Ultra Trail Australia 2018 UTA50 – Sarah Connor


2018 was the year that I wanted to make it to the start line fit and un-injured. 

I managed that bit quite well. 

During the race however, was a different matter.

Training began for the race with Andy DuBois of Mile 27 Coaching and Kathy Widjaja of Aequilibrium about 5 months ago.  Andy looked after the running side and Kathy is my strength (and coordination!) trainer. 

These 2 people, plus visiting my wonderful chiropractor Dr Adrienne Leahy at Spine and Health Crows Nest, were my A team.  My mantra whilst training was 7 hours, 50k. I wanted to get a finish time starting with a 7. 

I did most of the hills and stairs on my own. The long runs I did with my running wife Julie and the Summit Sisters to keep me company. Cass and I did Friday morning training and put the world in order most Friday mornings over coffee after the run. 

All was well and I managed to race a few shorter distances as part of my training – Knapsack 3 hours, Mt Portal 17k and Jabulani 22k. 

They day before the race dawned bright and sunny, so packed up the car and drove to Katoomba.  

Adam was up there already doing media work for UTA as well as volunteering for check in on the Friday night. 

We checked into the hotel and I started to get ready for the race. It was then that I discovered I had forgotten to pack any running socks. In fact any socks except the ones I was wearing and a pair of thick socks for after the race. 

Sped back to the expo and thanks to Find Your Feet, found a pair that was close to what I liked. 

Saturday morning started at 4.14am when my body decided that it had had enough sleep … 

Adam left around 530am and I decided to go up to the start about 645am. I’m not very good at the start of big races. Too many people, and too much emotion. I managed quite well this year to ignore the anxiety and got to my start time of 731am, cold but ok.   It was lovely to see the Summit Sisters Cheer Squad and many others at the start line – thanks to everyone for your kind words and help, as Adam was not around due to media commitments. 

Kerry Suter counted us down to the 731am start time – and we were off. This year, the RD Tom had alternating wave of the 100k racers and 50k racers and it definitely helped keep the congestion down to a minimum. In fact, I really only noticed at the 18k mark coming down to Lillian’s Bridge and back up the Nature Trail. 

The first 6k is on the road and you swing back past the finish line and there are lots of supporters there – this bit is cool.  There were heaps of people I knew and the ladies that I was running with said “ We need to change our names to Sarah, you know so many people! “  I was a bit embarrassed but very proud of all the friendships I have made over the years of ultra running.

Towards Echo Point, I was running with Anne- Marie from Newcastle and she had not done the course, so I gave her all the important tips, like where the proper toilets are with toilet paper… it’s the small things in an ultra that make life easier.  

Andy’s instructions were to go easy through the first half, don’t smash your legs down Kedumba and power up the hills through the Jamieson valley. 

I followed this to a T.

Ran through the 17k Fairmont water point grabbed chips and checked my water and all was well. Anne-Marie stopped to tape her feet so I said good-bye and took off at my own pace. 

 Through to Conservation Hut was easy going and I was starting to feel as though I was easily going to do under 8 hours. Crossed over Wentworth Falls, up the little goat track onto the fire trail. I wanted to take a selfie at the 25k mark as proof of life. Well that did not happen. About 50m before the 25k mark, found the smallest rock on a groomed fire trail and fell flat on my face. 


All these wonderful runners stopped and made sure I was OK. I’m sorry I did not get any of their names, but thank you to everyone single one that helped me out.  There was blood dripping from my noise, I had 2 very sore knees but my head was OK and my glasses intact. I did the first aid DRABC on myself and found nothing more than pain.  I picked my self up, found my Buff to clean up my face and I was off walking within 1 – 2 mins of stacking.  Within 500 m I was running, albeit a little gingerly. 

 I ran in with Joanne and another lady to the QVH checkpoint, where I made sure that I had enough water. ate some more chips and grabbed a muesli bar, and then visited the medic, Jake. He had a feel and a good look at my nose and said it might be broken. I was so focused on finishing the race I did not even ask if it would unwise to keep running and he did not tell me to stop. He cleaned up the road rash on my knee with iodine – I was hanging onto the chair saying – this is not as bad as childbirth and the other female runners were laughing! 

I rinsed the Buff and there was a fair bit of blood in it.  I cleaned myself up a bit whilst leaving the checkpoint and then chucked it in my new Salomon pack where it stained the pack. Good thing blood comes out in cold water…. 

I called Adam on the way down Kedumba to tell him what happened – he could tell that I was OK and reminded me of shock that would hit a bit later. Then the media team wanted photos of my face – so I obliged them by taking a selfie at the 30k mark. There was no blood and they were most disappointed. So I took one of my knee instead and that was much better received. 

I RAN DOWN KEDUMBA! This is the first time in 4 UTA’s that I have been able to do this. It was never going to be fast running as per Andy’s instructions, but it was running.  

Then just as I crossed the Jamieson creek (which is 8.5k from the QVH checkpoint), shock and anxiety hit.  Oooh it was a bit nasty, but I tried to use it to my advantage and power up those hills.  Passed and chatted to an old orienteering friend, who helped me more than he will ever know (Thanks Chris!).  

Powered up those damn hills and ran down all the downhills and kept passing other runners. Normally I’m the one getting passed, so this was a new sensation.  Saw Horrie who was not having a great day, but could not stop to talk as I had a goal and I just wanted to achieve it – sorry Horrie I know it was hard for you out there. 

Got to the helicopter pad water point and almost burst into tears when Gemma (I think) was filling up my bladder asked how I was.  Managed to hold it together, grabbed more chips and ran off to conquer more hills. At this stage the anxiety was threatening to turn into nausea but I held it off. 

At the sewerage works, which is the end of the fire trail and 6 k to the finish point, I had 90 mins to get under the 8-hour mark. I hooked up with some runners who had similar ideas and ran the whole way through the Leura Forest and along the Federal pass track, I wanted to get to the Furber stairs with 30 mins to spare.  Somehow I found myself at the head of the conga line and the runners behind were really good about keeping me going. 

Got to the bottom of the Furber stairs 7 hours 35 mins. I had 25 mins to climb 951 stairs, I just kept going. Majell Blackhausen was coming down the Furber watching for the leading runners for the 100k. He was really positive about the conga line and cheered us all on. I concentrated on what he said and kept pushing up those stairs.  

Passed a guy who was not feeling well and offered him a lolly.  I did try to say that if you are gunna chuck, at least it would taste ok coming back up. Not my finest moment. 

The conga line was starting to drop off, so I yelled at them all to keep going! Not sure why.  Guess I thought I was determined for them all to finish with me! 

With about 400m to go, Mike Delgarno with Sophie Brown and another lady were cheering us all on. I got a big hug from him and all I could talk about was I had 9 mins to get to the finish.  Mike pissed himself laughing and said you have 400m to go – you will make it!! 

And then the next step, my left calf muscle cramped. I may have said out loud “fuck this I’m not going to walk the finish”. There was only 1 guy behind me at this stage and he kept me going to the point where the stairs meet the track to Scenic World. You can hear the crowd quite clearly and all the cow bells going off – its quite special .

Dave Meyer was perched on the fence and said – “Sarah – 3 stairs to go!” 

That was it. I was off, I came around the corner where the crowd can see you and there was this roar from all my friends – it was amazing.  I started to get teary, and just ran as hard as I could without the cramping, crossed the line, gracefully sat down and checked the time – I had done it – 7:56:45. 

Roger Hanney has some awesome video footage of this part. Hailey and Roger got me off the ground and Hailey walked me to Adam for a big hug over the fence where I burst into tears. Kathy found me and gave me a big hug too. Just what I needed! I was a bit speechless.  Gear check all done and then off to the lovely medics. Lucas Trihey found me going in the wrong direction and very kindly got me to the right place. The doctor checked me out and gave me instructions on what to do. Got my knee cleaned up – now that hurt more than the nose examination. Gillian got me soup and Adam made sure that I was warm.  I took this selfie as I had not seen my face since the stack and I could see why the doctor was looking at me funny…. 

And that was that. Sort of. 

Adam took me back to the hotel and fussed around me. I am a fairly independent soul, and wanted to get cleaned up and head back to the finish – Adam was not happy about that. He had another volunteering stint to do, but was concerned about me. Had another cry, a shower, and another cry and then Adam dropped me back at the finish so I could see friends, eat chips and compare war stories.  After about 2 hours, I lost the will to talk and Hailey very kindly dropped me back at the hotel. 

Got about 4 hours sleep and lot of tossing and turning – and then headed back up to the finish for my volunteering stint at UTA kids 1k. 

The UTA kids race is totally the best thing ever. They all get numbers even the littlest ones in prams. It’s such a joy to see their faces when they get a race number.  And then handing out the medals at the finish was so cool. Their faces when you put a medal around their neck, its just amazing. They all have such different reactions.  

And then after all that excitement, my brain finally gave up the ghost and I was done.  Headed home where the bruising is setting in nicely and my knees are very sore. Great NOSH in 2 weeks – that might be a struggle! 

Now the most important part – the thank you’s

Andy DuBois of Mile 27 Coaching – best training ever for a race. I even started to enjoy those Furber stairs in the race because of you!

Kathy Widjaja of Aequilibrium – all those damn squats and Turkish get ups and dead bugs plus numerous other exercises, did their job. 

Dr Adrienne Leahy of Spine and Health Crows Nest – kept my back where it should be and minimised the pain of my damn spondy L5. 

Adam and Alex  – my family who put up with exhaustion, grumpiness and all the things that come with being an ultra runner.

My running family  – Julie, my running wife, the Summit Sisters, Mel T. Leah and various others who I trained with – thank you one and all for putting up with me. Everyone who cheered , took photos, ran with me, supported me via emails, Messenger, Facebook and good old fashioned chatting on the phone – you are all the best. 

AROC – Tom and Alina – its been said before – you guys put on an awesome race – thanks for making this 50K very special. I’ll be back for volunteering duties next year as there are other races calling that are too close to UTA for me to do for a couple of years. I may do the 22k so then I can say I have done all the races!!

Gear used

Salomon ADV Skin set 3, 12L in go fast red. 

New Balance t-shirt 

Buff headband 

Buff hat 

UTA 2016 50k Buff which doubled as a hanky when the face plant occurred and it has fully recovered from its unintended use !

Patagonia arm warmers

Patagonia 9 trails shorts 

Lululemon bra 

Zensah calf guards

Hoka One One Stinston ATR 3’s 

Suunto Ambit 3 

Save our Soles socks – brand new – these were awesome. 

Food carried with me 

Promite sandwiches – eaten

Carmens museli bar – eaten 

Em’s Power bar – eaten 

GU electrolyte – put in water at 28k mark

Planes and frosty fruit lollies – ate some 

Pizza shapes – ate some 

Peanuts – did not eat these 

GU stroopwaffle – did not eat this 

Dried banana – did not eat this 

Other food/drink eaten at checkpoints



Water – filled up at 28k and 41k 

Ultra Trail Australia UTA100 Tips 2018


Probably the thing I get asked most in person is ‘what tips do you have for me?’. Now truthfully I’m not a better runner than you. Anything I’ve got to share I’ve stolen from others or gained through studying the electrons on the internet. Terror will do that to you. Some of these things might work for you, some probably won’t. Be very careful about changing your race plan because of anything I write here- you need to be comfortable with your choices, and remember ‘nothing new on race day’!

Papa’s got a brand new bag 
You should buy a bunch of blue cool bags from a supermarket- or even better get some that look different from everyone else’s . You’ll need 3- one each for checkpoint 3, 4, and 5. Each will need to be labelled clearly with your race number so the race crews can put them in order (so you can find your bag when you hit the CP). You should also try to make it look a bit DIFFERENT from all the other blue bags- tie something on to the handle, like a piece of ribbon or even another plastic bag- but MAKE THEM ALL THE SAME SORT OF DIFFERENT so you can recognise them. Inside the lid of each CP bag have a list of stuff you need to do. If you have crew, MAKE SURE they go through the list before you leave the checkpoint- in 2012 I forgot to fill my bladder before leaving CP4, meaning I ran out of water on the longest leg of the race. This was because my wife was there to help me and I hadn’t planned on her being there, so I forgot to ask her to check the list. Completely my fault and it could have been a disaster. My bag notes look something like this

Adam CP4 Bag

All that suff including the instruction sheet, goes inside the bag

The text is large so I can read in low light. I also have treats in each bag, so I’ll have a quick look inside to see if anything takes my fancy- WARNING- this did not work very well in 2013, I spent too much time looking at treats- just have one or 2 things in the bag that you would consider a treat and don’t buy the entire contents of Coles. Some of these items on the list are just guides rather than instructions- for instance there is no way I could have eaten fruit going out of CP3, but at least I got to consider it because it was on the list. Also dumping your rubbish in your drop bag will save you having to find a bin. Not a big deal, but could save you some time when you’ve completely lost your mind later in the race.

Bag Raiders
Pack a FINISH line bag. It should contain some food, warm clothes (your old trakky daks are FINE), a towel in case you get to have a shower, baby wipes in case you can’t stand the smell of your own body, deodorant, thongs or thick socks so you can take those vile shoes off, maybe some sparkling mineral water because you’re sick of soft drink, sports drink and water. Chocolate milk, first aid kit and a sick bag have all been suggested too….. Also include a couple of plastic bags to put your stinky crap in, if you’re really chatty a mobile charger or external battery so you can wake up your folks at 3am and tell them how you did. You may be too wired to sleep- hang around at Scenic World and chat to strangers like me. Don’t include anything valuable- I’ve never heard of anyone stealing stuff at this event, but it could happen one day. Stick 20 bucks in the bottom of your running pack so you can buy something at the end if you want.

Keep Warm
I thought I’d be really smart and use cycling style arm warmers for the early part of the race when it is often very cold. It’s a great theory, but didn’t work in practice because the arm warmers have some rubber at the top to keep them from slipping off, and this rubbed my arms raw. UPDATE- I used them again in 2013, and simply turned the rubber bit at the top inside out. This worked quite well and I am likely to do this again in 2014- actually this is part of my strategy every year now. Also the 2 bits of clothing you want to have in large sizes are your reflective vest, and your rain jacket. You don’t really want to have to take your pack off to put either of these on, and indeed the reflective vest MUST be visible over your pack, so make sure you haven’t got a midget version. I’m most comfortable running in a singlet, and can do this at temps down to about 10 degrees, but in 2011 the temp never got above 6 degrees even though the sun was shining. Have a plan, decide what you are going to do if it is cold and wet. My big problem is I hate having sweaty underarms, which means T- shirts are not ideal. Maybe I can wear a second singlet under my NRG top- I could use the 2010 Six Foot one, it’s about the size of a postage stamp! UPDATE- wearing 2 singlets did work well to keep my core warm. Test your clothing, you only need a tiny problem to make your clothes dig a hole into your flesh over 100km. Trust me, that’s not fun. For instance- I now know that the seam on my compression shorts will take bits of flesh out of my back after a 100km run, so I have to tuck my singlet into my shorts. It’s not a fashion parade……

I will likely wear 2 race singlets to keep my core warm and the arm warmers if it’s under 10 degrees at the start. I can pull them off and tie them to my pack easily and dump them at CP3.

2016 update- this works well and I discovered last year at the Hardcore 100 that being a little warmers does seem to help my performance. But wearing 2 singlets will depend very much on starting temperature and weather forecast.


Energy 52
Eat early and often. Don’t let your energy levels drop. On a normal run I’ll probably have my first gel at 8-12km. Race day I will be eating at 5km and about every half hour after that. But don’t eat too much- in 2012 I ate quite a bit of macaroni and cheese at CP3, then couldn’t run some of the easiest bits up towards Nellie’s Glen- that mistake cost me up to 30 minutes. In 2013 I ate the same food, but less of it and still had problems. Will try boiled eggs in 2014, they’ve been good in other races like GNW. Nope- I’ve given up on boiled eggs- not practical to carry, but I’m leaving the tips to give you ideas

2016 update– I’ve been training in a sugar depleted state quite a lot. It still isn’t easy but I’ll be eating more real food this year. Hammer Perpetuem and cheap arse muesli bars will do nicely.

Later in the race you’ll probably spend a bit of time on your own. There’s always plenty of people around, but perhaps all the people going up the stairs are too slow for you. I will have my headphones around my neck and connected at the start of the race so I don’t have to fiddle around in the dark if I want some tunes. I’ll be listening to a few trance podcasts by John ‘OO’ Fleming. These can be downloaded for free from iTunes or choose something else that you might like more. One of the reasons to choose this style of music is because it has the right cadence to keep your legs moving a bit faster than normal. Warning- the RD has instituted rules around the use of iPods, make sure you read them and comply. No iPods at all in Leg 1, See point 4 in the event rules.

Fade to Grey
If you’re feeling like crap (and you will!) you need to have the presence of mind to recognise it and take action. This is the difference between a finish and a DNF. In my limited experience you need 4 things. Look at your fingers and repeat after me ‘sugar, water, salt, caffeine’. Attach those words to your fingers in your mind. Do not forget them. When you feel bad, look at your fingers and repeat ‘sugar, water, salt, caffeine’. You need at least one of these things. Have it and you WILL feel better. Usually for me it is sugar…….at a recent run I had a coke at the halfway mark and immediately felt better and went on to finish a run that I didn’t think I could. Think about it- Coca Cola has 3 out of the 4 essential ingredients!

Spend as much time as you need in checkpoints, but no more. In 2011 I got into CP4 and told my wife I was quitting. She told me not to quit straight away. After spending nearly an hour in that CP, I felt better, got up and went out and finished. The key thing here is that I would not have finished if I’d gone straight over to the desk and quit. I wasn’t really injured, and taking that time allowed me to get back some energy. But the biggest tip I can give is GET OUT OF CP4. That’s right- if you can get out of the aquatic centre you’ve just committed to the longest unsupported leg of the race (CP5-Finish is longer but has water), once you get down the Giant Staircase there is no turning back until you get to CP5, Queen Victoria Hospital. And of course once you get to CP5 you’ve only got 22km to go… this is going to be mentally challenging but go on, do it!

Welcome to the Pleasure Dome
When you get back to Scenic World, get some warm clothes on and EAT SOMETHING. I forgot in 2012 and my wife woke up to me looking for food in my drop bags in the dark. Congratulations, you’ve just completed the Ultra Trail Australia 100, you awesome person you!

The actual running bit
(this extra stuff is from a second post last year, but it really belongs here…..)

All organised? Me too, sort of. However I’ve stolen a few more bits of running lore to share, and here they are-

I can run faster than Jane Trumper (sometimes), but why does she beat me in Ultras? Because she never stops! One thing I’ve learned very clearly is this- you can change your clothes, get food out, apply sunscreen, eat and vomit all while moving. Plenty of times I’ve been surveying all the great food at a checkpoint and Jane’s already gone. If you need an aspirin, get it out before you hit the CP, undo your pack as you cruise in, run through your mental checklist- but BE READY.


Clues you are about to hit a Check Point
CP1- at the top of the Golden Staircase you run up Narrowneck for about 1.5km into the CP
CP2- There’s a gate across the fire trail a few hundred metres before the cruel descent into CP2
CP3- You climb over a stile off Megalong Valley Rd and run through a field for a bit before hitting CP3
CP4- You exit trail and run along the road (civilisation!) before hitting CP4 (apx 2km?)
CP5- You’ll probably hit this at night, you’ll see it and hear it. You’ll be running down Kings Tableland Rd for several km and you’ll see light and a hive of activity

If you feel like stopping, run through your finger checklist- water, sugar, salt, caffeine. Usually having one or more of these will help you. Don’t slow down and feel sorry for yourself, take action!

Walk the hills- you need to run/ walk at well below your threshold. If you’re gunning for a sub 14 hour time I can’t help you because I’ve never done it!

Concentrate on your speed while walking. Jane Trumper walked up Kedumba with me in 2011 Mt Solitary race. Or I should say we started at Jamison Creek together. She walked with a purpose, I walked while feeling sorry for myself. She beat me to the top by 22 minutes over 8.5km- this can make a HUGE difference to your race.

Talk to someone. If you can push each other along, there’s no reason not to have a chat- ultra runners are very friendly people. But the moment you think you can go a bit faster, make a move- stopping to chat is now costing you time. As Nick Weinholt puts it- ‘I came here to race, not to chat!’

Dead Eyes Opened – Another Nick tip is not to look into the eyes of those who have failed for too long for fear you will be brought into their world. You can’t help the people in Medical, leave them to the experts.

Conversely, if someone needs help on the course, give it! In 2011 a guy asked me for electrical tape coming up Kedumba. What he actually wanted was blister patches, and I had heaps. It was like the best Christmas ever…….. Oh, and if you need something, ask! I ran out of water up Kedumba in 2013 and another runner donated a whole flask of sports drink. I’ll be forever grateful, and I still have no idea who that person was.

Are you injured? No? Keep going. ‘But I feel like shit’. Figure out what you need, have it and keep going. ‘My legs hurt’ Yes, well stopping now won’t make them hurt less, and they WILL carry you to the end if you ignore the pain. ‘But I still feel like shit’
Here’s a teaspoon of cement princess, now HTFU. Bernadette Benson, female winner of the 2013 Coast to Kosciuzko Ultra (yes 240km) said the thing that annoyed her the most was the medic kept coming up to her to ask how she felt ‘It’s irrelevant how I FEEL’ she said. (I’ll never be that tough!)

Repeat your mantra. You’ll see this one all over the internet, but the one I use is ‘relentless forward progress’. Just 3 words to keep you going. Repeat them, explore them, make them resonate, feel the power, keep going!

You need to run upright to make your breathing more efficient, so put your headlamp a bit further down your forehead so you don’t hunch over while running to watch the ground.

When you’re tired, concentrate on your running form. Work those arms back to front (not in front of you!) breathe a little deeper, head up, get your rhythm back.

I’ve talked a lot about how to go faster, but the key goal here is finishing. If you need to, take a break. You’ve got 28 hours to finish. Don’t stress about the time. If it will get you to the end, spend an hour or more in the checkpoint. Do what you need to do to finish. Finish Finish Finish Finish Finish Finish Finish Finish Finish Finish

That wasn’t a drop bear, you’re just hallucinating.

If you have any questions, please post them on the FaceBook page and we’ll get them answered!

Ultra Trail Australia UTA100 Non Mandatory gear 2018

Again, this is just a rehash of my 2014 list with a few updates, I hope you enjoy!

Here’s a list of a few things I’ll be carrying in the 2018 version of Ultra Trail Australia, formerly known as  The North Face 100 Australia. They’re not on the mandatory gear list, but don’t make life hard for yourself- if it will make your race easier, take it! There is a bit of a balance between going super light and risking being uncomfortable and taking extra stuff and being weighed down. There is a lot of comfort to be had by taking extra gear, but you decide. I’ll be missing my 8th crack at this race this year, but my first time I took loads of extras and it made things easier. Horses for (100km) courses!

Sunglasses- I’ll be wearing Serfas Portal sunnies, thanks to the local importer VeloVita for getting them in on time! Why wear sunglasses all day? Lots of reasons- you won’t get a headache from the sun, if you get hit in the face with a branch on the single track you won’t get an eye injury, and if you get photo chromatic lenses they’ll adjust to the available light.

Tip- I also have a second pair of these in a checkpoint bag for use at night- with clear lenses inserted. You look like a bit of a dickhead but in really cold weather it stops your eyes from streaming, and when going through bushy sections allows you to go a bit faster without needing to worry about getting hit in the face by branches. Your lizard brain wants to protect your eyes and will slow you down, you can overcome this by wearing sunglasses at night…..

2018- my wife made me go to Specsavers and I now have sunnies with prescription lenses. I wonder if this will help me to run faster? (Apparently not because I’m not running this year. Sad face)


Garmin Fenix 3

Garmin Fenix 3– how else will I know how slowly I’m running? Yes I know the Fenix 5 is out now, but right now eating takes precedence over new toys. Lots of people using Suunto each year which is also a good option.

Nipple tape– You may not need it, I do. I use 3M Micropore medical tape because it doesn’t rip my nipples off when I remove it.

Spibelt– I’ll most likely have my 2 pieces of mandatory emergency food in the pocket, and hang my race number on the front using the optional elastic toggle thingys. You can put your race number on to your shirt, but if you put a jumper on, you’ll need to move it. The race number belt is great because you can have as many costume changes as you like and not have to deal with pins……

Injinji Trail 2.0

Socks- I’ll be wearing Injinji socks. The higher versions because I’ll put anti leech stuff under the socks so the little blighters can’t get inside- this really works. Yes the Trail 2.0 are nice and comfy….. I might be wearing Teko socks if I can find a new pair. Update- I love the Teko socks, but they were seriously uninterested in sending any to Australia for me. Sad face


Before a bush run I always apply a wide area of this from below the sock line to halfway up my calves. Since starting this I have not had an uninvited guest suck my blood, but they could be just biding their time for a mass attack.
Update 2018– I no longer need this because I will be wearing the BSc calf guards below

BSc calf guards

Skins- Depends on the weather. I wear long compression tights when it’s really cold or if I’ll be running through a lot of single track- it’s a small amount of protection. I’m not really an athlete that can tell the difference in performance from compression. Most likely I’ll wear cheap compression tights from Target or Kmart (I forget which) under my running shorts, and BodyScience calf guards tucked into my socks to prevent leech entry. There is no science behind these choices, these were just the cheapest version of these things available when I needed to buy them. The compression shorts are good for preventing chaffing when my fat legs rub together.

Shorts with a pocket- my new favourite is the Kathmandu driMotion Men’s Active Shorts or the Zeolite Men’s Active Shorts. These have a built in liner and actual pockets- which is rare in running shorts. I wore the Zeolite’s during Badwater…. and love them.

I have found it really difficult to buy running shorts with enough storage for long runs, but I’ve been recommended to try these, not tried them yet but have a look at Race Ready as well


Lifeproof iPhone case

Lifeproof iPhone case

Music- I’ll use my iPhone 7 Plus which is theoretically waterproof but I may need to find some more protection. Anybody who knows me understands that my first priority is chatting to other runners, but almost every year when leaving checkpoint 4 I have been alone and loved putting on some choons as I descended the Giant Staircase.



2018 update- I have some really big bluetooth headphones that have 50 hour battery life. Very comfortable to wear and I’ll probably stash them in my cp3 or cp4 drop bag, they are from a Chinese website and branded Bluedio. Warning- these are not even close to being waterproof and they will die when exposed to rain.

Bodyglide– it’s not fun to put lube where the sun doesn’t shine- but if you don’t, it’s going to hurt bad. Insert prison joke here.



Salt Stick capsules– this is very much a personal ‘feel’ thing. In a road marathon I’d have one at 20km and one at 30km to stave off cramps. During TNF I’ll probably have a couple more- 1-2 every 10km or so. I always take a few extra, because I ALWAYS see someone on the course who needs them. You should consider what you’ll be taking for cramps! By the way- the super huge ‘this will last me for 10 years’ bottle was only slightly more expensive than the ‘3 marathon’ bottle. Colin Jeftha- ex Six Foot Track Race Director, says ‘there is no proven link between salts (electrolytes) and cramping. He’s right, but in my experience if I have salt capsules they do relieve the cramps. This is also Super Coach Andy DuBois‘ favourite thing to argue about on FaceBook. He’s right too- you don’t need salt, but I usually carry some….

Aspirin- I’m a simple bloke so a simple solution for headaches seems in order. Might be some Panadol in the first aid kit too but I’m mostly looking to follow Jane Trumpers advice and steer clear of drugs. SAY NO TO NSAIDS- they can ruin you- forever!
Unless someone lights a joint up for the Kedumba descent, then I’ll try to warm my hands on it.

Compeeds– These things are like magic on blisters and hot spots. If you get a hot spot, stop immediately and slap one of these super sticky things on, the pain will go away and you can carry on- an absolute must in your kit. DON’T buy the ‘Band Aid’ branded copies- they do not work as well. I gave one to a guy on Kedumba in 2011 and I think he would’ve named his children after me. Poor kids.

Vlad the Inhaler

Vlad the Inhaler


Ventolin inhaler – I would never have survived childhood if it wasn’t for Ventolin, and while I’ve only had one asthma attack in recent memory, cold weather can cause EIA- Exercise Induced Asthma. I’d be silly not to carry it. I forgot my Ventolin in the 2014 race and had to ask medical at CP2 for a couple of puffs. This meant they had to fill out a little form, which cost a couple of minutes. Not really a big deal but in total this would have cost me some decent time for a silly mistake. 2018 update- I have a new anti asthma drug and Ventolin no longer does anything for me- I just saved 30g!