Gerry Delany – Ultra Marathon Runner & Endurance Athlete
Connemara Ultramarathon, April 22nd 2018.
My litmus test for the Altra Paradigms.
In January of this year I bought my first pair of Altras from John in RUNPOD, Sligo.
I found them a little strange at first with the wide toebox and the 0mm heel to toe drop.
My go-to running shoes for all my marathons and ultras up to then had been cushioned runners with a 12mm drop and a high degree of support. This was a complete change.
I tested them on the running track in the shop and was pleasantly surprised. The awkward feeling disappeared as soon as I started running.
As I got used to them over the next month my old runners were relegated to under the bed and haven’t been laced up since. I absolutely loved the Paradigms. Over longer distances they came into their own. My times improved and I had no tiredness in my feet even after a 3 hour run in the hills.
The wide toebox allows the feet to relax with no chafing or blisters and the cushioning is better than any other distance runner I have worn. I had no problems with my calves or other muscles adapting to the zero drop transition, which John had told me to expect.
I ran two full and two half training marathons in the Paradigms (marathon on Saturdays and half on Sundays) on consecutive weekends a month before Connemara and felt fine after them. My feet were in good shape after the two weeks which was a first for me at this stage of an ultra build up.
The real test came on April 22nd with 39.3 miles (63km) over the difficult, hilly Connemara Ultramarathon course.
The Paradigms performed brilliantly. Absolutely no issues and I was comfortable right through the race. No soreness or tiredness in my feet and I ran the last couple of miles at roughly the same pace as the first couple. Another first.
The weather was bad (as any of you that ran it will know) and my Paradigms, socks and everything else were soaked in the first 15 miles. It didn’t make a difference.
My feet, calves, quads, etc. were all in good shape at the end and no hint of cramps at any stage which was a new experience for me in an ultra.
I had no blisters or chafed skin and all toe nails were accounted for at the finish.
As proof of how good I felt, I ran a personal best for Connemara.
I put a big portion of this down to the Altras and how comfortable and relaxed I felt in them.
The one minor flaw I found with them is that the heel support has collapsed a little so maybe if it was stiffened slightly it would prevent this from happening. Then again that’s after 300+ miles so it’s not really an issue. A shoe horn would probably have prevented this if I had used one putting them on.
Altra Paradigms, definitely my new go-to distance road runner.
As every runner knows, there’s always room to improve