A runners Christmas wish list with Kim Stephens
01 January 1970
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Brad Brown: Welcome back to yet another edition of Old Mutual Live and we are really winding things down to the end of 2016. I am at that point where I’m ready for a holiday and I’m sure you are too. But before then, there’s the small matter of the festive season to get out of the way. We did it last year and I thought we’d do it again this year to find out some great gifting ideas for the runner in your life.
We’re joined now by no stranger to the podcast, she’s been on a few times. We tend to chat to her at all the major events that we hang out at. We’ve spoken a little bit about her running as well and it’s ultra mamma, Kim Stephens. Kim, welcome onto the podcast, nice to chat again.
Kim Stephens: Thanks Brad, always good to catch up with you, thanks for having me on the show.
BB: Kim, before we get onto the gifts and ideas, you’ve had an up and down running year this year, 2016 has been quite tough hasn’t it?
KS: Yes, every time something starts going really well and the PB was right there, I’ve had some great races. Had a good Comrades and a good Peninsula Marathon. But there’s been a lot of setbacks from a coccyx which became its own hashtag, through to taking two big falls on the Otter a couple of weeks ago. Which has obviously been my first medical evacuation from the race. Which is never pleasant and quite an emotional experience. But hopefully things are on the up. I was on the mountain early-early, 5:30 this morning and it was absolutely beautiful. So let’s hope legs and body stay in one place and Ultra Trail Cape Town will happen in December.
BB: Absolutely and let’s hope that then builds onto another fantastic 2017 for you. Are you looking ahead that far? What are some of your goals? Are you going back to Comrades? Are you running Old Mutual Two Oceans, what’s the plan? Is there anything that’s a firm ‘yes’ in the calendar already?
KS: Both of those, absolutely. Hopefully I’ll improve my seeding at Peninsula, that’s the plan. I would love a strong Oceans and then to go and do a Comrades Up run. Those three for now and we’ll see what happens on the trail calendar, but those are absolute definites.
How Hilly socks will ultimately win you brownie points
BB: Cool. Let’s talk about gifting ideas. I’m terrible when it comes to this because I need ideas every single year. I’ve got absolutely zero creativity when it comes to giving gifts, my lovely wife is a runner as well, so let’s talk girls first. Give us some ideas for what we can buy for our Missus or girlfriends who are runners this Christmas.
KS: I’m such a gear geek, I love it, I get all ridiculous. I go into sports stores, if I’m with clients and they’re showing and it’s quite an exciting time to be in running. I think it’s one of those weird things where people say it’s such a simple sport because you just put on your shoes and you go out there.
But the truth of it is, a long run, it’s a make or break depending on what kind of gear you have on and how well prepared you are for weather changes or temperature drops. One of the things that is top of my list at the moment for any gift for lady friends and so on. I’ve actually got a trail running wedding at the end of this year. I’m getting married and I’ve got eight bridesmaids and they’re all going to be kitted out in Hilly socks, which are new to South Africa. They’re commonly known as the best running sock in the world.
They’ve won awards, I’m not saying that as a dramatic exaggeration, they literally did win that category of award last year in the UK. They are apparently the best anti-blister sock ever. It’s got twin skin technology and you’ve got to try them to understand why they’re so superior. So I’m sold on them. All the girls in my life are getting a pair for Christmas, so that’s an absolute definite.
BB: That’s fantastic and are those pretty widely available Kim?
KS: You can get them all through Sportsman’s Warehouse, which is the easiest place to purchase them at the moment. A few independent stores are also going to be stocking them. But just in terms of a national reach, Hilly socks are in Sportsman’s Warehouse, so I would go and give those a bash. It’s a good stocking filler.
Buy a Buff for a good cause
Then the other top of the pops for me and you can never have enough is Buff. We’ve had a look at some of the designs that have come through lately, they’re absolutely beautiful. The one that I would like everyone to go and purchase immediately is the limited edition Turtle Buff. Which Buff and the Two Oceans Aquarium have created a really creative partnership. The Buff are R250 which is a pretty standard original Buff price, but the proceeds of that go straight into endangered turtle rehabilitation and release. Which is a programme that Two Oceans Aquarium run.
You can go online through the aquarium website and order them and they’ll be here before Christmas. All my kids – don’t tell them yet – but they’re all going to get one of those and definite gift with a good cause behind it. I would say for the ladies or the men, it’s a beautiful design, it’s got a print that includes the Hawksbill turtle shell print. It’s really pretty, so that’s another one that’s top on my list.
BB: And then obviously stocking fillers, what else is there? Have you got anything higher ticket prices for the special lady in your life?
Packs are not just for trail runners
KS: I don’t know if anyone has ever seen photographs of my trail running, whether it’s a 5km or 10km or 90km out there, my Osprey Rev 6 is the hydration pack that I use. You get a female specific design in that it’s a nice small back, all the straps and whatever are in the right places for a female body. Easy access for food and fuel in terms of pockets, a really lightweight pack.
But as I said, I use it on ultras and I use it on road running now to reduce the need for any kind of single use plastic sachets. It’s that lightweight that it actually works across all. That’s a slightly higher end item, the Osprey Rev 6, also available in outdoor stores across South Africa, including Drifters which is quite a good spot for that. There are quite a few Osprey products now on Takealot if you’re wanting to do an online purchase, that’s quite a good place to start.
BB: It’s funny you talk about trail, but I see more and more people using those packs on the road too. So they are a great addition if you run either trail or road. Anything else on the ladies side of things or can we shift across to the guys?
KS: This one definitely, if you’re an outdoor lady and you’re wanting to travel with the family but camping is not your top thing, I would say go for the Coleman Octagon tent. It’s an eight-man tent, you can stand up in it, which girls prefer to do when we’re dressing. Eight man is like putting eight people side by side in the tent.
So for a family of four, it gives you this really good home away from home. If you are a guy wanting to get your partner out there into more outdoor adventures, make it a little bit simpler for her, give her a space that is like a home away from home. Those are on special at the moment from Takealot, so it’s a good time to purchase one, it’s going to change our outdoor adventuring.
BB: I love it! Then from the guy side of things, anything that jumps out at you there?
Some endless options for the guys
KS: One of the brands that I’ve gotten to know recently is Coleman. A lot of us think of Coleman with the cooler box full of beers and there’s so many products within the Coleman range that are ideal for South African lifestyle. From head lamps and twist and push lanterns that have battery lock technology, so when they’re not in use, they’re not draining the battery. So you don’t get caught off guard when you run out of electricity or there’s a load shedding situation. For guys that enjoy techie stuff, there’s a million options within Coleman.
Then again, going back to Buff, a lot of people don’t know that Buff is a brand, it’s not just headwear solution. If you’re running, you’ve got a high UV buff that will give you sun protection, so that’s great for the summer. You get reflective Buff which is great for night running. Headbands which is more the controls than it is the multifunctional one.
Then the original Buff which can be worn officially in 13 different ways. I know a guy at the moment who is busy compiling a list of 100 ways to use a Buff, which includes using it as a hands-free kit when you’re driving your car. I don’t know if I’d recommend that, but I’ve heard various other solutions.
Another Buff option in the product range is the bandana which is also quite nice for running. You even get a Buff balaclava. You get all kinds of different Buff items that people aren’t always aware of. The Buff visors that are coming out early next year for running are very exciting. So that’s quite a nice option for him.
BB: I’ve actually seen pictures of those Buff visors and they look fantastic. When are those going to be on the market Kim, do we know?
KS: The visors should be available in South Africa by March next year, possibly a little earlier. But definitely by March next year and there’s actually some pack caps as well that will be available all under the Buff brand. So in terms of Buff innovation, you know what a fan I am of the brand, but they are going more into a kind of headwear category.
Owning headwear, all options within headwear, so from your beanies right through. The stuff that’s coming out in their lifestyle range is absolutely beautiful, knitted beanies, little pom-pom beanies, gorgeous stuff. Nice for the post-run options as well when you’re a little chilly.
BB: Absolutely, it sounds fantastic. Kim, as always, great to catch up, thank you so much for sharing those ideas with us here on the podcast today, much appreciated. If we don’t chat before the end of the year, have yourself a Merry Christmas and let’s hope that 2017 is fantastic and injury-free, that’s probably the biggest wish you have, I’m sure, for the New Year.
KS: You too!
BB: Thanks a lot for your time today.
KS: That’s all runners want for Christmas is injury-free running.
BB: I’d take new legs too, but I’ll settle for injury-free! Take care Kim, cheers, bye.
KS: Okay, bye.