One year as an ASICS FrontRunner

As soon as applications opened in January 2018 I applied straight away. I had read about ASICS FrontRunner in 2017 and since it’s a brand I always wear I felt it would be a huge opportunity so I thought really hard about what I had to say. I talked about my love of running and how I got to where I am but I was filling it out more in hope than expectations. The thoughts going through my head were that I’d never be picked, sure I’m not an elite runner, I don’t have many followers on Instagram and my story wasn’t very exciting. But if I didn’t apply I’d have no chance. Then an email came in February from Holly Rush and Gareth Pashley. As I started to read the email I couldn’t believe it, I had been chosen as one of the lucky few for 2018. At first I thought it was a joke so I quickly did a bit of research on Holly and Gazz and then it hit me that it was true, I was picked, one of 4 Irish representatives. It was amazing to see the other successful candidates. How lucky am I to be joining them on this amazing team. I quickly learned it doesn’t matter how many social media followers you have or if you are an elite runner, it is about your love for running and sharing that experience. You just need to look at the team to see we are from all different backgrounds, different disciplines and different levels.

First Meet up – Beast from the East

So the first meet up was being held in Birmingham around the IAAF World Indoor Championships. A weekend of meeting the team, running, photoshoots and heading to the Championships. I booked my flights as soon as I knew the plans. But the exciting build up to the weekend was soon in doubt due to the beast from the east weather system. Low temperatures and heavy snowfall meant by the time I was to fly out on Friday morning the airport was closed. I changed my flight to Saturday morning but the same thing happened then. No launch weekend for me. The photos of everyone who did make it was amazing and the stories of the lengths people had to go to just to get there showed how eager everyone was to meet the new team.

Wiggle and ASICS Global Running day

My first chance to do an official event with ASICS came on Global Running Day when I headed to Wiggle HQ where we would do a run and a try on of the new Gel Kayano 25. This also gave me a chance to meet up with another FrontRunner team member for the first time. Sarah Renshaw and I were chosen due to our love of Gel Kayano. On what must have been the hottest day of the year we joined the staff of Wiggle on a lunch time run. The staff got a chance to try on Kayanos and take them on a test run. We had all level running with us on the day, even one who had just returned to running after a long spell out due to a crash. I really enjoyed sharing my love and knowledge of Kayanos with the staff and definitely look forward to doing more events like this.

Warrington Summer meet up

My first full weekend with the team came in July when we headed to Warrington. I was nervous as most had already met up and I didn’t know how things would go. I had followed all the team on Instagram so it was like I knew them all already. But I don’t know why I was nervous, everyone was so friendly and welcoming. We started the weekend on the Friday night with a table quiz and followed it up on the Saturday morning with a parkrun. After this we were treated to presentations from Holly, Gazz and Jan Erik and then from Stuart Holliday who is an ASICS Team Psychologist. The fun part was yet to come as we had our school sports day. The competitive nature came out in all of us even if we didn’t have too much success Team Ireland finished strong with getting the best result in the long jump. That night we all left our running kit in the rooms and dressed up for a casino night. That was great fun and me going all in to get Blackjack on my last hand to get the highest winning on the table created a good buzz. Of course it was all fake money which made it easier to throw it all down. No FrontRunner meetup is complete without a bag full of kit. Lucky I booked checked in luggage for the trip back

Dublin Marathon Meet up

The autumn meet up was scheduled for Dublin during the Dublin Marathon weekend. No plane for me this time, just a short drive from Cork to Dublin to meet up with the team. You can read more about the Dublin weekend here. It was great to have everyone in Ireland for this meet up and help make it a stress free lead up to my new marathon PB.

What are the best things about being part of the team?

Of course the biggest benefit everyone would see is all the kit. Getting to test out new runners and have the right running kit for the time of the year. I will have to buy a new wardrobe to store all of it. But I quickly learned it isn’t all about the free kit. The meet ups were great fun and meant getting to know people out of sporting scene. Being able to get advice from so many top athletes, to being able to answer questions I might have, training and injury tips, motivation to try new things and the excitement following the huge achievements of the team. Being in the company of some amazing people is a huge benefit. To hear their stories and what they have been through to get here would motivate anyone to get out and be active. I have met some truly wonderful people in the past year, people that I will always stay in contact with. And it is not just the UK and Ireland team, a recent work trip to Berlin gave me the opportunity to meet up with some of the German team go running with them.  I would encourage everyone to submit an application.

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