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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

August 26, 2016

ALTRA OLYMPUS 2: Go-To Running Shoes for Ultra

Runners pound the road.  They most definitely do.   The shock fatigue that accumulates from absorbing about two and a half times one's own weight with every footfall takes a great toll on the runner. Most especially for runners that tackle long distances like the marathon and ultra marathon.

That is why it is important that running shoes for long distances have to be both durable and flexible. Comfort is a real priority. Most importantly, cushioning should be available in generous amount. In the quest for the ultimate go to shoes for my ultra running, I have shifted from one brand to another like a butterfly. From New Balance to Newton to K Swiss to Adidas to Saucony to Brooks to Hoka and finally to Altra.  More specifically the Altra Olympus. 

The Altra Olympus suits me to a T.  I like its value proposition of zero drop, wide toebox, rugged versatility and luxurious cushioning. No wonder, I have acquired  all versions thus far, from the Olympus 1.0 to 1.5 and now  the 2.0.  For this grand slams of sort, I have thank the good people of SingPhil for making sure that the latest models of Altra running shoes are available to the runners here in Southeast Asia. 
My Altra Olympus from 1.0 to 1.5 and 2.0
With Cielo of Singphil at the Altra booth  in a local sports fair  this April 2016.

What is new about the Altra Olympus 2.0?

First, at 11oz, the Olympus 2.0 is 1.2 oz or 34 grams lighter than its predecessor. 1.2 oz may not be that much but multiply it by the number of footfalls in a 50,000 meter journey and the significance of it will be magnified.  The weight reduction  is due to  an enhanced outsole unit.
Both 1.5 and 2.0 have the dual layer EVA midsole with A-Bound technology.

The difference is in the outsole where the 2.0 has the Vibram Megagrip for better traction.

Second,  the Olympus 2.0 offers an enhanced grip on trails through the Vibram Megagrip Outsole. the first 2 versions of the Olympus did not have Vibram and they did suffer some criticisms from trail athletes on the lack of traction. For the latest version, Altra listened mightily to this criticism and decided to partner with the traction technology specialist from Italy.   As advertised by Vibram, the Megagrip is a new high performance rubber compound featuring unparalleled grip on wet and dry surfaces, rugged longevity and optimal ground adaptability.   Adding to the superior technology appeal is the fact that Vibram material is made from a minimum of 30% recycled rubber.  That's sustainability for you.
Testing the Olympus 2.0 on concrete road, and...

...grassy surface.

The Altra Olympus running side by side with the Hoka Stimson.  The zer0 drop configuration of the Olympus tend to promote a mid-foot strike. 

My first pair of Olympus 2.0 was acquired in January this year and the second pair this March.  Since then, all the ultra marathons I have joined were survived with the help of these 2 pairs of  Olympus 2.0.  There were the Luneta to Tagaytay 60km ultra and Pagudpud  50km ultra in March. Then the Mayon 360 80km ultra in April.  The latest was the Tierra Nevada to Naga 50km ultra in May.  The zero drop configuration of the Altra Olympus promotes a midfoot strike for me. The wide toebox provides a comfortable fit for my feet, especially at the later stages of the ultra as the foot would tend to widen and splay already.  The generous cushioning provided by the dual layer EVA midsole with A-Bound technology made sure that my feet would still be feeling fresh despite the long distance traveled.   And its rugged versatility was evident when the Olympus fared well in both the road and trail portions of the Pagudpud ultra marathon.
The  Altra Olympus 2.0 proved dependable on the road... 

...and trail portions of the Pagudpud Ultra Marathon.

It cannot be denied, the Olympus is my go-to running shoes for ultra marathons.    

What about you?  What is your go-to running shoes for ultras?


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