Packing for a race is a bit like packing for a holiday. You need items for before, during and after your run, it’s hard to know what to take. This is what I keep in my race day bag.


  • Race number / timing chip / baggage label
    Kit aside, this is the most important thing you’ll need on the day
  • Vaseline
    For last minute application to try and keep that chaffing at bay.
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Safety Pins / Race magnets
    For my number – and also in case friends/anyone else needs them.
  • Spare hair ties
  • Tissues
  • Sun cream (depending on the time of year)

What I carry with me

  • Flipbelt
    An essential item – I will not be without one, I have 4 of them in different colours. It holds my gels/keys and phone.
  • Tracking device
  • iPod
    If permitted, for the parts of the race where there are no supporters.
  • Gels / Electrolyte Tablets
  • Plasters

Post race

  • A small amount of cash
  • Spare socks / shoes / flipflops
  • Face wipes or a small towel
    For that quick post-race freshen up.
  • Warm clothes
    Usually, I stick an oversized warm hoodie in my bag to pop on after. Some people swear by compression wear straight after a race – I prefer to shower first!
  • Sudocrem
    For post-race application to any aforementioned chaffing
  • Snacks / Drinks
  • Painkillers

Most races will safely store a bag for you whilst you run and have a system in place to make sure you can get your bag quickly. (I won’t mention the baggage queue I had to stand in for almost 3 hours at Manchester Marathon in 2016).

With that in mind, I personally wouldn’t check anything into baggage that you’re not prepared to lose. Keep valuables and any medications with you, or give them to supporting friends and family rather than check them into baggage.