Compulsory Race Gear
Your safety is the number 1 reason for this list, however much the event organisers and you would love to run through nature without a pack of random items on your back, but these items may save your life if you are caught out in bad conditions, become lost, disorientated or injured during an ultra distance event.
What are Mandatory Kit List items?
WHY/WHAT MANDATORY GEAR?
We often receive questions about why events have a mandatory kit list for their events.
Your safety is the number 1 reason for this list, however much the event organises and you would love to run through nature without a pack of random items on your back, but these items may save your life if you are caught out in bad conditions, become lost, disorientated or injured during an ultra distance event.
It can never be underestimated how quickly conditions may deteriorate or change away from forecast, especially where we are based in Wales, with our own micro climate!!
That said, the expectation, especially in your first ultra marathon, is that a mandatory kit list will require you to pack and carry a big heavy rucksack. This isn't necessarily the case.
Items you will likely need to include:
Mobile Phone - You will need this to call Race HQ/Director or to get hold of the Medical Team in case of emergency and you're too far from an aid station.
Head Torch - and secondary light source.
If the event you are running in will involve night time running for any competitor in the field, then a headlamp/ primary light source will be included as a compulsory item.
The torch on a phone is generally not accepted as a primary or secondary light source.
Your secondary light source must normally be a minimum of 25 lumens. Spare batteries doesn't cut it, as if the bulb was to break in your primary head torch, spare batteries are not gong to help you.
Route Map, GPS device & Compass
Each event will differ so be sure to check the race list, but some races will allow you to use your GPS watch for the race, other won't. Some will only let you enter if you can read a map and use a compass to navigate.
Imagine getting injured or lost in a race, and the fog comes down, visibility is poor and you don't know which way to turn. Having a whistle to alert other participants, or emergency services can dramatically improve the time to be found. A lot of race packs, such as Salomon now come with an attached whistle.
Waterproof Clothing With Sealed Seams
Waterproof jackets and trousers are essential kit on the trails in the UK. It may well be sunny and warm during the day, but you never know as you climb mountains how the weather will change further up, and also, how ever believed the weather guys! If you're caught in rainfall and become wet through your core temperature will reduce, which will lead to a slowing in pace, and the beginning of a vicious circle which can lead quickly to hypothermia.
Your jacket / coat will need to have sealed seams, otherwise it WILL NOT keep you dry.
Sealed seams are essential if a waterproof is on your mandatory list. It needs to be verified waterproof and NOT wind or shower proof. The same goes if waterproof trousers are listed. The minimum water resistance of a jacket should be 10,000mm.
Bottles or a Bladder with a certain litre capacity
It is necessary to carry water between aid stations in order to ensure runners can manage their hydration both under regular conditions but particularly if they become lost, injured or disorientated resulting in vastly increased time taken to cover the distance between two water points. More and more runners tend to get their carbohydrate in liquid form by adding a mixture to their water, so not only will you be lacking water without these items, you could also potentially be out of calories and carbohydrates!
Warm Hat & Gloves
The extremities is where most of the heat escapes the body; hands, feet and head. Keep your head warm with a hat, keep your hands warm with gloves and we all know the importance of a good sock. If your hands are cold, then changing clothes, trying to unwrap foil blankets, emergency medical supplies, open food etc becomes a challenge when you really don't need one.
A separate layer that you have stored in your pack that you are not wearing at the start of the race, even if you have 5 layers on! Keep it dry and use only in an emergency.
With the push to reduce single use plastic waste, some race organisers are no longer providing bottles or plastics of water, so pick yourself up a reusable cup and clip it to your pack.