It’s race time again and Tester Mike makes a return to a start line after a long spell on the sidelines at the Wizz Air Hackney Half Marathon to test the race fitness.

On the testing agenda for a toasty Sunday morning was the Hoka Rocket X 2, the new Beats Studio Buds + and Saysky’s latest Universe Combat singlet.

Find out how Mike got on with the successor to one of his favourite running shoes at the 2023 edition of the Hackney Half.

– Thanks to Hoka for providing our media entry for the Wizz Air Hackney Half 2023.

00:00 – Intro
03:35 – Hackney Half 2023 Race Test: Hoka Rocket X 2
10:53 – Hackney Half 2023 Race Test: Beats Studio Buds + and more
15:18 – Hackney Half 2023 Race Test: The Race

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Foreign Testers it is just after 7 00 a.m I am Off to the Wiz air Hackney half marathon Uh we'll be meeting Tom down there Um later Um we are there Um with uh Hawker who are one of those Sponsors and before we get hammered in The contest we've been paid by Hawker we Have press entries courtesy of Hawker um Don't be told to try or test anything Out particularly but myself and Tom will Be using the Haka rocker XD we both are Fans of the original I have from one of My quickest 10K in them I still use them For Speed session so and I've been Running in the rocket X2 trying to get Some mileage in I recovering from injury And uh You know it's a shoe built for racing so I'm looking forward to see how it gets On greatest point of view and Tom hasn't Raced in it either so I think he's Looking forward to racing in it as well Um in terms of other stuff I've Got the Beat Studio Buds plus headphones which not Technically Um Running Focus headphones but they do Have um color same ipx4 rated design as The airports Pro 2 and the Beats fit Pro Which are more expensive and have the Ear hook design these doesn't have to be

A design but they do have an extra pair Of ear tips to improve the fit in the Previous version Um has improved uh noise canceling Um And uh battery life is going to look Like it's gonna be slides I'm hoping It'll get through nicely whether the Lack of ear tips will affect in terms of The fit and the design and staying put During the race that's what I'm looking Forward to kind of finding out seeing The sound kind of impresses as well too And potentially you know it's a cheaper Alternative to the Beats fit Pro and the Airpods Pro 2 as well Um other than that I'm going to have the Kind of latest vest on I'm going to Taste it's going to be hot today I think Uh warm anyway a little bit hotter later On Um and yeah and move from there Race point of view Um I haven't run this distance in about six Months because of injury I haven't raced It I haven't really got up to these kind Of distances yet so I'm looking forward To just getting through it really and Aiming for if I can get around 130. Mark I'll be very happy Um anywhere around there not my quickest But I'll be very happy in terms of my Progress I hope I can kick on and

Get back to do some marathon training For later in the year for a marathon has Yet to be confirmed but yeah well see You later and make it to the station and I'll catch up with Tom later and see how We all got on with the rock XT And uh yeah the other kit we're testing See ya Thank you Okay it's actually half 20 23 done there Is the medal now so I'm not in acne Anymore I wanted to try and make a kind Of relatively Swift exit um and get my Recovery started now I haven't run that Distance or Half Marathon distance in Over six months I haven't raced in over Six months so you know because of the Issues I've had in the last few months With injury I really wanted to get back And get my recovery up and running Now I'm feeling a little bit better I'm A little bit more fresher Um I can talk a little bit about the kit I test in and also get a little bit in To the race as well on that front as you Can probably tell Tom is not here Tom Unfortunately couldn't do uh the race Today so uh he was unwell so His thoughts on a rocket XT won't be Here but mine will be and it's coming From a kind of self-confessed oga Rocket X fan uh I've got two pairs of the Original now I still use them I think I've grabbed Tom's kind of pair

Basically so I could have a spare pair Um And I really like that shoe and I still Think it's still an affordable good shoe Kind of quick shoe to look at that I Think people will still like over kind Of relatively shorter distance I think 5 10 15K it's a very good shoe for that Um but obviously the rocket XT is an Entirely different proposition now I've Managed to amass you know with my kind Of recovery getting up to kind of 40K in This shoe now and then obviously I've Run the half in it now as well And that's covering some shorter sharper Stuff some indoor outdoor track stuff Some a couple of longish runs as well in It it too I think ultimately This I think the first thing I mean it Kind of Springs to mind is that it just Feels like a nicer shoe to run a bit Longer I think with the uh Hawker rocker X when I did try to run a little bit Longer I think I felt that maybe Um A firmness of the midsole and actually I Actually don't mind I think when you're Running a little bit quicker it feels Kind of very responsive it just I didn't Feel like a shoe that was very Accommodating for kind of running a Little bit longer maybe if you need to Ease off or need to kind of settle just Slightly kind of not slower Pace but

Just kind of maintaining something a bit More consistently over a longer distance I think with the original rocket X I Found it very difficult to do that Whereas I think with the rocket X2 it Definitely feels a lot nicer I still Think you'd get a nice kind of you know Propulsive kind of feel in this shoe You've got that kind of people based Midsole which you know gives you Something a little bit softer a little Bit more forgiving I think it feels like It's on a kind of wider base as well to Kind of you know Absorb a little bit better and just feel Like a little bit more of a cushion ride But also still giving you something that Really gets you up on your toes one That's kind of what I felt in that run And I don't think it's just The midsole that works really well here Obviously the upper I feel like Huck has done a lot of work With the upper here and um I think a Really important uh I thought was really Interesting was that uh in the podcast That Tom did with Ed Bud he talks about How the upper is very well connected With the midsole and the rest of the Shoe and I think that really came across For me in terms of racing with it today In the sense that it just feels all in One shoe you know it feels part you know It doesn't feel like components it feels

Like it's all connected and you know When I was running Around 143 I think 142 143 I was trying To kind of keep to kind of below eight Minute miles which is basically where I'm at in terms of my fitness And then kind of when I could go a Little bit harder uh when I could get You know kind of the kind of slightly Quicker seven kind of 15 20 uh minute Mile kind of pace it felt really good to Run in I felt very I felt very Effortlessly to kind of run a little bit Quicker in this shoe I didn't really have any major issues I Think from a kind of gripping point of View that you know there's a lot of Twists and turns on that course and I Felt it handled that kind of Corning you Know pretty well as well from an outsole Point of view with that half marathon in The bag now I've kind of creeped over 50k in this shoe now and as you can Probably see or hopefully see is that I Am starting to see somewhere Particularly the back of the shoe and Even kind of riding up to the side of The shoes as well so you know August Says it's designed for racing and like a Lot of these top tier Racing shoes the Outside durability isn't fantastic Um I would say that's applicable to the Rock XT based on what I'm seeing so far I'm not sure it's going to be as

Versatile it's kind of maybe new balance Is kind of top tier racing series I Think you can use for kind of a lot of Daily training runs and also racing Whereas I think you know I'm seeing Quite noticeable wear here on the Rock XT you know the rocket X outsole wasn't Fantastic I don't think as well in terms Of a durability point of view And it fills up the rock X2 and the Changes they've made here it feels like It's going to be something similar maybe Again you know it's going to be one You're really going to want to save for When you're running at your quickest Running kind of racing as well Um so yeah I definitely think there's Some major plus with the rock XD Particularly I think for choosing it for Something like the half marathon and Potentially maybe using it from Alvin I Think about the other shoes I've used Are raced with Half Marathon distance And that's mainly been for me the Sucking endorphin Pro 3. And the um Asics matter speed Sky Plus As well the original metal speeds guy And I think for me how this compares to Those shoes at that distance I would say I feel I don't know maybe I think I Prefer something in the midsole that You're getting from the Saucony and Asic From a sense I think I kind of think It's a little bit bouncier personally I

Think you're still getting something That I don't think feels as propulsive As those shoes as some of them maybe the Other midsole as well I definitely do Think you know So I would like to be where fully fit Running in this because when I was Running in the Endorphin Pro 3 and the Max speeds guy I always kind of fully Fit and going at my kind of hardest kind Of you know quicker pace so Um I think you know if I had to choose Between those shoes and the shoes I have Used hard Mountain distance then I think It would be closer it'd be closer than It would be with the original rocket X Um with with the rock X2 compared to Those other shoes that I probably would Favor now that I've used kind of more Recently but I do think this is a massive Improvement On the Um rocket X in terms of being a better Shoe for Going the Distance and having That paper basement so I think it really Kind of made is really what changes it Here but I really like the upper as well I think the one thing I mentioned about The upper it's tough to get in Um I would definitely wear your thinnest Socks in these I mean I generally would Do for racing anyway but I did have to Play around with the socks during my Kind of training runs to make sure I got

Something that kind of really made the Most of this kind of really thin upper As well but Overall I kind of you know when I was struggling I've kind of enjoyed running in this Shoe um in that race Um I do think potentially it is one I Would look to to running a half marathon Again again when I would I'd be fully Fit as well would I pick it over the Other options I've used previously more Recently when I've kind of been running My quickest not 100 kind of convinced on That front yet but I definitely do think This is a step in the right direction For Hawker in terms of their shoes in Terms of what they do in the midsole and Still retaining all the things I think You got from the rocket X as well in Terms of being something you'd want to Run kind of quick in and you know Feeling like it's a nice shoe to run Quick into Okay to other stuff that I was testing I Think the other big thing really was for Me was the Beats Studio buds plus so I Haven't used the original Beats Studio But I have used the kind of Beats Power Beats have you more recently the Beats Fit Pro these sit below those headphones So these are actually a cheap Alternative now a bit like the Apple Airpods Pro they're not specifically

Designed for runners But ultimately Gives you a kind of a level of design That makes them suitable to you know for Everyday kind of use and also you know With an ipx for rated design with their Earbuds not their case Um there's some protection or similar Protection in terms of kind of moisture And kind of sweat and things like that So first thing I wanted to see for me is Whether they were going to stay put From that point of view they did but it Almost feels like a lot of the Headphones I've tested or earbuds I've Tested where you don't have those kind Of more reassuring wing tips or kind of Ear hooks that you kind of think about It a little bit more Um and I do think you maybe need to play Around with the ear tips that are Included in the Box to make sure You can improve that fear and Jeremy it Was fine for me there's a couple of Times where maybe they kind of move Slightly they didn't ever felt like they Were falling out but uh again you know If you have to think about a little bit Probably it's not the best thing now From a Sound Performance point of view I Was using them in kind of a transparency Mode Um as opposed to the active noise Cancellation mode which I've kind of Been using day to day in Germany my

Other runs it's not the best in class Ultimately but I wanted the transparency Mode to see how you know I want to hear The kind of crowd and you know also have A bit of my music as well at that point Of view the sound profile is very very Good it's very bright you know it's not It's kind of you know powerful without Being too bass heavy there's some good Detail Um it's kind of quite clear the audio is Very clear And for me the sound profile and Sound Performance in general was very good at On that race it never felt like it was Totally drowned out even though I had The in the kind of transparency mode Um from a connectivity point of view Um so I had it paired to my iPhone 14 Which I had I ran with Um and I think there was probably one Point where the connection kind of Slightly was a slight glitching maybe Dropped a little bit for a couple of Seconds I think it was kind of right After I kind of poured maybe a cup of Water over my head so I don't know if that's those two things Are connected but after that it was Absolutely fine from a kind of connect Connectivity point of view and the other Thing I really wanted to look at was Battery life and from that point of view I saw the battery drop by 40 I had it

Really relatively loud not fully kind of Top volume but That's you know not necessarily too bad Kind of what I would expect to see in Terms of that battery drop off it's Gonna obviously be a lot worse so you Have active noise cancellation and Playing you know before I do my full Review I want to see how a little bit Better how the noise canceling kind of Impacts on that battery life so yeah it Made it through That kind of uh half marathon uh but Again as I said I think sound quality Felt Goods I think the fit felt okay but I was almost you know maybe hoping that Or wanting those kind of more reassuring Rear kind of ear hooks or wing tips to Kind of make sure that fit was good but They stayed put sound was good battery Life lasted as well so so far so good They lasted they survived they're going To half marathon test before I do my Full review and I do a few more rounds Before kind of hitting my verdict on That other things really I had that I Was testing or trying out I had the Latest say ski uh singular I've run in Safety singlets before Um I've bought Um quite a few I mean when I'm not Running any run testers saw vest I fancy The change today I quite like the mint Kind of new colorway so I gave that a

Try absolutely fine in terms of the fit In terms of Kind of no no nothing in terms of Chafing it felt comfortable it looks Good Um it's still a vessel you know one of The brands that I would still race or Choose to race in if I were wasn't using A kind of own run testers one so from That point of view it past the kind of Race test for me as well I will be using It again particularly if it's a little Bit hotter I'm kind of gonna sweat a Little bit more so That the point of view yeah absolutely Fine in terms of testing and yeah those Were kind of the main things I was Testing at the Hackney half marathon Okay so let's talk a little bit about The race itself and this was the first Time I have done the Hackney half and um I think the first thing I say is it took Me quite a while to get there it's a Little bit out of the way it's not the Easiest place to get to I had to get a Couple of trains a bus I had to walk a Little bit of the journey as well so I Think one thing I would say is keep in Mind how you're going to get there if You are going to do the Hackney off and Really think about your travel Arrangements In terms of the setup at the event the Event Village is great I mean I think

You know there was lots to do there was Lots of stands Um And people kind of hang around a lot of People uh there just to kind of watch And View and I think that was a really That was the thing that really stood out For me in terms of the race itself now I Don't think it's the most scenic race You know there's not a massive amount to See around Hackney you know compared to Some other areas in London I would say Um the course itself like a lot of London courses a little bit kind of Twisty and turny so that's something to Keep in mind you know you are going to Be I mean ultimately to get that kind of Distance covered in that area it had to Be like that Um the main thing is it was so well Supported and that really surprised me I Think I've been spoke to some of the race Organizers that is a race I think is Probably one of one of the biggest in The kind of London kind of london-based Races in terms of application and Entrance uh as particularly this year so That's you know that's a massive thing And it definitely was a younger crowd And I think that's really important You're seeing younger Runners a good mix In terms of the kind of uh diversity in Terms of the age range and it just felt

Like a nice event to be at and I think You know although I didn't absolutely Love the route itself in terms of what You can see and kind of distract Yourself particularly when I need that Distraction Um I think it more than made up in terms of The support that you got around the Course and all of the pretty much all of The course and the route as well the Race itself yeah it was tough it was Hotter there and I expected I thought it Was gonna be hotter nearer you know kind Of more near the end of the race It Started Hot at the beginning of the race It was tough but the kind of a stations Were well good situation and positioned And supported Um So from that point of view I kind of Have no real complaint so yeah as I said Uh really well supported not Particularly the most scenic crew Um quite a lot of twists and turns Generally because it's a you know what You get in a London uh kind of race uh In general but a nice really kind of uh Good event Village set up I think make Sure that you set off early and you know You work out how you're going to get to Hackney Marshalls because it's not that Straightforward uh and yeah I think like If you're worried about going there and

Supporting or not and not expecting There to be a lot of people there was a Lot of people there and I think it's Only going to grow as an event and again It's a good mix of people and a good mix Of Runners and I think that's really Important and that's the thing that I Took away from that race Um apart from the fact that it was so Well supported and it was surprised by The amount of people that turned up and Kind of went and shouted up everyone Everyone's name maybe within you know Didn't even know but that was I think a Real positive from my experience of Running the Hackney half Okay so there have it that is my Hackney Half 2023 race test of the Hawker rocket X2 the Beats Studio buds plus uh and the Safe ski singlet which is now in the Washing machine because it is very very Sweaty Um now hopefully you enjoyed the video Thanks so much to Hawker for the race Entry thanks to the people who gave me Some shout outs out on the course when I Was really bloody struggling out there In those toasty conditions Um as always like And subscribe hit that Little bell to find out about latest Videos and yeah we'll see the next round Test this video Foreign