Are you taking part in Spitfire Scramble this weekend and frantically doing last-minute packing? Or maybe you’re doing a 24 hour relay race later on in the year and are wondering what to pack.
I took part in my first ever 24 hour relay last year and it was a lot of fun. I also learned a lot about what to pack, what NOT to pack and what you need to be prepared for.
Prepare for the weather
You can’t trust British weather. And you can’t always trust weather forecasts. Pack sun cream, but also pack a light waterproof. Both blazing sunshine and pissing rain are likely in the middle of a British summer. And make sure you take plenty of clothes that can be layered. The daytime might be hot, but it can get really cold at night. I lay awake all night last year at Spitfire Scramble on day 2 as I was just so cold and I couldn’t stop shivering. A hot water bottle, or at least a hand warmer will make you feel much better!
Oh, the wonder of bin bags! Use them as a makeshift waterproof if the rain comes, rip them open and sit on them if the ground is soggy from rain or morning dew, use them to patch up your tent if things go wrong (obviously don’t cover it in bin liners!), or use them as an extra groundsheet if your tent has a “porch”. I’ve never worked out why the groundsheet of tent porches is always just a loose piece of material – the ground always ends up slightly exposed, the sheet moves and it gets stuck to shoes. You can also use them to keep your shoes dry overnight.
Torches and headlamps (plus batteries)
You WILL need a headlamp for the night runs. And test it out beforehand to make sure that the light source is good enough. You’ll want a torch as well. Trust me, you don’t want to be tripping over tent ropes on the way to portable toilets in the middle of the night. And that brings me to…
Toilet roll and hand sanitiser
Portable toilets can be gruesome at the best of times. If you need it in the middle of the night, it’s bad enough there been no light, it’s even worse with no toilet roll. Do yourself a favour and take a roll with you. It goes without saying what the hand sanitiser is for.
Spare running shoes
If you have a spare pair of running shoes, take them with you. You may not need them. You may just appreciate a change of shoes if you run a lot of miles over the weekend and your feet get blistered. But it’s good to be prepared, the weather can be unpredictable, courses can get muddy – do you really want to run for an hour, then rest for a few hours, just to put some soggy shoes back on? Nah, thought not.
Portable phone charger
You can’t charge your phone on a campsite! So take a fully charged portable charger and USB cord so you can keep your phone charged. And try to go easy on Tweeting – having a phone is important for safety and getting in touch with your team mates if necessary.
It goes without saying to make sure you have adequate food and water for the weekend, and to make sure you have suitable clothing! But hopefully these tips will help with any last-minute packing decisions. Good luck.