Thursday, 19 January 2017

INSTAssel: Compañeros

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That was some rad and exploratory morning session. I encouraged my local training compañeros to get a SwimRun/Coasteering tour in. The outcome was La Gomeras inaugural SwimRun meeting, a hell lot of fun, remarkable setting along the coastline and new SwimRun aficionados. Plans are already made for an even lengthier voyage along the harsh coast.

Tune of the day: Eric Lau - Examples

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

On Point with Ryan Sandes

If you are into trail running, this man does not need to be introduced. Hailing from sunlit Cape Town, 34-year-old Ryan Sandes is no stranger in the world of ultra-running. He dominated the challenging 4 Desserts series in record setting manner before becoming a household name on podiums of numerous world-wide mountain running races. Ryan is a busy man running and scrambling around the scenic mountains of his hometown. Last weekend he got his first shot of SwimRun racing. Together with his training partner he finished 3rd at Africas first ever SwimRun race along the picturesque "Mother City" coastline. I catched up with Ryan to find out what he has to say about the competition and SwimRun in general.

Not shy of new challenges - Ryan Sandes looks forward to get some well-known running in as he finishes a choppy swim section. (Picture: Craig Kolesky)
Runssel: You had your first taste of SwimRun racing at the inaugural competition in South Africa, the Torpedo SwimRun this Sunday. How did it all come about?

Ryan Sandes: One of my sponsors Oakley offered me an entry and I was like yeah yes please. I had heard a lot about the SwimRun events in Europe and I grew up in the ocean so I was really intrigued to try the concept out.

Runssel: When was the first time you heard of SwimRun? Genuinely, what did you think?

Ryan Sandes: I read about the ÖtillÖ SwimRun World Championship a few years ago in a Red Bull article and I thought wow this looks really fun. I think it is such a fun event and really different.

Ryno Griesel and Ryan broke the 200km Drakensberg Grand Traverse record in a time of 41 hours and 49 minutes back in 2014. (Picture: Kelvin Trautman)
Runssel: How much time did you spend preparing the contest? Did your companion Kane Reilly and yourself train on the course that leads along the coastline of Cape Town much?

Ryan Sandes: Kane and I are both trail runners and do a bit of surfing now and again so that was our main preparation. We did a bit of a recce on some of the course the weekend before to see what we were in for and as an excuse to go on a bit of an adventure.

Runssel: What type of equipment did you guys choose? What would you do different if you would race again?

Ryan Sandes: I used the Salomon SLAB XA Amphib shoes and a Full Sleeve Huub Swim wetsuit. Kane went for hand paddles. I think if we did it again we would both use the leg floatation bouys and I would definitely use some of those hand paddles. I think I would need to do some training with the hand paddles though.

Kane Reilly leads Ryan out of the water onto another run. (Picture: Craig Kolesky)
Runssel: How do you rate SwimRun as a sport? Can you see the sport growing in South Africa? Any plans for another outing?

Ryan Sandes: Its an awesome concept and I think it will get really popular in South Africa. We have a really big endurance culture in South Africa and because we have such good weather I think the SwimRun events are perfect. Yes I would definitely like to do another one of the events!

Runssel: What is on your running schedule for this season?

Ryan Sandes: My main focus races this year will be Western States 100 and then either CCC or UTMB. I am also working on one or two free running projects.

Ryan prepares for the Antarctica marathon with a training run around the dunes of Silvermine Nature Reserve, near Cape Town. (Picture: Craig Kolesky)
Ryan used Salomon’s latest SwimRun flagship, the SLAB XA Amphib. Review soon on this part of the interweb. (Picture: Kelvin Trautman)
Follow Ryan via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and via his Homepage
Ryan is sponsored by Oakley, Red Bull, Salomon, Suunto, Axis House, Ford and

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

In Pictures: La Gomera (Part 2)

The resident scenery is remarkably mixt for a comparably small Islet. As we trek from San Sebastián towards Playa Santiago we observe the Punta de Juan Gaza from a craggy stone strand.
With 3.718 meter the Tenerife centred Teide peak is clearly visible from the local east coast.
Slogging around the Parque Nacional de Garajonay is something else. From antique stone paths to deep and dark woodlands you will find everything.
La Gomera is not famed for its bathing coastlines. Whereas they are not the easiest to approach they create a pure and raw beauty.
The 40 square kilometres of the Garajonay National Park do include so many attractions. Pretty hard to overlook are a range of colossal rock-pillars. The rocks are former volcanoes shaped by erosion.
Powerful evening light highlights the rock creations.
It is apparent that the isle was shaped by volcanic activities. Deep and lush vales wind the 59 square kilometre landmass.
A reliably striking sundowner just outside of San Sebastián de la Gomera. Catched during an evening run on the local trails.
With its 1,250 meter the pictorial Roque de Agando is often used as a symbol for the island.

Check THIS LINK for my first set of pictures from the island of La Gomera.

Tune of the day: Phace - Beyond Number

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Friday, 6 January 2017

shoeporn: New Balance - 1500 V2 (Team NB Elite edition)

224 grams of running flat beauty – with the second revise of the firstly in 2015 launched 1500 series; prominent Boston based footwear makers New Balance provides an terrific and elegant shoe for wholesome and loose running.
The first issue of the 1500 series received raving reviews. Still New Balance included the athlete response and shaped a shoe that could be described as a perfect distance racing shoe. The 1500 in its second version comes up with light pronation stability as well as just about the right amount of cushioning that a running shoe of this style requires.
The special "Team NB Elite edition" looks extravagant with its "Bright Cherry" colour scheme. Pretty difficult to oversee. Naturally style is matter of personal favour. Personally I like the look of the new 1500 v2. That is how a racing flat should look like.
Sebastian Kienle, 2014 Ironman World Champ, wore the first version of the 1500 when he won the iconic event on Hawaii’s big island. Subsequently he was instrumental in the development of this shoe. Till now this is his racing shoe when it comes to Ironman distance racing.
Getting low - the general drop comes in at 6mm. Other hard facts are a 22mm heel height and 16mm on the forefoot. Proper racing style!
However the crash pad of the outsole still remains the same as seen in the first version, the design got altered a bit by the New Balance designers. Whilst they used tiny rubber cruxes in the previous model there are now some sort of triangular formed lugs. I took the shoe through its paces while running on the roads, gravel and on the track. I like the grip, no changes when it comes to ground control and general feel.
An inside look – The 1500 V2 bids added padding in the middle of the sole to care for runners with pronation troubles. While the shoe is light and meant for racing this could be a bonus for runners that are generally struggling with lightweight racing flats. Still the support is light that the extra “T-Beam” technology offers. The lightweight TPU shaft is built to provide torsional stability arch support through a middle beam design.
 “REVlite” is the title of the foam mixture that is used as the base of the shoe. The lightweight composition bids excellent and springy underfoot cushioning which I really valued.
Besides a tacky design the greatly centred heel-to-toe cavity supports the runner to achieve a straightforward and precise ride as the shoe is stabilised.
More specifics of the firm outsole and the certain lug-designs.
A key factor for the steadfast and supportive ride that this shoe offers is the “REVlite” sole.
Front end – New Balance reorganised the start of the lacing and built-in a petite holder in the centre of the bottom end of the shoe.
Pretty much like his predecessor the V2 comes in with a snug and well-made no-sew layers finish that is called “FantomFit”. A lot of racing flats are designed very narrow in the toe box area. Not so with this one. NB gives the forefoot plenty of space.
The foremost revise to the first version of the 1500 – a sock-like tongue support that keeps everything in check and creates a very comfy and precise feeling while striding.

With the revise of the 1500 NB raised the bar when it comes to running flats. Whilst the latest model supports a direct stride it still has some decent and well located cushioning. Something that hasn’t been seen within such a style of shoes. I really became a fan of this one. Still I don’t know why the up-to-the-minute model is a little bit heavier then the first version?

Tune of the day: Aidan Baker and Tomas Järmyr - Werl I

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


In my belief there is no replacement to a true track workout. The 400-meter oval tells you exactly where you at. Nothing replaces the clear-cut stress and the hardiness you face while being out there.

I hate the track. I love the track.

Running a workout on your own is even rougher then doing it with a quick crowd. Proper quality time with your inner governor.

Tune of the day: Lord Finesse - S.K.I.T.S.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

INSTAssel: 2016

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This is how the last day of 2016 started. It sums up an amazing year with so many positive emotions. I'm thankful for everything. Shine on 2017!

Monday, 26 December 2016

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

shoeporn: Hoka One One - Mafate Speed 2

With wintrier temperatures imminent, Runssel intern Fabian takes an expert look at Hoka One One’s up-to-the-minute adding to their trail running artillery. After the big success of the Mafate it is time to tune up and have a go with the Hoka One One - Mafate Speed 2.

Lets check out what he has to say

Unpacking the box, the common sensation will hit Hoka newbies like me: The bulky looking runners are surprisingly low weight. Some lean 321 grams are pretty fair for a hover-crafty pair of sneakers.
The pure size of this piece of footwear appears aggressive. This is supported by the colourful contrasts. 4mm drop are just enough to offer a light support. But if the joggaholic is not used to low drop shoes, they will still wear the calves a little bit.
The extravagant colour scheme of our test gear is named “Mulberry Purple / Acid“.
The purple (haze inspired) design certainly stands out. Like it or not. Judge for yourself. They’ll be covered in mud soon anyway.
The general fit is great. The relatively large toe box should even be alright for Hobbit standards.

During all test rides, one issue unfortunately always occurred: the inner top lug for the shoestrings on the right shoe somehow stuck out towards the foot. This caused some major stress and chafing. It could be prevented by pulling the tongue to the side and covering the hole. But this method was only a short-term solution as the tongue usually moved back into its intended middle position. It’s a bummer as it makes running really uncomfortable, especially in wild terrain where your feet tumble quite a bit.
With this restructured style Hoka One One updates the deep Active Foot frame for support and enters a tuned Meta-Rocker to simplify smooth transitions through the gait cycle.
The Hoka signature feature obviously is the cushioning. It is especially soft and comfortable which slightly trades off against the directness of the shoe.

For the new version of the Mafate Hoka picks a conventional lacing system.
Some raw specifics - Offset: 4 mm, Forefoot: 29 mm and Heel: 33 mm
The 5 mm Vibram Mega-Grip profile makes sure your shielded properly on a variety of terrains.
Compared to other wholehearted off-road trainers with a spiky substructure, the Mafate Speed 2 even performs well on tarmac. No numbness whatsoever.

The profiled Vibram sole makes for outstanding grip. Regardless of the conditions or terrain, slipping is not an issue.
A fitting all-rounder with benefits on muggy and tricky off-road sections.
Other than that, the whole thing is remarkably flexible and supports a neutral and active stride. On the whole a great shoe for the daily mileage routine on the trails - if it wasn’t for the pinching shoestring lug.