Gift Ideas for the Ultrarunner

A.K.A. – If I didn’t already have all of this stuff, it’s what would be on my list…


Running on Empty by Marshall Ulrich

I won a signed copy at the Slickrock 100.  Haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to digging into it over the holidays.  I’ve heard good things about it and particularly like Marshall’s Ten Commandments of Endurance:
1. Expect a journey and a battle
2. Focus on the present and set intermediate goals
3. Don’t dwell on the negative
4. Transcend the physical
5. Accept your fate
6. Have confidence you will succeed
7. Know that there will be an end
8. Suffering is OK
9. Be kind to yourself
10. Quitting is not an option
Okay, this is one thing on the list I don’t own.  I plan on ordering a copy soon.

Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons by Bryon Powell


4th Generation iPod Shuffle

Sure, everyone has one, but if you are an ultrarunner you’ll need two!  Unless you’re Hal K. blazing 13 hour 100 milers the battery won’t quite make it through your race.  This is the 4th shuffle I’ve owned and I really like it.  It is noticeably smaller than the previous generation, and has nice voice-over features to help you navigate your playlists.

They are tough, too!  I ruined 2 prevoius generation shuffles, one in a snowstorm, the other with sweat (ewww).  I tried to kill this one by dropping it in a river, but it survived and is still going strong.  As I approached the river crossing just past mile 40 of the Leadville 100, I thought it would be a good idea to put the shuffle in the small ziplock bag I had in my pocket.  I unplugged the shuffle and dropped it right through the bag into the calf deep water I was walking through.  The baggie was missing the bottom seam!  I recovered the iPlop, shook and blew out the water, and tucked it in my pack for an hour.  Fired it up after that and the tunes flowed like a river.

Duracell Instant USB Charger

If you are going to be on the trail for a couple of sunrises, a portable recharge unit comes in handy to keep the juice flowing to your GPS watch.  I used this one successfully in my last 100 miler.  I just clipped on the cable and held the battery in my hand for 3 miles or so at about the 60 mile mark.  That topped off the watch enough to get me through the rest of the race.

It works great with phones and other gadgets, too.

Petzl e+LITE

This light has been out for several years, but makes an excellent gift if you don’t happen to have one.  It weighs less than one ounce!  It’s great for early morning race starts, you can see it clipped to the brim of my visor:


For a 100 miler, I just keep it with me for the rest of the race in case I misjudge the pickup point for my main lights.  It’s great to have it along to act as a spare, too.

Joby Gorillapod

A lot of trail runners like to take pictures.  The Gorillapod only weighs 1.6 ounces and is a great way to get some good shots while out in the mountains or woods.

You can use it to see what your footstrike looks like:

Black Diamond

Ultra Distance Z-Pole Trekking Poles

These poles showed up in a big way this year, and will continue to be a hot item in the ultra world.  I have yet to use mine in a race, but I did use them on a week long backpacking trip with great results.  They are super light (9.5oz for the pair!) and fold up nicely. They are pricey, and are probably not the most durable thing out there.  If you like to move fast up big mountains, give them a shot.  They also come in cheaper/heavier versions.

I know runners can be hard to shop for.  Hopefully this list will give you some ideas.  Happy Holidays!

(I don’t have any financial interest in any of these products…)

Posted on December 6, 2011, in stuff. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I hear that I am getting microspikes!

  2. I have the same ipod- it went through the washing machine AND the dryer attached to my workout pants- still works like a charm!

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