Monday, September 07, 2015

Saucony Peregrine 5...

By Frank

My first experience with Saucony’s trail shoe was back in year 2012 when I laid my hands of the now discontinued Kinvara TR which I bought from Johannesburg. While it worked well on rocky trails, it failed pretty badly on wet and muddy surfaces. And though I knew a lot of the Peregrine (named after a falcon) model, I did not had the chance to get my hands on it due to the demands of the minimum order quantity set and also the very niche trail market a few years back. But things started to change when Saucony Malaysia tried to bring the fourth generation in which although they didn’t manage to, they did however successfully present to me a pair of Peregrine 4 sample. And that changed how I ran trail.

If the Saucony Kinvara was to be my “To Go” road shoe, the Peregrine will be of course my “To Go” trail shoe. Part of the Run Anywhere series by Saucony and probably the most well-known, it also the most versatile in its stable alongside with its brothers (and sisters) of the Xodus and now the all new Nomad TR. 

The Saucony Peregrine 5 (middle) flanked by the Peregrine 4 by its side.

The Peregrine 4 which has won many awards including year 2014 trail shoe of the year has followed me to a few trails locally and of course internationally for the past 2 years. Conquering with it the world’s oldest desert, Namib desert, the  Three Peaks Ultra 38 Miler and Glen Ogle 33 Miler at Scotland last year, and not forgetting my first ever 100KM trail ultra at Hong Kong 100 early this year, it also experienced the shorter distance but very muddy Janda Baik race and also the Gunung Nuang Ultra back home. And I am proud to say, that the shoe fared awfully great in all the trail races I’ve participated in with it.

The Saucony Peregrine 5.

And now, after 2 years of trying, Saucony Malaysia successfully managed to bring in the fifth generation of this very popular trail shoe. Enter the Saucony Peregrine 5 (P5). 

Lateral view of the Peregrine 5.

Medial view of the Peregrine 5.

Nothing much has changed from the fourth to the now P5. Like the Kinvara series,this shoe has retained much of its DNA since it was first release to the market. Only minor changes to make the shoe lighter like stripping off layers, upgrades of cushioning and replacing stitching with FlexFilm, the feel and ride of the shoe remained almost identical at least for me from the fourth to the fifth generation. The aggressive outsole has remained the same!

Same awesome outsole on the P4 and P5. No change s or tweaks needed.

The P5 weights in a 272 Grams on a men size US9.0 making it one of the lightest trail shoes in the market currently. It is built on a stack height of 21.5MM on the heel and 17.5MM forefoot, giving the shoe a 4MM offset. And since we are now talking about the outsole, let’s just start with it. Multi directional lugs where its internal tread is built upon the XT-900 carbon rubber has proven to work well on different surfaces from rocky to muddy. A nifty trick by Saucony is where the perimeter tread is instead built on another variant of sticky high traction rubber which creates great traction at the places where you need it most. The P5 may not be the master of all terrains here, but its outsoles remain the jack of all trades. And yes, they are not prone to becoming a mud cake with the exception of the heel area during my experience at the Janda Baik race last year. Otherwise, it provides exceptionally good traction for both up and down hills, rocky or muddy.

On the midsole, the cushion is provided by a PowerGrid heel insert accompanied by a nylon rockplate on the midfoot and forefoot area to provide protection against jagged and sharp rocks without sacrificing flexibility.  The nylon rockplate certainly work well as a protective barrier as my experience at the very rocky Mount Eldons at Jedburgh, Scotland didn’t involve too much “OUCH”.

The nylon rock plate distinguish by the white/black pattern.
(internal blue rubber built on XT900 carbon rubber while outer orange tread on sticky high traction rubber)

The upper is made of light weight breathable mesh with FlexFilm overlays to hold the shoe together. The mesh is extremely soft and comfortable with it’s excellent ventilation. In fact, the ventilation is so good that I found my shoe full of Namib desert sand! Hence therefore, the internals is going to get wet when you bring it through river crossing, but it will also mean, quick drying! However, for larger debris, it will be kept out as the tongue is gusseted which allows a sock-like feel. Oh and yes, it is gaiter compatible too together with the RunDry collar to keep moisture at bay.

Readjusted FlexFilm for better foot lockdown.

Gaiter compatibility.

Padded collar on the RunDry system.

If there is one change that is worth the mentioned, will be the upgrade of the toe cap from nylon to rubber for better durability and also the “reduction” of pain should you accidentally kick a hard rock. As for the toebox, although not a 2E width, it's surprisingly reasonably roomy allowing my toes to "claw up" for that extra traction.

Upgraded nylon toe cap from the P4 to rubber on P5.

There are a few dislikes for me though. First the shoe lace has been changed to a thicker version from the flat elastic lace from the fourth. It comes undone pretty easily and I believe it's slightly heavier too. And I seriously do not know why is it so long! And I personally feel the mid foot area to be to be slightly roomy considering the adjustment of the FlexFilm. Perhaps A ProLock system to hold the foot down? And yes, a water repellent version maybe, such as the RunShield on the Kinvara 5 and 6. This may also help with keeping the smaller debris like sand out. As long it's not GoreTex.

Huge reflective on the rear with the Peregrine insignia.

The Saucony Peregrine 5 following the footsteps of its predecessor is an excellent pair of trail shoes. It has come a long way with me through trail races even before it is officially made available locally, many thanks to Saucony Malaysia. Although I’ve opt to test out the all new Saucony Nomad TR (stay tune for review) for my upcoming 70KM Vietnam Mountain Marathon, the Peregrine 5 will  take on the Three Peaks Ultra, Glen Ogle 33 and of course the Hong Kong 100 next year should I get the ballot in. And for my big one next year, maybe the Peregine 6?

The Saucony Peregrine 5 will retail at a recommended selling price of RM429 and is now available at Running Lab – Tropicana City Mall, Stadium and selected Royal Sporting House nationwide.

Run AnyWhere!

This pair of Saucony Peregrine 5 is kindly provided by RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, the sole distributor of Saucony in Malaysia as part of my ambassador program.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

PJ Half Marathon 2015

Event: PJ Half Marathon 2015
Venue: Laman MBPJ Petaling Jaya
Date: 06 September 2015
Time: 5.00AM
Distance: 21KM (21.47KM byt Suunto Ambit 3 Peak Sapphire)
Shoe: Saucony Type A5
By Frank

I signed up for the PJ Half Marathon pretty late as it wasn't in my to do list. But after finding out that a few from my usual training group will be running, I decided to give it a go. It's been a while since I ran a half marathon too, the last being at Jedburgh last year and hence needed some motivation for some speedy workout. But after finding out the twisty route which starts from PJ state instead from Kelana Jaya like the previous years, I kind of regretted. But no turning back and hence looking forward to an outing with the guys (and gals).

Had a pretty good sleep and woke up with enough time to prepare myself. However, there was several road closures due to MRT works, the most noticeable was the one at Sprint Highway which caused me many detours along the way. Was supposed to meet up at KFC PJ state at 4AM but I was late for about 20 minutes due to the detours. But luckily, plenty of time was still available as the half marathon will only start at 5AM and 10KM at 5.30AM. A quick pre-run photo and off we walk towards the starting point just outside Civic Hall. Myself, Zijill and Jamie lined up at the back of the crowd waiting for the start while Nick and Nessa for the 10KM.

And at 5AM, off we went, though it took us a while to cross the start gantry. And not only that, all 3 of us found trouble to pass the slower runners as the running path was rather narrow as we headed towards Jalan Gasing. As we near the overhead bridge which bring us into Old Klang Road, all 3 of us were still running together. However, as we made a u-turn back into Jalan Gasing, we lost Zijill. We kept going though at times, we look back to try to spot someone with a yellow cap.

Headed into PJ Old Town next and was still feeling good. But I think Jamie felt better as he founded another gear and went blazing ahead. And when I got to the 10KM mark near Wisma P1 just before the underpass below Federal Highway, my right hip flexor shows sign of discomfort again, just like during Kuching Marathon. Slowed down to "readjust" a little hoping it will ease up. Out of a sudden, Jamie appeared from behind as he stoped for a pee-stop earlier.

The first hill came at the Jalan 222 cemetery and I attacked it. Hills makes me come alive as it is less taxing on the legs for me. Or perhaps it's due to the environment there? Next was SS2 via the Chow Yang side but first we need to tackle the big climb at the Taman SEA school. And even before the climb appeared, Jamie zoomed ahead again and was no where to be seen already as I was still nursing my hip flexor.

Tackled the climb well and it was a straight road heading towards Jalan Universiti. But again, the ugly side of Malaysian drivers came into sight in the SS2 residential areas as some impatient drivers were honking away at junctions despite runners crossing it,

Survived the traffic at SS2 and arrived at Jalan Universiti via the Rothmans Roundabout (or junction now). Straight along here but with some mild but long climbs, the most noticeable will be the one just after Jaya One. Another climb conquered and I headed towards the University Hospital before detouring off into the residential area before joining back at Jalan Utara. But just before exiting, spotted Raymond and Michelle cheering for the runners across from where they are staying.

Arrived at Dataran Petaling Jaya which is the 20KM mark in 1:50 hours and kind of knew that it will be a sub 2 finishing as from what I have programmed into my Suunto. A slight climb to tackle and finally arrived in PJ State with a familiar voice welcoming me. It was Nick as it took me a while to spot him as he was camouflage within the crowd. Then my watch beeped showing that I have arrived at the 21KM mark in 1:57 hours and I still had a few hundred of meters to go. A sub 2 hours finish is hanging on the balance as I tried to find another gear. Found it and managed to complete my run in 2 hours smack on the dot! Phew.... Hahaha...

Lingered around Civic Hall with Kel Vin and Poh Meng before I spotted Zijill completing her run too. Downed a banana and a few cups of water before joining the rest back as we made ourselves back to our cars before a light breakfast and its back home.

Overall, the run is surprisingly not too badly organised. Thumbs up to the marshals and police for the traffic management. The only downside for me was the race pack collection where it took me more than hour queuing up in the humid Kelana Jaya stadium with only 3 to 4 counters opened. But am just glad all is over now and I have my 21KM in my bag for this year.

* no photos. Sob sob...