Packing light for an endurance event can seem like an insurmountable challenge. From fluids to food and kit, here’s how to get it right
I felt well prepped. My first serious trail run lay a week away. Madeira’s mountainous tracks and cliff-top coastline beckoned. Our route: the classic MIUT ultra spanning the Portuguese island in the north Atlantic. But we weren’t crazy. We would do it in two stages rather than in one, crazy-goat go. And we would hack off the first 35km. So that left around 80km over two days. Sure, the gradient chart for the first day looked like a heart attack victim’s cardiograph (3,600m of ascent). But, as I say, I felt good. I had trained hard. I wasn’t carrying any niggles.
Then, with a simple email, everything changed. The message was from Charlie, one of our Madeira trail-running trio. Of the three of us, he was the only one with any experience of serious long-distance running. He owns a high-end travel company in Morocco and talks casually of jogging in the Atlas mountains. He had already won our ear. Then I learned he had done the Marathon des Sables, a seriously gruelling six-day race in the Sahara, and our respect rose inordinately. So when he sent an email with the subject heading, “Everything weighs something”, I was primed to listen.