My trail gear… and more!

Mark Rochester lets free his inner child as he explores the glorious, yet addictive side to buying trail running kit


I am making a mental inventory of my running kit; the trail shoes, the track shoes… even the expensive barefoot shoes that are meant to make you feel as though you’re not wearing trainers. The multiple pairs of special breathable shorts, the anti-chafing gel I bought prior to purchasing the special breathable shorts because I thought I had the wrong type of legs. The GPS watch that tells you where you are, and what you’re thinking. The supplements, the energy bars, the little sachets of non-specific goo made of dates and chia seeds, and the good thoughts of tree sprites.

Why do I buy all this stuff? Does the kit make the man? I’m torn between hoping I’ve got this far on merit, and wanting to believe there’s an elusive item out there that will turn me into one of the X Men. But there’s more to it than that, the truth is that I really like owning all this paraphernalia. It validates the running somehow.

They say you’re not a rider until you’ve fallen off a horse seven times, so it stands to reason that you’re not a runner until you’ve spent the GDP of Ghana on a requisite number of unnecessary sportswear items. I love all my gear! I love the minor deluge of lumpy Amazon parcels that now assails my letterbox, the sensation of running in box-fresh trainers, and my oddly-shaped new running rucksack with little pockets and bells and whistles on it.

Maybe I’m just an overgrown Boy Scout. ‘But… you’ve already GOT two running rucksacks,’ my wife says. You’re missing the point, wife! Completely missing the point! This one has… widgets! Gizmos! Thingywotsits! To be tired of running gear is to be tired of life!

So. I’d write more, but there’s ‘A Thing’ ending on eBay that is likely to turbo-charge my entire running experience. What is it? Who cares? It’s a raw Teflon energy-boosting waterproof goji berry smoothie jacket. With air cushions… what’s not to like?

Mark Rochester

Written by Mark Rochester | 4 articles | View profile

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