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Visually Impaired Running – we run the course with VI goggles on

As we explained in our first newsletter, experiencing running with a visual impairment is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Our man, Tom, was on hand again to try and complete the 5km circuit along with other VI runners, competing on behalf of the Thomas Pocklington Trust and Metro Sport.

Here’s what Tom had to say about his experience: “Having had a go at running with the VI glasses on before, I hoped that I would be ok for the main event. I was certainly nervous as the Great City Race is a big event with thousands of runners. Would I be ok? As I set off with the other VI runners, led ably by my friendly guide, I experienced similar issues to before: was that an object or a shadow? I was also worried about crashing into one another runner, with only my hearing to rely on in order not to clash with someone else. Soon however, we were 2k into the race, and I was well into my stride and actually enjoying myself, having becoming accustomed to the idea of jogging along without sight! I came to appreciate throughout the race the reliance you have on your guide. You really do need to work as a team – just as Libby Clegg, an ambassador for last year’s race, had said. Fortunately for me, my guide was excellent and there was a real mutual respect in the help you are providing one another. After the race was over, I asked myself – would I do it again? The answer came back in my head as a resounding yes. What an extraordinary experience. I was able, for a very short period of time, to put myself in the shoes of Noel Thatcher and other VI runners like him. Not only had my admiration only grown stronger for them, I also felt a kind of kinship, a feeling that I had shared a common bond with the other guys. Bring on next year!”

Phil and Emily Wicks

We talk to Phil and Emily Wicks, once again winners of this year’s race, making it a remarkable combined tally of sixteen race wins between the couple in the Standard Chartered Great City Race.

Q. Phil, were you ever in doubt that you would win again last week?

I never come here expecting to win actually. I’ve had a cold for the last week so I really struggled just to get here fit. I was the most nervous I’ve ever been tonight because I wasn’t sure how I would feel. I went off hard with a plan to try to go fast at the start and maybe relax a bit later on in the race. It’s fantastic that Emily has won the women’s race as she had a baby nine months ago and she’s only been back running for four or five months.

Q. How have you found training since becoming a father?

It’s been tough. I’m really enjoying being a dad but I have to be so much more organised now around work, training and looking after a baby but it’s been really good. The baby, Ryan, isn’t the best at sleeping so we’ve had a lot of sleepless nights!

Q. What does the race mean to you?

This race is really special to me. To have all the roads closed in the City of London is great and it’s good to get some publicity for the company I work for too. It’s really well organised, as you’d expect from London Marathon Events.

Q. Emily, you must be delighted to have won again after missing last year’s race?

For both of us to win again, we are really pleased. We didn’t think that we could both come here to run, because obviously the baby’s at home, but we managed to get my parents to look after him. So we’ve had an enjoyable night off together!

Q. What do you make of the event?

For those that have yet to run here, just do it, it’s great fun and everyone running here is just having a great time. There are runners here with friends from work and it’s a social event as well as a competitive event. Some of the other races can be quite competitive, where no one speaks to anyone at the start. But here it’s so friendly and everyone wants everyone else to do well.

Q. You ended up in a very exciting finish for first place with Steph McCall!

Yes, I saw Steph fall at the start, yet she managed to get up and almost ended up with the same time as me! She did really well. Running with Steph all the way was great fun; pushing each other all the way. This has definitely been one of my favourite experiences running here!

Libby Clegg speaks to the Standard Chartered Great City Race team.

Having spoken with Noel Thatcher last time around, on this occasion we spoke to fellow ambassador and Commonwealth Gold medalist Libby Clegg, to ask for her take on the race, as well as asking how her training is going ahead of the Paralympic Games in Rio next year.

Q: Are you looking forward to the race on 9 July?

A. Yes, I'm really looking forward to it. I'm not sure what to expect, as this is my first year being involved with the event, but it will be nice not competing for a change and just being able to soak up the atmosphere!

Q: What would your top tips be for people before a race?

A. Make sure you eat enough beforehand. Have clear goals so you know what you want to achieve.

Q: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

A. Hard one to answer! Every big event I have been part of has been fantastic in it's own way – London and Glasgow were two massive events I've taken part in recently and both were special – in Glasgow I won which was obviously great and in London the crowd was simply phenomenal.

Q: What is the key to a good partnership with your guide runner?

A. Good communication and trust.

Q: Do you prefer the 100 or 200 metre distance?

A. It changes constantly, but at the moment I prefer the 200m!

Q: How is your training going ahead of Rio in 2016?

A. Training is going really well – I am looking forward to the season having made a few changes with a new coach coming in, as well as, a new running style.

Q: How long do you envisage your career lasting?

A. I have no idea – as long as I enjoy running I will keep doing it!

Q: What do you think you might do after athletics?

A. I would like to train to become an osteopath.


We took some time out with six-time Great City ambassador, Noel Thatcher, to ask him a few questions about what the event means to him, as well as take a look at the career of one of Britain’s greatest ever Paralympic athletes.

Q: Standard Chartered has raised a huge amount of money for Seeing is Believing over the years. What does it mean to you?

A. It is a great initiative, which restores sight to millions of people around the world, and has a particular impact in the developing world where 80% of blindness is avoidable.

Q: You have some great ambassadors alongside you this year don't you?

A. Absolutely! I have kept an eye on Libby Clegg's career – her achievements have been phenomenal. Jonathan Edwards is a very bright, intuitive guy. All in all we have a great team of ambassadors this year – maintaining the tradition that has been laid down over the years with excellent people such as Paula Radcliffe and Colin Jackson.

Q: You got to spend the launch day showing journalists what it is like to run without sight. What did you make of their efforts?

A. It was great fun interacting with the journalists, and getting them to experience what running is like without sight – not an easy task!

Q: What was you career highlight?

A. Winning golds at Barcelona and Sydney would have to be at the top, but both for different reasons. In Barcelona, I was very stressed, and had to deal with the partisan support in favour of the two Spanish athletes I was competing against. In Sydney, I broke the world record – so obviously that was memorable in it's own right!

Q: Being awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours List in 1997 must have been a great honour?

A. Yes, especially as the endorsement for it came from Lord Coe. The MBE I was awarded was for my involvement in the development of disability sport – I am very proud of being a small part of that process.

Q: How much do you run now?

A. I still go for runs daily, although the body is beginning to creak a bit!

Q: How does your work as a physiotherapist compare with your running career?

A. They both require you to be the best you can be, and to dedicate plenty of time end effort. Whatever I do in life, I am always striving to learn and aspiring to be better than average.

In our last blog, we informed you about the adidas 26rs run club and the fantastic facilities provided to allow a busy professional like you to get out of the office and onto the road through the various free runs it offers during the week.

Not only did we get to try out one of the runs with the adidas 26rs, we were also given the opportunity to receive a gait test analysis (free for all customers), which allows you to get the perfect pair of running shoes by assessing your run type!

Key words:

Gait – is the way in which you run
Pronation – in running is a three dimensional rotation of the foot; downwards, forwards and sideways

Jason, the London Marathon Store manager went through the various stages of a gait test with us during a 20-minute consultation. We stepped onto the podoscope which allows for a biomechanical assessment of your gait, analysing the level of pronation in your feet, arch and ankle joints. If you under or overpronate, you require maximum support in your trainers, which is highlighted by this clever device!

Once this was complete, Jason then moulded insoles for our feet. The ultimate aim of the insole is to improve the fit, feel and cushioning of your running shoes.

We were then ask ed to run on the treadmill using our new insoles. Your running is filmed and then analysed in slow motion, allowing Jason to watch your leg and body movements in detail and ensure the correct shoe is selected to maximise running efficiency and stability.

We came away from the gait test with a much better understanding of how the body works whilst running and felt confident the insoles would improve our comfort whilst running. So, if you are keen to reap the benefits of a properly fitted running shoe, head down to the London Marathon Store to get the perfect pair for your needs!

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonCurzon

You may all be aware that here at the Standard Chartered Great City Race, we invited you to try out one of the adidas 26rs runs and enjoy the benefits of a running club for The City worker.

Situated just five minutes from Liverpool Street and beneath the London Marathon Store in Bishopsgate, it allows busy professionals the chance to get out of the office and onto the road.

Well that’s what we did. We got out of the office and went on a 5km run with the adidas 26rs during a Wednesday lunchtime. Our communications team member Tom, is not what you’d call a professional runner but he’s good at the odd 5km or 10km run.

The reason we are excited to spread the word about the adidas 26rs is because of the simplicity and luxury of having a pace setter and guide to support you on your run. We met Rachel and she helped us to ensure we ran at the right pace and also, to make sure no one is left behind.

You don’t have to worry about setting a route and yet you can enjoy the ease of running within a team, enjoying the camaraderie of trying to stay that bit fitter. We’re positive the adidas 26rs will improve your time at this year’s Standard Chartered Great City Race.

We also took advantage of the free changing facilities so there’s not really an excuse to discount the adidas 26rs.

Plus, you never know your team mate might want to join you for what we think is one of London’s best kept secrets.

Foot Love

What happened when three Standard Chartered colleagues were given new adidas running shoes to trial before the big race

Good running shoes are the single most important bit of kit, whether we’re competing in the Olympics or running around the park and a good shoe has to be able to do several jobs at once.

They provide substantial cushioning for the feet, offer arch support, aid in the prevention of injuries and they can promote improved athletic performance.

And last but not least, they have to look cool.

So, to help them prepare for the big day we gave a pair of adidas’ new running shoes to a group of colleagues from Standard Chartered Bank.

Our women runners tried out the Revenge Boost Ladies Running Shoes while the men got to trial the adidas Revenergy Boost shoes.

They took their new trainers out for a few test runs and then we asked them what they thought.

Initial feel

B: Very comfortable, fit very well and snugly

RA: Yes, they were good. I initially found the trainers quite narrow as I have wide feet and as I am used to wider shoes. I could feel that the trainers did have more spring in the step than my current trainers.

SF: I thought that too. They were very comfortable and had a lot of bounce especially in the heel area.

Hip factor

RA: The design of the trainers were nice; basic and plain design which I liked. The bright blue colour is not a colour I would choose when buying trainers normally, but the colour grew on me, and I actually thought they looked good when I was either at the gym or out running.

SF: Aesthetically the trainers are great. I love the fact that they are blue and don’t even really look like running trainers. I would definitely use them as my casual shoes. My only concern is that the laces seem quite feeble so it would be interesting to see how long they last.

B: Yes I like the electric blue style. The trainers are quite eye catching.

The Weigh in

RA: The weight of the shoe was slightly lighter than my normal trainer. It wasn’t featherweight, but it was light enough for what I use the trainers for (gym and running) and they were nice for interval running efforts.

SF: Compared to what I am used to these trainers are much lighter and I really liked that. They are much less bulky than my current ones, which makes them easier to carry/pack.

B: I use a lighter shoe for racing - where I tend to go for racing flats - as light as possible. However for training these are perfect as well cushioned but not as bulky as some other brands

Road ready?

RA: Although the trainers initially felt narrow, I got on well with them when running. They had a nice bounce/spring to them, and I could also notice the difference in weight from my normal shoe. They were lighter and felt cross between a running shoe and running spikes. I’m not sure they would be right for me for longer running events, but anything upto 10km they would be fine as the weight meant they were more of a racing shoe.

SF: I was concerned that the trainers might be a bit slippery especially when it was wet, but I was delighted to be proved wrong.

B: Very comfortable, no issues. Good cushioning.

Was the trainer breathable?

RA: Yes, the shoe was breathable, but not noticeably more or less than the current trainers I wear.

SF: Yes, the material used is very breathable.

B: Yes

Having tried on the shoe and completed a run, how did you find the comfort of the shoe?

RA: As above, the shoe was very comfortable when running more speed/interval sessions. My max run was about 8 miles in the shoe and they were fine for the run, although I prefer something with a bit more stability when running a steady 8 miles. They would be an excellent racing shoe for road running, for distances up to 10km.

SF: As many of my friends will attest to, I’m not much of an athlete. I only go running about four times a month and although I don’t mind it once I get started, I wouldn’t say I love running. A part of me therefore thought (well wished) that these trainers would be magical and not only make me fall in love with running but also give me the ability to run much faster. Unfortunately, my wish didn’t come true – they are not magical trainers, but they were very comfortable and did provide me with plenty of support.

B: Very comfortable both for walking around and running. A good snug fit.

Out of five, how would you rate them? 5 for perfect, 0 for terrible

RA: Definitely a 4 from me.

SF: 4. The only downside is that they are relatively expensive when compared to other running trainers.

B: 4.5 out of 5.

Would you recommend the adidas Revenge Boost and Revenergy Boost to fellow runners in the Standard Chartered Great City Race?

RA: The shoes grew on me. Initially I did not like the comfort due to my wide feet, but after wearing the shoes, they seemed to mould/re-shape slightly to my foot and it meant that the shoes were comfortable when wearing them for gym work and shorter running sessions. I would recommend them to other people as a more faster, lighter racing shoe for the shorter distance running events, but I would also warn people that they are a narrow shoe, in case they have wide feet.

SF: Yes, I would recommend the shoe to friends if they were looking for a pair of trainers that could be used for running as well as for everyday use.

B: Yes, as a good cushioned shoe and not as bulky or heavy as other brands

The Final Verdict

Will I be wearing them at the Standard Chartered Great City Race? I certainly will