'EASY TO USE, RELIABLE, PRACTICAL AND INEXPENSIVE-AND STURDY!'
Strengths: A good looking and practical watch, that is robust and easy to operate with cold/wet hands! As such, it's ideal for swimmers/triathletes and fell runners, or anyone who does any sort of running where a SDM or HRM is inpractical or may get lost or damanged. This watch is indestructable and it and its predecessor (which was only replaced because it wasn't very pretty) have seen me through maountain marathons, fell races, running in awful weather, winter sports (also in foul weather), swimming, surfing and windsurfing across Europe with no problems at all. It's survived temperates as low as -20 with no problems at all.
The controls are easy to use (and learn) and the playback facility is simple to use and importantly can be operated with cold fingers - useful if you want to check your progress mid-session. You can also continue an earlier session if you so wish without losing the data - useful for multi-day races.
Weaknesses: Relatively short battery life (less than a year) if used heavily or in cold/wet conditions. Battery is easy to replace though. With previous timex Ironman watches the light bulb has only lasted a couple of years, although this may be replacable.
Some of the functions will get limited use if you run for fun and don't train on the track or road race, in which case a cheaper watch might be just as good.
Overall: A sturdy, reliable watch which has beeb "tested to destruction" by me (and I still can't destroy it!)
While it's not a HRM or SDM, a good running watch is an invaluable item for every runner - it's not always practical or even appropriate to use a SDM/HRM and this watch is far more reliable than any SDM or HRM can ever be! It's also got some nice styling, so can be worn as an everyday watch, or taken on a sporting or active holiday if you don't want to take a 'best' watch.
'REALLY PALATABLE AND NOT TOO SWEET. DOES THE JOB, TOO'
Strengths: This is the sports fuel of choice in the Nordics, despite being manufactured in Birmingham, and is often the only drink available post-run. It's not too sweet, incredibly gentle on the stomach, and is great for pre, during or post-endurance exercise. I've never had any sickness when taking it on long bike rides or runs, the same which can't be said for PSP22 or Lucozade (to which it is similar but more palatable).
Weaknesses: Really difficult to get hold of in the UK
Overall: I wish the manufacturer would get their distribution sorted out - PSP22 is good, but this is better!
Strengths: Good, fast, light shoe but with enough stability to allow us less efficient runners to benefit
Weaknesses: Grip on wet tarmac is poor - not ideal for racing on wet days
Not an everyday trainer for less efficient runners - I save mine for racing and faster training
Overall: OK, this is how good these shoes are: Sunday, I run a 5 mile race - flat - in normal trainers , at 7:30 pace. Four days later I run a 10k - hilly - in these trainers at 7:20 pace. I put at least 5 of those seconds down to these shoes.
Good to see someone thinking 'outside the box' with fell shoes
Weaknesses: Inner inside seams gave me blisters.
Don't seem to support your food as much as traditional fell shoes. I suppose I can't blame the shoes on the fact that I tore my ankle ligaments the first time I wore them, racing over Black Sail pass but ...
Can't seem to get the laces to tighte without deforming the shoe.
toe rand started to come off on in first month!
[Update 17/04/07] Update - a year or so on
After less than two years of race, and probabaly less than 250 miles of training/racing (mostly on Peak gritsone) I notice that several of the studs on the forefoot have, literally, vanished and others have vertically sheered off. I am really, really not happy!
Overall: It's great to see new thinking in fell shoes but for me, the traditional styling suits me better. Think I'll be using these for XC next season and buyring a new pair of Walshes for fell running
[Update 17/04/07] Further update: My running club has a big fell running section - we've all bought Mudclaws and while we're agreed that the grip is awesome, there are huge problems with build quality - seams ripping, toe rands coming off - and blisters
Strengths: It made me realise that I was over-estimating all my training routes by about 10%. Hmm, I think that is a strength, but I now need to revise 10 years of training diaries.
Garmin UK customer service is fab! My 2-year-old Garmin 'died' earlier this year and they sent me a brand new one - free! - in under a week.
Weaknesses: Hard to gain a signal in mountainous regions or near the Arctic circle (obscure for some but occasionally necessary in my case).
Under-estimate of distance can usually be accounted for by loss of signal (easy to see when data is downloaded). Ocassionally it over-etimates speed and distance which is harder to spot unless it is incredibly wrong - allegedly, a race I ran near Newark included a 0.8 mile section where I was 5 minute miling. I think not.
Not sure about build quality - I started to get screen problems after 18 months, and unit died completely after 2 years.
Overall: Simple interface and easy to use.
Found the 'speed' less useful than the 'distance' - I am very clumsy, and I don't like glancing at my watch when I'd running as I'm likely to hit the deck. Its USPfor me is to be able to tell me how far I've run - great for LSD runs.
It works really well as a bike computer - and taking it snowboarding is a real laugh (but quite scary - 60km/h!!
Strengths: Strong on the history of the sport, does capture some of the addictive magic of fell running
Weaknesses: Women consigned to last chapter, got a feeling throughout the book that the runner was desparate to 'belong' to a fell runners' 'set'
Overall: What I couldn't understand was why did he join Keswick when there were some equally good fell running clubs closer to his London home? (especially as he keeps complaining in the book about the distance to travel for club nights). What was wrong with joining Dark Peak?