Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Crew Room's New Range and Run Club

The great thing about Crewroom's Saturday morning run club is that it starts from their HQ on Putney Embankment. The bad thing about Crewroom's Saturday morning run club is that it starts from their HQ on Putney Embankment... It's good because it is a beautiful location; surrounded by rowing clubs and right on the bank of the Thames just a few steps from a well used path that is perfect for running and cycling.
Crewroom HQ
The view! Oh the view!
It's bad because HQ is also their shop and as such it contains all of their lovely kit, including the brand new Elements and Laser ranges, which is extremely hard to resist as several members of the group demonstrated, lining up purchases pre-run to pay for post-run.

When I arrive I meet Maria, Commercial Director, and get a tour during which I find founder Kate in the kitchen, hands covered in egg and in the middle of whipping up something for us all to tuck into later. Some weeks it might be sausages or brunch but this week it's a lemon drizzle cake. I'm also introduced to Vincent, Kate's year-old labradoodle, who accompanies us on the run but is denied cake.

Walking into HQ is a little like walking into a sweetshop. The kit just begs to be touched and tried on, murals on the walls encourage you to linger and look longer and the designer's station along one wall reminds you that this company is still small in size and very hands on. A cute coffee van is being manned by one of the newest designers and there's a sense of the company being like a family. Community is another key word for Crewroom; the run club is just one of the activities that appear on "Baz's Big Board" alongside pilates, boxercise and yoga, all free of charge.
Kate experiments with paper mache and window displays
As someone who can be a bit shy about getting involved in already-established groups, I was delighted to find everyone extremely welcoming and within minutes I felt part of something. There's no set time, distance or pace for the running. We quickly find at least one person to run with for 4, 6 or 10 miles at a pace to suit. I run with Kate and a very well behaved Vincent, which gives us a chance to chat more about all sorts of things including her ideas for fitting out the pop up shop that's opening later in the year. It's a beautiful day and I wonder how anyone gets any work done with the temptation of this on the doorstep.
Coffee van outside the shop - does a mean flat white
I've very kindly been gifted shorts and a vest from the new Elements range. I'm wearing them to club because it seems rude not to but I'd already put them through their paces on my 16 mile training run. The cuts are super comfortable, the designs and colours appealing and the detailing thoughtful. These are the only shorts I've ever seen with an inside pocket and elastic loop suitable for securing iPod or keys and a back pocket that comfortably holds an iPhone whilst still staying up. Even on a very long, hot run they don't chafe. It's just a little bit different, both appealing but also makes it hard to get into concessions because it breaks the mould a bit. There are masses of sports clothing companies in existence, with a new one popping up just about every week but Crewroom have been around for several years already and design with function and protection very much at the fore. It just happens that the colours and cuts are also gorgeous. I could wax lyrical about them all day, and that tends to only happen with companies whose products I really believe in and feel connected with.

But let's return to run club. Kate and I are first back to base, the scent of lemon cake wafting out to greet us as we grab a drink in-store and others drift back over the course of the next half hour or so. Generous slabs of cake are cut, distributed and consumed whilst we sit on the sun-soaked decking chatting over coffees and juice. Eventually we start to drift away, there is the rest of the day to get on with after all, but it is with reluctance. It's 45 minutes drive each way for me but I'm sad I can't make it next week. I vow to return on at least one other occasion and hopefully to try Stand Up Paddleboarding too.
Cutting of the cake

I will confess to trying on pieces from the Laser range whilst I was at HQ, stroking leggings and admiring jackets I can't justify buying... yet. I'm a fan and I really hope that they continue to go from strength to strength.

You can keep up to date with Crewroom and all their classes by following them on Facebook and twitter. Sign-up to their newsletter any time during August and you'll automatically be entered into a draw to win a bag of kit worth £200!

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