It was Thursday 29th June and my flight landed smoothly at Berlin Airport around 9:40am. I was tired and simultaneously excited in expectation of what the day would bring. I cleared customs, connected with fellow United Kingdom, and Ireland ASICS FrontRunner (AFR) Ania and we made our way to locate the collection point. Although it was early it was getting warm, and the weather forecast predicted upper 20 degrees. We caught up and connected with members of the international team and introduced ourselves to members of the press which included The Running Channel. The bus arrived and dropped us to our hotels where I checked in and headed to the lobby to get picked up for main event. While in the lobby I connected with AFRs from France and Germany and Spain. We were collected and headed to the venue the NÅPOLEON KOMPLEX which only took around 20 minutes.
Get-Together & Lunch @NÅPOLEON KOMPLEX
On arrival I was so impressed by how the size of the venue, the branding and cool location. I walked inside the community area, went to the registration desk, got my orange-coloured wristband, and started to mingle. There were quite a few familiar faces some I had already met and others that I recognised from social media and magazines like Athletics Weekly and Runners World. I helped myself to some lovely vegan option of the lunch, found a spot and socialised. We laughed, shared running stories, compared schedules and took some great team photos and spontaneous selfies. The vibes felt somewhat like a reunion because even if you didn’t know someone you knew someone that did. It was a great friendly, feel-good way to start our day together. It was great to catch up with Yana who I met at on a previous press trip to Nice and Ivan an AFR from Paris who motivated me during a tough Paris Marathon.
Opening & Kick-Off
We then headed inside the building which was illuminated by images projected onto the stage and cool lighting. We took our seats, got comfortable, chatted a bit in expectation of the main event. The superb David Lenneman ASICS FrontRunner Global Team Captain strolled onto the stage, welcomed us, and presented the days full schedule. David also took us down memory lane reacquainting us with ‘The Founder’ Mr Kihachiro Onitsuka and the impressive history of ASICS. David welcomed Andreas Moll, the Performance Running Category Director at ASICS EMEA and Chad Mullavey Global Product Line Manager from the ASICS Corporation to the stage. They both presented powerfully, respectively providing insight to the company’s values, commitment to continuous improvement. I was impressive by the amount of research that goes into each generation of shoe and that product development is athlete centric. Both the Gel-Keyano 30 and Nimbus 25 were showcased, and their technology and development were outlined. I was pleasantly surprised when ASICS Athletes Jill Holterman and Bashir Abdi, two Olympic marathon runners entered the stage. They shared their stories, running gems and answered a few questions. I always enjoy listening to professional athletes and I found both Jill and Bashir’s journeys inspiring. We were then told we would join product deep dive sessions by the colour of our wristbands.
Product Deep Dive
We were organised into eight groups by our wristband colours, and we had times allocated to attend the same sessions in rotation. This was cool because we all managed to have the same experience but in smaller, more intimate groups and therefore had time to ask questions. The sessions were GEL-KAYANO™ 30, Running Never Felt Better, Comfort Test and an Apparel Showcase. These sessions expanded on the information that was presented during the main session and dived much deeper. As an AFR I am blessed with the opportunity to trial lots of different trainers and have access to technical information. However, despite having been exposed to tech sheets etc I was impressed by the level of research, thoughtfulness that goes into the design, comfort, functionality and performance of ASICS footwear and clothing.
After the last session we had a short break and then went to for a run analysis. In the community area there were numbered tracks around 30 metres long each with a screen at the end. Each lane was staffed by members of the analysis team who were armed with tablets and high-tech sensors. I collected a pair of Nimbus 25 and waited my turn to do the running analysis. My time came, I gave the staff member the shoes into which they inserted the sensors which resembled an insole with a transmitter. While the sensors were being fitted, I filled out some metrics on the tablet which included height and weight. I put on the shoes and ran a few ‘laps’ and that was it and enough data had been received to undertake analysis. I was impressed by the level of detail that was generated from foot ground contact time to how each foot lands and how they land. The analysis was emailed to me and apparently is stored so that I can compare periodically to see if any changes in my form have occurred. I love how data and technology can be used to improve our lives and inform our decision so this was a highlight for me.
Kit Drop & Run
After the analysis we headed over to the kit drop zone where we were kindly gifted shoes either Gel-Keyano 30 or Nimbus 25. My kit drop included a green patterned MetaRun ½ zip top, a black cap, black shorts, a pair of socks, neat forest green packable MetaRun Vest and a pair of the comfortable and incredibly cushioned Nimbus 25. Everything felt very comfortable and was all the right size, thank you so much to whoever was behind the scenes working on the details. We then assembled for led group city runs of either 5km or 7km and of varying paces. I chose the 5km run and it was rather hot, the pace was ace and there was an extra 2km to my hotel from the finish point. Our group left with Bashir and an AFR leading us through the street, along paths, over bridges and through tunnels in Berlin. I primarily brough my 360 camera on the trip to capture moments of this run. Along the way stopped a few times to allow others to catch up, take selfies, group photos and cheer. We arrived at the end of our run and I waited for a little and then headed back to the hotel with AFR national team mates Rachel and Ania. On arrival I headed to my room, freshened up, ironed my top, made myself presentable and headed to the lobby for the coach back to the venue.
BBQ & Get-Together
On arrival at @NÅPOLEON KOMPLEX it was an evening chilled, summer vibe. The sport themes of the day like lanes had been replaced with softer elements and furnishing which gave a summertime bar ambiance. There was now a DJ, a barbecue with two food bars, a drinks bar and so many places to sit, eat and chill. As with earlier I socialised, vibed and of course ate some delicious vegan cuisine with a German theme. Everyone seemed to look different as they were in sportswear earlier and now were wearing smart casual. There was a pop up where we could get ASICS socks monogrammed. I got a pair as I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have socks with my initials on. As the evening progressed and it got darker, I was informed that we had an exclusive nightclub inside. I went inside cut some shapes on the dancefloor, got some nice photos in the photobooth with Paul from Athletics Weekly, Francesca from Pitch and James from The Running Channel. Sometime after midnight I walked with a bunch of people back to their hotel and then onwards to mine.
It was an honour and pleasure to attend the event and experience the collective passion of the attendees and learn about the products. I left feeling inspired and even prouder to be an ASICS FrontRunner. Having trialled both the Nimbus 25 and Gel-Keyano 30 I can confidently say that Running never felt better. Thank you ASICS for having me and Berlin you was amazing.
Personal Trainer from London