Drop Bag Savvy

Therese Iknoian December 28th, 2011

Can you explain how “drop bags” work. For example, is there a standard type bag and what do you put in it? …


Illustration by Jeremy Duncan

Can you explain how “drop bags” work. For example, is there a standard type bag and what do you put in it?

—Jim Salyers, Lexington, KY

At most ultra races, runners are allowed to use “drop bags,” in which they place personal gear, and which race organizers transport to designated aid stations. Choose a bag that stands out from the stack, such as a bright color. Label the bag with your name and race number, inside and out. Don’t pack perishables since they may sit in the heat for a long time. Nix on glass containers too. Think small—you don’t need the kitchen sink.

For overnight races, pack a flashlight (and extra batteries) in bags “earlier” than you think you might need it—many things can delay you on race day. Although many seasoned hands rely on aid-station food, if there are particular gels or bars you just must have, pack them. If you wear contacts, pack spares. Put a list in or on the bag noting what you plan to drop off and/or pick up at that station. You may be brain dead when you get there.

Consider extra clothing for overnight races or wet weather. River crossings or rain may mean extra shoes and socks in a bag. Always carry medications and foot-care items on your person. Coach has a friend who once used disposable drop bags—Tyvek mailing envelopes with just some drink powders and gels in baggies inside. Remember to pick up your bags post race.


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