With over 30 years' experience of training and improving runners all over the world at the elite level, this is the view of esteemed coach Eamonn Christie, who has been assessing the performance benefits of several Zerofit baselayers including the Cold Skin and Heatrub Move along with a number of his athletes from the Belfast Irish Milers Club, including Ireland Olympic hopeful Emma Mitchell.
‘All of the feedback I’ve got from the athletes has been hugely positive, and the hoodie is fantastic too by the way. Emma has loved the Cold Skin in these summer months too and as training ramps up now in the autumn and winter, the Move will be getting regular outings at both ends of the day. There is definitely a gap in the running market for Zerofit baselayers – absolutely 100%,’ says Eamonn.
Mitchell has been one of the first athletes in the UK to test a brand-new version of the Move which has been designed specifically for runners in mind, with further details to follow in early September.
And it’s not just runners who are benefiting from Zerofit’s performance baselayers, as Christie explained.
‘I gave a Cold Skin to a guy called Declan Morgan who is one the coaching management team of the County Down GAA squad, and they do a lot of running around Castlewellan Forest Park. He absolutely fell in love with it and said it was the best product he’d ever worn.’
The ex Beechmount Harrier runner who entered the coaching profession after his own career was cut short by injury is eagerly anticipating the start of the World Championships this Saturday, and he’ll be keeping a close eye on medal contender Ciara Mageean, who he coached to significant success as a junior and aspiring athlete, including a Silver Medal at the 2009 World Youth Championships at 800m in Italy, before she repeated the feat a year later in the 1500m at the World Junior Championship in Canada.
‘I was a former athlete, a good club runner but I got a bad knee injury in my late 20s so the obvious next step was coaching, which was something I really enjoyed. I had one coach my whole career, a guy called Jim Kennedy and he always knew I was going to be a coach one day too, because I was always asking questions about different sessions – I was just interested. And I found I was a better coach than I was athlete,’ says Christie.
‘I see myself as an open book, I’ll try to help everybody. If someone wants to do a Coach-to-5K, I’ll do that, but equally if we get someone who wants to run at Ulster Schools or even international level, I’ll do my best with them too.
‘If the athlete can complete their journey – whatever that is in terms of goal – that gives me a great kick and I deem that a success. But equally when Ciara won her world Silver Medal in 2010 in Canada that was outstanding, and I was there to witness it. And I saw Emma break the Northern Ireland 10k record in London in 2017 which had stood for 20 years by a girl I used to train with called Teresa Duffy. That was something very special too,’ adds Eamonn.
Mitchell is clearly at the elite end of the scale of athletes coached by the Belfast man, and next year’s Olympics is a keen focus for the pair.
‘Emma Mitchell has the ability to compete, and the plan is to get her ready for the marathon and make the standard for Paris. We probably have two chances of achieving that, but she needs to run 2:29.30 which isn’t beyond her capability at all.
The qualifying standards have improved so much, new shoes and technology have helped, but she has the ability, no doubt. Emma has always had great endurance and great speed endurance, she could run – to use a Northern Ireland expression – until the cows came home,’ reveals Eamonn.
Before that, Christie will be busy adding and retaining sponsors, confirming athlete attendance and everything in between for his Belfast Irish Miler Meet in May next year.
‘We had around 2,500-3,000 spectators at the Meet in May, there’s a great picnic atmosphere and people come to see the international athletes in action.
‘One day there’ll be a Diamond League event on the island of Ireland. Next year will be our eighth year of organising the Belfast Irish Miler Meet, and athletes generally like to come to it. The Mary Peters Track is just so fast, it’s a good quality meet and there is a fantastic atmosphere. It’s going from strength to strength, and it’s probably the best in Ireland. It’s one of the best continental tour events in Europe when it came to standards being met,’ he adds.