After the recent Spartan Race World Championships in Killington, Vermont I had the opportunity to catch up with the top 3 finishers and ask them a few questions. Of that I made sure to find out what gear they were wearing and how each piece was chosen and mattered to them. Read on for what Jon Albon, Ryan Atkins, and Cody Moat wore on their way to the podium (Warning, link heavy post):
Top: I wore the inov-8 Base Elite™ 150 Merino LS – a long sleeve tight fitting marino wool shirt. I chose to wear the marino wool base layer because I was concerned about being cold. It didn’t hinder me too much and retains very little water whilst keeping you warm. As the race got underway I didn’t feel cold at all and the water was no where near as bad as previous races in the UK, I’m not sure if it was necessary but it didn’t hurt.
Bottom: As usual I wore my Race Elite™ 140 Trail Short, a no fuss lightweight short that retains little water and has space for gels in the rear pocket.
Under my shorts I wore Compressort Compression Trail Underwear Short. These compression shorts retain very little water whilst providing compression. The shorts also have gripppy patches to aid the use of hands on thighs when powering up steep climbs.
Feet: As for most obstacle races I wore my Inov-8 x-talon 212’s these have unrivaled grip, are lightweight, retain next to no water and are very endurable- most importantly they are comfy as hell though. I put on a new pair for the race and with no breaking in whatsoever they fitted like a glove and didn’t give me one blister. I also taped my laces to stop them coming undone – a trick learnt from orienteering.
And for socks I wore the Inov-8 Race Ultra™ Mid sock. Retains no water and really comfortable even if grit gets in the shoe.
Additional Gear: I have my Dryrobe for post race warming up and changing in. These are amazing pieces of kit and essential for any but the hottest of OCR races. However, even on summer day it allows you to change with ease without flashing anyone your modesties.
My pack was the Inov-8 Race Ultra 1. This minimalist waste pouch sits really tight to your body so you forget you are wearing it. I used one of the inov-8 ergonomic bottles allowing me to carry 500ml (16.9 oz.) of water and filled the other pouch with my energy gels.
And as part of my breakfast I had a Clif Bar and ate some of the Clif Builder’s Bars post race for recovery. The sustained energy from the Clif Bar at breakfast helped power me through the race and the protein post race went a long way for recovery.
Top: I wore a Salomon Men’s Start Tee. It has a zipper in the front (no longer available to purchase), to vent a bit better, and the shirt gave me a little protection from any abrasion on obstacles.
Additional Gear: I ran with Roctane energy gels, and clif shot bloks for food. No pack or water of any sort. I knew there would be lots of water on the course. And I didn’t want a pack getting caught in any barbed wire!
Top: My shirt was a black compression shirt that Spartan gave all it’s elite athletes. I liked it because it kept me warm early in the morning then later in the day it stayed slightly damp, thus keeping me cool.
Bottom: My shorts were the same, compression bottoms from Spartan. I don’t really have a good reason why I wear these other than they feel good and look like a uniform. I guess they also keep me warmer than regular running shorts. Then they stay damp like the shirt keeping me cool throughout the race.
Feet: I wore the Inov-8 X-talon 190’s, I really like these shoes because they have incredible traction and are very light. I have never seen a shoes with that good of traction and still be that light.
Additional Gear: I wore an Inov-8 fanny pack, it is very similar to the Inov-8 Race Ultra 1 but it is mesh (previous model to Ultra 1). I really like using this pack because it was mesh thus retaining no water. It also holds two bottles and has a pocket for whatever else I might need. I chose to only take 1 bottle and fill the other pocket with my nutrition.
Additional Thoughts: Underwear and socks don’t really matter much to me. Half the time I throw my socks away after a race because they are so dirty.
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