Women’s Sports Week — Reflections

11 Jul 2017
Women’s Sports Week — Reflections image

Women’s Sports Week is at an end and we look back at the top kit choices recommended by six incredible women who took part in the Marathon Des Sables 2017.


We’re not often lost for words however the response from KitJam’s Women’s Sports Week has left us a little speechless. The KitJam tribe is just incredible — thank you so much for the support you’ve shown the women we featured during Women’s Sports Week!

Missed it?

Here’s a quick recap, Marathon Des Sables finishers Charlotte, Nina, Moerieda, Lizzie and Jane took over the KitJam blog to talk all things kit and training in celebration of Women’s Sports Week. We topped off the week with by interviewing Marathon Des Sables finisher and the holder of several World Records, Mimi Anderson. Brilliant right? You can find them all here on the KitJam blog.

Lessons Learnt?

For anyone looking to take on MdS next year these blogs are gold dust. Read ’em all, hoover up that prior knowledge and experience! Then promptly get to work on planning your own kit and fuel strategy as there’s only 270 days until the race… Also, KitJam co-founder Jenny will be at the start line with you so get in touch if you’re taking part or thinking of signing up!

Meanwhile, here are our top five lessons from the ladies of Women’s Sports Week.

Do You Get “Hangry”?

If you know that now then you’re unlikely to be a happy bunny on the minimum of 2,000Cal per day. More calories of course equals more weight, so the game becomes minimising calories per gram.

Pro Tip: Check out KitJam|Fuel — it helps you build your race menu with weight in mind! This race menu planner picks the lowest weight, highest calorie ratio for everything (no not everything is a tasty tasty cashew nut) for your customised race menu. We built it because we face the exact same issues you do, we want more tasty food for less weight.

KitJam|Fuel is currently available at Project X Adventures and we’ll be announcing other retailers in the coming months so do check back.

This race is tough enough without also being hungry. Also many of the older blogs on the Marathon Des Sables talk about the holy grail of raiding through bins during the race where you’ll find a whole trove of thrown away goodies. This is bad intel, they no longer have large open bins that you can freely wade through as Charlotte Geen discovered this year.

To Pole or Not to Pole?

That is the question, and a controversial one at that. Even those planning to run the Marathon Des Sables will be walking at some point so here’s where the blogs we featured during Women’s Sports Week really come into their own. They all had different approaches to the race and some say they couldn’t have done it without poles, for Nina Pitcairn it was the difference between finishing and a DNF.

The poles of choice amongst our users are the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles, coming in at 284 grams total. You never know what can happen during a race like the Marathon Des Sables and for Nina Pitcairn it was the difference between completing the event and a DNF.

284 grams vs wasting £4k ish entry fee and a year of training?

The Marathon Des Sables Isn’t A Fashion Show

Yes it is says Moerieda Mackay! She splashed out on some fancy X-Bionic Twyce kit for her Marathon des Sables race and she can’t rate them high enough. Yes they’re expensive but there’s a reason EVERYONE races this desert race in their gear. Ask anyone, sure there are other options and our users run in all sorts (from a Gap t-shirt to a camel costume…) but performance wise we’re not sure any other brand comes close.

Some things aren’t worth skimping on and the clothes you’ll be living in for a week probably fall into that category. Make sure you’re comfortable in whatever you wear for this race, chafing all week in that desert is not something you want to experience.

Be A Maverick

The online build-up for this race is like nothing you’ll have experienced before. That Facebook group reaches fever pitch in the months leading up to kick-off and whilst a very important source of information things can get very heated.

Are you sure that you can absolutely live without a stove for the week and use lukewarm water for your dehydrated meals? If so, then stick with it even when many think you’re mad and you find yourself questioning your decision. Some of our users don’t bother with a stove and some do. For those that do (like KJ co-founder Aaron), it is purely because they want that hot coffee each morning or a warm hot chocolate before bed. Others are happy to have it cold (like KJ co-founder Jenny). Rest assured the usual suspects of dehydrated meals all work really well with lukewarm water.

Be Lizzie B, be a maverick. Read everything you can, get out there and test it all in training and then make your own decisions. You’re much tougher than you think and trust us, you can do this.

Don’t Be A Jane

Finally, you simply must read Jane’s blog. Seriously.

For those who’ve already signed up, between now and race day you’ll have several wobbles. Bookmark this blog post and keep coming back to it, it will act as the reminder you’ll occasionally need to get out for that 4hour run in winter.

For those who are thinking of signing up, what’s holding you back? This blog will help you think that through and we guarantee you’ll be signing up once you’ve finished it.

So to finish off, here’s what we should all take away from Women’s Sports Week — everyone should strive to “be a Jane”.

Jam on folks.

What have we missed?

We (Aaron and Jenny) have both done the Marathon des Sables and are more than happy to answer any questions.