Asics Fuzex Packable Jacket
A great option to pop on pre- and post-race, this lightweight, stylish jacket even folds up into its own pocket. The sizing is quite generous but the payoff is that it doesn’t ride up your lower back as you run. At £65, it’s a sizeable investment for something so lightweight and minimal. However, some useful features such as vent panels and an adjustable hood, not to mention its shimmering look, distinguish it from many of its competitors.
Odlo Yokto Shirt
Any self-respecting marathon top needs to be as lightweight and chafe-resistant as possible. Odlo’s Yokto Shirt is both, offering an all-over warp-knit design – tiny holes dotted across the top to create air flow – for maximum breathability and coolness. It’s probably not going to win a style award any time soon, but it is a high-performance bit of kit, perfect for a distance where comfort is king.
Tribesports is a relatively new brand, but its commitment to quality sportswear at affordable prices is refreshing. These shorts are incredibly light, offering a barely-there feel, and they also come with a useful zipped pocket – easily big enough for a gel or two. They’re short enough to be unrestrictive, but long enough to preserve some dignity, and the mesh-woven inner boxer brief is as breathable as you like.
Vibram Fivefingers V-Toes
They might look a little ridiculous, but Vibram Fivefingers’ individual toe socks are much more than a novelty item. By preventing your toes from scrunching up, they promote effective toe-off – particularly beneficial to the mid/forefoot runner, and that sub-section of society intent on running a marathon in a pair of Vibram Fivefingers. MR experienced no blisters wearing these, and recommends them toe-heartedly.
The original TomTom running watch lacks a heart-rate monitor, but for an accurate GPS watch that’s less than £100 there’s no better option. The four-button control pad couldn’t be simpler to use and a wide variety of functions – distance, pace, average pace, stride length, calories burned and lap times – can all be viewed in real time. There’s also a useful ‘Race’ feature that compares your current run to previous outings.
Salomon Hydro Handset
Carrying a traditional water bottle during a race can be something of a drag. Not so with this squeezable Salomon handset. Simple but effective, this 500ml flask with a stretch carrying system is invaluable if your energy drink of choice isn’t supplied at the aid stations, or if you simply prefer to take regular on-the-run sips. Weighing in at just 120g, it’s incredibly light and, best of all, the bottle compresses as you drink.
Puma CX Move 2.0 sunglasses
Sunglasses have two benefits when it comes to marathons: they keep the sun out of your eyes and they hide your tears if you get a wee bit emotional coming down the home straight. These sunnies provide a snug, bounce-free fit. The lenses come with an anti-glare coating, while the polycarbonate frames are strong but lightweight. The head-turning colour scheme may be too jazzy for some – but when it comes to sunnies, surely it’s the brighter the better.