Runners have always had several brands to choose from, and a surfeit of product releases every year. But the aesthetic is usually the same: brights or blacks, with fairly prominent branding. While Iffley Road kit does come in black, the other options include damson or sky-blue, with the logo in the same colour...
A new addition is the long-sleeved jersey, made in a merino-wool piqué. I’ve long been a convert to merino for cycling: wool retains heat when wet better than any other material, making it great for long distances in the saddle. But I would have thought it would be too heavy for running.
“We found this merino at the end of a long day at [industry fabric show] Premier Vision in Paris,” remembers Byrne. “It was being shown by an Italian company that specialises in suitings, but we ordered a few metres to try it out and it performed very well.”
We prove the point as we up the pace for the final stretch to Sheen Gate, both wearing the long-sleeved tops – mine in Damson, Bill’s in Black. With the neck unzipped, air flows freely. But zip it up and loop your thumbs through the fold-down cuffs, and the wool retains much-needed body heat.