The barn doors are almost shut and for the most part, training should be done, bar the standard pointless last run to keep the legs ticking over, taking care not to trip over any twigs and pull a hammy… like I almost did the other day.
So now, most people will turn their attention to another great talking point of UTA, the mandatory gear list. Make no mistake, safety on the trails is paramount and we’ve written about this countless times. People need to be careful out there and make sure they’re fully prepared for any eventuality. With some predicted rainfall headed our way too for race weekend, this makes potential survival in the wilderness even more paramount.
But over and above the standard gear list, we’ve pulled together some final thoughts as to what you might want to consider taking with you on top of that for the race this weekend. Now these are not mandatory of course, but as the saying goes, ‘You never know. Better to be safe than sorry!”
The Kitchen Sink
This is a particular favourite of mine for UTA and I take it with me every year. Given the delectable delights on offer (and we all know that running 100kms is about eating as much food as you can!), then the kitchen sink offers the convenience of being able to wash up your mess and maintain the ‘leave no trace’ mantra that is absolutely vital when running in the bush.
The beauty of the the kitchen sink is that you can also get water from the tap too, should you find yourself in strife and out of water mid-checkpoint. Although you’ll need to find a creek to hook it up to, however I can thoroughly recommend Jamieson Creek if you’re down in the valley for that hint of dead wombat taste.
If you’ve done any training on the course, you’ll know for the most part, standard phone signal is about as reliable as my predictions for who’s going to win the damn race. This is a massive cause for concern for the majority of runners who feel the incessant need to take selfies mid-race and post them to Instagram for that instant gratification from all their mates proclaiming how ‘mad’ they are. These are serious first world problems here people, so seriously consider a satellite phone out there, afterall, you’ve dropped the best part of $3k on race entry, accommodation and gear – what’s an extra $500 on a new phone when you can Instagram to your heart’s content?
This one is a beauty for when you’re feeling a bit tired and the legs hurt. I know, I’ve been there on the top of Mount Solitary and booked my personal chauffeur to come and get me at Narrowneck after I felt a bit tired on one training run.
The beauty of UTA is that it’s so accessible by fire trails, which makes getting cabs down to where you might want to pull out pretty easy. BUT, word of warning, your cabbie’s going to need some access to the roads and they can only do that if they have a pass, preferably a media pass, which means going to a briefing on Thursday night. This might rack the costs up a little, but it’s so worth it if things get a little tough out there and you need a nice warm cab to head back to your spa in.
Solar powered water heaters
You know that time when you’re running on the trails and you just fancy a nice sit down and there’s no way to heat up your deluxe Lindt drinking chocolate mix? We’ll fear ye not, if you remember to whack some solar powered water heaters on your backpack, use your kitchen sink for water (see, I told you it would come in handy!), then your worries are solved in an instant. Another tip: You might not want to use your bladder or drinking bottles for the chocolate as things could get messy in there, so I’d also recommend the highly impractical Charles and Diana commemorative mug too.
Waterproof toilet paper
Now, everyone knows that during the race will come a time of need. A time when having consumed the Lindt drinking chocolate and caviar, the bowels could make a murmur or two. Waterproof toilet paper is essential, particularly for this weekend and the predicted wet weather. The beauty is that being waterproof, it also doubles up as an ideal way for you to write down your excuses and reasons as to why you DNF’ed too. Value for money ideas here.
Backpack indicator lights
These are new to the market, but I can thoroughly recommend them to those who again, put safety ahead of performance. As we know, UTA has thousands of runners on the course at any one time, which makes overtaking on the trail particularly hazardous. Well, with these new innovations you can clearly state your intentions to runners as you approach them, passing by them without incident. I hear that for version two, a cowbell will be integrated into the system too.
That concludes our essential kit list for UTA, we hope you seriously consider some of these items for your race and best of luck!
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