 11s, interactive team games organised by Rabble, a raffle, sports masseurs on hand, a sizzling BBQ and plenty of tea, coffee and cake. Although very much a family fun run, previous Bud’s Run events have attracted athletics stars both past and present. They include world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, middle distance legend Steve Cram, Olympian and 1500m World Championship Silver Medallist Hannah England (currently coached by Bud). Members of the Run-Fast Birmingham team will be participating in October and look forward to another fantastic event, raising money for Bud’s chosen charity.

    Sarah Wakeman, Regional Fundraiser for Parkinson’s UK says, “Bud’s Run is suitable for all levels of fitness and is a great day out. It’s wonderful that elite athletes get involved in the event and it’s a true testament to how respected Bud is within his field. We’d love everyone to run or walk with us on Saturday 21 October and help us fund vital research into Parkinson’s disease.”

    Registration is £18 per adult (concessions are available), further information at

    For media enquiries please contact Becky Baldaro Booth at or 07584 168610

    Photo: L to R: Will Gray, Louise Webb, Sara Treacy, Becky Straw, Julia Cooke and Alison Leonard

    Photo taken by: Dougie Musson, University of Birmingham


  • Puma Net fit Test drive

    So this week I have been putting through the new Puma through its paces. This week what I have mostly done is:

    - Predominantly gym work/ indoor exercise circuits

    - Park Run (5km)

    - Walk around at work


    The shoes are aesthetically pleasing in terms of their colour and style . They look unique in comparison to other running trainers.

    puma net fit

    I like the overall fit of the trainer. It has a sock like feel to it which in turn makes me less aware that I'm wearing a shoe. My foot feels free to move around and is not restricted which is sometimes the case in stable Neutral shoes. The Net Fit makes my feet feel close to the floor which I like and the cushioning in the heel has proven very responsive which has been useful in high impact activities. When running a 5k in wet conditions the trainers held up well and had enough grip.

    Initially when the trainers were first used the material around the ankle was irritating and caused a blister on my right ankle but I think that's because I didn't "break them in ", I used them as if I'd had them for a long time (but now they fit perfectly).

    When on my feet for a long time it does feel as if a lot of my weight is concentrated around the heel area and ends up causing some pain but that's expected when standing on your feet for the entire day.

    The main feature of the Net Fit is to lace the shoe using various techniques/ styles to cater to foot shape /size / gait . However with my size 10.5UK I found that there was not enough lace to complete these techniques and eventually I gave up with the idea and laced them back to their original fit. As someone who does not have a neutral gait and requires quite a lot of support I do not think these shoes are perfect for me however are incredibly comfortable and responsive which is exactly what is needed in a running shoe.

    I think the instructions /guidelines given could be improved as they are not very detailed which makes it quite hard to make sure your lacing through the correct holes as shown in the images. Perhaps advertising video tutorials on the lacing techniques could inform customers in more detail the benefits and uses of these various lacing techniques.


    We're are all still high as kites from our recent fun and games in London, coming away with not one, not two but three highly prestigious awards from the annual Running Awards.

    We are so happy to be recognised as THE BEST National Retailer, the Silver award in Customer Service and the Bronze award in Online Retailer.

    When Up & Running started 25 years ago this year, it was so important to our founders to be an ethical company with integrity, that supports runners, the running communities around us and to be there for our customers with advice, support and the products that they need. This fundamental is equally as important to us today and remains the lifeblood of our business. Every member of our staff team embraces this ethos and that is why we are so proud to be recognised as the best in the business.

    Gillian (MD) plus 5 members of staff headed to London for the ceremony – we knew we'd been shortlisted – but we had no idea if we had won. We all visited the Marathon Expo in the afternoon, caught up with various colleagues from the trade then made our way to the O2 arena for the evening's entertainment. Swanky and glitzy, the awards dinner was a seriously showbiz affair. Mike Bushell (from BBC Breakfast) was presenting the awards and Dame Kelly Holmes also presented. We were really in running paradise.

    We have strived to be the best and we are now as committed as ever to remain the best.

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  • Font Romeu - training camp!

    With a 3.30am start and lack of caffeine I somehow made my way to the airport and caught a flight to Toulouse where I met the rest of the training group, made up of athletes in the St Mary’s University Endurance Performance And Coaching Centre.

    The first few days in Font Romeu were just easy running, 6-7 miles’ steady allowing the body to acclimatise to the lack of oxygen at 1800m above sea level. For those not familiar with the benefits of altitude here is a very simple summary of the science behind it. The low level of oxygen helps stimulate Haemoglobin (red blood cell) production so upon return to sea level there will be an abundance of oxygen and a greater number of red blood cells, meaning that delivery of oxygen to the working muscles is more efficient and racing and training should feel that bit easier, studies say that it can give a 3% boost in performance.

    As I become at ease with the altitude, the duration and intensity of training is ramped up. The week is split into three sessions; intervals, tempo and a track session with the standard long run of 16-18 miles on a Sunday to round out the week. The rest of the days are made up of steady running making up the weekly mileage of 90-100 miles. The views whilst racking up the miles make it that bit easier, don’t think looking out to the snow capped mountains will ever become tiring!

    In between the runs and gym is where the training adaptations take place, being able to nap/recover between runs and sessions whilst not having to jump on my bike straight to work after my morning run is a luxury which I’m making full use of whilst I can!

    I will be reviewing a range of the nutritional products that we have in store while I am here over the coming weeks and try to give you an understanding on when to use the products and which products to use for the varying training runs.

    Feel free to follow my training on Strava where you can see what running I’m up to whilst up in the mountains!


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