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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

My Sweatshop monthly prize win

I have just found this very old post, which I wrote in November 2010 and for some reason never published. So I thought now was as good a time as any!

Every month, at each different parkrun event, one parkrunner is selected to be the recipient of the Sweatshop monthly prize. The prize is a free pair of trainers fitted at a Sweatshop store.

Back in September 2010 I was lucky enough to be choosen as the winner of the prize for the Coventry parkrun for September. I had only heard about the prize in early August, probably about the time the July prize was announced. As a result I had set myself the challenge of trying to get as many PBs as possible in September in an attempt to win the prize.

As it turned out I managed 2 PBs during the month of September, taking 5 and then a further 7 seconds off my PB in the process. I also had a really good run of positions finishing inside the top 6 on all 4 occasions: 6th, 4th, 6th and 2nd. These were my 4 highest positions at the time.

I can only assume that it must have been a weak month (performance wise), as it seems that often 3 or even 4 PBs are required to win the Coventry prize most months. But I do feel I improved significantly as a result of the challenge of trying to win the prize.

At the next parkrun event a few people congratulated me and told me I had earned the prize. Others told me to make suse I went for the best pair of trainers possible. I did some research about the trainers stocked by Sweatshop and tried to work out which suited me best.

I waited a few weeks before heading off to Sweatshop to pick up my prize. I actually did this on my birthday to make it a bit of a parkrun birthday present as well. I choose to go to the Milton Keynes Sweatshop rather than the one in Birmingham, simply as we know Milton Keynes a little better.

The shop assisstant in Sweatshop was very helpful. I told him straight away that I was the parkrun monthly prize winner and we talked a little about how great parkrun is. He observed me running in my old trainers, and he told me they were completley shot and giving me no support at all. I told him I wanted to go for the top of the range Asics Gel Nimbus 12 Mens. He completely understood and said they were the "sports car" version of my existing ascics Stratus 2 "hatchbacks". At £105 [at the time] they came in at over double the most I had ever spent on a pair of trainers previously. I felt very fortunate to have been given these for free, just for doing something I loved doing!

I tried on the Asics Nimbus 12's and they felt amazing. So much cushioning! I realised immediately that the life of my old pair of Stratus 2's had expired. The shop assisstant observed me running again and said that they were perfect for my running style.

Since then, I have been a bit protective of my Nimbus 12's to be honest. I have only worn them 4 times so far. And that is in over 8 weeks since getting them. I have protected them from snow, rain and all the resulting mud. In the mean-time I have continued to wear the old Stratus 2's, but I think the new year will see me move over to the Nimbus 12's for every run other than the wettest and muddiest of conditions. I am starting to fear that any niggles I am feeling are due to the lack of cushioning in the old trainers. They have certainly seen better days.

I feel very lucky to have been choosen as the winner of the Coventry monthly prize in September. It would have been many more months before I would have considered buying myself a new pair of trainers and I certainly wouldn't have gone for such an expensive pair. Thank you very much to parkrun and Sweatshop!

[and now for a little update as of November 2011]

The  Asics Gel Nimbus 12 Mens trainers were fantastic, but with the mileage I have done since, even these are now only used for walking rather than running. Great trainers, the best I have ever had for sure! Even better now that I have just found them for £60 on Amazon. What a bargain! I might even be tempted to buy another pair even though I don't need them for a few months at least.

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