In creating this small space in the ever-growing online running community, I hoped to provide insight, advice and motivation to especially those beginning their running journey. Sometimes, the internet can be full of complex advice aimed at more seasoned athletes or celebrating unimaginably impressive achievements that perplex and potentially scare away those new to the sport. This led me to hoping to create an online platform that not only informed but painted a motivational yet realistic image for new runners. Considering this, when contacted by start-up company myStampede, who share much a similar vision in promoting motivation and positivity for beginners, I was more than delighted. In short, myStampede aim to allow recreational and competitive runners alike to proudly mark their personal achievements without the need to enter organised competitions. Their embroidered running patches aim to fuel motivation to hit personal targets and mark personal improvement, allowing you to run your own race at your own pace.
For clarity, the following products discussed in this post were extremely kindly gifted to me from myStampede. Having said that, I have not been paid for this blog post and all views and opinions expressed are entirely my own.
As mentioned, myStampede produce embroidered running patches to celebrate the achievements of runners of any ability. The animals featured on each patch indicate which distance the patch represents, with the different colours marking the varying stages you can achieve. These stages refer to the 'Running Standards' created by the brand. Each stage includes a set range of times within, so as you hit new PB's you progress upwards through the stages, collecting patches to mark these improvements.
Firstly, the visual elements of the patches are great. I love the use of the four different animals for the disciplines, particularly since they all represent speed, agility and dominance. The unique aztec style additionally provides more visual appeal since they do not look childlike or cheaply designed but more professional and polished. Alongside this, the bright colours used adds the element of fun and makes them distinguishable when attached to kit or sports bags. Potentially I could see this being a deterrent to some people by making the patches less discrete or clashing with kit colours. However, with my aim of adding these to an otherwise average sports bag, I like this bright element.
In terms of the concept behind the badges, I thoroughly resonate with the idea. It serves to concrete the notion that, regardless of competition wins or numbers of medals, anybody who runs is a runner. Especially as a newbie recreational runner, the thought of entering races can be either terrifying or, simply, non-existent. However, everybody loves having a goal and seeing improvements, even if that is something you wish to keep entirely to yourself. Something I have addressed previously is the lack of motivation for consistent training that can occur when there is no set goal in mind. Therefore, these patches can provide this motivational aspect to training without the added pressure of entering a race, or even as added milestones to achieve to keep driven during a training plan for an event.
The fact the Running Standards used to determine the stages has been created by myStampede themselves I believe could be both a blessing and a curse. In my opinion, some individuals will like the somewhat privacy this creates since their running times are not actively disclosed by displaying the patch for others to see. If people are not familiar with the standards, they will be unaware of what each patch reflects and therefore allowing individuals to keep their achievements more personal. As a beginner, this is often a nice feeling, removing any pressure and allowing you to progress at your own, steady rate. However, this same concept could be what deters people from purchasing the patches. Since the stages reflect a very personalised system, I could understand some people feeling unable to resonate with them. Although, I do believe this view may stem more from seasoned athletes who compete on a more regular basis. My view leans more towards the first, since your accomplishments are your own to enjoy and be proud of, therefore the patches only need to be understood by you.
Generously, myStampede also sent me one of their new, multi-purpose neck tubes. During the winter months, I was always so envious of the members of my club who rocked up to sessions wearing one of these bad boys. Whilst my nose was frozen solid in between drills, they always looked cosily smug hidden away under the warmth of their neck tube. This neck tube hosts a similar design to the patches, using the same aztec print animals and branding, making it slick and minimal. I love how versatile the product is, with the packaging demonstrating many alternative ways it can be worn, such as a hairband, Alice band, face covering or cap. Although the material is thinner than many I've looked at in shops, I believe this could be more lightweight for running in and should create just the right amount of extra heat come the winter months. Also, the material feels soft to touch, hopefully eradicating the chance of an itchy neck occurring whilst using it. Evidently with us currently being in the height of summer, I haven't yet tested out this product on an actual run, but I am excited to add this into my kit collection for later in the year.
As a concept, I personally feel myStampede have hit the nail on the head. Promoting to runners of all abilities to celebrate their achievements is something I completely agree with and, as said before, is something I personally hope to achieve via this blog! For beginners and recreational runners, this is a lovely way to mark progress for yourself and your own sense of pride. Looking back, these patches are something I would have enjoyed collecting before I built up to entering competitive events. Even now, I can thoroughly see the appeal of using them during a training cycle as a way to stay motivated and achieve smaller, incremental goals along the way. Especially with the current climate and races being few and far between, this is an ideal way to stay on track with your goals and perhaps reward yourself after completing your own virtual time trial over one of the four distances. Admittedly some individuals don't work on a goal setting basis, as such, but for those who do this could greatly help with visualising your achievements. Whilst I can potentially view the lack of appeal for more competitive, seasoned athletes in the running sphere, I highly commend these products from myStampede as a way to encourage and motivate those new to the sport.
I would love to know your thoughts on these products and the idea behind them. Let me know in the comments!
Check out the myStampede website here.
Follow their Twitter page here.
To be in with the chance of winning a myStampede neck tube for yourself, head over to my Twitter page and hit retweet on the pinned competition tweet! Competition closes Friday 4th September.