“Wow what a watch!” - Tim Bowie Reviews the Suunto Watch for KMF17

30 May 2017
Tim shows off his Suunto watch
Tim shows off his Suunto watch

Wow what a watch! Colonel Tim Collins famed for his inspirational words to his troops in Iraq in 2003 used a #Suunto watch which first alerted to this fiendishly great piece of Finnish kit.

This is my third #Suunto not because they broke though. My first did get seriously knocked about but #Suunto service was excellent & a new bezel was fitted in a blink. I once even used the compass to give a bearing so the Coastguard helicopter could rescue my wife after a fall in the Highlands. Last autumn I bought an #Ambit3 as a treat for myself so I could track more data such as pace & climb. I thought that was the last watch I met ever need as a keen runner & outdoor enthusiast.

My first impression was goodness that is blue – no hiding this under the cuff of my shirt – but why would you. That send it’s slightly slimmer than my old watch. Now I am nearly 54 and not particularly techy but this was disarmingly simple to set up & to connect to my IPhone. The level of personalization options is fantastic & this watch has minimized the need for buttons The touch screen is clear, simple & responsive.

The strap is very comfortable and strangely soft. The watch charges quickly & easily & the magnetic connection is a great new feature.

Six weeks ago I fell running in Snowdonia leading to a trip to A&E & crutches. This meant missing great local races but this set back created the option to race at the Keswick Mountain Festival – a first for me. The bonus of being offered to trial the watch came as a huge surprise & while it cannot heal bad sprains made me grin ear to ear when it arrived. I was pretty disappointed to be off for several weeks as my running is a great way to decompress from work an excuse to get out into the wonderful great outdoors. Subsequently I have had to spend time on the rowing ergometer & a road bike fixed to a turbo trainer. The HR function is excellent & avoids the need for the chest strap (though you can still use one to get more accurate data). The clear bold screen (there are multiple options for the display) allowed me to check heart rate & recovery times. It’s bright clear & intuitive – when you are tired and perhaps slightly emotional you don’t want to be fighting functionality on your watch. Now slowly returning to running it gets noticed but has helped me slot back into hitting the right pace on runs. I am a bit frustrated by the need to take things a bit at a time but sprains are notoriously slow to heal. My #SuuntoSpartan has though elevated my enthusiasm & motivation even if moderated by the instructions of the physiotherapist.

So Keswick is closing in fast & all the usual doubts begin to creep in – am I ready, is this too long a race, too much climb. However, encouraging emails keep filtering through & the level of organization is very reassuring. I try to train five times a week resting Mondays & Fridays with long sessions on Sundays & Mondays simply because time allows that. I am an early riser but not good at training first thing – I love evening sessions and find these a great way to decompress from the day. Now with the lovely light evenings (though who does not love to run under the stars on a clear night) you can get out for longer and later. I am trying to work on being stronger and my running form (with guidance from Shane Benzie). Sessions lately have included fartlek & hill repeats. I like the Spartan’s lap feature and still grin at the novelty of the GPS and tracking my pace. Being able to monitor heart rate easily & compare sessions has helped spot tiredness creeping in and gives a good guide to the effort being given as well as the pace being extracted. Living on an island the beaches are easily accessible and a long steady run on soft sand is a good stamina session & even more so into a head wind. We lack hills though which Keswick and the Lake District does not. Having fallen on a steep descent I need to get my confidence back a bit. In the cooler weather one or two of our dogs will join me & I would love to fit a GPS tracker to them as they seem to run twice as far and always seem to pip me on the hills & back to the car!

We are going to make a weekend of our trip the Keswick Mountain Festival in part so we are not in a rush to be there but to soak up the atmosphere after all we are there to enjoy ourselves. Perhaps we will try something new and doubtless we will come back with some essential new bit of kit.

As I sit in the kitchen writing up this blog I am preparing for a few days in Torridon in North West Scotland. I am charging up the watch & making sure I have synched my latest data. The data is easy to read off the screen & synchronizes quickly with your phone or PC so you can keep track of progress. The App #Movescount is easy to sync to & is smart enough to know which watch it is sinking with & has added my new data to my old without blinking (why did I worry about that?). The GPS is fast & accurate which is always reassuring on narrow mountain paths in poor visibility! There are 80 preset sports modes – this might just be the required inspiration to try my first triathlon!

The sea is still too cold for me presently to swim but before too long I hope I can report on its effectiveness in water – everything I have read already points to it being faultless.

Thank you Keswick Mountain Festival & Suunto – I hope I can do the watch & opportunity to trial it justice come June 11th!



#Suunto #SuuntoSpartan #SuuntoSwim #SuuntoTri #SuuntoRun



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