Rookie Rule #24

Your Gear Check Checklist.

Runners have stuff. Lots of stuff. Keeping track of it all, especially on race day, can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you get through gear check with ease:

Pick the right bag. Some races now issue specific bags to be used at gear check. If your race doesn’t, be sure to use a bag that 1. looks unique (think of it as a bag claim at the airport) 2. closes tightly and 3. is easy to carry.

Pack your bag the night before. When you’re laying out your clothes the night before the race, pack your bag, too. It’ll be one less thing to think about in the morning when your mental capacity is, um, diminished.

Affix your gear check tag. No one wants to wait in line behind you at gear check while you struggle to loop your tag onto your bag. Do it in advance.

Take the necessities. What are the necessities, you ask? Everyone’s a little different, but this is what you can find in my gear check bag.

  • A whole new outfit — shirt, pants/shorts, underthings, shoes, socks. Maybe you’ll need them, maybe you won’t. Better to be safe than sorry. For colder-weather races, bring a dry stocking hat, gloves and jacket. And socks. Did I mention socks? Bring extra socks.
  • ID.
  • Money.
  • Chapstick.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Phone.
  • Small towel.
  • Snacks. If it’s a small race, or if you’re on a strict diet, BYOSnacks.
  • Plastic bag to put your gross stuff in.

Arrive early. Like we’ve said before, arriving early for a race is a must, especially when you have gear to check.

Get your stuff and get out of the way. Once you reclaim your bag, clear out of the gear check area and find a spot to change, fish out your snacks, etc. Don’t create an unnecessary traffic jam just because you can’t wait to grab your phone and post your PR on Facebook.

Or, of course, you can enlist a loved one to be your own private gear check station. In which case, be sure to pack an extra sweaty hug to thank them for being your pack mule. — Mags



Running Song of the Week

“What a Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers

There was a time when I had absolutely zero idea what the legendary Michael McDonald was saying in this song. And then, thanks to Adrea, I added it to my running playlist. Now, I know every word — and I shall belt out each one when I see Mr. McDonald LIVE IN CONCERT this week. Jealous much? — Mags