Ultra runners can be girls sometimes. Well actually some ultra runners ARE real girls, but that's not my point. What I mean is that ultra runners like carrying around lots of crap and like buying bags of all different shapes and sizes to put things in. Am I wrong? I probably own about 10 running bags. This is probably around half the amount owned by an average girl for various special occasions, first date, second date, third date (likely to put out), third date (still deciding), birthday party, work casual, work formal, gym bag, shopping bag, wedding bag (usually needs a new bag), holiday bag etc.
I am not sure what girls fill these bags with. Phones, lipsticks, three different lip balms, tissues, umbrellas, those little sweets that seem to get spilled out all over the table in busy office environments, at least according to some TV adverts I've seen.
With guys its a bit easier, we have jeans with pockets. These pockets were designed to carry a phone, a wallet, some keys and there is this little tiny pocket for a condom.
Now when the first running short was invented someone decided that the only things now required for a man while running were keys and a condom, judging by the pockets. Whose idea was this? It's crazy. I always leave my front door unlocked anyway.
So for years we have been struggling to run without either carrying a bag/belt or by not taking stuff we need (usually for me - toilet paper).
So I was quite pleased when Race Ready shorts became available in the UK. I had known a couple of people who got them from the States but never really saw an equivalent here. Now I can carry lots of things, keys, phone, money, food, gels, condom, spare change to buy some lovely flowers for Gemma if I pass a florist.
Basically they are very lightweight running shorts that have two secure pockets on the front and 5 mesh pockets at the back. On first inspection it looks too much. How would your shorts not fall down? Doesn't everything bounce about too much?
I was pleasantly suprised on both counts.
First let me tell you about the phone pocket. Well there are two of them but you can use one for cards, money, travelpass etc. I have a Samsung Galaxy S II, its a big chunky phone that allows me to facebook on the run. I slid it in and went for a jog. It was fine (except that I forgot to lock it and I kept calling my sister and speaking to her with my left testicle). So far so good.
I then decided to really give it a test, I ran a parkrun with it. 5k as fast as I could (which is not too slow actually under 20 minutes). I put the phone in and then started to bounce around a muddy trail course at 6.30 minute miles and was really suprised that I could not even feel the phone, it was pressed right against me so that it didn't feel like it was there. In fact I kept having to check, sure it had fallen out. It hadn't. A great start, you can run quite fast with quite a big phone in these and not feel any discomfort or annoyance.
But obviously I didn't buy these for parkruns. I bought these for the longer stuff and gave them another test in the country to captial ultra in Jan. 45 miles of trial and canal, hills, mud, rain and cold. I had a few things to carry, phone, food, electrolytes, toilet paper, lube and emergency cash. I had a backpack on too but this was a test to see if these things would hold.
Again they performed brilliantly, nothing fell out, everything was easy to access and you generally feel more comfortable knowing that you have all these things to hand in case you need them.
Aside from the obvious huge benefits of what they can carry they function very well as shorts too. They are light and comfortable and are showing no signs of deterioration yet despite my heavy use of them. They are quick drying (not waterproof so be careful with your phone if it does rain).
These are now my shorts of choice and I'll be wearing them for all races where I need quick access to a few items. In the upcoming Northburn 100 miler I'll be taking my phone, compass, food/gels and lube in these. In the Spartathlon at the end of the year (a race I like to run carrying as little as possible and only a bottle belt max) I'll be using these to carry my electrolyte, tissue, sun block, phone and a small light.