I first started with this type of running at Mount Orjen when I was about 7 or 8 years old. This was when I applied for the Orjen Marathon. Led by the thought that this sport is very rare, I decided to do more research on it. However, I soon realized that the contrary was true and that this sport has a 30-year long tradition.
Just like any other sport, the participants are forced to continuously try out and find new equipment which suits them best, especially when it comes to such long distances as 100 miles and 100 kilometers. Due to their low prices and ease of purchase, I choose “Solomon” equipment.
For an ultra 100-mile race, the participant needs:
- Compression socks
- Tights – windproof
- A T-shirt
- A shirt with long sleeves
- Running jacket – windproof + waterproof
- A bandana
- A baseball cap
- A winter hat
- Trekking poles
- Camelbak (a backpack with water)
- A headlamp
- GPS watch + heart rate monitor
Considering the length of the race and the fact that it’s held in the open, and in the mountains, regardless of the weather conditions, the equipment needs to be comfortable, light, safe, and resistant to all weather conditions. The shoes must be stable, yet light, and the soles should adapt to every terrain on which the race is taking place. For terrains that are mostly limestone and rocky, the soles should be flatter, while the shoes should have studs on their soles for earth and grassy terrains.
The upper body needs to be protected from the heat, wind, and rain. That’s why the equipment for this sport is made from special materials. Part of the race takes place during the night so it’s necessary to have a headlamp for better guidance on the track. Camelbak (a backpack with water) is an irreplaceable part of the equipment because, besides water, it should include things such as first aid, jackets, gels, a whistle, astro-foil, as well as many other things that are necessary for unpredictable situations. Still, it needs to be light and strapped tight to the body so that it doesn’t feel uncomfortable during running. A GPS watch is a part of the obligatory equipment for both training and races. It’s necessary for length control, amplitude differences, controlling the heart and the whole body in general. It can also serve as proof of running the whole race. A photo of the most necessary equipment is attached below.
The most important thing is to find yourself through something you enjoy doing. I found myself through this type of running and in organizing the races for it. I realized that I, just like any other individual, have a strong power. I understood that with our achievements we can change things for the better, not just for ourselves, but for others as well. I found that if you really want something and you’re true to yourself and your goals, new ways towards achieving those goals will create themselves. Just like my favorite mountaineer, Nejc Zaplotnik, once said: “Those who are reaching for a certain goal will remain empty once they achieve it, but those who find their road to follow will forever carry the goal in themselves.” I chose to run on my road. You can choose to walk, but the only important thing is to follow the road on which you want to travel, and your wishes will come true.