Harry Every now and then a once in a lifetime opportunity will come face to face with you. Sometimes you wont realise that until you're in the moment or even not until the moment is over. People from 20 different countries all gathered and brought every ounce of energy with them creating such a special weekend. From start to finish it was off the charts. I came here to write about my favourite moment, yet literally every single second was incredible.
Running around one of the worlds most active volcanoes, Meeting incredible people from all around the world and getting to know them, partying, running with everyone. If I truly had to pick one moment it would be the shake out run on the friday when we all arrived. You literally could feel The energy and the vibe of all the members, then the best moment on the run was when some local boy racers had music blasting from their sound system; a car the size of a Fiat500. They created a what felt like a festival of runners.
If every week ended like that I'd live for the weekend. Thank you to everyone involved and Thank you ASICS for the Opportunity.
Taz My journey began by leaving my hotel in London at 2am to get to Gatwick aiport. I must have checked that I had my passport a thousand times. I was so nervous and excited at the same time and all I knew was that I would finally relax once I was on the plane.
Shortly after arriving at the airport I met fellow AFRs Semeena and Chimzy. It was so lovely to meet them to share our excitement of what was to come. I wont bore you with any further travel details so lets fast forward to Catania
I will be completely open and honest here when I say that I was anxious about meeting everyone. Would I fit in? was the question I had on my mind a lot. But I had no reason to worry. All the different AFRs I met were so warm and friendly and I loved how 120 of us from all over the globe were able to unite and connect over our shared passion for running regardless of ability
On the 1st day we got a taxi into town where we explored the local area. I loved the little streets with the colourful umbrellas- it was just so beautiful. In fact I found all of Catania just beautiful.
Kerry “You can pack for every occasion, but good friends will always be the best thing you could bring”
I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage for 6 days on hand luggage, but for any International ASICS FrontRunner meet as long as you have your running kit, running shoes and a bikini you’re flying. Spending some quality time with my UK teammates was really special on this trip, the pandemic and travel disruptions meant that I hadn’t seen them in so long. My face is aching from laughing and smiling all week long. It was also great to link up with all the other teams, old friends and new. We all love to run and we all love to party too. One of the new friends we made, and who made a big impression on us, was Simen from team Norway. There’s never a sad face when Simen is around and we are all hoping to see him soon.
Although Mt.Etna is the stand out memory of this trip, nobody will forget the street rave we all had with the local teenagers. The shake out run kicked off on Friday and as we came to our turn around point we ran into some local lads playing music in their cars at the edge of the coast. I’m sure they didn’t know what to think as this wave of vibrant colours ran towards them - all 120 of us! As the kids cranked the music up all the locals came out on their balconies to watch the party and we danced in the streets.
Marcus I can’t find the words to describe the weekend other than filling my cup (both mentally and physically! :D )
This was my first time attending an international frontrunner meeting and it was exactly what I was expecting, everyone felt like family and we’re just happy to be surrounded by likeminded people!
Myself and a few others from the team decided to head to Sicily a few days earlier to make the most of the hotel and sunshine before the weekend antics began, I’m not normally one for sitting by the pool and sunbathing but that’s exactly what I did (The first day I turned into a lobster though, both on my body and feet which made running very hard!)
Highlights for me? Raving next to a random car on our first run, partying so much, running up Mt Etna and just spending time with some absolutely incredible, inspiring and motivating people which makes up for the lack of sleep!
Semeena What a crew, what a weekend!
Being new to the team, I had no idea what to expect from the International Team Meeting. To say it exceeded my expectations is an understatement – looking back at the photos fills me with so much joy and laughter. It’s a trip that I’ll never forget!
Although this was the first time meeting most of the teammates, you would have thought we’ve been a family for years. Most of us arrived in Sicily on Friday and met for a city shakeout run at 5pm. As we took group photos, I was right at the back and couldn’t see a thing – short girl problems! So my roommate, who I only met 5 mins prior, said “get on my back” and gave me a piggyback!
The shakeout run was definitely a highlight for me and karaoke on all the bus journeys (I lost my voice by Monday). We started our run along the coast, towards the castle – grinning ear to ear… There were locals parked up, playing loud music - all of a sudden we stopped running and everyone was singing and dancing… It turned into one big street party! I’d never seen anything like it. I looked around and knew then, that the weekend would be nothing short of epic. Who says runners don’t know how to have fun?!
I honestly never thought when filling in the survey that my name would be drawn, I’m so grateful not just to have been picked but also to have been chosen to be a FrontRunner this year. It really has been the most incredible six months… This is exactly what it’s about for me – people of all different backgrounds coming together to share the same love and passion for running as I do. The community is truly amazing and I’m honoured to be part of it.
I’m so excited for more moments like this with the ASICS FrontRunner team. We really are one big happy family!
The OCR Camp
Alan Overdosing from the cannoli’s at the ‘ASICS Frontrunner Italian Bake Off’, I don’t want to see another cannoli for at least a year.
The best way to deal with a ‘dolce’ hangover is to go out in the blazing sun and sweat it all out. Starting off the day with my first taster at an OCR Camp. Along with the sprints surprising to find how much of an all round workout each obstacle throws at you.
After that it was a bus ride up to a sensitive volcano, Mount Etna. I opted for the more challenging route as it was my first time up over 2000 meters of altitude since 2019. Started to feel the toughness of the climb as the terrain felt like running on small pellets of rocks, one step forwards, five steps back.
Running on Mount Etna
Becca Saturday afternoon was a highlight of the trip and something a lot of us had been looking forward to - exploring some of Etna's trails. Mount Etna is one of the world's most active and tallest volcanoes and dominates the skyline above the plains of Catania. Whilst we were there, there was a noticeable ash cloud lingering above the volcano and lava flows which were visible at night. As an environmental scientist and all round geography geek visiting here was the highlight of the trip for me.
We began our adventure at the refuge area of Nicolosi at around 1900m above sea level and explored the trails around Crateri Silvestri inferior (1886m asl) and Crateri Silvestri Superiori (2001m asl) which were both formed during eruptions in 1892 and are now inactive. As a typical road runner used to the lovely flat tarmac paths along the River Thames the rough basaltic lava trails of Etna provided a real challenge with the conditions underfoot extremely gravelly, fragmented and at times steep, the more experienced trail runners were in their element. The views were insane and the landscape almost lunar-like. It is a very surreal experience to run here - absolute bucket list vibes.
Kerry Running on Mt.Etna was an amazing experience, the highlight for all of us I would say and a massive bucket list tick for sure. Our amazing photographers captured these memories for us all as we ran up and down the volcanic gravelly craters like kids in a sweet shop. I’m still pinching myself that we were actually there, if you had told 13 year old Kerry back in geography class that one day she would run on Mt.Etna she wouldn’t have believed you - and my Geography teacher Mr.McVeigh is now very jealous - and I’m sure very proud that I have continued my geography field trips at the age of 40!
Taz The highlight of the weekend for me was running on Mount Etna. I admit, some of the steep trails on there was very much outside of my comfort zone but nonetheless the experience is something I will never forget, but even better still I got to share this whole weekend with my awesome AFR team mates.
Karen What a humbling experience thIs was, under the summit of the ever active volcano. It was tough going on the steep, soft, ashy terrain with some lung busting climbs when I felt I was sliding back more than moving upwards.
Karen Meeting other ASICS Frontrunners from all over the world was just brilliant and resulted in a few invitations to go and run in their country-yes please!! After a couple of years of COVID chaos I really loved spending time with and getting to know my UK team mates as well, some of whom I hadn’t even had the chance to chat to before.
Becca Beyond our Etna adventure I loved getting the chance to spend time with friends old and new. The last few years have been challenging for us all and to be able to come together again and share these incredible experiences (plus an aperol spritz or two) has really lifted my spirits. I'm so grateful to have been able to join this trip and to everyone who made it an incredible few days.
Karen And I have to mention the swimming. Two years ago I started swimming in the sea several times a week, all through the year. Climbing into the sea in Sicily was pure heaven after battling the freezing murky depths of the UK!
And I made a decision … this year after the Berlin Marathon in September, I’m going to focus on seeking out more unusual places to run-more for the experience than to race. Sicily most definitely ticked the box
All good things come to an end...
Chimzy I bring my diary with me everytime I go on a trip to write down moments I want to relive in the future. Here is an expert from my diary that I wrote whilst at the airport.
HOLY COW! What just happened? I can’t stop smiling. I havent stopped smiling since I got here. This weekend truly has been amazing. One that I most definitely wont forget. It’s been so nice spending time with these incredible humans. All of us from different backgrounds and countries, but connected by one thing- RUNNING. A highlight was running around mount Etna.The views were magnificent, made even better by sharing the trails with new and old friends.
Now that I am back in Edinburgh, I cant help but think of how lucky I am. Lucky, to have shared running beautiful trails with 120 Frontrunners. What an incredible weekend. Looking back at all the photos fills me with so much joy.
A big thank you to Andy Astfalck, Mikko Mallo, Martha Gattringer, Laura Ortiz de Zarate and the UK team for the photos used in this blog
Envrionmental Research from London/Southport
Age group: 30 - 35
Club: Greenwich Tritons, Southport Strollers
Virtual Insanity? Why you should have a go at a Virtual Raceby Becca B / May. 10, 2023
Ever thought of trying a virtual marathon or race? Zero crowds, trying to find a 26.2mile route, open roads and no medal to acknowledge your efforts, yeah once sounded like my idea of hell, however the Virtual London Marathon has completely changed my outlook. Here's why I love it and why you might too...
ASICS London Run Club – who, what, where, when and why you should join usby Becca B / Mar. 03, 2023
ASICS London Run Club is back for 2023, offering free community runs from the ASICS Oxford Street store, close to Marble Arch, every Wednesday and Friday. Come and join us for a social run in the heart of central London.
Five reasons to try parkrun tourismby Becca B / Mar. 14, 2023
Parkrun is a Saturday morning staple in my life. Nothing quite beats the feeling of getting your body moving, spending some time outdoors and catching up with friends - all before 10am. Sometimes there is even cake! Over the last few years I’ve found travelling to different parkruns aka parkrun tourism, to be an added bonus. If you’ve not yet jumped on the tourist train, here are a few reasons to try tempt you:
You Miss 100% of the shots you don't take. My ASICS FrontRunner Adventure 6 years onby Becca B / Feb. 20, 2023
The 2023 ASICS FrontRunner application phase opens 20 February. As one of the original UK and Ireland FrontRunners from way back in 2017, I wanted to take this opportunity to share my experience, the adventures and hopefully inspire you to join our wonderful FrontRunner Family.
Tips for running in a busy city like Londonby Becca B / Jan. 30, 2023
I'm an outdoorsy kinda girl, I grew up in a small village a few miles from Preston in Lancashire and I love nothing more than being outside and enjoying some fresh air and green spaces. However in 2017 I moved to London and fell in love with the city. My quiet, peaceful country lanes were replaced with busy, tourist packed areas, loads of traffic lights and buses galore.
5 ways to kickstart your running journey this Januaryby Becca B / Jan. 11, 2023
New year, new hobby? The physical and mental benefits of running are aplenty. Whether you're returning to running or thinking about taking those first tentative steps to start running here are some quick pointers to help get you started:
Getting back on trackby Becca B / Nov. 17, 2022
I was recently lucky enough to spend a week out in Portugal with some of my ASICS FrontRunner team mates from across the world. We enjoyed a week of swimming, running, cycling, surfing, dancing, mobility and so much more. As part of the week there were two track sessions on the agenda, and I’m not going to lie but this did fill me with a slightly uneasy feeling.
A year of consistent weightlifting: what I’ve learnedby Becca B / Aug. 29, 2022
Just over a year ago I headed back to the gym and the only way I can describe myself was- an unmotivated bag of nerves. However feeling the fear, doing it anyway and finding consistency has resulted in a real love for weightlifting. Here's what I've learned over the last year and why you should give it a go!
Earth Day 2022: Sustainable Swaps for Runnersby Becca B / Apr. 22, 2022
Every action, no matter how small, you take in order to protect the planet counts - every single one. From small sustainable swaps that reduce your consumption and decrease your environmental impact to larger lifestyle changes, lobbying, activism, research and more. Sometimes things may feel meaningless, especially when facing large environmental challenges, but actions matter- YOUR actions matter.
Race Recap: My First 70.3 Triathlonby Becca B / Feb. 13, 2022
On Saturday 14 August 2021 I completed my first 70.3 middle distance triathlon (half iron distance). It has taken me a LONG time to get round to writing this recap- mainly because once my event was over (and gone were the long training sessions) I needed time to enjoy riding the post race high, and I had lots of rest to catch up on! But here we are six months later and it FINALLY feels time to get all this down.
what to expect in the 48 hours before a marathonby Becca B / Sep. 30, 2021
What to expect in the 48 hours before a marathon? I guess this differs person to person based on your experience, expectations and goals, however I’ve found a pattern in terms of what I encounter in the lead up to a marathon.
Earth Day: Greenspace for Headspaceby Becca B / Apr. 22, 2021
The benefits of exercising or spending time outdoors are apparent in a wide range of literature and pages on the internet, but why is being outside associated with wellbeing? A 2018 Study by the University of East Anglia highlighted that exposure to greenspace can promote reduced risks of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, but greenspaces are becoming increasingly associated with mental health benefits and advantages to our greater wellbeing.
Running in Winter: Staying Motivatedby Becca B / Dec. 18, 2020
As the days get shorter, nights longer and the weather a bit more unpredictable, its natural for your motivation to plummet alongside the winter temperatures. With many gyms on restricted opening hours/ limited access, more and more of us will remain training outside despite the weather taking a wintery turn.
Winter Running Safetyby Becca B / Nov. 09, 2020
Winter running throws up many challenges, gone are the long summer days and for many this means training after dark. Sometimes I feel frustrated that I have to think about (or in this case write) about staying safe when running in the dark, we should be able to run and be safe, but the sad reality is that safety is paramount as the days get shorter.
World Ekiden 2020by Becca B / Oct. 18, 2020
When a group of people come together to share a dream or goal amazing things can happen. Now more than ever team work, staying connected and supporting each other are extremely important, and whilst many of us can't physically run together we can virtually interact through shared experiences like virtual racing, challenging each other and mutual accountability and motivation.
Being a More Eco-Friendly Runnerby Becca B / Jun. 05, 2020
World Environment Day is celebrated each year on the 5th June. It is a day to inspire positive change, highlight key environmental challenges and promote widespread action. The theme for 2020 is Biodiversity. Biodiversity is the collective term for life on Earth. All living things exist within communities, otherwise known as ecosystems, these encompass the oceans, deserts, forests even cities. The combination of these varying ecosystems is biodiversity and humans rely on this to survive.
Tips to Help You Start Running in Lockdown?by Becca B / May. 06, 2020
With gyms, pools and communal workout areas closed more and more people are turning to running as a method to get fit or stay fit during the COVID-19 lockdown period. For those new to exercise this can be exceptionally daunting- with footpaths seemingly busier than ever, and for those who already engage in regular exercise but have never run before it can be a tough serving of just how demanding running can be. But that isn’t to put you off!
My Top Tips for Getting into Runningby Becca B / Mar. 06, 2020
So you’re ready to start your running journey? Or perhaps you’re not quite ‘ready’ but you’re keen to give it a go? WELCOME to the running community and congratulations on having the bravery to try something new and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Barbados Marathon Weekend Race Recapby Becca B / Jan. 20, 2020
The Run Barbados International Marathon Weekend offers an ideal collection of destination races for anyone looking to enjoy some winter sunshine whilst pursing their running agenda. The Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k and mile fun run take place as part of the Run Barbados International Marathon weekend with the selection of races over the course of three days in early December. On the 4 December 2019 I headed out on an invited press trip with Visit Barbados to participate in the marathon
A Beginner's Guide to Trail Runningby Becca B / Dec. 11, 2019
2019 has been the year I fell in love with trail running. It’s the perfect way to combine my love of running and fitness with the great outdoors. I’m still very new to this world and use the trails as a way to escape my city life, immerse myself in nature and take a break from hardcore training, instead using it as a way to switch off and relax.
FrontRunner Trail & OCR Meet in Munichby Becca B / Jul. 15, 2019
I write this from about 30,000 ft on the flight home from an incredible weekend in Munich for the ASICS FrontRunner International OCR and Trail meet up. This is the second time today I’ve been above the clouds. It’s been a weekend filled with plenty of mud, plenty of mountains and some incredible memories made. We’ve also had the chance to really put the incredible new Fujitrabuco pro shoes through their paces.
ASICS FrontRunner Application Questions Explainedby Becca B / Feb. 06, 2019
So you're interested in being an ASICS FrontRunner?! That is great news! Before you begin your application, here are some of the most frequently asked questions to help address any queries you may have about the team. Good luck and we can't wait to read your application.
If You Run, You're a Runner!by Becca B / Feb. 06, 2019
Back in February 2019 when I was collating some frequently asked questions about the ASICS FrontRunner team ahead of the application phase I noticed the same questions coming up again and again- people questioning if they were a ‘real runner’ because they only ran X distance or X pace, or hadn’t done a marathon, or were new to running.
ASICS Majorca Training Campby Becca B / Oct. 21, 2018
During mid October, ASICS Frontrunner team members from 9 countries united in Majorca for the second ASICS training camp of 2018. It was a week of fun, friendships, running, cycling, hiking, stretching, swimming, ice cream and losing Pete on a mountain (twice).
I am a Marathonerby Becca B / May. 16, 2018
I am a record breaking world major marathoner. What’s your super power? On the 22 April 2018 I battled the heat to complete the hottest ever London Marathon and cross the finish line after 26.2 miles for the very first time. It wasn’t easy, but one lesson I have learned in life if that you should always chase your dreams, even if that means you chase them for 26.2miles.
Who run the world? Girlsby Becca B / Mar. 08, 2018
Queen Beyonce said so herself. Girls run the world! The mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, friends, in laws, wives, girlfriends, here is to strong, independent and incredible women everywhere. Women have been pivotal in the course of history: from Rosa Parks to Emmeline Pankhurst, Malala Yousafzai to Marie Curie. Thursday 8 March 2018 is International Womens' Day, a chance to celebrate the achievements of women the world over.
FrontRunner UK: A Year Onby Becca B / Mar. 01, 2018
As we round off our first year of the ASICS FrontRunner UK team and look ahead to welcoming our new team mates at the upcoming launch weekend in Birmingham it is time to reflect on the crazy family and all the adventures being an ASICS FrontRunner brings.
20 Chicken Nuggets and a Shock Half Marathon PBby Becca B / Oct. 09, 2017
Half marathoner is a title I’ve recently added to my running CV. Having only completed my first half marathon in Swansea on the 25 June this year, I’m still enjoying the challenges this distance has to offer whilst learning a lot about myself as a runner, my stamina, nutrition tactics, race strategy and that mental battle that comes with distance running. My previous two halves have been steep learning curves and I’ve been lucky to learn from the best. Aaron is a half marathon machine, he’s the Yoda of race strategy and knows how to attack those 13.1miles and throw absolutely everything into it and I’ve been lucky to have him by my side for my previous two halves, but my third outing I was ready to go it alone and push my boundaries, resulting in a shock PB that I never saw coming!
A Northerner Running The British 10K in Londonby Becca B / Oct. 18, 2017
Having recently relocated to London I am embracing every opportunity, and when I was offered the chance to run the Virgin Sport British 10K with my fellow ASICS FrontRunner UK team mates Marcus and Corey, I was filled with so much excitement.