Oops! Learning from a bad mistake

I once had a bit of a drama with water on a run. Snowdonia trip. With a rucksack on my back (no water bottle space at the front), we skipped our way up steep scrambles, gaining height and enjoying the tiring exertion. Once I had decided it was time for a quick water stop, I paused, the other guys full of energy for the adventures that lay ahead when- oops. Set-back. I forgot my water.


I actually thought, being fairly none the wiser with kit at this stage, that it might not be a big deal. JR looked concerned, but I thought - hey, this ain't the Sahara, how bad is it going to get?  But, considering we ended up covering about 18 miles, it was a pretty good thing that Snowdon is equipped with a tourist cafe ( commercialisation affecting natural beauty is a contentious issue - I can't deny in this case that I grateful it was there on the rugged rock!).

So, turns out on long distance routes, you really do need water. Considering it is a necessity for your daily movements, it's going to be absolutely vital for those days when you are exerting just that bit more.

Now, it is definitely a benefit, unless you are buying a camel pack (water bag built into the main part of the bag with a tube that allows you to drink while running) to have a running pack with bottles in the front. It means you don't have to stop to get out bottles enabling you to sip regularly and keep hydrated.

So, establishing that you have to bring water, and it is better to have it to hand, or at least, strapped to your front, which bottles to get? A 1 L evian bottle is, let's be honest, pretty cumbersome to carry around. So what are the options? Ultimate Direction packs are equipped with just over 500ml hard bottles.

These are good, sturdy bottles. However, I personally found them bulky in front of me when I ran. Ben, a very experienced long distance runner, offered to lend me the 'squigy' Ultimate Direction bottles to put in my vest pack for the OCC last year. But we both agreed that the size of his bottles isn't ideal - at under 500ml per bottle you are not prepared with a whole litre of water, on your front, while you run. Looking on the website, I see that Ultimate Direction do do a Body Bottle Plus allowing you to carry a litre on the front in two bottles,which might be an idea for those who have an Ultimate Direction Vest.

Although I gratefully took the 'squidgy' bottles from Ben, before race day, I actually decided to invest in Salomon bottles - 500ml each. Salomon do them in several sizes (this is an example of a more light version at 250ml, below) but what is great is that they are super light, and being narrow too, they are the ideal shape for being pretty unnoticeable on the go.

A good thing to make sure is that the bottle fits your pack - during the OCC I used Salomon bottles in my Ultimate Direction pack - which wasn't the best fit, but just about worked ok! I now wear a Salomon S Lab Adv Skin 3 vest, which fits the bottles perfectly, and the design of the pack itself means the bottles are subtle while you are running.

 Photo: Angela Roberts

Photo: Angela Roberts

So, to conclude, definitely remember water when running,  think about the best way for you to carry it and your needs for what you are doing - and keep hydrated!

Where to buy? Outside Shop, Hathersage stock both Ultimate Direction and Salomon accessories