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5 Must Have Items For Every Race

Running a race soon? Check out these must have items for every race! Sharing all of the things you need to have in your fanny pack!

Elevating Your Race Experience: The Ultimate Fanny Pack Guide for Marathoners

Every runner knows that preparation is key to having a memorable race experience. What you pack in your fanny pack can make a significant difference in how you feel during the race and after crossing the finish line. When I began my journey with 5Ks, I thought a bottle of water would suffice. However, as I ventured into 10Ks, half-marathons, and full marathons, I realized that optimizing my fanny pack was essential for an enjoyable run. Living in New York City, where the marathon experience is like no other, I’ve refined my packing list over the years. Here are my go-to items that I never leave home without.

Mini Battery Charger: Keep the Tunes Rolling

Running with music is non-negotiable for me; it’s my motivation and my companion. But what happens if your phone battery dies in the middle of your race playlist? To ensure that I never run out of tunes, I pack a mini battery charger, small enough to fit in my hand and by extension, my fanny pack or tights pocket. I coil the charging cord tightly and stow it alongside the charger. Whether or not I end up needing it during the race, it’s incredibly helpful for those moments post-race when I need to contact friends or family.

Chapstick: Comfort for Your Lips

You’d think that chapped lips would only be an issue in colder weather, but even in warm temperatures, lips can get dry. Comfort is key when you’re pushing your body to its limits, so I always have a chapstick dedicated exclusively to my running adventures. It permanently resides in my fanny pack, ready to keep my lips moisturized throughout the race.

Tylenol: Headaches Be Gone

While medical tents are commonly found along race routes, particularly for longer distances, they aren’t omnipresent. As someone who tends to get headaches during and after long runs, I find it essential to pack Tylenol. I place two pills in a mini Ziploc bag or wrap them in a paper towel, folding it multiple times for compact storage. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Cash: Because You Never Know

Living and running in New York City provides its own set of opportunities—like stopping at a Central Park hot dog vendor for a refreshing bottle of water during a race! I always carry some cash in my fanny pack. It’s there exclusively for my races and has come in handy on multiple occasions.

Wipes: A Lifesaver in Sticky Situations

Whether it’s a mid-race bathroom break or a way to freshen up in the sweltering heat, wipes are an indispensable part of my fanny pack arsenal. One word: Port-a-potties. Trust me, you don’t want to be caught in a race without them. I usually place a handful in a Ziploc bag, folded to maximize space.

Bonus: Antibacterial Gel/Spray/Lotion

Last but definitely not least, an antibacterial solution is a must-have for obvious reasons—again, the port-a-potties. In the era of heightened awareness around hygiene, having a small bottle of antibacterial gel can give you peace of mind when you’re miles away from the nearest sink.

So there you have it—my comprehensive guide to packing the perfect fanny pack for race day. This kit has been optimized through years of running experience in the Big Apple, and it never fails to enhance my race day experience. Tailor it to your own needs and you’ll find that a well-packed fanny pack is almost as essential as a good pair of running shoes. Happy running!

Check out some more running posts before you go!

What is the #1 thing you need for every race?



Wednesday 18th of July 2018

Great info. I personally second the phone charger. Music is key for me with exercising, regardless if it is running or weight training. I guess I need the motivation. Thanks for sharing your list.


Sunday 27th of May 2018

Wipes are a universal life saver! And what causes the headaches? The pressure? The wind through your ears? That happens to me! Sometimes it's dehydration for me but often just the sinus/allergen stuff.


Wednesday 23rd of May 2018

Wipes for sure! I like the idea of bringing a mini battery charger, especially to a big city race where I'll need my phone to find family after.

Sandra D Laflamme

Wednesday 23rd of May 2018

Um, yes to the wipes for sure!!! And money is a definite must have in case of emergencies. Love this link up!

Janine Huldie

Wednesday 23rd of May 2018

As you know I am not really a runner by any means. But still I do appreciate all your help and advice. And if I ever do take up running, you would be the first person I would definitely reach out to you! :)