After conveniently spraining my ankle a couple of weeks ago and having to delay the start of my 3 Peaks Run, fine-tuning my kit list and preparation was one way to prevent going stir crazy. And even that only offered mild relief.
Originally I had planned an entirely self-supported attempt, but given the injury and watching a myriad of incredible ultra-running feats over the summer, I realised this was biting off more than I can chew. Two friends (Richard and Paul) have kindly offered some road support for days 1-3 and days 4-6 which should get me through the most challenging terrain and reduce the weight I’m carrying. Still, I won’t have a dedicated support vehicle and will still be using B&B’s, hostels and other accommodation en-route.
I can’t confess to being an ultra-running expert but my kit has been put to the test over the last few months, and quite a lot of it too. My impatience creates an unfair expectation for it to work straight out of the bag/box and any frustrations are therefore likely to be my fault rather than the kit itself.
So I wanted to share what I will be wearing and carrying throughout the 440 mile journey. Inevitably this list will adapt and change as I go to accommodate the vagaries of the UK climate.
- Inov-8 Parkclaw 275 – I had recurring issues with tendonitis in my feet and Achilles until switching back to the Parkclaw. With my training half on hard-pack trail and grass; half on tarmac; they strike the balance between comfort on the road, and enough grip for the mountain trails. For rougher training runs in the fells I switched to Inov-8 Ultra Talons 260. I also wear custom orthotics.
- Inov-8 All Terrain Low Ankle socks – reliably blister-proof and fit my wide feet well.
- Rab Momentum Pull-on jacket – windproof layer and nicely breathable too
- Rab Sonic SS baselayer tee
- Rab Sonic LS baselayer tee
- Rab Power-grid Pull-on – a spare warm layer for Scotland
- Rab Pacer Waterproof jacket – conveniently hi-vis for running on dark roads or poor visibility. On my last challenge I paid the price for a lightweight waterproof that leaked like a chocolate teapot. Even Scotland won’t be a match for this new one. Oh dear, I’ve jinxed it now…
- Inov-8 Mens 8” shorts
- Inov-8 Race Pants – ultra-light waterproof pants in case it’s really chucking down or for some wind protection
- Inov-8 Race Elite tights – a spare warm layer for the mountains
- Inov-8 All Terrain gloves
- OS GetOutside Buff – neck scarf/headband, but this one is exclusive for Ordnance Survey Get Outside champions… sorry 😉
- OMM Classic Pack 25 litre – the guys at OMM kindly sent this recent revamp of their classic pack to try out. Very few packs I’ve found have the capacity I need without bouncing and excess faff. Helpfully bright green for on the road, too!
- Petzl Headtorch: I won this after 3rd place at a night-time trail 10km a few years ago. The guy in 2nd place was in a mankini. Fortunately my other headtorch wasn’t very good…
- OMM 2 litre hydration bladder – fairly big to carry enough for sections where I’m potentially over 30 miles away from a re-supply in hot weather.
- OMM 1.6 litre water bottle – I’m not a fan of carrying these on the front, but it fits nicely on the side of the pack and the twist caps are brilliant for minimal spillage on the go.
- Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves – these things are the sore bees knees!
Ultra-running is often described as an ‘eating contest with a bit of running’. This doesn’t bode well when you’ve battled an eating disorder and all the unhelpful thought patterns that come with it. Over the last few months I’ve had to challenge this. But having too much choice or being brought unexpected stuff en-route is still very stressful. I’ve been testing out certain foods on-the-go to make sure my stomach agrees. This will involve stuff like bagels, Soreen, oatcakes, Trail mix, caramelised nuts, sandwiches, and granola bars, with a big meal in the evenings. I’m a pescatarian so fish and chips will be a welcome staple along with my usual black coffee and porridge in the mornings.
I’ll mostly be using real foods, topped up with Mountain Fuel Sports Jellies and the Feel Good Bar (natural flapjacks) and Precision Hydration isotonic tablets, plus a sachet of Mountain Fuel Recovery Fuel after completing each run. I also take turmeric capsules daily to reduce inflammation, multi-vitamins, calcium and glucosamine.
And most importantly… a bottle of Smidge repellent!
- Tracker – provided by OpenTracking which you’ll be able to follow here>
- Mobile phone – on my last challenge I regretted not having a proper camera with me to do justice to the scenery, but this one has a 20MP camera and is water-resistant.
- Trekz Aftershokz Bluetooth headphones – sometimes running on your own for a long time does get boring. I have an eclectic taste for rock, punk rock, and trance. You don’t want to know…
A bucket load of faith and generosity:
One thing that has really kept me accountable and focused the last few months has been the support I’ve received from my followers and sponsors. Rest assured this isn’t just the generic ‘thank you’ message. To get sponsorship in the midst of a pandemic and impending recession is incredibly humbling, and reassuring recognition for the importance of mental health support.
At the time of writing, my current fundraising total is £3,781 – with another £250 pledged if successful. THANKS to you all!
Thanks to the ongoing support of Westgrove Group who have covered my costs for the challenge, allowing 100% of funds raised to support Mind Over Mountains.
A big thanks to: Thomson Hayton Winkley – leading, multiple award-winning estate agents, provider of solicitors and legal, and financial services based in South Cumbria.
Nicholas Associates Group – a market leading group of recruitment companies who are specialists in their fields, supporting talent from Apprentice to Boardroom.
Alertacall – based in Windermere and Warrington, who bring contact to life through technology to improve daily contact, designed to keep people independent and drive meaningful outcomes.
Awesome Walls – a family of awesome indoor climbing walls in Stockport, Liverpool, Cork, Stoke, Dublin and Sheffield.
The Untamed Entrepreneur – Jim Hughes provides coaching and events for high-performers and entrepreneurs to reach their potential and find their playground. I’ve worked with Jim personally and always been inspired by his zest for development!
If you’d like to support Mind Over Mountains and help us reach the £10,000 target, please visit here>
Every £1 will make the miles count. Thank you!