I'm excited and lucky to have some super sponsors, including new ones for this year (more on that later eager beavers). INOV8 continue to support me with some great footwear. When you find a style of shoe that suits you, works for you and you trust why would you deviate from that? I'm currently trying out a few models including The Roclight 280's, which got me around the world champs in Annecy. They took on the terrain like they were made for it! Well, they were haha. I found that they are a great oober light all rounder which coped with the mostly dry, trail. A great choice. The Race Ultra 270 are a fabulous alternative to the 290's. There is the obvious lighter weight, and they just seem more responsive if you like that kind of thing. Where the 290's seem a more robust and supportive shoe I find them more cumbersome. I put my trust in the 270's for the long days out, and thus far they have not let me down in spite of arguably being the trimmed down version of the 290's. Thanks INOV8 I adore you.
TORQ continue to fuel me, thankfully. I have grown familiar with the TORQ fuelling system and adore the gels, I simply get on well with them. The recovery fuel I tend to use after harder training weeks and so am not as consistent with the recover, I'm pretty sure Martin will reprimand me for not being more holistic in my approach, and of course he's right, maybe I'm simply to lazy. Thank you TORQ guys, you're ace.
My newest sponsor (and I'm super exited) is Raidlight. Raidlight are primarily a backpack supplier. These guys know how to make packs, jeez, they've been in the business long enough, and they centre their efforts on catering for ultra distance runners. They are specialist in this field and have stood the test of time. My first pack was a Raidlight backpack. I think I'd purchased it from Racekit for the mountain marathons. I still have that pack, and I still use it. I'm currently testing out two packs and I'll choose which to use on the up coming Mount Blanc 80k race that I've randomly entered. Gilet responsive 8L is looking favourite thus far, simply because of it's simplicity, ease, comfort, minimalism and weight. Fellow team mate Kim Collison used a protocol during the World Champs in Annecy and he loved it. I understand why. The alternative is the Olmo 5. It has a greater capacity to hold more essentials, yet it's like the old comfy chair, just a modern version. I'll see how it goes with this one. The allure, however is the ease at which you can attach poles to the front, no faff and easy access. Now, I know with the mention of poles that most of you folk will coil and retreat, "Poles" .... phish... we're British". Yet, whilst I'm with you all the way, I have to possibly shamefully admit, that they help on those good ol European switch backs. So yes, I've also tested the Raidlight Carbon trail pole. Wow, if you want a super light pole (OK so they don't fold to the size of a postage stamp), then these bad boys won't let you down.
As well as the backpacks (and like most specialist running companies these days) Raidlight have also ventured and expanded into other kit, clothing and accessories. See comments about these guys know what they are talking about. I'll update when I've put kit through the mill, however it's great to see that they aren't just churning out kit with a logo, the kit is technical, they have considered minor detail and they know what Trail runners need. Seriously, I'm excited. I am in danger of keeping my Skort on 24 7, although I'd probably get kicked out of Court.
Finally, given that I've had my first experience of a stress fracture, I never intend to go back there. Ouch and too much time lost cross training. So I contacted Superfeet, a company that has been around for a while who deal with shoe insoles. Seriously, they have an insole for every day of the week. Wow, and do they do the job, hell yeah. Check them out, heels, arches, cushion, support, stability, stabilising orthotic, I'm working my way through a range and thus far I can say this. They get better when broken in, and my feet think they are in heaven. Why I've not taken this much care of them in the past is beyond me.