Interview with freediving champion William Trubridge, Redbull

Explore the world’s most zen extreme sport through the eyes of one of its greatest talents.

William Trubridge is one the world’s outstanding freediving talents. He has 18 world records to his name, as well as being a five-time – and the current – world freediving champion. Will tells Fergus Scholes for RedBull.com that it was back in 2003, aged 22, that he first got into freediving. “I quickly became passionate about the sport and decided to dedicate myself to it and see where I could get to,” he says. In 2007, some four years later, that dedication and focus paid off when he claimed his first world record. He’s been breaking them regularly ever since…

Read full interview

A 4-day 100 mile quadrathlon expedition race in Norway

At the end of March, I am taking part in the awesome IGO N60 – Norwegian Challenge; a 4 day 4 discipline expedition race set in the stunning Norwegian wilderness. We’ll be doing x-country skiing, fat biking, touring ski, and a marathon snow/ice run to complete matters!! There are two other IGOs this year which look seriously tempting, one is in Montana in August, and the other in Morocco in October. But the N60 Norwegian Challenge has always stood out in particular to me as I have been captivated by the stunning Norwegian countryside for some time, and this seemed the ideal way to embrace and adventure in it.

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So here is what we’re in store for in this year’s N60:

Day 1: Ski Touring, 15 miles, 3-7 hours
Day 2: Fat Biking, 26 miles, 3-8 hours
Day 3: X Country Skiing, 26 miles, 3-8 hours
Day 4: Snow Run, 26 miles, 3 – 7 hours

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A team photo from IGO N60 2016

IGO is brilliant concept; a compressed action packed expedition race holiday, taking only 5 of your precious ‘annual days’ leave’ and ensuring you’re gonna be totally invigorated when you get back to your desk!! IGOs are based on a set formula; a 4 day 4 discipline expedition race held in the most stunning and dramatic environments in the world. It doesn’t pretend to be a brutal multi day marathon, nor a dreadfully long Atlantic row, rather a very well organised and robust challenge set in beautiful places with a great group of people.

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This is an actual, yes actual, photo from last year’s IGO N60 Norway!! The competitors camping in the wilderness under the Northern Lights were just sensational each night

This is the second annual N60, with a total of 20 competitors confirmed as taking part in this year’s race. The organisers have a highly capable support team in place to make sure everything runs smoothly, and that everyone is safe, because not to forget we will be in very remote parts of Norway and temperatures can quite feasibly be as low as -20 degrees celsius, so this safety net is vital for an event of this nature. Those there to keep an eye on us will include expedition leaders, local guides, experts in each of the four disciplines, medics, physios, photographers, videographers.

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A competitor during the ski touring stage
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Second place athlete in N60 2016, Phil Lowe on the marathon run stage

Competitors fly into Oslo on the Saturday morning, and then have two full days of training with pros, getting settled and checking gear etc, before the race starts on Tuesday. The last race day is the Friday, then we have a couple of days afterwards to unwind, relax and enjoy Norway. I love this format, and this is why I would be inclined to think of this as an adventure-challange-holiday-race … it’s just perfect and certainly beats being sat on a beach reading a book 100% …!!!

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Dog sledding after stage 2 for competitors to unwind and have some fun

One of the really cool aspects is that each day, the camp is set up in a new part of the Norwegian wilderness, with teepees complete with log burners being home. As well as this, after the fat biking stage on day 2, all competitors are treated to husky dogsled rides, which again is another component which makes this a unique adventure, with the odd ‘leisure’ orientated element like this thrown into the mix!

Winter landscape road in Lapland
N60 goes through stunning Norwegian protected areas

I am really looking forward to my first IGO Adventure! I am fine tuning my kit at the moment, and I shall be writing a post on this in the next few days (love the kit aspect nearly as much as the adventuring itself .. is that sad?!!). Training is of course also underway, and hopefully I’ll be in with a chance of a podium finish .. to be continued …!!


IGO N60 – Norwegian Challenge: Event dates are from 11th – 19th March 2017. It costs £7,495pp person to have a 5* hotel set up pre and post quadrathlon, and £4,750 pp for a self-catered apartment accommodation pre and post (this excludes flights which are around £100).

12 Ultra Marathons To Try In 2018, Redbull

Gunning for a challenge? These have your name on them…

 

Now is the perfect time to be lining up an epic challenge for 2018, and an ultra marathon firmly ticks this box. We’ve compiled some of the best ultra marathons around the world for you to consider. Ultras are not only a challenge for your mind and body, they’re also a perfect excuse to take you off to a far flung corner of the world you otherwise probably would never go. Not only that, you’ll be running along trails and be in remote wildernesses well off the beaten path.

10 Best Ski Jackets For Men, The Evening Standard

With the ski season upon us once again, it’s time to assess your equipment and decide whether to make an overhaul.

The jacket is of course a key component and will help ensure you enjoy valuable time on the mountains to the max. We’ve picked out the best selection of jackets for every style of skiing – from the more insulated and cosy if you prefer to stay on piste and in resort, right through to the more minimalist and lightweight shell jackets ideal for touring and backcountry days.

Read original article.

10 Best Knitwear Pieces For Men, The Evening Standard

In a world of innovative and highly technical fabrics, one shouldn’t disregard the humble knitwear sweater – it’s just as relevant today as it has been for the thousands of years we’ve been wearing it. If you’re looking to gear up for the colder weather ahead, a knitwear sweater – environmentally friendly, warm, hardwearing, and of course very easy on the eye – is a must have item.

Fergus Scholes gives us this season’s top 12 sweaters.

Read original article.

10 Best Insulated Jackets For Men, The Evening Standard

Cold weather calls for reinforcements – hunker down in a jacket prepped to keep you warm. We’ve reviewed and tested 14 of the best down and synthetic insulated jackets available on the market today. In the mix, we have a full cross section of options; from highly sporty and technical jackets designed for back country skiing and mountaineering, right through to those intended for casual lifestyle use for a walk to your local pub.

Read original article.

Interview with Anton Krupicka’s & 10 tips on ultra marathon running, Redbull

Anton KrupickaUltimate Direction ambassador, exploded on the scene back in 2006 when he won the legendary Leadville 100 on his debut ultra marathon attempt, aged just 23. He went on to win it again the following year.

Born and raised in Colorado, USA, running had been Anton’s big passion ever since his first marathon at the age of 12. With this awesome ability, coupled with a wicked sense of style – long hair, earrings, minimalist, slightly edgy – Anton Krupicka is now a household name across the world in the running community.

Read my full interview.

Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones

For the last month, I have been testing out the new Bose SoundSport wireless headphones. After running some 300km+ whilst being plugged into them, here is my summary of how they got on.

Overview

The SoundSport are super simple to operate with just one button on the right earpiece. You press this once to power them up, and if you haven’t paired it with your phone before, hold it down for a second and then they search and easily connect with your device. Once you have paired with the headphones once, when you power them up they’ll automatically connect with your device. And what’s great is that they paired seamlessly each and every time, which I haven’t always found to be the case with bluetooth speakers.

Designed with sports use particularly in mind, they are sweat and rain resistant, so you can use them anytime and not worry about breaking them.

 

 

Quick facts:

  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Charging time: 2 hours (but I found it does it much quicker than this, around 1 hour)
  • Battery life: 6 hours per full charge
  • Weight: 23 grams

Comfort & Functionality

The battery does last around 6 hours which I think is pretty good. If you have the volume a little lower and aren’t using the remote loads, you might even get a bit more life out of them. They charge super quick – simply plug in the USB wire and within an hour they go from zero to 100% and you’re all set.

The earbuds don’t move about in your ear at all whilst running, never falling out or bouncing around. I had read this in the odd other review, but it really was never an issue for me.

The headphones also benefit from an inline remote. This has the usual one click to pause, two clicks for next track and three clicks for previous track. It also doubles up for handsfree calling as there is a built in microphone, so one click accepts a call and you can chat away as you run – super handy for those long all day kind of runs!! It even says ‘Mum Calling’ so you know whether to pick up or not!

 

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Running all afternoon with the headphones whilst altitude training in Tenerife

As you can see from the picture above, they do have a slightly wider profile then traditional wired headphones, but for all their other advantages, this is a small price to pay.

Sound wise, I found them good and perfect for the job. Of course they don’t really compare to over the ear, or super high performing in ear, but that is no surprise. I would quite often have them on max volume, and probably would have gone a click or two louder if they permitted, but actually that probably did my ears some good by not offering it up super loud when you’re in the zone and all hyped up!!

There is also the slightly more expensive Bose SoundSport Pulse wireless headphones, retailing at £199.95, which have the added feature of a built in heart rate sensor, but I personally don’t see the extra value in this, and see this extra functionality as unnecessary for a pair of headphones. I say stick with the SoundSport and save yourself the extra £50!

Verdict

This is my first experience with wireless headphones, and I must say I am a convert for sure. The soon to be obsolete hardwired headphones have always been a nuisance when out running, and there’s no going back for me!

This offering from Bose is just the job. I think the key to a great product is keeping it as simple as possible to fulfil the function, and they have done exactly that with the SoundSport. I will continue running with these, and see no reason to even try out another brand as I have no complaints.


Bose SoundSport wireless headphones £149.95

My Current Ultra Running Trainer: Saucony Peregrine 7

I have been testing out the new Saucony Peregrine 7 trainers over the last couple of weeks, running over 200km of trails in them, including 120km in Tenerife on some very technical terrain. I’m training for the 280km Trans Atlas Marathon and looking to select the best suited trail running shoe for the demands of this ultra, and one which works for my running style and foot shape. The Peregrine 7 is in the mix for use on this gruelling ultra marathon. Here is my review:

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A 20km run straight out of the box on technical trails in Tenerife

Introduction:

I was torn between two Saucony’s two premier trail running shoes; the Xodus ISO and the Peregrine 7. Ultimately I decided to opt for what I believed to be the sightly more agile and lighter weight model being the Peregrine 7’s; weighing around 26grams less than the Xodus (which come in at 10.3oz, 292grams) and perhaps just a little less bulky.

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Saucony Peregrine 7 Quick Facts:

  • Neutral running shoe
  • Not waterproof
  • Weight of 314grams for UK Size 10.5
    • NB, the advertised weight is 9.4oz (266grams) on US size 9. I weighed the actual weight of my trainer on digital scales, and it was 314grams (see picture below).
  • Heel-to-toe drop of 4mm (the difference in height from the heel to the toe)
  • Stack height of 21.5mm in the heel and 17.5mm in the forefoot
  • Sole features PWRTRAC which is great for grip and durability
  • Highly breathable ‘upper’ part to the trainer

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Size, Fit & Comfort

I  wore the trainers straight out of the box for a decent length run and hit 20km and +/-1,200m of trails in Tenerife. After the second day of intense running in them (20km with +/-2,000m), I had a slight hotspot on the heel of my left foot as, under closer inspection, the plastic heel cup at the back (there to protect your heel) on the inside of the trainer is ever so slightly prominent. But my foot soon got used to this and it wasn’t a problem after another day of running, and given the technical and ascents/descents I had been hitting, I think this is pretty decent.

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The trainers 3 days in and the challenging terrain making the ascent of Mt. Teide (3,700m) in Tenerife.

I wear the Peregrine 7 in a UK size 10.5. For your reference I am a UK 11 in New Balance, Inov8, Adidas, Hoka, so a half size down from my usual size in Saucony. So if you’re thinking of ordering this online, perhaps factor into your decision.

 

I find this trainer very balanced to run in. I was recently bought a pair of Hoka Challenger III ATR, but have stopped using them and found the stack height of this trainer too much and actually rolled over on my foot quite badly and it’s been causing me problems ever since. By contrast, on making the switch to the Peregrines, I immediately felt more solid, comfortable and planted on the ground and I didn’t feel there was nearly the same danger of rolling over on uneven ground.

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The trainers have great traction on the ground. When I was running in Tenerife, I did a run of 30km with 3,400m of ascent/descent (very steep in places) on very rocky/loose gravel tracks, plus it was raining and wet under foot. But I didn’t slip once, so the PWRTRAC (no idea what that stands for!!) that they are made of, worked really well under these testing conditions. The grips on the soles seem to be very effective and a good design, so it’s a tick on this front too.

The upper part of the shoe is comprised of mesh combined with more supportive and structural TPU strips (again, no idea what that stands for!!). But the combination works well and it has good durability thus far. Although after the 200km+ I have run in them so far, there is some signs of wear now (see pictures) and I hope the can last another 280km on the Trans Atlas Ultra ..!

The lacing system is really good – provides even distribution of tightness and support around the shoe.

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Verdict

I have really enjoyed using this trainer, it’s a great no nonsense trainer. Never having used any of Saucony’s trainers before, I did wonder how I would get on broadly speaking with the brand’s fit and sizing, but my feet fit and work well in this shoe.

For me, the key with picking a trainer I am happy with is one which I don’t really notice; it must be comfortable and feel natural and uninhibited when running in it, with minimal or no blisters/hotspots of course. When running in these, I don’t really notice them, and as far as my quite imperfect science of selecting a pair of trainers goes, I will continue wearing these and be using them as my selection for the 6 day 280km Trans Atlas Marathon.

These Peregrine 7s fit the bill.


I tested the trainers whilst altitude training in Tenerife running 130km with 11,000m of ascent and descent. Read my article on my training here.

Saucony Peregrine 7 cost £105 from the Saucony website