In the months leading up to the ASEAN University Games 2018, Nicole Low was training intensively and rigorously – until she burnt out from overtraining.
“It was really disappointing and demoralising to crash and burn a week before flying to Myanmar for the Women’s 10,000m race. I was quite skeptical as to how I would perform,” said the 22-year-old Nanyang Technological University undergrad student.
This became the most brutal race that Nicole ever experienced, with her quads cramping up after 2km. “I had to endure the pain for the remaining 8km and I remember thinking to myself, whatever I do, I have to complete the race,” she added.
Despite the struggle, Nicole still managed to snag the bronze medal – with the New Balance Hanzo v1. She said, “Although I felt it was a pity that I did not race to my best potential, I was happy for the experience as well as managing to secure bronze despite the setbacks.”
After returning from this race, she had to take a break from running and do cross training to maintain her aerobic fitness. With the support of her friends and teammates, Nicole emerged stronger the next season after going through this down time.
At the 51st Singapore Athletics Inter-Club Championships 2019, she won the Women’s 10,000m with a time of 39:19.36 in the New Balance FuelCell Impulse. This was also the record for Singapore’s Under-23 Women’s 10,000m.
Another significant accomplishment of Nicole’s, also achieved in the New Balance FuelCell Impulse, is the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) Under-23 Half-Marathon title in 2019 with a time of 1:45:08.
The FuelCell foam is a result of research done by New Balance’s innovation and design teams, where they worked with elite athletes and micro-analysed every 1/10th of a second of the athletes’ biomechanics.
Delivering the highest energy return from any New Balance performance foams ever, the technology is designed through data-driven midsole shaping to give runners more speed.
“I started wearing New Balance shoes in 2017 and most of my notable achievements were won wearing their shoes. My latest pair from New Balance is the FuelCell Speedrift,” she shared.
“I like how the Speedrift has a combination of cushioning found in highly cushioned shoes and responsiveness from speed shoes. It is a great pair of speed trainers for those who needs the extra cushioning. Unlike other FuelCell models such as the Prism, the Speedrift comes with a Pebax® plate that mimics the carbon plate found in the 5280 and the FuelCell TC.”
Inspired by the form and speed of the FuelCell 5280, the Speedrift has a breathable textile upper, a visible propulsion forefoot plate and a midsole that features the highest rebound scores of any New Balance foam. Combined with a Pebax® plate and uniquely designed microlabel outsole, you get that spring in your step to make you want to go faster.
Similar to Nicole, SEA Games marathoner Gordon Lim’s current choice of shoes is the FuelCell Speedrift. “The Speedrift looks amazing to be honest. I have worn it for tempo runs and it does feel amazing to be able to get good energy return from the Pebax® foam,” he said.
Kept light with a translucent woven textile upper, cooling materials and yarns, the Speedrift’s performance fit construction with the asymmetrical directional branding and geometric shapes make for a sharp look to help you look good on the road or in the gym.
He added, “I’ve always liked the FuelCell foam. The FuelCell TC for example, is lightweight and consists of a carbon fibre plate that gives the runner a lot more energy return when running in them. Personally, I use it for workouts ranging from 1km repeats and above. It is comfortable and breathable as well, making it one of the better shoes to wear to run fast.”
Gordon also went through a difficult period in his running journey. After an impressive finish at the SCSM 2013 where he came in third in the local men’s marathon category with a time of 2 hours 58 minutes 7 seconds, the 27-year-old physiotherapist was eager to improve on his form. This was only his first marathon.
Without any knowledge or experience in running, Gordon ran at a high intensity for many days a week for months. The overtraining resulted in Gordon sustaining a slew of injuries – iliotibial band friction syndrome, hamstring strains, calf strains, piriformis syndrome – that made it tough for him to walk, let alone run.
It was only until every step he took hurt and he was not able to stand up after sitting for prolonged periods that he realised he needed to take a step back. “It was a wake up call for me, to learn how to reduce the stress I had put on my body and to allow it to recover over a long time. I was out for six months and I swore to never return to that phase again,” he said.
After that wake-up call, Gordon learnt how to manage his training and recovery better and was continued to work at his running performance.
When he headed to the Sunshine Coast Marathon 2019, his intention was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. His time of 2 hours 37 minutes 16 seconds was not only a massive personal best (shaving 13 minutes off his previous best), but it also snagged him a qualification for the Boston Marathon and a spot on the Southeast Asian Games squad for the Men’s marathon event.
“I have never really strived to represent the nation but the opportunity came and I hopped on it!” he said.
Accompanying Gordon on his inspiring journey were various pairs of New Balance running shoes. Having worn New Balance shoes for many years, he currently uses the Fresh Foam 1080s and the 880s for easy runs, the FuelCell TC and the Hanzo S for speed work, and the latest Speedrift for tempo runs.
The New Balance Speedrift is available at $279 at newbalance.com.sg and all New Balance Lighthouse and Experience stores (excluding Bugis Junction, Parkway Parade and Kallang Wave Mall).