ashmei Ambassadors' Day 2015


March 5th 2015.  I heard the ping of the email tone to my mobile phone just after 5pm.  Usually it's some advertisement or flyer about offers or discounts but this email was different!  I'd received an email titled; "Congratulations - you're invited to our Ambassadors' Day".  Normally an email beginning with congratulations would be spam regarding a long lost relative who had left me millions but for once I had received an email that would hold some very exciting news.

I had been short-listed by ashmei as a brand ambassador.  Hundreds and hundreds had applied but I was amongst the lucky few to be considered on the final list to represent the brand near and far.  I had plenty of planning to do in order to make the journey down to Hertfordshire but the opportunity I was presented with was more than worth the time and effort and I gratefully accepted the offer to attend.

ashmei - huge success is well on it's way, in my opinion

So, I had my journey(s) planned, London hotel booked for the night before and my broad Lancashire accent was as finely polished as ever, all in preparation to meet the ashmei staff and like minded athletes in Aldbury, Hertfordshire.

I did venture out in to Hyde Park on Friday night.  I walked through to reach my hotel and then later on went for a run.  It's quite interesting running somewhere when you have no idea at all where you are going and the only time you recognise something is when you've accidentally ran around in a loop so you come back to where you started, although, saying that, I do often go on trail runs and just run, with no plan or idea where I am heading but that is one part of running that makes it a great sport.  Saying that, I managed a decent 4.59 miles in the dark of Hyde Park.

Hyde Park sunset - stunning

On Saturday morning I got the train up to Tring from London Euston and ventured down towards Tring park to run the parkrun.  I got there a few minutes late as I couldn't find the entrance (it's a huge park!!!  that's my excuse anyway),  I ran the course and what a nice course it was, undulating trail run which pleasantly surprised me as us Northerner's mainly have the impression of flat, concrete courses anywhere south of Derbyshire, haha!  You can see all 3 of my runs from the weekend on the right hand side of the blog, in the Strava box :)

I met up with fellow short-listed ambassador, Matt Fowler, aka @thebaldrunner on Twitter (go follow!).  We had a good chat regarding running and the usual "how long did it take you to get here", etc.  We picked up a couple more ambassadors at Tring train station and drove down to ashmei HQ for 10am on the dot.  Pleasantly welcomed by Simon Freeman, who would also be running with us, our first question was "what do you call a group/bunch of endurance athletes?"  One for you guys and girls to research, answers on a post card ;-)

ashmei's own - shiny, shiny!

We were greeted by a very, very nice looking stables set-up (and yes, I am still talking about ashmei HQ here).  Superbly renovated buildings and ashmei office was based in one of those, what a lovely place to work on a daily basis.  Like I said to Simon (freestak.com co-owner), it would be such a privilege to have the surrounding trails on your doorstep, I'd be out every lunch time, no doubt.

We socialised for a while and I spoke with many (unfortunately not all) of the ambassadors and we talked about all sorts, but the most common question seemed to be where had I come from with that accent?  Haha!  There's also something cool about not having met somebody in person before but then they approach you..."are you Cal Ferguson?  I'm Fell Monkey!" @fellmonkey78 on Twitter, you wouldn't have got that 10/15 years ago for sure.  I spoke with cyclists, tri-athletes and other runners and many of the road runners were keen to hear more about fell running, which I thought was great!

ashmei Ambassador's Day 2015 - amazing experience

Stuart, ashmei's founder & owner, gave a brilliant and inspiring presentation on the brand itself and what they are looking for in an ambassador.  The thinking behind ashmei is absolutely brilliant and their vision, goals and aspirations are something I totally agree with.  If you want to be the best, you need to source the finest aspects to construct the ultimate product and this is speaking in terms of both being an athlete and producing a top class clothing range, which ashmei certainly do.

We were then all given a free pair of trail running socks (thanks guys!!!) to try out, I'll be doing a specific review on those in the next few days, so keep an eye out for my next post.  We split in to two groups, runners and riders, then off we went on a wonderful run on the trails surrounding HQ.  We went through the woods and up on to a hill top which offered amazing panoramic views of the surrounding area and the local salt mine (see below image).


The run was done at a social pace so we could get to know each other that little bit better.  Being a northerner based in a valley and in a village surrounded by dozens of hills, speaking to most of the ambassadors who are city based made me appreciate how lucky I really am.  The talk of fell running being my thing got people all excited and each person echoed the same sentiment, that I was one lucky person to have such natural facilities on my doorstep, a mere 5 minutes run down the road and it did make me realise more than ever that I am extremely grateful for such a great training base, especially after my exceedingly flat run in Hyde Park the night before.

Me and Steve Skinner ( @StephenSkinner6 on Twitter) had a good lengthy chat and I may have possibly/hopefully inspired him to catch the train North of London city more often.  I did take my Walsh fell runners down with me, as I thought, potentially, most of the athletes wouldn't have come across a shoe like them before and I was correct!  After a good detailed discussion, a few of the athletes including track cyclist Paul ( @boldy1664 ), were rather impressed and quizzed me on the shoes, after all, they are extremely different to a road shoe, to say the least.

runners taking a quick photo opportunity break

all the ambassadors after our run/ride - what a top bunch of people!

After the run we caught up with the cyclists and had a debrief from the ashmei staff and we all went our separate ways.  Since then, plenty of pictures have been exchanged, tweets been tweeted and accounts being followed.  It was such a good experience and terrific to share stories and goals with other athletes.  Even though there was such a range of experience levels and people performing in different sports, we all want to achieve great things and aim to be the best we can be, which, in my opinion, epitomises the ashmei brand.

I would just like to again thank all the staff at ashmei and Simon Freeman also, for a great day and a terrific experience.  I definitely wouldn't like to be the one choosing from us all anyway, such a tough job to do, but fingers crossed it won't be the last time I am talking about ashmei, and who knows, hopefully, this time next week, I could be a brand ambassador for them....


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