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Gear Check – Sarah Morton

What’s in my TRAIL RUNNING bag?

My trail running kit bag is probably as extensive as most of my climbing and mountaineering kit bags – contrary to popular belief, you need a hell of a lot of kit to go trail running in Scotland – most of the trails and hills are remote, rugged and challenging. In addition to that, you just have no idea what the weather is going to throw at you – one minute you could be basking in the sun, next, you’re covered in snow!

I have two kit bags for trail running – a 10L trail running back pack for longer runs and a racepack, that goes round my waist, for runs up to 20k or a couple of hours – both have a Breo Bag Buddy attached to them – it’s such a handy, light-weight time keeper, I never go for a run without it.

1. Trail shoes – quite aggressive at first sight, the soles of these little gems are like chunky mountain bike tyres – they’ll go over pretty much anything, but are a complete nightmare on tarmac! I only use Salomon running shoes – they support my feet so well, I’ve virtually eliminated footwear-related injuries.

2. Warm Tights – my Adidas Climawarms are the cats tuxedo, hot and cool in all the right places, plus weather proof patches to keep out the wind and rain. I sometimes wear compression tights or shorts under them if my muscles feel like they need a bit of support, but generally the Climawarms are so versatile I don’t need anything else, and of course, I don’t want to overheat.

3. Tech T-Shirt – during the summer I was wearing a lot of the Ortovox merino t-shirts, but now it’s gotten a little cooler I’m totally hooked on the Adidas Terrex tech t-shirts – amazing fit, the fabric works with your body to regulate temperature and the feels like second skin. There’s a saying in the outdoors world; “cotton is rotten”, and it’s so true – I would never wear cotton clothing, especially when it makes the difference between life and death in a colder than cold situation!

4. Softshell/windproof layer – Scotland has got to be the windiest place I’ve ever lived! Once of the great things about hill running is reaching a summit and watching the clouds blow past! However, it’s cold – very, very cold – my Adidas Terrex Windstopper looks amazing, fits like a glove and keeps every whisper of a wind chill out.

5. Insulated Layer – quite often I just use my insulated layer for warming up and keeping me warm after my run, sometimes though, I need it for the duration. My North Face Thermoball is perfect because it’s super light, super warm, and packs down really small.

6. Waterproof Shell – standard for anyone in Scotland, I never leave home without one. There are lots of running specific waterproof shells, but I like my Patagonia Torrentshell, which is super light and packs really small – I use it for everything from walking to the corner shop to skiing.

Sarah Morton gear  check - equipment

7. Waterproof Socks – it took me a while to come round to the idea of waterproof socks, but they are a real gem of a find especially in Scotland at this time of year – hills are more like steep swamps, and my feet end up completely saturated – a few years ago, I wouldn’t have cared about this sort of thing, but a little older, and wiser, I’m keen to preserve my feet and these are definitely a trail running wardrobe staple these days.

8. Running Fuel – for long trail runs the key is to eat and drink when you feel that you need it – there’s as many dangers associated with over-fuelling, as with under-fuelling. However, trail running in Scotland can be a pretty remote affair – it’s not like in the Alps where there are lots of water troughs, or like in England, where there’s a corner shop on every hillside. I always bring more than I’m likely to need – lots of gels, energy bars and water.

9. Headband – it gets so cold and windy on the hills at this time of year, I couldn’t possibly consider trail running without something on my head, I’d be constantly battling colds – merino is perfect, it’s so cozy but doesn’t irritate my skin.

10. Sunglasses – even when it’s cold, wet and windy, there is still a lot of sunshine in Scotland – the light on the hills during Autumn is one of the most amazing sights and of course, the glare off the snow in winter can be intense – I absolutely love my Breo Downhill Ice sunglasses, they fit perfectly and are so light, I don’t even know I am wearing them.

11. Watch – its so easy to get caught up on the trails and forget all concept of time, I never leave for a run without my watch – I’ve had my Breo Orb Ten since I started working with Breo and it really is the ultimate trail running watch – big face with digital numbers, records lap times, and is water resistant – it’s perfect.

12. Neck Gaiter – I don’t always wear a neck gaiter, but I generally always carry one, it’s really useful for protecting my face when it gets very cold or starts snowing – my Breo one is a great colour, light-weight and versatile.

13. Weatherproof Gloves – I hate having cold hands, and I’ve seen myself get into a real state of panic when they start to get so cold that numbness and tingling sets in. I have lots of options depending on the weather and temperature, and sometimes I use a layering system. My Sealskinz gloves are the ones I wear most often – windproof, waterproof, fleece lined and grippy palms.

14. Headtorch – I’m still searching for the perfect trail running headtorch, but this one from Silva is what I’m using at the moment – it’s light and small, but I’ll need something with a stronger beam when it gets darker earlier and I’m running on trails in pitch black!

15. iPhone – I’m a complete Strava addict and love recording my routes, I also get to run trails in some of the most amazing parts of the world, so a camera is an must-have – my iPhone serves both purposes.

16. Navigation – I love remote, rugged, challenging routes where I have to make my own path, clamber over walls and under fallen trees – I am sensible enough to plot a rough route before I set off on a trail run, but if it’s a new route or an area I’m not familiar with, I always bring a map and compass.

I don’t always carry all of this, but it’s a pretty standard race kit list and obligatory for anything over 15k during the Autumn/Winter season.



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