Saturday, August 31, 2013

Launch of the Comrades Marathon 2014...

It's the time of the year again as registration for the Comrades Marathon 2014 will begin on 1 September 2013 at 6am local Malaysian time. It's pretty hard to believe that I've done twice the run now and will be returning the following year and hopefully for many many more years to come. To read more about my runs the past 2 years click on the following link, 2012 and 2013.

Anyway, to cut things short, the below is the official press release for the launch of the Comrades Marathon 2014 which was held on 29 August 2013 over at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Johannesburg. 

Launch of 2014 Comrades Marathon The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) launched its campaign for The 2014 Ultimate Human Race in Johannesburg on Thursday, 29 August 2013.
The tough conditions that characterized the 2013 Ultimate Human Race served as a reality check to many Comrades Marathon runners that this is still one of the toughest endurance events in the world. This was the inspiration behind the 2014 campaign: ‘Hard Is What Makes It Great!
South Africa’s top runners, sporting personalities, stakeholders and media joined in the celebratory launch of the nation’s best loved ultra-marathon for its 89th edition.
The CMA is all set for another amazing race, come Sunday, 1 June 2014. Being a ‘down-run’, the starting gun will fire off outside Pietermaritzburg’s City Hall at 05h30 and go off again 12 hours later at Durban’s Sahara-Kingsmead Cricket Stadium to signal the finish of the 89km road-running challenge.
1 September 2013 brings with it not only the beginning of spring but also the official opening of entries for the 2014 Comrades Marathon. The entry period will close on 30 November 2013 or as soon as the entry cap of 18000 has been reached. Prospective entrants are encouraged to get their entries in early so as to not be left disappointed.
Entry fees for 2014 are as follows:
  • Local Entries : R350.00
  • Rest of Africa : R550.00
  • International : R1800.00
The CMA has once again catered generously for its South African runners who will be eligible for the ‘early bird’ entry fee of R320 if their entry is received before 30 September 2013. The regular entry fee of R350 will kick in on 1 October 2013 until the entry process is closed. Runners from the rest of Africa will be charged an entry fee of R550 and the cost to international athletes is R1800.
Other great news for runners is that the Substitution Rule will once again be a feature of the 2014 Comrades Marathon entry process, the details of which can be found online
Aspiring runners are urged to enter the great race as early as possible, as entries are strictly on a first come first serve basis. The entry requirements, which are clearly indicated on the entry form, must be strictly complied with at all times or runners may risk losing their place at the Start.
Runners may enter as follows:
  • Online via the Comrades Marathon website:;
  • Through the post by posting your completed entry form with proof of payment to the CMA Office in Pietermaritzburg: P.O. Box 100621, Scottsville, 3209;
  • Comrades Marathon House: by handing the completed entry form together with payment at the CMA office in Pietermaritzburg.
Please note that no entries will be taken at Mr Price stores from now on. Entry forms will be available at local running clubs, provincial sporting federations and the CMA; as well as selected qualifying races which the Comrades Team will be attending from September to November. Alternatively, prospective participants may hand deliver or post their completed entry forms and proof of payment to the CMA offices in Pietermaritzburg – P.O.Box 100621, Scottsville, 3209.
Other awesome news for those runners aiming for the top positions is that the overall 2014 Prize Money has been increased by a whopping 14%. The total prize money for the 2014 Comrades Marathon has increased to R3.159,000; up from R2.653,000. This means that next year’s Male and Female Winners will receive a first prize of R350,000 each as opposed to the R300,000 awarded this year.
As part of its Amabeadibeadi Charity Drive, the CMA’s six official charities are the Community Chest of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, PinkDrive, The Sports Trust, Starfish-Greathearts Foundation, Wildlands Conservation Trust and World Vision South Africa.
The charities’ focus are on issues of community development, care for the aged, health and wellness, AIDS care and support, the environment and sports development. Through the amazing Amabeadibeadi Charity initiative, they gain significant resources to effect the intended meaningful change to those needy communities across South Africa.
Further to that, the CMA prides itself in giving the less fortunate athletes an opportunity to compete by putting the humanity into The Ultimate Human Race by making the dreams of approximately 800 disadvantaged runners a reality every year. For over a decade, the Underprivileged Runners Programme has provided resources and moral support to these runners who would normally be unable to compete in the world’s biggest and oldest ultra-marathon and join in the camaraderie and enjoyment associated with it.
CMA Vice Chairman, Macdonald Chitja says: ‘It is with a great sense of pride and pleasure that we unveil our campaign for the 2014 Comrades Marathon. The 2013 race proved to be one of the most difficult races for our runners and the 2014 campaign speaks directly to that.’ Chitja adds, ‘As we direct our prime focus on the Comrades Marathon runner, we also make provisions for supporting the greater good of South Africa through the CMA’s Amabeadibeadi Charity Drive. We are grateful to our generous runners, sponsors, partners and supporters who contribute to the overall success of our charitable outreach. We look forward to hosting you all on 1 June 2014 and wish all runners well in their training.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Future of Fast...

The Saucony Kinvara 4 is finally officially making its way into our Malaysian shores. The media launch event will be held on tomorrow - Wednesday, 28 August 2013, beginning at 9.30am at RSH Malaysia's office. The below shows the agenda of the much anticipated launch and also the press release which I've gotten it first hand.


Kuala Lumpur, 28 August 2013 In conjunction with the largest launch effort by Saucony in the United States, RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd will officially launch the Kinvara 4, the brand’ s 4th generation natural motion running shoes in Malaysia.

Saucony was originally founded in 1898 at Saucony Creek in Kutztown, Pennsylvania and is today’s leading global running lifestyle brand infused with performance, innovation and style that appeal to runners worldwide. Some interesting insights, the name Saucony translated means “mouth of a creek or river” and it was in year 1906 when the Saucony Shoe Manufacturing Company first built its factory, a solid two-story construction along the Saucony Creek. The logo resembles the endless flow of that waterway along with its rocky creek bed which was depicted by the three distinct dots within the “wave” in the logo which represents the “river” mark.

The Kinvara 4 is an upgraded version from its predecessors, which is infused with the latest FlexFilm™ technology by welding a lightweight and highly dynamic flexible film onto the breathable mesh upper that enhances air ventilation while maintaining the structure. Interestingly, there is more FlexFilm™ added to the midfoot and heel area, to give a better framework that secures the foot through all phases of the gait cycle. 

The Kinvara 4 also has improved midsole cushioning technology from ProGrid™ to PowerGrid™, a premium engineered foam that is 15% lighter and 30% more durable than standard EVA foams.  The PowerGrid system is located in the heel landing zone to absorb impact and transmit energy back into the runner’s stride with maximum efficiency and minimal impact. Other features of the shoes include XT-900™ premium carbon triangular rubber pods that are strategically placed on the shoe’s outsole for enhanced durability and exceptional traction. Memory Foam heel pods along the collar add to the ultra-secure ride and a bevelled heel help runners to facilitate a natural rolling movement from heel to toe.

The invited guest speaker of the day for the exclusive media launch is Frank Chong Wei Siong (fondly known as Frank), is Saucony Malaysia’s very first ambassador, who is also a cancer survivor who contracted with a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma that affects the connective tissues and muscles on his left wrist. He will also share his story on how he battled cancer. This will be followed by geometry of strong videos featuring the Kinvara 4, explaining further on features, functions and technologies of the footwear.

As the host of the launch, Mr Manish Sapra, General Manager of RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd will officially unveil the latest line of Saucony – The Kinvara 4, together with three (3) of Saucony Malaysia’s very own Ambassadors, Frank Chong, Jason Tan, and Tan Zijill.

There is an array of colourful Saucony Kinvara 4 collection of footwear and apparel for men and women on display. The footwear display units placed around the conference hall enable the guests to get a feel and touch of Kinvara 4. There will also be a Q&A session where guests will be given the opportunity to pose more questions in getting an even better understanding about the footwear.

The Kinvara 4 is now available for both men and women. The collection retails at RM399 per pair and will be available in September 2013 at Running Lab, Stadium, Studio R and selected Royal Sporting House stores nationwide.

Running Lab
Tropicana City Mall, Selangor

Suria KLCC
Pavilion KL

Studio R
Gurney Plaza, Penang
Mid Valley Megamall, KL
One Utama Shopping Centre, Selangor
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Centre, Selangor
The Mines Shopping Mall, Selangor

Royal Sporting House
Bangsar Shopping Centre, KL
City Square, Johor Bahru
Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang,
One Utama Shopping Centre, Selangor
Paradigm Mall, Selangor
Queensbay Mall, Penang
Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang
Setia City Mall, Selangor

About Saucony: Saucony, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, is a leading global running lifestyle brands that fuses performance, inovation and style to create compelling footwear and apparel with its widely recognized brands Saucony and Saucony Originals. Founded in 1898, Saucony continues to inspire runners everywhere with its award winning innovations, including the “Geometry of Strong™, ProGrid™, PowerGrid™ ViZiPRO™ and AMP PRO2™ and apparel. At Saucony, a good day is when we get to run. A great day is when we inspire someone else to run. For more information, go to
About RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd: RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of RSH Limited. Incorporated in 1989, RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd’s principle activities include marketing, distributing and retailing for sports, golf, active lifestyle and fashion products. RSH Malaysia manages multi-brand specialty chains such as Stadium, Samba, Studio R, Royal Sporting House, Why Pay More? and Golf House. RSH Group of Companies consists of Armaan (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Ogaan Fashions (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Gagan (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Prasan (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, which are retailers of our international fashion labels that include bebe®, Bershka, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Ted Baker, Nautica and Pull & Bear. RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd plays an imperative role in propelling the retail industry forward. We are proud to announce that some of our boutiques were recipients of the Fair Price Shop Awards 2007-2008 and these include several Royal Sporting House outlets as well as Massimo Dutti Bangsar Village 2.

For more information, kindly contact:
RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
Advertising & Promotions Department
Lot 691, Kompleks Hamodal 5,
Jalan Lagoon Selatan off Jalan Kewajipan,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor.
Tel: 03-5123 2668         Fax: 03-5637 0531

Cheryl Lee, Manager Advertising & Promotions (
Alice Ang, Executive Advertising & Promotions (

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3...

By Frank

I received the Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3 a while back before my adventure at the Comrades Marathon 2013. It did not become my running shoe though and quickly became my office, walking and recovery shoe. And besides, I really like the colour scheme of the pair I received, fiery red with hints of citron! Handsome indeed!

The Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3.

Here is a brief introduction about the Mirage 3. It's part of Saucony's arsenal of their 3 natural running series, the other 2 being the Virrata and Kinvara 3. It weights in at 240 grams at a size US8.5 and has a 4mm heel to toe off set measuring at 22mm at the heel and 18mm at the forefoot. Surprisingly although looking much thicker, it actually has the same stack height as the Kinvara 3! But two major difference is that the Mirage 3 is padded around especially on the collar which uses HydraMax memory foam and has a hint of arch support with a presence of a mild TPU plastic acting as the medial post, which gives the shoe a little structure to it.

HydraMax memory foam on the collar.

FlexFilm, the very thin but strong film first used in Saucony's track and field spike shoes, was introduced too in the third generation to hold the wearer's feet together without using too much overlays on the shoes hence shaving off some weight.

FlexFilm, shown here in black to secure the wearer's feet. Also notice the deep grooves on the midsole to enable extra flex.

Midsole is typical built on EVA technology. However, there is a ProGrid heel insert on the heel to cushion off any impact should the wearer strikes the ground on their heel.

The ProGrid heel insert hidden within the midsole.

Bevelled and decouple heel.

The outsole has full ground contact but isn't built on Saucony's very famous triangular lug design  used on the Virrata and Kinvara 3 though and uses the traditional pattern. Heel area was bevelled and decoupled, with much deeper grooves all around to make the shoe more flexible. Reinforcement on the heel crash pad using XT-900 carbon rubber while the forefoot uses IBR blown rubber.

Outsole of the Mirage 3.

Being done with the introduction above, here's my impression of the shoe. As mentioned earlier, I only used it for walking since I received it as it's pretty comfortable especially as a recovery shoe after a long workout. I am a mild pronator and the very mild medial post does help relieve some soreness. I did however use it once for a short run at Johannesburg but I just couldn't review it based on that. Hence yesterday evening, I decided to go for a long run of 20KM in it with Jason at Desa Park City. A great place to test out shoes as there are flats, up and downhills, tarmac, pavements and concrete surfaces to thrash the shoe out.

The ride was pretty smooth though not as great as the Kinvara 3 as it suffers from the lack of "Uumph" during the propulsion stage. It felt a lot like a traditional shoe though it does help a little in encouraging a mid foot striking. Feet did not feel too secure and I had still had the freedom to flex and wiggle around.

It performed pretty good on flats while noticeable much better than the Virrata and Hattori on the descend. However, I couldn't climb well with it. I am suspecting it's probably due to the upper structure of the shoe as most of the midsole specifications are the same as the Kinvara 3.

Taking corners was noticeable very stable much thanks to the medial post and the padded collar. Not much effort needed from our legs, though I will actually prefer to let my ankle do it's job as I believe that in the long run and if done correctly and with patience, it will benefit us.

Close-up on the TPU plastic which acts as the very mild medial post.

2 let downs on the Mirage 3 which was more prominent. First was the shoe's tongue. It did not have any internal bootie to keep it secure hence it will move to one side while running which is rather irritating. The second will be the flat laces which I often describe as Saucony's Achilles heel, as it is always use on their shoe to save weight. I had to double tie it down to prevent the laces coming undone which may leave a very odd looking nod on the shoe.

Though the Mirage 3 is far from perfect at least from my own opinion, it's still a pretty good and functional shoe for my day to day and post run usage. And for those who intend to take the leap to natural running, this may actually be a very good shoe to start off with. If I were to describe the Mirage 3 in lay man's term, I will say that it is a shoe with neither too much nor too little.

Personally for me, the Mirage 3 will remain my day to day shoe and perhaps a post intense run recovery shoe.

The Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3 is now available at Running Lab - Tropicana City Mall and selected Studio R, RSH and Stadium outlets nationwide at a recommended selling price of RM399.00.

The Saucony ProGrid Mirage 3 is part of my sponsorship program and was sponsored by RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, the authorised sole distributor for Saucony in Malaysia.