Tag Archives: Ashmei

The Ultimate cake and coffee

When I saw the Facebook post inviting applications for brand ambassadors I knew I had to apply. I see quite a few of these posts on social media, and the majority do not appeal to me. The idea of free kit or sponsorship is attractive but representing a brand that I have no great affinity with or passion for seems dishonest.

Ashmei is a relatively young company, but I’ve been buying their running clothing since 2012. Their aim is to create the best performance kit in the market, and the quality and attention to detail is outstanding. As a distance runner who likes to run 100 mile races, I want great kit that will feel comfortable all day, and Ashmei fits the bill.

I applied to become an Ashmei brand ambassador last year, but was not selected, but reapplied this year and was invited to the attend the selection day. This proved slightly tricky. The selection day was Saturday 5th March, and would mean I’d be out all morning. I had already entered the Steyning Stinger marathon which was on the Sunday, and failed to note this was Mother’s Day. However my wife is very supportive of my running, so I accepted the invitation.

The day started with a brief presentation by Stuart the company founder, and then we got to hear from some of the current ambassadors: Owain, Louise and Simon. They had some great stories about their sporting year as ambassadors. In fact all the people I spoke to during the day had great tales about their running and cycling and some amazing plans for 2016 and beyond.

We were given a pair of Ashmei socks to try out. I already have several pairs, so asked for a pair in my wife’s size – the children could wrap it as an extra mother’s day present.

I love the attention to detail on these – the size is stitched in, so no arguments about whether you’ve stolen your partners socks!

We had been invited to go out for a run on local trails, so after the presentation we were soon outside and running. This was another opportunity to chat with the Ashmei team although the first hills made conversation strained. There was a biting wind as we ran along the ridge but once in the woods it was fantastic. I think if my office was at the Ashmei HQ I’d have plenty of inspiration for new sports kit, but too little time to put ideas into action- I’d be running the trails all day!

After a 6 mile run we were back at the office, where coffee and cake were served, before we all headed off. Inspired, but also eagerly hoping to be selected for the role.

The script beneath the Ashmei logo translates to ” the ultimate”, and a lot of effort had been put into make some amazing cakes.

The ultimate

The ultimate



Ashmei kit review

At the Ashmei Ambassador Day (14th March), I was given a pair of trail socks to try and asked to review them. However all the other Ashmei kit that I have was purchased by me (or bought for me by my wife). I have a fair bit if it, because although it is not cheap, it performs really well.

This Saturday I ran the Endurace Life CTS Sussex race. I had entered the Ultra event, and would have to do the marathon route, and then a lap of the 10k route, all on trails over the South Downs, starting and finishing at Birling Gap.

The weather forecast was for overcast, but dry conditions, with temperatures peaking at 8C. However with an 8:30 start it would be much cooler for the first couple of hours.

As a result I chose the following kit, as pictured below.


Clockwise from top left:

  • Ashmei gloves
  • Ashmei beanie hat
  • Ronhill trail shorts
  • Ronhill arm warmers
  • Ashmei merino + carbon trail socks
  • Montane chief (not a buff!)
  • Compresssport calf guards
  • Ashmei merino short sleeve jersey


The Ashmei gloves and hat come out on just about every run if the weather is cool. They are thin and light, but keep me warm. However if it gets hot, they don’t feel sweaty and clammy. They are also small enough that I can stuff them in a pocket if I need to take them off.

The Ronhill shorts have plenty of pockets for gels, and more importantly don’t cause me any chaffing issues. The arm warmers are a relatively new addition of my running wardrobe but I find it much more comfortable to roll them down when I am warm, than wear a long sleeve top and roll the sleeves up.

The socks are made from from Ashmei’s merino + carbon fabric. They claim this performs 10x better then pure merino at displacing water. Another claimed benefit of merino is that unlike polyester ( the normal fabric used in technical running gear), it has natural anti-microbial properties. In short this means it doesn’t stink! I’ve tested this before, and it’s true. When I go on week long business trips I’ve been able to take a single merino top and run in it every day without gagging when I put on. The same can’t be said for my polyester shorts. I thought I’d really put this claim to the test though, so after getting the socks on the 14th, I wore them on every run. 9 runs and 44 miles without washing before the race. While they didn’t smell ‘shop fresh’, they didn’t smell. I managed to convince my 9yr old daughter that they were clean.

The buff Montane chief is always useful for a cool day, and after suffering terrible calf cramp the 1st time I ran the Beachy Head marathon, I always wear compresssport calf guards on hilly runs.

The Ashmei jersey is now a vintage bit of kit (2011). It’s the original pure merino, rather than the newer merino + carbon but for a cold dry day it is perfect. I wore this one on my first 100 mile race and ran in it from 6am until 10pm when cold weather and slowing progress forced me into a warmer long sleeved top.

So how did it all perform?

Perfectly. I like kit to be invisible. I don’t mean literally like the Emperor’s New Clothes, but I don’t want to notice it. It I can feel clothing rubbing and chaffing, or start getting hot spots and blisters on my feet then something is not working. On Saturday everything worked well. It was cold and windy at some points, but I was warm enough, and I never felt too hot and sweaty, even though the hat and gloves stayed on throughout the race.

The socks caused no problems  – no rubbing or blisters. They are very short, and did let a little grit get into the shoe, but one stop to shake this out and I was fine. I’ll happily wear them again, but would probably buy the mid length sock.

SockCollageOne last point. The socks are now heading for the washing machine. They still look good despite over 75 miles of hard use in the week, as shown by the before and after photo, but great kit should be treated well. The picture at the top is ‘fresh from the packet’, while the below image is after the race.



A Social Race

On Saturday I was up early and dressed in my running kit as usual, but instead of heading out to run for an hour or two, I jumped in the car. Two hours later, I was in Aldbury, pulling into the ‘Industrial Park’ that is Ashmei HQ. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a bucolic office location. The farmyard and agricultural outbuildings had all been converted into offices for a couple of small businesses.

The gleaming Airstream trailer told me I had arrived at the right place.
A couple of weeks ago I had seen a Facebook post about the role of Brand Ambassador and applied, and was surprised when a few days later I received an invite to the Ashmei Ambassador day. I was anticipating meeting a couple of dozen enthusiastic runners all competing for the role, before going for a run. I’d done some research, and seen a blog from one of last years candidates. They had all been asked to prepare a 1-minute talk for video on their goals, so I was expecting something similar or worse, and some fierce competition.

Instead, we were all welcomed with a drink and some pastries and I enjoyed a few minutes meeting the other candidates, and having a few photographs taken. There were a range of ages, and abilities, but they all had a huge enthusiasm for running, cycling or tri: be it short course races or Ultra distance. No massive egos on display or any competitiveness, just a great bunch of people chatting about running and cycling.

We weren’t set any tasks or challenges, and instead we enjoyed a brief presentation from Simon Freeman of Freestack about the ambassador program, before an overview of the Ashmei brand from Stuart Brooke. Stuart is the founder, owner, and designer and clearly passionate about creating high-performance quality sportswear.

I’ve used merino wool clothing for years as a base layer when skiing, so I had tried Ashmei in 2011, not sure if merino would work for running. It does. I’ve worn my Ashmei top on many runs and used it for both my 100 mile races. It was perfect in the first race (NDW100 in 2012) but couldn’t handle the more humid conditions on the SDW100 in 2014. Mind you nothing coped well that day. I swapped from Ashmei to a more traditional technical top after 35 miles, and then had to change again at the half way point, as I was soaked in sweat. I’ve been meaning to try the newer merino + carbon range to see how much better this is, but haven’t got round to it yet. In fact, I had turned up for the ambassador day wearing my original Ashmei jersey. Too creepy?

After the presentation, we were all given a pair of new socks to try and invited to join them for a run or ride. I’m not sure how it worked for the cyclists, but for the runners this gave us another opportunity to chat as we ran up a few trails, posing for selfies and group photos before gatecrashing the Ashridge Boundary Run (a 16 mile race taking place that day).

Once back at the Ashmei office there was just time for more cake before heading home. Now it seems the competition has started in earnest, and it’s not on the trail. Instead it’s all happening here on social networks: at least half a dozen blogs, a YouTube video, Instagram stills and video (that’s me on the left – thanks Matt!), and more #ashmeiambassadors tweets that your average marathon.

These runners all know how to create buzz and PR for a brand, so Ashmei should do well with their 2015 Ambassador program who ever they chose! I just hope to be part of it, and even if I’m not, I really enjoyed my morning.