Miles for Smiles 2009 – you’re gonna need a quality shoe

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

You don’t want no stand-by pair
‘Cos these’ll take the wear and tear
Made to take good care of you
For that trip by road or rail
For extra grip on those rocky trails
You’re gonna need a quality shoe

‘A Quality Shoe’ – Mark Knopfler

Yes there’s plenty of rocky trails ahead as members of the travel retail industry get set for the second ‘Miles for Smiles’ fun run on behalf of cleft charity The Smile Train.


This year’s event takes place on 21 November, again in Dubai. It will be held at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, whose reputation as a great leisure resort will once again be done irreparable damage by the sight of scores of travel retail executives stumbling across the finishing line in various states of dismay, distress and disarray after completing their own valiant but futile challenges to the unforgiving inevitability of the aging process.

Last year the industry raised an incredible US$260,000 from the run – enough to fun over 1,000 life-transforming cleft operations on children in emerging countries.

This year donors are being asked to sponsor the whole field rather than individual runners. Please give generously at

Anyone wanting to enter either the 5k or 10k event needs to pay an entrance fee of €100. Already some US$2,375 has been raised.

Confirming the rapid deterioration in his senses over recent months, The Moodie Report Publisher will once again be participating. That infamous instrument of pain – the Bremshey treadmill – has again been dusted down and a training regime of sorts has begun.

My 2009 campaign on the dreadmill, as I prefer to call it, began with a rudimentary change of tactics from last year. It’s called ‘Reading the Instructions’. Bremshey dreadmills are made by the Accell group, a Finnish fitness company, whose contribution to mankind’s enjoyment is roughly equivalent to that of the creators of the medieval torture rack (pictured).


[The Bremshey Dreadmill 2009]


[An earlier medieval torture rack]

Its speed conversions (the dreadmill’s not the rack’s) are indicated on the dashboard in kilometres per hour (above) with miles denoted beneath.


Actual distance travelled and speed achieved is shown via a couple of glitzy light panels. Not unreasonably, The Moodie Report’s would-be long distance runner spent last year’s deeply unpleasant training campaign believing that both speed and distance were being registered in kilometres.

As a result ‘5k’ was taking up to 40 minutes in training, despite a careful dietary regime involving large doses of pure New Zealand spring water (laced with a few carefully-ripened Sauvignon Blanc grapes for flavour).

Even in the latter stages of an accident-ridden training programme, my chances of getting around the 10k in less than an hour looked remote. Consequently my ultimate race time of 49 minutes and 56 seconds had me as baffled as all of those who had monitored the agonised torture of my performance, roughly akin to watching a tomato broil for almost an hour yet somehow retain its skin.

The enhanced performance was, it transpired, not due to large doses of the banned blood-booster EPO (erythropoietin) but a training regime conducted in error – yes ‘7k’ per hour was in fact 7 miles per hour – or 11.26kph. The 5k I was regularly doing in training was in fact over 8k.

This year I have vowed to treat the dreadmill with more respect. Today I even studied the various ‘programmes’ it offers. These include hill jog (not to be countenanced), hill run (madness), incline (don’t even go there) and HRC weight loss. What on earth is HRC weight loss? I think it may be ‘human running crisis’ but please send your answers to in case I’m missing something.

The dreadmill also offers an attractive sounding programme called ‘Interval’ which I thought meant you could simply take a break. In fact it’s a particularly nasty programme that actually raises the gradient on the dreadmill and makes you feel as if you are running up the side of the Matterhorn. Avoid.

I also spotted a previously unnoticed panel on the dashboard entitled ‘Pulse’. My advice is to stop running when it reads ‘none’.

Anyway, I’ve started, so I shall finish, as they say. So will many others. All travel retail roads lead to Dubai and over the next three months, industry executives of all abilities, shapes, sizes and religions (the plea ‘God help me’ will prove equally useless across all faiths) will be taking to the roads and dreadmills in order to get in shape for the big race.

The Moodie Blog will be there with you all along the way. My aim is to shave -5% off last year’s time and get around in 47 minutes. If you follow my regular tips, so can you. Here’s some to get you started.

1. Before you start training, consult a physician to check your state of health. If he/she says you’re healthy enough to run, seek a second opinion.


[Correct fluid intake is crucial]

2. Watch your diet carefully and take plenty of liquids during training. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is ideal but a cheeky little Sancerre is also acceptable. Avoid Australian Chardonnay – all that oak may give you a corn.

3. Is it normal to feel pain during running? – Yes, with me it usually sets in at the very thought of running. Just ignore it or revert to tip 2.

4. Will it be hot in Dubai? – Scorching. Think Sahara, then add a few degrees. But don’t worry, you can always leap off the side of the track into the sea if it becomes intolerable – though this will affect your time. Last year I stocked up on fluids the night before by having a few pints with Stuart Bull from Mars International Travel Retail [Key tip: do NOT dine on the eve of the race with non-runners, especially men from Mars].

5. Do I need all that fancy running attire? – As Mark Knopfler says, you’re gonna need a quality shoe. If your budget runs to two, that will help immensely. But forget about all that other pretentious clobber – TFWA’s Michael Barrett (below) ran in an inflatable Santa Claus uniform last year and still headed most of the field home. This year he’s bringing the reindeers and is likely to prove unbeatable.


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