Runners, with one week to go we would like to highlight the importance of the obligatory equipment.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.”
I have just attended an event that was hit by severe wind and rain for the full 5 day duration of the event.
Most competitors managed their own safety well, but a few had poor equipment for the conditions or did not know how to manage their own safety in the mountains. This gave the organisers a huge problem in order to manage the race and avoid any injury to competitors. We therefore feel it appropriate to highlight the obligatory equipment requirements for the UTMR and help clarify requirements.
Clothing, and in particular waterproofs, are the difference between a successful race or a potentially dangerous situation for the racers and organisation. As the UTMR is in the high mountains it is important to make sure the clothing layers are suitable.
Your outer layer must be FULLY WATERPROOF AND BREATHABLE WITH TAPED SEAMS TO COVER THE FULL BODY.
This is obligatory for very good reason so please do not turn up to this race without these important items. These items are carried in case you or a fellow competitor injures themselves and cannot seek shelter. The safety team need to know you can stay safe while they attempt a rescue.
A good layering system allows competitors the best chance to manage their own safety on the mountains and reduce the risk of injury or death from hypothermia. A key skill of an ultra runner is to master their environment and an important part of this is to manage their clothing systems. If it rains then competitors and their clothing will get wet, a good waterproof will delay this far longer. Sweat that is not wicked away from the skin from climbing uphill can quickly cool and put the competitor in danger at higher altitudes, so cotton is not allowed as a layering material.
A good base layer that dries quickly and removes moisture away from the skin is the most important but least expensive item of clothing in the system.
An insulating layer that dries quickly and does not absorb moisture will extend the extreme level of conditions you can stay safe in. A fleece for good weather forecasts or a thicker insulating layer for bad weather would be ideal.
Finally the waterproof breathable layer allows it all to work. Without a good waterproofness rating the moisture will force its way in under rucksacks and zips, particularly in strong winds. Without a good breathability rating the moisture that manages to get into the jacket or your own sweat with stay there and increase the speed of hypothermia.
A plastic type jacket is waterproof but not breathable, and a windproof is breathable but not waterproof.
Both these forms of shell are dangerous in protecting the athlete in the high mountains. At equipment check we will be looking at the quality of your waterproof, and insuring they have fully taped seams. Without a tape on the seams they are not classed as waterproof.
Remember a windproof is not appropriate for this event even if it has passed other ultra equipment checks as we hear this excuse regularly. If you are unsure, please contact the manufacturer of your waterproofs, or send us an email.
Make sure you check this before arriving at registration for UTMR as we do not want you to have an additional unnecessary expense.
There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.
Good luck and may the sun shine on all of us (oh and don’t forget sun cream!)