Last year I was contacted by Gerhard Flatz to ask if I would consider trialling and testing some "uvu" running kit. I had seen a couple of pictures of friends wearing uvu gear but confess to not knowing much about the brand.
Having looked into it further, I liked what I had read.
"UVU stands for "You Vs You". This refers to the fact that ultra-running is first and foremost a personal battle of a person's mind vs body. People that undertake extreme endurance challenges such as ultra-running tend to have different perspectives and different needs than the average man or woman"
Their challenge was to create specific running products that function in temperatures ranging from -40° to +40° Celsius as wearing the right product means a lot more than staying dry or cool or warm. The technology is designed to blend in with you, mile after mile, as if it is specifically tailored to fit your individual running style, eg pockets are exactly where you want them to be when you're tired and hungry and you want to reach for something without distraction. "The only limitation to the apparel is your will to continue"
All weather in a day!
Although I wasn't going to be in conditions anywhere near -40 or +40, I was keen to try the clothing out. The garments were made to measure, so it took a while to receive them after agreeing and sending my measurements through. I was given various garments to try - inner and outer layers for both top and bottom.....and I have to say that I was impressed.
I have tried them in races, in training, in run-commuting and generally just hanging around (the old adage that people ask me why I'm dressed up when I'm not wearing running gear does seem to be rather true!!). The fit of the bottoms was rather "neat", though they have become very comfortable with more wear, and I did find the white vest rather transparent in its thinness but Gerhard was very appreciative of such feedback.
Useful to have pockets on a "long" run
In some races, you must wear representative kit, but in others the choice is left up to the runner. I wore the uvu shorts for a spring marathon, and they were ideal - fitted internally, slightly looser externally, with the hip-pockets being exactly the right size and location for easily carrying and grabbing gels without having to break my stride. The capris have been used similarly on longer runs as I'm not a fan of carrying a pack if I don't need to, but some things needs to be taken with you. Certain tops did a good job of keeping you warm, while others made sure you did not overheat. I'm also rather a fan of thumbholes, and all the longsleeve tops have these to use, if so desired.
Loving the thumb-holes!
I know that it's not far for me to run to work on the odd occasion that I've left my car there overnight, but the jacket (both that with and without sleeves) was perfect for this, as I had a pocket for my phone, my housekeys, my work ID and the ipod pocket and cable stay were a lifesaver (I would previously catch my headphone cables on my arm when swinging it through, so disconnecting my vital music distraction on a boring trot in along the cyclepath).
I didn't think that I would get much use from the heavyduty waterproof trousers (as I had no polar plans), but I forgot about the random Scottish weather, so they actually came into their own when a session became rather snow-logged (and the clips to hook them onto your shoelaces prevented them riding up and hence snow getting in....something so simple, yet so beneficial). I've used them when helping out at races such as mountain marathons, but have actually run more with the lightweight waterproof (and it's useful stowaway attached mittens).
You can tell that the gear is designed by runners due to the little features that make so much difference (the pocket positioning, the shoe hooks, the thumbloops, the cable holes) and is was great to be able to be part of the trialling, trsting and feedback process. The even better news is that the range is now ready to be launched to the wider market of the general public so you can all have a chance to try them out for yourselves......