Essential kit for your first ultra marathon

Essential kit for your first ultra marathon

So you’ve chosen the perfect race, signed up for your first ultra, and started clocking up the miles on your ultra marathon training plan. But you’re bewildered by all the ultra marathon kit options out there. Fear not, we’ve asked elite ultra runner Carla Molinaro to share her tips from her. If it’s good enough for a runner who holds the World Record for running from Land’s End to John O’Groats, it should do the trick for the rest of us.

Mandatory ultra marathon kit lists

First up, before you go any further, you should consult the race instructions for your goal race. Most ultra marathons will have a mandatory kit list and will perform kit checks before the race starts. if you don’t have all the items listed, you won’t be allowed to run. This is for your own safety, so don’t get caught out.

What’s on the list will vary from race to race depending on the terrain, the weather they’re expecting and what part of the world you’ll be racing. You can expect items such as a fully-charged mobile phone, a foil blanket and a minimum amount of water.

Carla Molinaro’s ultra marathon kit

hydration vest
If you are only going to get one piece of kit then it’s a hydration pack. It will let you store your snacks, hydration and mandatory kit in it. Aim to get one around the 10 liter mark. My favorite one is the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta as it is a female specific design and fits really nicely.

anti chafe cream
This is an absolute must to stop chafing! I use Squirell’s Nut Butter. And I lather my feet in Happie Toes before any long runs to keep blister away.

running poles
If you are doing a hilly 50km, then poles are great to take a bit of pressure off your legs and help you power up the hills. I prefer to have folding ones that I can stash in a running belt/in my running vest when I don’t need them.

I suggest practicing running with them when you have put them away to make sure they don’t bounce all over the place. If they do bounce, tailor your pack by adding some extra elastic to hold them firmly in place.

trail shoes
You’ll want a pair of trail running shoes with good grip, but most importantly a pair that are comfortable. Try them on in the shop but make sure that they feel comfortable enough to wear for five hours or more. I use the HOKA Speedgoats for runnable terrain and the HOKA Mafate Speed ​​4 if I need a bit more grip and the course is more technical.

Head Torch
If any of your race is going to be in the dark, then you will need a head torch. Get one with at least 400 lumens to help light the way.

Ready to run? Here’s our guide to building up to an ultra marathon.

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