The Tuesday Kick: Is that a Fastwitch or just a nervous tic?

A sublime marathon shoe

The Fastwitch is good for both marathon pace and tempo runs.

The shoe

Saucony Fastwitch 4 2010

The official description

Running Times magazine called the Saucony Fastwitch 4 2010 “a sublime marathon shoe.” They praised its cushioning and midstance support, liked its “amazingly flexible and energetic forefoot,” and called the shoe a “stealthy featherweight package.

Well…I guess they liked it then.

Who wears it

Edmontonian Tom McGrath works as an oil pump assembler – when he’s not running, that is. McGrath, 25, started running high-school cross-country in 2002 and graduated to his first marathon in 2006. Since then he’s run 10 marathons, posting a personal best of 2:41:53 in Chicago in 2011. He’s currently training for the full in Vancouver.

He also cited Sub-three as his favourite blog, but we ignored that part.

McGrath may rank only second to Imelda Marcos when its comes to owning shoes. Asked for his fave kick, McGrath responded with an email only slightly shorter than an edition of the Sunday New York Times and containing comprehensive critiques of a dizzying variety of foot-wear. Of course, we jest. It’s not uncommon for runners to juggle more than one pair at any time (Sub-three currently has five on the go, for instance).

That said, The Tuesday Kick, of course, is supposed to about one shoe, so we singled out the Fastwitch 4, but it’s worth mentioning McGrath’s other shoe choices.

They include the Saucony Triumph 7 2009, which McGrath used to train in until he discovered he could get away with a lighter shoe; the Saucony Kinvara 2010, which he finds “a little too ‘free’ for his ideal marathon shoe, but still solid; and the Saucony Type A-4 2011, which, with its great light fit and road feel, McGrath insists is a perfect shoe for racing anything shorter than a half-marathon.

Oh, we’re not done yet. McGrath also counts among his shoes the Saucony Peregrine 2011, a trail runner;  the Saucony Cortona 2011 for easy recovery days (Says McGrath: “The minute I put this shoe on I knew we would be good friends. It feels glorious. One of the softest shoes I’ve ever worn.”); and the Saucony Fastwitch 5 2011, which McGrath  says has considerably changed from the model before and which he doesn’t like.  “I’m not too sure why, something about it just doesn’t feel right. It still makes a decent shoe for fast workouts, but I’m just not willing to put on a shoe on the big day that I’m not 100 per cent sold on.”

Added McGrath: “I’ll bet you’ll never guess what brand I prefer.”

Searching for a new marathon pair of kicks to replace his beloved Sauconys, McGrath has also tried the Asics Hyperspeed 2011. He describes them as light and fast, but isn’t a fan of the criss-cross tread pattern that allows small rocks to get caught in the tread, and which subsequenlyfeel like daggers through the thin sole.

He’s also enjoying the Adidas adiZero Adios 2011. “The quickest shoe on earth!” exclaims McGrath.  “How could I not try this baby out.  It didn’t sell me at first, but every time I put it on I like it even more. I still don’t love it like I did the Fastwitch, but it has definitely earned it’s right to being my marathon shoe of choice in the future.”

Why he likes them

McGrath calls the Saucony Fastwitch 4 2010 his marathon shoe of choice, noting he’s raced nine of his 10 fulls in the Fastwitch. According to McGrath, the Fastwitch serves as both agood marathon pace workout and tempo shoe. “I have one pair left waiting in a box for my next race.”

The shoe lives up to its “sublime” reputation.

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About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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