Preparation: What to Bring (Part 2)

In part one, we discussed some of the most important things to bring to an obstacle race (especially a mud run). In this edition of “What to Bring,” we will go over some things you want to look into in order to make the event as fun as possible, and maybe get an edge up on the competition.

Race Gear:


If you have bad or tender knees, you may want to look at getting some lightweight kneepads. This is especially true if the race sports an obstacle where you “crawl through a tunnel.” They’re usually ribbed and have a floor covered in pebbles, which embed themselves into your kneecaps while you crawl. I usually drag myself on my side during these obstacles because I’m not comfortable with running in kneepads. If it doesn’t bother you, look into it.

There are many events that suggest you wear gloves for some of the obstacles. I have honestly not found this necessary for any race I’ve run, and sometimes they just get in the way when trying to run or get through obstacles. A couple of my friends, on the other hand, swear by a pair of waterproof gloves and take them off between every obstacle. It’s something to consider if you have delicate hands.

Pre-race Nutrition
As a general rule for running, you should try to avoid eating solid foods later than 2 hours before your race. This is where good planning lets you outmatch your competition. For races longer than 45 minutes, pre-nutrition is a MUST if you want to keep your energy up through the last obstacle. I’ve tried nearly everything (energy bars, FRS, gels, etc.) and the G-Series Pro Carb Energy Drink seems to work the best for me (sadly, beer is not good pre-race nutrition). Do some experimenting when you go on your runs and determine what kind of nutrition is right for you.DO NOT try something for the first time on race day… generally this leads to stomach cramps.

In-race Nutrition
For races in which I know I’ll be running for longer than one hour, I’ll try and carry some fuel with me during the race (since most races don’t supply anything). You don’t want to carry a sports drink or anything you have to hold in your hand, since you will be climbing and it will only slow you down. I carry a Hammer Gel gel pack in my pocket. It’s lightweight and thin so I haven’t had any issues with it falling out of my pocket during the race. Since you need to consume with water, and water stations are usually scarce compared to road races, I generally only consume half the pack (which is just enough to get me through a 1:30:00 race). If you have friends or family coming to watch you, you can also have them set up at a point along the race and hand you something mid-race.

General Event Gear:


High-Riding Vehicle
Most events that are not held in a city-setting direct participants to park in a nearby field. Most have branches sticking out of the ground and horribly uneven terrain. I drove a low-riding sedan to my second-ever obstacle race and the plastic underpanel on my car was ripped straight off. Learn from my mistake!
Sure, there are usually photographers on the course but they only take pictures of you on the course (and some charge your an arm and a leg…). Make sure you capture all the glory of your just-completed race with a friends, family member, or complete stranger. It will hurt your wallet a lot less too.
Similar to the pictures situation… who wants to pay $6/beer for the entire day? Stash a case in your trunk for you and your friends and tap into it immediately after your race. Have a drink (or two) while you change out of your muddy clothes and head back in to enjoy the festivities while sipping on your free beer (standard at most races) to finish off the evening.
Pretty simple, right? We hope this has helped out your planning somewhat but we really want to hear what you think… What gear do you swear by at obstacle course races? Leave a comment below!

About Michael Sandercock

Mike is the Founder of Obstacle Racers, and has been an obstacle course racing fanatic since his first race in 2010. Mike is a multisport athlete who thrives on competition and challenge, competing in over 20 races each year including some of the world's toughest obstacle races. He has competed in the World's Toughest Mudder in 2011 and 2012, the Spartan Ultra Beast, the Ultimate SUCK, and the Death Race. He enjoys endurance running, but thrives in obstacle course races due to a focus on improving as an all-around athlete. He prides himself on finishing in the top 1% of races he runs.

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