Even the sweltering heat of June could not frustrate the enthusiasm of some elite runners who took part in the FuelCell Fastest Mile Challenge at the Dubai International Academy on Tuesday.
Born out of a long-standing partnership between New Balance and Ultimate Athletics, the challenge saw male and female athletes compete for the crown of the UAE’s best over a one-mile distance.
For any athlete involved in the sport of running, a good pair of shoes is the most important equipment. Not only does the right shoe provide optimal comfort for a runner, but it can also give an extra boost in speed to gain a competitive edge. It’s this combination that New Balance has sought to perfect with its FuelCell series of running shoes, the latest offering of which is the RC Elite v2.
The lightweight running shoes feature the high rebound FuelCell midsole compound, while paired with a full-length carbon fiber plate for easy energy return and propulsion.
The riders of Tuesday’s Fastest Mile Challenge had the opportunity to experience the RC Elite, and the reviews after the event were overwhelmingly positive.
“The New Balance RC Elite honestly made a huge difference,” said youngster Isobel Charlier, who finished first in the women’s division.
“Normally when I run my feet start to hurt and cramp after a short distance. I didn’t feel such pain in these new shoes which was a refreshing change.
“It’s obviously very pleasant to finish first. It was a great competition overall and I loved the opportunity to compete with the best riders in the area.
Isobel is one of the many young talents who are developing under the tutelage of experienced coaches from the New Balance Run Club (NBRC). The weekly running club offers free coaching to athletes of all ages and abilities in coordination with Ultimate Athletics.
Meeting every Tuesday evening on the track of the Dubai International Academy in Al Barsha, the NBRC conducts exercises to improve the performance of each athlete while providing advice on running techniques.
Another athlete who takes advantage of the running club is Oliver Demain, who finished in a solid third place in the men’s division.
“It was quite satisfying to finish on the podium after a great race. The new shoes were amazing and I can already feel the difference in performance, ”said the youngster after the Fastest Mile Challenge.
“Previously, I had a problem where my pace slowed down considerably towards the end. Even though I slowed down a bit towards the end today, I think my speed hasn’t dropped as much as it once did.
While the young talent impressed over the evening, no one embodied the NBRC’s goal of empowering runners of all ages and abilities than Lee Garett.
The 40-year-old was the clear winner of the men’s race on Tuesday and took the edge off the field after securing an impressive finish.
“I had a plantar fasciitis injury over a year and a half ago. Since then, I have recovered and have been training regularly for a year and a half, ”he said after his victory.
“I have developed a good routine with work and training and am able to manage my body which is great for a 40 year old. Age is just a number. I just want to compete with the best. As long as my body is not injured, I will continue. “
Garett, too, had nothing but good things to say about RC Elite shoes and racing.
“It was a big event,” he said.
“They tried to put together some of the best runners for a one mile run, there was also the added incentive of the new shoes which were amazing.
“Being able to participate in a fast race in the United Arab Emirates, especially towards the end of June in this weather, is such a great opportunity. New Balance has done a great job.
Critics from the athletes have been music to Sebastian Van Pletzen, New Balance’s MENA Marketing Director.
“It was the perfect event to authenticate the FuelCell RC Elite, which is an amazing and innovative running shoe,” he said.
“The feedback we have received from athletes is that it is second to none in terms of technology, comfort and speed.
“I hear that many of today’s athletes have broken their personal bests in these running shoes.
“The FuelCell Fast Mile Challenge was born around a concept to deliver what the FuelCell RC Elite is. If you’re talking about FuelCell and the RC Elite, it delivers speed. It is the language of speed.
“We wanted to deliver that through this event which brings together the fastest runners in the UAE to compete for this prestigious award. From what I understand, the numbers provided here today are some of the best we have seen in this region in some time. “
The numbers provided at the event were indeed commendable, with Lee Garett winning the men’s gold medal with a time of less than four and a half minutes. Meanwhile, Isobel clocked a time of five minutes and nineteen seconds en route to the top position in the women’s division. The top three in each category received medals for their fabulous efforts on the track.
Learn more about the Sport360 app