My participation in Trans Atlas Marathon was spontaneous (four days) and preparations were limited. Selection of equipment was based on what I already had and could provide immediately. But with access to equipment and assistance from Oslo Sportslagager I was not worried.
Elements that influenced the selection of equipment for the Trans Atlas Marathon were:
- distance: 280 kilometers, 14,000 altitude meters (equivalent to 1.5 times up Mount Everst)
- Unpacking: Daypack and 10 kilo bag for camp
- Environment: Difficult and rocky mountains, dry river lakes and steppe landscape in 2,500 to 3,350 moh.
- Weather Forecast: dry, wind, sun and up to 40 degrees
- Strasse: Labeling with water-soluble spray and handed out GPS coordinates
- Ranking: The toughest stage race in North Africa
- Timeframe: Start in three days! and six stages
Legs, shoes and stockings
Legs and feet are what carries us around in the competition, so here it's important to be careful. At the forefront and in contests, I brush my legs every night with moisturizer to avoid wounds on my legs. If possible, I will take on new socks every morning.
I use thin, seamless and form-fitting "regular" socks that hold merino wool. If you are unsure whether the chosen socks will sit well and stuck on your legs in a run you can test the socks by walking in a bucket of water and then walking around. If the wet stockings start walking or hanging around the foot, they will behave accordingly in a damp shoe. Knee-high "compression stockings" are controversial, but they protect the legs against thorns from the scratch and cactus as well as the sun. Buy good quality socks!
Thoughts about shoes before the race:
The mountains we are going to run in have rough and sharp stones, mountains and rough gravel that always vary, and when we additionally run 14,000 altitude meters, this race will be extra tough for the legs. The sharp mountain type that is in the Atlas mountains will most likely tear up the shoes during the course.
- With a lot of movement sideways, twists, uneven trains and different lengths of the individual steps increase the likelihood of friction in the shoe and this often causes blisters.
- To reduce friction the shoe must sit well around the foot. In addition, friction against the skin can be reduced by using two pairs of socks.
- The rough surface is reflected in the foot when it hits the ground, along with countless downhill runs. 14,000 altitude meters equals one and a half time down Mount Everest.
- A soft and good sole shoes will absorb some of the sharp rocks upon landing and reduce strain on the ankles and knees.
- The uneven surface requires a steady foot and ankle - I do not have it (stripped joint).
- A high-level shoes and juicy sole will increase stability and reduce the likelihood of severe overcoat.
- Dry, wind, sun and heat.
- On dry surfaces of mountains and sharp rocks, rough bumps will not have much effect.
- The heat will cause a little swelling and even with airy shoes, a skoenummer larger than normal would be preferable.
I ended up bringing two shots. Hoka Hoka Clayton which I have good experience with and as a reserve, I took the new ones Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra.
Hoka Clayton is a shoe that is a bit wide in the forefront, but is sitting well around my foot. Clayton has a wide and juicy sole that provides good stability. Hoka Clayton weighs only 229 grams and with 14,000 altimeters, each gram will be labeled. The upper part is airy and dries very quickly, but they are not created for terrain. The sole is without "knots" and has a reduced grip in wet and slippery terrain. I have good experience with Hoka Clayton in long terrain as, for example, Lofoten and Lyngsalpene along (100 miles).
Prior to the race, I had no experience with the new ones Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultrabut when I got tested they put them so well on the foot and the material selection was solid, so I took them as spare shoes. Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra is a traditional terrain shoe with a firmer and narrower sole than Hoka Clayton. Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra is airy, sturdy, small knots and guaranteed more durability than any other terrain shoe.
During the course I used mostly Hoka Hoka Clayton as planned. After the race I took along Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra on fourteen days of training with similar substrates in the mountains of Kalymnos. Afterwards I washed the shoes and I hardly see that Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra is used. This is quality that can withstand some fights with rough terrain.
Both shovels were new at the start of the race
It's easy to understand why some shoes are better suited to terrain than others. Even though I chose to run Hoka Hoka Clayton 2 there was the risk that they broke out during the race. The image of Clayton shows which wear the sole got and what a missing fog does with a shoe that is used in rough terrain. Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra The picture has also been run for over 30 miles in rough terrain.
When I took Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra On the foot and tightened, the shoe casts all over the foot in a comfortable way. The fabric on the upper side is very breathable and the toe box is just great. The heel cap is good, the insole has good breathability, the midsole provides good cushioning and the outsole is very durable with small cuffs.
Shorts were of course to run in this warmth and environment. For me, the following was important in choosing shorts:
- Low weight, airy and coolant fabric.
- Substance that does not get caught in the lid when it becomes moisture and then creates friction.
- Thin inner ruffle with knit not marked in the groin. If the streak for tight or thick will dry up sweat make an unpleasant salinity and hard edge that cuts into the skin - and before you know the word, it's empty.
- Good and wide waistband that is not too tight, but keeps the shorts in place.
- Substance that dries fast.
I chose to bring two types of shorts. A marathon shorts (109 grams) that is so short that it is not possible for the drug to cling to the legs by motion.
The other shorts (113 grams) is long, wide and has a wonderful inner tube with an extremely light fabric. The length of this shorts prevents sunburn on the upper part of the legs and reduces the consumption of sunscreen.
Between the races in the evening and early in the morning it is good to have a long pant that warms. I chose to bring the ski boot Classic XC from Bjørn Dæhli (413 grams). The trousers have a wind and waterproof front that will be good if there is rain. Zipper that goes all the way on the outside of each foot is incredibly comfortable when the pants turn on or off when I have shoes on my legs.
- Make weight and take the least amount of space in the bag.
- Replace a long-sleeved sweater
- Windproof and dry quickly
With a weight of 85 grams is Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket lighter than most t-shirts. The jacket does not adhere to the body and I often use it as the only exercise item on the upper body when it's blowing or raining. The packed jacket is the size of a golf ball.
With the jacket as "long-sleeved sweater" there was a fast-drying and durable t-shirt that would do the daily work of keeping the upper body warm against cold wind as well as skin and sack separated.
T-shirt that I chose was Salomon Fast Wing SS Tee with a weight of 108 grams which is "normal".
Salomon Fast Wing SS Tee is very comfortable and cool to the body. It is not too tight and the fabric is very durable. The bright colors against the strong sun were justified when the choice was made.
The jacket is 23 grams lighter than the t-shirt!
On my head I use caps because it protects against sun and rain. I am trying to Choose a caps as light and airy that sits well around the head without tightening.
When I run in a warm environment, I often dip the cap into water along the way to cool my head. Then it's good if it does not get too heavy and still sits well on your head.
With Shades Of Norway as a sponsor, I have a wide range of sunglasses. SON designs high quality own glasses and is an importer and distributor of reputable brands.
In this race I was up in the height of bright sunshine and a fast changing cloud cover. I chose to bring two pairs of glasses, one of SON and one from Fila.
The glasses from SON - (Lofoten) weighs 24 grams and has great fit with four sets of replaceable lenses that will be adaptable to all lighting conditions.
The Fila reserve glasses (SF9060) weigh only 19 grams and have a lens with "fadet" glass without color tones at the bottom. With shiny glass at the bottom it's easy to see the substrate I run on even when the sun has gone down.
The Trans Atlas Marathon is a semi-supported race where we run small bags consisting of minimum 1,000 calories, first aid kit, extra clothing and drinks. Water will be replenished at the control points, and as a requirement, we must have a minimum of two liters when we leave the control point.
In this course one and a half liter of drink hold for me. There will be checkpoints every 15 to 25 km, and a temperature up to 38 degrees.
The amount of drinks and calories that will be included in the bag, sets the limits for what can be chosen. I have run many different bags and seemed to have worked most comfortably in this race. The choice of west became a bit random as Oslo Sportslager had begun to lead Salomon's running vests. The vests of Solomon are very light, elastic, are comfortable and have a large volume.
The choice became one Salomon S-Lab Sense 2 Set which weighed 96 grams and proved to be a very good choice for this race. I got all of the compulsory equipment in my back pocket, food and drink bottles were in place. I had different bottles to test hard, soft with and without "straws". The best drinking bottle solution I used during the course was they original bottles which came with the running vest.
The traces were relatively well marked, but for safety reasons, GPS coordinates were provided for each day. Many used handheld GPS enhters, but with Garmin Fenix 5 on the arm this became redundant and coordinates for the entire race were easy to import.
At the start of the current daytip, I used the "Navigate" function and could then focus on running. The time was then converted to a navigation device that shows if you are on track, deviation, time and distance remaining.
As a warning on the clock, I used vibration instead of audio alarm, which is noticeable lighter than sound. In the event of a deviation in the track, the clock immediately vibrated and I could make the necessary adjustments and maneuver more easily through the stages. The geographical accuracy of the Garmin Fenix is about two meters, as it uses both the global navigation system GPS and Russian GLONASS simultaneously.
Food and drink
Of food and drink I had different dry ingredients, blends, gel and powder drinks. Much of this proved to be redundant when both breakfast and three course delicious dinner were served every day. All participants must have at least one thousand calories at start every day. I varied with blends, gel and powder dripping.