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Racing
May 29, 2018

What to Pack for a Trail Relay Race

oiselle running hannah calvert

Birdmachine Colorado is gearing up to kick off our first trail relay race of the Podium Project series on Friday, June 8th. This team is no stranger to the trails, with the average team age being 54, these fast women have years of trail running experience under their belt. Team captain, Lisa breaks down their complete list of trail relay essentials.


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This will be our team’s third year participating in a trail relay, and we’ve finally got this thing figured out! That said, you can never be too prepared. So, here's our list to ensure nothing is forgotten! I recommend packing the majority of your stuff in a duffel bag but also brining a smaller bag that can be used for your stinky clothes.

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  • Gallons of water to stay hydrated, and for washing up
  • Small table
  • Cooking stove to make tea/coffee
  • Cooler with ice
  • Hot and cold containers for drinking
  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • Down blanket or throw for runners who have just finished a middle of the night leg
  • Headlamp for each runner, for walking around at night
  • Lantern
  • Cot or foam pads
  • Unique decorative lights for tents (so you can easily find your team/campsite at night)
  • Several tents; two for sleeping, one for changing, and one for “hanging out”  
  • Camp chairs
  • Trash bag
  • Paper towels

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  • For the night legs you will need a headlamp and/or a small handheld flashlight. (make sure the team has a couple of extras, and extra batteries)
  • Handheld water (optional). We carry a bottle on our legs if temperatures are really hot... but typically we don't carry anything. The distance of each loop doesn’t justify the extra weight.

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  • Hat for sun (Runner Trucker is great because it can also be stowed away when it's no longer needed)
  • Sunglasses
  • Reflective vest for night runs
  • Down jacket, gloves, hat, warm shoes, It gets downright cold at night, especially at 8,000 feet!
  • Recovery shoes/Flip flops
  • Compression socks or sleeves
  • Rain gear, cause you never know
  • At least two pairs of trail running shoes
  • Set of running clothes for each lap, with some extra options to accommodate changing temps (shorts, capris, tights; several layers for top--short sleeve, long sleeve (one thin like the Mile One Pullover, and one warm like the Wazzie Wool Base Layer, vest, light running jacket; earband/hat and light gloves)
  • Relaxation clothes for warm day-time temps and cold night-time temps. Plus, if you get the luxury of sleeping for a few hours and want to feel cozy)
  • Swimsuit. That’s right...there’s a pool and hot tub located at the race headquarters.  Some of us can’t get enough and love to swim laps after we’re done with the relay race!

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  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant!
  • Baby wipes
  • Toothbrush, paste
  • Small towel
  • First aid kit (though the Ragnar race organizers provide excellent first aid tents where you can get band-aids, antihistamines, ace wraps, etc.)
  • Anti-chafing cream
  • Blister repair. Yep, they happen!
  • Feminine products
  • Kleenex or toilet paper
  • Contact solution
  • More baby wipes

TrailRelayBlog_Header6.jpg(we bring one or two and share)

  • Yoga mat
  • Race guide and runner legs/distances
  • Foam roller
  • Ball/rolling stick
  • Phone charger (solar chargers are nice; the race will also have a charging station)
  • Bags for stinky clothes to keep your changing tent organized
  • Camera/phone
  • Headphones
  • Cowbells - because we need more COWBELL! (but not during quiet hours, cause we want to be good camping neighbors)
  • GPS Running Watch
  • KT Tape
  • EARPLUGS!!!!!!  
  • Bug spray
  • Sharpie

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Trail races do an amazing job keeping their runners well nourished, maybe too much. One must be careful not to indulge excessively on the late night s’mores around the bonfire! They also have a great dinner set up and breakfast too.  

  • We each bring our own food, which we know will agree with our stomachs... and we bring stuff to share
  • Drinks (Pellegrino!)
  • Salty snacks such as chips, dried seaweed, veggie snacks, almonds, or anything nutty
  • Sweet snacks; chocolate!
  • For the cooler; hummus, turkey, cheese, salsa, guacamole
  • Fruit
  • Protein drinks for post run
  • Coffee/tea/cream
  • Snack bars

Some extras you could go without...

  • Books. Nobody ever reads at a Ragnar. Too much activity happening.
  • A bad attitude. One must stay positive! The highs and lows will come, but avoid the lows.
  • Boom box. Don’t get me wrong, we love music and to get our groove on, but we want to be neighborly and nobody wants to hear somebody else's music!

Any items we forgot? Share your relay must-haves in the comments below!

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