If you’re a seasoned relay runner, you may have a kit ready to go that includes TP, window chalk, extra reflective vests, and a Therma-Rest. Here are a few things to add to that kid and one running jacket that is perfect for summer relays.
Montane Minimus 777 Jacket
In a van packed to the gills with six people and all their gear, you may hesitate to bring a rain jacket because odds are you think you won’t need it. I mean, it’s one more thing. But if you’ve ever run a relay in the rain, you know that once you’re wet, you’re wet for the total mileage. So consider investing in the Montane Minimus 777 jacket. It’s the only waterproof running jacket I’ve ever tried that doesn’t immediately turn into a wearable sauna. It keep you dry without making you overheat.
It’s less than 5 ounces, and can pack down to a fist-sized ball, so it’s not going to take up valuable space in your relay bag. Remember last year’s Hood to Coast finish? It was incredibly windy, with rain coming from all directions. If you would have had this jacket on, you could have zipped it up all the way, and the jacket’s unique design that leaves only your eyes and nose exposed would have made you a much happier runner. Or the year a helicopter had to take a runner from the CLR course and that freak storm blew in at the same time? This jacket would have prevented you from getting chilled and soaked.
You can check out the jacket’s specs here; just don’t let the price tag throw you – it’s really nice. In addition to wearing it for running, it would be perfect for cross-country or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding. I always overheat doing those things and this jacket makes it possible to keep my body heat in without multiplying it exponentially. Bonus: the helmet-style hood will keep you from getting sunburned. There’s a full zip available for $299 and a half-zip available for $289.
Dr. Zim’s Max-Freeze
I love this stuff. I have a canister of it on my desk at work and while I usually use it on my neck (an old injury that gets sore when I’m stressed out) I also frequently use it on my legs when I’m sore from overdoing it on a run. It’s similar to Icy Hot, but it doesn’t smell, and since it’s in spray form, you won’t have it seeping into your fingers too (which you’ll then use to rub your eye and it’s all over).
You can buy it online here for $9.99 – one can will last you a few years, in my experience. Yes, it states it’s “great for feet” but it’s great for any muscle aches anywhere. Stores like Rite-Aid and Walgreen’s also stock it, if you don’t want to get it online; you can also get it on Amazon.
The best way to organize a van for a relay? Pick up two of the three-drawer Rubbermaid bins and have your teammates put their “need it now” items in their drawer. Things like their headlamp, inhaler, chapstick, sunscreen, reflective vest, headlamp, contact case and fluid, and of course, deodorant. While your van is actively collecting roadkills, your teammates won’t need to waste time ruffling through their larger relay bag to find these small, vital items. One like this (from Target) is a good size.
Be sure to get one that allows the drawers to pull completely out, so that when it’s your van’s turn to rest, each runner can pull their own drawer and avoid creating a back-of-van bottleneck.