You don’t have to be far into your running regimen for a number of things to become abundantly clear. First off, not only tarmac is hard. Second, it takes a long time, a really long time, for the endorphins to kick in. Cramps, blisters and an overwhelming desire to crawl back onto the sofa await the novice runner.
A word of warning: don’t expect to match Forrest Gump right off the bat. It takes practice to get that kind of energy and motivation, so maybe wait before pulling out the heart-rate monitor. Fortunately for us, there is Louis Moinet. Born into a wealthy, landowning family, the French watchmaker and painter had the bright idea of inventing the chronograph, in 1816. Cue eye-rolling from the serious runners, who would never dream of timing their performance with a mechanical watch. For we lesser mortals, it’s the ideal way to keep track of our achievements, test our limits and get into our stride, rather than hanging up our trainers after the first run.
Stage 1: the 10 km
Which is why, after snapping on our headband and lacing up our shoes, we strap a chrono to our wrist. Knowing you’ll have something to show for all that effort, i.e. a time, makes it all worthwhile. The question being, who to choose as your running partner? You like sport? You love fashion? Put ’em together and what have you got? The Hublot Classic Fusion “Racing Grey” Chronograph. Its automatic movement, aka Calibre HUB1143, will count the beat of your first hard-run miles. But not the beat of your heart. Nor will it make you an Olympic champion, but it will provide you with a reference time for your next session. In a similar vein, take a look at the Zenith Elite Chronograph. Beneath its sober exterior is a movement that races along, namely the El Primero 4069, an automatic calibre precise to one-tenth of a second. Guaranteed to spur you on to your first ten kilometres.
Stage 2: the half-marathon
The question most often heard after nailing the 10K is when to line up for a half-marathon. The answer tends to be a vague, “Depends…” On? On each individual’s progress and ability. And our willingness to forgo a Sunday morning lie-in. A half-marathon is 21.1 km or 13.1 miles long and takes between five and six weeks to prepare. It’s also the Young Urban Runner’s favourite race. If your brackets are 35 to 40 for age and higher for income, you’re ripe to take part in this most popular of road-running competitions. You’ll be handed oranges, dried bananas and raisins, and on a sunny day you can admire the scenery along the way. Provided, that is, you didn’t overestimate your capacities, in which case it’ll be one big black hole, and we don’t mean the latest Star Wars movie. So. Who will be your best buddy as you wait at the starting line? Maybe the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono. It has the dual advantage that 1) it times short intervals, 2) it will measure your great-great-grandson’s performance thanks to its perpetual calendar.
And if the next generation feels no great urge to follow in your trainer-clad footsteps, a good alternative is the Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Chrono. It marks your time on one of the two dual-handed counters, each inside a rhodium-plated circle and symmetrically positioned with date and small seconds at 9 o’clock, chrono hours and minutes at 3 o’clock. And it’s a Moonwatch… handy when reaching for the stars!
Stage 3: the marathon
Which brings us to the runner’s ultimate goal: the marathon: 42.195 km (26.219 miles) during which anything can happen: counter-performance, cramps and legs that won’t get going after a break at the water station. Fortunately watchmakers have pulled out the big guns to help you keep a cool head and a steady pace. First the Richard Mille RM 50-02 ACJ Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph. Inspired by aeronautics, it should give you wings. Or why not come full circle and opt for the Louis Moinet Memoris 200th with its translucent counters, specially launched to mark the 200th anniversary of the brand.
In a not-too-distant future, you might also consider trail running, which involves lots of steep inclines and uneven terrain. A sport with plenty of ups and downs…