For my first attempt at an ultramarathon my biggest concern after training was what to pack. There are some runners out there who are advocates of the “don’t-carry-anything” philosophy, while others have a “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” mentality. I tried to find a happy medium. Thankfully, I have multiple GORUCK events under my belt, and while not an ultramarathon, it did give me a better concept of what I might need for a multiple hour endurance event.
There were no drop bag locations for this race, but gear check was available at mile 15.6 (start/finish area). There were also aid stations at Mile 4, 8 and 15; again at the start/finish. The race was projected to be below freezing temperatures, but dry. My strategy was to go in with the plan of being self-sustaining, but utilize the aid stations if needed.
Let’s first start with what I wore. The temperature at the start was 27 degrees Fahrenheit with 14 mph winds and partly cloudy. Although the mid-morning was supposed to bring sunny skies, there was no expectation that it would bring even the slightest increase in temperature. I had tested out my race outfit on Thursday but with slightly warmer temps (36 degrees) and a bit faster than race pace.
- Smartwool PhD Outdoor Crew Socks
- I made a last minute switch because of the colder temps; these are slightly heavier than the Darn Toughs.
- Nike Pro Hyperwarm Tight
- Team RWB Tech Tee
- Team RWB Nike Element Half-Zip
- Throwaway Race Gloves
- Nike Running Thermafit Reversible Headband
- GORUCK Ripstop Hat (with Team RWB Patch)
- OSU Yowie
- Nike LunarGlide 6
Next I carried my Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab 5 Set Pack with 1.5L Hydration Bladder. Inside I had:
- 1.5L of Water
- Darn Tough Micro-Crew Socks
- I packed these just in case I got too warm and wanted to make the switch mid-loop.
- Peppermint Candies and Stride Gum
- 6 Clif Bars (2 each of Peanut Toffee Buzz, Sierra Trail Mix, Nuts & Seeds)
- Estimated 1 every 50-60 minutes
- 10 SaltStick Caps
- I didn’t train with these, but I normally use the Clif Bloks with extra sodium.
- Extra Safety Pins
- Aquaphor Travel Tube
- Kleenex Tissues (in a ziploc bag)
- Hand Sanitizer
Above is my finishing pack…Addie not included. I also wore my original Spibelt to carry my phone and a course map (and my iPod Shuffle with headphones).
For Gear Check, I brought my GR1.
- Nike LunarGlide 6 (Water Resistant)
- Hoka ONE ONE Challenger
- Duct Tape
- 2 Pairs of Darn Tough Micro-Crew Socks
- 1 Pair of Smartwool PhD Crew Socks
- Nike Hyperwarm Tights
- Nike Miler Long Sleeve
- 2 Pairs of Gloves
- Columbia Windbreaker/Rain Jacket
- Lululemon Race Pace 1/2 Zip
- Lululemon Swiftly Tech Tank
- Sea to Summit Bag containing:
- Pink OSU Fleece Hat
- Nike Running Headband
- 2 Clif Bars
- Baby Powder
- Body Glide
I packed the second set of clothes because I wanted to have a change in case I got wet (from weather or sweat). Everything else packed was just in case I decided to pack a pit stop between loops.
I packed my Hydration Pack with the anticipation that I would not be stopping at the Gear Check between loops (like a bag drop situation). But I did stop between loops to drop off some gear I was carrying that I no longer needed. This included the spare pair of socks (because the course wasn’t wet and I didn’t anticipate changing them during the second loop), the frozen Clif Bars (I kept one just in case), the hand sanitizer and the salt caps (I kept 3).
Since this was a winter race, I didn’t need bug spray or sunscreen. I also didn’t plan on being out past sunset so I didn’t bring my headlamp.
Future suggestions would be for an easily identifiable bag for gear check. Taking a black bag in a sea of black bags doesn’t make it easy to find. I did see some individuals bring larger duffel bags, as well as camp chairs and blankets. Some runners did gear check clear plastic containers which made it easy to find items between loops instead of digging around a bag.
On the course I saw plenty of runners who were self-sustaining with their own fuel and hydration. I also so plenty of runners carrying just one water bottle duct taped to their hands who relied on the aid stations. There really is no right-way to pack for an ultramarathon (unless the ultra has a specific gear list, but that’s a different kind of race), I learned through the training process, that I need to wear and pack what I am comfortable with. I’ll cover more of my “Lessons Learned” next.
Question: What Is One Piece Of Gear You Must Carry With You During A Race?
Comment below please!
Thanks for reading,