On the rare occasions life is not throwing us a curve, our scheduled runs can seem almost effortless. It affords us the opportunity to travel distant lands in our imagination, where running the big race or battling some fantastic enemy always ends with victory. For a short time we’ve avoided the cell phone and never-ending e-mails. But when our lives are disrupted by the tornadoes that tear us from our foundations, this escape is needed more than ever. We can literally run through our personal land of make believe in search of a way back “home”. Once in a while the journey begins with friends on a road paved with yellow bricks.
As runners, we take with us three very important and close friends to any competition. The once Cowardly Lion finds the courage to stand up and confront our fears. The Scarecrow can speak to us, providing the brains to make the correct decisions at the correct time. And last, but not least, is our inner Tin Man equipped with the heart to keep pushing forward when it feels as if our legs could collapse at any moment. With their help we will face any challenge. But what if we want more? What if we have our three friends and it just isn’t enough to achieve our goals?
If you want to reach your full potential, a pair of Dorothy’s magic slippers MUST be on your feet. By this, I mean the Cloudracer running shoe by On. They use the same Cloud technology as their other models but with a sleeker and lighter design for racing. No matter what stretch of pavement you choose, they provide the comfort of running on a rubber track combined with traction superior to ANY shoe I have ever worn, which translates to a huge boost in speed. After multiple races, a thirty second reduction to my 5k finish time was the immediate and lasting benefit when competing in the Cloudracers. This can mean the difference between victory and defeat when the “flying monkeys” in your age group are hot on your heels.
Who is the Wizard of On? Olivier Bernhard was a professional athlete, winning the world duathon championship several times as well as the Ironman title no less than six times. Working with an engineer at the Zurich Institute of Technology, they developed the concept that has now become the science behind On’s running shoes. With the help of his co-founders, David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti a revolutionary new shoe was produced that reduces the pain from running and therefore decreases recovery time. The “clouds”, on the bottom of the shoe, roll to absorb the shock of forward motion as well as downward force. Within each Cloud are a series of teeth that lock together upon impact and provide maximum stability and traction for pushing off. For more information, please read my review of the Cloudrunner or visit On-running directly.
To be completely honest, I was reluctant to write this review because I’m giving away vital information about my secret weapon that will eventually be used against me. It’s very easy to get spoiled by this brand of shoe and I can’t envision a day when returning to the technology of the past would be a sensible choice. Besides, Toto’s become attached to his new Brooks chew toys.
Mark my words, other running shoe companies will attempt to mimic On’s design when they realize the advantages. Every year we see gimmicks and fads promising to increase speed and performance, but these shoes really deliver. So be the first in your area to benefit from a pair of Clouds before your competitors get wise. Like Dorothy says, “There is no place like home”, but home is even nicer when you return with a medal around your neck.
As always, run for fun and race to place! (and maybe watch out for brooms coming out of the west)
© Copyright 2012 The Hornet, All rights Reserved. Written For: Adventures In Running