I know you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and the people behind this product did send me one of their mats to test, a mat which otherwise would have knocked me back £25…Twenty Five whole bloody pounds, I almost choked on my dinner last night when I heard the recommended retail price, although on the website today I noticed the price had been amended to £19.95, but even so I can think of better things to spend a score on.

For those of you who don’t know what the hell I am talking about the RunningMat is a fitness product which featured on last nights Dragons Den TV show on BBC 2 in the UK. I must admit it was a perfect pitch by fitness instructor Donna Kerr-Foley, who also runs ladies-only boot camps in the North East called No Lippy Bootcamps, but the male Dragons saw right through it and were bang on when they said that she had created her own problem and then found a solution to it with her product.

The Running Mat is being marketed as a Portable Outdoor Exercise Mat ideal for Personal Trainers, Boot Camps, Fitness Camps, Runners and Hikers wanting to add more to their training or outdoor activities. It has been sitting on my desk looking at me for well over a week since it arrived in the post. With most of the products I am sent I cant wait to get out and test them, but I must admit with this one I just couldn’t really see the point as I knew I would hate it.

But after seeing yesterdays programme and being absolutely flabbergasted that Deborah Meaden and Kelly Hoppeninvested 50K of their own money in this product, I figured I’d better see if I was missing something – I wasn’t.

IMG_1855I put on the belted mat and I just felt a bit like a wally, but went out for my early evening run anyway. The mat was uncomfortable regardless of how I wore it, at the front, back or side, and the minute I started running it started riding up to just under my boobs. I gave up pulling it down and just tried to ignore it, which was quite hard as it chaffed my arm (which is a new area for chaffing even for me). It was only a short run along the high street, along the canal to 3 mills green where I unclipped and unrolled the mat to get down to my core exercises.


The mat provides no padding at all so it didn’t feel any different from lying on the grass, something I have no issue with doing anyway…even if it is a little damp, it kind of adds to the hardcore attitude I have to exercise (yeah right), also the other problem I have which is perhaps unique to me…is I am too wide and too long for the mat. I couldn’t work out what the point of the silver bit of the mat or which side I should lie on. Pointless…that is the word I would use to describe this product.

Which is why I am astounded that they not only backed it financially but are pushing it with ridiculous coverage in the press, an article in the Express even shows Kelly Hoppen roping in Olympic runner Kelly Holmes into the backing of the product. I would bet my life savings on the fact that even Kelly is sniggering at the product secretly, surely someone who knows what proper training is about must feel a little silly promoting this nonsense.

So just in case you was in any doubt about my opinions on this product I just thought I would finish off by looking at who this product is supposed to be aimed at and just how ridiculous it is from these points of view too

  • Personal Trainers and their clients – any Personal Trainer worth their weight would not waste time fafing with this contraption every time they want their client to get down and give them 20. And if their client was serious about using one of these mats in their session I would hope the trainer would give them a stern talking to and remind them why they are going to a personal trainer in the first place.
  • Boot Camp and Fitness Camp Instructors – I have done 6 week-long bootcamps, and a range of other fitness retreats, firstly the instructors of the ones I went to would not buy these, they showed us how you didn’t need fancy kit to get fit and part of the fun of these camps was getting mucky in the mud or the sand, in fact at one of my bootcamps (the one that made me cry) I dread to think what the army style instructors would say if I turned up in one of these. Besides the quality of the product means I couldn’t see it lasting more than one season with a group, and who would get the job of cleaning them?
  • Bootcamp and Fitness Camp Participants – If you are at a bootcamp the last thing you should be worrying about is dirty clothes or a damp bottom, you should be focusing on getting your moneys worth (as they ain’t cheap) and working hard so that you see fantastic results at the end of the week.
  • Runners – I’m not even going to respond to this one
  • Hikers – I’m not a hiker, but when I have gone on hikes in the past at bootcamps or when I went travelling in South East Asia I wanted to travel light and having to have this restrictive padded thing around my waist all day just so I could have a waterproof mat to sit on for a quick snack break would just get on my nerves.

I don’t enjoy giving bad reviews, and I am all for supporting female entrepreneurs, particularly with fitness related products, but for goodness sake what a waste of energy and resources. Give me that 50K and I would do something far more inspiring (I’m not telling you what though but watch this space) so Deborah and Kelly, and/or any of the other dragons in fact, get in touch if you have another 50 grand hanging around.

Oh and finally just as I got home I took the belt off and this happened.



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