We often receive questions about why we have a mandatory gear list for each of our events, and why specific items are included on it. This page is dedicated to explaining the reason for the inclusion of each item. No compromise will be taken in ensuring the safety of runners at our events. We prefer to run trails with the mininum amount of necessary equipment, however the items we list as mandatory equipment may save your life if you are caught out in bad conditions, become lost, disorientated or injured during an ultra distance event. Never underestimate how quickly conditions may deteriorate or change away from forecast.
There are many options regards kit for fulfilling these requirements and those of other events. We stock what we believe to be the best options at our online store available by clicking here under the Mandatory Gear Section. Please ask us if you have any questions.
The expectation is that a race gear list requires you to pack and carry a big heavy rucksack. This is very far from the case. For tips on how to pack, what gear to look at and how to fit everything you need in to less than 3 litres worth of space please see this video from James at Centurion Running.
Your mobile phone can be used to call Race HQ or the Medical Team in case of emergency away from an aid station involving you, or another runner. It allows us to guide you to safety and it allows us to locate you more quickly and easily. Our races take place in the South East UK where phone reception is widespread and often good even on more remote trails.
Head Lamp or Primary Light Source
If the event you are running in will involve running after sunset for any competitor in the field, then a headlamp/ primary light source will be included as mandatory equipment. Running at night requires light for safe negotiation of terain, improved navigation and can be used as a beacon for runners in distress easing location of their whereabouts by race staff or search and rescue teams. Faster runners may finish well before sunset in shorter events, however all runners must carry the same equipment to ensure parity/ fairness. It is also impossible to tell how a race may go for any individual, with many taking longer than expected, or getting lost and requiring additional time to cover the distance involving unplanned night time running.
Back Up Light Source NOT Spare Batteries
Your secondary lamp must be a minimum of 25 lumens. Quite simply if your bulb goes in your primary lamp, no amount of batteries will allow you to rectify that issue. A spare lamp is there to prevent running in total darkness if the bulb goes or the primary lamp malfunctions. Carrying spare batteries is an extremely worthwhile exercise in addition.
Route Map & Compass
Our courses are marked by national trail waymarkers and our own additional course markings. Course markings can be either vandalised or removed. Having a map and compass provides you, the runner, a source for getting back on course should course markings be removed/ vandalised or should you find yourself off course due to a navigational error on your part. We strongly advise all runners to ensure knowledge of navigation using map and compass prior to taking part in ultra distance trail events.
If you suffer an injury and are unable to proceed in poor or low visibility conditions, the whistle may facilitate your being located vastly more quickly than without one. It isn't necessary to use any distress call, simply blowing the whistle may dramatically reduce the time it takes race staff or search and rescue teams to find you.
Waterproof With Sealed Seams
A waterproof is essential kit on the trails in all but the warmest summer months in the UK, and when running at night at any time of the year. Rainfall is common year round, runners who are caught out and become wet through suffer reduced core temperatures, leading to a slowing in pace and the beginning of a viscious circle which can lead very quickly to hypothermia. Jackets without sealed seams, will not keep you dry. Wherever a waterpoof jacket is listed as mandatory, sealed seams are essential. The fabric should also be verified waterproof and NOT wind or shower proof. The same criteria exist where water proof trousers are listed. The minimum water resistance of a jacket should be 10,000mm.
If you have a jacket that is less than that level of water resistance or is shower / wind proof only, it will NOT pass kit check. Please don't tell us that you've 'been training in it all winter and it's been fine'. The conditions in the dark, wet and wind at hour 5-29 on your 50 or 100 mile race when you are moving very much more slowly and are much more heavily fatigued than you have ever reached in training, catch people out every time we hold an event. It may be that you are a mountain leader with Himalayan experience, or a first timer - the rules have to remain the same for everyone.
Bottles or Bladder with caacity for 1 litre of liquid
Our aid stations are frequent, the longest distance being 12 miles between two points, the shortest just over 3 miles. 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.
Warm Hat & Gloves
Body heat is lost most rapidly through the head. A hat will ensure runners stay warm for longer. Aside from providing warmth and a means of retaining heat, gloves faciliate the use of fingers for dealing with changes of clothes or operation of other survical equipment for longer.
This must be a separate layer to that which you start the race in, even if you are wearing two tops on the start line. This layer should be kept dry and used only in an emergency.
Many of the above items are available for purchase in our store. They are also all widely available at any number of good online and bricks and mortar retail outlets.