Thursday, 29 March 2012

Trail and speed combo run!

3 mile warm up to SPEED SESSION...............

Along side the River Wharfe towards Bolton Abbey

I can think of worse places!

The setting for a 6 x 600 rep session.................

The circuit with Simon's Seat in the background

Two miles ease down .............

a great combination of trail and speed work!

 The Abbey from a newly constructed viewing platform......

Monday, 26 March 2012

RUNNING...weighing up what's important!

  Probably because my mind was  tormented by the dilemma of whether to start the Wilmslow half or not I woke up at 3.30 a.m. Sunday morning and,  not for the first time,   started to weigh up the pros and cons of starting the event when I am not 100%  and then having to suffer the ignominy of  shuffling along to the finish.
  I was alert enough to comfirm  my decision that  what is MOST important to me in terms of my running at this stage of my life is being able to step out of the front door on a daily basis late morning and enjoy putting  one foot in front of the other on my terms.   With P.Bs, and race wins very much a thing of the past, achievement is not a major factor in terms of motivation.   
 At my age, I could have accepted the inevitability of the slowest half ever; probably over 30 minutes slower than my best  ; but what I wasn't ultimately prepared to risk was feeling a "niggle" deteriorate into a major injury and  jeopardise participating in oncoming planned races.  Just to add one more 13.1 race to 102 already run.
 The two tests I had set myself in the last week  to dictate my approach to the half had  actually gone quite well. The 5K track solo time trial wasn't sensational but it was solid.  22.53.
 Tuesday  Sally and I headed up the canal into the wind and turning with the wind behind it was really enjoyable in the spring sunshine as the miles whizzed by at just over 8 mins pace.  We clocked 12 miles.
Speed and endurance good enough to cope with Sunday. Or so I thought.
  The plan then was 4 days of 3/4 miles easy to recover before the race.  But at the end of a gentle 3 on the grass on Wednesday I turned a corner and felt a twinge again in the calf. Clearly the 12 had taken a toll!
 I went up to the Carnegie track Saturday .  Sally was set to do a 5K pace session as she enters a sharpening up stage in her marathon buildup. I joined her for the warm up and cool down , holding the watch in between.   3 teenage runners drifted over from the gym where they had been working out whilst nursing injuries.   Another top class M50 runner said he was nursing a calf injury and was only going to jog 30 minutes.
 It was some consolation I suppose to know that I was not alone in having niggles but it brought home to me the fact that once we try to achieve rather just just participate then we walk the tight rope between race fitness and injury.   That's the risk we take  to achieve that race win, achieve that  category win or achieve  that P.B.  But risk a set back to just notch up a personal worst?  
   Going back to 3.30 a.m. Sunday  morning I eventually drifted off but did wake again at 7 and thought,  
 "sod it, just get up and go!  The sun will be high in the sky,  the atmosphere will be great,  there'll be plenty from the club there, what's  a  two hour drive!  
Go on....risk can always drop out or slow down and limp back" 
  But lying awake analysing the elements of achievement, competition ,participation and enjoyment
in running  meant I drifted off again and woke up at 9.00 a.m.............too late to get there anyway!!
Decision made for me!
              Given that it was a "niggle" rather than an injury, what would you have done? 
                               Are we ever entirely 100% when we line up for a race?      
  For the record Sally did achieved her target for the day. On the back of  6 x 1K at 10K pace on Wednesday, in just her second track session in 6 years  she averaged 19.22 5K pace; the aim being to make her marathon pace,  at a minute slower,  feel  comfortable, relatively(!)  of course.


Thursday, 22 March 2012



LORD SUGAR:  Team Olympus, your task was to design Great Britain team kit for all sports for the Olympics. Who was your project manager?
STELLA McCARTNEY:  It was me, Lord Sugar.
LORD SUGAR:  Did you manage all the sports?
STELLA McCARTNEY: All except triathlon so we just did a plain navy suit  trimmed red.
LORD SUGAR:  What inspired you for the rest then?
STELLA McCARTNEY:   Well, the Union Flag is one of the most beautiful flags in the world and it was most important for me to stay true to the iconic design but also modernise it in a contemporary way.  
LORD SUGAR:  So basically you took the existing adidas kit as a starting point and "modernised" it.  You modernised it by removing  the red which features in the Union Flag as it reflects the red  in the flags of England , Northern Ireland and  Wales.  You then made it "contemporary" by  replacing  it with a lighter shade of blue.
STELLA McCARTNEY:  You could say that.
LORD SUGAR: I did say that because that is what I see that you have done!  Why?
STELLA McCARTNEY:  I  hadn't realised that the Union Flag was made up of the flags of England, Northern Ireland ,Scotland and that.
LORD SUGAR:  Well perhaps you should have known that when you started! 

                                                       YOU'RE FIRED!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


  My first task of the day is to open up the computer and check the emails in the inbox.  They include diverted enquiries for items from our FASTRAX RANGE
and I like to deal with these immediately.  Whilst reasonable orders from larger clubs, counties, schools etc are frequent very often enquiries come in for single items required by individuals.  It would be easy to dismiss these requests for personalised "one-offs" but I think because we are runners ourselves we are sympathetic to the hopes and ambitions of the individual and so we do our best to cater for them.  Sometimes it's not logistically possible but in the main we are able to provide a special item for the athlete's special event.
  One such request for a single item came in recently for a red crop top for an event in March.  Now a computerised "basket" system would have simply shown "NO STOCK" ...end of story.  But having looked up the young lady on Power of Ten I had a hunch that the top might have been needed for a special event and my hunch was correct.  AMBWENE  (AMBER) SIMUKONDA required the crop top for the WORLD INDOOR ATHLETICS championships in Instanbul in which she represented MALAWI in the 400 metres running 55.51.   Looking up the national  colours we duly obliged with a black crop complete with MALAWI flag and a jacket to match.
  Not exactly a major sponsorship deal from us but we like to think we made a small contribution to her IAAF  World Indoor effort.  

 One of the photos Amber sent was of her with the 800 metre runner GAYLORD SILLY.  
You may recall that he ran  1:54.93 in the first round in Istanbul breaking the Seychelles record but failed to go further.
 Nevertheless,  for some strange reason ,can;t think why,  he attracted more attention on Twitter ("trending", apparently) than Jessica Ennis.    
 Amber is now building up for the Olympics but informs me that her place will have to fought for with other UK based sprinters in contention.  We wish her well!


Sunday, 18 March 2012


 I'm sure today there are, all over the country, some very tired but relieved youngsters with the end  of the cross country season.  The very best have had the NATIONAL champs, , the INTER COUNTIES and the ENGLISH SCHOOLS championships all in the last 4 weeks.  Some finale!
  The 3 major national championships always makes for a very busy time for us at FASTRAX .  It is pleasing of course to see our product in action but even more so when the INTER COUNTY event is covered by SKY.   Gratifying to see so  many of the vests sent out in the days and weeks before flashing across the TV SCREEN!
  Particularly when worn by top stars such as STEPH TWELL who ran magnificently for second in the Inter Counties behind GEMMA STEEL considering the misfortune she suffered with her horrific lower leg injury.
  I didn't make county standard as a senior following my lung surgery but I was fortunate to be selected for Lancashire Schools and Lancashire for the Inter Counties as a youth/ junior man.  Back in 1967  the National was later and it meant we had to run  the 3 major championships on 3  consecutive  weekends.   
   I was 12th in the Northern and our SALE team won with a low 37 points.  But I let the team down in the National  (97th) and  we were pushed back to 5th team.
 I redeemed myself however with 12th in the Inter Counties (5th Lancashire counter!) and 18th in the English Schools.  Lancashire winning both titles. London Marathon race director David Bedford was 2nd in the schools race. Those were the days!
  I was doing about the same amount of training as a 17/18 year old as I am now.  Only the 40 or so miles a week takes a lot longer particularly when so many miles in the week are "offroad" to make it easier on  the old limbs.
 I did however manage a creditable 5K time trial on the track this week which contributed to my 40 miles.   Creditable but I hard to work very hard to dip under 23 minutes..........22.55.  Not too bad I suppose for a solo effort and one which suggest I could well dip under 22 in a flat fast race.
  But having passed that test I still feel I need to give the leg a test over 10/12 miles before the Wilmslow Half.  
                Meanwhile, I hope your week went well and you are making good progress.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

SPEN 20 IN THE 1980S

Several times, before, during and after  Sunday's SPEN 20 I was asked if I had ever run the event.  Each time I answered the same, 1977  1982, 1983 and 1987 and after each race I vowed NEVER to do it again!
 If my memory serves me well the course initially was perhaps even more testing than it is now as the first lap brought the field back from the heights to the track again:   only for us to have to climb back up again for another lap.
 My first crack at the race in 1977 was a cautious one as it came just a week after a  disasterous "recce" of the 3 Peaks  in which I'd been taken  off course and ended running for 4 hours.   The diary states that I was 31st at the end of the first lap but as is my way  fought hard  on the second lap to try to make the Bingley team count,   getting through  to 17th finishing  2:00.19.   
  I did make the count but you can imagine our  reaction when presented with a green onyx table cigarette lighter for the 1st team prize.   Hardly appropriate.  
                        The race was won by KEVIN BEST (Stretford) in 1:47.38.

  I think by 1982  I'd upped my game but so had many other  runners  in the area and despite running 1:58.37 it was only good enough for 14th place.  You will note from the pic left 
that this was the pre-polyester era.  Cotton socks, polycotton shorts,  cotton vest, cotton t-shirt.  Fortunately I don't sweat much!  Harrogate's ANDY ROBERTSON, running for the Army, won in 1:45.26 !!    
 Second placer a rapidly improving club mate JIMMY ASHWORTH  was to have his day the following year in 1983 winning in 1:47.06.  My fifth place in 1:54.17 was an excellent precursor to my  PB 2:25.36 London.   But  the middle of the year my first period with Bingley was coming to an end.
I  joined a fledging club in Leeds, VALLEY STRIDERS,  which had started up only the previous year with 4 members.   By this time 25 years ago,  as regular  readers will know,   in most Yorkshire races we frequently occupied half of the first 10 places.   The "work ethic" and team spirit of  the club  was amazing and as consequently as the weeks and months passed yet another member would come to the forefront and make his mark.

   In the  SPEN 20  of 1987 this day 25 years ago it was the turn of KEITH CLUDERAY.  In the October of 1986 he had closed to 2 seconds behind me over 10K,  32.42 to 32.44.   Here, just  5 months later, he ran 1:48.51 to win the 20 mile race beating me nearly 9 minutes as I ran 1:57.35 for 12th place.
  With TERRY BEAN 3RD and MIKE O'CALLAGHAN 8TH it was another good days for the men in white and black.
 Keith was a British Telecom engineer and put down his recent progress to being on strike! Obviously he had worked hard and fast throughout the winter but had "put in 400 miles over the last 4 weeks".  

   Keith (with cap) is pictured above at the 2004 Athens Olympics with Valley Strider TRACEY MORRIS and  STEVE O'CALLAGHAN, another member who can "boast" marathon victories.  
In the heat of Greece Tracey ran 2:41 finishing 29th of the 81 in the field.
   These years in the '80s were highly successful for the club but it centred largely around the marathon.  We did compete in the Northern 12 stage the year before but we couldn't match the shorter distance speed of teams  with younger runners  in and finished just 36th of 58.
 Sadly Keith, Steve, Terry Bean and others from that era are no longer racing it seems.  Perhaps  the high mileage took its toll  but no doubt most of them are still doing some running albeit it ast a more sedate pace.  After all it was 25 years ago!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

SPEN 20 from behind the camera!

 As I started the ascent from the muddy bottom of the HAIGH HALL RELAYon Saturday and could immediately soreness at the bottom of the left leg  I  really felt that I had fallen at the first hurdle in this new 2012 season.   But I iced frequently Saturday night and the pain, left and right soleus,  was eased.
 Fortunately I had planned an easy day on Sunday  as,   provided I could manage a very rare  6.30 a.m. rising I would take Sally and friend Debbie B. to the SPEN 20 mile road race.  I  finished off week 10 with a 3 mile test run on the grass  after the race and felt quite relieved that there was little pain from the calf.  But as we all know calf problems tend to bite back and  soreness came back on Monday at the end of a 5 mile run on soft but uneven ground.
  I returned home thinking it was perhaps a good thing that I had no immediate races planned, only to be greeted by the postman.   He handed me confirmation of an entry for the WILMSLOW HALF marathon (!) compliments of sponsors ASICS. Thank you Jon and team at ASICS.
 I wouldn't normally regard  finishing a half marathon as a daunting prospect but the way the leg felt on Saturday  the next week of running would be crucial in determining my approach to the race.
Yesterday then was another "test" run and pleasingly a 6 mile road went well,  in under 50 minutes.   Today, working hard/easy days,  I was back on the flat grass for an pedestrian 4 miler.  
 Further "test" days will involve a 12 miler at slower than race pace and a speed session at faster than race pace.

  Going back to Sunday's SPEN 20 the 263 finishers were really blessed with the weather they enjoyed;  possibly a factor in Sally's excellent 2:26 for 4th lady  on the tough West Yorkshire  course.  Whilst this may equate to her marathon pace at Manchester  it was not planned as such.
It was NOT a pace practice exercise. She gave it 100%.  Should events conspire that she can't run Manchester then at least her training so far in 2012 has been rewarded with a very creditable 20 mile time.  NOT a race run less than 100% practising to run slower than the athlete is capable of.
Sally's time  suggests that she has some good performances to come over 5k, 10k and 10 mile once recovered from the Manchester.
  It was interesting to see how the race unfolded.  Both male and female early race leaders  faltered but held on well to finish 3rd.  GEMA ADAMS of Preston took the lead just before 5 miles  and  was never really threatened after that.  But once QUENTIN LEWIS had faded , DAVID THOMPSON of BARNSLEY and ZAC MELLARD of KIMBERWORTH found themsleves shoulder to shoulder going through Roberttown with 2 miles to go with the Barnsley man easing away for victory.
  I hope the video gives a flavour of the event which is not for the faint hearted.

It's 25 years since I ran the event but more of that tomorrow................................................

Monday, 12 March 2012

The HAIGH HALL Relay....first race of 2012

                            If you have a spare 15 minutes check out the video of the 2012 event 
                                 with relaxing guitar music selected from Youtube's listings.

Without cross country races to compete in there have been several years in which January and February have seen no races added to the lists and this year has been another. But  there were several options this weekend.
Preferred option was  the TRAFFORD 10K.  There were  entries on the day and reaching the 140 10K mark has a nice ring about it ,  but at my time of life I'm not going to get up at 6.30 a.m. to make the 9.30 a.m. start time in Cheshire.   There is a low key 5K in Blackpool also on Sunday also but  the club "appealed" for runners for a 4 man road event   ,the HAIGH HALL RELAYS, near Wigan, last Saturday so that  became the race of choice  as it would leave Sunday free.
 I had envisaged the Lancashire relay event would be better supported than it was.  I had forecast that many clubs would have used it as a guide to current form when selecting teams for the forthcoming Northern Relays.
But just 14 runners from 5 clubs toed the line for the first leg  in this event based in the Haigh Country Park located between the M6 and the M61.
 Setting off in 9th place on leg 2  I manage a smile (of sorts) for the JUST LOVE RUNNING photographer but I could immediately feel a hamstring sore from Wednesday's tough hill circuits.
But despite the brisk downhill 2 mile  the pain eased  and  was beginning to enjoy the pleasant surroundings of the country park but mindful that what goes down.....and down.....and  down...will makl for a tough ascent!
 Steve Quarmby of Lytham caught but didn't fly past and I was ready to dig in for the uphill battle when the bottom of the calf stiffened up.  I couldn't hold Steve and he took another 30 seconds off me as I laboured up  through the trail and road to the changeover point.  If you view the video you will not I'm shaking my head as I finish and the photo indicates the toll the hill has taken out of me.
 My time of 28.54 for the 3.8 mile downhill/uphill race with initial miles of 7.10 and 7.00 gave some indication of current fitness  but all in all the flat Blackpool event would have told me more and been kinder to the old legs.
 Still a good afternoon of friendly, low key athletics which left Sunday free to support Sally M. as she tackled the much sterner test over 20 undulating miles in the SPEN 20........

Friday, 9 March 2012




  Sunday's track session satisfied my lust for speed (!) this week so it's been a week of hitting the fine, picturesque trails;  albeit with a twist to make the runs include more inclines.  I think I'm guilty of too many flat runs and avoiding the hills!
  I made Wednesday the key session to leave a bit in the legs for a race this weekend to kick off my 2012 season.
 Two laps of the undulating STRID WOODS trails
at Bolton Abbey with just a flat half approach and return.
 I think at time we runners forget just how much effort we put in compared with the general public.
For example, I may get asked, "What have you run today?" and I may say, "just an easy 5".  But compare that with a group of "hikers" who  set off on Wednesday as I started the run.  They certainly looked the part all geared up with their boots, gaiters, water proofs etc.  They looked ready to tackle sub zero temperatures at high altitude.   Off they went clockwise, many with walking sticks as I went anticlockwise.
  I'd covered an undulating 2.5 miles when I saw them next.  They were all sat around in one of the shelters on the trail having lunch.  They had barely walked a mile!  I saw them again on my 2nd loop.  I notched up 6.5 to their 1.5!  Easy life!
 But at least they were doing something rather than sat at home watching day time TV and taking in more fully I suppose the splendour of the surroundings.
  Wednesday evening Pat and I watched the 7-1 Barcelona humiliation of Bayer Leverkusen  with GARETH SOUTHGATE  being one of the pundits.   It was funny then that the next morning our paths cross on the reservoir trail  around Swinsty.  When I met him again as he completed his run, I stopped to tell him that we thought he should apply for the England football manager's job.  I said I thought he had the knowledge, was articualte and intelligent and Pat thought he had the good looks compared to Harry Redknap. He said he would rather concentrate on his coaching duties; and who could blame him. The England job being somewhat of a poisoned chalice.
  It's an easy jog on the grass for me today. Looks like I could finally digging out my SALE HARRIERS race vest, finding a set of pins and putting a number on!  
   The start of my 50th  season of competition. Let's hope it's a good one........and for you also!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


  It is of course the prerogative (had to check that spelling!) of a race organiser to define the limitations of their event as theyseem fitting. After all,  generally they are volunteering their time. But I did query the decision of the organisers of the Alexandra Park 5k  in making their low key monthly  event a Womens Only one.
 I queried the decision by email and the reply came back that it was felt that many women are basically intimidated by the presence of men.   How  an ex World Vets champion jogging around a 5K in 33 minutes as Salford's Arthur walsham liked to do at over 80 can be seen as intimidating is somewhat puzzling but there you go!  They made the decision and have changed the Open Athletics website accordingly.
 So did the women of South Manchester and further afield rush to run an event they had previously ignored?
Unfortunately  it is impossible to make a direct comparison with last year's March event as someone made off with the results sheet but this is the comparison with February and April of last year.........

 2011  FEBRUARY      (Mixed field)   MEN  46  WOMEN  21
           APRIL                (Mixed field)   MEN 56   WOMEN 34
2012   MARCH        Boys and Men excluded...........WOMEN ONLY  13.
                             So not a great response, ladies! Time for a rethink?  
 If you managed to get out for a run during the day today you'll appreciate we were blessed with a really tremendous day. What a complete contrast to that miserable Sunday on the track.   Beautiful bright blue, cloudless skies; enjoyed by hundreds and myself at the reservoirs. Absolutely fabulous.
    March in England, what a month; never know what to expect or wear from one day to another!
                          Unfortunately, I forgot to take the time.

Sunday, 4 March 2012


  Sunday. 8.30 am.  A quick glance across the valley.  Rain driving through Wharfedale from the west. Not good.  A track session to be tackled this morning; I can only hope  there is a "weather repeat"  of yesterday.   Early morning rain turned to bright warn sunshine.  very welcome although I must admit I wasn't prepared for it and was far too overdressed for my Saturday 6 miler on the road.  March weather is SO unpreditable.
  To conclude week 9 of her marathon build up, I had Sally down for 8 x 1K today.  But  my "acquaintance knowledge"  tells me that reps. of less than a mile can be quite punishing on the legs. Particularly wee legs that have 22 miles in them from the previous Wednesday!   So I suggested yesterday that we do the session on the track up at Carnegie.   Tartan being softer than tarmac!
  I say "we"  as I need a speed session today  as well.    The task for me being ...what session can be devised to cater for each of our needs?   I've calculated that based on her mile rep times
 which she has been doing at an average of 6:40 of late,  that Sal should manage around 4:05 for a K rep.   I reckon I could cover 900 metres in 4:05 so  she will start at the 200 mark, I will start at the 100 point at the same time. 
                    So basically, this morning,  I'll be the hunted prey and she'll be the hunter!
 If my calculations are correct and we both run to expectations then we should cross the finish line each time together.   She will continue arouind to the 200 mark; whilst I turn back to the 100 start.  Sounds like a plan!

Sunday   2 p.m.

  Not much of a surprise but we had the track to ourselves this morning. Not even the sign of a sprint group doing some  pre season training.   
  Is there another commandment which dictates "Thou shalt not use a running track on a Sunday".  
  We splash around the outer track perimeter path whilst  the pools on the tartan  get bigger and bigger.  We've both plenty of clothing on, but it's so windy, wet and very cold!  At least we're not on the top of Ilkley Moor.
  After a nod and a wink at "dynamic stretching"....a swung my legs in the air a few times....we were away.   As forecast. on the first rep Sally was on my shoulder as we swung into the finish straight and I had to up the pace so that we crossed the line together..........4:03.  Great stuff, I thought, but too fast?

  A little restrained on the next one.....4.06.  A  plane roars overhead; taking off from Leeds Bradford airport, no doubt carrying passengers bound  for a spot of late winter sunshine.  My mind went back to  track sessions of the past in the warm, winter sunshine of the Canaries in Las Palmas and on tracks at Villanova and Barcelona in Spain.
 But we weren't on the plane, we were struggling around a puddled strewn track in North Leeds and the rain was steadily turning to sleet.  Surely it couldn't snow, could it?
 As conditions deteriorated my times went out  but only a touch.....4.08  4.08  4.08   4.08 but  I rallied with 4.07 and a final surge back to 4.03.   Sally stuck to her "stalking " task extremely well
crossing the line shoulder to shoulder on all but one of the 8 reps.
  To her immmense credit Sally dug very deep  today.   Many would  have thrown the towel in today in the conditions.  I'm more used to solo track sessions in adverse weather at Nelson. She more used to speed work in a straight line on the road! Not having done a track session for probably 6 years ( only her 2nd ever!)  and with 22 mile run in her legs  from Wednesday the morning was proving a tough one.   But that was the plan. the need to run hard and fast when tired.  As is required from 20 miles in a marathon.  I reminded her that if she could manage 6:40 mile pace for these K reps, which she was doing,  then a marathon pace of 7.20 will feel a "doddle" on the day......up to 15 miles at least, 
then time to dig in. As she did today.

  March 4th and there I was "cooling down" with a baselayer  , a Windstopper shortleeves and a Gore  Soft shell jacket on!  Sally had not lost the will to live but she had lost all feeling in her hands.  It was that kind of day but as I reminded her......NO GUTS!  NO GLORY!
  So as per last week I  salvaged the week with a Sunday speed session  and maintained the year's average with a 43 mile week.
 Sally meanwhile has completed her peak mileage week of 65 miles.  She will be grateful there's only 4 easy miles to do tomorrow before ploughing on towards the SPEN 20 mile race next Sunday.


Friday, 2 March 2012

Running shoes. Minimal or maximal?

I was sat reading a piece in the newly arrived April edition of R.W. when Pat arrived home for lunch on Wednesday.  I'd just covered part  of Sally's 22 miler on the canal. I met her at the top of 5 Rise Locks at Bingley as she  scampered,  through having done 6 miles. We ran out  to Silsden and back to my start point so that she "just" had 5 to do by herself to finish off.  
  I'm sure I slowed her down a touch but she was on her feet for 3.09 so another good long run banked.
  The 8 page R.W. article I was reading was yet another one on minimalist/ barefoot running, the "Naked Truth" by  Sam Murphy.  Much of what she wrote we've heard before.  
  But I did highlight  3 sentences...........

" I began to wear lighter, more pared down shoes."
"But then injury struck: plantar fasciitis"
"And that mean going barefoot"

   So basically she was saying that  her injury was due to her lack of correct technique NOT her lighter, more pared down footwear.  Who am I to disagree?!!

  In complete contrast Pat brought home a catalogue which had just been presented in the Complete Runner shop by an agent selling a brand I had never of called HOKA, the "brainchild of two gravity sports enthusiasts
(Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud).
 It's said that "both men have been adventuring for as long as they rememeber and their trail running experiences have taken them across the globe....."   So presumably they have enough what I call "acquaintemce knowledge" to know what they are talking about.  One of their models shown here.

  At a time when there is a movement towards drastically reducing cushioning  as in the INOV-8
BARE-X 180's , they have designed shoes some of which feature EVA midsoles 2.5 GREATER than other running shoes
 "ensuring it is excellent at absorbing impact and providing a smooth, comfortable running experience"

   Don't get me wrong  we don't intend to stock the HOKA shoes which seem to me to go too far in the opposite direction to the many minimalist shoes we are being offered.   I only mention them to illustrate how crazy the  running shoe business seems at the moment.  It's difficult enough for us having to buy our ranges of shoes 6 months in advance.
   Do we invest vast sums in a new category of shoes, minimalist, whilst still offering traditional ranges of cushioning, support and motion control shoes?
 Having pounded the roads for 49 years I won't trying the BARE-X  any time soon. My old bones require a bit of pampering with some good cushioning. BUT neither will I be stacking up to the extent of the HOKA which look a tad extreme to me.  Certainly won't be stocking them!
 We have stocked a limited number of minimalist shoes but only the NIKE FREE (which I wear in the house)  have really sold in any numbers.  
 I will however be trying shortly the new SAUCONY TRIUMPH 9 which has a new slant on the conventional heel to forefoot differential.  Look out for preview videos and  a review shortly.
  As always..........if you are racing this weekend , have a good season has yet to start!