Some reviews and notes on what worked and what didn’t, for my future self and other runners.
We did this race earlier this year: my race report is here.
The official required kit list has a very handy photo guide: invaluable.
Rab eVent Bergen Waterproof Trousers
A bit on the expensive side, but well worth the money.
These aren’t flexible, but have plenty of extra knee space so weren’t a hindrance when scrambling or running.
Huge side zips, meant I put them on half way up Ben Mor without taking my shoes off, or having to sit down.
Completely waterproof. Some water leaked in the top from my not-waterproof jacket, and plenty got in the bottom from wading through icy rivers, otherwise my legs were toasty and dry. This makes a massive difference, both physically and mentally.
I bought this for skiing, and it was great. Light enough to fit a couple of layers underneath, and really flexible.
However it didn’t stand up to the deluge on Mull, and I was decidedly damp underneath. In hindsight this would’ve been perfect in light rain (Jura) as it seems to be more breathable than goretex.
This has had numerous outings, and remains my favourite. It’s more like a tent than a coat, and I’ve never had a problem with rain getting in. Sweat getting out is a problem though, the goretex hasn’t a chance when you’re working hard and it’s lashing with rain. It does have side vents which help a lot.
A pair each for Mull and Arran. I saved one till near the end of the race as they help you warm up quickly once back on the boat. Should have brought an extra pair for the final leg to Troon but by that stage I was so knackered I would have slept in a puddle.
Decathlon winter running leggings
Ancient, full of holes, a nightmare to get off but still crazy warm. Sadly I think they went out of production years ago, I keep looking in vain for new ones.
Wicking running t-shirts x3
These are your bog standard technical running tops. The kit list describes them as thermal, which I’ve never seen before. Can something can be thermal and wicking at the same time?
Usually I wear one of these under a t shirt for running to/from work in the winter, and they’re great for that. If you’re not moving very quickly though, and you’re wet, they don’t retain that much heat. I was cold on Mull…
I bought a couple of these for skiing and sailing, and they’re truly amazing. Even when wet you’re nice and warm (as long as something keeps the wind off). Foolishly I wore this on Jura and sweated buckets.
Zero chafing of ones nether regions, say no more.
Not really up to the job, but it helped a bit. Useless after Mull as I had no way of drying it out.
The sizing is a bit mean, and the medium only just (with a lot of persuasion) covers my ears. Actually waterproof though and was a huge help on Arran. Its wind proof too which is great, I’m going to buy a large one and put it in the “kit for extremes” bag.
Easy to get on and off, and seem to be waterproof, as long as you remember to tuck them into your jacket so rain doesn’t run down your arms and fill them up (which happened on the spine challenger)
Some random fleecey gloves
Almost useless in the wet, had to continually wring them out. Fine for popping to the pub when you’re feeling a bit feeble but that’s about it.
This would have been handy on Jura to soak up the sweat caused by my badly chosen top if I hadn’t get it soaked on Mull.
I snagged these in a Pete bland end of season sale ages ago, my second pair. Easily the best fell running shoes I’ve used. Loads of grip on slippery rocks, enough mesh to let water out but sufficient protection for scrambling up and down scree fields. A lot of people take road shoes for the Mull tarmac section (I did last year), but we decided to save the time and not bother this time.
You just can’t go wrong with these, reasonably priced and they keep your feet sort of warm even if they’ve been soaked in cold water (after a bit of movement anyway). I bought them years ago just before the start of the Borrowdale fell race, the weather took a turn for the worse and I realised that I really didn’t have the right kit!
This has served me well over the years. Being able to focus the beam is really handy for looking ahead for landmarks, and the dimmable feature helps to conserve batteries. The battery pack is on your head though, which means it gets cold. I had brand new batteries and they only lasted a few hours, luckily I had…
…this spare torch, never used before. I bought it for the CCC after my maglite was deemed to be dangerous. It did the trick nicely, and the strobe mode came in very handy when we were trying to get back on the boat (even if it did make me feel sick).
Flexible, waterproof and a good size, nothing not to be happy with.
An impulsive purchase and used solely for commuting until now. Comfortable and plenty of space, a bit heavy though and no accessible pockets meant I had to take it off to get at water and food. Should really have known better.
You spend a lot of time being wet and cold, an essential bit of kit (normal plasters do the job too).
First aid kit
We took the absolute minimum, which seemed plenty. Make sure you have exactly what’s on the kit list though, the checks are understandably thorough.
Probably the best option for something light but that might actually save your life if you needed it. Would not fancy mucking around with a sleeping bag and thin survival sheet in a gale on the side of some wet mountain.
Spot the strava addict. Seriously though, I changed the settings and used it as an altimeter. It didn’t match the map but was consistently off so did its job. Angus had a dedicated one which could be reset to the actual height, which meant less mental arithmetic, leaving mine in feet mode didn’t help the grey matter either (given elevation is metric these days).
I love this watch, being able to upload results via Bluetooth gives instant gratification.
Eye mask and ear plugs
It’s hard enough to sleep on a boat when you’ve got a bellyful of whisky and it’s not moving. Crashing along with a crew clattering around changing sails, making tea and all the other essential but noisy elements of sailing under strong winds in the dark, make any shut eye for the runners decidedly elusive.
Sailing Waterproofs (Musto MPX Offshore) & Wellies
I’ve had these for years and use them often on sailing races and cruses, for this particular outing I think I only wore them once, on the last leg over to Troon. Glad I did though as everything else was damp and smelly by that point.
A must if you’re going to have any chance of not falling by the wayside. We were lucky enough to have such nice sailors that they’d prepared something for us to eat as soon as we got under sail post run. Failing this anything that can be prepared quickly would do the trick, perhaps dehydrated adventure food. Whatever you do, avoid spending any length of time preparing food below decks, I know of at least one person who succumbed to seasickness doing this which wiped out his energy and therefore race.
That’s about it, hopefully this’ll be useful for others, and at any rate it should help me pack a bit better for the next time!