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Head-to-Toe: Breakdown of Ultra Runner’s Gear at TransRockies

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In 2010, Martin Parnell ran 250 marathons (6,550 miles total!) in a quest that raised $320,000 for the child advocacy charity Right To Play.

This year, Parnell is participating in 10 events for his new program, TransRockies Quest 888, in which he will cover 888 kilometers by foot and bike from May through October, 2013, with the goal of raising $50,000 more.

Martin Parnell chooses time-tested gear for ultrarunning

The Canadian may be a little crazy for running. But with so many miles under his feet, he’s got his gear dialed in for sure. We caught Parnell right at the finish line on day three of the TransRockies Run in Colorado earlier this month to document every piece of gear on his body. This is what he chooses to cover an average of 23 miles each day for six straight days. —Sean McCoy

Hat — Starting from the top of his body down, Parnell wears a Headsweats Race Hat emblazoned with a Canadian flag to shade sun and absorb excess sweat. He continues the Canada theme with a buff around his neck.

Shades —For eye protection, he wears prescription lenses in Switch H-Wall frames. Switch sunglasses allow for quick lens changes with magnetic attachment.

A unique system from 4iiii provides visual and audio heart rate feedback

Tech Eye Piece — Among Parnell’s high-tech gear, the 4iiii Sportiiiis provides performance feedback without the need to take eyes off the trail. The device uses color-coded LEDs and voice prompts to guide the user to personal heart rate, speed, cadence, or power presets. The sunglasses-mounted device relies on additional sensors that wirelessly transmit the data that is displayed.

Pack — The TransRockies Run requires racers to carry a hat, rain jacket, emergency blanket and gloves as well as food and water on the course. Parnell chose a Nathan 2-liter pack to haul energy food, fluid and gear.

Race pack from Nathan carries water and emergency supplies

Electrolytes — Drinking lots of water without replacing salts can lead to cramping and nausea. Purnell uses electrolyte replacement tabs from SaltStick to keep in balance.

A bag of SaltStick tabs helps keep cramps at bay

Camera — It may not live up to SLR standards (see our review here), but the Nikon Coolpix aw100 is rugged, waterproof and does an OK job of documenting the breathtaking scenery along the TransRockies course.

Handwear — Biking gloves for trail running? Yep. Anyone who has fallen knows how much hand-rash hurts. Parnell has learned this lesson too and wears old bike gloves made by Activa to stave off the gravel.

Beat-up biking gloves

Shorts — He keeps his shorts simple with the snug fit of spandex from Running Room.

Spandex shorts from Running Room

Gaiters/Shoes — Parnell’s Canadian pride runs deep and it even shows on his feet. His wife made his gaiters at home out of Canadian flag Buffs. Also on his feet, Parnell wears Salomon XT Wings 2 shoes and two-ply socks from Running Room.

The Canadian Flag theme continues with homemade gaiters worn over Salomon XT Wings 2 shoes

Two Watches! — Parnell uses the Garmin 310XT to track his pace and milage. Because of the shorter battery life of some GPS watches, Parnell also wears a Timex Personal Trainer heart monitor watch as backup.

Garmin 310 XT and Timex Personal Trainer

—Learn more on Martin Parnell’s charity-driven quest at the TransRockies Quest 888 page.

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