I can never really understand people who fall hook-line-and-sinker for “brands” and expensive gear. Sure, you can spend what you like, and there is kit available for all budgets.
I admit to getting a buzz out of finding gear that is “good enough” and which is cheap as hell. Why? Because running for me is about the challenge and not about spending £100+ on a pair of running shoes.
Why you should read this…..
1) If you LOVE brands and having the latest, most expensive gear but want to see if you can go cold turkey – this will give you some real world cheap alternatives that do the job – tried and tested on a 100 mile ultra in the South of England.
2) If every pound matters to you and think running is stupidly expensive, and that you think you can’t do an ultra unless you can afford a £200 running vest or collapsible soft water flasks from Salomon.
3) If you already eschew the Stereotypical head to toe Salomon clad “all the gear and no idea” ultrarunner then also read on and let me know what other kit you use – and tell me what you think of my choices.
I did the South Downs Way 100 miler organised by Centurion Running in 2015. It was a marvellous run – and my first ever 100 miler. I finished in 29 hours 10 minutes after 13,000 ft of ascent and 100 miles, 20 of which in the middle of the night I stumbled along cursing my feet and my stomach, and my stupidity. And then the cloud lifted and I finished the job.
Anyway, here you go…..
Top to toe…..
- Decathlon Saharienne Hat – because it keeps the sun off and helps create a breeze
- Buff – an Enduralife one which I brought solely to protect my head from my headtorch
- Lenser H7.2 Headtorch – because it is really bright
- Emergency backup headtorch – Petzl – E-lite – it is tiny and only weighs 26g
- Decathlon Kalenji trail backpack – with a 1 litre water bladder. Just big enough.
- Montane Minimus Waterproof jacket – because it is breathable and light.
- Nike Dri-fit zip long-sleeved tech top (because it fits the mandatory requirements)
- Maidstone Harriers running t-shirt – because I like to represent my club
- Decathlon sleeves – because they turn any t-shirt into a long sleeved top
- More Mile Shorts – because they are cheap and are reasonably well made
- More Mile Compression tights – because i think they help – and my legs look great!
- More Mile Long Compression Socks – because my head says they help
- Decathlon Kalenji Kapteran Discover Trail shoes – decent cushioning and cheap
I also took:
- Harveys Map (great for point to point events – only what you need, and waterproof
- Compass – just a cheapo one
- Garmin Etrex 20 – because I like to know where I am
- Garmin Forerunner 305 watch – (but only when it is charged up)
- Gels – going to avoid them in the future – took them just in case I needed a wake up shot
- Pro-Plus caffeine tablets – to stay awake during the night
- Spare batteries – I swear by the Energizer Lithium Extreme
- Haribo Star Mix – because I love something sweet sometimes
- Racedrone app – running on my smartphone – because it’s great for friends to see me
- Blister plasters – because blisters are inevitable
- Ordinary plasters – just in case I needed them
- Bumbag – to stow stuff I needed to have good access to
What I would take in the future
- Cashew Nuts – because it was the only thing I could eat after 71 miles
- Tray bake flapjacks – because I had some delicious ones at the Rave aidstation.
- Trekking Poles – because they work – despite my hatred of people who use them.