Packing for the Wildcoast Wildrun®

From packing your kit bag the day before you leave to packing your hydration pack the night before a stage, here are some handy tips to ensure you have everything you need and don’t leave anything behind for the Wildcoast Wildrun®.

Packing your Kit Bag – PRE WCWR

Packing for a stage race can be daunting, and more often than not results in a large pile of ‘must have’ gear on your bedroom floor - usually next to a bag of a significantly smaller size. Packing too much gear will lead to frustrations between stages, when you’re tired and are forced to dig through piles of unnecessary tights and tops, so follow these packing tips to ensure you arrive at Kei Mouth with one, reasonably sized bag.

1.    Plan each day’s gear in advance

You are going to be running for three days, and your running gear and kit for those days must take preference. Lay out your running outfits, including fresh socks, undies, etc in three piles. If you’re happy to recycle gear during the event I suggest packing at least two sets, so you can rinse the first and let it dry out over the second day. Mentally work through a checklist of everything in the pile and make sure you’re covered, starting at the feet and moving up: shoes, socks, pants, top, sportsbra, hat. On day one add the extras you might need for each day, like a hat, a Buff, a windbreaker and a long sleeve, etc. For downtime between stages, pack comfortable, lightweight gear you can lounge around in (one set necessary this isn’t a fashion show). Slops are great for relaxing in and showering and take a fleece or jacket for evenings to stay warm! For a full kit list head over to the website.  


2.    Pack two pairs of trail shoes

‘Good trail shoes are essential’, say Jeremy and Tasha Botha, avid fans and long time supporters and runners of the WCWR. Henry Angelo suggests packing two pairs in fact. “I would suggest having at least two pairs of shoes, giving one pair enough time to dry between each stage.” There are loads of river crossings and your shoes will get wet, so if you have two pairs that you’re comfortable running in, it’s not a bad idea.  


3.    Use smaller bags or Zip-lock bags to separate gear

Once you’ve made small piles of gear for each day’s stage, as well as a casual wear pile, a bedtime pile, etc – pack them into smaller bags. LARGE Zip-locks work perfectly for this. Label them, with something like Day 1, or Shower Bag, etc and shove them in your bag. This makes finding your kit for the next day super simple. You can thank me after the WCWR.


4.    Have a ‘fresh outfit’ packed

I always do this on stage events and I can promise you it is worth it. It’s the same feeling as sleeping on freshly washed linen. Pack an outfit for the last night that lives in the bottom of your kit bag. Clean jeans, a clean tee – your call. Flip if you’re a lady, throw in some mascara and a hairbrush. Freshening up after a stage race is a great feeling!


5.    Pack sneaky treats

In terms of food, the WCWR keeps you well fed at all times, but sometimes you just want a home comfort or treat. I know it’s terrible, but I often pack crisps (Salt and Vinegar) or a tin of Condensed Milk. Actually it’s not that terrible, unless you sit in your tent and enjoy it on your own… which I have to admit I have done.


6.    Don’t forget your hydration pack

I don’t need to say much more about this, but just check, and then double check that your hydration pack and bladder are in your kit bag before leaving the house!


What to Pack in your Hydration Pack – DURING THE EVENT

When it comes to packing your hydration pack, pack as light as possible, says Stewart Chaperon. “I often see people starting races with many layers on and after the first km they have taken most of them off and are trying to stuff them into a bag. Rather start a little bit cold and warm up with the run than have to lug an extra top for the next 35kms.” That said, there is a list of compulsory gear, as well as suggested gear and food for each stage, so be sure to read through them and pack your backpack accordingly.

Wildcoast Wildrun® Compulsory kit  

Compulsory kit is 100% for your own safety. The team at WCWR don’t create a list to annoy you, or force you to carry unnecessary gear. The idea behind it is that in the event of something going wrong where help isn’t instant, you can help yourself while you wait. Be sure to have everything on the following list of compylsory gear for this year’s WCWR:

·         2-3 liters of water/day

·         Suitable nutrition for the duration of your run, plus a little extra just in case…

·         Your mobile phone –fully charged

·         An emergency blanket

·         A whistle

·         A drybag or waterproof bag for your cell phone, camera, FOOD, warm top, etc.

·         Personal medication and basic first aid (anti-chafe cream, platers, water purification tablets, bandage, etc)

·         Wildrun® Map - The Wildrun® map is waterproof and extremely durable, you will not need to keep it in a zip-lock to keep dry. It will need to be accessable during the event. This is supplied at registration.

Other suggested kit:

1.      Buff/cap: A cap should be mandatory, especially if it’s sunny as you will be exposed for several hours at a time. Keeping the UV rays off your face and out of your eyes is paramount to your future wellbeing. A Buff is great for a number of reasons that may arise on the WCWR. Use it to protect your face from sand if the wind picks up, dunk it in the sea or rivers and wear it around your neck or head to cool you off, keep your hair back or use it as a tow rope to help your partner across a river. They are so lightweight and can be easily added into your backpack without even noticing it.

2.      Sunscreen: Buy a small ‘travel’ size sunscreen and reapply mid race, especially if you’re going to be out there for ages.

3.      Sunglasses: The glare off the sea and sand can be intense, protect your eyes from it with a pair of sunglasses. These will also be handy if the wind does pick up and you have shoulder high, horizontal sand blowing into your eyeglobes.

4.      Extra Socks: Between the beach and trails, your shoes are going to get full of sand, debris and caked in salty sea water. For some people this isn’t a problem, but it could cause unnecessary friction in your shoes, which could lead to blisters. Have a dry pair of extra socks could come in handy if your feet start to rub.

5.      Zinc oxide tape/taping: Jeremy and Tasha Botha, no strangers to the WCWR, suggest carrying good taping (and taping up your toes before starting) to avoid getting blisters. “Blisters are almost a given, so taping up toes is a good idea.”

6.    Personal medical supplies: Be sure to carry a first aid kit with essentials, and any special medication you might need, or know you will need during the event. I always throw in a few sachets of Rehydrate too!

7.    Food: “Pack what you normally eat on a race, but also pack something with a different taste and texture,” says Sandra Du Toit. “The days get long and you get over eating Gu.” Be sure to try and test your food choices before you head into the unknown in the Transkei. Also, be sure to pack enough food (plus some) in case you end up spending a long day out than planned. I personally like to pack a variation of sweet and savoury food, and do my best to keep things wholesome and healthy (*homemade date balls for example). I do have hidden treats for when the going gets tough – mine are always a Barone or a small Zip-lock with Original Pringles. Dried fruit, biltong, gummy sweets, mini Bonita’s cheese blocks are great ideas. Like you did your clothing and gear, make three MEDIUM sized Zip-lock bags for each stage and full it with your food for the day prior to leaving home. This will give you a good indication of how much food you have planned for each stage and if it’s enough.


*Date Balls/Squares

These are loaded with sugar and carbs and will give you a great booster and pick me up, plus they are super tasty! I always add a couple of handfuls of chia seeds to the mixture at the end too!


125g butter

250g pitted dates (Safari compressed square)

65ml sugar

1 large egg

20 biscuits (Marie’s or Tennis)


Melt the butter over a low heat. Add the chopped up dates and stir until soft. Take off the heat and stir in the sugar until it has mostly dissolved.

Take some of the hot mixture out of the pot and add it to the already whisked egg. Stir it around a bit and then add it back to the main mixture. Stir it all together vigorously.

Finally, stir in the crushed biscuits.

You can roll the mixture into little balls and coat in coconut if you like, or as I do, press it into a greased baking tray. Either way, pop the tray or balls into the fridge for a few hours and then cut into squares. 

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