Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultramarathon – Gear.

Get the right tools for the job.

Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultramarathon – Gear.

Get the right tools for the job.

Springtime in Scotland can throw an impressive array of weather at you (sometimes all in one day!). As such there is a mandatory kit list for the G2E. ALL competitors must carry these items. You should tailor your kit to your current ability – i.e. if you’re going to be out on the course after dark you’ll definitely need a warm layer and strong headtorch.

Remember – no one plans to pick up an injury so your mandatory kit is a starting point, not everything you carry.

Spot checks will be carried out at registration – failure to carry your mandatory kit will result in time penalties or disqualification depending on the missing item(s). This list is for everyone’s safety.

Mandatory kit list.

N

Waterproof jacket

N

Water bottle/hydration system

N

Head torch (with spare batteries)

N

Mobile phone

N

Space blanket

Recommended kit.

N

Hat

N

Watch

N

Snacks and energy food

N

Gloves

N

Backpack/Bumbag

N

OS Landranger maps 64, 65, 66 (or OS Explorer maps covering the same area)

N

Spare clothing

N

Basic medical kit containing antiseptic cream, plasters etc.

N

Compass

Footwear.

The course is largely compacted stone and earth, though there are extended sections of tarmac, paving and cobbles. The tarmac sections have increased in length over the last few years but there are still a few areas of potentially difficult terrain.

If it’s been raining a lot in the lead up to the race then small sections can get quite boggy, particularly late in the race between CP4 and CP5. The canal towpaths have seen regular maintenance and upgrading over the last few years, so an aggressive trail shoe is not really recommended. You may appreciate a shoe with a bit more grip than a road runner – ideally a good all rounder. The course is also mostly flat and fast – you’ll really appreciate a shoe with a bit of cushioning when you encounter the 200-300m section of cobbles in the home straight. Look for multi terrain/door to trail shoes if you’re looking for an all rounder. Remember however that as always the best shoe is the one that fits well!

Salomon XT Wings S-Lab 4 Trail Running Shoe – Superb, lightweight competition shoe designed for multi-terrain use.

Headtorches.

All runners must carry a torch as part of their mandatory gear; there are a number of reasons for this – there is a long unlit tunnel just after Falkirk, you cannot always predict when you will pick up an injury and the Scottish weather can change suddenly. The mandatory gear list is there for everyone’s safety.

That said you may wish to tailor your choice of headtorch to your speed.

Those runners who are likely to take more than 11 hours to finish and will therefore be out on the course after dark (sunset will be 7:51pm) will definitely need a strong headtorch, capable of putting out a decent lumen count (i.e. quite bright). There are several top end models for those with cash to invest, such as the Petzl Nao with an automatic light sensor and a maximum static output of 315 lumens or the well thought out Silva Runner (550 lumens). For those where budget is more of a concern, models such as the Silva Trail Runner Plus are a good choice (80 lumens).

Experienced ultra runners who can (barring injury) be reasonably certain of finishing well before sunset may consider weight to be their primary concern. The narrow course also means that a wide beam is also not strictly necessary for those who will run exclusively in daylight. The Petzl Tikka or Petzl E+lite may be good lightweight options. The Petzl E+lite weighs only 27g and can easily be wrapped around a wrist for swift deployment. It does however only generate 26 lumens and is not suitable for those likely to be out in the dark for any sustained period.

As always with gear, it’s a matter of horses for courses and most runners will already have some form of headtorch. However, if you’re in the market for some new shiny gear then the above options are all good kit from well respected manufacturers; it’s just a matter of choosing a model that is appropriate for you for this race.

Needless to say that whilst a dim, narrow beam superlight model might suffice for the quickest of runners on the G2E, it will be of only limited use on night time trails or a mountain marathon. If you don’t have lots of cash and storage space to spare then you may just opt for a good all-rounder; a torch you will get the most year-round use out of. Unless you go for the sartorial statement of a davy lamp (with optional canary) there are many comparatively lightweight modern torches designed for active use – comfort and fiddliness are likely to be of most concern; weight distribution (e.g. battery pack location) of more relevance than outright weight

Outer layer.

An outer layer is part of the mandatory kitlist for the G2E. Depending on the weather and your race strategy you may opt for a super lightweight windshirt or opt for a more robust weatherproof or waterproof layer. On a wet, windy day the benefits of carrying a proper waterproof are not to be underestimated. If you are wet and cold you will burn large amounts of energy trying to keep warm which will impact on your ability to perform and will put you at risk of hypothermia. On a dry day something like a Rab Cirrus windshirt (c.70g and from £25 if you shop around) can be a good option – it packs down small, is breathable and takes the sting out of the wind; however, it’s not waterproof and if the weather turns you’ll regret not having spent a bit more on something more robust.

With the recent advances in breathability (e.g. GoreTex, Neoshell, Event) a proper shell no longer means ‘boil in the bag’. There is a long running debate on the relative values of waterproofing (see here if you’re feeling nerdy and for more on waterproofing versus weatherproofing). The array of options means it’s worth doing some research before parting with your hard-earned cash. Questions to ask yourself include – what will I use it for most of the time (if cycling you may want a longer back, for use in the hills or with a pack you may look for more hard-wearing materials, etc.), do I want a hood (in Scotland – yes!), do I run hot/cold (look for venting options such as a long zip or the most breathable materials), is waterproofing or breathability my key concern (invariably a compromise), what’s my budget (you do get what you pay for but there’s no point spending £££s if you’ll only use it one or two days a year), and most importantly, does it come in a colour I like 😉

Overheating can be very annoying but at least you have the option of taking the layer off; hypothermia will end your race. Personally, I carry an OMM Kamleika smock stuffed away in the top of my pack or rolled through a gear loop for easy access. It’s not heavy enough to really burden you if it’s not needed, but you’ll be mighty glad to have it along when the heavens open.

A few options to get you started:

OMM Kamleika Race Smock
A soft, stretchy, water- and wind-proof smock from Original Mountain Marathon. Running trousers also available for when the elements are at their worst.

Montane Minimus Jacket
Pertex Shield wind-resistant construction gives good breathability and waterproof performance whilst weighing in at just 220g (size large).

Inov-8 Raceshell 220 Jacket
Waterproof jacket with taped seams and stretch nylon ripstop outer. As with the OMM Kamleika, the Raceshell features a roll up hood and thumb loops. Solid piece of kit.

Berghaus Vapourlight Hypertherm Race Smock
Wear it one way round for wind proofing and the other for better cooling and breathability. 156g in size large.

Packs.

As with all your kit you should be used to running with your pack well in advance of race day. A bad pack can ruin your day, and that niggling chafe after two miles can turn into a raw blister by the time you reach mile 30. You may want to use wide zinc oxide tape to protect your shoulders, neck or lower back but remember race day is not the time to try this out for the first time. Your pack choice may be determined by your other gear options – if you’re carrying a large waterproof, a spelunker’s headtorch (with canary), spare socks, a couple of rounds of sandwiches, etc then you’re going to struggle to squeeze everything into that sleek looking 4L racer’s pack. Better to choose something that fits comfortably and that can be easily adjusted than overstuffing a small pack that will chafe and be off balance.

That said if you have made savvy gear choices and practice packing you may find that you can get away with a lightweight, ergonomic hydration pack or bumbag – just remember to consider how you’ll carry your water as it’s a long way between checkpoints.

A few options to get you started:

Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab 5 Set
Another great, well thought-out bit of kit from Salomon. A body-hugging hydration pack with lots of useful features – including an underarm hydration system. Very lightweight and breathable, and can fit water bottles, snacks, trekking poles and extra layers (though only with careful packing!). Long term durability (and cost) may be a factor, but this is a great pack if you’re serious about your running (and you are, you know you are!). A 12 litre version is available for those looking for a bit more capacity. I really love the Salomon S-Lab 5 but it’s pretty pricey and I constantly worry about breaking the little clips (but still haven’t after years of abuse).

Inov8 H2O Bladder and Race Pro 4 Pack
An ergonomically designed, large capacity bumbag with a horizontal bladder. A good piece of kit, though can droop a bit when full.

CamelBak Ultra LR 2012 Vest
Lightweight hydration vest with a lumbar reservoir. As with the S-Lab there’s limited but innovative cargo space. The big bite valve on the reservoir makes for high volume flow though some may find the lumbar reservoir takes some getting used to.

CONNECT WITH US ON SOCIAL MEDIA.